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Kirk jumped up from his seat and moved quickly to Kyle's side, speaking on the way. "Are the attackers returning?"
Kyle turned to face Kirk, "A genuine possibility, sir. Are we going to investigate?"
"No, Lieutenant; we can't afford to leave the Kitty Hawk alone, she's still vulnerable." After a brief moment's thought, Kirk spoke, "Keep an eye on that ghost, Kyle, and report any changes immediately."
Before Kirk could retake his seat, Palmer announced, "Captain, Dr. McCoy wishes to see you in sickbay right away. He says it's urgent."
Taking a deep breath, the Captain cursed silently and headed for the turbolift. "Sulu, you have the Conn; keep on your toes!"
Moments later, Kirk arrived in sickbay and found McCoy busy with autopsies. The Kitty Hawk casualties were lined up like proverbial sardines in a tin.
McCoy looked tired and barely acknowledged his friend. Curt and just a bit more unpleasant than usual, the doctor spoke while he continued to work, "I thought you'd like to know, Scotty finally got into some of the blocked compartments."
Kirk was a bit confused by his friend's 'urgent' need, "I suppose that's good news, but..."
"Why did I call?" He pointed to one of the nearby bodies. "He was killed by a phaser shot to the chest." McCoy stopped working long enough to face the Captain. "You've got a bigger problem than you thought, Jim. There were intruders on the Kitty Hawk."
Sighing heavily, Kirk responded, "That's putting it mildly, Bones. Thanks, I think."
Back on the bridge, Uhura had returned to duty and Kirk had her set up a visual communication with Scotty and Spock from the Kitty Hawk. Sitting in the command chair, he studied the faces of his two friends closely. "Gentlemen, we have a problem. Mr. Kyle has picked up a sensor ghost and we now have proof that the aliens were on board the Kitty Hawk. How close is the Kitty Hawk to being operational?"
Montgomery Scott cleared his throat, "Just about there, sir. Warp drive is ready to go back on line, but will be limited to warp 4.5. We have most systems restored, but there are a few problems left..." Almost apologetic, he left the statement unfinished.
"Engineer Scott is trying to be kind, I am the problem," Spock explained. "Mr. Chekov and I have managed to restore many computer malfunctions but the ship is still not 100%."
"We can't wait; we'll go with what we have. Next, if aliens were aboard, what were they doing there?"
"Sabotage," Scotty said flatly. "But we've seen no evidence of it, just battle damage. Besides, security swept the ship completely. Maybe they didn't have time to do anything."
"There is another possibility, Captain. They were here to learn about Starfleet's newest ship." Spock was deep in thought. "Considering the damage done to the computers, it is possible that it may have been the result of tampering. The overloads could have occurred during an attempt to download data. The alien systems were, no doubt, incompatible with ours."
"Could they have succeeded?" Kirk was genuinely worried.
"Doubtful," Spock continued to speculate. "I believe the damage would have prevented it. Even if they did get what they wanted, then why shadow us?"
"Unknown, sir." Again, Scott was apologetic. "Perhaps they left something behind."
Kirk was confused, "But we just established that there were no traces of..."
Spock interrupted, "I believe he was referring to a person."
"Sweeps would have revealed that, too, wouldn't they?" Kirk sounded hopeful.
"Lieutenant Goodwin was looking for standard life forms and probably quit when the scans failed to reveal any survivors or intruders." Spock continued, thoughtfully. "However, it is possible he could have missed a life form not previously known or easily scanned."
Security Chief Goodwin led his search team with a vengeance. If he failed Captain Kirk once, it wouldn't happen again. In short order they had an answer. The alien was using the radiation field in the matter/anti-matter mix chamber as a mask. Most humanoids would not be able to survive in the area. This being not only survived, he thrived and even blended in. A very relieved Goodwin was happy to report to Kirk that he had the alien. However, he wasn't very talkative and it took a mind meld from Spock to learn his secrets.
Captain's Log; Star Date: 5993.2. Mr. Spock's mind meld with the alien captive has provided a few answers. They are after our technology and have stolen everything they have. A distress call from the aliens was a ruse to bring Kitty Hawk into their space, a standard procedure. Also, Mr. Spock has recovered a few items from the Kitty Hawk's logs. The aliens are on an equal par with our technology and have no real advantage other than superior numbers. More alien ships have entered the area and probably don't intend to let us leave. Therefore, that's what I plan to do.