test content
What is the Arc Client?
Install Arc

Literary Challenge #53 : The Gateway



  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    edited November 2013

    "Hnaev!" Commander Ael t'Kazanak swore as she stormed onto the bridge from the captain's ready room. "Na hhakh, askain dyypan kllhe! Dii mnaeri ihir nohtho!"

    The bridge officers of the USS Endeavour all conspicuously focussed on their consoles as the first officer ranted in her native language.

    From his years of service with the Romulan officer, Lieutenant Commander Pok Raban recognised a few of the insults, and knew that for her to publicly revert entirely to Rihan was a sign of not only extreme agitation, but a critical situation.

    "Ensign ch'Nett," Ael said, returning to Federation Standard. "Set course for Mol'Rihan, maximum velocity via slipstream drive."

    "Aye, Commander," replied the Andorian helmsman, as the first officer made no attempt to occupy the command chair, but instead headed directly towards the rear turbo lift.

    "Problem?" Raban enquired from the torpedo control console.

    "The captain will fill you in momentarily," Ael told the looming Brikar, as she entered the turbo lift. "You have the bridge, Commander."

    "I have the bridge," Raban acknowledged, unable to keep the tone of confusion from his voice.

    "Make a space!"

    Sprinting along deck nine, Ael raced towards her quarters, crew members flattening themselves against the bulkheads as she passed. As she approached, the doors hissed open, and she darted inside.

    "Computer, initiate subspace communication to Mol'Rihan," she gasped before she had even sat at her desk. "Contact Verelan t'Kazanak."

    Dropping into the chair, she tapped her fingers frantically against the desk as the icon rotated as the connection was made, but the call went unanswered.

    "Laemna," she muttered impatiently. Hurry.

    After a seeming eternity, the screen filled with her mother's face, a look of concern on her features.

    "Jolan'tru, Ael, this is unlike you to contact me, what's wrong?" she enquired in Rihan.

    Ael sighed and ran a hand back through her hair.

    "I can't go into details," she said, automatically speaking the language of her birth. "But you and father must get to the spaceport and get off-planet immediately."

    Verelan's frown deepened.

    "Whatever for?" she enquired. "Everything is fine."

    Ael's eyes closed, and she gestured dismissively.

    "I have orders," she said. "Orders I can't breach by explaining the situation, but please, Mother, get off-planet, and as far from the system as you can within eight hours. If nothing bad happens, I promise, I will give you both passage back to Mol'Rihan aboard the Endeavour, with a sit-down meal at the Captain's Table. But if things which I fear will go wrong do go wrong, believe me, you don't want to be anywhere on the planet."

    On the screen, the older woman nodded. She trusted her daughter completely, and needed no further explanation.

    "Very well, we shall contact you in eight hours," she said. "Jolan'tru."

    Verelan's face vanished from the screen, plunging the cabin into darkness.

    Putting her face in her hands, Ael knew only one other person she could contact.

    "Computer," she said. "Initiate subspace communication to USS Vanguard. Route communication to S'rR's Kane."

    Within moments, the face of her former roommate filled the screen.

    "I don't need to ask why you're calling," the Pentaxian ambassador said.

    "We can't let D'Tan go through with this," Ael insisted, calm enough to use Federation Standard once more, now that she knew her parents would be safe. "You know what happened the last time an Iconian gateway was opened."

    "You don't need to remind me," S'rR's replied with a grimace. "I saw the devastation on Moab when accompanying Professor D'n''ll to the Daq jIl moH dig site, we barely got out alive when we ran into a nest of those Fek'Ihri demons."

    Reaching out, Ael grabbed a bottle of Romulan ale, and took a slug direct from the bottle.

    "Admiral Cheliss has assigned the Endeavour to serve as additional entourage for you for the duration of this mission," she said. "We haven't actually been invited to this gala, so are well and truly riding on your coat-tails in this instance, and can't afford to overstep that mandate.

    "He strongly reminded Captain Atreides that we have no jurisdiction to act upon, as this is an event internal to the Romulan government, and the Prime Directive prohibits us from taking any direct actions to prevent the activation," she sighed. "We are simply representatives of the Federation providing assistance to a resident ambassador. We can only take action in the form of tactical relief efforts should anything go wrong."

    "'Should'?" S'rR's repeated, running a hand over her shaved scalp. "'When' is more likely..."

    Ael nodded.

    "When aehallh start pouring through the gate and start devouring everything in their path," she said. "By that point it will be too late. I've already told my parents to get off-planet, but we have to do something before D'Tan activates the gate -- there has to be some way of making him reconsider."

    "You don't need to convince me," S'rR's replied. "I've been going over this with Manda, and I'm going to lodge a formal protest on behalf of the Pentaxian Dynasty as soon as we arrive at the gala. I'll be speaking to any other ambassadors present in the hopes they will lend their voices to mine. I'm sure Ambassador Worf won't want to see a Fek'Ihri horde emerge from the gateway."

    Ael sighed heavily as a wave of relief washed over her.

    "That's reassuring to hear, Siri," she said. "I just hope D'Tan will listen..."
  • wraithshadow13wraithshadow13 Member Posts: 1,538 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    Commander's Log: Vrel T'Sod of the Arien reporting.

    The first break in a long time. By now, the monstrosity that is Hakeev, has caught on to me and my mission. Since there are so few of his commanders left, He has begun to hide his tracks. Those left on my list seek refuge, making it difficult to to track them across the galaxy. Hakeev has been sending agents to learn what they can about my crew and I, though I'm pleased to learn that D'Tan has been doing what he can to keep his emerging government clean, but the reach of Empress Sela and the Tal Shiar is more vast than most realize. Last month alone, there were several attempts to break in to the computer systems on Mol'Rihan, one of the files they tried to access was mine. As much as I don't care for D'Tan and his ways, nor he for mine, it is a mutually understood that to accomplish our goals, we needed each other.

    As such, D'Tan has proven an honorable and advantageous ally. One such way, was a new lead, and potential bait. For this, I would be given access to one of Mol'Rihan's greatest assets, an actual Iconian Gateway, hidden away beneath the surface of the planet. D'Tan's people had been working around the clock to try and reactivate it, to learn the secrets it may hold. While I admit, the scientist I used to be, was actually intrigued by what was taking place. I used to specialize in astrometric phenomena and anomaly, so learning how to bend space itself would be a most exciting premise. Perhaps one day, after vengeance is mine, after I have purged this wretched hatred that blackens my very soul.

    As such, the Arien will warp out of the sector, only to return under full cloak and wait. My crew will be under false alias' on the Gateway research teams. Hakeev will undoubtedly send in at least two agents, to either ascertain the power and potential of the Iconian artifact. Failing that goal, it's safe to assume that he would instead try to sabotage the gateway some how. When this happens, we will be there waiting patiently for the Tal Shiar. From there, it would only be a matter of time before I would have a few less scars across my heart. I often wonder what life will be like for me once this is done. What will become of my crew, who have patiently followed me on my quest, there are so many questions and so little time to ponder.

    For the time being, all I can do is plan and prepare. I find in these troubled times, the waiting is the hardest part...

    I find my time wasted.

    It it a task that was beneath me, yet here I was, preparing my ship and my crew for guard duty. For a menial task meant for unfit warriors. It is the sort of task that would be given to... given...

    For a moment, I freeze.

    My mind is a jumble of thoughts and useless emotions, so much so that my systems have trouble processing them all.

    I came back into focus to find my crew staring at me. I reach out, crushing the throat of my first officer, who's hand hand been on the hilt of his blade. Through his fear and his pain, I see that I was right to do so. He hesitated to kill me in my moment of weakness, something he would not live to do again as his neck snaps in the metallic tallon my adapted Borg Limb. For months, I have been troubled by these moments, mostly in the privacy of my quarters of my chambers. Since my failed attack at Risa, I have been troubled with a lack of confidence, which for the first time, reminds me of before... Of a time when I, Krotious of Borg, was merely Krotious, a failed warrior with no honor or reason for being.
    Ever since childhood, I was weak, a fragile boy who did nothing but shame his house through cowardice. I was exiled from the house of my ancestors, by my own father. A pain which haunted me for years. A pain which took me to accept a job on a freighter with other outcasts, shipping for the Orion Syndicate. It was pitiful to think that I was a low level engineer, tasked with the worst of jobs, humiliated constantly by the other crew. Life was not worth the troubles I had faced, yet I was too big of a coward to even end it, though the thought was all consuming. It even impaired my work at times, which only lead to make things worse for me. I was scrawny and short, and even on a freighter, the Klingon way tormented me, as even the non-Klingon members made my life miserable.

    It wasn't until we'd come across a damaged Borg probe that things began to change for the better. It was decided amongst the crew that we would try to salvage all that we could. Borg Salvage is worth a hundred times it's weight in any currency, in any sector. I of course was the only one to object, my fear earning me a broken arm for speaking out. I was right though. The Probe was damaged to the point our sensors read it as dead, but we soon learned otherwise...

    I was sent over on an away team because, if anything, I was expendable. It is, in fact, the very reason I find myself here. Because the Empire finds me... Expendable. Though I do not consider myself part of the empire, even I, as I am now, am not foolish enough to cross it. I am given leeway to do as I please, conquer what I will and take what I want, but it is a false freedom granted only by being a lapdog for the council. I do the occasional task for the Klingon Defense Force, and I am left to be a Marauder as I please. So I ready my ship and my crew for assignment at New Romulus. The Romulans have some kind of possible weapon, and have allied themselves with Both the Federation and the KDF. They fear the power of this weapon, and as such, called in their "allies", and as such, I have been called in as a first line of defense for when the Romulans lose control of what ever comes through this gateway of theirs.

    As soon as I find away to free myself of the empire, I will do so and be all the better for it.
  • danquellerdanqueller Member Posts: 485 Arc User
    edited November 2013

    Commander's Record

    Stardate 90145.12

    The Nor'Vesa has arrived at the Great Barrier at the center of the galaxy. Navigation plot confirms we are at the location where the Federation starship Enterprise entered the Barrier one hundred and twenty six years ago.

    Sensor scans have shown no vessels within range, and I have ordered us to hold position while we consider our options. While we have beaten the Borg here, what we ultimately do once they arrive is a matter I have put before my senior officers. The Nor'vesa is a science ship, not a warbird. We have no chance if we attempt to fight a Borg Cube in direct combat.

    But we are all that there is to stop them. We will stop them. Somehow.

    End recording.


    "...to all Republic Flotilla vessels! Repeat, priority message to all Republic Flotilla vessels! This is a General Recall order!"

    The message was static-ridden, but Subcommander Rycho could see Subadmiral F'varrius well enough to tell the man was barely hiding his terror. The rumbling that could be heard rising and falling in the background coincided with the view of the Subadmiral's office on Mol'Rihan shifting to one side, the objects in the room seeming to move together as though on a seaborne ship rather than one of the tall buildings of the new city.

    "The reactivation of the Iconian gateway has failed!", the man on the viewer continued,"We have partial visual records and our own sensor readings that confirm the cavern holding the gateway has collapsed, and seismic instability continues to spread from that location. The Science Tribunal has concluded that the gateway itself is still intact and generating some form of subspace shockwaves that are travelling through our planet, breaking up the mantle. This is causing increasingly-strong surface waves that will soon become too strong for our structures to compensate for."

    F'varrius braced himself with both hands on his desk as another tremor caused the view to tilt slightly to one side before righting again. "It is furthermore estimated that, if not stopped, these subspace waves will sufficiently destabalize the structure of this world to result in planetary fragmentation! In the absence of Proconsul D'tan, I am ordering a general evacuation of Mol'Rihan!

    "The ships in orbit are providing what aid they can, but the total capacity is still too small to effect a complete transport of this world's population. Further, the subspace waves are disrupting transporter use, and shuttles must be employed! We need every Flotilla ship receiving this transmission to immediately halt all current operations and make highest speed to home! We estimate no more than...."

    The rest of the message dissolved into streaks of garbled data as the communications system failed to hold the lock, and the Communications Officer gave a Rycho a reluctant shake of his head before returning to his efforts.

    In the silence that followed, the commander of the ship walked slowly around his judgement chair, eyes distant and thinking. He stopped when he came to the opposite side of the chair and looked at his officers. "Evaluation?"

    T'dess shrugged at the Helm station, feigning a disinterest that his eyes betrayed as he said "I think the orders were plain. We've been ordered to evacuate Mol'Rihan. If we turn back immediately, we can be there in two days."

    Rycho looked to his Science Officer. Without expression, Subcommander Tosik said "While I agree in principle with Helmsman T'dess, I have several factors that concern me about this message and force me to withhold endorsing his course of action."

    The commander looked at Tosik with raised eyebrows. "What factors, specifically?"

    "Firstly, that the message comes from such a secondary official in the Republic government, and not a full Admiral of the Flotilla. Even assuming Fleet Admiral Kererek is incapacitated, there are many others in the chain of command above Subadmiral F'varrius." Tosik cleared his throat before continuing. "Secondly, this transmission was sent without the encryption mandated in all Fleet communications. While this might be attributed to the needs of the situation, it would be a serious breach of Regulation.

    "Third and perhaps most importantly, we should not have been able to receive this transmission in the first place." the Science Officer shook his head. "We are as close to the center of the galaxy as any ship has come. Even subspace messages require months to reach this far. While I have calculated the unprecedented possibility the transwarp conduit we used is somehow providing a means of transfer, it would still require at least a day for this message to travel the needed distance. However, the stardate on the transmission is current.

    "Simply put, what we are seeing is impossible."

    With narrowed eyes, Rycho sat back in his judgement seat and regarded the main screen on the forward bulkhead of the Bridge. On it, the image of the Barrier flowed and surged in a slow dance of energy across the entire length of the viewer, the swirling eddies resembling clouds. He knew those clouds were at least partially composed of antimatter, and even more exotic energies that had yet to be fully understood made the tempest as far from a simple storm as could be imagined. Entry by any known ship would result in successive encounters with such effects that it was an almost certain sentence of destruction.

    And in no place was that blue zone of havok disturbed. All around them remained as it had in the hours since their arrival, empty of any object or presence. The Nor'vesa sat at rest, alone and unmoving in a vastness broken only by the band of energy that stretched out past visual discernment to either side.

    Inhaling, the commander said "Subcommander, given what your sensors can detect of the Barrier, is there any other place where a ship might possibly enter?"

    "No, commander. While the Barrier is showing signs of degradation from what was observed a century ago, it still remains impenetrable in other areas. Only in this one section is there any sign of a possible passage, and that only based on our readings cross-referenced with the limited data we recovered from Starfleet." Tosik gave a slight shrug "My evaluation is that any entry attempt must be here."

    Fingering his chin, Rycho nodded. "And we now have orders that we cannot refuse that will remove us from this location. It is almost as if..." the commander suddenly straightened in his chair and said "Passive theta scan!"

    Subcommander Tosik turned to his instruments and entered several commands. On the Bridge audio speakers, a strong electronic ping began to sound, but it was not as Rycho knew it should be. It sounded too loud, and a chill ran up his spine as he tasted the first pangs of dread. He already knew what Tosik would report before the Science Officer turned back to him, the man's face as shocked and drained of color as Rycho had ever seen.

    "We have a positive reading. Bearing zero mark nine zero."

    Taking a breath, Rycho asked what he knew had to be asked. "Range?"

    Tosik swallowed visibly before answering "Based on signal strength....within two hundred meters."

    Looking up at the overhead plating, Rycho knew he was not the only one on the Bridge to involuntarily try to see through the alloy hull to the cloaked vessel that they now knew was positioned directly above them. A vessel with a Romulan cloaking device, for that was what the highly classified theta sensors used by the Flotilla were designed to do. And in passive mode, that cloak had to be working in concert with a power system that was not Romulan to be detected.

    And there was only one hybrid vessel that might be here at this time.

    They had not beaten the Borg after all.

    In the midst of his rapid-fire realizations, Rycho asserted control over himself and his mental chaos, using methods taught to him centuries ago in a war that still defined his very being. He set aside the surprise and the anger at having been so caught without awareness to focus on what he could do now. With only a brief moment of hesitation, he was again in command and said to the others "Continue as before. Do not react in any way."

    Standing, Tosik came over to speak to Rycho in a low voice that only hinted at the turmoil within "Why have they not attacked?"

    The commander pondered for a moment before answering. "If they had wanted to destroy us, they could have done so at any time. Thus, this is not their goal. Instead they wait." then Rycho looked directly at his Science Officer "What would we have done had we believed the transmission we received was valid?"

    Tosik also thought briefly before he replied carefully "We...would have turned back on our original course and gone to warp."

    Nodding, Rycho smiled without humor. "And when we go to warp, what happens to our shields?"

    Realization grew on Tosik's face. "The shields momentarily shift to compensate for warp speeds. We would be open to...."

    "To boarding." Rycho finished as he turned his attention back to the main screen. "And at this range, they will have all the warning they need to do it. Exactly as the Tal'shiar took the warbird Lan'Kar two months ago."

    Sighing, he nodded again "Science Officer, we are now at the crux of the matter. We cannot fight this ship and prevail. At this range, we cannot escape to warp. What other options do we have?"

    The Subcommander frowned "When you described what we were to face, I examined the problem from several points and devised several plans of deterring the Borg from their course. However, I believe only one of those can work in the situation we now face.

    "As you know, the main deflector array and warp field generators are capable of affecting the space around the ship. In ships of this class, those systems are actually enhanced for research purposes and this gives us an ability to do very...unconventional...things."

    Rycho looked at his officer with suspicion in his voice. "What kind of 'thing' would you do?"

    Tosik sighed as though he did not want to answer, but he did. "I believe we can use the systems on this ship to cause a Tyken's Rift to form. This will drain the power systems of the Cube and disrupt its cloaking device. However, if we also inject a stream of tetryons into the Rift, I believe it will immediately disable the Borg weaponry and tractor beams."

    The commander smiled, this time as a hunter "And without those, even a Rhode Island class starship can destroy a Borg ship. Well done!"

    The Science Officer did not smile back "There is a risk in that this ship might also be affected. We need to position the Rift to affect the Borg, but not ourselves. At this range, that will very dangerous."

    Rycho did not hesitate. "Do it. We must, or it will not matter."

    As Tosik returned to his post, Rycho ordered "Weapons, prepare to arm all banks and torpedoes when I give the order. Your target will be above us. Do not miss."

    "Main deflector aligned." Tosik reported, his hand hovering over his console. "Ready to initiate."

    "Engage." Rycho leaned forwards as Tosik's finger hit his console and the lights dimmed slightly.

    From the deflector array at the front of the secondary hull, a stream of energy shot out and away from the ship. At a set distance, the energy reacted with the gravitational distortion caused by the emitters around the array and space itself ripped open.

    However, before it could stabilize into the intended effect, the rift changed. In an eyeblink, a tendrel of the nearby Great Barrier shot out to contact the nearly invisible edges of the breach, and there was a blinding flash as it multiplied in strength a thousandfold. At the same time, the other end of the rift enlongated into a tunnel of tetryon particles that sought a similar tunnel to connect to.

    Sought, and found.

    What had been a tear in spacetime became a gaping hole to subspace that sought to draw in everything around it. Like a thing alive, it craved matter and its gravitational pull sought that which was at hand.

    The hybrid Borg Cube was taken almost immediately, its cloak failing instantly and the vast structure heeling over in an uncontrolled spin towards the maw of the rift. Far too large to pass through, the vessel struck the opening and lodged there, its hull crumpling as the edges were compressed by the inescapable forces drawing it through and the physical distortions at the edge of the rupture. Energy flashed as systems were compromised and the design of the vessel was brutally reorganized, and it seemed that the Borg might actually prove a match for the spacial event as it seemed to shift against its prison.

    The Nor'vesa, slightly more distant, was pulled in only a heartbeat behind the other craft. Taken unprepared by the strength of the effect, the ship also tried to pull free. On the Bridge, Rycho held onto his chair as he saw the ship yaw towards the trapped hull of the Borg Cube. "All engines! Back full!!"

    "It is not working!" the Helmsman was tapping at his console rapidly "We're too close! Engine power dropping!"

    "Shield power dropping!" Tosik reported as he also braced against the motion of the ship "Weapons are offline! We have failures on all systems!"

    Then, as the hull of the Cube came up to meet them, the Borg ship shattered, the pieces tumbling into the rift just ahead of the tumbling Republic starship. The view on the main screen turned to static, then cut off as power failed. The lights on the Bridge dimmed and then switched to the red of emergency lighting as the deck pitched and bucked under the feet of the crew. The inertial dampening field began to fail as well, and the tug of the forces beyond the hull began to hammer the ship as power all across the ship died.

    Rycho began to feel vertigo as the ship spun around him, his hands holding tight to the sides of his chair in an effort to keep him there. His upper body swayed against the forces of gravity that seemed to whipcrack across him, and he tried to keep his head in one place as he heard the groaning of the ship's structure being stressed. The roaring about him reminded him of a great waterfall, and he knew the hull was being taxed by whatever they had entered. He tried to shout an order, but the turbulence was too great. There was a great shock and loud banging sound that sent his vision into a wild jolt upwards....

    Then, suddenly, stillness.

    The change was so sudden and unexpected that Rycho could not understand what had happened. Then, the lights and systems of the Bridge came to life in a rush of power, and he saw that most of the crew around him had also been stunned by the cessation of sound and darkness. In one corner of the bridge, Centurion D'sturius rolled onto his back with a groan, a hand pressed to the side of his head where greenish blood matted his hair. At his left, a screen had been struck by a PADD and sputtered with static, but that did not prevent the other officers around him to set about their stations as their training asserted itself.

    "Power restored to all systems!"
    "Hull Breach on Deck Five. Damage Control Team enroute!"
    "Weapons still offline. Cause unknown."
    "Shields are raised. Partial drain on starboard."
    "Engineering reports the core is stable and returning to normal."
    "Shuttlebay reports minor damage to two craft."

    Tosik was staring at his console in disbelief when Rycho turned to him. The Science Officer was entering commands so quickly that the commander could not see what was being done. "Report, Science Officer! What happened? Where are we?"

    Tosik turned to Rycho, and his face held awe as well as gradually-resuming self-control "The...tetryon stream interacted with the Barrier to somehow magnify the rift. It turned it into some kind of...wormhole. As to where we are...." he touched a button and nodded to the main viewer.

    On it, a blue sky filled the screen, illuminated by a sun that was somewhere overhead. Far below, Rycho could just barely see landforms and clouds, as well as massive structures that seemed as large as a starbases, dwarfing the multitude of cities sitting in their shadows. But there was something wrong....

    The landscape didn't stop. It seemed to slightly climb, not curve away into the familiar shape of a world. Instead, it rose until all that was visible was a blue blur of land and sea too diffuse by even trace atmosphere to be seen clearly. The scale of this, though, was beyond anything Rycho had ever seen, or indeed could easily conceive of. It was almost as though a planet had been inverted, but a planet that was....was....

    Too vast.

    Numb, Rycho turned to his Science Officer. "What is that?"

    Tosik took a breath before answering. "We appear to be inside a system-wide engineering construct. Something the Federation databanks identify as a 'Dyson sphere'. It is...unbelieveable."

    The commander looked at the view on the screen and sat back, trying to conceive of what he was seeing. "What is a 'Dyson sphere'?"

    "The star of this system has been entirely enclosed by a sphere of constructed material. An artificial world thousands, perhaps millions of times the size of any M-class planet ever discovered." Tosik regarded his instruments as a tone sounded "There appears to be a structure behind us that is in the process of collapsing. From the tetryon emissions, it would seem to have been how we were transported..."

    "My commander!", the Communication Officer called out. "I am receiving Republic subspace traffic! It is heavy with interference, perhaps due to distance and some kind of blockage, but definitely coming from within the structure!"

    Rycho raised an eyebrow. "The Republic is here? Give me a bearing on those signals! "

    "Sir." T'dess called Rycho's attention back to the main screen. On it, a burning hulk that clearly had once been the Borg Cube was falling slowly towards the surface of the world. Before the commander could order a pursuit, the side of the Cube split open and a Borg Sphere shot out from the fragmenting hull.

    As he watched, the Cube suddenly exploded, the fragments and wash of energy blinding them all for a brief moment. Then, as the view cleared and the sensors were brought back online, the pieces of the Cube fell away in hundreds of flaming pieces.

    The Borg Sphere had vanished.

    Hammering his fist against the side of his chair, Rycho looked to Tosik "Where did they go?!"

    "Unknown. We have no contact." Tosik peered at one of his screens "I believe they cloaked in the sensor shadow of the explosion. I am also not receiving any indication on theta sensors. Their cloak must not be Rihannsu."

    Rycho grunted, then peered at the main screen intently. "Could they have gone to warp and left the construct's interior?"

    After checking his instruments, the Science Officer shook his head. "No. There are no physical openings I can detect in the surface, and I see no evidence of a subspace event. Based on initial sensor readings, I believe such events may not be possible here."

    Rycho turned his chair to face Tosik as he asked "Why?"

    "Because," Tosik's voice was deadly serious "I am detecting Omega particles."

    Standing, Rycho looked back at the image of the Borg wreckage falling away. "Omega particles? Are you certain?"

    "Confirmed." The Subcommander's eyes held no doubt in them "And there seem to be...many."

    Nodding, Rycho stood and walked to a place directly in front of the main viewscreen, staring once again at the endless landscape arcing away before him. Crossing his arms, he said "Then we must inform the Republic forces here immediately. That there are Omega particles...

    "And that the Borg are here. Somewhere."



  • drajoradrajora Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    "Well dearest?"

    Shaleen took one look around the somewhat primitive plycrete structure, barren and unfurnished.

    "It's perfect Rivak! So much potential! Over there will be the kitchen! And we can place the first cot over there-"

    "First cot?"

    "Of course! You didn't think I was going to let you get away with only one child? This is New Romulus! It's a fresh start!"

    She came over to her grinning husband and kissed him.

    "A new start, a new life! A new adventure. I admit, I was worried when you didn't tell me where we were going, but this....Oh, it's perfect!"

    "Well, the transport with the basic colony supplies should arrive tomorrow. I hope you don't mind a hard bench for a while - I did have to go through a Klingon supplier."

    "Oh, I'll just use you as a mattress and pillow." The smile let him know she wasn't entirely joking.

    "We're still in the communal hall for tonight though."

    "Oh, that reminds me, I need to be over at Neral's near the river to look after the children today. I should probably get going."

    "I promised to help Solet with his farm-breaking. I'll see you tonight then, love. One last kiss for the day? Until tonight?"

    "Until tonight."

    Rivak straightened and stretched, the fetched the waterflask from his hip. The sun shone down upon the small village of Hasam's Landing, on the edge of the Hiren Bay, a deep, wide expanse of turquoise waters nearly half a planet away from the capital of New Romulus. Truly a new, fresh start for the Romulan people.

    "Slacking off again?" came the teasing call from his partner in the half-made field. The fencing for the crop was up, and they were carving the furrows to plant the trellis-lines in.

    "Not as much as you are Solet! I'm still ahead of you!"

    Rivak thunked his furrower into the soft loam of the planet, and then paused as a shiver ran up the plastic handle and into his arms.

    He frowned. A Rock? Hard clay? One of those odd mineral formations? The shudder came again, stronger, and Rivak dropped the furrower in confusion. What was the faint rumbling sound? And there, a third shake! That one was from under his feet. The ground...the GROUND!

    The earth heaved upwards, massive waves arising and crashing together as the planet leaped up and slapped him around. A tremendous roar arrived, pounding through the settlement, and Rivak could hear screams of terror and the soul-wrenching sound of shattering plycrete - homes and dreams being dashed once more.

    Although he could barely stand, and all his attention was on surviving, some inner part of him broke. So many planets, so many attempts at a new life since the supernova. So many false starts, so many lies and cons on a desperate peoples. Was New Romulus simply one more? What had they done?! What meant the Romulan people had to suffer so?!

    The dropped furrower was propelled upwards by a seismic wave and the handle slammed into the side of his head. Rivak dropped like a stone to the shuddering and shifting ground.

    The sun had shifted when he awoke again. It was definitely lower in the sky. Solet had vanished, his furrower also abandoned in the half-completed field. One look told him where the farmer had gone - a figure was frantically digging through a misshapen pile of grey and green panels in the distance. Rivak took a moment to consider and realized with a chill that the pile was the remains of Solet's house.

    He took a few steps towards the ruins, aware that Solet's wife and child had been inside, preparing the midday meal for Solet and himself.
    His steps faltered then stopped as the mental image of Solet's wife morphed into the smiling face of Shaleen.

    Rivak's heart dropped and his panic grew. All thought fled, and his feet followed quickly. He began sprinting - over the fallen fence and tearing down the packed dirt road towards what little remained of the village. He ran furiously towards the eastern side, not noticing when the road went from dirt to the plycrete panels. Past shattered piles that once marked homes. Through the collapsed wreckage of the first colony supplies in the village square. Over the fallen grace of the windmill, his vision locked on one spot - Neral's river cottage.

    He arrived to find a boiling torrent of mud-brown water thundering through a chasm that had not been there that morning. Wreckage poking up out of the swift flow marked the remains of the small cottage where Neral had run his daycare center. The small park and playground were completely gone. Some analytical part of his brain told Rivak that the small hydro dam upstream must have burst, but all that really mattered was the searing hole in his life that was the exact shape and size of his wife.

    Because Rivak recognized the form on the far bank. White dress muddied almost beyond recognition, long hair coated in the same shade, he could see Shaleen wedged between the broken bough of a tree and the riverbank. And then it registered - the bough was not just wedged, it was piercing.

    Rivak sank to his knees and let out a useless scream of denial as his wife's lifeless body was tugged by the current. Yet another tremor shook the land, and the branch finally came loose of the mud, carrying the last thing Rivak truly cared about out into the flow proper - where it rolled over and sank beneath the raging river surface.

    Rivak looked at the sky and howled. Were beings watching from far above? Could they see what was happening down here? Where was the Fleet? The Klingons? The Federation? Where was their vaunted help?

    Rivak curled over into a fetal position, too numb to even cry, simply trying to deal with the sudden absence of half his life.

    It was getting dark when Solet finally found him. The stocky farmer didn't even need to ask. His weathered face was streaked with clean channels through the dirt, tracks left by tears until the ducts were dry. No-one in the village would be without the signs of grief tonight.

    "Rivak. Come."

    "She is gone, Solet. Shaleen"

    "As is Hurn and Thira, friend. The living need our help. Tomorrow'" The stoic farmer's voice broke. "Tomorrow we can mourn the dead."

    It took another few minutes until Rivak had collected himself sufficiently to be sure of standing. His eyes burned, his throat felt blocked and each beat of his heart seemed more labored.

    "Come, friend. There are houses to be searched."

    Rivak and Solet heaved hard, pulling the last plycrete panel out of the way, a titanic effort that was rewarded by the blinking eyes of a young child, squinting against the influx of light. He was holding something in his tiny hands and Rivak suddenly had to fight back burning tears as it registered. A hand - delicate, long fingers an ashen blue-grey, the far too familiar shade of death.

    "Mommy won't wake up" the child whispered, the young mind unable to comprehend the scope of the statement. "Why won't she wake up?"

    Rivak reached down an extricated him from the wreckage, holding him close.

    "Shhh. You're safe now."

    The child's eyes took the devastated scene of the flattened village. He was silent for a moment, and then spoke again, a young voice conveying a wisdom that too many of the fellow villagers refused to allow themselves to believe.

    "Mommy isn't the only one who won't wake up?"

    Rivak could no longer fight back the tears as he clutched the child close and looked up to the sky.

    "No, little one."

    Three specks appeared high in the twilight sky, and Rivak watched as they descended, hulls reflecting the light of the descending Dewan star, almost painful in their untarnished brilliance. They were heading for the beach, and Rivak could see the pitiful straggle of surviving villagers beginning to move en-masse in that direction.

    As the shuttles swooped slowly overhead, the Federation arrow-and-circle became clearly visible on a white compact shape of a Federation Type-6 Shuttle, and the wings of the reborn Republic on the flanking green hulls of two Kestrel shuttles.

    A tiny, almost insignificant flicker of hope sparked once more inside of him.

    'Come, little one. Let's go see the space ships at the beach, shall we?"

    "Will we get a ride on them?"

    "I think we will, little one. I think we will."
  • moonshadowdarkmoonshadowdark Member Posts: 1,899 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    First Officer's Log Stardate: 89833.69

    It has been a few hours since Captain Lowe beamed down to New Romulus at the request of the Romulan Republic leader, D'Tan, to witness the activation of the Iconian Gateway they uncovered within the planet's earth. While many of us remain skeptical and weary of the Gateway, Captain Lowe has assured us that things will be fine. It always fascinates me that humans like Captain Lowe see the brighter side of events rather than the logical outcomes. But I assume that is just the Romulan in me. In the mean time, I have taken it upon myself to keep the Sierra on yellow alert, just in case. Shields remain up until the Captain hails us. In the mean time, I have decided to stay in my personal quarters and use this waiting to have my daily allotted time of amusement...

    T'Lumi sat in her quarters playing Kal-Toh by herself. She picked up one of the steel grey holographic rods and placed it gently on another. The game shifted and changed into icosidodecahedron before her eyes. She sighed and tapped a small box to her left.

    "12 turns that time. I am far too distracted to play normally."
    she thought. She looked up at the wall panel and read the time. "It's been four hours now. Captain Lowe should have hailed us back already. What could he be doing down there? Maybe he is making political progress with the Romulan Delegation. Odds of that: 234 to 1. Maybe he's making a fool of himself with the Romulan Delegation. Odds of that: 1392684057 to 1." She groaned and reset the Kal-Toh game to keep her mind occupied.Before she could make her first move, the ship's comm beeped.

    "Captain T'Lumi?"

    "Yes, Bridge?" she replied, recognizing the voice as the acting First Officer, a Benzite Security officer.

    "We've detected a Romulan Warbird uncloaking a few miles from us."

    "Many Romulans visit the homeworld, Marthok. I do not believe they would fire upon a Federation vessel unless we fired first."

    "But Captain....it's a Mirror Universe Ha'apax Advanced Warbird."

    T'Lumi froze. "Only one Romulan has that class of ship from the Terran Empire....D'Vox!" she thought his name as an expletive.

    "I am coming to the bridge. Do not under any circumstance answer any hails from that vessel until I get there, do you understand?" she ordered.

    "Yes, Captain T'Lumi." Marthok said. T'Lumi closed the comm and ended her game before marching out of her quarters to the Turbolift. She entered the lift before the doors fully opened. "Computer, Bridge. Now." She scowled as the lift began it's ascent, thinking about the Romulan Mirror vessel and the Vice Admiral tyrant who was at it's helm.

    D'Vox Riuurran.

    The man who made her life hell. T'Lumi had spent months aboard his ship as a prisoner. The R.R.W. Imperix, known as "The Shadow Star" in the Romulan circles, was where she found her half brother, Kohal. A Reman doctor. She had laughed when she heard that. Her first laugh in her entire Vulcan raised life. She had heard her brother was aboard the Imperix and was a talented surgeon to the people aboard. She never expected he was a Reman. Remans were workers and miners. Not doctors. But there he was, in his angry glory. Her brother, Kohal.

    It's why she allowed D'Vox to capture her in the first place. Elijah had let her go and then rescued her. He beamed aboard the Imperix and disabled the ship's shields and engines so they could beam off of it before D'Vox could retaliate. They managed to warp away while D'Vox could not follow. She freed her brother and got the Romulan Republic on her side. Kohal was a free Reman. But it wasn't enough for him. Kohal hated T'Lumi. She never understood why. When she was in the room, he barely spoke. Never looked her in the eyes. When she did manage to catch a glimpse, it was full of cold fury. Maybe he liked being a slave on the Imperix. Maybe he just didn't like the Federation. Or maybe he just didn't like her.

    T'Lumi sighed and looked at the Lift doors as they opened up to the bridge of the Sierra. She walked onto the platform and crossed to the center of the room. She nodded to the stand in officers as they saluted her.

    "Status report, Marthok." she ordered.

    "The Imperix remains a steady orbit over New Romulus along side us. D'Vox has not yet sent a hail. We await your orders." Marthok said. T'Lumi nodded and looked at the screen in front of her. She could see the outline of the ship as it drifted slowly above the planet. She tapped the small comm button on the Captain's chair.

    "This is acting Captain T'Luminareth to Engineering. Lumsi, report to the bridge immediately. We have a possible enemy vessel in range and I need your expertise to manuver the ship out of harm's way."

    The comm was silent for a few seconds before she heard a raspy voice reply.

    "On my way, Captain. Ish-all I bring Two with me? Better to teach her how to fly the ish-ip while I am at it."

    "Computer, where is Two t the moment?" T'Lumi asked. She saw on the Captain's small screen that Two was in Holodeck 5. T'Lumi frowned, knowing what Two was doing in there.

    Two sat with her knees to her chest in the darkness. The hum of the machinery vibrated underneath her as she stayed still, her glass eyes shut as she took in the full experience. Outside of the machines around her, all she could hear was silence. The silence was horrifying. It scared her to her very core, knowing that the silence was there in her head. She was accustomed to thousands upon thousands of voices in her head. A harmony of different tones and words and tongues all in unison, chanting the same thing over and over and over.

    "We are the Borg. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile."

    She could make the words pop into her head now, but all it ever could be was a fading memory. The silence was still there, dancing in her skull. No matter how many times she said that phrase in her mind, it did not feel the same without her brothers and sisters. The words of a collective, from the thoughts of the Queen to the lips of the children.

    "We are the Borg. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile."

    She loved them. The words sounded so sweet from her lips. It meant she belonged. She wasn't even a she. She was they. They were one. All into one. One into all. Unity, spreading out among the stars, making the Collective greater. Never alone. That was important. A Borg was never alone. One falls, they all know it. Adapt and continue.


    Never alone. Borg do not die. Borg continue. Borg adapt. Adapt or die. The people said it. People in red and gold and blue. Talking, always talking. Different words. Different tones. But not in harmony. They say so many things and yet they say nothing at all.



    That's what she said. The woman in blue. She said it to her as she lay on the slab in the ship that came for her. She was speaking to the man in gold with the furry face and the kind eyes. Kind eyes. Not glass, like the others of her Cube. No visors, no optics, no red light. Kind eyes of brown The eyes made her remember. Remember the sun. Remember the fields. Remember the human. She was human once. She was happy. She was free. The only voice was her own. The voice spoke. It sang. It howled in pain and laughed in joy. It held many secrets and told may stories. The voice guided her to the old.

    Two opened her eyes. She looked out into the blackness of space. The machines still hummed, the silence still there. She heard the door open and the shuffle of feet behind her. She turned her neck and could see it out of the corner of her eye. It came closer and closer and around to her front. She looked at it, the strange creature. It was foreign and familiar at the same time. It wrung it's tiny hands and licked it's thin lips as it gazed upon her.

    "There you are, Two. There ish an emergency on the bridge. Would you like to come along with Lumshi?"

    She tilted her head at the creature. The raw material. Perfect for conversion. No. No more. She was done with it. No more Borg. No more conversions. No more pain.

    "We are the Borg." But I am Two. Resistance is possible.

    She nodded and extended her hand to the creature. It grinned and helped her stand. It held her hand and guided her out. Out of the black and into the light.

    Lumsi held Two by her hand as he led her to the Turbolift from the Holodecks. He knew she would be hiding out in one of them. She liked sitting in the Borg Ship simulator sometimes. T'Lumi was afraid it meant Two was slipping to her old ways, but Elijah said it just made her comfortable. Lumsi didn't think much. A Ferengi trader prior to his enrollment to Starfleet, he wasn't much for thinking. He just sold. Food, weapons, toys, ship parts. Whatever he could lay his tiny little claws on, he'd sell it for twice it's true worth.

    Lumsi and Two boarded the Turbolift and he punched in the option to go to the Bridge. Lumsi loved the Sierra. From top to bottom, she was a fine ship. Way better than his trade ship, The Junkyard Jewel, that was for sure. The old hunk of metal broke apart every single day and the Warp drive fell out every other day. It's how Lumsi got so good at repairing engines and knowing warp drives. He also discovered he like being in the ship's engine room than the portable bazaar anyway. But his previous employer didn't like when his employees focused on anything other than profit, so he was fired.

    Lumsi chuckled in his head at that. What most Feregeni considered a punishment, he saw as a blessing. He ditched the Jewel and hopped the first shuttle to Earth to join Starfleet.It was that same day he meet Elijah. The funny human. Lumsi had spent all his cash on the ticket to Earth and had no money to eat. Elijah had loaned Lumsi a few credits for food and told Lumsi to pay him back whenever. Elijah always said that was one of his biggest mistakes in his life. Teaching a Ferengi about borrowing money.

    The Turbolift opened. Lumsi and Two exited the lift to the Bridge floor. Lumsi to his seat in front of the First Officer's chair and activated his console. Two sat on his right in a second chair and silently observed him.

    "Lumsi, prepare for us to warp out if the Imperix attempts to fire upon us. I do not wish for D'Vox to accuse us of instigating them in a neutral area." T'Lumi ordered. Lumsi nodded and prepared the engines for a warp shot. Lumsi loved his station. He could make the ship move like nobody's business from that single set up. He was the one who taught Elijah everything he knew about piloting. Without Lumsi, he'd have never saved the Gordon and become a Captain. It was why when Elijah was given command of the Sierra, he requested Lumsi personally. Lumsi was happy for his friend and considered that gesture as the ultimate job. Making the Federation cruiser dance among the stars.

    "Send a hail to the Imperix. Let us find out what D'Vox is planning." T'Lumi ordered. Marthok nodded and engaged the hailing frequency. A picture of a Romulan bridge filled the screen in front of them. They saw a Reman sitting in the Vice Admiral's chair, staring down at the bridge crew. T'Lumi raised an eyebrow at the Reman. "R.R.W. Imperix, this is the U.S.S. Sierra. State your intent, D'Vox. I know you are there." The Reman sniffed and coughed.

    "Vice Admiral D'Vox is not aboard, Federation peon. His glorious presence has been requested to the Iconian gateway below. I am Vumak, his most faithful servant and first officer of the Imperix." The Reman breathed. T'Lumi scowled.

    "D'Vox is down there with Captain Lowe. This is not good. Lumsi, hail the Captain." Lumsi nodded at T'Lumi's command and tapped his commbadge.

    "Elijah, are you there?" he asked. No sound came through. He tapped his commbadge again. "Elijah, are you there?" Lumsi looked at T'Lumi. "No anshwer..." he said, looking worried. T'Lumi looked back to Vumak.

    "What have you done to our communications?" she asked sternly. Vumak TRIBBLE and shook his hand.

    "We have done nothing. The Great One has also been unable to hear our pleas. We assumed you had something to do with it." Vumak rasped. T'Lumi looked at Lumsi with an alarmed look.

    "Something is wrong. Scan the planet for Captain Lowe's bio signature and bring him back to the ship." she ordered of Morthok. He quickly punched in commands to his console.

    "Ma'am, according to my reading....Captain Lowe isn't on New Romulus anymore..." he said with a surprised tone. He tapped into the console again. "Wait, I think I'm getting something. It says he's....right behind us. Sensors are also picking up something...large." T'Lumi looked at the Benzite.

    "What do you mean he's behind us?" T'Lumi asked. Her question was answered as the ship suddenly lurched forward. T'Lumi fell back into the captain's chair while the bridge crew braced themselves on the consoles. T'Lumi looked up at the screen. "Close hailing frequencies and show me what just pushed us!" she barked. Vumak's scared face disappeared as a visual of the ship's rear popped up on screen. A large white vessel materialized out of thin air and orbited New Romulus along with the Sierra.

    "What is that thing?" Lumsi awed.

    "I have no idea. Hail the vessel. Let's see who's piloting that thing." T'Lumi ordered. Marthok nodded and hailed the vessel. The screen looked distorted. Marthok shook his head.

    "It's no good. Hail frequency for the vessel seems to be impossible." he said. T'Lumi raised her eyebrow and tapped her chin in thought.

    "Prepare photon torpedoes and fire on my mark." she said, leaning forward in the chair. "Ready.....and....FI-"

    The ship's speakers blared to life before she was able to finish her command.

    "HELLO, SIERRA!" the voice crowed. T'Lumi stopped mid sentence and her mouth fell open in shock. Lumsi froze and shook his head.

    "That-that wasn't..." he said.

    "It cannot be..." T'Lumi trailed off. Two stood up and walked to the screen of the mammoth vessel slowly creeping forward. She turned and pointed at the screen.

    "Captain. Lowe."
    "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP"

    -Leonard Nimoy, RIP
  • ambassadormolariambassadormolari Member Posts: 709 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    Captain's Log, Stardate 861213:

    The Archimedes has been rerouted back to the Tau Dewa sector block following reports of renewed Tholian activity in the Azure Sector. It remains unclear as to why the Tholians are so fixated on that sector, or why they have seemingly closed off communications with the Federation and other neighbouring powers. Regardless, the Federation's alliance with the nascent Romulan Republic means that Starfleet is obligated to assist them in dealing with Tholian encroachment, especially now that the threat posed by the Romulan Star Empire has been consideraby diminished. It is my understanding that Ambassador Sugihara hopes that, through mutual assistance of the Romulans, both we and the Klingons can finally put aside our differences and end this costly war...

    "Captain," Lieutenant Farim Meru suddenly said from the Ops console, "we recieving a transmission from Starfleet Command, encryption level alpha."

    Arkos perked up as he leaned forwards a little in his command chair. In front of him, millions of stars continued to race past in streaks of light on the viewscreen as the Archimedes cruised at Warp 8. "Security level alpha?" he echoed. "Any attached heading?"

    Farim shook her head. "No sir."

    Next to Arkos, Commander K'Nera Shras frowned as well. "It could be a recall order," she said. She didn't mention what that recall might be for-- the Borg were still an active threat, the Armistice with the Klingons looked tenuous at best, and then there had been all of those reports lately of some new, powerful faction massing along the Eta Eridani line. Any one of those could have been enough to prompt an emergency.

    "I hope not," Arkos sighed. "We're already halfway to Tau Dewa, and I was really looking forward to some sightseeing on New Romulus." The Korda stood up and stretched his legs a little. "I'll take the message in my ready room. K'Nera, you have the bridge."

    The Andorian nodded. "Aye sir," she said, even as Arkos turned and headed into his ready room.

    Striding through the sliding doors and walking past the vibrant display of Nar-Etulis coral, Arkos sat down at his desk, flipped on his terminal, and typed in the necessary command codes. As the final code chimed, he leaned back, tugging down his uniform shirt a little to look more presentable. Admirals, after all, always liked to browbeat lesser Captains, even over long-rang comms.

    He had expected to see the grizzled, bearded face of Admiral Quinn on the screen. To his surprise, though, the face that popped up was an unfamiliar one-- that of a Human, somewhere in his early forties, set against the backdrop of a nondescript grey room. The man had light, pinkish skin and coarse, weather-beaten features, topped by a short crown of blonde hair. An ugly scar ran across the man's left cheek, forming a wavering line under his eye. He wore a calm, laid back expression on his face, as though there was something about this whole situation that privately amused him.

    "Hello Captain Nair," the Human said. 'I hope I'm not catching you at a bad time." The tone of his voice made it clear, however, that he couldn't have cared less.

    Arkos tensed. "Who are you?" Whoever this man was, he certainly didn't look like he was affiliated with Starfleet...

    The Human smiled a little. "We haven't met, Captain Nair," he said, "but I've been following your progress for quite some time now. My name is Franklin Drake, and I represent a branch of the Federation's Intelligence Bureau called--"

    "--Section 31." The words left Arkos' mouth before he even realized it. He glared down at the screen. "Yes, I've heard of you, Mr. Drake."

    Drake seemed nonplussed. "Oh good. Then this means I won't have to explain that much--"

    The screen went blank as Arkos cut the channel. Sighing, Arkos leaned back in his chair, and waited.

    A few seconds, with an unceremonious beep, the screen flickered and Drake's face came back into view. He did not look amused.

    "Really, Captain Nair, was that necessary?" he asked.

    Arkos leaned forward and glowered at the screen. "Given what I've heard about you, from other Starfleet Captains," he said, "yes, I'd say it was." He'd had a lot of conversations with other officers at the drinking lounges, R and R facilities and Dockyards of ESD, and every mention of Francis Drake had come with a batch of unsavoury tales-- of how he and his shadowy intelligence organization had kidnapped officers and foreign dignitaries, used starships and their crews as unwitting pawns and experimental fodder, and had violated the Prime Directive in half a million different ways...all in the name of keeping the Federation safe.

    A week ago, he had dismissed all of this gossip as baseless rumour, but that was before he had found the evidence of Section 31's existence sitting on his desk.

    Drake didn't seem bothered by Arkos' retort, however. "So I'm the talk of the lounges at Earth Spacedock, am I?" He chuckled. "I suppose I should be flattered."

    Arkos' hand hovered over the keyboard of his terminal. "I want as little to do with you...people...as possible, Drake," he said, "so be brief. What do you want?"

    The Human smiled again. "This is just a courtesy call, Captain Nair-- you'll be getting the same news from the Diplomatic Corps soon enough," he said. "Tell me, how aware are you of the current situation on New Romulus?"

    Arkos thought carefully. "I know that the Federation is heavily involved with the settlement process down there," he said, "along with the Klingons. What of it?"

    "Well, you haven't been involved with the relief effort yet, so you can be forgiven for only knowing the basics," Drake said. "But are you aware that a fully-functional Iconian Gateway was found down there recently?"

    The words caused Arkos to perk up. "I had heard the reports, yes," he said warily. "It was my understanding that the Federation was entering into negotiations with the Romulan Republic to study this gateway."

    "Negotiations which the Romulans have politely rebuffed," Drake said. "They've been conducting all of the research by themselves...and very soon, they plan on activating that Gateway."

    Despite himself, Arkos nearly jumped in his seat. "Really? Isn't that a little...risky?" He was all for studying Iconian technology-- in fact, he would have loved a chance to examine the Gate in person, to find out whatever little secrets he could from it. But he had heard enough about Iconian technology to know about the risks associated with activating it, and had heard and seen enough to know that the Iconians themselves might not have been as dead as everyone had thought.

    "Trust me, we're as alarmed by this as you are," Drake said. "But the Romulans are insistent on it-- the see it as an immense scientific and strategic find, and keep comparing it to the Bajoran Wormhole whenever we try to argue the point with them." Drake seemed to recline in his chair and relax a little. "The good news is, the Romulans are caving in to our demands for Federation oversight in the opening of this Gate. They've invited both us and the Klingons to send delegations over to oversee the Gate's opening. A task force has been put together-- we have quite a few ships down there already, including the Enterprise, the Vanguard--"

    "And you want the Archimedes there as well," Arkos cut in, as Drake's game finally became apparent. He took a deep, annoyed breath. "You have the nerve to plant monitoring devices and overrides on my ship, and now you come asking favours of me?"

    Drake simply shrugged. "Actually, the fact that you somehow found and removed all of our devices-- without our knowledge, I should add-- impressed me considerably," he said smoothly. "I think that if there's anyone who should be down there for the opening ceremony, it should be you."

    Arkos regarded the screen suspiciously. "And why is that? Wait, don't tell me-- you want to capture this Gate and use it for the 'greater good of the Federation.'" He lifted his hands and waved his fingers as he said this-- according to Lieutenant Sann, this gesture was what the Humans called 'airquotes.'

    Drake smied. "Oh, we've considered that, naturally," he said, "but that would mean severing our alliance with the Romulans-- and they are proving far too useful as allies to risk upsetting. No, I want you there because you're an Engineer at heart, Nair. A tinkerer, a man with an affinity for machines, and by all accounts you're quite good at what you do." Drake leaned forward, staring levelly at Nair through the screen. "If worst comes to worst, it would pay to have someone like you around to find a way to deactivate or destroy the gate, in the event that Captain Shon and the others fail."

    For a moment, Arkos was quiet. He knew he shouldn't trust Drake-- everything he had heard about him from other Captains at Earth Spacedock told him that Drake was a sociopath, a manipulator who didn't care if people got hurt, so long as his schemes succeeded. But a fully functional Iconian Gateway that was about to be opened...that was something he simply could not ignore.

    "The Archimedes will be there," he finally said, "but not because you asked, Drake. As I said, I don't do favours for people like you.

    Drake chuckled. "I'm touched. Before you go, though, it might interest you to know that the Klingons are sending a hefty delegation of their own, so please, try not to break the Armistice over a bar fight."

    Arkos bristled at the comment. "Go apologize to the Pentaxian ambassador, Drake," he said stiffly, "and then give me a lecture on diplomacy." He felt the urge to sever the connection then and there, but something held him back. "Who are the Klingons sending?"

    "A few of their more prestigious captains," Drake said, "including Captain Koreth of the I.K.S. Bortasqu." He paused slightly. "As well, I should add, as Ambassador Worf."


    R.R.W. Aen'Temar, Azure Sector Block.


    Subcommander Ta'nara focused her gaze on Centurion Taliv, who had raised the question. "Worf, son of Mogh," she repeated, "the current advisor to the House of Martok, and the Klingon Empire's main ambassador." Behind her, the display screen posted a picture of a grizzled old Klingon in the white garb of a diplomat, and posted a column of text detailing Worf's history. Behind the image of Worf, the profiles of the other noteworthies attending the ceremony-- including the Federation Captain Shon-- hung suspended in the background.

    In front of Ta'nara, the senior officers of the Aen'Temar sat gathered around the meeting table. Ziala, the ship's Chief Engineer, regarded the image of the old Klingon intently. "Worf...isn't he also some big hero among the Federation?" she asked.

    Ta'nara nodded to the Havransu girl. "More or less, yes," she replied. "He was orphaned during the Khitomer Massacre, found raised by Starfleet officers, and enrolled in Starfleet when he came of age. He served on both the U.S.S. Enterprise under Captain Picard, and on the U.S.S. Defiant during the Dominion War, and remained in Starfleet until he left to settle in the Klingon Empire in 2385." She folded her arms professionally behind her back. "Apparently, though, despite his defection, he still holds an honourary rank of Captain in Starfleet, and a lot of their senior officers and Captains still hold him in high regard."

    "It makes sense that the Klingons would send him, then," Taliv said. "If he's someone whom both the Federation and the Klingons have a lot of respect for, then hopefully he'll be able to keep both groups from going at each other's throats during the opening."

    Opposite him, Nalae, the ship's Chief Science Officer, frowned. "But why would someone like Ambassador Worf agree to help us?" she asked. "If he's an orphan of the Khitomer Massacre, then I'd imagine he'd have no love for Rihannsu."

    Doctor Vorek cleared his throat. "Time, Nalae, puts a lot of things into perspective," the elderly Havransu said. "A man can only sustain a hate for so long until it burns itself out." His comment earned him a few wayward glances from his Rihannsu shipmates. Given that Vorek was a former terrorist and member of the Havransu Resistance, they knew that Vorek would know a thing or two about old hatreds.

    "Regardless," Ta'nara said, "there will be a lot of big names present at this ceremony. Both the Federation and the Klingons have a vested interest in this Gate and how we use it." She took a quick second to look over her officers-- a ragtag mix of farmers, miners, renegade scientists and freedom fighters who had all been molded by danger and experience into a crack starship crew. "And as it so happens, we'll be there as we've been recalled to Mol'Rihan as well."

    Taliv frowned. "How come?" he asked. "I would have thought the security they already have available would have been enough."

    With a tap at the nearby terminal, Ta'nara shut off the display. "Ostensibly, Admiral Kererek wants the Aen'Temar and her crew on hand as part as part of the welcoming committee," she said. "We'll be part of a big show of force to our allies-- other ships like the Lleiset, the Seruk and the Emerald Blade are being brought in for similar purposes." She took a deep breath before continuing. "Unofficially, though, I've been contacted by our old friend Commander Tal'Mera. She thinks that our...unique experiences at Brea III will be needed."

    As she expected, the news caused mixed reactions of surprise, concern and concealed horror to light up on the faces of her officers. "If there's anything those experiences should teach us," Taliv said, "it's that an Iconian Gate like this shouldn't be opened. Look at what it did to people like Taris and Hakeev!"

    Ta'nara remembered, all too well. She was always back there, in the ruined streets of Brea III, or in the catacombs of the Hobus planetoid, whenever she dreamed. She remembered Hakeev, beaten and bloodied, staring at her with unhinged eyes as he told her and the rest of the Republic strike team of how his Masters would come. She remembered Taris, once the most powerful woman in the Star Empire, whispering fearfully of the things that controlled her. And always, she remembered the shimmering, fluid-like surface of the Iconian Gate, flickering as it showed some other place, far off, with surreal clarity...

    She straightened up. "D'Tan has already ruled that the Gate will be opened," she said. "That can't be challenged except through a motion on the Senate floor-- which will require time that we don't have. However, we must be prepared for the worst. At the very least, the Tal Shiar will try to strike at a moment like this, with the representatives of the Federation and the Klingons gathered like this. At the very worst..."

    The room fell silent. No one wanted to contemplate the worst.

    Ta'nara quickly focused on her Chief Engineer. "Ziala, I want you and Nalae to go through all of the data we took on the Gate from Brea III and start running simulations," she said. "We've been forwarded a lot of secret data from the dig site by Tal'mera, so I want you to cross-reference it with our own records to get an idea of how this Gate works. I want us to be able to deactivate this Gate, remotely if possible, or to at least know what it will take to destroy it."

    Nalae frowned. "D'Tan won't be happy if we destroy the Gate out of hand."

    Ta'nara raised an eyebrow. "D'Tan's objections won't matter if the Iconians overrun Mol'Rihan, Nalae," she said. "Get to it, both of you."

    Ziala nodded. "Yes, Subcommander." Without a further word, she and Nalae stood up and exited the meeting room.

    As they left, Ta'nara turned to her Chief Medical Officer. "Doctor Vorek, I want you to see if any of your old friends in the Havransu Resistance are working on the project," she said. "Tal'mera reports that extensive excavation and digging has been involved, so at the very least, there would be heavy Havransu involvement. I want you to see if they can send us any additional data that might be helpful, and try to go through possible danger scenarios with them-- if we can avert a seismic disaster, then all the better."

    Vorek nodded. "I'll see what I can do, Subcommander," he said, before getting up and leaving as well. Only Taliv was left, sitting expectantly like the loyal Centurion that he was.

    With a deep breath, Ta'nara leaned a little against the edge of her chair. "As for you, Taliv, once we get to Mol'Rihan, you'll be in charge of the ship."

    Taliv raised a curious eyebrow. "Subcommander?"

    Ta'nara grimaced. "Kererek has made me an official part of the Republic delegation," she said. "I'll have to do a lot of standing around, shaking hands, and pretending to be interested in all the idle conversation." And I'll have to do it in a place where Kererek can keep an eye on me, she mentally added. Even after the action on Brea III, Admiral Kererek had made no secret of the fact that he didn't trust Ta'nara. As a defector from the Tal Shiar, Ta'nara supposed she couldn't blame him.

    "I hope they'll be serving ale, at least," Taliv offered with a wry smile. His face quickly became serious. "Look at it this way, though, Subcommander. If any remnants of the Tal Shiar try to sabotage the event, you'll be there to spot them."

    Ta'nara gave a slight nod. She had actually been seriously considering the likelihood that the Tal Shiar might attack the delegation-- a gathering of Republic, Federation and Klingon dignitaries, after all, would be a prime target for one of their terror attacks.

    "I'll keep that in mind, Centurion," she said. "But in the meantime...you've served effectively and efficiently during your time as my First Officer. And I won't deny that I never thought I'd say that." Taliv had been an inexperienced recruit at the start, one of the many survivors of the Virinat attack, and he had always had more in the way of charisma and and jocularity than any actual personal leadership skills or tactical experience. But despite all of his deficiencies, Taliv had served her loyally throughout their voyage, even after discovering that she was a former Tal Shiar operative.

    Taliv blushed a little, but nonetheless nodded. "Thank you sir."

    "Don't thank me, Centurion," Ta'nara said stiffly. "I'm about to give you the worst burden you could dream of. If something happens to me down there, then the Aen'Temar will become your ship." She stared him firmly in the eyes. "Answer me honestly: are you ready for that kind of responsibility?"

    For a moment, Taliv said nothing, as he seemingly considered the question. Then, slowly, he gave a firm nod. "I am, Subcommander."

    Satisfied, Ta'nara nodded back to him. "Dismissed," she said.

    With a sharp salute, Taliv turned and left Ta'nara alone in the meeting room. Sitting down, Ta'nara turned and gazed out the nearby viewport. Hundreds of stars twinkled back at her.

    The Iconians. They had destroyed her birth-world. They had turned the Tal Shiar, once noble defenders of her people, into their own twisted agents. And they were still out there, still active, and still brimming with ancient malice.

    But as long as Ta'nara drew breath, then she was going to stand against them. I will stop you, she thought silently to the endless starscape. You destroyed our homeworld once, but I won't let you succeed a second time...
  • pwebranflakespwebranflakes Member Posts: 7,741
    edited November 2013
    Challenge #54 incoming! Stand by :)


    Brandon =/\=
  • wraithshadow13wraithshadow13 Member Posts: 1,538 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    Up until now, things had been going pretty well and Wraith had been enjoying himself thoroughly. The morning had started early with breakfast at the Captain's Table, something he tended to enjoy, though it was admittedly a little tense between the Captain and the Klingon Ambassador. The young man had asked afterward why, as they passed through the corridors to which the Ambassador simply replied "You never truly know the measure of a man until you have seen him in anger as well as camaraderie." Wraith thought on this, even though he'd never heard the word camaraderie before.

    From there, it was a quick shuttle ride to a quiet field for something called, Mok'bara. He smiled from ear to pointy ear when the Ambassador noted how fast his form was mastered... which was immediately followed by "Please, stop grinning like that. It is not becoming of a warrior, it is also... unnerving to see from a Vulcan face." While the Ambassador was attending a short lunch in the embassy, Wraith had to report for duty as assistant to the Chief Engineer of the Geist: Devon Fine. He did his work as per usual while they assisted the Romulan teams, but his mind wandered to thoughts of afterward, where he was invited to Worf's ship for prune juice and something called Gagh. As soon as the Delegates began entering the chamber, the Engineering team beamed out, leaving only a few crew behind to help as needed. Wraith himself was allowed to tag along with the Klingon Ambassador, though he noticed that Captain Donovan kept a close eye on him during the proceedings.

    Something Vrel T'Sod had noticed as well, as he moved about the chambers, keeping an eye on the preceedings. He, Himself, had been caught off guard when he'd noticed that the curious creature he had met on Risa, was here in the flesh... A member of Starfleet of all things... That alone was an impossible thought, for there on Risa, there in the Tal Shiar laboratory dressed as a place of healing... There, he saw a darkness in that boy's eyes. There in the flames of the hospital as it burned down around them, it was like the elemental's had crafted a being of pure death, and now, Vrel could hardly believe his own eyes as the foul thing stood there grinning like an idiot along side and old Klingon diplomat. It wasn't just his eyes, but his ocular sensors as well. While he could clearly see the ghost, the sensors implanted in him by Hakeev, saw nothing but an aged Klingon talking to D'Tan.

    He would later have to ask D'Tan about the boy, he though as he continued to monitor the gate's systems. He was surprised however, when the Andorian Captain of he Enterprise had given the order to place spacial charges on the Gateway. It was curious that D'Tan would willingly let them attach explosives on something that had millenia before, made this planet uninhabitable. Why he would risk it again, seemed to be a desperate move to keep his new "allies" happy. Desperation was an emotion that no Green Blooded Romulan should wear. He shuddered to think of what all D'Tan and his diplomacy would bring to this Mol'Rihan he was building.

    Long before he was Commander of the Arien, Vrel had been an astrometric scientist specializing in spatial anomalies, and the chance to work on a piece of technology like an actual Iconian Gateway, would have been a dream come true. Or so he would have thought, yet here he was, with his hands on the control console and all he could think about was the mystery of this Starfleet officer. No, not an officer, the uniform wasn't right, it was far too old and black rather than the blue he'd seen from the historical records. Still though, the commbadge was unmistakable and really, Starfleet was the only Military that really used them. The whole situation just seemed to raise more questions than answers though, and until this Gateway was declared safe, he couldn't seek any answers.

    Answers would have to wait however, Krotious thought to himself. Security detail was far beneath him, and somebody would have to answer for this indignity. He knew he was only here due to his volatile nature. He was expendable due to the waves he was making in the empire, so taking petty assignments like this would keep the council from putting a price on his head. As much as he hated to admit it, this was his life until he found a means to keep the empire out of it. He sneered at the thought of being a lapdog as he entered the chamber housing the Gateway. He doubted these Romulans could even get this thing working. Perhaps while he was here, he could get some detailed scans for himself. As of yet, no one really knew much about how Iconian Gateways worked, but it would be interesting to see what he could.

    Recently, the council had been hearing a lot of reports of his activities. His attack on the Federation Vessel that rescued him, killing the Captain of the ship that picked him up and claiming it for himself, destroying an honorless freighter, and even decimating a lower house of the Empire. He had his reasons, all of which were recognized by the council, but still, it was enough to warrant investigation which is how he'd found himself in this predicament in the first place. A small price to pay perhaps. He checked in with his crew through his communicator as he took his post against the entrance, his disruptor primed when he happened to look over and see Ambassador Worf. An aged fool who sided with the Federation and those who would be friends with the Romulans. It was then, that he noticed who the Ambassador had, tailing him like a targ pup.

    "Oh God... Anybody but him!"

    "Excuse me, Captain Donovan, what was that?" D'Tan asked, caught off guard.

    Captain Donovan apologized and excused himself from the conversation, and quickly looked the room over for Worf and the boy. The Activation sequence was being initiated already, and Donovan had to get Wraith out of there before this whole thing went to hell. He quietly chirped his comm badge.

    "Wraith, where are you?"

    "I'm with Ambassador Worf, over by the thermal converters. The Ambassador was checking in with A'Dranna about some of the co-effic-"

    "Wraith, I need you to beam out, Now!" The Captain ordered.

    Without even questioning the order, Wraith acknowledged as the Gateway came to life, flickering images of far off places. All of which were now within the reach of New Romulus, and then without warning, a blast of energy shot across the the chamber knocking an unlucky passerby into Wraith before he could activate his badge. They both landed into the console of the energy conversion systems, crashing hard as the Romulan disintegrated into nothing but an echo of scream.

    "YOU HAVE A COWARD'S LUCK, ABOMINATION!!!" Krotious yelled over the startled screams of the various representatives. He fired three more shots, hitting the generator directly as Wraith dropped to the floor.

    With that, the whole system went into overload and the room began shaking. To his amusement, the feeble delegates began running and shouting as he shoved them out of the way, holstering his disruptor in favor of a better weapon. He raised his prosthetic arm and smiled as the hand pulled back, the metallic talon like fingers reversing to lock it into place and form relays. What once was a Borg limb, Krotious had modified into a pulsewave weapon with enough power for one deadly shot. As he took aim and charged the literal hand cannon, he was struck hard in the shoulder with a D'k Tahg, thrown by the Ambassador of all people. It would mean a lifetime on the run from the Klingon High Council, but killing the Ambassador would be worth it to get his hands on that wretched creature.

    "Shut it down!"

    There is no reply as Commander T'Sod begins pounding his fists on the non-responsive console.

    "The Spatial Charges! Blow them!" Donovan yelled.

    Captain Shon obliges, using his tricorder as a detonator, but to no avail. The charges fire sure enough, but they do no good. What ever that Gateway was made of, there was no visible damage, at least none that isn't being caused by the Gateway itself.

    "No effect" Worf says, immediately taking charge. He points to Captain Donovan "Get every one out of the chamber!"

    Donovan began trying to coral the diplomats, but as he gets their attention over the sounds of Wraith and Krotious fighting it out, when that primed arm cannon of his finally finally blasts out randomly, causing a huge chunk of the ceiling to collapse inward, blocking the only passage way.

    The Captain tapped his commbadge "Donovan to the Geist, emergency beam out, NOW!"

    There was no answer.

    Using his tricorder, Worf confirmed worst case scenario: "The Gateway is putting off too much interference." Suddenly, some of the machinery begins to explode, and decisions needed to be made, and the Ambassador does not disappoint.

    "Into the Gateway! NOW!" he roars, over the failing machinery.

    Everyone happily obliges as they followed Vrel, who had gone first to ensure the safe evac point. Wraith managed to break free of the crazed Klingon, using Krotious' large frame as a springboard as he dives for the portal. Once the room was cleared, the Captain and Ambassador make a final sweep of the room before going through themselves. Even the former Tactical Drone made his way through the gate before the power relays burned out and the Gate lost power.

    Moments later, there is nothing but darkness.

    "We're not dead, are we?"

    "If we were, I would like to think I was with some one much prettier than yourself, Captain..."

    James is glad that no one can see him as his face goes flush, even now, he can't catch a break from that old coot. Wraith however thinks its hilarious and starts laughing as the door opens and a light flickers on. There is a quick sound off to see if everyone is okay, the wounds are tended too, but their large angry companion was gone.

    "Wraith, are you alright?"

    "Yes, Sir."

    "Good, we'll need recon. If you can, try and keep an eye on your friend, but make sure you don't engage. We have no clue where we are, or what trouble that maniac will get us into."

    "Yes, Sir."

    And with that, he was off, as silent as his namesake, as Worf scowled in disapproval.

    "He should not have gone alone."

    "You know damn well he'll move faster than and quieter without having to babysit any one. While he's taking care of Krotious, we can use some of the brainpower here to find out where we are."

    Worf sighed. He didn't like the plan, but it was the best they had at the moment. Moving into the next room, they all began searching the room over. The Ambassador, being the only one who had a tricorder, scanned the corridors trying to get a clear layout of their surroundings. Captain Donovan ran through what weapons they had, and gave a small briefing on their wayward Klingon. With no immediate threat, the group would be separated into several teams, each with an armed security officer, for all the good it did them in the chamber.

    Worf and Vrel followed what read as a possible power source, Shon and Maiek, a Romulan Commander, would search a central pathway. Captain Donovan and a two guards would search the third pathway as Klingon Captain Koren and the remaining guards would stay behind and protect the delegates. Donovan's group soon found their way into a large open space filled with platforms and what was possibly the most advanced holodeck display he'd ever seen. There, on what used to be the console for bridges, was the tell tale sign that Krotious and Wraith had been through here, a smashed panel and a shotty patch job. It would takes some doing, but Donovan would be able jury rig Wraith's wiring with that of one of the phaser rifles, but it would probably take some time.

    As he finished, Worf, Vrel, and the others came into the room, minus one Romulan Commander. Explanations would have to wait however as Donovan's comm badge chirped. To his horror, Krotious' gruff, winded voice spoke up.

    "Captain... I've found your little spy. If you don't come to collect, I might just return the favor he paid me once, and blow him out of the airlock into space."

    With that, the comm chirped off.

    Triggering the walkway, Donovan and the security teams made their way towards the top as Worf and Vrel stayed behind to see just what it was they were in the middle of. By the time they'd finally caught up to the rest of the group, they were under attack by drones of some sort. The Captain and the security personnel were doing their best to keep the scientists and officials guarded, but they were losing ground quickly. As he saw them running up the last ramp, Donovan shouted out:

    "The Console! It's a control panel for the gateway!"

    Both Vrel and Worf dashed to the console as Koren provided cover fire. There was no way either man would be able to decipher all of the console, but between the two of them, they were able to upload a fraction of the database as well as opening the gateway to it's last location, which had been a shipyard of sorts. There was only one ship, but it was slowly powering itself up. It was a massive ship, streamlined and unlike any other design that they'd seen. As they stood there, observing the vessel, the scenery had suddenly changed. They had been transported to the bridge, and there, at the center of it all was Krotious, standing over Wraith, who had been out cold at his feet. Both Worf and Captain Donovan moved forward, on instinct, only to hit the containment field they had been beamed into.

    "Oh, don't worry, I haven't killed him yet. In fact, he even disabled the security on the main console for me by absorbing the shock after I'd thrown him into it."

    With that, he keyed a few buttons on the panel, opening what must have been a cloaked Gateway over New Romulus.

    "You can't do this, I know you're not that stupid."

    "Stupid? How brave Captain, or how foolish perhaps. Throwing about your petty human insults. So meaningless and hollow... Much like you're species as a whole."

    "You are without Honor!" Worf interjected.

    "Honor?!? Bah, how many Klingon are honorable any more? Blatant corruption and cowardice. We should have conquered the Romulans, not held their hand. If there was any honor worth having, there would be little had by our people."

    The Klingon paused just long enough to enjoy the grimace on the Ambassador's face. It was the first time Captain Donovan had seen Krotious smile, and to be honest, it was possibly the scariest thing he'd seen in some time.

    "And what of you Romulan? How have I wronged you? Where is your spite for Krotious of Borg?"

    "Me?" Commander T'Sod asked. "I just think Hwiiy fehill'curak."

    Again, Krotious laughed that dry raspy laugh. The sound of it was so unnatural, that even his vocal cords seemed unfamiliar with the noise.

    "And here I thought the Humans had colorful words of hate! Ah, this is a good day indeed. It has been a long time since I've laughed, and for that, I think a reward is in order."

    He reached down gripping the unconscious Wraith, tossing him through the field and into the group of survivors. While everyone was distracted, Krotious took the opportunity to return Ambassador Worf's D'k Tahg by driving it into his lower back.

    The Ambassador roared out, more in anger than pain, as he dropped to his knees.

    "An amazing piece of technology, this ship. I haven't even translated all of the controls yet, though the advancements are astonishing. The containment field for example, can be set directionally, giving its crew a strong tactical advantage against intruders. Though under my command, I doubt many would even make it that far. Until next time my friends."

    Krotious started laughing again, but this time, it was a deeper meaning. It built slowly from an awkward laugh into a menacing cackle. It just kept building, louder and more insane, as suddenly the bridge of the ship melted away into the Romulan Embassy. Each person contacted someone, be it their ships, their political entourage, and even a few emergency services for the wounded. Worf himself, was swearing curses in his native tongue, indicating that he would be alright, or at least too stubborn to die. Wraith himself took a considerable jolt, but would recover in time. Vrel turned to the Captain and furrowed his brow.

    "Why would he just let us go like that? If he is as much a monster as your description, why not just beam us into space?"

    "Because he won, Commander. Plain and simple. He beat us and letting us live was just his way of showing us how hard. I wouldn't doubt that he has greater plans to end each of us as it suits him."

    They stood there, looking skyward as medical teams arrived, and for a moment, however long it may have felt to him...

    He could hear that mad laughter echo faintly in the wind.
Sign In or Register to comment.