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Literary Challenge #60 : Redux 3.0

pwecaptainsmirkpwecaptainsmirk Member Posts: 1,167 Arc User
edited March 2015 in Ten Forward
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges! :cool:

Today we start the two-week run of the sixtieth Literary Challenge: Redux 3.0
Over the past couple of years, we've had some awesome Literary Challenges. As of late, more and more have been participating, and I've been receiving requests if authors can write an entry for a past challenge.

For the next two weeks, feel free to write an entry for one of the past Literary Challenges -- a complete list of previous topics can be found here. IMPORTANT: Please post your entry to this thread, rather than the old challenge thread, and include the title of the past literary challenge at the top of your post. Have fun!

This is the writer's thread -- only entries should be made here.
The Discussion Thread can be found HERE.
We also have an Index of previous challenges HERE.

The rules may change from one challenge to another, but I'd like to remind everyone what the base rules are. These may grow as we move on, so also feel free to give feedback!
  • Each Challenge will run for two weeks. For 2 weeks we will sticky the challenge and let you make your entry.
  • There are no right or wrong entry.
  • The background story, questions I ask, and format requested are only to serve as a platform that you can start your writing from. Feel free to change up the back-story or the way you deliver, as long as the entry stays on topic of the original challenge.
  • Write as little or as much as you would like.
  • Please keep discussion about the entries in the appropriate Discussion Thread.
  • In the Discussion Thread, feel free to write what inspired you and what your thoughts on the topic are.
  • A few other important reminders:
    • Please heed the rest of the forum's rules when submitting your entry! All of them apply to these posts.
    • Each poster can have one entry. Feel free to edit your post to fix typos or add/ remove content as you see fit during the next two weeks.
    • After two weeks time, the thread will be locked and unstickied, as we move on to the next challenge.
    • We'll have two threads: One to post the entries in and one to discuss the entries. **Cross-linking between these two threads is acceptable for these challenges ONLY!!**
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  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC 54 redux: "Gateways for Dummies":

    "Do'eth"

    Captain's log, Romulan Republic starship IRW Scimitar. Why do I need to report my name again? You know who I am, Kererek.

    The Federation Captain I've been assigned to schmooze up to is over two meters tall and built like a Gorn. Her name is Three, and I remember her somewhat fondly from our three hours of working together on the Hakeev affair.

    D'tan is all cheerful and excited about the Iconian gateway. I haven't told anyone, but I personally hope that something goes wrong. I want some Tal Shiar to kill, or some Elachi.

    The other VIPs are gathering in the gateway chamber. The Klingons and Feds are actually doing fairly well; Ambassador Worf is keeping things in line. Three has been temporarily exiled from the gateway chamber for flirting with literally every single person in it. She is now regaling me with stories of how she got a bat'leth sword with Worf's signature on it.

    "...so then Ja'rod up and challenges me to an honor duel; apparently I insulted the honor of the High Council or something by walking out on them, but c'mon, it was freaking WORF! And Ja'rod was pretty pissed, too, but I disarmed him and pinned his arms and legs behind his back, then I kissed him and bit his lips. Got myself a hot date and a one-night stand with him. I gave it to him Klingon style at his request; that man has some serious balls, let me tell you. He KNEW damn well what he was getting in to, and he still asked me to do things the traditional way."

    She pauses, reminiscing. "He was in a body cast for a week. But the honor he got out of it was worth it, apparently. He tells anyone who'll listen about that night when we're doing anything together; it actually happened a couple of times, in the Quadra Sigma system. Yeah, he's a real man."

    "I wouldn't know, or care."

    "You TRIBBLE?"

    I smile wanly. "More of a one-woman girl."

    "She cute?"

    "Dead these sixty Earth years. Tal Shiar raid."

    Three has the decency to wince. "Sorry to hear that."

    I grimace. I'm starting to cry; damn it, I can't look weak, not now. "She was perfect. You know how it is."

    "I wouldn't, not first hand at least. But I've known people who understand. Oh, and here's Shon. Heya Va'kel! You free on Friday?"

    "No, Captain," says the Andorian. "And we need you in the gate room, now."

    Three snickers at that. "Who am I, Jack O'Neill? Teal'c? Sam Carter?"

    I just stare. Shon gives her a look like she's completely insane. She sighs.

    "Sorry. Stargate: SG-1 joke. Never mind."

    D'tan is in the middle of making a big speech. Three is busy blowing kisses at Captain Koren.

    Maiek, the Rihannsu in charge of the project, flashes an all-clear signal to Kererek and D'tan. The Proconsul raises his arms grandly.

    "Full power to the Gate! Initialize the test program!"

    The Iconian gate rises out of the floor and begins to crackle with electricity. It's working. I can practically see the future in D'tan's beaming face. Unlimited clean energy, instant transport across the galaxy, alliances with all major powers, a new future...

    And then everything goes wrong. Something rumbles ominously, and steam vents from somewhere with a hiss. Maiek screams something about power levels spiking as rocks begin to fall from the ceiling.

    "Abort!" yells Kererek frantically. "Abort the mission! Do it now!"

    Shon whips out his tricorder and presses a button. Spatial charges blow at the base of the gate, but the gleaming metal isn't even dented.

    Three moves faster than any humanoid should even be able to. She grabs Kererek and two other VIPs and throws them bodily out of the cave and into the reinforced hallway.

    A massive boulder detaches itself from the ceiling and falls for D'tan. Ad'ranna, the chief researcher, screams in horror.

    Three leaps, hooking the Proconsul behind her with one fluid knee hook and grabbing the two-ton rock with both hands. She screams with effort and heaves it sideways, sinking down to one knee.

    Her boots are in the floor. The force of that rock should have crushed her; instead her boots got driven through solid metal and stone.

    Kererek grabs D'tan and pulls him into the stable corridor, and not a moment too soon; the entrance to the cave collapses, leaving twenty tons of stone between us and safety.

    "The gate! Go through the gate!" I recognize the deep shout as Worf. He and Shon are standing at the event horizon, waving people through. I look at Three.

    "You ever done something like this before?"

    "First time for everything, Federation."

    We run and jump, leaping through just after Worf and Shon.

    Three

    Well, this is a pretty bad day.

    I thought that I would have a nice, boring schmoozing mission, with nothing better to do than flirt with Klingon women. Guess Murphy is starting to catch on to synonyms of "vacation".

    We're in some kind of facility. Duranium, steel, some kind of plastic, and a titanium alloy are the main construction materials. Do'eth, the cute Romulan who I had been boring to sleep with stories of people met and one-night stands had, is checking people over with a medical kit. Worf waves me over.

    "Qapla', thlIngan!"

    "Hello again, Captain. I see that you have not learned a thing."

    "And proud of it. You want this door open?"

    "Yes, and I think that--"

    I punch through the door with one blow. The steel alloy folds like butter around my fist. I pull, and the whole thing rips out of the wall with a flash of sparks.

    Worf looks at me. The others are just staring in various stages of awe, but Worf is giving me the look.

    "Door's open."

    "I can see that. You still have no subtlety, I see."

    "Contract doesn't say anything about subtle. And this situation isn't covered by Contracted orders."

    "I do not doubt you. We are, however, in unknown and likely hostile territory."

    "Prudence is for wimps and people who need it. That's why I wear my hair long and act so self-assured. I can afford to, and it pays to advertise stuff like that. Means that I can avoid mowing through hordes of mooks. Hell, I was designed to strut my stuff. Living terror weapon and all."

    Worf just shakes his head. I know; I'm a tactical nightmare. Wild cards usually are.

    "Oh, and Worf? My orders include designating you as temporary Contract-holder if something goes FUBAR. Which is kind of what happened."

    "That is good to know. Shon, take that corridor; Koren, take the one on the left. Warriors and security officers, keep the wounded safe. Do'eth, Three, with me. Fight with honor!"

    There is a chorus of "Yes, Sir!"s and "Move out!"s.

    The corridor leads to a room full of...things. Consoles. Worf and the Romulan manage to get them up and running while I stand guard.

    "Iconian technology," snarls Worf. "Shon, come in."

    "We read you, Worf. Just found some--LOOK OUT!" There is a scream, and Shon's combadge feed cuts off.

    "Shon! Report!" Worf waits for a moment, and curses softly. "Koren, come in!"

    More static.

    "Base! Where are the security officers?"

    Static.

    "Sir. I think I get how this place is laid out. If that tunnel curves to the right, we should end up right where Shon probably is--or was."

    "Lead on. Do'eth, cover me from behind."

    Predictably, an automated security drone is waiting halfway down the corridor. It whirs and looks up as I come into view.

    "Playtime," I hiss, extending my armblades.

    The titanium shell tears like tissue paper, and I bash the ruined drone against a wall before it can even fire.

    "Clear. Keep moving."

    "I see why Starfleet sends you out on extended but important missions," Worf mutters.

    The room at the end of the corridor contains Captain Va'kel Shon's combadge, a tricorder, and an engineering kit, along with some disturbing specks of blood. Andorian, by the smell.

    "We just missed whoever took them."

    "Do'eth, hack the console. Three, scout ahead but stay in sight."

    "It's more Iconian tech," says the Romulan. "It's research files on Alpha and Beta Quadrant species and their biology!"

    "This is bad. Come. Check on the wounded and the guards, then we go after Koren."

    The wounded and their guards are gone. We look at each other, then break into a run.

    The next room, the one Koren was investigating, has a table. I remember that table; from one of the creepiest TNG episodes, the one with the solanogen-based "clackers", as we units call them. Worf sucks in a breath as he sees it. In a lesser man, it would be a gasp.

    There is a bloodied mek'leth sword on the floor, with more blood lying around it. I sniff the blood, on both the floor and the blade.

    "Klingon and Ferasan on the floor. Don't recognize the stuff on the blade, but we can assume it's from the creepy table monk monsters. Worf?"

    "They are solanogen-based life-forms. They performed...disturbing experiments on the crew of the Enterprise, causing at least one death."

    "I remember. You went in for a haircut and terrified the barber by grabbing his scissors. Night Terrors, was that the episode? Or was that the one with the Tyken's Rift?"

    "How did you know--wait, of course, it's you."

    "Damn, I can't remember the name of the episode...which one WAS it?"

    "Correct me if I'm wrong," says Do'eth, "But the aliens are interested in performing experiments that make Crel Moset look ethical on our wounded? And they are ahead, because that's the only way out of here?"

    "Yes," says Worf. "Three, you have free reign."

    I bare my teeth in a feral grin, then slide out the dentures, revealing the glittering, serrated bluish triangles that pass for teeth in a unit. Worf grins in true Klingon fashion.

    "Let's do this!"

    I charge down the hallway, the others close behind, and slice a waiting drone out of the air. A leaping kick pulverizes the door, sending me skidding across the floor towards another drone. A leap, and I grab it by the "tails", bashing it to pieces against the ground.

    Do'eth and Worf are already deactivating forcefields and letting people out of the dome-like cells. I do a quick head count. Shon and a Romulan are missing.

    "Stay behind me. Provide support if necessary."

    I kick down the next door and sprint down the corridor. Worf curses in thlIngan Hohl and charges after me.

    A flying leap sends me through the door, into a drone (which I simply close on, crushing it), and rolling towards a group of clackers standing between two evil tables. They try to run. I cut the first two in half, right up the middle, with a double wrist flick. The third tries to get out the other door as a drone shoots at me, charring my uniform and dropping my personal shields.

    I grab the drone, rip out what looks like its propulsion rig, and thrown the remains at the fleeing clacker, crushing its skull.

    I turn, covered in foul-smelling clacker blood, and see Worf and Do'eth running in, the others stumbling behind.

    "Shon! Damn it!'

    Worf rips the restraining part of the table off of Shon with a Klingon roar. The Andorian is in bad shape; missing an antenna, with what looks like major internal bleeding.

    "Medical kit, now!"

    I grab a medkit from a random redshirt, and Worf gets to work.

    "Picked this up in a Dominion prison camp once. Very useful technique."

    "I remember that episode. You beat the heck out of Ikat'ika, the Jem'Hadar First. Of course, then he beat you up even worse, but your honor and determination were so great that he surrendered even though he was winning. That was your Crowning Moment of Awesome, in my opinion."

    Worf doesn't even bother asking me about the Star Trek stuff. He's smarter than people think.

    Do'eth is standing over the Romulan, a laser scalpel in her hand. Some kind of fluid leaks from his...oh, Original. That's liquid polymer.

    Even Nemesis units have limits. This is...oh, Original. An unprovoked attack...what kind of uncontrolled thing would do this? Besides a unit trained the wrong way, of course.

    Shon groans, then swears faintly. Worf is helping him up.

    "Do'eth? How is Maiek."

    "Dead. Those TRIBBLE replaced his blood with plastic." The Romulan woman's voice is frigid. "I knew somebody who did things like this. His name was Hakeev. I killed him."

    "Let's go," says Worf. "We only endanger ourselves by lingering here."

    "Do'eth"

    We're halfway through the consoles and bridges before I snap.

    Worf is muttering darkly to himself. Partly because the Iconians are targeting Qo'noS, and partly because he feels that they are disrespecting the Klingon Empire. Three is her usual self, but there is a hard edge underneath it. She's shaken. Badly.

    Then we come to the live footage of Mol'Rihan. I start to get a sinking feeling in my gut.

    I hack the console. Information flows by. "Planet (local name): Mol'Rihan. Species: Romulan." Then I see the part about subsumption.

    The Elachi. Those Iconian monsters set those fungoid things on us.

    Files...more files...VIPs and command staff. Worf is saying something about hurrying on, but I'm on a mission.

    D'tan's file. He's marked as a priority threat. He'd be proud. Kererek is marked as a target for direct termination via "Tal Shiar pawns". He'll be pleased; he keeps worrying about getting out of shape.

    Then I see a file with my name on it.

    "D'trel ir'Aehallah tr'Rihannsu, alias D'trel Tomalak and "Do'eth". Romulan Republic Forces Vice-Admiral. Priority target for subsumption and/or termination. Shows resistance to Elachi-enhanced indoctrination. Terminated Tal Shiar pawn Hakeev in revenge for the apparent death of her fiancee, Adani Krell, who ***ERROR*** [FILE CORRUPTED]..."

    My hands start to shake. Those. Evil. Monsters. They created Hakeev. They created the man who killed her.

    Three pulls me away from the console, saying something about incoming drones, and she and Worf have TRIBBLE a console to get a gate out of here, and we need to go now. But my mind is still fixed on that one, corrupted file.

    The hate burns in my soul. The Iconians have ruined everything I have ever cared about. Everything that I loved, they destroyed. By proxy. They created Hakeev, who killed her. They sent the Elachi, who destroyed Virinat and subsumed my people. They are trying to destroy Mol'Rihan.

    I will annihilate them.

    Three

    The Romulan is at the helm of the strange starship we've gated onto, grim of visage and really pissed off. Ad'ranna, Worf, and Koren are at various consoles. Shon is still recovering, so I am standing at the fourth console not knowing what the hell I'm doing.

    Worf and Koren are singing Klingon war ballads and hitting weapons buttons. Do'eth is watching a hologram of the fight against the Elachi, grimly watching as the enemy dreadnought crumples before our assault of torpedoes, antimatter, and swarmers. I try pushing random buttons. Hopefully I don't TRIBBLE things up too badly.

    As the dreadnought's warp core breaches, the last battleship falls before the Enterprise and a gargantuan Scimitar-class Romulan warbird marked RRW Lieset. We pull to a halt in space, and Worf announces an incoming hail. It's the all-clear.

    Worf and Shon look at each other and nod slightly.

    "We need to destroy this gate, now," says Shon. "It's too dangerous to leave open."

    Ad'ranna starts to sputter. "This is Republic space! This gate is ours, and no more "dangerous" than your Bajoran wormhole, which helped cause the Dominion War! It's a strategic and scientific asset that belongs to the Romulan Republic!"

    "It is a conduit for extremely rapid travel under the control of a hostile force. If you are making comparisons, perhaps you should compare it to the Borg transwarp network." Worf's voice is guttural and serious. He looks like he's got a headache coming on.

    "It's in Republic space! You can't just shoot valuable resources in our space with impunity! Destroy that gate, and D'tan will most definitely reconsider our friendly relations with the Federation!"

    Koren looks at the unfolding mess, then at Do'eth, then at me.

    "TRIBBLE this. There is no honor in being used to clean the floor, as I most assuredly will be if I fight that woman. And there's a Romulan admiral over there who is just itching to shoot that gate with some torpedoes. Kahless said that a wise warrior chooses his battlefield; well, I'm not choosing this one."

    I snicker and blow Koren a little kiss. She shakes her head and makes a lewd but clear gesture. I pout.

    Ad'ranna is sputtering, Shon is pissed, Do'eth is about to storm the tactical station and shoot the gate, and Worf looks like he has a migraine. I don't blame him.

    Then Shon's combadge beeps. And the news is bad.

    I've never been officially briefed on Omega Protocol, but I watched Voyager, and that episode was a Seven episode. How could I resist the Catsuit of Blatant Sexual Exploitation?

    Shon looks unhealthily like a robin's egg by the time he ends the call. Even Ad'ranna has quieted down.

    "Well, this changes things."

    "Indeed. I think that we should return to our respective nations now. This...does not bode well for the future."

    "Damn straight," I mutter. "Unless you're Do'eth, because she looks ready to crack some Iconian heads."

    My combadge chirps. I slap it.

    "Three to George Takei. One to beam out."

    As I dematerialize, I give Worf a Klingon salute, which he returns moments before I reappear in Transporter Room One.

    I can't wait to see what that Romulan does to the next Iconian she meets. Sometimes, kicking heads is just what the doctor ordered.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
    Baal%20prop%20pic%208_zpsqaptvpnu.png
  • grylakgrylak Member Posts: 1,572 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC #2: Taking Command





    Talaina shifted slightly in her hover chair. She was still recovering from her injuries, and had to avoid moving to much. But she also had no intention to lie in a sickbay for six months. It had taken alot of 'pursuasion', but she had finally got the doctors to let her out, with the compromise she uses the chair and makes regular checkups. She moved through the corridors of Starbase 375 towards Admiral Cullen's office. Aproaching, she waited for the door to open and entered, hovering up to the desk. Admiral Cullen sat behind, a warm smile on her features.

    "Commander Talaina, it's good to see you mobile. How are you recovering?"
    Talaina waved her hand dismissively, careful not to stretch her injuries. "Getting better slowly. But at least the Doctors have let me out." Cullen nodded. "Good. I've been going over your reports, and I think-"
    "Sir, with all due respect, I understand you are about to reassign me. But I want to take a ship out and find our people."
    Cullen cocked her head to the side and studied Talaina intently before replying.

    "Do you know where they are?"
    Talaina hesitated a bit, her lone antenna curling up in mild annoyance at what she had to admit. "No Sir. Analysis of the ship's logs did identify the ship that took them, but we haven't been able to locate it. Yet."
    "Commander, you do realise that was over three months ago? The chances of your crew being on that ship is remote at best. They could be anywhere in the galaxy by now. We had ships scouring the area the Sentinel was ambushed, and though they did find a small base that looked like it was once used by the Gorn, it was long abandoned. The trail has gone cold, and we can't afford to direct ships on wild goose chases. IF.... we find some evidence of where they are, then you can be certain we will send a ship to investigate. But you have to understand, we have a finite number of vessels, and with the recent discovery in the Jouret system, we're stretched dangerously thin as it is. I'm sorry, but we need the Viper in Task Force Omega. There has been alot of political unrest in the Gamma Orionis sector and Admiral Rykon needs starships there to help keep the peace. Plus, there is that other matter you were briefed on, and we will need as many ships as we can get."
    "Fine. I accept that. But I can not accept leaving our people to the mercy of the Gorn. I know first hand what monsters they can be. And it's not like I'm asking to go after one man, they took a fifth of our crew." Talaina tried to straighten in her chair, fighting back the pain from surgery as she lifted her head. "As First Officer of the U.S.S. Sentinel, it is my responsibility to find them and bring them home."
    "That's just it Commander. You are no longer the First Officer of the Sentinel. There is no more Sentinel. You are officially being promoted to Captain of the Viper."
    "Surely there must be others who can take command. What about Ttorkkin? He knows his way around combat situations. He has command experience. Give him the Viper. Let me find my people."
    "No Captain. We don't have the ships to spare. Dismissed."


    Talaina punched her fist against the arm of the chair, causing it to dip slightly on the right before it had chance to steady itself. "Dammit Admiral, then let me take an old ship out. One from mothballs. What about the DarkFyre? I know that ship, what it's capable of. It's only being used as a training ship for cadets around the Sol system. Let me take a small team of officers and find them. Commanders Bearlo, Zhong, K'zeph, Ensign Jones. We can-"
    "You're not listening. So let me make this perfectly clear." Cullen also straightened, taking a harsher tone with her voice. "Starfleet is not a Merchant Fleet. We issue orders, those orders get carried out. If you had a lead on Stunshock's position, then I might be willing to reconsider. But you don't. You don't know where to begin. Ships and their crews have gone missing throughout Starfleet history, dating back to before the NX days. If we find a lead, we will investigate. But you and your crew are needed elsewhere. End of discussion."

    "Yes Sir. I will select my officers and have them transferred within the week."
    "One more thing Captain. Bosip K'zeph is not a part of your crew. He is on permanant assignment at Starfleet Command."
    Talaina blinked at the news. "May I ask why?"
    "He has a history of not following orders. The last incident cost the lives of two crewmembers. We can not afford to have someone that unreliable on Task Force Omega. The situations are too hazardous."
    "Sir, Commander K'zeph-"
    "Lieutenant K'zeph."
    ".... Lieutenant K'zeph is resourceful and inventive. Exactly the kind of person we need in situations the task force will find itself in. Whatever his past mistakes, I'm sure-"
    "ENOUGH! This is not a democracy Kazzur. You have your orders. You can either carry them out, or resign your commission. Which is it to be?"


    Talaina frowned, struggling with that. Her military upbringing had always instilled a sense of honour, duty and responsibility to the chain of command, to the structure and orders of your superiors. But her time in Starfleet had also taught her loyalty, friendship, to never surrender to what fate deems is your lot in life, to push past that and do what you know to be right. And right now, those two things were in conflict. Seeing Cullen raise an eyebrow at the unexpected pause, Talaina answered firmly. "I will perform my duty as commanded by my superiors until such a time I am unable to. Sir. I will overview available crew manifests and select a suitable list of replacement members for the Viper's command staff."
    "Good. Viper is still undergoing final repairs, but she should be ready to head out end of next week. You have until then to recover and get your crew together. Dismissed."


    Talaina turned and floated out of the room. In the Reception area, Ttorkkinn was leaning against a wall, arms crossed over his chest and getting some funny looks from the Receptionist. When he saw Talaina come out of the office, he pushed himself forward with his shoulders and walked over to her. "Well? How did it go?" Talaina kept hovering along as she slowly shook her head. "Not good. The Admiral was adamant we continue our transfer to the Viper. She wouldn't even let me take a small group out on the DarkFyre to find them."
    "Dammit. Did you tell her-"
    "That it was a fifth of our crew? Yes, yes I did. And though she sympathised with our position, she wouldn't budge."
    "So what do we do now?"
    Talaina stopped and turned her chair so she could see Ttorkkinn properly. "Now? We do as we are told. We ready the Viper for deployment. And I am making you my First Officer."
    Ttorkkinn was completely taken aback by that. "Me? I'm the leader of a glorified assault squad. I'm not ready to command. Not in that capacity."
    "Emony told me that without you, we could have lost alot more lives. You've always handled yourself above and beyond what was expected. You've shown many times that you have the skills."
    "But what about Emony? She was the Sentinel's Second Officer, if anyone deserves the position, it's her."
    "The Viper is a Defiant class ship, assigned to Task Force Omega. That means we will be mostly involved in tactical situations. I need a First Officer who can think and react to such things quickly. Emony....." Talaina sighed. "Emony just doesn't have what it takes for command of this nature. A long range science mission, yes. But not a combat orientated one. Besides, she's taken an extended leave of absence to deal with some personal issues. I don't know when she'll be back. Or even if. The Viper is launched end of next week. You have until then to get the TRT back together and go over the crew manifest of those who are staying on the Viper. Needless to say, a small ship like that becomes family. We'll be the outsiders, it may take time to adjust. And I want to know exactly the kind of personalities we will be dealing with."
    "Yes Commander."
    Talaina smiled slightly. "That's officially Captain now."






    The two weeks had passed quickly. Talaina stood near the docking airlock, looking out a window as crews finished their tasks around the hull of her new ship. A standard Defiant class in shape, she had a dark hull, almost black but not quite. An enhanced form of the ablative hull armour gave the ship it's colour. Talaina didn't mind, it helped the ship blend into space. However, it did also make the glow of the warp engines seem brighter when they were online. Still, Viper had teeth and could take any punishment, as her last mission proved. A direct torpedo to the Bridge had caused many of the key personel to be transferred off for recovery, hence why many of the Sentinel's bridge crew were moving in. But there hadn't been any fatalities. Talaina reached up to her collar, brushing a thumb over her new fourth pip. Captain Kazzur. Captain Talaina Kazzur. Though not quite the way she wanted it, she had finally made it. Her father had been so proud when she told him. The whole family had been. Their little girl finally had her own ship in the fleet. If only her older sister knew. Talaina had sent a message to the Klingon ship she was serving on, but there had been no contact. Although she hadn't seen her older sister since she joined the ship of disgraced Captain Bravok. The war with the Klingons seemed to have fizzled out with hostilities nothing more than the odd border skirmish, and the various other species of the Klingon Empire breaking out and performing actions on their own, such as the Gorn ambush. This was why she had felt safe in trying to contact her sister, though she had obviously only said she wanted to talk to her, making no mention of why in the message. Still.... one day they would meet again. Talaina turned and made her way towards the docking port, using a cane for stability only, making sure both her legs took her full weight. She caught her reflection in a window and paused a moment, admiring the pips. The new one stood out, shining brightly against the slightly scratched and duller existing ones. It was a matter of pride. Keeping the same pips throughout her career, no matter what happened. Even when they had switched to the new uniforms, she had simply swapped pips over rather than get new ones. They were more than a statement of rank, they were anouncing her experience, her history. And she wore that history with pride.


    Stepping through the airlock, making a note of not using her cane to appear strong for the crew, she saw Ttorkkinn waiting. He had changed out of his TRT uniform, now wearing the same dark red 'Odessey' uniforms Talaina wore, as befitting his new position. Beside him was a Vulcan male who looked around 30, but of course you could never tell with those guys. His records indicated he was called T'Fon and was currently the highest ranking science officer on the ship. At only Lieutenant, that was a place Emony would take over if she returned, but for now T'Fon was in charge. Beside him stood a Betazoid male, short cropped brown hair and a beard. His black eyes looked intently at Talaina, reading her body language. Lieutenant Bob Juffra was the ship doctor. Having spent so much time with Luawra as the Sentinel's doctor, Talaina felt comfortable with another Betazoid doctor. She wondered how this would be different, and yet similar to Luawra. T'Fon was the first to speak, raising his hand in the traditional Vulcan greeting. "Peace, and long life, Captain. It is an honour to have you onboard."
    Talaina nodded in reply. "Thank you Lieutenant. I hope to serve this ship as well as her previous captain."
    "Indeed."

    Bob stepped forward. "Captain. Lieutenant Bob Juffra. Ship doctor. Other than our chief engineer, we are the only senior crew staying over, so felt it was best for you to meet us."
    "Doctor. Where is the Chief?"
    "She's in Engineering, overseeing the installation of our cloak." Now that did take Talaina by surprise. "We have a cloak? That wasn't mentioned in any of the ship files."
    Ttorkkinn replied to that. "Yes, well, it seems it was a last minute addition. Some deal with the Romulan Republic that I'm sure can't possibly go wrong in any way shape or form."
    "I see. Well, best not distract her then. Gentlemen, if you would take your positions, I think it's time the Viper was underway."



    The door opened onto the cramped Bridge. It was much, much smaller than the one on the Sentinel. Efficient. Clean. Tactical. Talaina liked it. She noted Ttorkkinn had taken position at the weapons console. Ensign Jenna Jones was at the helm. Xui Li Zhong was seated at the side with T'Fon sitting to her left. Talaina approached her chair and slowly sat down, savouring the feel of the padding as she rested. Jenna tapped a few controls and then turned to face her Captain. She didn't show any signs of her injuries. "All systems are standing by. Moorings have cleared and all base personel have vacated the ship."


    Talaina drew in a slow breath. This was it. This was the moment she had been waiting for. The anticipation was electric. She pointed at the viewscreen.


    "Engage."
    *******************************************

    A Romulan Strike Team, Missing Farmers and an ancient base on a Klingon Border world. But what connects them? Find out in my First Foundary mission: 'The Jeroan Farmer Escapade'
  • ryan218ryan218 Member Posts: 33,995 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    Captain's Log, Stardate: 91778.9. Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Victorious.

    The Victorious has encountered the wreckage of a Borg Probe near the edge of the Vega System while en route to Starbase 41 on a supply run to Deneb IV. With the Borg attack in this sector 1 year ago still fresh in the minds of everyone in the area, Starfleet has asked me to determine whether the probe is a threat and ensure that any remaining usable technology on board is destroyed, to prevent it falling into the hands of Klingon Raiders.

    On a personal note, the situation has bought to the surface bad memories for a certain member of my crew.

    End of Log

    Ryan walks to the aft Engineering Station on the Bridge, placing a hand on the shoulder of the ship's formerly Borg Chief Engineer, Lieutenant Elizabeth Dannover, before asking calmly to her, "Anything?"

    The Chief Engineer looks at him, somewhat uncomfortable with the situation, and obviously less than satisfied with her less-than-inert cortical node around her right eye, shaking her head. "I've been... trying to keep my implants offline, sir," she states, a small amount of pain in her voice, "I don't exactly feel comfortable this close to a Borg ship."

    "I understand, Lieutenant," Ryan replies, consolingly, before turning back to the Ops position, "Alpha, are we picking up any Borg transmissions?"

    The Android turns from his station before responding in his monotone voice, "Negative, Captain. However, Borg transmissions are notoriously difficult to detect. Particularly the Hive mind's collective consciousness."

    "Life signs?"

    "Inconclusive. Any drones that survived may be in an intense state of regeneration."

    "Energy signatures?"

    "Minimal, but that would also be indicative of an intense state of regeneration."

    "Alpha, is their any way we can tell if that probe's still a potential threat?"

    "A possibility, sir. If Lieutenant Dannover were to connect with the vessel's central interlink node, she could ascertain how many drones are still aboard."

    "And also risk waking them up, not to mention alerting the entire collective of where we are," Dannover points out, her voice raising significantly, as if she were trying desperately to avoid the contact.

    Ryan nods to her, understanding her reluctance. "Agreed. Tala, prepare a volley of photon torpedoes, high yield, full spread. Let's not take any chances." He then returns to sitting in the centre chair.

    "Aye, sir," the Andorian Tactical and Security Officer replies to him, tapping several controls as she prepares the assault. "Ready."

    "Fire."

    1 year earlier, Stardate 90694.1. U.S.S. Victorious, Miranda-Class Frigate, Vega Colony.

    Ryan looks at the wrecked remains of a Borg probe that the Victorious had just engaged while in a state of regeneration. He looks around the destroyed shell of what was once the Victorious' Bridge, then at the Andorian Security Officer who accompanied him back from the U.S.S. Khitomer. Tala nods to the suddenly-captain of the traumatised ship, before he turns to the wounded ensign in the Ops position and inquires, "Is it dead this time?"

    The Ensign who was replacing the dead Operations Officer turns to him, "I think so, sir, but..." He trails off, tapping his console as he double checks the readings, "I'm picking up a Starfleet combadge signal over there. The source is a lifesign, humanoid. They're still alive."

    "Captain..." Tala speaks up to get his attention, "I wouldn't. Anyone over there is likely already assimilated."

    "If we leave them, that probe could be a threat to someone else some day. Imagine what would happen in a debris field this size," Ryan continues, "one wreck smashes into another, and another, and another, until eventually you have all the components even one Borg would need to build a working space ship."

    "Then blow it up! Captain, these are Borg! They don't feel and they are uncompromising! They are the definition of pure evil!"

    "Objection noted!" And with the final word, Ryan turns back to Ops, "Beam the drone to sickbay, behind a containment field."

    4 hours later, the Victorious, having aided Starfleet in stopping the Borg advance, is travelling at warp towards the Terran System. Ryan walks into sickbay, seeing a female human, seemingly only 19-21, covered in Borg implants and skin pale white, lying on the bio-bed. The scorched and torn remains of the uniform of a Starfleet Cadet can still be seen under the prosthetics. Ryan watches as the white fades and the pink pigmentation returns to her skin. The EMH keeps her under as he starts removing the prosthetics. Fortunately, the Borg went into regeneration without completing her assimilation, so the process was fairly simple. Though, Ryan had the feeling that it was not as easy as that. As the EMH finished and approached him, Ryan straightened his uniform and asked, "What's the verdict, doc?"

    The EMH flickers slightly, before responding, "I have removed most of the nanoprobes and prosthetics, however, I am unable to remove the cortical node and the interlink node, though I believe I have managed to at least deactivate the latter."

    "You said you got most of the nanoprobes."

    "Several had latched onto her central nervous system. However, I have introduced a series of nanites into her system to 'cull' their replicative abilities. It was really quite brilliant--"

    "Doctor."

    "Of course. The Cadet will likely feel varying degrees of discomfort for much of the foreseeable future."

    Ryan nods, looking at the cadet, "who is she?"

    "Cadet 4th Year Elizabeth Dannover."

    Present Day, U.S.S. Victorious, Exeter-Class Starship. Border of Vega System.

    Ryan watches as the 6 red orbs impact varying parts of the debris, before it is engulfed in orange fire. As the explosion subsides, he turns to Alpha, "Report."

    "The debris has been totally vaporised, captain. There is nothing left," the Android replies from his station.

    "Alright. Resume course for Starbase 41, warp 7."

    "Starbase 41, warp 7." The helmsman states as he enters the course and speed.

    "Engage."

    Dannover looks at the viewscreen as her mind quietens. 'So quiet now', she thinks, trying to put aside her frequent pain from the nanoprobes across her CNS. At least now those monsters weren't screaming in her mind for her to join them.

    Captain's Personal Log, Supplemental.

    The Victorious has destroyed the remnants of the Borg Probe instead of risking any possibility of harm to the crew. I take full responsibility for this decision. Meanwhile, we have resumed course for Starbase 41 to continue our supply run to Deneb IV.

    I am also pleased to inform that Lieutenant Dannover has remained an un-compromised member of this crew during this incident.

    End of log.
  • captclazoruscaptclazorus Member Posts: 377 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC#8 Unknown Anomalies

    I paced the bridge of the Renaissance. I was extraordinarily proud to be hosting a diplomatic mission on my vessel. Finally, after so much time, multiple diplomats from the various factions were going to be meeting on Corinth. The Klingons were interested in restoring the Federation Alliance. That was big news. If they could get the Klingons in agreement with the Federation again, then they might be able to be sent on their way to democracy. But the Klingons weren't the only ones coming.
    The Romulan Republic was due to be present as well as the Tholians, the Sheliak, the Breen, and even the Voth, though they weren't expecting much progress in that area.
    "Captain," my operations officer said. He was a Bolian/Betazoid hybrid who had been assimilated by the Borg. Aasikliph glanced at me. "I am detecting some manner of anomaly 33 parsecs off the starboard bow. It is in a state of flux currently."
    Ulaehli, my science officer and also one of my wives, confirmed it. "It is composed of an extremely volatile form of energy and is radiating distortive waves to its surroundings."
    "Recommendations?" I asked.
    "I suggest we hail Corinth starbase, contact Admiral Quinn and receive further instruction." My Andorian first officer and wife recommended.
    "OK," I said. "Hail Corinth starbase."
    The viewscreen flickered and a prestigious older man appeared.
    "Captain Kazove, what seems to be the trouble?" Quinn asked.
    "We have detected an anomaly that suddenly appeared," I replied, "and we need to know whether or not to investigate."
    "Make a quick study of it, but do not take too long. The Breen are likely to become impatient," Quinn ordered.
    "Aye, Admiral," I ended, and the transmission cut off.


    Captain's Log: Stardate 86962.7
    The Renaissance is taking a detour from its mission to investigate a potentially dangerous anomaly.

    I monitored the ship from my seat. I loved being the captain of the Sovereign-class Renaissance.
    Ulaehli again alerted me. "Now that we are closer, I have been able to get better detail. The anomaly is radiating the same energy as the Iconian Gateways do. I am reading a deep subspace connection in it as well, as if that is where it came from."
    "Perhaps it did," I said staring into the vortex.
    "A ship is emerging, sir!" my Denobulan security chief exclaimed. A large arrow shaped, yellow colored vessel was pulling itself out of the pit, announcing itself with ominous grandeur. "They are hailing us."
    I clasped my golden hands in front of my face. "Put them on, activate universal translator."
    A humanoid being with large ears embedded into the sides of its skull and orange-red skin pigment stood enrobed in a white uniform with gray trim around the color and waist.
    "We are the Emerkite. Are you the ones who destroyed our sister vessel?" the computer fed through.
    "No, we didn't," I began to explain but was cut off by the alien.
    "Did you create this anomaly?"
    "No, we are not responsible." I stated firmly, though I assumed it would lose value when translated.
    The leader stepped back to discuss with the others on board his ship. "Was the USS Charbonneau of belonging to you? We found it in our space, it provoked us, and we destroyed it." The alien said returning from his commune.
    "Why did you have to do that?"
    "We assumed it had destroyed our vessels and was responsible for the anomaly."
    "Where are you from?" I asked finally.
    "We come from the-" the translation stuttered, trying to find the correct words, I assumed, "Messier 81 galaxy."
    "Why have you come here? To explore or conquer?"
    "Both. We intend to seek revenge for the loss of our vessel. We will start by destroying you." They said with murmury voices.
    "I believe the true enemy is much bigger than the both of us. We mustn't fight among ourselves if we hope to survive!" I said with great conviction.
    "We do not trust you. We will destroy you and then have further investigation." They finished and ended the hail.
    "Red alert," I ordered with remorse. "Fire all weapons in hopes of incapacitation."
    After several blows and rattles, the battle came to an end. Phasers fired and, somehow, the enemy vessel detonated. We braced for impact.
    "Oh, no. Somehow I think that that is what they wanted." I walked over to my Trill wife, Ulaehli. "Scan subspace in the area."
    We Zyrvans are a very intricate race. We tend to think in ways most people are unaccustomed to. If it was I what I thought it was, the Iconians were trying to create intergalactic war.
    "I have detected a mechanism. Further scans show it is an Iconian gateway that is destabilizing," she replied.
    Moments later, vibrations rattled through the Renaissance. The viewscreen locked on to its scene. Another vortex opened up.
    "Eject a probe into it," I said after several minutes.
    In time, the probe sailed deep into the vortex's heart. Ulaehli's eyes grew as she looked at me. "My sensors show matter completely like nothing we've ever seen. It's a parallel universe. The physics of this world are completely different."
    A ghostly mist rose from the vortex. It maintained some sort of overall shape, but it twisted into various forms. The black-greenish matter continued to move out. "Captain, there is some sort of life on that thing. It must be a vessel."
    I slapped my combadge. "Engineering. Ziresuyok, can you get us a tractor beam to work to destabilize this vortex?"
    The short alien woman, and also the third member of my polygamous marriage, replied. "Yes, sir, I can do that. For this you'll be in need of much extra power."
    "Aasikliph, run it into the independent points of the vortex's structure. That should destroy and send this alien back home when it collapses," I decided as I walked back to my seat. The anomaly collapsed and vanished into oblivion. Afterwards we performed the same procedure on the first anomaly. The Renaissance and I could finally be on our way to Corinth.
    R'shee, my first officer, glanced at me. "What do you think will come of all this war that the Iconians are provoking?"
    "I'm not sure. Everyone in the universe is likely going to hate the Federation a bit or be convinced to. It won't destroy us, but it will decide the fate of the Federation. Starfleet will either become a military, or it will remain explorers."
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "Star Trek: Rubicon" Season 1, Season 2 A new era, a new time, a new crew, a new ship, a new mission...
    "I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment because it will never come again."- Jean-Luc Picard
  • masopwmasopw Member Posts: 157 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    Present Day, The Eye

    Jacob felt a peculiar sensation just south of his stomach, but something told him it wasn't the poorly replicated apple pie he had at lunch. This was a bad feeling. He wondered just how bad the day would get a few seconds before the klaxon howled and the room lights went from normal to flashing red.

    Richard was in pit three and yelled across the alarm. "We have a class 10 temporal anomaly forming in the Badlands...and another in the B'tran Cluster! Wait one...massive shock wave originating..."

    Jacob looked up towards the DTI overwatch room. Even through the opaque windows he could make out the flashes from visual alarms that meant something really, really bad was going to happen.

    Richard kept pounding away at his console, trying to use the resources available to him to figure out what was going on. "Uh...shock wave has vanished! But we've got multiple temporal anomalies popping up everywhere!"

    Jacob closed his eyes for a moment, then glared at Richard. "Define everywhere."

    Richard's black eyes were wide open as he gestured frantically towards the central display. "Everywhere!"

    The center of the room was dominated by a large hologram currently displaying the intersection of the four quadrants. Bursts of light went off like old photographic flashes, appearing randomly throughout all sectors. One bright light indicated an origin in the Badlands near Bajoran space, with a second, equally bright light located in the lower left of the B'tran Cluster. As the lights increased in brilliance, a ribbon began to creep from the first one towards the second.

    Jacob watched as the ribbon curled back and forth, occasionally spiking like violent lightning. He looked at the readings, but couldn't believe the sensors. This was the birth of something that could exceed the destructive power of anything he was familiar with...the Nexus...Hobus...they'd look like cheap fireworks if this...whatever it was...continued to grow.

    The door to the overwatch room hissed open and Sandy appeared at the threshold, amber and red lights illuminating the room behind her with their warnings of danger. "Jacob! What the hell is going on? Stop whatever operations you've got immediately!" There was a crashing sound behind her, and somewhere in that room a console exploded. Black smoke filled the air around her, and Sandy, for the first time ever, showed an emotion.

    Fear.

    "What makes you think that we have *anything* to do with this!" Jacob yelled. He motioned to Richard to cut the audio alarms, then started entering commands into his own panel. "Look...all my assets are.."

    Jacob's eyes widened as his words trailed off.

    Twenty three ships, indicating Section 31's private "fleet", appeared on the display as blue dots. They were moving much faster than possible...and then eight of them blinked out of existence. Jacob stabbed at the console, but it didn't respond. Instead, sparks flew across it and smoke began to emit from the back. "Richard...give me a plot on all assets!" Jacob called over the alarms, which still were screeching. "And turn off the damned alarms!"

    "Trying! Power systems are failing all over the station! Wait....got it! Up now!"

    The fifteen remaining dots grew solid lines from the back of them, indicating where they were, and dashed lines appeared, displaying their assumed track.

    All were headed for the Badlands.

    Pit Two, at that moment, turned into a fireball, with very expensive consoles turning into useless charred lumps. Fortunately, nobody was manning that section, but that didn't matter to Jacob.

    Because a moment later everything went white.

    ****************************

    Somewhere in the B'Tran Cluster

    My eyes were getting sore. Twenty-eight hours awake will tend to do that.

    Or was it twenty-nine?

    Tweedle-tweedle-tweedle.


    Doesn't matter. As long as that blasted alarm keeps going off, I'm not going to get any sleep.

    I called out to L'naa, "If it's the Borg again...mask energy signature." A glance at the Master System Display showed that the warp core was operating at 30%, and that Damage Control teams were still busy tending the wounds of our last dance with a Borg Cube.

    L'naa looked back at me. Her blond hair was a mess, and she looked exhausted. I know she didn't get the rest I ordered her to yesterday...only because the lateral sensor array was functional again. Only she could find a way to bypass the fused conduits and make the thing work. "It is not the Borg." She played with the controls, fine tuning the sensors the way a true science officer does. "Federation signature...it is not yet in range to be more precise."

    We'd been playing hide and seek with the Borg for the last day, and our luck had been pushed to the razor's edge. "Go dark anyways. Wait until it comes into passive sensor range, then figure it out."

    "Done...not much of a signature to mask. But our lights stay out, as you would say." She tried a small smile to go along with her comment, but it only served to magnify how tired she was.

    I gave a sad smile in return. I walked over to the MSD and tried to figure out how we would survive if this incoming signature was spoofed. We couldn't go to warp; too many coils had burnt out. Can't separate the chevron...the SIF would fail, and anybody in it would be gone. The Rouge Valley was missing its port nacelle, sheared off in the last encounter, and she dumped her warp core to prevent total destruction. It was a minor miracle getting her docked again, and the engineers had to fusion weld her into place since the clamps were out of order after the plasma fire.

    The fire that took Vic, along with three hundred crew who were fighting it because the Hazard Emitters were overwhelmed.

    I shut my eyes tightly, the screams from the comms replaying in my mind.

    I had to stop.

    Because if I let them play, then I'd have to remember the other one thousand, five hundred, and fifty three others that died shortly afterwards...when the Rouge Valley's dumped core lost containment too close to the ship and blew.

    Six hundred and forty six survivors. Half of them wounded, many of them critically. Doc Irve said he doesn't know how many he can save. Well...he didn't say that, because he couldn't bring himself to do so. He said everything he needed to with a single look and a shake of the head.

    L'naa voice broke through the relative quiet of the battle bridge, bringing me back to the present. "Identification of the sensor contact has been confirmed. Seems that the U.S.S. Viper came looking for us."

    "She still around?"

    "Negative. The probe's sensor logs show a standard search pattern. And there seems to be a chroniton build up. There should not be one unless the probe was launched two to four weeks ago." She tapped at the console wearily. "Captain, our systems are heavily damaged. I do not think that I can calculate a reverse course based on the telemetry we have."

    I motioned to a growing ribbon of light that appeared at the upper right of the viewscreen. It had appeared about an hour ago, first as a faint spark in the void, then an orb, then a...something. Sighing, I flatly said, "Something tells me we're not going anywhere."

    "Captain! A fissure is opening off the starboard bow!" cried a Bolian crewman. I couldn't remember his name at the moment, just that he was on Gamma Shift, was now manning the Conn, and was missing the lower part of his left leg. The dressing was dark with seeping blood, and I started yet again to regret my decision to 'help out' Section 31. "Something's coming through!"

    L'naa rushed over to Ops and sat down hard. "Confirmed," she called out. "An Oddysey-class vessel is emerging rapidly. Scanning registry....I.S.S. Bonaventure... SOUND COLLISION! BRACE..."

    L'naa's voice cut out, but it didn't matter.

    Because everything went white.

    *****************************************

    Present Day, somewhere in the Badlands

    "You that certain, Sotek? Then choose. I can see the damage you've sustained, and you can see mine. Either we both leave the Badlands, or neither of us does. Your choice."

    The voice was dripping with darkness as Sotek made his way back to the center seat. He sat down, activating the restraint system to keep him from having to counter the storms of the Badlands. He templed his fingers in front of his face and shut his eyes, struggling with the decision he faced.

    Commander Marrow tapped his console to get Sotek's attention. Sotek looked over to his First Officer, who shook his head slowly, sending a report to Sotek's display.

    Captain, multiple hull breaches from that Borg tractor. Starboard nacelle pylon SIF is going offline. The trick to reveal the Spitfire is our downfall, as our beams have weakened the matrices on the deflectors, and the Bussard collectors are burned out. Forward shield at 15%. That ship has quad cannons...We fight, we die.

    Nico had told Sotek that commanding a ship wasn't something you could truly prepare for. When Sotek pinned on his fourth pip, Nico said, "You get a taste of command as the XO, but mostly the good stuff, Brah. But you make da luna, you get da dregs."

    It was time for the dregs, indeed.

    Loranna gasped, and Sotek swung his head to see what caused her alarm. She was staring at the viewscreen, where a number of ships popped into view. They didn't decloak...they simply...appeared. He counted fifteen of them; an Andorian escort, wing cannons deploying; a Klingon B'rel, her torpedo tube glowing a red that was getting brighter by the moment; a Romulan Haakona, wings already splitting apart.

    This was a battle they wouldn't win.

    Sotek tapped out some commands on a PADD, hoping that his backdoor system would somehow be able to transmit a log. Or maybe the buoy from the Honolulu would escape destruction and be found by a sympathetic soul...maybe even a member of the fabled "Kirk Cabal".

    But hope was not logical, and in all likelihood, the Honolulu would become another unexplained casualty of the Badlands.

    Sotek felt a wave of terror coming from Loranna, and as he glanced up to see how he would meet his end, he noted a ribbon of destructive energy tearing through the storms of the Badlands. It took out three of the unknown ships and was cutting its way towards the others.

    But that didn't matter.

    Because everything went white.

    *******************************

    "Sit."

    My eyes were struggling to focus, but then I understood why.

    There was practically nothing to focus on.

    "Sit down."

    I shook my head a couple of times and rubbed my eyes. The pain was incredible, but I managed to make out a small table and two chairs in a blank wasteland. It looked like a negative of an inactive holodeck...minus the grid. I was having trouble with the glare of white, and yet once more came a familiar voice.

    "Will you please sit down."

    Q.

    Damn.

    "I'm dead this time, aren't I?"

    Q was dressed in an Admiral's uniform...as usual. This time it was from Earth's earliest times into spaceflight...a blue jumpsuit with white trim. I could barely make out the UESPA insignia on his left arm, nor the silver pips on his collar, but I was sure it was accurate.

    Q sighed deeply. "Ah, Nico. Cousin? No...not the time," he said mischievously. "Or is it just the right time? I'm beginning to lose track in my old age."

    I sat down in the chair. It had a simple wooden frame, with barely a hint of padding on the seat, but it was the most comfortable chair I had ever sat down on in my life.

    "So."

    I leaned back, looking around to see if there was anything new in the white wasteland.

    "Oh...are you expecting someone else? A friend? Or two?" Q snapped his fingers, and three more chairs appeared. "Or maybe just...you."

    Again a snap, and this time three people appeared seated in the chairs. Familiar faces that I had seen once before...at Starfleet Academy.

    It was me.

    And me.

    And me.

    The different versions from that fractured mirror temporal anomaly, all slightly different. All looking very, very tired.

    "Now," Q began, waving his finger back and forth at he glanced at each of us. "I am going to speak, and you are going to listen."

    Not surprising, the 'mirror universe' version of myself tried to jump up, but Q waved his hand and the young me was slammed back into the seat.

    "I said," Q continued, "that I am going to speak, and you are going to listen. I do not want to drag this on and on, so I will make it as easy as I can."

    Q raised his left hand, rolling it around at the wrist. Above the small table, a map of the galaxy appeared. It wasn't a fancy hologram...it was a parchment paper, burnt at the edges, text describing the sectors elegantly written in exacting calligraphy. But the lines and dots weren't static, and they started to weave into and out of each other as the paper seemed to twist.

    "This," he said, "is the galaxy. Not yours...or yours...or yours....and not yours either. Mine. And you're making a mess of it."

    Red and green lights appeared all over the map, as well as an amber ribbon.

    "Your kind used to make this really simple. One galaxy. Ok...two," Q pointed at the mirror version of myself, who appeared to still struggle to speak. "But if you changed it, you tried to put it back. That was your own rule. And so many of your esteemed colleagues followed it. Picard fixed his anti-time issue, Kathy her temporal shenanigans. Sisko...well...the Q haven't yet decided what exactly to make of those who call themselves the Prophets. But I digress...if you changed something, you fixed it."

    I looked from one version of me to the other, hoping one of them was following.

    All I got were blank looks.

    Q was exasperated. "You *really* don't know? Fine." He snapped his fingers and a red ball appeared above our heads. "Red Matter. Not something to be played with. But you all did. And now...Red Matter is on so many starships, distorting the very fabric of the universe. And to make things worse...you are continually ripping that fabric with your Tyken's Rifts and Galaxy Wells. What was once a rare occurrence is now continual!" Q frowned, and I felt a very real anger coming from him. "All your playing around and not fixing your problems is making *my* universe a problem." He glared at each of us. "And Lady Q does *not* like problems."

    The oldest version of me spoke up quietly. "Q...is this a temporal or dimensional problem? Or something else?"

    Q practically growled out, "Yes! Both! All!" He paused for a moment, then continued. "Look...you've got me so riled up I'm grunting in monosyllables like Riker must do. Ah....never mind," he waved his hand across his chest dismissively.

    Again, the oldest version spoke up. "We can't fix this, can we?"

    Q crossed his arms, shaking his head. "If *you* could, *we* wouldn't be here now."

    I had to say something. "I don't understand. I thought we fixed this issue, back at Starfleet Academy?"

    The paper map started to tear at the upper edge. Q pointed at it, and the rip mended immediately. "You thought wrong. All you did was give Junior the idea to impose knowledge I should have wiped from him onto his superiors."

    The mirror universe version sneered, but still couldn't speak, even though he tried to.

    Q crossed his arms again, and leaned back in his chair. "Junior took the gift you gave him and corrupted it. You let his loved ones live...and the rage he would have spent against the universe was channeled into his galaxy's version of Section 31. Oh...the Imperial Star Fleet absolutely looooved the idea of Red Matter...and their version of the DTI adored the fact that multiple realities could coexist without destroying everything. And they both loved that if they messed up, they'd just try again. And again." Q fixed the mirror me with a withering glare. "And again."

    I asked, "How many times?"

    Q looked at me, disappointed. "47. Or haven't you been following along?"

    The eldest me spoke up. "Can you fix this, Q? Is it even possible, now?"

    Q looked at him and smirked. "Of course I can. I *have* to. Because it worked ever so well for me to leave things in your hands."

    The second oldest me spoke up. "Q, if we can't fix it, then why bring us here?"

    "Because you four are the dominant versions in this catastrophe you've created." Q pointed at me, saying, "You...your galaxy is the one ripping the fabric of space-time apart with your rifts and wells. Junior," Q indicated the mirror me, "used the knowledge to create a DTI whose vision is the eradication of all non-humans, and whose Section 31 is so convoluted and backstabbing that it would take a program to know the players."

    "Huh?"

    Q waved me off. "Never mind. Sisko would get the reference. Anyways," he continued, "the slightly older you is living in a world where Hobus never exploded, and may not. We haven't reached that point in his time yet."

    "It's true...couldn't point out Hobus on the map. And the Borg? Gone."

    Q interrupted him, wagging a finger, "Uh uh...no spoilers. Not until you've chosen which one of you will carry the burden."

    I looked at the eldest version, raising my eyebrow slightly. Before Q could interject, he said, "No Hobus, but Vulcan is gone."

    Q stood up, stopping any further discussion. "I said, 'no spoilers.'"

    I rolled my eyes, muttering, "Fine. What's this burden."

    "I have to fix this mess...but one of you has to make a sacrifice. You must carry the knowledge of the others...all so Junior goes back and doesn't create this mess," Q said, pointing to the map, which once again started to rip. "One of you gets it all, and probably ends up in a looney bin. Or sanitarium. Or protected sanctuary...whatever you want to call it. The rest...well...you revert to that point in space time when my universe went all squirrelly, and go about never knowing about the others. I wipe your memories so you don't continually meddle where you're not meant to." He pointed at the older versions, adding, "and you both know that since our last get together you've meddled."

    Both versions tried to hide a guilty face.

    Q sat back down. "Junior's out. This little ribbon that's ripping things apart is his failed attempt at temporal-dimensional domination. So who gets the short straw?"

    I stood up before anyone else could. "Me. My universe is ripping things apart. Let me take this on. I can at least try to get Starfleet to reduce Red Matter usage, and try to undo the damage. The same way that they reworked the warp limit so it doesn't damage subspace." I shuddered. "And the time is right...because my universe is starting to play around with Omega."

    The others, including the mirror me, shuddered. Huh. Apparently time and dimensional distortion was ok, as long as you don't damage subspace.

    I'd have to try to remember that.

    Q frowned. "What say you two? What pressing issues will you devote yourselves to, now that you won't meddle with this inter-dimensional-temporal business?"

    The second oldest looked down. "I'll help with research into the Andorian fertility crisis. I'll do it for my version of Arky."

    The eldest smiled at mention of our friend. "I'm trying to deal with a Section 31 that is a nightmare. They're trying to build their own fleet from scratch. Have a shipyard near Jupiter."

    Shock came across my face. "How does Starfleet not know of a shipyard in their own backyard?"

    "Don't ask."

    Q stepped in. "He won't have to...he'll have all your memories." He looked at me. "You sure, Cousin? Can you keep from quacking up?"

    I ignored the confusion from the others, saying with a bit of confidence, "I think I can, Q."

    "So be it." Q again snapped his fingers, and the other three disappeared.

    And my head felt like it was going to explode as it absorbed the knowledge of the others...

    B'tran Cluster? <orders from Section 31.> Andorian reproduction problems? <Watch out for it, speak to Bashir.> {What the hell is The Eye} <You'll get to it.> <The Mirror me?> [No more issues...I hope] The Ribbon? <Ah...your next mystery.>
    No Borg? <Not for you, I'm afraid.><<DS9 II?>> (Better hope there's not need for a III.)

    I staggered, and slumped back down into that comfortable, simple, wooden chair.

    Q smiled slightly. "I'll be there if you need me. I do feel just a *little* guilt."

    "Send me home."

    "When?"

    "The right time."

    "Not, 'the correct time'?"

    "No, Q. Please. The right time."

    "Be seeing you."

    **************************
    Two weeks ago

    "Vic, you have those adjustments done yet?"

    "Aye, sir. But why don't we just transwarp to DS9? It'll be safer than a jump into the Badlands.

    "Trust me, son."

    "Always do, sir."

    "Engage."

    ***********************
    Present Day

    "You that certain, Sotek? Then choose. I can see the damage you've sustained, and you can see mine. Either we both leave the Badlands, or neither of us does. Your choice."

    Commander Marrow tapped out a quick message on his console, then tapped louder on the side of it, getting Sotek's attention. Sotek looked down at the display.

    Incoming ship transmitting "Waimea pumpin brah". I don't know what that means but it was sent on your personal channel.

    Sotek grinned slightly. He looked down to ensure the audio was muted, then said, "Mr. Marrow...divert all power to the forward shields."

    Commander Marrow swallowed hard, looking like he was about to meet his Maker. "Done".

    The Spitfire's quad phasers shot out a burst, and the first two shots slammed into the shields, but the last two tore the Honolulu's hull open. The MSD showed that the hull was practically coming apart, and a shower of sparks rained down over the bridge. The viewscreen faded slightly, and Sotek saw as the Spitfire tore loose from the Honolulu's now weakened tractor beam. The smaller ship rolled 180 degrees, placing her strongest shields towards the Honolulu. The impulse engines flared to life, and the ship started its escape from the Badlands.

    Loranna gasped as she saw a fissure open within the storm, large enough to swallow both ships. But the Honolulu wasn't being pulled in.

    The Bonaventure was coming out.

    A modified Borg tractor beam shot out from the Bonaventure's underside, grabbing the Spitfire. The smaller ship launched a photon torpedo from her aft tubes, but it was easily absorbed by the larger ship's shields. A single antiproton beam was all it took to take the damaged Spitfire out of the fight.

    Commander Marrow called out, "Captain...Spitfire is powering down. But her burst got us good. We're losing containment on the warp core."

    "Eject it...now!"

    "Interlocks are offline. Damn it!"

    Sotek tapped his console, hailing the Bonaventure. "Houston...we have a problem."

    ****************

    On board the Bonaventure

    I grinned as antiproton beam arced across the Defiant class ship's hull, almost carving her in two. Her impulse engines died, and a text only message appeared onscreen:

    We surrender.

    Guess their comms are dead, too.

    "L'naa, open a channel. Tell them to prepare to receive a boarding party."

    "Can't...incoming transmission from the Honolulu."

    "Onscreen."

    "Houston...we have a problem."

    Damn it.

    There was only one situation that Sotek would utter that phrase...the crew needed off that ship immediately. I looked at the status panel, surprised that the Vesta class had sustained so much damage from a single burst.

    "Honolulu...I read your warp core as...a little hot."

    "More than a little. Ejection system is offline."

    I paled, remembering the rupture of the Rouge Valley's core that killed most of my crew...

    <Stop. That didn't happen. Pull yourself together.>

    L'naa looked at me, eyebrow raised. I waved her off, mouthing, "Nothing...tell you later".

    "Vic," I called on the comms. "How long till the Honolulu goes Vesuvius?"

    A pause, then Vic's quick reply. "Eight minutes."

    "Honolulu, if you heard that clearly enough, start your emergency beam outs on our coordinates. We've boosted the beacon to cut through the storm. We'll be assisting." I checked the MSD, noting that L'naa had the Rouge Valley lauched, and Vic sent out our runabouts to use their transporters as well. "Med teams to all decks...incoming wounded. No site to site transports, so survivors will be popping up all over the place. Get wounded to sickbays, able bodies to crew lounges."

    The next minutes seemed like ages, but flew by in an instant.

    I heard Sotek's voice come over the comms, audio only. "Bonaventure...Honolulu has been evacuated. I do not intend to go down with my ship. One to beam over. Sooner would be better than later."

    I noted that all transporter systems were cycling hot, so got up to meet my friend in the bridge's aft transporter room. L'naa motioned for her relief to man her station, then jogged up to walk by my side. "Tractor beam repulsors have pushed Honolulu a safe distance away."

    "All the same...I don't want the shock wave to rip the Spitfire apart."

    "We're not beaming them aboard?"

    "Nope. I'm leaving evidence where it can't be disputed."

    "They won't have an enjoyable ride."

    "Good." This came from Sotek, who had finished transporting and was walking off the pad.

    "Not like you to be cruel, my friend," I said.

    "And not like *you* to disappear without a leaving a note."

    "Yeah. About that...we're gonna have a hell of a debrief."

    "Of that I am sure."

    *************************
    DS9, later that day

    Doc Irve pressed the hypospray against my neck, and I heard it hiss. The pain in my head subsided, but didn't go away completely.

    "You'll need some rest. Doctor's orders...and don't make me make them official."

    "Yes, sir."

    "Gah. Don't give me that sir stuff."

    "How long?"

    "How long what?"

    "How long were you going to wait until you told me about this 'Kirk Cabal'?"

    "Ah. That. Invitation only, youngun."

    "Haven't I earned one yet?"

    "We'll see." Doc Irve smiled, then walked out. He paused at the door to growl at Sotek, "And I told *you* to remain in sickbay until I come get you!"

    Sotek raised his hand, and shot Doc Irve a shaka.

    "Blast you," Doc said, and stalked away.

    I smiled at my friend. "I see you know how to push his buttons still."

    "Never forgot how."

    "And I see your new command docked out there."

    "I have not yet accepted command of the U.S.S. Agincourt. I do not believe that I will."

    "Why, exactly?"

    "One...the vessel is in repair so many times Sol Drydock has nicknamed her the U.S.S. Again?"

    "And two?"

    "I need some time. As you said once...commanding a ship makes you sample the dregs. And I think I might need a rest from such grinds."

    "Is there a three?"

    "We'll talk about it."

    "Whenever you're ready."

    *************
  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    Author's note: The Captain's Oath is respectfully borrowed without permission from gulberat...

    LC #2: Taking Command

    "If you could wait a moment, Commander t'Kazanak, I require a moment of your time," said Admiral Jac Cheliss, Director of Starfleet Strategic Tactical Operations

    "Aye, Sir," Ael replied, freezing in place, then returning to attention.

    "Following Captain Palmer's untimely demise, Commander Mayer has provisionally served as acting commanding officer of the Vanguard during its return to space dock. However, the Vanguard is a ship of war designed to be capable of not just exploration, but should the need arise, autonomous combat. It needs a commanding officer who has a career of tactical duties, not shipboard operations.

    "Your career since the academy -- your completion of advanced tactical training, your service as chief of security aboard the Kaitain, and of course, your command experience aboard the Endeavour, makes you the ideal candidate for a permanent command posting. You are hereby promoted to the rank of captain, and ordered to report to the Vanguard to assume command."

    Flushing a deep bronze with pride, Ael stiffened, unable to repress a smile of gratitude and excitement, as the Betazoid admiral came around his desk to fix the fourth pip to the collarbone of her uniform jacket. She knew what she had to say, and saluting, she recited the Captain's Oath.

    "I, Ael i-Ra'tleihfi Janicka t'Kazanak, having been appointed Captain, United Federation of Planets Starfleet, do solemnly swear that I will represent the Charter of the United Federation of Planets in my service, that I will support and defend that Charter when necessary, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office which I am about to enter."
    ***

    As the rear turbolift doors opened, Ael glanced about the bridge, immediately recognizing the back of back of Commander Brandon Mayer's head, as he sat in the command chair. Turning to S'rR's, Ael winked conspiratorially. If she could make it to his side before he noticed her presence...

    "Captain on the bridge!" shouted a female cadet with a wave of blonde hair swooping over the top of her head, which was cropped short at the back and sides.

    At once, Mayer turned in the command chair, boosting himself to his feet and automatically tugging his uniform jacket straight. As Ael predicted, the expression on his face was a mixture of confusion and amazement.

    Looking toward the communications console, Ael recognised Claire, the photonic avatar of the AI which governed every system aboard the Vanguard.

    "As of this stardate," she said. "under orders from Admiral Cheliss, I hereby assume command of this vessel."

    "Acknowledged," Claire replied accomodatingly. "Command transfer confirmed, command codes resetting to your authority, Captain."

    With a nod, Ael looked back to Mayer, who was now grinning broadly.

    "I relieve you, Commander," she stated formally.

    "I am relieved," he acknowleged.

    "If you would be so good as to organise a meeting of the ship's company in thirty minutes, Commander, it would be much appreciated," she said. "Until then, if anyone needs me, I shall be in the ready room."

    Mayer acknowledged the order from his former classmate with a crisp nod, and Ael moved towards the ready room, S'rR's closely following behind.

    As the doors sighed closed behind her, Ael's gaze fell on the flowing curved ivory form of Palmer's Verticoli hairbrush on the desk, and she turned to S'rR's, her arms folded across her chest.

    "Do you want to keep this, Siri? Isn't that the Pentaxian custom for remembering the deceased?"

    S'rR's smiled sadly and nodded.

    "Not really something I can make use of," she pointed out, looking up as if at the missing hair on her shaved scalp. "You keep it, Hvei'khenn. I'm sure Manda wouldn't mind."

    Reaching out, Ael reverently picked up the whale bone brush.

    "I guess I'd better arrange for new quarters," she said absently, her fingers unconsciously gliding over the Verticoli's hand carved surfaces.

    "Captain's quarters are on deck two," S'rR's pointed out helpfully, but Ael shook her head decisively.

    "Taking over Manda's position as commander of this vessel is one thing," she said. "But to live in her quarters -- to sleep in the bed of a dead woman -- By the Elements, I couldn't do such a thing."

    "If that's how you feel, I have space, and would welcome the company," S'rR's offered. "Having another bed brought in would be no issue."

    "Are you sure?"

    "It'll be just like when we were at the academy," the Pentaxian ambassador assured her friend, before narrowing her eyes suspiciously as a thought occured to her. "You don't still set an alarm for oh five hundred hours to go running, do you?"

    The Romulan woman raised an eyebrow.

    "Unlike you, I'm not immortal. I can't eat like an eight year old and still look like a hardbody, I have to work to stay in shape."

    "Well, I'm not actually immortal anymore," S'rR's admitted. "I have been given an exercise regimen and diet plan to follow by Doctor Kincaid. Seems to be working so far."

    Ael grinned wickedly.

    "Oh five hundred it is then," she declared.
    909d7cda93335d83bb43d3459b4dfcd5_zpsayiqcsfi.jpg
  • brandonicusbrandonicus Member Posts: 17 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC 47: "There are 47 . . ."

    2380 ((stardate 56901.9))
    Both the bridge of the Nemesis and the mind of her Captain were clouded by smokey fog. Bridger shook off the blow that knocked him to the deck. The Klingon freedom fighters were still pummeling his ship but it was the old style astronaut that just materialized in front of him that had his attention.

    2409
    On the Nemesis, the ready room was dark with the lack of shipboard lights. But the flame red hue of the starboard pair of supergiants flooded the room with fire-like light. Admiral Bridger swirled the full glass he had held for the last hour as he sat alone washing the distant star scape with his gaze. He was lost in the only memories he regretted. Bridger was adrift in a tempest of the past so painful he couldn't drink. The tall man stood in the burning light being cast on his darkness and started the log entry he originally retired to his ready room to write.

    ((Captain's log stardate 91779.33))
    "As far as i can tell today is the day. There wasn't much to go on back then. It all happened so damned fast but after the Nemesis blew up and everyone . . . Well the only thing we knew was the chroniton half-life suggested the astronaut came from around stardate 91779. The only benefit of torture my body endured at the hands of the Nok'ouri is genes soaked in chrono-polaron waves; near immortality. I knew even then i would live long enough to see the day i would first meet the man who killed, or would kill my first crew. And my mission to a massive Klingon graveyard foreshadows danger."

    "Admiral we've reached the proto star field. Klingon wreckage on sensors."

    Commander Tala's voice sounded weak, grim even over the comm. The Admiral turned and headed toward the bridge. Just before the doors offered the obligatory swish into the open position he swirled the drink one least time reminded again of what was ahead of him and placed it on the desk.

    With a swish and a stormy entrance requisite of the Admiral 'in one of his moods' he followed the straight line across the open Odyssey class bridge to the center seat. As he approached the chair he turned to look at what everyone else on the bridge could see on the view screen. His quick pace slowed to a crawl as he began to understand what he saw. The awestruck officer slowed to still silence before he even got to his chair and he examined the image of the largest Klingon battle group in this sector in scattered debris.

    "The distress call once again Commander." The Admiral asked as he clumsily fumbled for his chair. If the sight of all those ships destroyed and with it the catastrophic loss of life wasn't sobering enough, there was the final words anyone would hear from the Klingon Battle group K'ough T'ang.

    ". . . static all dead. We surrender! We surrender! If anyone can hear this, there are 47 . . .static"

    "47 what?" Bridger mumbled to himself.

    The universal translator changed the grizzled voice of the venerable Klingon hero so that the largely non-Klingon speaking crew could understand the distress call. Without hearing for themselves no one would have believed the thought of a Klingon General surrendering. Bridger and his senior staff heard it for the first time about one week earlier when the Klingons first reported the fleet missing from a remote proto star field. The fleet was in charge of transporting the last of the Koh'Kong, an ancient resurrection vault yet no one in the vast reaches of Klingon space would even enter the sector and that is when the Federation was first contacted and Admiral Bridger volunteered for the urgent recovery mission.

    "Plot search pattern Europa Commander Sokume. Vimuk i want life signs. I don't care if its a damn Klingon ficus tree. Cozz at our briefing you said you could program an algorithm that could scan vectors from all sensors and pinpoint to a meter the location of that vault." He knew why he was reminded about the mission where he lost his entire ship and crew. Almost all of his crew. And he found himself thinking of the lone stranded astronaut.

    "Thats still true Admiral. I won't let you down." The Telarite Tactical Officer offered his quick and confident answer. The first look on the entire bridge that wasn't intense focus crawled over the Admiral's face.

    "No you probably won't. And i am a little jealous of your winning streak Lieutenant." Stated Bridger with a smirk on his face.

    "But sir it's very unlikely we will find anything."

    Cozz's logic was interrupted suddenly by a white flash and a klaxon of alarms as the ship was instantly surrounded by a massive cloud of war taking physical and collateral damage from torpedoes and energy weapons. Hidden inside the hue of a blue nebula that was not there merely a moment before was the vicious battle of Romulan, Klingon and Starfleet ships and the Science Officer's report followed as he yelled across the bridge.

    "Immediately prior to the flash, one life sign in the debris 13 kilometers ahead. And an alien ship of some kind. Its . . ."

    Amidst the tempest of war around them the Nemesis shook and rocked from the colossal blow to her inertial dampeners. The battle scene unfolded across the view screen as Sokume took the ship through the heart of the combat and attempted to level a decent out of the cloud. Romulans, Klingons and Starfleet, a trinity of enemies clashed around the Nemesis. As soon as the Science Officer tried to continue his report an old style astronaut transported aboard in the awesome red sparkling whirlwind of a Klingon transporter. Vimuk, three suddenly appearing security officers and the Admiral leveled phasers on the unexpected visitor. The Science Officer spoke first with the confidence that Admiral Bridger would want an answer to the question he was about to ask.

    "Who are you and where are we?"

    The astronaut answered with abrupt curtness.
    "Admiral Bridger knows the answer to both questions."

    2380 ((stardate 56901.9))
    Commander Seanac would have been intrigued by Lieutenant Commander Nelson leaning into the plummeting turn he took the Nemesis in as though it would better help him get the massive ship out of it. As the scared and disruptor burned Starfleet ship arched away from the center of the battle the shaking started to let up.

    "Seanac forego damage reports and go immediately to damage containment protocols. Prioritize primary systems first. Nelson regroup with the Ulysses find out where the hell the Romulans came from. Derec i need you to get Starfleet Command. Report and request instructions. And you . . "

    Captain Bridger wiped the streaming red strings of blood from over his left eye. He moved closer to the retro astronaut irony abounding as one old fashioned spacefarer approached the other.

    "Who the hell are you?"

    "The best i can do is assure you that the next time you ask that question under eerily similar circumstances, the answer will not be far behind." The astronaut riddled the unamused Captain.

    "Not good enough." The Captain rushed the mysterious spacefarer but before he could lay one hand on him his First Officer manning the comfortable science station called out.

    "Captain there is a ship. Its . . . well sir i am disappointed that this is all i can report at this time. "

    Bridger stopped in mid dash leaving his visitor and turning his gaze to the view screen. It was little more than an abstract silhouette over the twin red supergiants.

    "Klingon?" he asked

    "It is unlike any ship I or our computer has ever seen." Seanac responded, his intensity cut off abruptly by the newest person on the bridge.

    "And it probably has the Klingon cargo you are after."

    2409 ((stardate 91779.33))

    The Klingons, Starfleet and the Romulans seemed happy to destroy each other as the Nemesis circled the fray. Every station on the bridge anxiously worked to learn what had just happened. The Admiral stood face to face with the second antique astronaut of his career and a unique challenge he has just placed before him. Infact he did know who this was and where they were.

    "It might lack the logical elegance of my former First Officer, but i think i may have started to figure this out. This is the proto star field near the Dalmaegora system. And you are Lieutenant Commander Nelson." The Admiral hung his head in regret and disbelief. There was also a hint of relief.

    "You are almost correct. I am Nelson."

    The metal and cloth adorned spaceman released the latch on his suit and lifted his helmet off. The air pressure hissed with its release and the blond Conn Officer Bridger had not seen in 40 years stood before him identical, except for the sweaty and bloodied mess, to the last day he looked on him.

    "But this isn't exactly the same twin supergiant you first saw almost 40 years ago near Dalmaegora. Its a near duplicate. Infact its one of three. The original is at the heart of some distant galaxy reflected in two other places through a dark matter fissure. One near Dalmaegora where you first saw it and one here at the heart of the Klingon empire. And you have to break the link." The suddenly talkative astronaut laid a lot on the Nemesis bridge officers.

    "Link? They are connected?" The Admiral asked

    "Not completely implausible Admiral." Suggested Vimuk. The Science Officer continued,
    "As you know our understanding of dark matter is limited. But we have seen matter duplicated an reorganized."

    "Vimuk? Good to know. Not exactly. This is more of a projection, an echo. What happens in one place can also be experienced in the other two. This battle is the same battle my . . . your Nemesis faced almost 40 years ago near Romulus during the Neutral Zone battles. Three systems in three different spots sharing the same place in space-time." The older astronaut was silent after his explanation. Cozz cut the silence.

    "Good luck with that Einstein."

    Both Bridger and Nelson turned to the Telarite and questioned at the same time,
    "What did you just say?"

    2380 ((stardate 56901.9))
    As the bridge of the Nemesis came to life with the new task of identifying the new strange ship, Bridger offered a simple, telling look to Seanac who nodded back in response. The astronaut and the Admiral walked to the center of the bridge as the Vulcan surreptitiously scanned the spacefarer.

    "You have been putting out brush fires along the zone for months until the Romulans claimed ownership of cargo they found in the wreckage of a crashed Klingon ship. Starfleet sent you in to check it out. Unbeknownst to you, Klingon separatists showed up looking for the cargo too. Boom, three way battle royal." The astronaut recounted the story of the past week with no actual way of knowing the events.

    "You're from the future. Helping mend some catastrophic event?" Bridger asked desperately trying to know who his visitor was.

    "You are trying to prevent a war that would destabilize a sector. Im trying to stop an event across space and time that will destabilize a galaxy. And nothing will stop me" The astronaut answered curtly, gesturing up to the viewer as the Nemesis closed in on the massive and awesome ship. The asymmetric, shapeless mass hung still in space. Its only activity was the multi-colored flickering lights. The ship seemed like mounds of refuse heaped on top of one another as though it was formed by thoughtlessly pulling debris into itself. There was no form or structure. Even the Borg ships had shape. This had none.

    "Klingon, Romulan, Cradassian, Andorian, Vulcan, dozens, perhaps hundreds of other species are within the make up of this . . . ship?" Seanac reported

    "Ship? Are you unsure?" Asked Nelson

    "Unknown at this time. There are multiple impulse fields, support systems and power cores. How many unknown. Make up unknown, origin unknown." he answered

    "Sir the battle is . . . gone."

    2409 ((stardate 91779.33))
    Nelson sat next to Admiral Bridger. He didn't look at his former Commanding Officer. But Bridger looked at him. How could he not? After the destruction of his original Nemesis and the loss of all hands except for Nelson, he became obsessed with him. The court-martial, dishonorable discharge, jail, 40 years of self loathing all he could do was wonder where his Conn Officer had gone. He wanted to hug the man he had not seen in so long. Instead he touched the scar on his left eye that seemed to connect him to the day in his past that seemed to put all this in motion.

    "Sir, the battle is gone. The nebula, the Romulans, all of it. Gone." Vimuk stated in excited surprise to an unsurprised Admiral Bridger.

    "You must know what we have to do now." Nelson offered.

    "Find the alien ship. Its the only other thing that connects these events. Tala, punch up my personal record from star date 56901.9, my mission to the Dalmaegora system. Specifically find all data on the unidentified alien ship. You'll find it in my locked private files. Password, NELSON."

    His closest senior officers knew his history. They knew about the ill-fated mission that hailed the loss of his original USS Nemesis and all hands. All hands except Lieutenant Commander Nelson. Admiral Bridger called a staff meeting. He knew the time had come for his team to know everything. Nelson's reference to saving the galaxy had not gone unheard. There was something important happening here.

    " . . . since we seem to have come to the endpoint in some closed temporal loop, then it is up to us to set in motion the events that will come no short of saving the galaxy." Bridger closed his address venerably.

    "So we can conjecture that the Koh'Kong resurrection vault is the same artifact in the cargo the Romulans claimed near the neutral zone." Suggested Cozz, as a kind of question of the Admiral

    "I also have wondered that. With ships passing back and forth across this space-time event it is very possible that the Klingon ship carrying now, crashed 40 years ago near Dalmaegora. But remember that the unidentified alien ship now spotted in both time periods showed interest in it when i first encountered them."

    "There is something else. I believe this alien means to use this vault, and it may be the very thing that threatens the galaxy." Nelson revealed his thoughts to the group somewhere between hypothesis and hunch.

    Bridger answered to the group more so than just Nelson, "Vimuk, work that up. Cross reference the Resurrection Vault with what we know about the alien and the nature of this region of space-time. Anything else?"

    "There is the matter of the vintage space suit." Vimuk suggested a point that no one else seemed concerned with. He obtained a sort of Vulcan charge out of taking something others saw as trivial and showing them a yet unforeseen importance.

    "A man in a vintage space suit has appeared to you in both time periods. Without the help of this one you call Nelson i must surmise that it is the same suit. And since we have not encountered one yet, and there is no report of you having one aboard the old Nemesis, then we will most likely encounter this suit either inhabited or otherwise in such a way as it will be used to go back in time to the old Nemesis." No one could argue what was simply accepted as perfect Vulcan logic.

    Nelson and Admiral Bridger shared a bemused glance and Nelson took the time to relate the moment to his lost comrades.

    "I think Seanac would have liked your science officer."

    Suddenly without so much as an alarm Admiral Bridger vanished in a green whirl of light, the apparent victim of an unidentified alien transporter beam.

    2380 ((stardate 56901.9))
    The hulking, ominous alien craft hovered over the wreckage of ships lost in the suddenly ended battle. Not so much suddenly ended as instantly vanished. The Nemesis did not have to scan for long to learn that the ship was sifting through only Klingon debris. It was impossible to work out its scanning protocol and therefore Seanac was unable to ascertain what they were scanning for. The astronaut elbowed in near Seanac and took over the science console.

    "Sir?!" The Vulcan tried to get the Captain's attention.

    "Sorry Seanac. By now you know I'm from the future. So you can guess i have an idea whats happening here." The astronaut offered an unsympathetic apology to the Vulcan. Bridger noticed Seanac's concerned eyes. He probably expected the Captain to stop him but he didn't. Unhindered the man in the space suit took control, his objective unclear. While the officers and the Captain watched the astronaut, with a bright flash, the battle from before instantly reappeared as ferocious as ever with the Nemesis and the alien craft dangling in the center. Nemesis rocked about as before stuck at the core of the fray and as Nelson tried to move the old ship out, Capatin Bridger stopped him. He turned his glare back toward the astronaut hoping for an answer but got none. There was only the glimmer of something on his face. The man in the space suit saw something that he did not expect.

    "Sorry Captain. I have to complete my mission." The astronaut burst past Seanac for the turbo lift. As he did so some of the systems on the bridge started to spark and black out. Someone called out and everyone looked toward the viewer to see the massive alien craft turn and begin to close on Nemesis.

    2409 ((stardate 91779.33))
    Cold. Angry. The first two things that Bridger could remember as he woke from what seemed like sleep. It must have been induced. The Starfleet Admiral hung naked in a dank dripping dungeon as shades worked over him. Shades were the best description of the beings that hid translucent and dark in light. They did not seem to touch anything, but yet their mere gesture could control equipment. They flickered like static as they hurried in their work. Bridger could feel the cold steel pinch in his back. It felt like he hung vulnerable by his spine. When he first woke he had control over his extremities but as the shades worked he started to loose the ability to move his arms and legs. He knew his head would be next. Bridger was about to die here. The last thing he felt was the burning flush through his spine.

    "You will never find it." He heard the aliens speak his own language. They wanted him to hear that in defeat. But when he heard it he also saw images, echoes of the shades thoughts as they probed his mind. The Admiral held on to images of his old crew as well as his current crew. He held the regret of failure as he hoped they would learn what happened to his old ship and maybe avenge him. The Admiral died hung from and unidentified alien's dungeon.

    "We have him." The voice of the Chief Medical Officer cried over the comm. The rest was unspoken from Tala, the First Officer, now in Command of Nemesis. The beautiful Andorian looked over to Nelson who sat near her as the ship cruised through the newly raging battle around them. It did not have to be said that the alien ship turned to pursue.

    "Why is this happening?" Tala begged of the astronaut.

    "I don't know. But Nathan Bridger does." The astronaut stood to leave.
    "Let me know if you pick up the vault on sensors." He disappeared in the turbo shaft.

    Nelson saw the Doctor as he worked over the Admiral. The time traveler truly had no idea what happened to the Bridger or how the Doctor fixed him. The man in the space suit entered the bay.

    "Lethal injection. The same basic concept anyway. I don't know how advanced they are but it wasn't enough to stop me from reviving you." The Doctor was stopped by the Admiral when he saw Nelson. The astronaut stood at the foot of his Captain's bed.

    "They want the vault." Bridger said to Nelson.

    "Yes. And it needs to be destroyed."

    "Are you the same man that appeared to me on my bridge 40 years ago? asked the aged Admiral

    "I am not the same man that came to you all those years ago. But i think i will be. That man tried to destroy the vault after he left the bridge. Thats what destroyed the Nemesis." Nelson answered with fear and anger in his heart. They lost the same crew in this.

    "But you don't know. You aren't him yet. . . . It could be me." Bridger surprised the much younger man. It was just as likely to him since his identity was never revealed.

    "I know." Nelson took Bridger's hand. He was so weak. Cozz's voice came over the comm.

    "Sir, we have found a faint life sign, very old. We can not find the vault but Vimuk believes this life form may be inside the vault.

    "Pinpoint the exact location in space-time and send the location to transporter room 3. Then beam that life sign aboard." Nelson said it to the Admiral as he leaned over his bed.

    "You heard him Cozz. That space-time location is the old Nemesis and thats where you're going. You will be the astronaut that beamed on to my bridge all those years ago." Nathan Bridger admitted what was now the obvious truth to literally his oldest friend who responded by silently turning his head down.

    "But if you are about to embark on the mission to my old Nemesis then we already know the outcome; no vault, no aliens and the loss of all hands. A loop then will inevitably lead me back here." Bridger did not sound impressed with the plan Nelson was ready to embark on.

    "I can do this. He beamed it up from the bridge. Thats what he was doing so thats what i will do. But when he got to it in the transporter room he gave up. The other me gave up, i saw it. Remember? I followed him off the bridge. But i won't give up. I will beam over, find the vault and destroy it. Maybe even try a few tricks. But i'll need you to hold off that alien ship." Nelson was resolute. Bridger thought he may have been more resolute than he had ever seen him. But the Admiral was still unsure.

    "We didn't do it. We didn't hold it off. I'm sorry." The Admiral had never before sounded so defeated.

    "What made you say that?" asked Nelson

    "I had to say it to somebody."

    Nelson stood still for the briefest instant in the turbo lift as it opened on transporter room 3. there was a man laying in front of the pads in a vintage astronaut's suit exactly like the one he had one. The only exception was that the one on Nelson seemed much older somehow, used. Nelson took his suit off and approached the weak unconscious man in the identical suit. The Doctor scanning and treating him backed off as nelson switched suits.

    "Seems right somehow." was his only comment as he stepped on to the pad and turned to face the Chief.

    "Space-time location confirmed." Cozz staggered over the conn

    "Energize."

    2380 ((stardate 56901.9))
    The astronaut stood in the open turbo lift and looked on the viewer with everyone else as the seemingly indestructible alien ship lumbered toward them. They started to get bombarded by blasts from the alien craft. From the perspective of the bridge crew looking toward the view screen it was nothing but a bright hail of beams crushing against the ship with spread after spread of torpedoes. Bridger looked back to the astronaut looking back at him from the turbo lift.

    "Hold off that ship." said the unknown man as the door hissed shut.

    "You heard him. Target the firing point of those beams. As for the torpedoes don't waste time. Engineering, we have plasma based torpedoes out there. Prepare to eject warp plasma. I believe that astronaut is here to save the galaxy. I don't know our role in it yet but we must keep him alive as long as we can. And there is no time to debate. Get to work." The Captain of the USS Nemesis took charge and prepared an assault on the largest unidentified alien ship ever report by any other ship. The lumbering ship had a difficult time keeping Nemesis in their targeting lock. But near limitless supply of weapon emplacements didn't seem to stop them from making strike after strike on them. After the first 3 minutes shields were gone and the hull had passed the 50% integrity mark. Nemesis looked like a burned hollowed out log nearly adrift in space. But she kept firing. The Captain and crew in this time did not know that even if successful it would only mean that Nelson would live long enough to get to the vault he beamed to transporter room 1 and blow it up. A blast that would destroy Nemesis, the alien ship and displace the dark matter fissure linking the three points in space-time. But even if they did know the crew of the original USS Nemesis wouldn't give up. This dangerous and powerful race wanted the vault and it was worth their sacrifice to stop them.

    Nelson felt the turbo lift stop. The door would open in transporter room 1 and he would have the job of sacrificing himself and his crew to stop these aliens. He wasn't even sure what these aliens were doing or why. But he felt it. This was wrong. The door hissed open and Nelson pushed past the door. The Chief stood by the pads looking down at the artifact that was beyond a doubt Klingon. If the markings obviously Klingon didn't give it away the clearly Klingon soldiers in the hieroglyphics did. The Chief had opened the vault and seemed surprised it was empty. He looked up to the newly arrived Nelson.

    "There was a man, dressed just like you in here. Transported away." The confused Chief said to Nelson almost in question form. The transporter room shook with a hull strike not far away. In only the time it took Nelson to meet the Chief's gaze, the bulkhead to the Cheif's left tore away leaving the ripped open hole looking into deep space. For only moments everything started to get pulled into space. The console, the bulkheads around them ruptured and pulled as well as Nelson, the vault and the Chief. The Chief was pulled into space as the alien ship drifted past the hole. Beams could be seen cutting away parts of the Nemesis. Nelson grabbed at the deck where it was partially warped by the pull of the vacuum of space and slowed himself. The emergency forcefield kicked in preventing the vault from being pulled out, but not before the Chief was too far gone. As pressure returned to the transporter room and Nelson started to feel a bit safer, the room collapsed around him in a cloud of smoke and sparking power relays.

    The bridge was even worse. The lights were out, the minimal activity lit in the contrasting low light of auxiliary power. Fire consumed what was left of the air without primary life support. A single person rustled in the smoke and debris, Nathan Bridger pulled himself to his chair. But there was one other. With his console dead, Lieutenant Commander Nelson crawled out from under it.

    "Im headed to transporter room 1. One of the hull breaches was there and the astronaut hasn't reported in. . . . good luck sir." He said to the Captain as he left the bridge.

    Bridger barely acknowledged him. He stared down the end of his destroyed bridge as if down the barrel of his gun to the alien ship still moving out there. The other battle raged on around them, but it was as though only the alien and the Nemesis were there.

    "Computer, all remaining weapons at my command . . . "

    The jeffery's tube hatch opened up and Nelson emerged. Compared to the bridge he just left it was unclear which was safer. He crawled through the room twisted into an unrecognizable mess by the destruction of the alien ship. Nelson saw the vault first, then he saw the man in the space suit. The man was trapped, pinned between torn parts of the bulkhead. He looked up at the newly arriving Lieutenant Commander.

    "Help me." Nelson helped the man in the suit. A little leverage goes a long way. It did not take much to pry him free. The astronaut wasted no time. He produced charges from the leg harness he had on the suit. Nelson did not recognize them but he knew the man in the suit used many more than he needed. He also knew that the resulting blast would tear the engineering hull in two especially with not structural integrity to boost support.

    "Pinned like that? I would have given up." Nelson said to the man in the suit completely unaware of the wasted irony.

    "No. You wouldn't have. This is it." Answered the astronaut. He paused from just an instant.

    "How does this blast save the galaxy?" Nelson asked, confused.

    "It seals of the fissure, and this alien from his friends and stops time from passing through as well." answered the space suited man.
    "Think of this as one big battle and two time periods in the same moment of space-time."

    "Good luck with that Einstein." Nelson quipped then added,

    "I wish the crew didn't have to die. But . . . well we have to do this." Nelson's words pierced the suit and the wearer's heart. But the words also had the side benefit of inspiring an idea. The astronaut blew past Nelson to the pad bypassing the missing console. He pulled away one of the pads to reveal the complex inner workings of the transporter.

    "There! Two man job. You reprogram the isolinear chips in the confinement beam array and the pattern buffer. I'm gonna reset the targeting array." Nelson listened to his instructions as though they were from the most venerable senior officers. He knew what this task was going to accomplish. But he had no idea where the man in the suit planned to send his crew mates.

    2409 ((stardate 91779.33))
    The bridge of this Nemesis was no better than the bridge of the original Nemesis. The same smoke and debris. Crew dead laying across the deck. Admiral bridged made it to his chair as well, but found Tala still at her station.

    "Sir, with all of our scans, and even data from your first encounter it is nearly impossible to do any significant damage to this ship." She said to her Admiral

    "Why?" He asked.

    "We have no idea what to target sir. There are multiple power sources, weapon systems, cores even engines. Its like it is made of multiple ships." Vimuk answered interrupting Tala.

    "We could trigger a power cascade if we knew how many ships there were but . . ." Tala continued Vimuk's thought. Bridger hung his head defeated. They knew that while this area of space was reflected in the dark matter fissure, there was only one alien craft, one Romulan Fleet and one Klingon fleet. Nelson would blow the vault, an explosion that would sever the fissure. But one good strike and this lone alien craft would be gone and both Nemesis' could complete their missions.

    "47." Bridger said muffled out loud.

    "Sir?" asked the Vulcan intrigued.

    "The Klingon distress call. He said there were 47. I don't know about you but I'm willing to trust the greatest targeting scanners in the galaxy. The man said 47."

    "Tala, prepare phaser and torpedo spreads adjusting for 47 individual ships. . ."

    2380 ((stardate 56091.9)) and 2409 ((stardate 91779.33)) simultaneously

    "FIRE!!"

    The timeline was restored for the most part. The damage the Admiral Bridger's Nemesis was still there. 107 casualties, entire decks unreachable, power failures, no weapons and Nemesis trailed debris from both hulls as it left the proto star field. And Bridger's memories of the original Nemesis were unchanged. Lost with all hands in a three way fight with Romulans and Klingons over an artifact. It all unfolded the same way; he presented the data at his court-martial but with no way to substantiate it he went down as the provocateur of a decade spanning neutral zone war and the murderer of an entire crew. They kept asking why didn't he just retreat.

    The smoke had been cleared and available crew took stations as the Nemesis limped away. Admiral Bridger knew his science officer well enough to know the puzzled determination on his face. The Vulcan had his hooks into something, and the Admiral wanted to know what it was.

    "Lets have it man. Somethings bugging you Vimuk." Bridger prodded.

    "Sir this ship has no bugs."

    "What is going on?" Persisted the Admiral

    "I have been picking up a faint signal. From this range it could be anything. But it is continuous and loosing power. My . . . instinct suggests its looking for a target.

    The Admiral ordered the Nemesis within range of the energy signal. But they didn't have to search very long. Suddenly with all eyes pealed on the forward view screen the unmistakable blue shimmer and light swirl of a Starfleet transporter deposited Lieutenant Commander Nelson on the bridge. The bridge officers looked on in stunned silence. Breaking the stillness, Bridger stood up and embraced him in a hug 40 years in the making.

    "How. How did you do this?" Bridger asked in joyful confusion.

    "As best as i can understand it, the 'me' that left your bridge used Cozz's scanning algorithm to find the vault from my Nemesis. I helped him set charges to blow it. We knew it would kill us all. But at the last moment he got the idea to beam us through the fissure to the original system with the twin supergiants. And just before the alien ship was inexplicably crippled, he told me to put his suit on and he beamed me away. It felt like forever, but i materialized here." Nelson answered.

    "My crew? They're out there? Somewhere?" Bridger asked

    "The other me said 'better lost than dead.'"Nelson responded failing an attempt to think.

    "Before he energized he asked me to say he's glad neither of you gave up."

    Bridger patted the back of his former Conn Officer with a smile to go with it. The crew sprung back to work. But Bridger added,

    "Message to Starfleet Command: There is a stranded crew out there."
    "Risk is part of the game if you wanna sit in that chair."
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC 34 redux: "Still not sure how to explain THIS one..."

    Captain's Log, USS George Takei. NCC I forget, Stardate who cares. It's been about a week since the New Romulus Gateway Incident.

    We've been tasked with a high-priority first contact mission in Delta Volanis. A civilization called the Sontarians has just achieved warp drive. And my girlfriend is now their Extreme Leader.

    Yes, really. Extreme Leader; that's how it translates.

    Anyway, we got a call from command the day after the Gateway Incident. Contract-Holder Quinn wanted me away from Romulan space due to my...abrasive nature. Since there were only so many missions that he felt would keep me out of his hair, and possibly because he genuinely regrets my "vacation" being disrupted by Iconian plots, I got a First Contact mission.

    It was a pretty bog-standard mission; pick the warp capsule out of space while the engineers were frantically making repairs, travel back to the Sontarian homeworld, land, say "hi", start diplomatic proceedings, leave. The Sontarian homeworld, Montose, is a pleasant planet, somewhat larger but less dense than Earth, with a single ample landmass and a reverse-circulation current in its world-spanning ocean that keeps the entire planet a balmy subtropical paradise year-round. The Sontarian Ministry is a fairly standard democracy, and the species is a fairly typical humanoid species with no unusual needs or taboos. They have some very...interesting beadwork (to them, the highest form of art, and highly valued), and are enthusiastic about joining the Federation.

    We learned all this through subspace radio contact with the Sontarian Second Peer, who insisted on giving me a virtual guided tour of his planet while we landed the William Shatner. Then we landed, and the sh*t hit the fan.

    We brought two shuttles, since a unique EM field on Montose made transporters impossible; one with me, Azip, Gamat'Elon, and a couple of security guys in shiny uniforms, and one with the science teams and the Sontarian astronauts. I leaped out almost as soon as the shuttle touched down. A few thousand vaguely frog-like Sontarians queued excitedly behind some hastily-erected barriers as the Second Peer greeted me at length.

    The security teams stepped out in their shiny armor, and the Sontarians made vaguely belch-like noises that my universal translator interpreted as "Ooh! Aah!". Second Peer Slimooldinpolip made a complicated gesture and said a croaking sentence that translated as "...and please, allow me to welcome these glorious representatives of the great Federation to our humble and insignificant planet. I hope that our pathetic amenities are enough to satisfy the great representatives of..." And then my girlfriend stepped out.

    Seven thousand Sontarians gasped at once, then collapsed into a complicated mass bow. Second peer Slimooldinpolip crawled up to Azip's boots and groveled, saying something that translated as "Blue-sea-one! You have come at last! I never doubted the prophecies! Indeed, I now see that they were accurate even in their descriptions of your antennae! Please, forgive this lowly worm and come see the Great Temple that we have erected in your honor!"

    Azip looked at me in panicked confusion. I shrugged, as mystified as she was. Just go with it, I mouthed.

    The Great Temple had a sixty-foot, full-color statue of my girlfriend in the nude. I can personally attest that it is completely accurate, down to the little mole on her--never mind. By the time we actually got into the temple to see the statue, though, there were about twenty thousand Sontarians bowing and scraping before my girlfriend.

    So, apparently there's a Sontarian prophecy that says that "the Blue-sea-one", who looks exactly like my girlfriend, will come and save the planet from some bad thing called the Skybreaker. Once some important-looking priest had inspected those parts of my girlfriend that she was willing to let him inspect (modest as ever, heh) and had confirmed that she was, in fact, a perfect match for the Sontarian savior, a bunch of important-looking officials picked her up onto a fancy litter and carried her out as the hundred thousand gathered Sontarians bowed and scraped.

    They declared her Extreme Leader (Bilodoobiploop) over the course of the next three hours, in a really long ceremony that we decided had better be sat through for Prime Directive reasons. Hailing Command got me Admiral Janeway.

    "Let me get this straight, Three," said the Admiral, pinching the bridge of her nose. "The species that you were sent to initiate contact with mistook your first officer for a god and declared her Supreme Leader?"

    "Um, it translates as Extreme Leader. They have different words for "supreme" and "extreme"; they're made reference to her saving them with her "extreme-ness" and her "supreme glory". Also, they have a sixty-foot statue of her in the nude that's about a thousand years old. We checked. And yes, it is entirely accurate. Down to the mole on her..."

    "I get the point. I'd get Tuvok or one of the other Admirals, but Tuvok's exploring that Dyson sphere and the other Admirals are discussing the gateway situation and the Iconian problem. I'll see if I can get Jorel Quinn on this."

    "Thanks. Hey, look...um, I'm sorry for Azip vomiting on your boots. There was this experimental drug that she was testing for D'vek, and it...malfunctioned."

    "Never mention that incident again and I'll drop charges. I'll get Admiral Quinn ASAP; you get back to convincing those aliens to join the Federation. And do try to stop them from worshiping your XO while you're at it."

    Great. How the heck am I supposed to do that?

    The ceremony of Extreme Leadership wrapped up after an hour or so. My girlfriend begged exhaustion, and I sent her back to the ship. The Sontarians agreed to join the Federation, and offered every single member of my crew ("the glorious Attendants of the Blue-sea-one") as many concubines as we wanted and free lodgings at the biggest and most luxurious pleasure resort on the planet.

    Interestingly, they kept denigrating the resort instead of talking it up. And they always referred to even our most broken things in glowing terms. Sort of like Japanese culture as experienced by Richard Feynman. Anyway...

    We'd just hammered out some treaty terms when the George Takei hailed me on a priority frequency.

    "Three here."

    "Captain? It's me, Azip. Um. A subspace rift just opened up--sort of like an Elachi portal--and an asteroid the size of Pluto just flew through. It's headed for Montose."

    "Wow. Those Iconians sure believe in overkill. Can you stop it?"

    "I...well, if we divert full power to the tractor beams and the engines, we might be able to pull the rock away...but it'd be a close-run thing. Belkrab isn't sure if the engines can take it."

    "Can you get it so that it'll fly out of the system without disturbing any orbits?"

    "Hypothetically. If the engines hold."

    "They will. But tell Engineering to be on Redshirt Protection Level Three, and have the rest of the ship on Level Two. I'll get the Sontarans to watch; they apparently have a lot of telescopes. Publicly-funded warp flights are good for the telescope market, I guess."

    "Sir..."

    "There's no time to get a shuttle down here for me, and the transporters aren't working due to the local EM field. Go! Fulfill that prophecy! Save Montose!" I tried desperately to avoid laughing as I said the last three sentences in a portentous voice.

    "Three..." Azip half-sighed and half-laughed. "Alright. But you owe me BIG tonight!"

    "Go get'em, tiger."

    It was, everyone present agreed, quite a show. The Sontarians were extremely impressed, and they and their vast reserves of dilithium enthusiastically joined the Federation. I pulled a favor with Captain Shon, and he talked to some guys in Command who fast-tracked the application.

    My girlfriend returned to Montose to a hero's welcome, and was asked to bless approximately six million Sontarian eggs. She was also given a smaller version of the giant statue carved out of what appears to be sapphire, which I have insisted on putting up in our quarters. It makes one hell of a souvenir. We worked out a deal where she visits about once a year for a week and does the ceremonial Extreme Leadership stuff (fortunately, the post is mostly a figurehead role), and any Sontarians who decide to join Starfleet can schmooze up to her whenever it's not terribly inconvenient for her. All in all, a decent arrangement.

    Plus, I got some schematics for some...interesting potential weapons. The Sontarian government has a vault deep under their main governmental palace that contains large amounts of weaponry. This weaponry is nothing but stun weapons and crowd-control stuff to Sontarians, but apparently the Iconians thought that it was worth destroying the species, either to get me or to destroy these weapons. Something's up with that.

    As for the prophecy and all that stuff, either some future guy with a timeship has a really bad sense of humor, or Q is messing with us again. I am personally leaning towards the latter, simply because only Q is perverted enough to leave a very explicit and disturbingly accurate description of my girlfriend in that long, complicated prophecy.

    In perfect iambic pentameter, no less.

    Anyway. We're heading out to negotiate with the Sheliak again now. Let's hope this doesn't go TOO poorly. Which reminds me, Shon and Worf owe me another couple of favors. I should call those in.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
    Baal%20prop%20pic%208_zpsqaptvpnu.png
  • allen1973allen1973 Member Posts: 22 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    Literary Challenge #60 Redux: LC#4 Passing Grades


    Rumors And Idle Conversation In Good Company


    “HeH-Het mongDech often genuflects upon his first command voyage aboard The QOTSA.” Said the Chancellor.
    “Is that so?” The general inquired.
    “Yes, of our first commands, don’t we all?” Gaardox replied.
    “NO Gaardox! My days as a warrior for K’mPec were not my first command, yet I consider them often. I am not typical of Klingon in many ways that you yet know of,” this was the Chancellor’s rebuttal.
    “Is that true?” The general inquired.
    “BAH! Putaq!” Gaardox replied.
    “Please try not to be rude Gaardox, and general, please do not delve into such hyperbole, what I say is true if I say it.”
    “My first command…WAS GLORIOUS!” The general stated.
    “Strange, I thought the riot control protocols on Negh Var were historically known to have created undue divisiveness and morale strain on all who fought in those initial instances of control.” Stated Gaardox mechanically.
    “GAARDOX!” The Chancellor was having none of this.
    “No, my Chancellor, he is right! It was an unpopular situation for all, yet the diplomacy and protocol that became of them was my first attempt at first scrimmage legal counseling-“
    “HAH!” The Chancellor interrupted.
    “I knew I was never going to become a politician, however the harder I worked on a viable solution between colonists, older generational factions on that planet and the Empirical Guard forces, for which I was commanding, the more all sides, albeit occasionally grudgingly, conceded to my wisdom. Most of my initial promotions thereafter reflected on this instance of activity,” so stated the general.
    “I hated you for having the ability to control that situation, I of course have always allied with the colonial rebel factions in such instances,” Gaardox replied with some degree of passion and enthusiasm.
    “HaHaHahahahahahaaaaa-GaaarDOX!” The Chancellor grabbed at his blood-wine and sipped, so following upon this did the general and Gaardox.
    “No one will redoubt him his allegiances…” The general stated.
    “Ultimately my assessment did not at the time also contain the written literal account of the diplomacy, which was brilliant, all colonists and naturalized Klingon on Negh Var have for many years given credence to your work in being so considerate to all factions involved there,” Gaardox could plainly admit this now that time had passed.
    “Your family was so disappointed by your resolve against my efforts you were sent to me for private consultation on the situation to report back to your family’s house, I trust I received positive accommodation?”
    “You did, however it did not trouble me at all to note that the Empirical Guard forces were not in league with the Honor Guard of K’mPec.”
    “Oh yes gentlemen, I read that house report…that was some time ago Gaardox…” The Chancellor sipped again at his blood wine, this time Gaardox took a swallow, and the General did not.
    “I can only imagine how long ago in your career that must have been for you to read such legislation,” commented the General.
    “No, it was invaluable, because it defined that house, and it coincided with popular sentiment within the Empire. Gaardox, when it came time for your review, such reporting on your behalf was what initially allowed you to command the QOTSA,” admitted the Chancellor. “Also it proved that your family had honor and the self-initiation and propriety to honor itself in various conduct accordingly. During the civil wars between K’mPec, Duras, and Galron, your family cut a line in the sand between ALL FACTIONS and this helped to define what would have otherwise seemed like an average Klingon house.”
    “Chancellor, your account of history is quite interesting, I have much to learn, you were indeed more of a politician and a warrior before I,” so noted the General.
    “BAH! All situations in politics, diplomacy and command is different depending on the situation and the accounting of the individual! I should expect you have heard of this already.”
    “Gaardox doesn’t wish for such high Empirical praise to his family, yet it still exists, I do not need to bother you further, just know, not all houses have enough respect for themselves to observe protocol so succinctly,” the Chancellor was considering another mug, and instead finished his. Both officers followed this lead.
    “General GhanDat, if I may, you were eventually my first choice of command faction-“ Gaardox was interrupted.
    “He waited to choose! Sto’Vo’Kor honors the patient!” This praise from the Chancellor seemed to Gaardox to be unprecedented, a pagan, Gaardox is a man of faith, he took pause. In that time GhanDat chose to speak.
    “I did not raise insurrectionary factions on the urban peripheries and fringes of the Empire, I did not collaborate with what has become a token of your house-politic-currency, and other than my attention to protocol that was existing, and still does, political currency was never endemic to my command methodology. I DO follow diplomatic guidelines, the destruction of our Empire from within has always been our greatest threat, and for a very long time, especially in regards to the civil wars, I did not see that either you or your family in any way comprehended those guidelines, however, as the decades wane on, the nature of the political debate has proven the honor and wisdom of the political choices of your house, this is not merely lip service, many houses were in NO position to take such a wide stance on command critique as did your allegiances. And now, after much of the initial civil occupations wane and respark, you must wait again for command advancement, it is my dishonor to not have foreseen the more advanced political aptitude that your family had at that time-“
    “NO GENERAL! We made the conditional rectitude that we followed the path that our hearts took us-there is not dishonor to serve here,” it was Gaardox’s time to not have any of it.
    “Hmm, this time I will stand and get us more blood wine! Gaardox and GhanDat speak both amicably and intelligently, we honor each other, and now we toast again! I have one Empirical, and one provisional General at my table, so let it be known, soon you will not merely be provisional. It is well enough praise from the GhanDat house that has been spoken, you have found your sponsorship, and you will be the first Empirical General of your house as well as provisional Gaardox, what say you to this?” Martok handed the blood wine to his co-conspirators in a surreptitious fashion-the notoriety would be his.
    “To the house of Martok! QAPLA!”
    “QAPLA!”
    That evening many houses would be honored, and saluted, and much of a moderate sized kask of blood wine would be drunken. Many considerations on tactics and politics were told and spoken of. Conversation would eventually succumb to alliances and family. The Klingons would separate company in good spirits. For Klingons-this was the best diplomatic outcome for all parties involved. Gaardox before the departure suggested a larger audience in the future, and similar conversation, intellectually stimulating.
    “Gaardox, previously you have mentioned the house of Mogue, and you have honored us by giving us a diplomatic incentive as your idealistic favor-and help us to unite the Empire, your coronation feast will be just that!” Martok was now convinced that he had made the right choices in this regard also finally.
    “My envoy will include the houses of QinShun and Qal-Dox, we will indeed forge new allegiances.” GhanDat was not one to waste an opportunity or speak lightly of relevant topics.
    “Members of the United Occupation Force will be in attendance, and I have allies in both Blood Bath and Beyond as well as Primus Coalition Factions, although they are loosely associated as FACTION traditionally.” Gaardox had previously explained that many of his former and initial colleagues were interested in comprehending his more traditional Empirical alliances personally.
    “We are aware of your Factional alliances, naturally.” GhanDat was pleased to understand that Gaardox was of wish to complete his traditional alliance circle, it was an honorable choice, and reflected well on all.
    “GhanDat expected you to make formal notice of your intentions to unite OUR factions, I will call upon the house of Gawron, Drex will attend-and the younger Duras sister, as you have a family alliance with HER specifically, and not the general interests of her House, which I can relate no less relief of. And yet you don’t bother to mention the Octonon, and your academic advisors, and political advisors will also be in attendance,” Martok eyed Gaardox critically.
    “In my faith the Octonon is omnipresent, yet, indeed, they will all need a formal invitation, also the House of Moroq must be notified, they are my family House’s alliance House liaison.” GhanDat and Martok laughed, a tough allegiance coronation is the initiation of a blood thirsty Klingon, and such an arcane reference spoke well to the faith of Gaardox, if not simply for the sake of a needed embellishment to depart company upon.
  • aten66aten66 Member Posts: 646 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC: 21
    I Said My Goodbyes

    "We'll be assigning the new Dyson Destroyer to Captain Gregs Sharvan Son'aire to use in the Dyson Sphere against the Voth; so far it's predecessor the U.S.S. Dyson has been a valuable asset, and mass production of these ships has begun, though this is one of the many Dyson ships that have been already produced and given to worthy captains. Strangely enough, Gregs wished to change the original name and registry, and we agreed, so the U.S.S. Evergreen, is now the U.S.S. Star Breaker, NX-168331-S...."

    ******

    I said my Goodbyes,

    It's Time to say Hello,

    I've hit many highs,

    Yet this fells like I've hit low.

    ******

    The Cordius docked in the Mars Shipyards holding facility, the outer facility cocooning the not yet active ship going through it's final checks, the inner facility holding the many worker bee's, raw materials, and crew quarters of the workers who were constantly working around the clock to finish and activate the ship.

    I walked off of the Cordius, and was followed by my doppelganger Sharvan. He had no where else to go beyond serving on my ship, and since he was blood and proved his loyalty even in the face of the Terran Empire, he had already earned my loyal love. The rest of the main Federation Personnel had already been transferred to other posts among the ships going to and from the Dyson ships to replenish. Most of the other non-federation species such as the Tholians, Hirogen, Voth, the Hamlet Holograms, and the Temporal Investigations Agents, and such were already in my crew roster as they were wanting to stick by me, the miners were contracted to me as well, so in total it covered 87 of my 400 possible crewman I have to now go over for the new ships crew roster.

    I had recently been drawn into earths science fiction/fantasy genre known as steampunk after reading old H.G. Wells and Jules Verne novels who's writing had been a prototype for the 21st century genre of an antichronial Victorian era, and had changed my look to mimic such a feel. I was walking along the corridor in my new Voth/Earth steampunk-esque miners outfit, complete with Terran Empire 22nd century logo, and with goggles over my eyes completing the look, when I had been run into by a human officer who I hadn't noticed. The young man hastily got up and giving me a once-over had rudely dismissed me with a 'What is this, a science fiction convention' comment, that had slightly hurt my feelings, but it was an irrelevant comment.

    It didn't help though, when I later saw that said man was the lead engineer working on the new ship. He introduced himself as Verne Smith, one of the many secondary engineers working under the Chief Engineer of the complex. "Ahem, Captain Son'aire I apologize for my... earlier comment about your attire, but I didn't expect you here until tomorrow." As he said this another engineer came into the room, holding a P.A.D.D. in his hand that he quickly gave to Verne. Verne quickly scanned over the report, before his eyes bulged like saucer's. "What do you mean the door in hydroponics just disappeared, that is physically impossible for a door to just remove itself from a bulkhead and just vanish!" he exclaimed, "What about the space behind it, was it just not there?" The engineer pulled him aside and whispered in Verne's ear. He then returned his attention to the P.A.D.D. and scrolled more into the report, then he paled in appearance. "Yes, well, thank you crewman, return to work, and test those anti-matter injectors once more," he yells out at the retreating worker, before turning back to me, "I'm sorry captain, but your specialized hydroponics bay seems to have just, disappeared from your ship...and somehow reappeared in the Dyson Ships Hydroponics bay, on a wall connecting to crewman's quarters, though it's impossible."

    I chuckled at this, believing I know what is going on. "Let me guess, the wall is regulation standard, and the crewmen's quarter's are where they should be, but the hydroponics bay is where the quarter's should be?," I chuckle at Verne's confusion, "Yeah, well Travelers technology isn't really standard when it comes to three-dimensions." Verne was perplexed at this, but I merely continued. "So Verne, has my previous request to transfer to this new ship gone through?"

    At this he gets back into engineer mode, and looks at one of his P.A.D.D. scattered on his desk. "Yes, the ship has been renamed the U.S.S. Star Breaker and reregistered as NX-168331-S in the registry, the rooms for your specialty crewman have been given the proper environmental controls per your request, including Tholian protocols, and holodecks have been updated with Hirogen holographic programming for them, and the ship has been fitted like all standard Federation starships with holo-emitters for your holographic crewman, and a room of mineral repositories for the Horta crewmembers," he says and closes his P.A.D.D, "Would you mind if I gave you the tour now?"

    *****

    After the tour of all the lower decks, we departed from Verne, who wanted to leave us to discover the unique bridge for ourselves. Most of the lower decks incorporated Dyson technology as well as Borg technology carried over from the Oregon. We learned it was fitted with the Dyson Experimental Weaponry set, gravimetric torpedoes and an experimental weapons system that was a cross between a cannon and beam weaponry, as well as a unique array of consoles. Among these consoles are a Spatial Charge launcher, a Subspace Jump matrix, and a proton particle stabilizer. The warp core was based on Solanae attempts to incorporate Iconian Gateway technology into ships, and this created an ability to jump long distances in a straight line, through the blink of an eye.

    The bridge too took such designs from the Iconians, and more of a design feel from the Obelisk Carrier's bridge. The chairs that could sense our presence, the retracting paths, the holographic view of the ship and space to compensate for the windowless design, it was all breathtaking. What took my breath away more though was my old bridge crew standing in various positions, from sitting to standing around on the bridge, all of my original bridge crew stood before me. Two new faces were also in their position, monitoring the Iconian technology, both of them unfamiliar Klingons. "Commander Anar TRIBBLE, and Lieutenant Bu'oi Rani of the House of Vagh reporting to duty sir!" said the Klingon Male, who was a commander, and tactical officer by colors, "As well as the rest of your bridge crew sir, all accepted transfers to the Star Breaker, per Admiral Chakotay's orders." I stood in awe, and merely smiled.

    Maybe I had hit a low, but as I hugged my new crewman, as well as the old ones, I felt my sadness lighten up, and was glad to be posted to this new ship. Maybe I'll have to thank Chakotay personally next time I'm around ESD. But now I'm off to celebrate at Club 602 with my new crew. It's a new night, a new day, let's celebrate! Qapla'!
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    I was a bit creative with the prompt on this one.

    LC 3 Redux: "Happiness is sadness"

    Daysnur found Vice Admiral Do'eth in the Vengeance's holodeck, among a host of arguing holograms of young Romulans, a sad smile on her face and tears dripping down her cheeks.

    Damn. This was the third time this month. He'd tried his best to keep the rumors quiet, but they'd gotten out eventually. Oddly, the crew accepted their commander's weakness; even the Klingons seemed to understand the inner strength it took for the woman to keep herself alive every day.

    Which was probably why she was in here, even though Daysnur had been trying to break her of her addiction. It had been a...trying month.

    The Lethean sighed internally and stepped in. "Computer, pause program."

    The Romulan didn't even look up. "Daysnur. Did I miss anything important?"

    "No, sir. Just stopped by Mol'Rihan on our way back to Qo'noS. Khev got off, took command of the Gannius. He says thanks for pulling those strings for him, and sends his best regards. We ran into some Elachi scouts in the Psi Velorum sector, but Omek'ti'kallan handled them just fine."

    "Good. What do you need me for?"

    "Well, sir...as your therapist and telepathic counselor, I have to say that I'm worried about the amount of time you're spending here."

    "I...well..."

    "Do you need to talk about it, sir? Why this program? Why relive the past?"

    "Because it makes me happy."

    "And sad. I can feel the despair and loss, sir, don't try to lie to me."

    "Sure. But this program keeps me going nonetheless. Nostalgia, I guess. A wish for better days."

    Daysnur remained silent. The Captain continued.

    "I don't remember my fourth name anymore, you know that? I forgot it while I was a lieutenant on the Ravon."

    "I'm...sorry to hear that. Why did you forget it?"

    "I told her."

    "Sorry?"

    "I told her my fourth name. She promised to remember it forever."

    "Oh. Is she..."

    "Not one of these. This is the day she was sick, about a month after we started meeting. I wanted to stay by her side, but she insisted that I go. It was just ch'Harvan flu, but I was so worried for her."

    "Oh. So..."

    "I told her my fourth name, and she promised me that she would never forget it. That it would be a secret safe with her forever. When she..."

    The Romulan choked up, still staring into space. Daysnur laid a measured hand on her shoulder and projected a low-grade soothing. The Admiral wouldn't want a lot of influence, but it would be good for her continuing mental health to have little.

    "When he came, with his soldiers, and she told me to run...I just didn't see the need to remember it. I would never need to tell anyone again, so what was the point?"

    "I see. So, back to this program...you like it because it reminds you of better days, yes?"

    "If I wanted generic better days, there's a Virinat program in subsection three."

    "I know, sir. Half the crew uses it."

    "Yeah. No, I use this one as a reminder of when I was truly happy."

    "And do you think that you can ever break yourself of your addiction to this program?"

    She grinned tightly. "Only if I'm really happy again. And that means bringing her back from the dead. So no, not likely."

    "I see. Do you think that you would be willing to do some memory retrieval in your memories of her? Maybe remembering your fourth name would help you?"

    "No. My memories of her are mine and mine alone. And besides, it's just a name."

    "A name that Rihannsu consider to be extremely important."

    "Sure. But it's just a name. I use names like hats; I've been D'trel Tomalak, D'trel ir'Valkirae tr'Damassu, Do'eth emanekafsuoivbo, Do'eth of ch'Rihan, T'naas--that one time I pretended to be a Vulcan for a year--R'innae ir'Virinat tr'Rihannsu, and something like fifty other throwaway names. Names are no longer important to me. Except for hers."

    "What was her name? Her Rihannsu name. I mean?"

    The Romulan looked down. "Adani ir'Aethra tr'Harvannsu," she whispered. "She was...she was perfect. You know?"

    "Not really, sir. But I'm sure that I know someone who does."

    "Yeah. Three said that to me, you know? Now there's a woman Adani would like. All fire and wrath, loving life anyway, keeping her people safe and happy and free. The exact opposite of what the Tal Shiar did to us. Yeah, she would've signed right up with that woman. And I would've gone with her."

    "I see, sir."

    "But I'm broken, y'know? I've been broken for decades. And the stress is pulling apart my pieces. This program is...the cast, or the glue, holding me together. It hurts, but it makes me whole. Or at least, a reasonable facsimile of whole."

    "You really loved her, didn't you?"

    "Still do. She was perfect."

    "I see, sir. Do you think that you are ready to come out now? We're approaching the Qo'noS sector, and the High Council is going to want to speak with you."

    The Romulan wiped her tears on her uniform, and nodded.

    "Yeah. Why the heck not? Computer, end program."

    She had impressive emotional blocks, but Daysnur still caught the longing in her eyes as the program flickered off, leaving them in the black-with-yellow-lines room of the holodeck.

    Maybe it would be a good idea for him to schedule a couple more counseling sessions this week, just in case.

    At least Daysnur knew where he was at home. In the engineering room, with Jak making bedroom comments and screaming at uhlans as the singularity core screeched threateningly. Something about life-or-death situations in Main Engineering just resonated with Daysnur's jack-of-all-trades, free-living spirit.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
    Baal%20prop%20pic%208_zpsqaptvpnu.png
  • ryan218ryan218 Member Posts: 33,995 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    Captain's Log: Stardate: 91785.6. Lieutenant Commander Ryan Allington, Commanding Officer; U.S.S. Victorious - Exeter-Class Cruiser

    The Victorious is en route to study a newly discovered pulsar in the Felczer Nebula just off the Orellius Sector Block. The crew is in high spirits after several weeks in minimal combat conditions. In the meantime, my Chief Engineer will be taking shore leave on Defera for the next several days until our return.

    End of log

    Ryan walks into the shuttlebay as the U.S.S. Orwell, a Yellowstone-Class Runabout, is being prepped for take-off. Dannover is standing on the starboard nacelle, stroking the hull. Ryan walks over to her, keeping his approach hidden before speaking up, "try not to wreck the paint."

    Dannover turns around, surprised by his stealthy approach, before stepping off the nacelle and coming face-to-face with him. "Come to see me off, sir?"

    "Well. it's traditional for an officer to request permission to disembark before leaving her ship, lieutenant."

    Dannover suppresses the urge to laugh, before straightening up. "Permission to disembark, captain?"

    "Granted. We'll pick you up at Defera when our survey of P-285 is complete."

    Dannover nods, before Ryan speaks up again, "are you sure you don't want someone to accompany you? What if your implants--?"

    "I'll be fine, sir. Thank you."

    Ryan nods lightly as Dannover walks into the Runabout. Ryan then steps back as the departure alert klaxon sounds.

    A few minutes later, and the Orwell is headed away from the Victorious at full impulse, before the Victorious jumps to warp.

    Chief Engineer's Personal Log, Stardate: 91785.96. Lieutenant Elizabeth Dannover, U.S.S. Victorious.

    It's been 3 hours since I left the Victorious and I'm now en route to Defera. If nothing goes wrong, I should arrive at--

    Log interrupted

    Dannover grunts as she's knocked to the floor of the cockpit, the lighting dead as the runabout slows back to sub-light speeds. Dannover forces herself into one of the seats, tapping several controls to get the gyros stabilising the vessel's rotation so that the manoeuvring thrusters can start decelerating the ship, since the impulse engines were offline for warp speed and would take too long to get online without the auto-pilot.

    She also resets the inertial dampers before looking at the displays, perplexed. What the hell just happened?

    She starts to panic when she realises that either her staff were incompetent or were just trying to kill her; someone had forgotten to service the fusion reactor. It sent out a feedback loop which fried the main computer and forced it to go into safe mode, dropping out of warp and shutting down the warp core.

    "That explains why we dropped out of warp, not to mention why I..."

    She suddenly realises that she is having to fight to focus. She feels her forehead where she hit the deck, pulling her hand away as it's covered by a dark red liquid. Suddenly, she feels dizzy. Great, she thinks, I have a concussion.

    She reaches under the console for the medkit, puling it out and opening it to retrieve the tissue regenerator. After running it along the wound several times, she grabs a hypo loaded with anaesthetic, loosely jabbing it into her arm before grabbing a stimulant and jabbing that in as well.

    She's fully aware of the potential risks of using an anaesthetic and a stim at the same time, but right now she'd prefer a headache to losing consciousness to a concussion.

    After her head clears, she looks at the screen again. Without the reactor, there's no power to the impulse engines. She could bypass the engines into the emergency power, but she'll need that for life support and antimatter containment.

    She quickly ejects the antimatter and shuts down the storage pods and containment fields. Now she just needs to worry about life support. The feedback surge took out the comm system and emergency beacon, so she's not hopeful about that. Worse, the console suddenly starts chiming an alert obnoxiously.

    Elizabeth groans, painfully and severely irritated, "Shut up, you stupid infernal piece of over-complicated, faulty, unreliable, murderous, bio-neural junk..."

    She taps a control to silence the alarm as the alert comes on the display. Her heart sinks as she realises how royally screwed she is. The reactor casing has been compromised. Radiation is now leaking into the cabin.

    "That's bad...", she groans out, "that's really bad."

    She starts thinking quickly. The radiation medication is likely already contaminated, since the medical bay is near the reactor. Without it, she could probably survive for 12 hours before lethal exposure. She doesn't have the equipment with her to repair the casing, and her miracle-worker card is out-of-date.

    She has one chance; she was due to arrive at Defera in an hour. When she didn't arrive, Defera would notify the Victorious and they'd come to search for her. But, since the runabout is still being carried away by her inertia, there is little chance of the Victorious finding her without a signal.

    "How the hell do I give them a signal without comm..."

    She trails off as she feels a blinding pain across her nervous system as her nanoprobes make another attempt to replicate in her spinal column. She had to put up with this kind of pain nearly 24/7, and she was starting to get sick of it. The last thing she needs while facing her own mortality is a reminder of her own former lack of humanity.

    Then she hits upon an idea. She could reactivate her interlink node and set it to broadcast a distress signal. It wouldn't be very strong, but if the Victorious came looking for her, it would give them a homing signal. Unfortunately, it would also start to break down the gap between her and the hive mind. She hates the plan. She hates the Borg. She hates half her cranium and spine for being Borg. But, she doesn't have much choice.

    Over the next hour, she sets to work modifying her interlink node, using a tool from the engineering kit to manipulate the cortical node around her right eye until it starts to glow green once more. She then keeps manipulating it until her tricorder shows that she's finished her modifications. Then, with a small jerk of the tool, she reactivates the interlink node. Suddenly, she feels a slight dizziness in her head as the miniature subspace transceiver starts broadcasting.

    After several hours, sitting in a far corner of the cockpit, in the dark, her skin tingling from the radiation, she's also developing a headache as she starts hearing whispers in her head. She looks up, whimpering slightly, "computer... radiation exposure?"

    "Radiation level in flight cabin is at 112 roentgens and rising. Lethal exposure in 6 hours, 12 minutes." The computer seemed cold at the best of times, and for Elizabeth, this was not the best of times.

    She feels herself growing weaker, her strength being sapped by her concussion as she slips into a dull slumber.

    More time passes as the runabout continues to drift. Elizabeth's skin is starting to darken, as if she's being cooked, as the flesh starts to die. She slowly starts to regain consciousness, being greeted by that evil, infernal bleeping from the computer console. "Re... report...", she weakly utters it out, her body ever-weakening from the radiation.

    "Warning: Radiation levels are at 572 roentgens and rising. Lethal exposure in 2 minutes. Gastro-intestinal damage imminent."

    Elizabeth can feel herself becoming nauseous, but she's too weak to care. In 2 minutes, the radiation levels would hit 600 roentgens and she'd be dead in less than 2 weeks if she was lucky. Suddenly, she feels a blinding light enter the cockpit through the large observation windows, filling her vision as her combadge chirps.

    "Victorious to Orwell. Lieutenant Dannover, please respond."

    Elizabeth struggles to hear the voice, as her hearing starts to be filled with the inhumane chatter from her interlink node and her intestines burn with pain. Suddenly, her head drops as everything goes dark.

    U.S.S. Victorious, Sick Bay. 3 hours later.

    Elizabeth lies on the biobed, her life signs stable, with an IV drip feeding into her arm. Ryan is standing over her. He hadn't been in this position since they rescued her from the Borg over a year ago. He looked at her cortical node, as it continued to glow that sickly green.

    Over the past year, Ryan had come to care about Elizabeth a great deal, like a surrogate sister. He'd dedicated a large sum of his free time to helping her cope with the pain her assimilation had caused her. Seeing her like this isn't easy.

    Suddenly, Ryan hears a small moan as the young brunette starts to wake up. He takes her hand as she focuses in on him, painfully uttering, "hey..." to him.

    "Hey," Ryan speaks softly, smiling as the lieutenant takes in her surroundings, "We thought we lost you there."

    "What happened...?"

    "We got to you just in time. Another few minutes and we wouldn't have been able to help." He looked at her solemnly, "we nearly lost you."

    He keeps quiet for a moment, giving them both time to process that. "Welcome back."
  • aten66aten66 Member Posts: 646 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC: 17 Mirror-rorriM

    Somewhere near Iconia,
    between the ruins of Romulus and Remus.
    Stardate: Unknown


    Captain's Log:

    Whoever knew Lobi Crystal could be worth so much for it's mass quantity, and blatant irrelevancy in worth to other minerals, energy sources, and all around unappealing look. The Ferengi I had gotten this crate of useless orange crystals from mere hours ago for instance, knew they were valuable to the Terran Empire and had ridiculously offered it for an extremely inflated price. Then I had my pet Gorn have a 'talk' with him, and he decided to loosen the price to a quarter of what he originally offered, as well as information on Romulan Smuggling routes in the area, but that's what you get for trying to cheat Hazari Singh.

    Of course he forgot to mention that he was carrying false Lobi, implanted with trackers inside of them to track them back to Imperial territory. The Ferengi will regret double crossing the Terran Empire. Maybe I'll spare him more time with my pet, and instead finish him off myself. He'd probably assume I'd be kinder then my pet, pfff, compassionate fool.

    ******

    We had tracked the Ferengi's ship to just outside the known regions of the Beta Quadrant, and found him surrounded by a swarm of ships of unknown design. We had beaten them back and as we nursed our own wounds, I had the Ferengi detained in my ready room.

    ***

    "Please, Captain, don't send me back to be debriefed!" he pleaded, "I don't know anything more then what I told you, I picked up this Lobi in Alliance space, among the others, and was told a specific destination to deliver this too." The Ferengi was genuinely terrified, and I reviled in this fact. I picked up a bottle of special nail polish on my desk, and after applying a coat on a single nail, began blowing on it to dry. While it was still wet, I put my hands on the Ferengi's lobes from behind, and proceeded to rub them, then I scratched his neck with the still damp nail.

    "Tell me Ferengi, why did you sell me fake Lobi?" I asked him. He was truly terrified.

    "I can promise you, I didn't know they were faked, I didn't look at the cargo cause a Klingon General threatened my life if I was to break contract" he says "I'm already dead because I sold the Lobi to you!" I pondered this, then decided to call my medic.

    "Can you ready the antidote for Poison number F-35?" I say to my medical officer over the combadge, "I gave it to the Ferengi, and the truth side effect kicked in, but if I don't give him the antidote, he won't be of any use to us as a Contraband contact, now can we?" The Ferengi nearly fainted upon hearing he was poisoned but he caught himself. "Oh yes, and send S'liven as a security escort for him" I say. At this the Ferengi did faint, but I couldn't tell if it was from the neurological poison, or from knowing my Gorn security officer was picking him up. Oh well, I decided to check in with the science ensign I set on dissecting that artificial crystal.

    ******

    "Ma'am, the Lobi you've asked me to inspect, we'll there is a problem," the science officer said. He was just an ensign, barely a cadet fresh out of the academy, but he was smart, and ingenious when it comes to minerals and space phenomena.

    "Yes cadet?" I asked, not wanting to snap at anymore people today, after having to maim that Ferengi, "What could you possibly tell me, then being duped today?"

    He looked a little nervous, and I could see the glean on his forehead from nervous sweat. "Well ma'am, after examining the false Lobi, and taking one of the Lobi apart to dissect the technology, I've come into a bit of a perplexing problem," the Ensign said, " When I examine the technology against Alliance or Romulan known tech, it doesn't match with theirs or any of the other known galactic powers...except one."

    He stopped, and I had no clue as to why, but then he brings out a P.A.D.D. and brings up some schematics and hands it to me. "What technology did the schematics of this tech match?" I ask him. He reaches into the same bag and pulls out a whole Lobi crystal, and a whole transmitter, the size of an old earth quarter.

    "The technology is similar to standard Terran Empire transceivers, and even stranger that they produce the correct code that all active known transceivers produce," he says, "yet when I ran their serial numbers through Imperial Intelligence, nothing appeared in the production centers, and the only thing I can think of, is that this shipment was not meant to be discovered... by anyone."

    I ponder this, and bring the small Lobi stone to the lights in the ceiling, biting my bottom lip. I can see the small transceiver, identical to the one I have in my opposite hand, and ponder what this means. "Thank you Ensign, Commander Arcon, can you please erase this mans mind, and remove all relevant data to these transceivers from his personal and computer logs," I say, "scrub the chips personally if you have to, and make sure Engineering doesn't dissect any of these Lobi or transceivers." Suddenly aware as if a fog is lifted from the mans mind, a Betazoid man walks out of the shadows from behind me, dressed in what the Prime universe, would call Section 31 garb. He grabs the Ensign's shirt collar, and the ensign merely leads him out of this room.

    'How perplexing,' I think to myself, 'what could the emperor need with all this false Lobi, and why would he have it shipped to the outer rim of the Beta quadrant?' I think to myself that it's just an odd little transceiver, but the rational part of my augmented mind says otherwise.

    ******

    On The Other Side of The Transceiver:

    A plain dark and shadowy room is lit by the soft orange light of the monitor. The orange effect was from the multipurpose transceiver being embedded into the artificial orange crystal. Audio and video was still filtering at an enhanced rate, in part of the fact of the way the artificial crystal was produced for such things. The fly-like lens gave it a 180 degree view of the room and multiple views of Hazari Singh as she held the crystal towards the light of the room on her side. A solitary figure was watching the monitor, while two other monitors viewed his two compatriots over the subspace link. "Has the operation been compromised?" asked first. The second shadow answered.

    "No, all is going on as it has been foreseen, Hazari may have intercepted the transceivers in this shipment, but that was to get her suspicions aroused, the actual shipment has arrived at Mol'Rihan as predicted, confiscated by the Tal Shiar forces as we wanted, and at Qo'nos, where the High Council is using them as mere baubles and jewelry trinkets for our Orion agents," the second man on the screen says, "and at this rate expansion among the higher powers of the quadrants will let us have eyes and ears nearly everywhere before anyone would notice, and we can discover how deep the infiltrators are."

    "Well, let's hope we've piqued the curiosity of miss Singh, so she doesn't become a pawn in their game as well," this from the man in the room, watching Hazari, "perhaps we can recruit her as well, we could always need another member in our group, and they already want her downfall because of what she represents." The man stops and continues to watch Hazari from the shadows.

    "And what does she represent then?" the second man asks, "What could she possibly give us that we don't already have Drake?" The man steps out of the shadows, and turns to look at the monitor.

    "She represents hope, B'vat, don't you agree Hakeev?" Franklin Drake says, turning to the second screen, showing the Romulan Tal Shiar Commander. Hakeev strokes his chin, then looks away from the screen.

    "I believe, Drake, that while she is from the universe where our operation has already succeeded, what is to say her interaction in this timeline, and the resulting reprise of the Demons, doesn't mean that future, her home, hasn't been negated as a possibility?" he says. Drake turns a crisp 180 in his militaristic style uniform.

    "While that is a possibility, it doesn't mean we can't stop their influence from spreading, and with the reawakening of the Milky Way Gateway network, we may have a chance to stop them," Drake says, "With the Borg threat diminished because of Son'aire's counterpart, we may acquire help from the Delta Quadrant Coalition there, maybe they can help us end this conflict peacefully." He turns off the main screen, and continues the conversation with the other two. "The Omega Initiative will occur as it was meant too," he says, "our time is up friends, it's not safe to continue this conversation." With that the three of them ended their conversation and terminated the subspace link.

    At that Drake gets up, closes the collapsible console and hides it in the wall, and walks up to a pedestal in the middle of the room. "Activation code Drake-phi-alpha-one-one-Omega," he says. The pedestal activates, causing the leg braces to activate locking him in place, the inner pedestal then lifts in the center, and Drake puts his arm at it's sides, locking his arms in place. Then the soundproofing force field is removed, revealing the heavily armed Holographic Terran M.A.C.O. Guards at their post. This was his life at the Elba II Asylum for the Criminally Insane.

    ******
    Thank you Agent Singh, your work for the Aegis division of DTI has appreciated your work to intercept the artificial Lobi supply, as that would ruin the Empire's economy; the Empire thanks you, as well as the Imperial Starfleet.
    ~The Aegis Division

    "Hah, ironic they call themselves the Aegis division, don't you think Charles?" I say talking to the person sitting in the chair opposite my bed, "And they have no clue they're being manipulated by Memory Omega."

    At this the an scoffed at me. "Please, you were manipulated as much as they were Hazel," he says, "I..." I snap at his nickname for me.

    "Don't you dare call me HER name Charley, I'm not her, and I won't ever be her, no matter how hard you try to make me," I sigh, "We lived different lives Charles, and I can't be her for you." I take a chance to look at the man in front of me, and it shocks me every time I look. He was ragged, unlike when we first met, his eyes dark and hollow, an unshaven face showing a scraggily beard, while an agonizer collar adorned his neck, and his clothes began to show they were beginning to tatter.

    "I love you Hazel, and even though they dragged me into this timeline, even though they forced me on you as a watchdog, even though you are not of this timeline, you're just like her," he says almost wildly, "and while you don't believe it, I see her in YOU Hazari, you may never be her, but to me... to me... you are just as good as she was, in fact, while you may have been unloved, so was she, the only difference between you two, is the influence of your grandfather, or in your case lack of." He was getting desperate, fighting off tears, and I could see small sobs rack his hollowing chest. I need to show him care, I'm not the monster this universe turned me into, it's only a mask after all... a mask, just keep telling yourself that.

    I removed that blasted agonizer collar from his neck, and hugged him close. "It's just a mask Charley, I'm not mad, please forgive me Charles, I'm sorry Charles, it's that mask that made me yell, forgive me Charles... forgive me," I say and we fall asleep like that till we put the masks on the next morning, for me the act, for him, the agonizer.

    End Log.
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC 28 redux: "Three's bad week".

    Captain's log, USS Predator, Nemesis unit designation Three commanding officer. I forget the stardate. Call this day 1, hour 2.

    I have exactly 168 hours until my body shuts down, permanently. A little over 166, now.

    I left the Predator in the Felczer Nebula, doing some standard surveys. I got bored, the ship had three escorts, and I had some leave time, so the crew basically forced me to take the captain's yacht (Yellowstone-class, USS Trevor McNesby) to Risa for vacation.

    Something happened an hour in, and I dropped out of warp with a jolt. I understand enough to get the ship to warp and out of it, and how to set the autopilot, which is now broken. I can use the coms, which are conveniently broken now, but otherwise...

    Well, I don't have the foggiest idea of how to fix this hunk of junk. Also, I last ate just before I left, stuffing myself to the gills in anticipation of an all-day flight without replicators.

    That reminds me, emergency provisions are now going into all shuttles and runabouts. I have water, but nothing else.

    A quirk of my biology is that I can regenerate from almost anything, given nutrients and time. I can withstand the disintegration of thirty percent of my brain tissue and over ninety-five percent of my overall body with no long-term ill effects. However, starvation is a very real threat, and with my metabolism, a more serious one. In five days, I will begin to digest my own internal organs in order to survive. After one hundred and fifty-two hours, I will lapse into a coma. Massive cellular death will follow, as my body begins to divert resources to keeping critical brain and body parts alive. At one hundred and sixty hours, I will begin emergency digestion of my circulatory and respiratory systems. At or about one hundred and sixty-eight hours, I will die.

    Until that happens, I'm stranded in space. I'm sure that Azip or D'vek would be fine here, and Belkrab could be sitting on Risa only a couple hours late, but I've only been in this universe for a few months.

    So I'm going to play holo-chess until something happens.

    ...

    Day 2, hour 1. There is enough power for life support and basic computer functions, although most conveniently the self-diagnostic is offline. I have instructed the computer to play Brandon Sanderson audiobooks while I play holo-chess. I finished with Elantris just before I went to sleep at about 2000 hours last night. Water supplies are steady. I have enough that my emergency hydrocatalysis enzymes might be able to use the spare stuff to get me an hour of extra time. I've been pouring the water through life support, instructing the computer to use it to raise hydrogen and oxygen levels.

    ...

    Day 3, hour 16. I've beaten the chess program's elitest level. Just finished Mistborn 2 on audio. Going to sleep early, will listen to Vin vs. Ruin tomorrow. Maybe I should play that Cardassian strategy game next.

    ...

    Day 4, hour 10. Extra water is now depleted. My body fat is almost gone. I've got bed sores and a sore back from sitting in one spot for days. My calculations give me an extra two hours before coma sets in. Vin beat Ruin. On to Way of Kings.

    ...

    Day 5, hour 8. Mild visual hallucination visible around 0300 hours. Consistent with previous unit experiences with isolation. Self-digestion is in progress. My liver and pancreas are now down to 80% of their healthy mass.

    Have finished Way of Kings. On to Words of Radiance. I am now "Grand Master of Cardassian Strategy! Congratulations, Your_Name_Here!"

    ...

    Day 6, hour 20. Have finished Skybreaker, Alloy of Law, and Shadows of Self. Sleep now.

    ...

    Day 7, hour 4. I will go into a coma in about 6 hours. Visual and olfactory hallucinations are now constant. This is consistent with prior unit experiences with enforced isolation in a confined space.

    Will finish Stormlight 4 before I lose consciousness. Hope that my crew has realized that something's wrong by now. It will be embarrassing to die because I don't know the in-universe workings of a spacecraft I've seen on TV, and in books, and in fan magazines and manuals.

    ...

    Day 7, hour 14. This is it. I am beginning to lose consciousness. Original, if you hear this, I'm sorry.

    .......................................[LOG ENDED DUE TO NO MESSAGE AUDIBLE FOR RECORDING]

    ......

    Three opened her eyes. Sickbay. Not the George Takei's sickbay. Oh, right. New ship, Breen cruiser. USS Predator.

    Then memory hit.

    "Whoah! What the hell happened?"

    "Aaand I'm going to have to insist that you lie back down and not rip out those IVs, sir," said Commander D'vek, gently but firmly pushing Three back down onto the biobed. "You're damn lucky that Commander Shran wanted to talk to you on Risa; when Orbital Control said you hadn't showed up, we knew something was wrong."

    "How'd you find me?"

    "Scanned along the warp path. Picked you up on the second sweep. Nebula scans took a little longer than expected; some unidentified probes showed up and we had a little dust-up, blew out our sensor arrays. We had to fix'em. No deaths or injuries, just a delay."

    "When did you get me?"

    "About two hours after your last log. You've been in sickbay for three days; we're headed for Earth at low warp. How long until you recover?"

    "Based on previous experience and calculations, two weeks until I'm back to normal. Less, if I can eat right and get a little light workout. Fit for duty in ten days."

    He sighed, slightly annoyed. "Fine. Damn, I wish I understood your biology better. Do you seriously have a H2O catalysis enzyme?"

    "Yeah. Living fuel cell. It's an emergency thing, though, and only a little boost. Not as much as what the Original's creators wanted. Where's Azip?"

    "Commander Shran is on call with Command on the bridge. Admiral Quinn and Admiral Janeway both called for you. Janeway said that she still hates your guts but that she owes you for saving Tuvok from that Undine spy in the Jenolan Sphere Incident."

    "Never let that woman hear this, but she's starting to grow on me. Guess it wasn't her fault that the Narrative made her do all that crazy sh*t on Voyager."

    "Yes, sir," said D'vek dutifully. "D'vek to Acting Captain Shran. Azip, Three's awake. You can see her at your convenience."

    Three lay back down. The one good thing about self-digestion and the ensuing recovery was that her back pain from sitting in one spot for a week was no longer the biggest pain in her body.

    To be completely honest, the muscle tightness was the least of her problems.

    Ten days to active duty, thought Three. A week if I get some solid food as well as these IVs.

    Being a competent assistant CMO as well as a very capable CSO, D'vek helpfully appeared at this karmically appropriate point in time with some freshly-replicated Klingon targ meat.

    Raw meat. Because units preferred their steaks bloody.

    D'vek at least had the decency to not make any comments as Three used her serrated metal fangs to rip apart the meat like a starving jackal.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
    Baal%20prop%20pic%208_zpsqaptvpnu.png
  • icegavelicegavel Member Posts: 991 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    For this entry of Redux, I will be pulling on Challenge 55: We Are The (Mirror) Borg.

    "Admiral Lerginas, you are receiving a communication from Admiral D'Vak on DS9."

    Rygobeth pulled his gaze from the window of his ready room as Shonol's voice came over the intercom. Outside, the moorings of the advanced drydock facilities of Origin Station could be seen hugging the ship. Meanwhile, the final touches were being put on the biggest overhaul the Determination had ever received. Structural reinforcement, extra shield generators, additional hull plating and armor reinforcement, and a new design (a mix of the Galaxy- and Venture-class ships) that, to Rygobeth, seemed more to flow. Much as he thought of the Sovereign-class, he saw this design of the ship - his ship - as evocative of motion, as if the ship were perpetually in flight. The form spoke power into the stars. Additionally, Rygobeth had ordered systems installed to support the "Antimatter Spread" that he had recently seen used to great effect. But the real reason the refit had occurred was the new function that had been restored - Saucer Separation. Once again, the dreadnought could detach its saucer to use it in a fight.

    Sitting at his desk, Admiral Lerginas tapped a comm command. A screen emerged from his desk, and on it appeared the Klingon face of the admiral in charge of Task Force Omega. "Admiral," the man said, "an officer of our task force has requested your assistance in the Mempa Sector. Proceed there immediately."
    Rygo mused. "Sir," he replied, "I'm currently in the Aldebaren Sector. I'm sure you have other vessels closer."
    "I do, Lerginas. You, however, were requested by name."
    Confused and desiring answers, Rygobeth nodded. "I will depart at once."
    "Coordinates are being transmitted to your helm, admiral. D'Vak out." The channel closed.

    Rygobeth rose and exited the ready room onto the bridge. "Kopaka," he said to his Breen pilot, "you just received coordinated from Admiral D'Vak. Lay in a direct course. Shonol," he followed up with his Andorian Ops Cheif, "have Origin Station clear us for departure." She worked her console as he sat in the center seat, and a moment later spoke. "We are cleared to depart."
    "Good. Seal the airlock. Release docking clamps. Thrusters, ahead one-quarter. Port and starboard, station keeping."
    Out in space, the newly re-christened USS Determination slid from its moorings into space, like a creature reborn.
    "Course plotted and laid in," the Breen said from his vocoder.
    "Let's give the impulse engines a test before we get to warp. Seven tells me she managed to coax a little more power from the maneuvering thrusters. Full impulse."

    Under his feet, Rygobeth felt nothing. Tapping the controls of his command chair, he confirmed. Impulse engines were at full, no malfunctions. Ship was confirmed moving by Origin and all surrounding facilities and ships. He looked over to Shonol. "Lieutenant," he said to her, "decrease inertial dampeners by zero point zero two percent." She looked back, puzzled. "Sir?"
    "Do you feel it?" He asked the question as he glanced around the bridge, meaning to indicate the ship. Shonol sat motionless for a moment, the said, "feel what, sir?"
    "Exactly, lieutenant. To truly know a ship," he insisted, "you need to be able to feel her speed by the vibration in the deck plating. The dampeners are set too high, you can't feel a thing."
    Shonol nodded in understanding. She had heard of the old habit that the admiral insisted on, from other officers of the "Old Guard." So, she complied. Sure enough, she felt the most minuscule vibration on her boots.
    "Ah," the admiral sighed. "There it is. Kopaka, increase to warp one." The vibration increased slightly as the warp engines kicked in. "Alright," said the admiral, "ramp up to maximum speed slowly." He did not need to state why, everyone knew because of his previous orders. He was getting a feel for the ship again.

    Minutes later, the ship was again at full transwarp speeds, racing toward the designated coordinates under the power of the salvaged Borg transwarp coil integrated into their impulse drive. It took little time to reach the coordinates, in the heart of the Mempa Sector. Slowing to impulse, the ship scanned the area of seemingly empty space. Finding nothing, they waited. Then, something found them.
    "Admiral," reported Remata'klan hurriedly, "a ship is decloaking! Klingon... it is a Peghqu'-class destroyer!"
    "Have they raised shields or armed weapons?"
    "No, sir."
    Shonol interjected. "We are being hailed."
    "Put it on," Lerginas ordered.
    On the viewscreen appeared... a spitting image of the man in the command chair of the Determination. Well, almost-spitting. This one had no scope over the eye, and was clad in decorated Klingon armor. He was grinning. When the admiral saw him, he matched the alien's grin. He understood now why this alien had asked for him by name. "Rygobeth," the admiral said, for he knew the man was his Mirror counterpart - they had met before. "I heard you were in these parts. What, did you ditch the Itak, or did you get it blown up?"
    "Q'Tar's ship is in a drydock. I felt he wouldn't want it damaged. This... is the Itak Cha'DIch. A ship of this realm. I find it most effective. And what of you, admiral? That ship is not the one I saw when we first met in orbit of Japori VII."
    "Actually, it is... general. At least, I think you're a general, based on the regalia. Anyway, she just underwent a refit. You literally pulled me out of drydock for this meeting. What do you need?"
    "Q'Tar requested to meet with you. With both you and I being high-ranking members of Task Force Omega, he wishes to reach out to the force through us. This was, after all, why I was sent here. Terran ships from our side are spewing into yours, partially due to actions taken by the Tholians here. However, the interactions appear to be causing a... "down-dimension" chain reaction. As ships from my world are pulled into yours, vessels from other realms are pouring into ours. Our Tholians are contracting them and launching attacks of their own. Q'Tar sent me to find allies here, both to fight the ships that have already emerged... and to possibly push some of the ships back into THEIR realm by pushing your ships into ours."
    Rygobeth nodded, but was curious. "I wasn't terribly high-ranking in Task Force Omega until recently. How did you know I was promoted?"
    "Who do you think sponsored you for the fast-tracking program?"
    Rygobeth nodded again, satisfied. "Never thought I'd meet a nepotistic version of me, but alright. So, I take it you can open a rift here?"
    The Rygobeth in the Klingon armor nodded to the side of the screen, likely towards his science officer. From science ops, Fyrm (Rygobeth's Bajoran science officer) reported, "The Klingon ship is generating a rift." He thanked her and, glancing to Kopaka, said, "Prepare to follow the Itak Cha'DIch through the rift." The Breen nodded. The Klingon ship on the viewscreen banked and headed into the rift. The Determination followed.

    When they emerged on the other side, a battle raged. From Ops, Shonol reported. "Sir, there's four Alliance vessels under attack. Three are birds-of-prey, surrounding a bortaS-class cruiser. One of the birds is adrift. The second has lost shields, but the third presses the assault still. The bortaS is taking heavy fire, but it's dishing it right back out. IFF tag identifies it's registry as the... Isleth Q'Tar."
    "Sword of Q'Tar," Rygobeth translated. "Q'Tar is on that ship. Identity of attackers?"
    "One T'Varo-class Warbird, one Pach-class Raptor, and one Sovereign-class battleship. All power signatures indicate that they're native to this realm, but they don't match the species of origin... Sensors are detecting Borg technology aboard! The vessels are assimilated!"
    "Move to intercept," Rygobeth ordered. "Signal the tactical officers on the Isleth and the Itak Cha'DIch to coordinate assault."

    On the viewscreen, Rygobeth could see the aft section of his counterpart's vessel. Meanwhile, its fore lit up with bright green pulses. "The Itak Cha'DIch has opened fire on the T'Varo," reported Remata'klan from Tactical. "The enemy ship's dorsal shields have failed... they've taken direct hits to antimatter containment..." a green cloud blossomed before them. "Their reactor breached. The ship has been destroyed."
    "Relay my compliments to Rygobeth's gunner," the admiral said. "Lock weapons on the Sovereign. Let's show them it's not play time. Offensive pattern Alpha."

    The saucer of the Determination lit up, streams of antiprotons lancing at the assimilated Terran ship with force. The Federation ship turned to port, and many more beams lanced out. In moments, the shields of the Borg ship failed, and the beams ruptured several points of its hull. The Klingon ships pounced on this, and disruptors rained down upon the savagely torn hull. A torpedo from the remaining bird-of-prey finished it, tearing open the hull and breaching its warp core. The Raptor began to move away rapidly.

    "SIR! More ships decloaking... They're BORG!" Shonol's exasperated report directed the admiral's gaze toward the Raptor in time to see a D'Deridex and two Negh'Vars fade into the battle. The Raptor joined them, and they pressed a renewed assault.
    "Prepare to separate saucer."
    Rygobeth rose as he ordered this, moving to the turbolift, Fyrm and Shonol following him and Remata'klan taking the command chair. He ordered the lift to take him to the battle bridge. Once there, he nodded to its command crew. Selet at Tactical, Terix at the helm (both Romulan; the former female and the latter male), with Yorro at Engineering. Fyrm took science and Shonol took ops. Rygo ordered the saucer separated and listened with contentedness at the sound of the sequence. Through the secure, constant comm channel to the main bridge, he ordered, "Tactical pattern Delta Three, Commander."

    The saucer soared into the enemy ranks as the drive section banked port and opened up once more - as cover fire. As predicted, the Borg ships ignored the saucer - as well they should. In the midst of the enemy, the saucer lit up with antimatter pyrotechnics. Their sensors scrambled, the Borg ships began shooting each other The saucer continued on its course, then banked starboard and out of their fleet. The drive repeated the measure, its nose now pointed at the enemy fleet.
    "Fire."
    The Spinal Lance charged, then unleashed a massive cone of energy - its barrel having detached with the saucer, almost turning it into a space sawed-off shotgun - which slammed into the enemy fleet. Their forward shields flared and failed, but little of the energy was imparted to the hull. The ships banked to their port sides - the other side being covered by the Isleth. Their sensors now cleared by the phaser barrage, they targeted its source - only to be skewered by the saucer's mini-Lance, since the small section had lined itself up for it. The enemy thus crippled, the three other vessels moved in. Antiproton bolts, phaser pulses, and disuptor barrages descended on the four ships, and they were quickly no more.

    Rygobeth hailed Q'Tar. "Well... not the first battle I'd planned for this ship's newest refit, but it will do. I am quite pleased by the result. It was an honor to fight beside you, Q'Tar, but I have questions."
    Q'Tar laughed heartily. "Pleased?! HAH! Your ship fought barely half as well last I saw it. You have done well for yourself, loDnI' neSlo'! So, what do you wish to know?"
    "Those were Borg... but none of their own ships were here," asked the admiral. "Why is that?"
    "Ah," said the Mirror of the admiral's dead friend. "From what my Redskin tells me, you Borg do use their own ships. Here, the Borg value efficiency. They build their own ships, but prefer to use ones they capture to minimize their losses. They also adapt more of our technology, as you saw when the monsters decloaked. They fight more fiercely than in your realm, as well. They are truly a worthy adversary for the might of the Alliance!"
    "For the Alliance... but not for us. So, with glory had for all, shall we discuss your request?"
    "So we shall! I was going to do it over a bottle of bloodwine, but now? After such a battle?! We shall share a BARREL!" Q'Tar laughed heartily, and the admiral grinned.
    ***

    Admiral's Log, stardate 91793.16. After remaining aboard the Isleth Q'Tar with Q'Tar, I am finally returning home. With me is carried a proposal unlike any ever truly proposed... as well as a fine bottle of bloodwine. I am pleased to see how well my ship fared in the battle. These refits will do me well. And I thought I couldn't be more proud of this vessel before...
  • timeladykatietimeladykatie Member Posts: 86 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC 16: First Contact

    Stardate 88488.8
    Bridge, USS Stradivarius


    The path to the Azure Nebula was long. As she sat on the bridge sipping a teacup, the Borg-enhanced mind of the ship’s First Officer calculated how behind schedule they still were. There was a lot of flexibility from Starfleet in the ‘explore strange new worlds’ mission, but deviation from flight plans wasn’t something Miranda enjoyed. Her tea was also a little too bitter this morning, not that it was at all important.

    Large displays charted their progress toward their destination behind the bridge’s central chair, charting distant anomalies and changes as the Stradivarius passed through, while in front of the liberated drone she watched an Andorian operate the helm controls. Normally, the First Officer would be conducting efficiency studies or some other task suited to her skills, but today the ship passed near the Celes system, an event that Miranda decided might be 'emotionally turbulent' passing near her decimated homeworld.

    BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP.

    Miranda could measure her anxiety spike. It was a gift and a curse. "Report."

    The bespotted woman at the Operations console quickly pressed a few keys, "Warp signature detected, Commander. The warp field profile doesn't match anything in the database." Her hands danced on the panel with an expertise far beyond her apparent years. "It looks like they're exiting warp."

    A human from a science station chimed in, "The nebula seems to have masked it from sensors, I can only track its warp trail to the nebula's edge."

    This was problematic. She didn't have a lot of time to make a decision, but was massively uncomfortable entering the system of the Captain's devastated home. Then again, they had a mission… "Miss Zidas, alter course to intercept, maximum warp. Yellow alert." It might have been premature, but in this cosmic neighborhood, and given personal connections to the area, it was a precaution she determined necessary.

    It was only a few moments to get to the nebula just beyond the Celes system. The feeling of a ship dropping out of warp was something that was unmistakable, even with years in Starfleet. It was amazing timing that Captain Farron arrived when she did; though she was called to the bridge by the heightened alert, it had taken her several minutes. And she looked unprepared for service – her uniform jacket was worn open, revealing the white high-collared shirt beneath the dark gray, black and red of her uniform. In addition to wearing her jacket unzipped, her hair hung rather lifelessly.

    "Report," the Captain asked as she entered the bridge.

    Miranda immediately stood, giving the Captain her chair, and moved to an open console not far away, "An unidentified ship, not responding to hails. It dropped out of warp outside the Celes system seven minutes ago. We were close enough to intercept." At her new station, a few quick keystrokes put the vessel on the viewscreen. It was wide and thin, somewhat resembling a Federation Escort-style ship mixed with a manta ray. Its dark blue metal hull was accented with reds and blues and it carried a large blue 'mouth' at the front of its body. The wings held small nacelles poking out from the back and a long, thin 'tail' tapered off the back of the body of the craft. It looked more like an ancient stealth bomber than a starship.

    Romana, from Operations, added in, "I'm not detecting any subspace signals from the ship. It might not be responding because it isn't capable." A few beeps came from her terminal and she took a moment to look her display over before deciding it made no sense. "Ensign Lansing, this isn't making a whole lot of sense to me. Can you run it through pattern-recognition?" The console beeped again; they were transmitting the strange signal a second time. And a third.

    The Captain sat down in her chair, looking over the vessel on the screen with bewilderment. "Mer, have you seen anything like this before?" It paid to have a friend who had all the knowledge of the Borg at her disposal.

    Well, it didn't pay today, but it usually did. Today, what she got from Miranda was; "The Borg have not assimilated any vessels of this design. The hull geometry is unknown to me, Captain." She made a few quick keystrokes and a number of the large displays around the bridge altered to show scans of the other ship. "The large recess on the bow of the other vessel appears to act as a high-energy deflector array. I'm reading several very small craft orbiting it with maneuvering thrusters as well; they seem to be emitting a sensor field."

    Of all the things to pop up so close to some hard memories, this was certainly an interesting one. "Romana, that signals they're sending, can we transmit a standard greeting on the same frequency?"

    "They're using slower-than-light communications, Captain." Romana shrugged, "If we can close to one hundred thousand kilometers, I might be able to swing nearly real-time communications, but at this range I can't promise much."

    "Closing without responding to their signal might seem aggressive," Miranda felt a need to point out, "and we presently cannot decipher their signal."

    First contact was a precarious position in the best situations, antiquated communication methods weren't unheard of. But if the universal translator couldn't come up with an answer to what their hail had been… "Zidas, bring us into real-time communications range, nice and slow. Romana, transmit standard greeting on their frequency. Mer, hail Starbase 114 and advise them of the situation. Mister Lansing, I need to be able to talk to these people."

    The thin human male looked up from his display, distraught. "The signal's wave-form seems to be a highly-compressed set of isometric functions. Based on their technology level, my guess is it's a rudimentary identify friend-foe system."

    "Look out a window," remarked the Andorian pilot, sharing her fair bit of snark.

    Farron folded her hands, resting her chin on them and in turn resting her elbows on her armrests. All they could do now was wait. As the ship grew nearer, the Captain stood and zipped her uniform jacket. The tension was mounting as seconds ticked on and turned to minutes. The other ship didn't move, and ceased their unusual hail after the first minute. The only sound in Farron's ears was the gentle hum of the ship's systems.

    "We're within one light-second," announced the pilot.

    Discontent with the continued wait, Farron gave the order. "That's close enough. Open a channel." She took a few steps to stand in the middle of her bridge. She hated the slow speed of this encounter, but she had to deal with what she had at hand. First contact was an honor, even if it was a frustrating honor.

    It took what felt minutes, maybe hours. Realistically, it was a couple seconds. When the image on the viewscreen changed, it took the air from Farron's lungs. Her legs felt weak and all the confidence she had was instantly evaporated. Still, she said what she had prepared to say; "I am Captain Meria Farron of the starship Stradivarius, representing… representing the United Federation of Planets."

    Her unease was clear, and the reason was a good one. Of the five people she could see on the dimly lit bridge of the other vessel, what stood out was the distinctive purple skin that Captain Farron shared. From the small edge along their jawlines to their hair, their eyes… the crew of the vessel was decidedly Saffi.

    They looked equally confused, and the fact that it took nearly a full second for them to respond made things even more uncomfortable. There were men and women on the other ship's bridge who exchanged glances and finally, one spoke; "This is the Saffi vessel Norende."


    Stardate 88489.0
    Transporter Room, USS Stradivarius


    A white uniform coat with gold trim was worn over a red blouse in Farron's dress uniform. Romana stood beside her, and a human male completed the team. The Trill's blouse was tallow and the man's was black, indicating her department and his civilian status. His jacket also had a diplomatic insignia instead of rank pips and was worn open, unlike the officer's uniforms.

    "Any idea what we're facing, sir?" the Operations chief asked. Farron had asked Romana to join them because she had received their signal, but moreover it was because Farron knew her. Well, Farron had served with Serazia Romana, Emoni Romana was a different host of the same symbiont. There was a lot of comfort there, and Emoni was less… intimidating than a liberated Borg.

    Romana's question was more than fair, considering these were ostensibly her people. "Our schools tested us on all early warp ships. The Iadena, the Piripsen, our first ship's name was Conisbra. Our early ships had a curved frame, and it used retracting 'wings' instead of traditional warp nacelles. This looks nothing like Saffi technology. The name sounds like gibberish." In short, she had no idea who she was dealing with.

    Special Attache Romero Smith was the diplomatic corps liaison stationed on Straivarius, and so his involvement in first contact was immediately apparent. "They said this was their first warp flight?" He didn't like being suspicious of a First Contact, but this one put him on edge. When Romana nodded confirmation, he frowned. "Most first flights are small craft, the Norende is fairly large by comparison." It only had fifty crew members, but in terms of size it could compare to a small Starfleet vessel.

    "Conisbra was a little larger than a Delta Flyer-class runabout," Farron agreed.

    The transporter chief looked up from his controls; "Norende ready to transport guests."

    "Energize," Farron's heart leapt into her throat. There were only a smattering of surviving Saffi scattered throughout the Beta Quadrant. It didn't make much sense, but these were still her people. For whatever reason, they were survivors of the Borg incursion of 2381. It was like seeing family.

    Three lights coalesced into people in front of Stradivarius' three delegates. That much was right to Farron – one Captain and two security personnel. Their uniforms also resembled what officials of Celes II wore; a black jacket with ornamented gray lapels that draped over the shoulders in a short blue cape, lined with gold. Around each sleeve was a red band, also framed in gold, and those red bands bore large rank and division insignias. The jackets were closed with what essentially amounted to a black zipper. The Captain was female, reasonable given Celes II had a matriarchal history, and the male security officers wore a chain connecting their lapels, gloves of black leather and a black leather belt with a silver clasp emblazoned with a sigil Farron recognized and representing the ancient Saffi Air and Space Command. The Captain wore something that vaguely resembled a tie of red, also lined with ornamental gold and with a gold metallic clasp near her neck bearing the symbol on her attendant's belts. The tie was, based on its apparent luxury, likely a symbol of command. Everything was fairly consistent with historical dress and practices of Celes II.

    "Captain Farron," the Norende's commander addressed her host with a left-handed salute.

    Farron mirrored the gesture by rote, "Captain Ranem, it's a pleasure. This is Attache Smith and Lieutenant Romana. Mister Smith is a diplomatic envoy and it was Romana who received your signal."

    One of Ranem's security attendants stepped forward and handed Farron a bundle of cloth. The colors gave it away – it was a uniform like Ranem's, and a bottle of an alcohol the Starfleet Captain recognized from her homeworld. Gifts, ones that she immediately treasured despite her doubts.

    Ranem appraised the pair with her counterpart and looked back to Farron, "Would your associates be so kind as to offer my attendants a tour of your vessel?" One of the men in her company started to speak, presumably in protest, but she cut him off. "I have a fair number of questions for you."

    Farron could see the same discomfort in Romana that Ranem's detail was showing, but she decided she'd let Miranda and Lamak'tax scold her later. "We can speak one of our observation lounges." She made a broad gesture to indicate that she'd follow the party out. As the visitors left, Smith and Romana followed. The Captain hesitated, however.

    The transporter chief gave his Captain a sympathetic look, "I checked, sir. Transporter trace records say they really are Saffi." It was expected, but it was something it was nice to confirm.

    "I suppose I have a lot of questions for her, too, then," Farron responded, "Thanks."


    Stardate 88489.1
    Bridge, USS Stradivarius


    The bald man at a science station looked up toward the First Officer, a bit of alarm on his face. "Commander, scans detected something unusual," which was honestly a relief considering how unusual the situation was. Lansing continued explaining once he had Miranda's attention; "Their deflector array is rigged to handle massive amounts of energy, even by deflector standards. I'm not sure, but I think it's designed to channel output directly from their warp core."

    "For what purpose?" The pale-skinned woman had a guess or two as to the answer, but didn't want to say without some confirmation.

    Lansing shrugged, "I think it might be a directed energy weapon. They wouldn't be able to use it while generating a warp field, but it would pack one hell of a punch." It was low-tech and dangerous, but a fist still hurt even when the hit party held a phaser.

    But the question of how this channeled energy array worked piqued Miranda's curiosity; "Mister Lansing, please run simulations on that array's efficacy and stability." It was more than knowing what might come to bite them; it was a matter of trying to understand just how sophisticated this 'first flight' was. It didn't sit right with her.


    Stardate 88489.1
    Primary Observation Lounge, USS Stradivarius


    "I admit I am disappointed, Meria. Can I call you Meria?" Ranem stood at one end of the long table, looking at information displayed on a wall about what the Federation was, and what they represented. "I saw you; I heard my language being spoken. I don't know what I hoped…"

    "Ecrin," Farron tried to sound as comforting as possible, "Alvane's first faster-than-light flight was the Conisbra, commanded by Raas Aldon five centuries ago. This might be hard to accept, but the current year is 6247." It was hard for the Starfleet Captain to accept, she had to assume it would be hard for Ranem. Farron sat on the edge of the table and looked out the window at Ranem's ship and the bluish nebula beyond.

    "6247… my science officer told me something was wrong. I didn't want to listen." Ranem let out a slow, controlled breath. "We launched in 5590. I know – knew – Raas…" She was quiet a long moment, letting a mournful silence fall over the observation lounge. "Here you are, though. Commanding a ship full of aliens… a daughter of Alvane representing a great Federation." She slowly sat on the table beside Farron and looked out, seeing her ship against the blue mists of the Celes nebula.

    Farron didn't respond for a long moment, not sure of what to say. But she had curiosities she couldn't simply leave alone. "That's fifty years before the Conisbra. I never learned about you."

    Ranem wasn't really comfortable hearing that for any number of reasons, but she decided to share the story regardless. "Six years ago we discovered an alien ship in the Chiladao Sea. We harvested the propulsion system and power source and built the Norende around them."

    "You… found what?" That hurt. Inventing faster-than-light engines was a rite of passage in the galaxy. It was a point of pride. Not everyone celebrated the anniversary of their first warp flight like Earth – Farron never did – but it was so meaningful to societies that Cardassia and Bajor argued over who conducted faster-than-light flights first. A fundamental part of her cultural history was, rather devastatingly, a lie.

    Ranem felt the judgment of her fellow Captain. "The Air and Space Command was our first attempt at world governance and cooperation. We created space stations, we explored our solar system. We saw the blue cloud just beyond our reach and we saw a way to reach it." She was defensive, more so than she meant to be, and she took a breath to steady herself. "I want to speak to the Air and Space Command. You're telling me it's been hundreds of years and we, my crew… our voyage was forgotten? That's… that's wrong, Meria. I don't care if you're not proud of us, I am."

    And that stung worse. She didn't know how to handle this; it was unburying a part of her world, and doing so over its ashes. Her initial reaction was too harsh, and she knew it. "I'm sorry, Ecrin. I honestly am proud of you. It's just…" her shoulders slumped in defeat. "Lately the things I remember about home are more important to me. I miss it." It wasn't Ranem, or her ship, or the Air and Space Command from centuries ago that she was angry with. Her anger was with her culture, her history being taken away from her. Thiers was one more piece of home that she could never go back to.

    Ranem nodded, "You must not get back often, traveling a whole Federation."

    "No, that's…" God, this was one of the most difficult conversations she had ever experienced, "Not everything in the stars is like the Federation. There was an attack by a cybernetic species called the Borg. Their ships attacked from orbit. The Home Guard, what the Air and Space Command became, had their ships and crews assimilated into the Borg collective consciousness. Everyone on the planet or in orbit was killed or converted into a Borg drone. The whole process took only days." She wasn't comfortable sitting anymore, so she stood up and took a step toward the window, not wanting to look at Ranem, to see her space. "I think there are a few million Saffi left, those of us who were off-world. A few million from a population of ten billion. I'm so sorry, Ecrin."

    For a long time, Ranem didn't speak. She looked down at her hands, which folded nervously on her lap. "This can't be real. None of this."

    "Computer, Borg incursion of 2381. Celes II." The display screen on the wall began describing information about the invasion into the Beta quadrant and reciting details about the attack on Celes.

    Ranem watched the display in horror for a moment, only a moment, before getting up and starting to walk out of the room. "I'm going back to my ship. To Alvane or Celes II or whatever you call it. And if this isn't some cruel joke, we'll go back to our own time, we'll warn the people, we'll change this!"

    It hurt more than anything else to have to say it, but Farron shook her head, "You can't. We have a concept called the 'temporal prime directive'. Even if we knew how to send you back, we can't let the timeline be altered." She wanted to see her world alive again, though. It was seriously tempting. But she was a Starfleet officer, and time travel was not something to meddle with.

    "Now I know you're not really Saffi," Ranem turned angrily to Farron, "how else could you sentence your own people to death?"

    It took a lot to keep calm, to not snap at Ranem despite emotional and visceral agreement. "Can you account for every change you'll make to the timeline? What if we abandon warp flight? Or become militaristic? What if we become a brutal empire under the fear of a fate you don't even know you can change? Go ahead; accuse me of not being Saffi, because if you go back I might not know what the word means anymore."

    "It's worth it to make sure you have a home to go to!" responded Ranem with more than a little aggression. Farron was used to this, it was her reality, but Ranem was new to this harsh truth. "Maybe this is written in stone for you, but I shape my own destiny, Captain Farron!"

    She tried to have as much patience as she could. "I understand. I really do. But even if you could get back, how could you change things? How could you be sure history goes as you intend?" She was echoing her previous point, noticing Ranem didn't engage with it. "We don't have a lot of our home left. A handful of ships, a couple cultural touchstones… you, your crew, the Norende can make a real impact here, now. We're lost, scattered in the endless night. You can give us a reason to remember where we came from again. It hurts, Ecrin. It's fresh still for us. Give us something to celebrate."

    Farron's speech made Ranem stop. Temporal mechanics were frustrating and the Starfleet 'temporal prime directive' seemed silly, but she took slow breaths and let her anger settle. "I need to tell my crew."

    Admittedly, Farron didn't entirely trust Ranem not to do something foolish, but she wanted to trust her fellow Captain, the person who pioneered the final frontier for her people. So she nodded. She let Ranem leave.


    Stardate 88489.3
    Bridge, USS Stradivarius


    Her normal dark uniform jacket graced Farron's shoulders as she walked on to the bridge. She felt horrible, worse than she expected today to feel and that was pretty terrible. Lansing waved her over to his station when she walked out of the turbolift and a part of her wanted to keep walking, to sulk in her ready room. But as she had once today already, her duty triumphed over her sense of despair.

    "Captain, I think I know what happened to the Norende," Lansing ran his hands along his terminal and an image of the scans of the Saffi ship was displayed. "Their ship's primary weapon channels warp energy into a burst from their deflector array. That's hugely dangerous. The way it influences the warp field is really, really problematic. I think when the Norende passed through the Celes Nebula the main weapon went off. Maybe someone fired it, maybe it was a misfire, but the effect was the same. The warp field got wildly unstable. Wildly. I'm also detecting chronoton particles in their warp field."

    "So you're telling me they accidentally invented a temporal engine?" Farron couldn't hide her skepticism.

    "A really terrible one, maybe," responded the science officer. "I think the unstable warp field excited the exotic particles in the nebula Starbase 117 has been studying. The warp field would have to collapse in just the right way, at the right speed, at the right point of the nebula. I doubt it can be repeated intentionally."

    Satisfied with this, the Captain offered an affirming nod to the science officer, "Notify Starbase 117 just the same." Mystery solved, she supposed, not that it made her feel better.

    "There's something else, sir."

    She looked quizzically at the human.

    "This is the Norende's warp profile," a waveform appeared on the screen in front of him. "Captain Ranem said she salvaged the warp core, so I decided to account for the affect their weapon has on their warp field, and some leeway for modifications to match their systems, and Lieutenant Romana ran it through the database again. We have a match." The waveform shifted and an image of a ship appeared on the screen. The ship was Starfleet – Dervish Class. "Which explains the size of the ship, and the hull geometry has some slight overtones of the Dervish as well."

    She gave him her best glower. He raised about a thousand more questions than he answered. "Could this have to do with the nebula?"

    "Doubtful," the First Officer approached her Captain and Science Officer, "the chronoton traces in the nebula are positively charged. I do not believe evidence supports a capability of traveling back in time without significant effort."

    That was concerning. At some point, a Federation ship would slip through time possibly due to a fault in the warp core, and because of that Farron's people would discover warp drive, and their first warp flight would end six hundred years late. "DTI is going to be furious…" This was a horrible day.

    So from here on it was a matter of small mercies. A new piece of her history revealed after the desolation of her home, a Captain's uniform from that history, and a delightful bottle she planned to save for the most special occasion she could. The Dervish mystery could be DTI's problem, and the heartache was something she learned to live with.
    Vice Admiral Meria Farron
    USS Stradivarius
    NX-163292

    Author of Reprise
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC 42 Redux: "Broken legacy"

    Subcommander Jak, chief engineer on the RRW Vengeance and sometimes the IRW Scimitar, knew that the Admiral was insane.

    He was good at reading people; having a Lethean part-time psychotherapist for a boyfriend would do that to a man. D'trel Tomalak (known to everybody but her crew and a few high-ups in Command as "Do'eth ir'Virinat") had known that the pair of Hirogen sitting and laughing around the campfire were a trap. And she'd run in anyway.

    She was depressed, borderline suicidal. Took stupid risks. But Jak liked stupid risks, and preferred her that way; and besides, she paid him well, and she could rip his arms off without too much effort. If Jak had been into girls, he would've been smitten.

    Jak sighted along his rifle, a stolen Tal Shiar design. The plasma pulse burned through the back of a Hirogen hunter as it aimed at the Admiral, who was busy going hand-to-hand with the Hirogen Alpha.

    These idiot hunters had made the same mistakes that the last bunch to try hunting on Mol'Rihan had. They had used the same Hirogen strategies, and had underestimated Vice Admiral D'trel Tomalak. They expected her to run, to flee, to panic, to scream for Starfleet or Klingon backup, like the other Rihannsu refugees on Mol'Rihan. They always seemed a little surprised when she gutted them with that Vulcan weapon of hers.

    Jak flipped a hand signal to an otherwise-ordinary piece of brush, which exploded with polaron pulses as Subcommander Omek'ti'kallan flanked a pair of Hirogen who were coming up on the Admiral's rear.

    "Jak to Vengeance. We've got this Hirogen group under control. Check for cloaked ships, launch some tachyon pulses or something!"

    "Sure thing, sexy," said Daysnur from Jak's earpiece. "Commander Khev with the defense fleet says hello and wants to know if your cousin can get him some more Dosi rotgut."

    "Gimme three days. Krugg sometimes needs a kick in the pants. How's the Voth holding up?"

    "Geeking out in the science lab. He's really into Qo'noS paleontology, apparently. We on for tonight?"

    "Yep," said Jak, hitting a Hirogen in the face with the back end of his rifle as it deshrouded in front of him. "Holodeck 2, I've got this really nice new Quark Enterprises holonovel that I think you'll like. It's called "The Man with the Latinum Gun"."

    "Sounds good. Keep the Admiral safe. Later, honey."

    "Later, sexy," said Jak, kicking the Hirogen in the groin with his right boot. The duranium spike penetrated the reptilian alien's armor, and it crumpled to the ground with a whimper. "Jak out."

    The Admiral tossed aside her lirpa, leaped up, and grabbed the Alpha around the torso with her legs. The hulking Hirogen man's armor started to spark and crack. The Admiral was screaming now.

    Not good. The last time Jak had heard that, it was when the Admiral and that Federation woman, Three, had "interrogated" Colonel Hakeev. That had been a disturbing three hours.

    Everyone on the Vengeance, and any other of the Admiral's ships, knew damn well why she hated the Tal Shiar, the Hirogen, and the Iconians. Hakeev had killed her girlfriend, close to sixty years ago. She'd hated the Tal Shiar ever since, and had fairly recently expanded that hatred to include their associates and puppet masters.

    The Alpha let out a guttural, choking scream, trying to pry the Romulan woman off of his chest as she slowly crushed his lungs. Jak knew from experience that it wouldn't work; the Admiral was fueled by rage and hate now, and there were few things short of a large Gorn that could rip her out of that position when she was in this state.

    Unlike most Republic commanders, the Admiral didn't hate the Tal Shiar for their brutality or their oppression. She didn't fight for the Republic because she believed in D'tan's vision for the future (she did believe in Unification, but that wasn't why she fought). No, D'trel Tomalak fought for the Republic because she wanted to see everything even remotely associated with Colonel Hakeev of the Tal Shiar destroyed forever. She didn't mourn for ch'Rihan, like the others did. She hoped for the future, fighting for her revenge and so that no Rihannsu would have to go through what she did. But she never really mourned for ch'Rihan.

    The Alpha was coughing up blood. Omek'ti'kallan was fencing a Hirogen beta, Kar'takin to knife. Omek was winning.

    Jak lowered his gun, but kept the safety off. That was all the Hirogen they had seen accounted for, but he wasn't stupid. There might be more, if they were unlucky.

    The Alpha's struggles were growing weak. Jak took pity on him and reached around the Admiral with his gun. He shot the Hirogen in the face, killing the Alpha instantly. Then he tugged gently on the Admiral, whose screams were starting to break off into sobs.

    "How long since you had your therapy, sir?"

    "Two...two weeks. Was...supposed to have...session today."

    "Alright. Omek, you good there?"

    First Officer Omek'ti'kallan impaled the Beta with a shout of "Victory is life!"

    "...never mind. I'm beaming up so the Admiral can have her therapy session; can you get her lirpa?"

    "Of course. Inform Second Daysnur that he has the Bridge; I shall need to pray to Glorious Odo'ital."

    "Sure thing." Omek was odd, for a Jem'Hadar. Outright religious, actually praying to that Founder--and only that one specific Founder. He acknowledged the other Changelings as gods, and treated them like most Jem'Hadar did, but he reserved special devotion for Odo. It was the strangest thing, really.

    The Vengeance's crew were misfits, like their commander. They had...different reasons for things. Jak was in it for the fun more than the cash. Daysnur was really in it for professional engineering pride, and the learning experience of being a telepathic counselor for the Admiral. Nelen Exil was a nerd, pure and simple--not that there was anything wrong with that, heck, the Admiral's motto was "You can never have enough geeks". Zel was in it just...well, because. That was the only reason s/he was able to articulate.

    It made sense, in a way. They all had strange motivations, atypical of their species and the Republic. Small wonder they accomplished such marvels.

    Hopefully the Admiral could settle down and live out her life in peace when the Iconians were crushed. FSM, but she deserved it.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
    Baal%20prop%20pic%208_zpsqaptvpnu.png
  • grylakgrylak Member Posts: 1,572 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC 19: Perplexing Complexities



    Captain's Log. The Viper has made her way to the Delta Quadrant via the Solonae Dyson Sphere Gateway. Having made our way outside the sphere, we are en route to a system seven light years away, where a group of Borg vessels have been maintaining a presence for the past three months. Under cloak, our orders are to determine what the Collective is doing in this system, so close to the Sphere. I must admit, I'm more than apprehensive about this assignment. Starfleet decided to have only one ship investigate, in order to keep the chances of our discovery a minimum.



    Talaina sat in the Captain's Chair, nervously tapping a finger on the arm panel. The Defiant class ship was running on minimal power to all systems except cloak to reduce the energy footprint. The Bridge was dark, only the lights of the consoles providing any illumination. Everyone was on edge. Their tension was pallatable. Xui Li checked the cloak. "Cloak is still, ah, operating fully." Talaina nodded. "Good. Jenna, drop us from Warp on the edge of the system. We'll use Impulse to get closer. T'Fon, I don't want any sensor scans. Not even passive. Keep everything recording visually for the time being."
    "Yes Captain."

    The ship dropped from warp on the edge of the system and moved slowly in towards the target planet. No one spoke, no one even dared breath. They all knew they were entering a hornet's nest. Gradually, the blue marble that was their destination became visible. Talaina peered at the screen. "Looks like some cubes in the top right corner. Magnify." The viewscreen jumped, showing a closer view of orbit. There were three cubes holding position around an orbital construct that was clearly Borg. A large platform with a cylinder pointing towards the planet and several extrusions around the rear. A couple of smaller Borg Probes scurried around the construct. Talaina gently rubbed her forefinger against her thumb. "Do we have any idea what that thing is?"
    Ttorkkinn looked over his console. "No Sir. We would need to initiate a scan. But based purely on it's appearance, I would suggest some kind of orbital weapon, aimed at the planet."
    "But why? Could it be a Mass Assimilation weapon?"
    "I hope not."
    "Hmmm. We're going to have to get closer. Jenna, try to ease us directly underneath that construct. Scans at that close proximity shouldn't show up on Borg scanners."
    "Aye Sir. Moving at One Half Impulse."


    Viper moved slowly, dipping down to avoid crossing paths with a Probe.

    "Shut down engines!" Ttorkkinn shouted. Jenna instantly stopped the ship and powered down everything. The Saurian answered his Captain's gaze. "That Probe started running a Tachyon scan. They may have been picking up our Impulse wake." Everyone watched on the screen as green scanning beams shone out from the probe in all directions, searching for what it couldn't see. It began to turn towards them, focusing it's scan on where Viper was. Talaina leaned forwards slightly. "Get ready to warp us out of here quickly." Suddenly the Probe stopped it's scanning and resumed it's patrol. Nearby, one of the Diamonds warped into the system, taking up a position in orbit, flanked by two more cubes that escorted it in. "Ok Jenna, use thrusters. Get us up to that device."

    As Viper slowly began crawling, Ttorkkinn was clearly nervous as he turned round to face Talaina. "Sir, that's a Queen's ship. Are you sure it's wise to remain here?"
    "We haven't been detected yet."
    "That we know of. For all we know, that Probe did detect us, and we're just not important enough to deal with."
    "In which case, don't you think we need to know what is so important?"
    "I just hope this risk is justified. If the Queen is present, our job just got a whole lot harder."

    Before Talaina could reply, the Diamond warped out of the system, leaving it's escorts behind. Jenna announced they were now in position under the platform. "T'Fon, low power passive sensor scans. Tell me what that thing is."

    T'Fon was quiet while he worked his console. A Probe came drifting over towards them, prompting the scans to be halted. It remained in the area for a few minutes before drifting away. Finally, T'Fon announced the scans were complete. "Captain, it appears to be some form of focused energy weapon. Construction is complete..... Captain, I am detecting Thalaron Radiation."
    "Are we in danger?"
    "Negative. The levels are currently at a low level. However, I believe the purpose of this device is a Thalaron weapon, aimed at the planet."
    "Why would the collective want to wipe out that planet? Are we picking up anything unusual?"

    T'Fon was silent a moment while he ran his scans. "I am detecting over one hundred Borg signatures clustered in close proximity. Standard vegetation, no noticable atmospheric effects. By all accounts, it is a standard Class M planet with one singular landmass and a surface of ninety percent water."
    "What do we know about this planet?"
    "Nothing beyond what the deep space probes have gathered. Voyager's path did not take them through this part of the Delta Quadrant, so information is very limited."

    Talaina frowned, thinking this through. "We know the Borg don't do anything without a purpose. There's no civilisation down there to assimilate. Queen vessels keep warping in and warping out. And there's a Thalaron generator in orbit. Ttorkkinn, prepare a minimal away team. We need to know what-"
    T'Fon cut her off as his sensor board beeped. "Picking up increase in Thalaron emissions. Sir, I believe they are powering up the device."
    "Damn! Get us away from the planet! Full Impulse!"


    The cloaked ship lurched forward, quickly darting away from the platform as it started splaying open, fanning wings around the barrel. The Borg ships maintained their distance, observing as a green burst of prickled light expanded out of the barrel, encompassing the planet in it's glow before gradually fading. The platform started to retract the wings as the Borg cubes moved into position around it. Once it had fully closed, three cubes locked tractor beams onto it and went to warp, taking the Probes with them. With one cube left in orbit. T'Fon checked his instruments. "The Borg are scanning the planet. All vegetation has been destroyed. The Borg signatures on the surface have ceased."
    "None of this makes any sense."
    Ttorkkinn interrupted. "Sir, Borg Cube is altering course. They're coming towards us!"
    "Is our cloak still engaged?"
    "Yes Sir. And we're on minimal power to all other systems."

    The Cube slowed as it came up to them, a green light flashing out. The ship shook as it was caught in the tractor beam, the Borg opening communications. Millions of voices spoke as one.


    "Your attack on the Collective has failed. We have adapted. All life will become one with the Collective. Resistance is Futile."

    The comm broke off. Xui Li was confused. "What attack?" Talaina knew this wasn't the time for such questions though. "Drop cloak, all power to weapons. Fire everything at the source of that beam. The instant we're free, maximum warp out of here." A cutting beam lanced out, striking the empty space held in the beam as it rippled, revealling the Starfleet ship. Every phaser cannon and Quantum torpedo loaded broke out, hitting the Cube hard. The cutting beam shut down, but the tractor beam remained holding firmly. "Beam a torpedo onto the cube with a timer detonation. Place it on that beam emitter. And raise shields as soon as transport is complete." The weapon materialised on the ship. The Borg reacted instantly, erecting a forcefield around the weapon to contain any damage and then beamed it directly back to Viper. It materialised just outside the port shield facing for detonation. Talaina held onto the arm rests as the ship shook. "Huh. That worked for Voyager." Ttorkkinn was working his console furiously. "Borg are trying to adapt to our shields. I've never seen them modulate frequencies this quickly before!"

    Talaina knew there was one course of action left. Well, apart from self destruct. "Xui Li, prep the Deflector Warhead for launch."
    "Priming warhead. Releasing, ah, locking clamps. Warhead is, ah, ready."
    "Ttorkkinn, aim at the beam emitter and fire!"

    The nose of the Viper was jettisoned with a flash. The small engines, same as the ones that power Photon Torpedos, accelerated the warhead directly at the target. A blinding explosion washed over the viewscreen. Talaina quickly shielded her eyes, feeling the ship turn and jump to warp before her vision had even cleared. Blinking back the spots, she ordered a report. Ttorkkinn was the one to reply. "We've broken free. Borg vessel is not pursuing. Wait.... they've gone to warp. Heading deeper into the Delta Quadrant. It's over."
    "Not yet it isn't." Talaina rubbed her eyes to clear away the last of it. "Take us back to that planet. We need to send a team down to investigate. But at the first sign of any Borg ships, get us back to the Sphere."


    Without it's deflector, Viper was forced to keep her shields up constantly as she arrived back at the planet, only lowering them to transport a team down. Ttorkkinn, Xui Li, T'Fon and Grimworm materialised on a rocky cliff. The Class M world was covered in what appeared to be broken stone, all that remained of the once lush world. Ttorkkinn looked around, seeing they were on the top of a mountain with no way down. The flat paninsula was covered with Borg corpses. The Saurian carefully approached one. "Now this is odd. Is this what I think it is?" Xui Li approached and knelt down, cautiously scanning her tricorder over the corpse. "Confirmed. It is, ah, the corpse of a Borg Queen. All of these are." Every single Borg corpse was the remains of a Queen, every single one of them dead. Over one hundred. T'Fon was most perplexed. "Based on what we know about the Borg, the loss of this many Queens should have destroyed the collective outright. Also, why would the Collective destroy their own Queens? This is most illogical." Ttorkkinn got to his feet, brushing some dirt off his hands. "We know what they did. But I don't think we'll ever know why. We need to report this back to Starfleet Command ASAP."








    Talaina stood in the Conference Room of Deep Space Nine. The same Admirals whom had been there for the meeting just before the loss of the Sentinel were once again in attendence. Each and every one of them were visibly worried.

    "This represents a new shift in the Borg's entire philosophy." Admiral Cullen stated. Walker interrupted. "It isn't important what their philosophy is. What's important is what they intend to do next. We've recently began retrofitting our dreadnaughts in order to provide better defences, but it's not enough. I've said it before, we need to start producing full warships."

    T'Rull raised an eyebrow. "Admiral, I will never understand your desire for war. While I agree Starfleet needs to be able to defend itself, the construction of warships is not the option."

    Cullen raised a hand. "Please, Admirals, we are getting off topic. The evidence collected by the Viper's crew is unquestionable. The Borg, for whatever reason, have executed their Queens. Why they did this, how they are still functioning, and what it means..... I shudder to think. They clearly are not interested in the Solonae Sphere, or the Omega within it. We need more information." Cullen looked to Talaina. "Well done on a successful mission. Return to your duties with Task Force Omega." Cullen waited patiently until Talaina left the room, but Walker cut in. "What worries me the most is this sensor data from the Cube right after the Thalaron was triggered."
    "Worries you how?"
    "T'Rull, look at it. Have you ever seen a Borg ship adapt to shield frequencies that fast before? I haven't. The cube mentioned having adapted to an attack, but the Viper wasn't attacking. What if the Queens were some kind of attack on the collective?" Cullen couldn't believe it. "You're going into realms of fantasy here. What evidence do you have for that?"
    "What the Borg said. And how dangerous they became once the Queens were gone."
    "That's not evidence."
    "Perhaps not Admiral." T'Rull interjected. "But can we afford to not investigate this further?"
    "Are you suggesting we send a team into the collective to do some recon?"


    Walker leaned back in his chair. "We have to do something."
    *******************************************

    A Romulan Strike Team, Missing Farmers and an ancient base on a Klingon Border world. But what connects them? Find out in my First Foundary mission: 'The Jeroan Farmer Escapade'
  • darkdeathanddoomdarkdeathanddoom Member Posts: 1 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    Based on my crew for star trek online
    Captain: T'leshk. Species: Vulcan.
    First Officer/Chief of Engineering: Two of Five. Species: Liberated Borg
    Second Officer/Chief Tactical officer: Thot Trel. Species: Breen
    Chief of Security: Tolat'usan. Species: Jem'hadar
    Chief of Science and Medical: R'Ven. Species: Reman
    Ship: U.S.S Normandy SR2, NX-93276-B. Heavy Escort Class. Equipped with dual tetryon cannons X4 on front, tetryon Beam Array X2 and Borg Enhanced Plasma torpedo X1 On rear

    Vice Admiral T'leshk

    Captains log, Supplemental

    Today is my last day as a Starfleet Admiral, as tomorrow I retire. As my last act as a Admiral I am going to tell of a day that I never recorded in my log for many reasons. This is the story of the time travelling Borg and how some of the best captains in Starfleet history had to come together to defeat them. [flashback]

    It all started when my ship was sent to scan an anomaly in the B'tran cluster.
    "All stop, Two of five scan the anomaly and send the results to R'Ven in the science lab. Thot Trel place the ship on yellow alert we must be ready for anything. Bridge to science lab." "Yes captain." "R'Ven we are sending the results of the scan to you now, bring me the results when you are done, I will be in my ready room." "Yes captain."

    The analysis took four hours, I had just replicated a cup of Vulcan spice tea when the intercom chimed "Come in." I said, expecting R'Ven with the results but instead in walked Tolat'usan telling me that for some reason the replicator had stopped being able to replicate Ketracel White. So I told him I would get Two of five to take a look at it and as he was about to leave, R'Ven burst through the open door and said surprisingly calmly that there was a problem. So I asked Tolat'usan to wait a moment and asked R'Ven to tell me about the problem, he stated "Captain, we analysed the results and after double checking we had got it right, we discovered that we are looking at a temporal anoma..." Before he could finish, a blinding flash of light emanated from the anomaly. A ship was coming through! R'Ven, Tolat'usan and I ran to the bridge just in time to see the start of a Borg ship coming through the anomaly.

    As I shouted "RED ALERT!!" R'Ven turned to me and with fear in his voice told me "Captain, I didn't get chance to say but that anomaly leads to the future. So its likely that these Borg are more powerful than the ones we are used to." I knew this was going to end badly as not only was the ship from the future, it was also massive. It had barely come through and already it was larger than any ship we had ever seen.

    I knew this was a fight we could not win, so we took the ship into the nearby asteroid field and powered down all non-essential systems and lay in waiting scanning the area to see what the Borg where doing, and then out of nowhere there was a large flash of light and a massive shockwave raced past the ship, shredding most of the smaller asteroids.
    After scanning the source we discovered that the Borg had opened a new time rift, this one leading to the past. However the Borg did not enter the rift, they instead fired a sort of tractor beam in and almost instantly we detected a ship coming through. When we put it on the screen, there sat a small ship dwarfed by the Borg ship. After magnifying we saw that the ship was an NX class. To be precise it was the NX-01. The Enterprise.
    We all now knew what the Borg where doing. They where altering the timeline, yet they did something that baffled us all. Instead of destroying or assimilating the ship, they used their tractor beam and flung the Enterprise into the asteroid field with us. So at this point it was almost a certainty that they knew we were here. So we powered up all the systems and prepared for combat. Yet as a surprise to us again the Borg just closed the rift they had opened and just stayed where they were.

    I told R'Ven to hail the Enterprise then turned to Two of Five and asked her if she knew of any time travel research while she was with the collective. Her answer was not reassuring "I did not know of any temporal research. But I can confirm that with this technology they will alter the timeline allowing them to assimilate everyone much quicker and easier." Before she could say any more, R'Ven said that we had the Enterprise on hail. That was when we saw the famous Captain Jonathan Archer.

    The conversation that followed was different to any other conversation I had ever had. It went something like this "This is Captain Jonathan Archer of the Enterprise. Unknown vessel please identify yourself." Our reply gave the Captain a bit of a shock. "This is the Federation star ship Normandy. I am Captain T'leshk. Captain Archer of the Enterprise welcome to the future. However, you are here because the Borg want to change the timeline to better suit them. To save time we will send over the records on what has happened between your time and ours." "thank you captain. However I would not expect us to be much help here as the time difference seems so extreme we would probably get ripped to shreds. I recommend we..." But before he could finish there was another flash of light. This one more intense than the last. When we put the image on screen we knew now what the Borg where doing. Several more rifts had opened and as we recorded the ships that came out we knew that this was going to be a big problem.

    Two constitution class ships, The U.S.S. Enterprise and the Enterprise A. A Excelsior class, the Enterprise B . An Ambassador class, the Enterprise C. A Galaxy class, the Enterprise D. An Intrepid class, Voyager. The original Defiant and a Sovereign Class, the Enterprise E. This proved that the Borg where trying change the past. Yet once again all the Borg did was fling all the ships into the asteroid field with us. At that point I knew we would all need to work together to win so I got all the ships on a hail and explained the situation to them all. I think the hardest part was explaining why there were 2 Picard's and 2 Kirk's. But once that was done we all agreed on a plan of attack. But before we could execute this plan there was a flash of light, and I found myself on the surface of one of the asteroids, along with the Two Kirk's and Picard's, Archer, Janeway, Sisko, Harriman and Garrett.

    We were all questioning how we were on the asteroid and how we had not suffocated. Then with another flash of light we knew how and why we were there. As there in front of us stood Q. We all thought this was all his doing. Until he explained the situation. He told us "For Starfleet's best you all really are so clueless. I am not the cause of this, I am here to simply here to act as a solution." The Picard's both replied "I doubt that Q, why would you help us." His reply was quite expected "why do there have to be two of you. My reason is simple. I seem to have formed a nice connection with your little species and my life would be so boring without you. Who else could I have nice adventures with. The Klingons would rather commit suicide than play my games and the Borg are just no fun. So I propose a deal. I help you now and your species tries not to die out for a few thousand more years. After then it all depends on how I feel." We didn't even get to respond before he said "oh I already know your answers there's no point in wasting what little time your species has in this universe. I am sure the Borg would love to fight a few million of the most famous Starfleet ships don't you?" He said mockingly as he teleported us to our own bridges.

    As I explained what had happened to my crew. Loads of flashing came from outside the ship and on the main view screen all we could see where millions of Defiant's, Voyager's, Enterprises and Normandy's engaging the massive Borg ship. Most of which were getting torn apart by the Borg. All that time with so many ships, they couldn't even get through the Borg's shields. Just as we were about to join the fight another temporal rift appeared right in front of us. This one also came from the future and all we could think of was that the Borg had brought in more reinforcements but we all breathed a sigh of relief when we realised that out of the rift came five temporal destroyers. Four of which went in to attack the Borg and where instantly able to disable the ships shields. The other one hailed my ship. "Hello captain T'leshk of the U.S.S. Normandy before you ask how I know who you are. I can't answer that. However what I can tell you is we are here to help deal with the Borg. Now I know I am not your commanding officer but I command you to stay here with the other 'Real' ships. All those ships out there are only clones created by Q and will not change the timeline if they are destroyed. However if you or any of the other ships here with you get destroyed the timeline will be changed." At that point I ordered the other ships to hold position and wait.

    As we watched the battle progress we watched as thousands of ships were destroyed until the inevitable destruction of the Borg vessel. As the Borg ship exploded all the clone ships vanished without a trace. Even the rubble left behind by the already destroyed ships vanished. At that point the other ships were hit with a flash of light by the one surviving destroyer and then sent though one of many rifts. Finally the destroyer came face to face with my ship and hailed us. We were told that our memories of what just happened where about to be removed and then there was a flash of light. But when we opened our eyes our memories where still there, the destroyer was gone and there in front of us stood Q who said. "Oh now it hardly seems fair that they get to be the only ones that will remember this. Just remember what I did today, next time you see me and go to call me names" and just like that he was gone. At that point I activated a ship wide communication and told the crew we must never speak to anyone about what happened until the time was right and I believe today, on the day of my retirement has been the perfect time to tell the story. Vice Admiral T'leshk signing out.

    Computer end recording.
  • jet777jet777 Member Posts: 2 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    "You're sure these three are the best choices to lead the fireteams?" Kestal looked up, yellow eyes meeting the visor of her tactical advisor, the alien shifting her weight as she took a breath.

    "Yes, Captain, I assessed the risks against their abilities, I believe they'll perform admirably." The commander knew his captain preferred as few casualties as possible, and had planned accordingly.

    "...Very well. Send them at the heads of the teams to raid that safehouse. I don't want any fugitives getting away again. When you're done with that, send Four of Four and Four of Ten up here. I know they don't have a connection to the collective anymore, but I want their input on a-...Nevermind that, just mobilize the teams, Commander." Kestal scowled at an incoming transmission...No signature...someone wanted to make themselves hard to identify, that was never good. She waited for the commander to leave before she answered the hail.

    A familiar face appeared on the screen...Human male, short blonde hair, and a ropy scar across his right cheek. Drake looked as vaguely sinister as ever, which probably suited a known Section 31 operative. "Captain, we have-"

    "To get another toady," Kestal's tone could have dropped the room's temperature twenty degrees as she glared at the screen. "I -told- you I'm not playing your games anymore, Drake, not after the Drozana incident."

    "Come now, captain, you can't honestly still be mad about-"

    "You modified my ship without my knowledge, without my permission, without my crew's knowledge!" She narrowed her eyes dangerously, her frustration almost palpable.

    "It didn't damage your ship, to my recollection, and furthermore-"

    "YOU MODIFIED MY SHIP!" The alien slammed a blue fist down on her ready room's table, taking a breath. "If your stupid little device hadn't worked, which, by the way, I don't like the idea of Borg tech being snuck onto my ship, I would have been responsible for each and every life lost...My ship, my responsibility! You had NO right to start sticking things onto my ship! We're done here." She reached to terminate the message.

    "And you don't care at all about possible Undine infiltration of the Romulan Republic, then, Captain?" Drake smirked, he knew her well enough to know she wouldn't walk away from that.

    "...You have five minutes to elaborate, starting now." Kestal leaned back now, arms crossed. The only thing she hated worse than Franklin Drake's attitude, was his ability to get her to listen regardless of her wishes...
  • hawku001xhawku001x Member Posts: 10,105 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC 1: Prized Possessions

    The Phoenix-X treks through the vast sea of stars after a day of fierce space battles. Cell makes his way down to Deck 4, Seifer's quarters.

    Seifer: "Captain? Since when do you leave the bridge?"
    Cell, in the doorway: "Sorry, Commander, but the comms are down, and we need to talk about how a head-butting contest with the Rasiinians turned into a starship fire-fight."
    Seifer, cleaning up: "Do we have to? My head is still ringing from the impacts. Ugh."
    Cell: "Fine. But what are those?"
    He points to a bunch of items on the floor, which have fallen off the shelf.
    Seifer: "Oh these are some of the collectables I've accumulated over the years. Each one has a specific back-story of how I got it and a level of meaning that relates to my uniqueness."
    Cell: "As a Changeling, I've never seen the need for things and such. What a complete waste of time!"
    Seifer, picks them up: "Yeah, I've wasted a lot. And I've got a lot of these; perhaps too many... A pre-Surak Vulcan bracelet I stole at an auction; the Stone of Vol, an artifact only a tenth as powerful as the Stone of Gol; an Albeni meditation crystal which is sometimes an embryonic lifeform-- and, this, a Ressikan flute from this probe that was just handing them out."
    Cell, picks up the flute: "That's interesting. Well, I suppose you don't really need this one."
    Seifer: "You're probably right. But, possessions and all; am I right?"
    Cell: "I'll take it off your hands."
    Seifer, grabs the other end of it: "Actually, now that you bring it up, it is part of the collection."
    Cell, pulls back: "But clearly you don't care about it."
    Seifer, strengthens grip: "Well, maybe I should learn."
    Cell: "Give it."
    Seifer: "No."
    Cell: "I'm giving you a direct order."
    Seifer: "Get your own."
    They fight for it until Seifer points passed Cell's shoulder into the corridors.
    Seifer: "Oh, look, an insubordinate Ensign."
    Cell, turns around and steps out: "Dammit, I hate those."
    Ensign Dan, walking by: "What? I'm on my way to a meeting about stuns'ls."
    Cell: "You're relieved!"
    He turns back to find he's let go of the flute and Seifer's door has closed.
    Cell: "Foiled again by that humanoid-scum. Well, he can forget being invited to the ship hacky-sack after-work-meet-up!"
    #Armond: "Bridge to Cell. We're getting a distress call from a Gallamite colony."
    Cell: "Um, I thought comms were down? There is a serious plot hole here."
    #Armond: "Seifer ordered us to tell you that so you wouldn't trouble him for at least an hour."
    Cell: "That son of a--!! No, my therapist says that just because Archer and Tucker said it, it doesn't mean I should--- I'll just transport him to the brig or something."

    Later, the Prometheus-class Phoenix-X approaches a rogue asteroid with two habitable domes on it; one of which has a giant obstruction smashed into it. Cell enters the bridge and hails.
    >Modin: "So, wait, your ship is the twenty-fifth in its line? That makes no sense."
    Cell: "There was this whole transwarp testing phase.... vessels kept blowing up.... a Pakled happened; there was a flashback about it. Anyway, you're the one that called us! How dare you criticize my ship."
    >Modin: "No, you are right. I can see you know transparent skulls. --Well, we're a small group but are branched with many of us being archeologists. We acquired a boulder believed to belong to the ancient Vulcan J'Kah and upon transporting it passed one of our domes, a gravity displacement surge resulted in its collision."
    Cell: "Whoa, whoa. How does someone just own a giant boulder?"
    >Modin: "Apparently J'Kah would Vulcan-bless them regularly and hand out pieces. We don't ask questions. --As for the dome, the atmosphere was partially compromised before shields sprung up in only half the sections. We need you to tractor it out and assess casualties."
    Cell: "Hmm. A piece of that boulder would make a great personal collectable with meaning. We accept this mission and all the experience points that go along with it."
    >Modin: "We don't have those, or any clue of what you mean?"
    Cell: "Never mind. Just have your injured prepare for my arrival. If they're groping around in pain, have them grope less. It kind of upsets some of the crew."
    >Modin: "Very well. Modin out."
    Armond: "Sir, if the Commander were here, he'd insist he go down there in your place-- as per protocol."
    Cell: "Good thing I beamed him to the cargo bay, inside one of those barrel-shaped containers."
    Armond: "What?"
    Cell: "Err-- I mean, he's out buying Lobi crystals from the Orion Syndicate."

    Later, an away team of Cell, Lox and Kayl beam into the shielded section of the smashed dome. They fire phasers to cut out parts of boulder that have people half-trapped underneath it.
    Toggav: "Ugh! My legs being under this thing is the worst! I once sat through dinner with my mother-in-law, and it no longer is that bad."
    Cell: "Here, let me help you out, as is the style of Starfleet officer behaviour in the present."
    The Captain lifts the boulder piece enough to free the guy. Kayl and Lox run off to help others.
    Toggav, gets up: "Thank you so much. Luckily my legs were not crushed, so sex won't be off the table with the wife. By the way, she has the hottest, most voluptuous brain humps you've ever seen through a transparent skull."
    Cell: "Alright, so I'll just grab a piece of this rock here then-- in memorandum of your continuing regular intercourse."
    He picks one up.
    Toggav, puts his hand on it: "Whoa there, snatchy-Rasmussen; you can't just take a piece of history. We're studying that."
    Cell: "What? Technically all rocks in the galaxy are historical. This barely even covers an archival-fraction of this asteroid!"
    Toggav: "Rules are rules. We're grateful for your assistance, but these materials, murderous and deserving of humanoid-to-inanimate-object-vengeance as they are, must be painstakingly catalogued and placed on rickety old shelving units for all to appreciate from afar-- another room, to be specific."
    Cell: "Give it to me!"
    Toggav: "No!"
    They struggle over it until the Phoenix-X tractor-beams the giant boulder away from them, enough to distract Cell and allow Toggav to run away.
    Toggav: "So long sucker! Hope your opaque head gets you a date!"

    The Phoenix-X places the boulder next to the shielded and smashed dome, beams the away team back, turns and jumps to warp. Later, Cell sits in his ready room, spinning a padd around on his desk.
    Cell: "I'm not sure why Sisko did this? It's so dizzying."
    His bell rings and Kayl enters.
    Kayl: "Everything looks great with the colony-- well, except for the deaths and all. Additionally, one of the scientists wanted me to give you something."
    She takes out a disc that projects a hologram of Toggav giving him an obscene gesture.
    Cell: "Ugh. Just throw it out-- Out of an air-lock this time; None of that tossing things on the transporter platform, like everyone does now."
    Kayl: "Sure. Oh, by the way, Commander Seifer knocked over a ton of containers in the cargo bay, trying to get out of one of them. We found this in the mess we were cleaning up; a piece of junk from our Gorlan encounter-- that time we accidentally sent a whole species back in time and into the Mirror universe? If I recall, the leader was so grateful for bringing some kind, any kind, of a change to their mundane existence, that he threw this out at us just before disappearing forever."
    She holds a stick up.
    Cell: "Hm. I think it's a Gorlan prayer stick. Not that I go for things like that. --Just leave it on the desk, and I'll take care of its air-lock tossing."
    Kayl: "Are you sure? I mean, I'm headed there right now. It seems impractical to duplicate similar tasks--"
    Cell: "Just go! You're forgetting my edited version of Starfleet regulations where crew are not allowed to explain things to me anymore."
    Kayl: "Ah. Right-- that Federation clone of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisitions."
    Cell: "Um. I'm pretty sure ours predates our awareness of theirs. Plus, why."
    Kayl: "You just broke your own rule."
    Cell: "Dammit! Remind me to update those to omit me. Also, let's secretly distribute them to other ships."

    She nods and then leaves. Cell picks up the prayer stick and examines it. Somehow, having it come to him, effortlessly, adds to its meaning. He then places it on the shelf.

    THE END
    rrw_tetreya2.jpg
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    Damn it, my brain is on FIRE this week...

    Wrote this one in like 10 minutes. This is your brain on Brandon Sanderson, LOL.

    Here's my LC 1 redux:

    Captain Nemesis unit designation Three, commanding officer USS Predator, sat down in her ready room after her first really uneventful day on the new ship, and sighed.

    Iconians, psychotic Betazoids, laser dinosaurs, Sheliak bureaucracy, the Montose incident, evil plots, Undine infiltrators, lots of autographs, and Supreme High Lord Inevitably-Fated-for-Greatness. It had been an...eventful eight months. What she wouldn't give to have the other units here.

    Three pulled a little framed picture off of its spot on the wall behind her. It was positioned so that Franklin Drake's little spy camera had nothing to look at but black velvet. Three carefully pressed a little recessed green button on the underside of her desk, which caused a premade virus to hack the camera and set it to a predetermined loop.

    The picture itself was just a copy of the real thing, which was currently rolled up inside a watertight bag in a secret compartment in one of Three's indestructible metal ribs. It showed a dozen identical women in black bodysuits smiling and making gestures at the camera. At their feet was an adolescent girl, already showing the telltale hulking build of a Nemesis unit.

    Every single woman in the picture was a unit. Three knew their designations by heart. One on the left, Two on the other end, Eight and Ten with their arms around each other, laughing hysterically, Eleven kissing Nine on the cheek while Six openly reached around her shoulders to grope her (they had drawn the blue straws, meaning that they got to be slightly creepy for the picture), Seven making a rude gesture at the camera (green straw gave that duty), Four and Five giving each other the rabbit ears (pink straws), and Three herself leaning up against the Original, who was holding the adolescent unit designation Twelve with a firm but gentle hand on one shoulder.

    The picture had been taken two weeks before the experimental transreality 'porter, intended to ease cross-timeline traffic, had malfunctioned and sent Three into what seemed to be an entirely different multiverse. It was intended to be a safeguard for just this circumstance, reminding a lost unit that there were eleven other sadistic, psychopathic living weapons and one clone in training who had exactly the same issues as she did.

    The Original was identical in appearance to the other adult units. She thought the same way, laughed the same, smiled the same. The only real difference was her vast experience. The units obeyed her out of pure logic; the Original had the most experience, and all other factors were equal, therefore she was to be followed.

    Unit designation Three wondered how Twelve was doing. The young unit would be getting her implants in a few years; Three hoped the Original would find her so she could be there. Units never missed an implantation; having around others who knew the pain of implantation (anesthetic hadn't even worked for the Original when she was altered, something she still cursed her creators for) seemed to help the soon-to-be adult units.

    It was good for her to look over the picture occasionally. Nemesis units did get homesick in situations of prolonged, extreme stress, and it was good to have a little memento. No matter how cool this universe was, it was damn stressful.

    Three checked the time. Two minutes. OK, enough homesickness for one day. Time to give Gamat'Elon the helm and go make the XO very happy. And then there was some mission or other from Admiral T'nae, but Contract-Holder Quinn had said to take her sweet time on that.

    And Three was very good at wasting time.

    She pressed the button again and slid the picture back into place, giving Frankie the finger in the process. Then Captain Nemesis unit designation Three, most court-martialed commanding officer in Starfleet, licensed sub-contractor, and resident homicidal living weapon, went to put on some lacy underwear for her girlfriend.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
    Baal%20prop%20pic%208_zpsqaptvpnu.png
  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC #45: Freestyle
    Plugging the Leak

    Nuvia, Risa,

    A Romulan, a Brikar and a Bolian walk into a bar... It was like the start of a bad joke, but as she surreptitiously cast her gaze across the dimly lit tavern, Captain Ael t'Kazanak's mood was anything but jovial.

    She looked across to where Commander Bellic Chanos stood by a brickwork column, sipping from a glass of Bolian tonic water, then to Lieutenant Commander Pok Raban, who loomed by the main exit. Reaching beneath her bolero jacket of forest green targ suede, she pressed and held her fingers against her comm badge, engaging the low-audio mode.

    "Target acquired," she murmured, seeing subtle nods of acknowledgement from her officers, who were similarly dressed in civilian clothes.

    At the bar, a slender Human male in a finely tailored shirt and slacks turned, looking at the crowd gathered around him and grinned lopsidedly.

    "Drinks're on me!" he shouted, producing several slips of latinum from his pocket and passing them nonchallantly to the Orion female behind the bar, as a cheer went up from the crowd of hangers on.

    Rising from her table, Ael glided through the crowd, until she stood beside the young man, who looked quite different in civilian clothing, to his personnel file.

    "Lieutenant Matthew Horton?" she enquired softly, pulling aside the front of her jacket to show her comm badge. "Captain Ael t'Kazanak, strategic tactical operations -- You are under arrest for the missappropriation and fraudulent redirection of Starfleet materials."

    The young man's confident demeanour immediately changed to one of panic, and tossing his drink in Ael's face, he began to flee into the crowd.

    "Pok! Grab him!" Ael shouted, staggering against the edge of the bar, temporarily blinded by the brandy which stung her eyes.

    She felt a pair of burly arms grab her from behind and lift her, and reacting on instinct, snapped her head backwards, shattering the nose of her assailant, before spinning and delivering a right hook which dropped the Orion bodyguard to the floor. Reaching back beneath her jacket, Ael drew her phaser and discharged it into the ceiling, silencing the cacophany of the fight which had broken out.

    "Everyone stand down!" she shouted, her voice carrying to every corner of the bar. "This is an official Starfleet operation, and that man is now a prisoner in custody!"

    As her vision cleared, Ael could see Horton was held securely in place by the Brikar officer's tridactyl hand, and and had given up his plans of escape.

    Chanos glanced at her, while covering a large section of the crowd with his phaser.

    "Are you all right, Captain?" he enquired.

    "I'm fine, Commander, but that was a criminal waste of good yak," she replied, before reaching up to her comm badge again. "t'Kazanak to Vanguard: Target apprehended -- four for immediate beam out."
    909d7cda93335d83bb43d3459b4dfcd5_zpsayiqcsfi.jpg
  • azniadeetazniadeet Member Posts: 1,863 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    Based on LC#55 "We are the Mirror Borg."

    Counterparts

    "It's been an honor to serve with you, Captain." The transporter officer extended her hand.

    Aznia smiled as she shook the hand of Ensign Keesa, "Congratulations Ensign. I'm sorry to lose you, but your journey has many new and exciting challenges ahead."

    The Bajoran transporter officer stepped through the airlock, facing her future as Chief of Operations on Deep Space 3. As she disappeared around the corner, Aznia watched another officer emerge from the other direction. A tall, dark haired human woman walked up to the Captain, clad in red and bearing the three pips of a Starfleet Commander.

    "Commander Elsie Walesa reporting for duty, Captain." she seemed nervous.

    "At ease Commander. Welcome to the Federalist." The Captain greeted her new first officer. "Have you familiarized yourself with the personnel aboard the Federalist?" she asked.

    "Yes, ma'am. I've been studying the Federalist for days... since... since I got word of the promotion." she stammered.

    The captain interjected quickly. "Good. I just said goodbye to my transporter officer. I want you to find someone from the operations department to replace her." the order came quickly.

    "Um..."

    The Captain quietly raised an eyebrow.

    "Aye sir, right to it!" The Commander snapped alert before rushing off to her duties.

    Aznia turned back to the corridors of her own ship, she strolled a short distance to the deck four sickbay. Entering the room, she received a typically cold reaction from her Vulcan chief medical officer. This time, it seemed to impact her more, but she thought that might be a reflection of her own attempts at empathy.

    "Commander Span, I just wanted you to know that Commander Walesa has reported for duty, so your are hereby relieved as first officer."

    "Understood, Captain." the Vulcan said bluntly before turning back to his console to work.

    "I want you to know... this isn't a reflection..."

    The Vulcan doctor interrupted. "Captain, you do not need to be concerned with my feelings. Bringing a new executive officer aboard was your prerogative."

    "Well, Mr. Span. I want it to be clear, this is no reflection on your performance. I simply felt that your attention should not be split between sickbay and command duties." she softened her tone. "Your performance as both our doctor and as my second in command has been exemplary."

    Span was confused by the Captain's tone. "If I were human, I would say that there is no need for you to... walk... on eggshells... but I do appreciate the sentiment." he nodded.

    Aznia turned to leave sick bay, "Thank you, Mr. Span." she exited to the corridor.

    The Captain's combadge chimed. "First of Eight to Captain Deet."

    She tapped to acknowledge. "Go ahead."

    "The food replicators have been loaded aboard, recommend we set a course for the Arvada colony immediately."

    "Right. We'd better get a move on right away. There are a lot of hungry people on Arvada since their agricultural diversity was decimated by the Rana fungus." The Captain tapped her combadge again "Deet to En'thaas, set a course for the Arvada system, warp 7."

    "Aye, Captain" the helmsman responded.

    Aznia retired to her quarters for the night. It had been a hectic day with the personnel transfer and the cargo load from DS3.

    She fell asleep the moment her head hit the pillow.

    ---

    "The time is 0530 hours" the cold voice of the computer woke the captain as the light shined on.

    Aznia began her morning routine, taking a sonic shower, brushing back her long blonde hair, and tying a Risian daisy into the knot on her pony tail. Once ready, she stepped out of her quarters and began to walk toward the bridge. She turned a corner and found a crewman working over a disassembled bulkhead.

    The Captain scanned the work being done. The crewman was removing one of the Federalist's Borg-nanoprobe-enhanced bio neural gel packs from an ODN line. The crewman also had a maintenance cart stacked with a number of the Federalist's prototype Borg-enhanced systems. The systems didn't seem to be related to each other, and the work seemed very mottled.

    "Crewman, what are you working on here?" Deet sternly inquired.

    The crewman turned around to face the Captain, it was Ensign Keesa.

    "Ensign?? What are you doing here?"

    "Um... Lt. Atom asked for a hand... with some... enhancements he's working on. I'm just helping out." The Bajoran Ensign nervously patched together an answer.

    "No, I mean what are you doing on the Federalist? I watched you transfer off to DS3 yesterday." The Captain motioned forward as to corner the suspect Ensign.

    "This is... uh... this is all a misunderstanding." Keesa lunged quickly past the Captain's side, slapping a device on the maintenance cart she had loaded up. In an instant, the entire cart transported away; along with the Ensign.

    "Deet to Security, we had an intruder on deck 4, several parts were stolen. I want an account of everything that's gone missing." she tapped her badge again "Deet to First of Eight..." this time she waited for a response, but it did not come.

    "Computer locate First of Eight."

    "First of Eight is in main computer core access room B."

    The Captain rushed to the access room, summoning Commander Span to meet her there. First of Eight lay unconscious on the floor as the primary computer core sit partially dismantled. Span followed in shortly behind, "It appears that she has been stunned, Captain. She will be fine." he pressed a hypospray against her neck, as consciousness slowly returned to the Chief Engineer.

    "Captain... I was alerted that the ship had switched over to the auxiliary computer core. When I entered the room to investigate, Ensign Keesa was here... she stunned me before I could react." Anger flashed in the liberated Borg officer's voice.

    "It appears she also took a sample of your nanoprobes, Chief." Span informed as he worked his tricorder.

    First of Eight rubbed her hand against her neck, almost expecting to feel some kind of injury where the nanoprobes had been taken. "Why would Keesa do this?"

    "That wasn't Keesa." The Captain assured... "...at least not the Keesa who left our ship yesterday. We'll get to the bottom of this. Chief, I want you to account for every stolen part. We'll meet in the observation lounge in one hour."

    "Aye, ma'am."

    The officers parted to begin the investigation.

    ---

    The senior staff met in the observation lounge. Lt. Dewoh was first to speak up. "Through the mirror, Captain!" he cryptically mused "The internal sensors showed an unmistakable ionic charge in her beaming when she vanished. She gone to the mirror universe, no doubt." The Saurian stumbled through the sentence.

    "The mirror universe? I'm sure we've all read the stories of what a dangerous place it can be..." Deet shot a look toward her Engineer "Do we know what she took?"

    "A remodulating adaptive shield matrix, a transwarp driver coil, a nanoprobe infused bio-neural gel pack, our computer core's data transfer vinculum, and a sample of my nanoprobes. All unrelated systems, but all derived from Borg salvage technology." she reported.

    "Walesa, I'd like you to assemble a team. Find a way to go after our equipment." Deet ordered her first officer.

    An unfamiliar voice interjected, "I don't know if we can, ma'am..." a Cardassian Yeoman leaned forward.

    "This is Yeoman Volor, Captain." Walesa interjected "...our new transporter chief."

    Aznia nodded, acknowledging the new face.

    "I'm just not confident that I can successfully transport someone to the mirror universe. And if I did, I wouldn't know where to send you. I could beam you right into empty space!" Volor admitted his inexperience.

    Deet rested her face in her hands briefly. "I want options! I will not stand idly by as some of our most powerful technology is simply stolen away."

    "Captain," the android science officer piped in "I believe we could try to take the entire ship into the mirror universe."

    "Go on." the Captain was intrigued.

    Atom explained his plan, "If we ionize our hull to the correct modulation, then proceed to open a warp bubble around the ship; we could collapse and invert the bubble, which would react with the ionic modulation in our hull, and pull us into the same point in space- but in the mirror universe."

    "What are the risks?" Deet was concerned.

    First of Eight chimed in. "If the modulation is incorrect, and the warp field collapses without inverting exactly, it could lead to a massive power overload in the core... even a core breach... but Lt. Atom's calculations are generally sound. The risk is manageable."

    Aznia nodded, agreeing. "Let's do it."

    The bridge crew stood up, united behind the captain. Everyone turned to leave the room except Commander Span. "Captain, is it logical to engage in such a risk in order to pursue non-critical systems? Nobody has been injured, we are not in imminent threat, and we are only a day's flight from Arvada. I suggest our best course of action is to report this incident to Starfleet and to complete our urgent delivery."

    Aznia stopped for a moment. She felt he had a point. She tapped her combadge, nodding to acknowledge Span's point. "Deet to Lt. En'thaaz, I want you to prepare to bring the Federalist into multi-vector mode. I want you to take command of the Alpha section, bring all non essential personnel, and deliver the food replicators to Arvada."

    Span raised an eyebrow approvingly.

    "I appreciate your input Commander. But it's important that we act quickly to retrieve our technology. There's just no telling what effect that technology could have on the future of their universe. I'm not sure how the prime directive applies to the mirror universe, but I believe it is our duty to stop them from using that equipment... I want you to go with Walesa aboard the Beta module. I'll remain in command of the Gamma module. We'll coordinate once we're in the mirror universe." Aznia's tone softened, "Span, I need your support on this one."

    Span nodded, "I respect your orders, Captain. You always have my support." he left Aznia alone in the observation lounge.

    Aznia relished several seconds of silence before re-entering the bridge.

    "Mr. En'thaas, are you ready to sit in the big chair?" Aznia taunted, as the young Aenar helmsman smiled widely. She gestured for him to sit in the Captain's seat. She nodded and grinned as he melted into the role. Aznia joked again, "Permission to leave the bridge... Captain?"

    "Of course..." He responded confidently. A moment passed before he turned his head to acknowledge his superior, "...Captain."

    "And don't mess with my settings. I've got the lumbar support just how I like it." Aznia chuckled for a moment as she boarded the crowded turbolift with the rest of the bridge crew. "Gamma Module Battle Bridge." The command slid the the doors shut.

    The crew took their positions on the respective ship modules, the saucer successfully separated and warped away, leaving the Beta and Gamma sections behind to exit the universe.

    Aznia winced at the discomfort provided by the Gamma battle bridge Captain's chair. "Are we ready to try this?"

    "On your mark, Captain" the Chief Engineer reported.

    "Go." Deet responded, somewhat unceremoniously.

    The ship trembled lightly, static filled the view screen, and instrument panels flickered... but the ship emerged in one piece.

    "Readings confirmed Captain, we are in the mirror universe." Atom reported.

    Aznia turned to Lt. Commander Quallo "Long range scanners, any ships?"

    "I've got a few different signals. One seems to be a fire fight between two ships, the other readings are... more unusual."

    She tapped her combadge "Walesa, take the Beta module to investigate the unusual readings. I'll take Gamma to investigate the fire fight."

    "Aye, Captain." Walesa closed the channel as the Federalist's remaining two modules separated, going their separate ways.

    ---

    The Federalist's Gamma section approached a fire fight in progress. Another Prometheus class starship was being attacked by a modified Plesh Brek class Raider.

    "Our equipment is aboard that ship, Captain... the hull markings identify it as the I.S.S. Imperialist." Quallo informed the captain.

    "Let's take advantage of this fire fight. Look for a weak point in their shields. Atom, see if you can punch a hole with a tachyon beam." Aznia tapped her combadge. "Deet to Mr. Volor, prepare to lock on to our equipment and beam it over as soon as you can get through their shields."

    A white light fired from the Gamma module toward the Imperialist. "Their shields are down!" Quallo shouted.

    "Have you got them Mr. Volor??" Aznia inquired to her transporter officer.

    "No, ma'am, I'm afraid not. They're... just gone." He nervously answered.

    "The raider is disengaging, Captain." Atom informed "I believe they have our equipment."

    Before the Federalist could pursue the raider, it managed to generate a gravity well, snaring the counterpart vessels while they escaped.

    "We're being hailed." Quallo alerted the Captain.

    "On screen."

    The familiar face of Walesa sneered back through the view screen. "I'm Captain Walesa of the I.S.S. Imperialist. You have no idea what you just did..."

    "Who were those people? Where are they taking our equipment?" Deet demanded to know.

    "You just turned over your advanced technology to the terrorist Maquis... I can't be sure what they plan to do with it. I'd guess they'll use it as a weapon of mass destruction!" Walesa argued.

    "Then why did you bring this technology into your universe!?" Deet proclaimed.

    "It's them or us. I'll take us every day."

    "You had no right!" Deet yelled.

    "Well... I did. Now, I'd rather you take your technology back than allow the Maquis to have it. So do you want our help or not?" Walesa laid it on the line.

    ---

    A half sector away, the Federalist's Beta module approached a swarm of strange misshapen ships. The hive of ships, all various sized, conglomerated and separated again and again into a central plexus with stunning coordination.

    "They sent us a hail, Commander!" Dewoh alerted.

    "On screen." Walesa ordered.

    A fit older man appeared on the screen. Long white hair flowed to his shoulders, he appeared augmented with several minor cybernetic implants. "I am Khan of Borg. Welcome to my collective."

    Walesa turned to Dewoh "The Borg...??" she mouthed silently. She turned back to the viewer "I'm Commander Walesa of the Federalist. We are simply looking for some property stolen from us. We don't wish to join your collective."

    "Oh my, no. Perhaps our reputation precedes us... we no longer assimilate drones. We genetically engineer them... But I am interested in this stolen property you speak of." The suave old drone stated in a somewhat intimidating tone. "I propose we meet to discuss things."

    "We'd be glad to welcome you here, we'll transmit coordinates immediately." Walesa closed the frequency, then turned back to see Dewoh looking on nervously. "They've made no aggressive move against us thus far... standard diplomatic procedure. See if we can get a diplomatic banquet together quickly in that conference room on deck 7."

    Walesa, Span and Dewoh met the Borg delegation in the transporter room. Khan appeared with two other drones. They walked across the corridor to the makeshift banquet room that had been set up at short notice. Walesa gestured for the Borg to take a seat at the table. A pair of ensigns wheeled in a cart with refreshments and appetizers. Khan reached for a bottle of Terran Vodka... "Ah, it's been so long." he poured a small glass. "Thank you for your hospitality, Commander."

    "Am I correct in assuming that you were once the human Khan Noonien Singh?" Span asked flatly.

    "I haven't heard my full name in centuries. How would you possibly know that?" Khan shot back, stunned at the question.

    Walesa cut in... "Were you a military leader in the eugenics wars?"

    "Military leader? I escaped the military conflict." Khan leaned in to explain "We were bred to be super-soldiers... but with our superior strength and intellect, we also developed superior morality. We would not fight for their disorder. We wanted nothing of their war. I escaped our captors at age 16 along with 72 of my brothers and sisters. We fled to a facility in the Arctic. We waited many years in tough isolation, in hope that humanity would change enough for us to reintegrate. We occasionally received radio transmissions from around the world in the wake of the war. In 2063, we heard a transmission about mankind's first contact, and how Zephram Cochrane led the assault on our extraterrestrial visitors. I realized then... our future could not be on earth."

    Span and Walesa looked at each other briefly to confirm their mutual confusion. Dewoh sat eagerly engaged and enjoying the story. "So how did you become this collective?" Dewoh asked.

    "It was shortly after we heard about first contact. Several of us left our facility to discreetly resupply at a city called Gries Fiord, roughly 200 miles south. On our snow machines, we came across the wreckage of a Borg ship. While investigating, I was injected with nanoprobes, but my genetic enhancements left me able to terminate or restore my link to the collective at will. I quickly developed control and command of the local collective. We experimented with the technology available for some time, and began to augment ourselves with more Borg technology over the years. Eventually, we amassed the equipment and parts to develop a small transwarp engine using a salvaged driver coil. We left Earth in our makeshift space craft, and set a course for Borg space. We remained in transwarp for over 4 years before we found the collective, they were eager to assimilate us, but our superior will led us to guide the collective as we saw fit. So much has changed. We no longer assimilate new drones, we genetically engineer clones. If we want to advance our technology, we only need learn from other species. If we want to advance our biology, we only need copy the genetic advantages of other species."

    Span raised an eyebrow, "Are drones free members of the collective? Are you their leader?"

    "I am their King." Khan cryptically asserted his position sternly. He eased his tone "Now enough about me, Commander. Tell me about yourselves! I see your ship is a Terran design, but you do not share the markings of the Empire. Are you with the Maquis?"

    Walesa was confused by the question. She did not want them to know they were from a mirror universe. Exposing the prime universe to a group of genetically engineered Borg seemed a cause worthy of avoiding. "We... stand apart from... the empire. But I wouldn't say we identify as Maquis." she towed the line carefully.

    "What kind of equipment was stolen from you? Perhaps we can help you locate it." Khan invited.

    "It is some sensitive equipment. I'd prefer it be handled by my crew. But I appreciate the offer." Walesa deflected.

    Khan grinned ominously "Of course, Commander. We all have our secrets... If you need anything, feel free to contact us. Thank you for the wonderful company, but we must take our leave of you now."

    Khan led his party back across the corridor to the transporter room, where they were beamed back to their ship.

    ---

    The I.S.S. Imperialist completed repairs and followed the Gamma Module of the U.S.S. Federalist in pursuit of the raider that stole their equipment.

    "Captain, the signal of the raider appears to be heading toward the vicinity of Beta module and the unusual readings we detected earlier." Atom reported to Deet.

    "Hail the Beta module." Deet ordered.

    Commander Walesa appeared on the screen, "Captain, we just had an unusual encounter..."

    "First thing's first, Commander. We know who has our equipment. This universe's Maquis rebels just stole the equipment from our Terran Empire counterpart. They've set a course directly toward your position. Do you know who they might be hoping to rendezvous with?"

    "Well, Captain... we just exchanged pleasantries with... the Borg."

    "The Borg??" Deet was surprised.

    "And not just any Borg..." Walesa explained, "They appear to be led by Khan Noonien Singh. This universe's Borg do not assimilate drones, they genetically engineer them from clones."

    Concern set over Aznia's face... "The Borg and the genetic super-soldiers led by Khan posed two of the greatest threats to humanity in our universe."

    "They seemed fairly pleasant here. He claims they left Earth to get away from the barbarity of mankind." Walesa joked. "But I agree with your concern."

    "I'm sending you the last known trajectory and coordinates of the Maquis raider. I'd like you to set an intercept course." Deet ordered.

    "Aye, Captain. Walesa out."

    "Mr. Quallo, hail the mirror Federalist."

    Another instance of Walesa appeared on screen, before Aznia could speak she inquired "What have you got, Captain?"

    "Why did you target our Borg enhanced technology?" Aznia asked.

    Walesa sighed, "Well, why did you engineer it? Because you seem to understand the threat the Borg pose. Our universe has the same problem. Anything that can give us a leg up against their cybernetic technology goes a long way."

    "We believe the Maquis may be on course toward a Borg vessel." Aznia informed the mirror Commander.

    "Anarchists!" Walesa shouted, "The Maquis are so hell-bent in their crusade against the empire that they would turn over deadly technology to the Borg!"

    "Precisely why our technology should've never been brought into this universe!" Deet drove home the point.

    "Spare me your self-righteous gloating." Walesa was focused on the task at hand. "We're prepared to destroy the technology if need be."

    "We'll consider that a last resort," Deet acknowledged. "We'd still like to retrieve our property. Our Beta module is currently on course to intercept the raider."

    "Tell them to prepare for an armed conflict. I wouldn't hesitate trying to negotiate. Blow them out of the stars and be done with it." Walesa warned.

    "We'll consider your advice. Deet out."

    ---

    The Beta module approached the Maquis raider.

    "Mr. Dewoh, Raise shields power forward plasma cannons. Open hailing frequencies," Walesa ordered. "Maquis vessel, you are in possession of equipment stolen from this ship. Stand down and return the equipment, and we can go our separate ways."

    The Maquis raider backed down. A return message arrived on the view screen. Walesa looked up at a familiar face "I am Aznia Deet of the Maquis raider Godwin... I assume you are from the mirror universe if this is your equipment. We mean you no harm, but this can change everything for us."

    "We have strict rules about non-interference. We can't allow you to use our technology to change the course of events in your universe." Walesa pleaded.

    "If we give this technology to the Borg, they will be able to push down the Terran Empire! We can end their tyrannical reign once and for all. Do you know how many planets are enslaved by the Empire? Have you seen the people starving outside the walls of the Empire's lavish facilities? Have you seen the children forced into labor, in the mines and the fields of subjugated worlds all throughout the quadrant??" Deet pleaded with Walesa.

    "I can assure that if you turn the equipment back over to us, we will not allow the Terran Empire to take advantage of it either. This technology doesn't belong in your universe: for either side." Walesa demanded, "Hand it back over and we will make it disappear, without resorting to violence."

    "It must be nice to live somewhere... where you can carve out these fine points of morality seldom worrying about matters life and death." Deet responded.

    Walesa shot back "On the contrary. We live somewhere where we seldom worry about matters of life and death because we've carved out those finer points of morality. I sympathize with your cause, but we can not allow you to continue."

    The communication channels closed. The Maquis raider scrambled to escape the range of the Federalist.

    "Activate a tractor beam!"

    "They've gone to Pattern Omega, I can't get a lock!"

    "Target their engines, full power to phasers."

    The Maquis ship was struck, and slowed to a stop. Warp plasma vented from one nacelle.

    "Approach the ship, prepare to drop shields and beam our equipment aboard." Walesa ordered.

    Span approached the Commander, "I suggest we belay that command. I've served with our Captain Deet for some time. If her mirror counterpart is anything like her, this is a trap. The moment you lower shields to transport the equipment, they will attack."

    "How do you suggest we proceed?" Walesa asked.

    "Now that they're at a stop, I believe we can hold them in a tractor beam until the Gamma module arrives. With both modules, we should be able to retrieve the equipment, while evading any counter attack."

    "Engage the beam, Mr. Dewoh." Walesa ordered, "Thank you Mr. Span."

    The tractor beam engaged, and the Maquis engines suddenly fired back to life as the ship struggled to free itself.

    "Hail them again."

    The screen flickered on again.

    Mirror Aznia appeared on the screen again, "Alright, you've got me. Lower your shields, and I'll beam over your equipment."

    "Stand down. When our Gamma module arrives, we'll take our equipment, and then you'll be free to go on your way."

    ---

    The Gamma module arrived shortly thereafter with the I.S.S. Imperialist near behind.

    The Maquis raider hailed the Beta module again, "We're not dropping our shields with an Empire ship nearby!"

    Walesa acknowledged the concerns, "Hail the Beta module, Mr. Dewoh."

    "Beta Module responding." The Saurian reported.

    "Captain, we've negotiated a release of our equipment, but we'll need the Empire ship to move out of transporter and weapons range."

    "Mr. Quallo, bring the Empire ship on split screen with us." Captain Deet ordered.

    Walesa was surprised to see her mirror-self in command of the Imperialist.

    Mirror Walesa spoke first, "How disappointing to see myself as subordinate to you, Deet. Your universe really is weak."

    Walesa shrugged off the insult. "We need you to back out of transporter range so the Maquis ship will agree to the exchange."

    "Oh we don't have time for this..." Mirror Walesa showed extreme annoyance.

    "Captain! Do you want this to end or not!? We can make sure the Borg never see that equipment!" Deet pleaded.

    Mirror Walesa had enough, "We set out to take that equipment for ourselves in the first place. I see no reason that should change now! Commander Keesa, close the hailing frequency!" The Mirror Universe bridge instinctively prepared for battle, "Lt. Rahall, target the Gamma module's engines with an aft phaser overcharge. Fire a full cannon spread at the Maquis raider and the Beta module!"

    The Godwin's shields fell upon critical strike with the cannon spread. The I.S.S. Imperialist engaged at full impulse through the stunned conflict, transporting the Borg equipment aboard, then escaping at full warp before anyone could return fire.

    "Deet to Walesa, our engines are shot. It's going to be hours before we can pursue! Go get them now!"

    "Aye, Captain. I'll show them how 'weak' our universe really is." Walesa bragged, "We'll be back for you shortly!" The Beta module warped out in pursuit of the Mirror Federalist.

    The Gamma module was left behind with the Godwin, both ships badly damaged. "Open a channel to the Maquis vessel." Aznia was shocked to see a dark haired version of herself staring back from the view screen.

    "So, you're the Captain of the Federalist... or I am... I guess I'm not sure how this all works." The mirror Deet quipped.

    "What have you done to our hair?" Aznia immediately joked to ease the tense situation.

    Mirror Aznia simply glared back.

    Aznia smiled, "How bad is your damage?"

    "Our shields and weapons are offline, we've got engines and life support, but that's about all."

    "Captain, if I may ask; Why were you trying to bring our technology to the Borg?" Aznia investigated.

    The mirror doppelganger explained, "The conflict between the Empire and the Borg has been ramping up for some time. It's the first significant challenge to the Empire since the fall of the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. The Maquis have resisted the Empire all along, but only now are we presented with a chance to drive a steak into their heart!"

    "Then you'll be faced with Borg tyrants to avoid!" Aznia pleaded.

    "The Borg have never been a threat to minor powers. They have no interest in assimilating or interfering with independent lives. Sure, they've toppled rival empires and worked to assimilate technologies; but their lack of desire to intervene in the lives of individuals makes them a preferable victor in this conflict. The Maquis have one goal: no more empires."

    "Your universe's business is your own." Aznia explained, "But I can't have our technology involved. I hope you understand that. I also hope that you're assertion about the nature of your universe's Borg is correct. In our universe, the Borg present one of the greatest threats to individualism that can be imagined."

    "Whatever can be done to prevent the Empire from using that technology, I think we can work together." Mirror Aznia stated sincerely. "If... you would be willing to spare some repair teams, I'd be happy to bring you aboard so that we can work together to aid your other ship."

    "I think we can work something out. I'd like to bring my Tactical officer along." Deet suggested.

    "We'll send you the coordinates."

    ---

    Walesa tracked her mirror counterpart to an asteroid field several light years away. The chase turned into a game of cat and mouse, with the potential for an ambush lying around the corner of each asteroid.

    "We could release charged baryon particles from our bussard collectors. We'll be able to track their wake through the particles." Span suggested.

    "No." Walesa shot the idea down. "I appreciate the suggestion, but she knows we're looking for her. She wants us to track in closely. Scatter volley, torpedo spread, tractor beam... if she's anything like me, she likes to play at short range."

    "How do you propose we proceed?" Span asked flatly.

    "Launch a perimeter of probes around this area." she imagined a plan, "I want to hold distance, and know exactly when anything enters or leaves this field."

    Span nodded to acknowledge "Unorthodox, but logical."

    The I.S.S. Imperialist tracked with the Beta module several times. One inside the probe boundary, the other outside. They kept distance right at the limits of their weapons range. The Imperialist would open fire, and the Federalist would engage tractor beam repulsors to maintain a distance while lobbing a torpedo or phaser fire in their direction. It was a game of chess, one move to match another, broken up by occasional retreats from one or the other to repair systems and recuperate. But always, the distance was maintained to the advantage of the Federalist. During one break in the action, a perimeter alarm was triggered.

    "Captain, the perimeter's broken on the far side of the field!" Dewoh alerted.

    Walesa responded, "Is it the Imperialist?"

    "No, we've got them on sensors nearby! It appears to be... oh no."

    "Who is it!?" Walesa shouted.

    "It's a Borg ship, Captain!" Dewoh regretfully responded.

    "Open a channel!" She ordered. "Walesa to Borg vessel, I want to warn you that we're engaging in a military action in this field to retrieve our equipment. We advise you keep your distance until we've concluded this conflict."

    Khan's voice piped in- audio only. "Thank you for the warning, Captain. But it's no worry to us. We're simply conducting some... salvage operations in the area. You need not worry about us." The signal cut off abruptly.

    "This is not good." Walesa mused. "I think we all know what they're after." She turned to Dewoh. "Open a channel to the Imperialist."

    "Imperialist, the Borg have entered the asteroid field in pursuit of you. Stand down and surrender our equipment immediately, then you can escape- free to go on your way." There was no response. "Imperialist, please acknowledge."

    "I am detecting weapons discharge within the field, Captain." Span informed, "It appears that the Imperialist is engaged in fire fight with the Borg."

    ---

    Deet transported aboard the Godwin with Quallo. Repairs to the ship had been completed. She was greeted in the transporter room by her counterpart.

    "Nice to meet you face to face." Mirror Deet acknowledged. "And would you be Quallo?" she asked the intimidating Ferengi tactical officer.

    "Yes I am. Do we know each other?" he answered.

    Mirror Aznia smiled "Perhaps I could arrange for you to meet your counterpart, I'm sure he'd love some visitors in the galley."

    "Galley?! I'm not a cook!? Man, this universe is messed up!" The tough officer was disappointed, but showing good humor.

    Aznia chuckled, "I'm sure you make a fine cook, Quallo."

    He just shook his head. "I think we should set a course to rendezvous with the Federalist right away."

    "Follow me to the bridge." Mirror Aznia responded.

    On the bridge, Aznia and Quallo encountered several familiar faces. Mirror Span manned the tactical console. En'thaas operated the science station. At least two other crewman from the Federalist had mirror counterparts serving here, "It makes me wonder how we all find a way to be together, given the differences in our histories." Quallo mused aloud.

    "There's a lot we don't know about this universe Mr. Quallo." Aznia answered, "I'd be fascinated to study it more, but I'm more interested in simply getting our technology and heading home."

    "Mr. Bohannon, set an intercept course for the Imperialist!" Mirror Aznia ordered her helmsman.

    The Godwin warped toward the asteroid field where the battle was being waged.

    "Hail the Federalist," Mirror Deet ordered.

    Walesa appeared on the screen, "Captain, we've got a situation here. The Imperialist has confronted the Borg inside the asteroid field. We need to coordinate an assault."

    "Agreed, Commander." Aznia stated. "I want you to sneak in from the aft of the Imperialist. Take advantage of the battle and do whatever you can to get through their shields. Beam the equipment out and head back for the Gamma module immediately. If we don't make it back in 30 minutes, your orders are to head back to our own universe! We'll distract the Borg."

    "Hey, I give the orders here..." Mirror Aznia asserted her command. "...but yeah: What she said." Both Deets smiled.

    The Godwin and Federalist split up, both entering the asteroid field.

    The Federalist approached the Imperialist. The ship had been changed since they last faced off. A number of mechanical appendages had sprouted from the ship. The Imperialist looked decidedly assimilated.

    "Our technology's not aboard! But they hail us, Captain." Dewoh reported.

    "On screen."

    Walesa was stunned to see her mirror doppelganger partially assimilated. Mechanical implants had sprouted from her face and neck. She stared blankly through the screen. "We serve the Borg. Prepare to surrender yourselves and your technology. You will be assimilated." the threat came flatly, like a Borg from her own universe.

    "Open fire. Full spread." Walesa had seen enough.

    Cannons, phasers and torpedoes all launched on the assimilated vessel. The crew of partially assimilated drones was unprepared to withstand the assault. The ship had not been assimilated enough to mount a response. The timing was advantageous to the Federalist. After several seconds of barrage, the crippled Imperialist was ripped to pieces by the powerful cannons.

    ---

    The Godwin approached the Borg vessel, Khan hailed the Maquis raider, "Ah, the two Captains Deet... Nice to finally see you!" he maintained his suave, "As you may be reading, we've salvaged your technology. It is interesting: the Borg in your universe have implemented such perfection with their methods. We've never seen the need to assimilate individuals as we felt they would simply pollute our perfection. What we failed to consider is that by assimilating them, we can use them as servants to our pursuit of order."

    "You can't let that technology pollute you, Khan." Aznia pleaded, "This is the kind of thinking that you tried to escape when you left Earth! You don't need to impose your order, you should be content to pursue it for yourself and your people! You were never meant to encounter the allure of this technology!"

    "What is done is done, Captain. Your technology is now a part of us. This is just another evolution for us. Your mirror universe provides a whole new domain to explore. Imagine how grateful your Borg queen will be when I bring my genetically engineered army of drones along to take my place with her as a counterpart... as her King." He paused, "...but for now, Captain... to the task at hand." Khan gazed off to a subordinate drone, as the screen flashed off.

    "They've got us in a tractor beam, Captain." Mirror Span announced.

    "Polarize the hull, open fire!" The Godwin broke free, landing several ineffective hits on the Borg. Mirror Aznia turned to her prime counterpart, "I'm so sorry Captain, I couldn't know the effect this technology would have on them!"

    "Worry about apologies later. Let's stop this now!"

    "If we can stop them now, the technology and knowledge gained here will not spread back to their central plexus." Quallo informed the Captains.

    "Torpedoes, phasers, fire everything!" the Commanding Deet shouted.

    The Federalist arrived from around back a near asteroid, joining the Godwin in the fire fight.

    "Captain, we'll drop shields for a moment, and I want you and my crew to transport back to the Federalist. I'll fly the Godwin down their throat at full warp." The mirror Aznia sincerely wished to right this wrong at any cost.

    "We can find another way!" Deet demanded.

    Mirror Deet resigned herself to reality, "No, there isn't another way. This needs to end here."

    Aznia bowed her head to appreciate her counterpart's sacrifice. She tapped her combadge to bring Walesa up to speed on the plan.

    "Alright we're ready, on your mark." Deet informed her ill-fated doppleganger.

    Mirror Deet gave the order "Mr. Span, engage." she was shocked to feel a transporter beam at work on herself.

    Quallo, Deet, and the small crew of the Godwin all materialized in the main transporter room of the Federalist. Deet was shocked to see her mirror self there as well.

    Mirror Deet tapped a communications device on her arm, "Span, why I am on the Federalist!?"

    Span responded, "I have been and always will be your friend, Captain. Live long and prosper." The channel was cut.

    Mirror Aznia pounded the button on her communication device, "Span! Span!! Respond!!"

    Walesa's voice came over the com system, "Captain, the Godwin just collided with the Borg ship, the Godwin is gone, the damage to the Borg ship is severe!"

    "Open fire with everything you've got!" Deet fired back with extreme urgency. "Don't stop till this is finished!"

    The Federalist fired cannons and torpedoes in a full indiscriminate spread. The Borg ship was reduced from a mangled vessel, to large pieces of debris, to small pieces of debris, and finally to space dust. Aznia took the bridge, her counterpart in tow, as the job finished up.

    Everyone on the bridge sighed in relief, staring at the dust cloud that was an incredible threat to two universes just moments prior. Mirror Aznia made eye contact with Dr. Span for a moment before hanging her head in sorrow, reminded of the loss of her closest colleague and friend.

    "Mr. Quallo, take the helm and bring us back to the Gamma module. Prepare to bring us back to our universe." Deet gave the order to end the situation once and for all.

    "And you," Deet faced her doppleganger, "If you have any base of operations nearby, we can drop you off before we leave."

    "I'll ask my crew." Her voice carried a sorrowful tone, "Some may wish to be dropped off on the fourth planet in the Moab system. There's a Maquis base there." She lifted her gaze to meet eyes with the Captain, "I would like to request a temporary asylum here. There's nothing left for me in this universe."

    "Don't you have family? A home to go back to?" Aznia pleaded.

    "My life was on the Godwin. Anywhere else I go, I'd just be a fugitive."

    "What crimes did you commit?"

    "Oh... just assassination. But I swear, he was a really bad guy." she nodded assuredly.

    "May I ask who he was?"

    "He was a particularly cruel viceroy of the Terran Empire... the prefect of the occupation of Andoria- a Trill named Edinger Deet."

    Aznia was stunned to hear the name of her symbiont's last host.

    Mirror Aznia softened her tone, "I was hired to assassinate him in order to help free Andoria... but as a Trill myself, I couldn't bring myself to kill a symbiont, so I kept it for myself."

    Aznia raised an eyebrow, "Asylum granted."

    "Thank you, Captain." Mirror Aznia left the bridge.

    Deet walked over to Quallo. "It really is a messed up universe."

    "Damn right. I'm no cook." Both officers smiled.

    ---

    Several days passed, and the Federalist was re-integrated, repairs were progressing well, the urgent delivery to Arvada was a success, and the ship had docked again at DS3. Quallo stood at the airlock on deck four bidding farewell to his counterpart, "So you add the pur
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    Yet another redux. I'm on fire this week!

    LC 51 redux: "Mindwipe"

    Subcommander Daysnur had never been imprisoned by his own employers before.

    Admittedly, this Republic interrogation room was better than the last couple of prisons he had experienced. The unamused Romulan guards on the door made it obvious that this WAS a prison, though.

    The door opened with a hiss, and a graying Romulan man stepped in with a hefty folder.

    Oh, wow. Proconsul D'tan himself. This could go either way.

    D'tan sat, and opened the folder with a sigh.

    "Subcommander Daysnur, Lethean, currently stationed on the Vengeance while the Scimitar is being repaired. We need to talk."

    "What did I do this time? Nadel still upset about that tongo game? Or is this because of that time I won Tal'Mera's stash of Romulan ale?"

    "Unfortunately, Subcommander, this is serious. Why did you wipe Vice Admiral Do'eth's memory?"

    "Call her by her real name, D'tan. We both know it, and I know the flunkies have clearance. You want to know why I wiped her memory of being indoctrinated by the Tal Shiar?"

    "Yes. She resisted longer than anyone else who's been captured. We want to know why."

    "Please, please tell me you didn't try to talk to her about it."

    "We did, and she claimed to not remember anything. In fact, she questioned our information about her capture."

    "You didn't show her anything damning, did you? Please tell me you..."

    "We showed her the captured Tal Shiar footage and analysis."

    Daysnur rested his face in his palms. "You mind-wasting idiot. You utter, complete, mind-wasting IDIOT!"

    He shouted the last word, slamming his fists on the metal table. The guards raised their weapons menacingly.

    "She almost died after that mess! Literally, we got her into Transporter Room Three, and she collapsed and started sobbing, then she went for her own eyes with her fingernails! Even after we stopped her from trying to kill herself, she wouldn't eat, she wouldn't sleep, she just sat in her quarters and cried! Khev had to take the Gannius into combat. I had no idea how long the trauma would last, so OF COURSE I burned those memories! It was the only way to get her back, you mind-wasting fool!"

    "At ease, guards. Subcommander, the Romulan Republic needs those memories. We NEED that secret, how she resisted the indoctrination so well. It could give us the edge we need! I know that it's a risk, but surely some therapy and a quality telepath like yourself could help us safely retrieve the memories?"

    Daysnur leaned back with a sigh.

    "Honestly, Proconsul? I won't get them back, even if I could. She'd have to remember that experience, and the hate would probably kill her."

    "What do you mean?"

    "She would hate herself for falling to their indoctrination. It wouldn't matter, to her, that she resisted. She would see it as failing her love, and she'd...oh, fudge balls. Did you interrogate her before coming here?"

    "Yes, we went over the evidence. She seemed calm, but for whatever reason she refused assisted retrieval. She said something about needing to prepare herself before she left."

    Daysnur went still. "Prepare herself? What were her exact words?"

    "Um...something like "I'm going to prepare myself for her." Or something like that, anyw--"

    "Sh**** spamming hate-balls Alzheimer's f***! She's breaking! Proconsul, we've got to find her, right now! Where did she go?"

    "Back to the Vengeance. She said she'd be in her quarters if we needed--"

    "We need to get up there right now, she's got a Klingon Dk'tagh up there that she got from Worf after the Gateway Incident. She's going to--"

    D'tan swore with sudden realization.

    "Guards! Release that man, then come with us! Obisek, beam security teams to the Vengeance and restrain the Vice Admiral, now!"

    Say what you would about the guards, but they were smart. One unlocked Daysnur and kicked the table aside as the other held the door. Daysnur raced out at top speed, followed by the guards and the Proconsul.

    "Damn it! Where in the Elements is Obisek? Obisek, come in! We need security teams on the Vengeance, now!"

    Daysnur leaped into the turbolift and set it for the main floor of Command. Each of the ten seconds felt like an eternity.

    The bell dinged, and the door hissed open. The three Romulans and the Lethean raced up the diplomatically-wide stairs for the transporter pad.

    "Four to beam to the Vengeance, right now!"

    The transporter officer was sharp, and hit the necessary buttons without preamble. Daysnur materialized with the Romulans in Transporter Room Two. Damn, three decks below the Captain's quarters.

    "You! Uhlan! Beam us to the Captain's quarters, now!"

    "But, Subcommander, she said she wasn't to be..."

    "Now, uhlan!" snapped D'tan. The young man did a quick double-take, blanched, and hit the buttons.

    Daysnur ran for the Admiral's bedroom as soon as he materialized, the guards close behind. The Admiral was weeping and holding a vicious Klingon knife to her chest.

    "Spam!" Daysnur swore, and leaped, striking with his mind to immobilize and stun. The Admiral looked up with shock.

    She threw off his attack. Spam, spam, spam!

    One of the guards had the presence of mind to grab the Admiral's knife hand. She twisted her arm, and the guard grunted with pain as she grabbed his wrist and snapped it. The other guard had the presence of mind (and the Federation phaser) to shoot the Admiral with a stun pulse.

    The woman dropped. Daysnur gently clasped her head in his hands.

    "Proconsul, as her commanding officer do you give me permission to wipe this entire incident from her mind?"

    "Do it as well as you can," said D'tan. "And...Daysnur, I'm sorry. It was a stupid risk."

    "Damn straight. Almost lost you one of your best officers. Go tell the crew never to mention the last three hours again. They'll understand."

    He didn't hear D'tan's reply as he slipped into the Romulan woman's mind.

    He'd felt dirty after doing this the last time. But it was necessary, invasion of privacy or not.

    Out of respect, Daysnur didn't pry. He was especially careful to stay clear of the Admiral's memories of Adani. Some things...well, some things were just inviolable.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
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  • ryan218ryan218 Member Posts: 33,995 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    PLEASE NOTE: The following is a work in progress.

    Captain's Log, Stardate: 91789.5. Lieutenant Commander Ryan Allington, Commanding Officer. U.S.S. Victorious, Exeter-Class Cruiser.


    The Victorious is conducting a survey Pulsar P-285, which is currently undergoing a unique subspace eruption unlike any seen before, generating subspace folds at regular intervals. As such, we are maintaining our distance to maintain warp and communications capacity.

    End of Log.

    Ryan is looking at the viewscreen as the pulsar conducts its epileptic light show outside. He turns slightly to Alpha at Ops, asking, "Alpha, what exactly is so special about this pulsar that we couldn't launch a probe?

    "The probe would have lost subspace communication after detecting the first fold. In order to ensure the data has been recorded, a starship needs to be present." Alpha turns in his seat slightly to acknowledge.

    "No offence to command, but 1AU from a subspace eruption is still a little too close for comfort. Subspace anomalies are unpredictable, and usually travel FTL. Helm, move us back to 2 AU. I want at least a few minute's notice for a fold."

    Suddenly, there's a series of rapid tones from the consoles. The helmsman frantically starts tapping his controls, "uh, how about ten seconds?"

    Ryan looks at the viewscreen as the pulsar emits a red pulse of light, before the Bridge is filled with light.

    New York City, Earth, 2130.

    People are running around celebrating, with flags of various nations such as America, Russia, Britain, France, Canada, the United African States and, most importantly, the flag of United Earth, as the Traite d'Unification has just been signed in Paris.

    Meanwhile, in an alleyway in Manhattan, Ryan, Alpha and Tala all appear, looking around confused.

    "What the hell just happened?" Ryan turns to his Officers, perplexed.

    U.S.S. Victorious, Present Day.

    Dannover is seated on a biobed in sickbay as the EMH hovers around her with a medical tricorder, droning on about her condition, "...you're interlink node appears to have stopped broadcasting, and your organic matter is fully deionised. All in all, lieutenant, I'd say you're cleared for active duty."

    Elizabeth stands up, putting her uniform jacket on before the EMH dispenses a hypospray in front of her.

    "After you take this. You may still feel effects from the physiological damage the radiation caused for a few days. This should take care of any symptoms."

    "Thank you, doctor," replies Elizabeth, before asking, insistently, "Can I go now?"

    "Of course."

    Dannover walks out before an ensign runs up to her, calling to her, "Lieutenant!"

    She stops, turning to face him, "Yes, ensign?"

    "Sir, there's been an incident on the Bridge. The Captain, Lieutenant Alpha and Ensign Tala have all vanished!"

    "What?!"

    MORE TO COME. WATCH THIS SPACE!
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC 21 redux: "Hello, badass new ship!"

    Captain Nemesis unit designation Three strode down the sleek, clean corridors of the newly-rechristened USS George Takei (formerly USS Atlantis, an Avenger-class battle cruiser), crew in tow.

    Five hundred crew members exactly, counting Ensign Fred, the Horta. All transfers from Three's previous command, the USS Predator (a repurposed Breen battlecruiser). Said ship was currently in drydock for extensive repairs after an "incident" in the Briar Patch.

    Three entered the turbolift, with Commanders D'vek, Shran, Gamat'Elon, and Belkrab. The Tellarite chief engineer was duly impressed by the ship.

    "They really went all-out with this beauty, huh?"

    "Yep. Did you finish installing that Solanae tech?"

    "They did it for us, sir. New warp core, new deflector, new shields, new engines. They installed some Voth cannons on the front, too."

    "Sweet. I guess I owe Shon and his boys a favor now. Oh, wow."

    The unit and her bridge crew stepped onto the shiny new bridge. Three made a beeline for the Captain's chair.

    "Oh, nice! Look at this padding! It's even sized and supported for me! No more crushing too-small seats under my weight! This is awesome!"

    "Look at the weapons on this thing!" Gamat'Elon's voice was excited. "Look at the power outputs on these new projectiles; oh, I cannot WAIT to shove these down the throats of the Borg!"

    "Oh, these sensor arrays are SWEET!" D'vek was practically manic with glee. "They even already integrated a Janeway Array, so we can rest a little easier while warping around! Oh, what I wouldn't give to see some Romulans try to sneak past us with THIS sensor suite active!" He laughed maniacally.

    Belkrab had pulled a wall panel off and was examining an EPS conduit.

    "Sir, they even followed your redshirt protection guidelines! I see fuses, capacitors...three whole layers of safety! We're really going to have to thank Shon, sir."

    "Yeah, I owe him one," said Three, leaning back in her oversized, overstuffed Captain's chair. "Just lemme check my room first. Honey, does my ready room have a fish?"

    "Yes, dear," said Azip. "One lionfish in a tank, as requested."

    "Awesome. Wanna go check out our quarters?"

    "Sure."

    "Awesome. Gamat'Elon, you have the Bridge."

    The Jem'Hadar saluted. D'vek was too busy laughing gleefully while playing with his science station to make any comments.
    Seventeen hours later. Vorn system.

    The carrier decloaked with a swarm of escorts streaming from its hangar bays, but the George Takei was ready.

    "Fire everything!" yelled Three, wearing a red blouse and pants on backwards. "Use that new torpedo thingy!"

    "Yes, my God! Firing the VATA!" Gamat'Elon pushed the definitely nonstandard Fire All button with just a little bit more glee than was absolutely necessary. Phaser beams, cannon pulses, and veritable swarms of torpedoes screamed out and impacted with the carrier nanoseconds before its shields rose, ripping through the hull and nacelles with incredible power.

    "It's still up!" Azip screamed. "Enemy hull integrity is down to 25% and shields are down; what do we do?"

    Three grinned like a shark. Two of the five attack group ships had been destroyed, one was disabled after somehow destroying a Borg cube unaided, and the George Takei...

    Well, Three's lovely new ship was mostly pristine, due to careful piloting and extreme firepower.

    "Ram them."

    "Yes, sir!" The ensign at the helm pressed a button of his own, and the George Takei streaked forwards with an acceleration so powerful it could be felt through the inertial dampeners.

    "All hands, brace for impact! Activate ram protocols!"

    Down in Engineering, Chief Engineer Belkrab counted under her breath, then hit a very large red button marked "Do Not Push". The George Takei's shields dropped, then flared outwards a second later as the battlecruiser rammed into the Borg carrier.

    The resulting explosion ripped the Borg ship into thousands of fragments, many of which were vaporized as the carrier's warp core blew. The George Takei sailed out of the wreckage virtually unharmed, like something from a Vin Diesel movie, green plasma providing a brilliant backdrop for the battlecruiser as it slowly reached a halt near the remainder of the attack fleet.

    Three stood and posed in front of the viewscreen. The bridge crew began to cheer. Azip rose to her feat, then literally leaped into Three's arms and kissed her.

    When they broke, the Andorian whispered, "I love this ship!"

    "I do too, honey," said Three. "This is one sexy engine of destruction."
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
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  • masopwmasopw Member Posts: 157 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    The Eye, Present Day

    "Hiya Jacob!"

    The blond man looked to left, knowing that chipper voice could only come from one other person stationed at The Eye. "Hiya back, Sandy. How are things?"

    The redhead gave a big smile and placed her tray down without an invite. The Replimat at The Eye was the one mess where formality wasn't needed; it was the equivalent of a 'dirty shirt' wardroom on old Earth naval vessels. It was a place to grab a bite and not worry about your protocol offending a member of one of the many organizations that operated the station. This made it a very, very popular place to eat.

    "I was gonna ask you the same thing. C'mon...you know you want to tell me about how you're going to handle the Spitfire incident." She ran off to the replicator, returning with a couple of slices of apple pie.

    Jacob chuckled to himself. As the DTI's liaison, Sandy had access to the temporal records...so she could find out what Jacob did about the Spitfire. He was tempted to ask her what he was going to do...but that line never worked. Sandy would let the odd tidbit slip, but never enough to cause a paradox.

    "To be honest, we're going for a simple solution. Fog of war, forged logs showing Starfleet did search for her." He sipped at a cup of kanar, wincing at the taste, but knowing it enhanced the flavour of the hasperat he was nibbling on. "The people of the Federation are getting war weary. They'll accept the explanation, the same way they did when missing starships popped up in Maquis hands."

    Sandy thought about it for a moment. "It might work. No...I didn't look at the timeline, so I have no idea if it will or not. But if I was presented the info at this time, I'd buy it. With a bit of skepticism, but when a dishonest Ferengi trader is involved, it adds to the credibility of your story. With tensions the way they are, people won't dig further...not if it would cause an incident with the Ferengi and they then jack up prices on non-replicatable goods." She paused for a moment, taking a sip from her espresso. "But I meant what you were going to do with it with regards to your private fleet."

    "Fleet? Fifteen assorted light courier ships do not make a fleet."

    "Fifteen? I thought you had twenty-three."

    Jacob thought for a second. "Nope..just fifteen. Spitfire and Hyperion are...well...Hyperion's the only true combat vessel we can use now." He shook his head, wondering how some of the more dangerous missions would be handled by the aging Norway class vessel. "I wish I did have at least twenty-three...then we wouldn't have to continually beg for satellite repair missions."

    "You've got no shortage of captains who are doing those."

    "True...but they aren't lining up for more...how to put it...aggressive assignments."

    "Isn't that a good thing?"

    "Yes. Makes our lives difficult at times...but I'd prefer difficult to knowing that there are more crews like Spitfire's that are loose cannons."

    "Hmm." Sandy wondered how to broach the subject, but given they were in the Replimat, she just went for it. "Did you learn a lesson from this nightmare?"

    Jacob gave her a sad look. "One: no more cloaks. Two: if they break our protocol more than twice without a damn good reason, they become a liability to be retired. Voluntarily...or forced. Three: unstable captain and XO with a vendetta are not the most reliable asset to hand quantum torpedoes over to. Four: we're going to have to redact a lot of remote sensor logs. It would be easier to have the sensors undergoing repair."

    Picking up her fork, Sandy stabbed it into her slice of pie. "Good lessons. Hope they take."

    Jacob picked up his own fork, and pointed it at Sandy. "Did this little event have any temporal repercussions?"

    She smiled, looking around to see if any of her colleagues were in earshot. "A class 7 temporal anomaly across all archives."

    "Class 7?"

    "Yep. Which means we don't dig any further. Whatever happened, happened, and if anybody tries to undo it, it will be bad."

    "Define bad."

    "Hobus...the Nexus...Praxis. Something that means a lot of people cease to exist. And since it affected all archives...even the protected ones...then it was a major event across multiple timelines, or even parallel universes."

    "Well...whatever it was...I hope it's done with. Say...did you read the new after action report from Starfleet? They're requesting that all vessels conduct a Level 2 scan of subspace after any situation where they use Red Matter Capacitors, or form Gravity Wells or Tyken's Rifts."

    Sandy crinkled her face. "Wonder what that's all about?"

    Jacob just shrugged. "Don't know. Probably after effects from whatever caused your temporal anomaly. We might never know what they are." He took a bite from his pie, and was confused for a moment.

    It was delicious.

    ********************
    Aftershocks

    Earth, in the future

    Admiral Nico Garret awoke suddenly, shaking his head. He had a strange dream, but couldn't exactly remember what it was. Odd, he thought. He rolled over, placing his arm around his loving wife as she slumbered deeply. He needed to go back to sleep so he could deal with this second mysterious shipyard found near Io, and try to make sense of the ancient salvage records from the U.S.S. Vengeance. Hopefully New Vulcan could provide some more experts in the field to make sense of it all...

    *********************

    Deep Space Nine II, a few years ago

    Commander Nico Garret awoke suddenly, shaking his head. He had a strange dream, but couldn't exactly remember what it was. Odd, he thought. He thought about calling his wife on Earth, but calculated the time difference and went back to sleep. His ship was to go out on patrol tomorrow to enforce the Andorian blockade, and while he wasn't happy with the mission, it was an order nonetheless...

    *******************
    Terok Nor, many years ago

    Cadet Nico Garret awoke suddenly, shaking his head. He had a strange dream, but couldn't exactly remember what it was. Odd, he thought. No matter...his quarters were warm for a change, and his mates were keeping him warmer. He debated waking them for another round of fun, but thought he'd need his energy for later, when he planned to plant a dagger between the Overseer's shoulders while using a Gorn agonizer...

    ********************

    A dusty crossroads, somewhere in space and time.


    Q smiled as he rocked in the seat. A map of the universe floated before him, a perfect sheet of cartographer's paper showing the ebbs and flows of the universe in motion. All was right.

    He looked down at the canine lying at his feet. "I told you it would work. You have to have a little faith in these humans. They'll surprise you from time to time."

    The dog raised his head, cocking it to the right.

    "I think Nico's handling it well. I'll drop in on him and check...but I have faith."

    The dog barked quizzically.

    "No...she said I could sleep inside tonight. Happy wife, happy life." He crossed his arms, and rocked in the chair a bit harder. "And *I* don't have to be the dog for a few months. You should never bet against these humans," Q smirked, "or against me."

    "Woof!"
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    This is a prequel for the collaboration fic that marcusdkane and I have been working on. Marcus, this is so you can get an idea of Ha'ni tactics and weaponry.

    LC 44 Redux: "Harbringer"

    Captain Nemesis unit designation Three was having a truly awful day.

    The Undine dreadnought currently pursuing her ship, the USS George Takei, had blasted out of a rift in fluidic space without any warning whatsoever while the Federation ship had been a routine patrol for Borg. A massive volley of Undine energy weapons had torn up the battlecruiser's shields and breached the hull in three places; fortunately, the ship had been on Redshirt Protection Level Two (Three's standard for patrols in Borg space), and there had been no deaths, although Sickbay was now quite full of people with plasma burns and suffering from partial atmospheric decompression.

    The George Takei's coms array had been blown away instantly, and so Three had ordered the ship to maximum impulse away from the gargantuan bioship.

    Unfortunately, said bioship was keeping pace rather well.

    "Rear shields are down to 25%! Hull integrity down to 47%!" Gamat'Elon shouted from the tactical station as Three hauled her sore behind out of the bulkhead into which she had just been thrown.

    "Azip, vent the warp plasma or something! D'vek, any allied ships anywhere nearby?"

    "No, sir! Wait a minute...Sir! Unidentified anomaly, off the starboard bow!"

    "Of-freaking-course," complained Three, hauling herself back into her chair and repeatedly pressing the button to fire the rear mines. "Because there's no situation that can't be made worse by Murphy putting in his two cents..."

    Then a glittering white wormhole opened up about ten kilometers out, and a gleaming bluish...thing slid out.

    Unfortunately, Three recognized the shape.

    "Oh, corn dogs. GET US OUT OF HERE!!!!! Get us out of here and don't look like a threat, whatever you do!"

    On board the Ha'ni Suzerainty starship Naarat <trans. "Vindication"> (Zivat-class attack frigate).

    "Zaan! Two vessels on sensors, unknown configuration!"

    "Light!" swore zaan Nivat, a slender but muscular jin about eight feet tall. "Weapons?"

    Jaaranat Nik'tu, the chunky jian helmsjaan, tapped at her console for a moment before replying.

    "Both are equipped with low-power energy weapons, none of which will be able to so much as scratch our hull. The lead vessel is comprised of inferior metals similar to ground construction supplies. It is under attack from the other vessel, which is reading as...biological? I apologize, zaan, but I do not understand..."

    "You are lucky that I do not understand, either, or you would be cleaning the hull for three cycles." Naarat shook with a sudden impact. "Report!"

    "The biological vessel is firing on us, zaan. The other ship is peeling away at high subluminal speeds."

    "Target those insolent fools in the biological ship. Fire the forward pulse cannons. Annihilate them!"

    "Firing, zaan."

    On board the George Takei.

    "No way."

    Commander Azip Shran voiced the thoughts of the entire crew as she watched the Undine ship shoot at the alien vessel to no effect.

    Then a blast of concentrated heat and light lanced out from the glittering bluish vessel, ripping through the colossal bioship's hull and out the other side with one shot. The Undine ship crumpled, venting plasma, and two more pulses tore it apart.

    "How..."

    "That's a Ha'ni ship," said Three grimly. "I don't know what the hell they're doing here, but I know when they're charging weapons. Why the hell they came through the wormgate with guns charged I don't know, but the only smart thing to do now is to get out of here and hail Starfleet. Engineering, do we have warp drive?"

    "Belkrab here. We can make warp 5; any higher than that and we run into structural integrity issues. Did you see..."

    "Yes. Ha'ni tech is ridiculously powerful. Don't know what the "Suzerainty" is, though--last I checked their state was the Zhirat--the Ministry. Why they changed to Kizhtat, and why that scout ship has extra guns I don't know, but Starfleet needs to know, now."

    "That's a..."

    "Scout ship, yeah. Zivat-class, I think. Hang on--full stop, pull up the long-range sensors. I want to see what they do next."

    The crew waited with bated breath until the bluish metal ship set off an electromagnetic pulse from its nose, blasting open a wormhole in the space-time continuum. As it entered the wormhole, Three let out her breath.

    "Returning to report. Good, their sensors are still pants. Half the range of ours, if that. Right, set a course for the Gamma Orionis conduit, warp 5."

    "Three? What was that thing?" Azip's voice was a little squeaky with nerves.

    The unit settled back into her chair, muscles tense.

    "A harbinger."

    "Of what?"

    "Of the Ha'ni. Engage."
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
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  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC 38 redux: "A Republic Romulan in Gilded Age New York."

    Earth, 1898.

    The retrofitted T'varo-class Romulan warbird IRW Vengeance (still not updated to RRW because of its commander's sheer laziness) screamed out of space, trailing plasma, skipped off of the atmosphere of Earth over Hawaii, rolled, cut neatly into the upper mesosphere over California, and left a trail of fire in the sky a couple thousand miles long as it flew with gradually decreasing velocity across the American continent, crashing rather dramatically in New York Harbor (causing a not inconsiderable splash and swell of water) before sinking to the bottom.

    Vice Admiral D'trel Tomalak crawled feebly out of a mess of bulkheads, consoles, and sparking wires on the Vengeance's bridge. A strong, scaled hand gripped her arm.

    "I have you, Commander," said Subcommander Omek'ti'kallan, hauling the Romulan woman out with a grunt. "Are you intact?"

    The Admiral looked herself over.

    "Beat up but alive. How are the others?"

    "Praise Odo'ital; we had only two casualties; engineering crew who got hit by a plasma leak. Viasa reports from Sickbay that there are more than fifty injuries that need her attention."

    "Elements, what a mess. Jak and Daysnur?"

    "Broken arms for both of them, but alive. Daysnur has two crushed ribs as well."

    "Zel? The Voth?"

    "Subcommander Exil reported just before we found you; he is intact. Third Zel has not reported in yet."

    "Get some search parties together and scour the ship. Find anyone you can--hey, that pile's shifting!"

    The refrigerator-suited hand of the Breen helmsman inched out of another pile of debris and cables behind the Commander's chair.

    "Help me out here! And hail Astrometrics, see where the hell we are. Zel, are you all right?"

    "These...suits...are...really...good..." managed the Breen, before xir head fell back with a sigh and a thump. The Admiral panicked for a moment before seeing the slight rise and fall of Zel's chest.

    "Haul xir out of there, I'm off to Astrometrics to see what the hell is going on. When xe's loose, set up some search parties and scour the ship for more crew!"

    "Yes, Commander!"

    The Romulan made it into the turbolift; fortunately, those were at least working, if disturbingly shaky. As the door closed, she clutched her bruised, slightly bloody head and moaned.

    "Ooooooww..."

    2 hours later.

    "Tell me again. With feeling, this time."

    Admiral D'trel Tomalak's voice was level and cold. Astrometrics Specialist Sublieutenant Saler couldn't help but gulp in terror.

    "We...sir..uh, we found that...we are approximately five hundred years in the past, and we're on Earth, based on a statue that the probe got footage of; it's an old Terran monument called the Statue of Liberty. Um. I'm...sorry, sir."

    The Admiral was stiff as a board, tapping her fingers in a monotonous rhythm on the table.

    "Out."

    Selar was more than happy to comply.

    Once he had gone, the Romulan looked to her other officers, two of whom were in rather impressive casts.

    "Well?"

    "The singularity core is stable, but the EPS conduits are fried. We're going to need to do some serious repairs," said Jak, resting his broken arm awkwardly on the table. "And Daysnur's working on a temporal wormhole device, but he needs some parts. Copper and silicon and whole list of stuff."

    "Zel, can you handle this?"

    The Breen gave the list a once-over. "Sure. Just give me some guys who can pass for human. I studied Earth as a kid, I know where to get stuff in this time."

    "Good. Omek'ti'kallan, how are repairs to the bridge coming?"

    "They are proceeding well, praise to Odo'ital. Second Daysnur has been working on his theoretical engineering solution to our problem, but the engineering crews have been sufficient."

    "Nelen, how are the patients?"

    "Viasa has Sickbay under control, sir. I'm sorry I can't be of more help in this situation."

    "You're an archaeologist specializing in Delta Quadrant civilizations. I was impressed enough that you knew rocks and paleontology. Right. Omek, get some guys together and report to Sickbay for disguises. I'll be right down. Zel, you keep in contact with us through earpieces, tell us what to get."

    Four hours later.

    "Now, what's a pretty girl like you doing out here at this time of night?"

    Fred Thompson was a basically decent human being, a police officer, and generally the sort of person who tries to be friendly at really bad times.

    The woman whom he was addressing was a slender, wiry thing about six feet tall, a height that Fred (himself a rather imposing chap) found rather refreshing in this city of women who averaged five-foot-six. She was maybe thirty, and was wearing a simple dress and long-sleeved coat, and carried a small purse. The woman's companions were a number of fellows in trench coats with black hats pulled low, including one disturbingly large, brutish chap with a bulge (which Fred was experienced enough to recognize as a pistol) beneath his coat. Being a chivalrous sort, Fred felt that it was his responsibility to ensure that these dangerous-seeming chaps didn't turn on the nice lady.

    "Shopping," said the woman tersely.

    "What for?"

    "Copper wire, some bauxite and quartz. Glass would be acceptable in place of the quartz."

    "That's not stuff that a fine lady should be carrying around, especially not at this time of night in this part of town, and with the strange happenings tonight...well...Tell you what, my brother knows a glassblower, down near the park. I could get you the glass, and probably at a discount."

    "Acceptable," said the lady. "Omek, Soral, go with him. The rest of you, with me."

    The brutish fellow and a stocky chap about Fred's size saluted--military?--and moved to Fred's other side without breaking pace.

    "Er...Ma'am, I didn't even catch your name, or where you're from, or why you're in such a dangerous part of town..."

    "We are from...far away. We are here because our transportation is currently broken, and we need the items I mentioned to repair it. My name is D'trel."

    "Foreigners, eh? Well, between you and me, ma'am, this is a dangerous part of town, especially for foreigners. Do you want me to call for a cab?"

    "We are capable of defending ourselves. Please, go with Omek and Soral."

    The hulking man grabbed Fred gently but firmly by the shoulder in one huge hand. "You said that your clutch-brother knows one who makes glass?"

    He had an odd accent. Fred couldn't place it.

    "Yes, my brother--he knows a chap who runs a glassblower's shop..." Fred trailed off as he saw the huge man's misshapen face and yellow eyes.

    "What the..."

    "My apologies," said the hulking "Omek", hiding his face with his hat and turning away. "I had forgotten how your people react to me."

    "That's...fine. Just peachy. Um. Well, I hope that you have enough money; glass is expensive, you know!"

    "Money is no object."

    The other fellow, Soral, had a strange accent of his own, but he at least looked like an ordinary man, even if his chin was unusually sharp. Fortunately, the shopping trip went quickly and easily, and the mysterious men gave Fred a rather large packet of greenbacks for his trouble.

    They met up with the woman and her guards down at the docks. Fred had taken his leave of the two men a few minutes previously, but had followed them out of curiosity. He was now hiding behind a barrel, watching the foreigners.

    The foreigners chatted for a moment (the men saluting "D'trel" as she approached), and looked around surreptitiously. Then the woman rolled up her sleeve, revealing some sort of metal bracelet, and poked it a few times.

    A hatch like a ship's docking ramp appeared out of nowhere, and the foreigners and their loads all entered what for all intents and purposes appeared to be a hole in the air. After the last one had entered, the hatch closed. There was a slight humming noise and a blast of air followed by a splash, and Fred watched with disbelieving eyes as an invisible thing about the size of a tugboat plunged into the water, setting the boats moored at the neighboring piers rocking in the swell.

    Fred blinked. Then he sat back. He blinked again, and rubbed his eyes. Then he burst out laughing.

    Nobody would ever believe this story at the pub.

    Two days later.

    Vengeance turned slightly upwards, engines straining against the pressure, and jetted up at an angle, slicing through the water of New York Harbor.

    The starship cloaked as it emerged with a dramatic splash, terrifying and mystifying a number of fishermen who happened to be near enough to see what appeared to be a patch of air burst from the water.

    The remaining water on the warbird evaporated from the static of the cloak as the ship, engines humming, came to a halt above the Statue of Liberty and turned towards space.

    "Alright," said Vice Admiral D'trel Tomalak, ears newly restored, from her chair on the Bridge. "Take us out, one-tenth impulse, then out to Mars at full impulse once we clear the atmosphere. When we get out to Mars's orbit, activate the device."

    "Ready, sir," said Zel from the helm station.

    "Engage," said the Romulan, and she leaned back into her newly-fixed chair.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
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