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Literary Challenge #60 : Redux 3.0

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  • mli777mli777 Member Posts: 90 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC Redux #7 Best and Brightest


    Vice Admiral's Personal Log
    Stardate: 91798.16
    USS Canada
    NCC-171867

    We have arrived at Spacedock after a two month long deployment to the Khazan Cluster for an exploration tour on behalf of the Romulan Republic. It would have been routine had it not been for Starfleet assigning 200 cadets to the Canada for training. If there was I thing I remembered at the Academy, it is that the vast majority of Cadets, no matter the species, have the mentality of adolescents in adult bodies. It goes without saying, it was less of exploring the Cluster than being the babysitter for 200 young adults for two months. It was fortunate that 450 of my permanent crew were on board with experience to handle the cadets.

    From the expressions of my senior officers, I know my crew is relieved this ordeal is over, with two weeks of R&R before we deploy for a patrol in the Tau Dewa Sector.

    (Cut to Bridge)

    Vice-Admiral Lee watched the viewscreen as it showed an airlock extending a retractable corridor to the starboard docking port, located on the Saucer section of the Sovereign-Class starship. After it was connected and the docking port opened, he could see the first of 200 cadets begin to finally leave his ship. He relaxed a bit in his chair, and could hear the sighs of relief from the others on the bridge. He looked at his first officer, Captain Tarah Ovlam, and the Andorian finally looked relieved as the Cadets began to leave.

    The entire senior staff had been pushed to their limits by the cadets, who had the maturity of 18 year olds at best or at worst five year olds. His normal security officer, Lieutenant-Commander Eunice Skillicorn, had taken early leave halfway through the tour, dropped off at Outpost 417 near the edge of the Cluster, having been pushed to breaking point after a massive brawl in Eleven-Forward. From the viewscreen, Lee could now see several Security officers from Spacedock head across the corridor to collect four cadets awaiting a formal academic hearing, being the ones who had initiated that brawl. Lee grimaced as he remembered that particular incident.

    It was about halfway through the exploration tour, en route to an abandoned mining station. Lee had been sleeping with his wife when he was alerted by Skillicorn, that a fight was breaking out at the Eleven-Forward lounge. It was apparently started as a massive love-rhododendron exploded, centred around three members of the Academy football (association not American) team and their girlfriends. Several argument broke out, as the love-polygon disintegrated, and soon the punches were thrown as more and more people involved entered the fray. A Half-Vulcan cadet named T'Lau Chang reported the brawl to security, but even the normal security had been unable to stop the fighting, with several suffering injuries trying to pull cadets apart. The ship's MACO detachment had to be called in, with Major George Ross getting a black eye after one Cadet (drunk from contraband Romulan Ale) swung wildly and punched him. The Brig became full as over 30 cadets were detained, with a number having to be confined to quarters for the remainder of the tour.

    However, it seemed there was some hope a with a few Cadets, including a number of science students who helped the senior Astrometrics Scientist chart a number of new systems discovered during the tour. The Canada had entered a fight with a rogue Klingon House that had set up shop in the a system withing the cluster, though fortunately, their flagship, a Negh'var battleship, was quickly crippled with Canada's....non-regulation weapon systems. A Klingon task force from the house of Martok arrived, and informed that the rogue house had been on the run from the High Council for possible treachery involving the Tal'Shiar, and thanked us for our efforts. During that battle, engineering cadets had helped in repairs to our ship during combat, with Cadet Silas Finnegan receiving a purple heart for injuries sustained during repairs in combat.

    However, it was hard not to be reminded of the antics of the cadets, most of whom had zero clue about life on a starship. It had only taken a week before holodeck privileges were restricted, and Cadets were given restrictions to their replicator menus. Also, access to the computer core was also limited after one soon-to-be-former cadet tried to use it to store certain questionable materials (note: use your own damn computer to store your stuff). Painkillers had been a common prescription for the regular crew since the third week. At least one Klingon defector who joined the crew nearly went on a rampage after several cadets tried to have fun at his expense, and Law, a Romulan who joined after Nimbus III, was nearly ready to kill another cadet for misplacing his old peacekeeper pistol.

    Given another tour with cadets or fighting the Borg, Lee was sure the crew would pick the Borg.
    USS Canada
    N.C.C. 171867
    Sovereign Class
    Saint John Fleet Yard
    "A Mari Usque Ad Mare"
  • cptgold172cptgold172 Member Posts: 11 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    Taking Command

    Star date 88206.68(Earth Space Dock-6 years after the Cardassian Struggle)

    Fleet Admiral Quinn: James, you are here by promoted to Rear Admiral Lower Half. You've shown excellent progress during your journey, and I think you deserve it.
    - The room fills with clapping and cheering as the Fleet Admiral pins two bars on Throne's neck sleeve. It has been ten long years since the crew of the U.S.S. Lexington-D have been home. Even though there were many loses during the 10 year mission, James managed to bring those that remained, home. Their last mission was a turning point for the Klingon War.

    After several weeks of fighting, things finally cooled down near the border of Federation and Klingon space. The Lexington-D managed to make her trip home, even though she lost 67 crew members. It was time the crew had some R&R before shipping out again...-

    Star Date 91796.31 ( Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards- 8 years later)

    James: "Don't worry about the design chief. Think about what she is capable of. This is an Odyssey Class Star Cruiser. One of the largest ships in the fleet."
    Chief Uvar: "With all due respect sir, I'd rather serve on sovereign class than this whale."

    -The Vice Admiral let out a sigh and shook his head. Uvar turned away with her arms crossed and stared out the shuttle window.-

    James: "Number one, what's the status of the rest of our crew?"
    -The Female Andorian turned around to face the him.-
    Tonha: "I believe chef is on board already. Let's hope he's prepping dinner for tonight."
    James: "Is that my wife or first officer speaking? It's hard to tell."
    Tonha: "All crew members check in. We are the last shuttle to arrive."
    James: "Hmm alright then. Dinner at 1600 hours?"
    Tonha: "Sounds like a plan. But I'd like to run some tests on those new Antiproton beam arrays, once we get on board."
    James: "Noted"

    -The shuttle flew around the Lexington-F giving the senior officers a better look. About a minute later, the shuttlecraft finally landed in the Main Hangar bay. One by one the crew stepped out of the Aft door with aw on their faces.-

    Kall: "This hangar is bigger than a Galaxy class shuttle bay! I wonder how big the sickbay area is."
    James: "I'm sure there will be plenty of new toys for you Doc."

    -As the group began to talk about their new areas, James's com badge beeped and the officers were silent.-

    James: "Throne here."
    Armo'Tora: "Sir your needed on the bridge. Admiral Weston would like to speak with you."
    James: "Understood commander. I'm on my way."

    - The Vice Admiral walks into the nearest turbo lift.-
    James: "Deck 1"
    Ship AI: "Welcome aboard Vice admiral."
    James: "Since when did Starfleet ships have A.I?"
    A.I: "The Lexington-F is the first to have one admiral."
    James: "I see... State your designation."
    A.I: "I am designated as Alpha-2531 sir."
    James: "Ok then, Alpha, I hope you'll make good use of your self."

    - The turbo lift doors opened up to the bridge. -

    Armo'tora: "Captain on the bridge!"
    -The crew snapped to attention-
    James nodded: "As you were."

    -The Lexington's bridge was bustling with activity. Several engineers were checking consoles and equipment to make sure everything is good. James noticed his First Officer speaking to Admiral Weston on the view screen.-

    Weston: "Ah Throne, I was just telling your first officer about the Lexington's next mission."
    James: "With permission Admiral, I'd like to take her into the old testing zones, just so we can get used to a ship at this size."
    Weston: "As always you have my permission. I'll contact you after shakedown."
    James: "Understood. Throne out."

    -The remaining engineers walked onto the transporter pad and beamed out. James watched them leave as the senior officers took their stations.-

    Tonha:"All decks report ready Captain."
    Renuzia: "Systems report green across the board sir."
    James: "Armo'tora...takes is out. One-quarter impulse."
    Armo'tora: "Aye sir, one-quarter impulse."

    -Outside, the Lexington slowly cleared the dry dock and began her new journey.-

    Renuzia: "Captain' we've cleared dry dock and have permission to go to warp."
    -Throne looked at his wife who was sitting right of him.-
    James: "Just like old times eh honey?"
    -Tonha gave him a slight nod in agreement.-
    James: "Mr. Jeks, set a course for the Lackey System."
    Ensign Jeks: "Course laid in Captain."
    -The admiral looked around the bridge, then back to the view screen. Alpha popped up on a tube near the Admiral and faced the view screen.-

    James: "Engage"

    -The star cruiser lurched forward like a rocket and disappeared into sector space.-
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC2 redux: "The Captain's a living weapon"

    USS Douglass, NCC 94828. Retrofitted Cheyenne-class heavy cruiser.

    Commander Azip Shran slid her blue Andorian behind onto the officer's table in the mess hall, and promptly tore up the seat of her pants on the splinter that had been sticking up from the bench for three weeks.

    Damn it. Every single time...

    Lieutenant Belkrab, Chief Engineer, was already sitting, morosely stirring her bowl of glutinous, foul-smelling orange ooze that the replicators apparently thought was Vulcan Plomeek soup. Azip plunked her own bowl down, careful not to spill (the glop melted the plastic tables like acid).

    "I heard we're getting a new Captain," Azip said. "Maybe she'll get some more engineering crew so you can fix the replicators to dispense something other than bad soup."

    The Tellarite grunted pessimistically. "With our luck, we'll have another Wilson."

    Azip shuddered. "Oh, please, don't mention Wilson. That man was an idiot!"

    "Told Ambassador Kriton that his mother had a smooth forehead..."

    "Stop. Please."

    Belkrab smirked ruefully. "Sorry. What did you hear?"

    "Admiral Quinn notified me. Said we're getting a new Captain. Said that she's going to bring a "new leadership style", whatever the hell that means."

    "Huh. Hey, did you hear about the terrorist attack at the shuttleport?"

    "No, what happened?"

    "Some woman the size of a Gorn appeared out of a blue beam of light and beat the tar out of an elite MACO squad at the main shuttleport in San Francisco. They finally took her down by shooting her with six different weapons set to kill."

    "That's nuts. An augment?"

    "Apparently. They hushed it up, but FNN had the story."

    "Huh. Voice in the Wilderness and the xenophobic crowd are gonna be spitting fire."

    "Yeah, like it matters. Oh, hey D'vek, Gamat'Elon."

    Ensign First Class Gamat'Elon and Lieutenant Commander D'vek walked over, D'vek holding a bowl of glop and Gamat'Elon inserting a stick of ketracel into its slot.

    "Hey, guys. Hear about the new Captain?"

    "Yeah. Belkrab's being pessimistic, but I say the new boss lady can't be worse than Wilson."

    D'vek fished something that may have been a pea out of the glop and threw it gently at Azip's head.

    "Never, ever mention Wilson. Please. He got six guys killed in the first thirty minutes of his first mission. We were just lucky one of those guys was Wilson himself."

    "May Glorious Odo'ital send us a good Vor--I mean, Captain," rumbled Gamat'Elon. "Praised be the glorious name of Odo'ital, may His will come to pass and His love be hallowed by all."

    "Yeah, what he said," said Azip, pointing at the Jem'Hadar with her spoon. "Although I'd really settle for "mediocre". Anything but another Wilson."

    Another green blob bounced off of her forehead.

    "Quit it, D'vek. Anyway, the new Captain should be here soon; Quinn said she was on the first shuttle up. Oh, and he said that she should live longer than the last 6 because she's invincible."

    "Seriously?" said Belkrab. Azip shrugged.

    "Apparently. Damned if I know what that means."

    The intercom suddenly buzzed to life, and a vaguely female voice was audible through the horrible audio.

    "Hey, all, I'm...uh...the new Captain, I guess. I'm Nemesis unit designation Three, and I'd like you all to know that I'm going to run a fairly loose ship, but if I say jump, I expect you to say "How high?" on the way up. I'll be posting a set of guidelines for behavior, etiquette, intimate relationships, and clothing in the mess hall in an hour or two. I hope to have a meet-and-greet tomorrow. Senior officers please report to the Bridge now for my first official briefing."

    She paused for a moment, then continued.

    "Oh, yeah, and I got Admiral Quinn to change the ship's name. Welcome on board the USS George Takei. Repair teams will be coming up shortly to help fix this hunk of junk so that we can actually endure space missions."

    The intercom cut out with an ear-gouging shriek of static.

    Azip was more than happy to have an excuse to dump her glop into the recycler and go get some non-ripped pants on.

    The Captain was leaning against a console when the officers got to the Bridge.

    Azip felt herself start to drool. The woman looked mostly human, but was easily six-foot-eight, with bulging muscles all over her body, clad in a jet-black bodysuit--Kevlar? Her five feet of dark brown hair, currently in a loose ponytail, cascaded down her back behind her broad shoulders. Her eyes were brown, with slit pupils, and caught the light oddly, like there was something reflective behind them--a tapetum? Her arms were thickly muscled and rippling with strength beneath the black bodysuit, currently crossed below her smallish...assets.

    Azip Shran had to remind herself to breathe. Yes, the Captain was a walking version of one of her favorite fantasies. But with Azip's luck, she would be hetero.

    The Captain caught the Andorian's eye, and grinned.

    "You interested? I've got nothing to do Friday night, you want to play around on the holodeck?"

    Azip was saved from mortification by Belkrab, who walked up and stuck out a hand.

    "Hey, Captain. I'm Lieutenant Belkrab, Chief Engineer. You said something about fixing the ship up?"

    "Yep. Contractual stipulation with Admiral Quinn was that he fix up the ship. He said he'd been waiting for the excuse. Also, you're promoted, Commander. You three, too. Congratulations. Who are you?"

    "I am Gamat'Elon, servant of glorious Odo'ital, may His name be praised and His will come to pass. I am chief of security and chief tactical officer. I search for gods who are not the Founders on Odo'ital's orders. This is D'vek; he is a Romulan. He is chief science officer and does the doctor's work when the EMH is not working. This woman is first officer Azip Shran; she is Andorian, and fights well."

    "Awesome. Right, you and Azip go and change out of those shirts. No red clothing on my ship under any circumstances, and be wary of yellow. Belkrab, get some surge dampeners or something for all the consoles; I don't want any of them blowing out for any reason. Also, get me a fish in my office, stat! Clear?"

    "Yes, sir!" said D'vek with a crisp salute and only a trace of sarcasm.

    "Awesome. Get moving."

    The officers crowded into the turbolift and started down, tolerating the sudden stops and jerking descent. D'vek was the first to speak.

    "Thoughts, anyone?"

    "She appears to be a good Vor--I mean, Captain. Praise Odo'ital!"

    "Yeah," said Belkrab, "she looks good to me. First Captain I've ever had who even thought of surge dampeners. Seems a little crazy, but then again the best Captains always are--I mean, look at Kirk! Man slept with half the galaxy, still made Admiral and saved the universe three or four times."

    "Yeah, she's good. Military trained, for sure. Wouldn't be surprised if she was bisexual; I saw her size us all up both for tactical stuff and attractiveness. Azip, you are one lucky girl."

    "Oh, stop it!" said the Andorian, blushing purple fiercely. "How can you tell all that, anyway?"

    "I spent two years in the military when I was younger, before I defected to the IRS and then over here. Basic body language was part of the course. She wasn't even hiding it, which tells me that she CAN hide it if she wants to. I'd say that we're in for a good one, especially if you can get over your shyness."

    "D'vek, I have zero luck with women. You know that."

    "Yeah, but here's someone who was pretty openly checking you out--I saw her staring at your chest, even."

    "Two words. Frat regs."

    "Ten bars says she doesn't give a damn about frat regs."

    "Oh, you are SO on. Never bet FOR my luck with women!"

    Azip would later pay up rather grouchily when the lists of rules and regulations (including a sheet titled "Intimate relationships on a starship: what YOU need to know") were posted in the mess hall.

    The general consensus among the crew after that and the meet-and-greet (at which Three familiarized herself with all five hundred crew members over the course of eight hours of partying), was that the new Captain was completely and utterly insane, but in a way that was really good for the safety, health, and sanity of anyone and everyone under her command*.

    Subsequent missions (including the Incident On Qo'noS) would confirm this opinion.

    *Making Thee possibly unique in the entirety of Starfleet history.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
    Baal%20prop%20pic%208_zpsqaptvpnu.png
  • wraithshadow13wraithshadow13 Member Posts: 1,538 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    Captain Donovan hadn't been expecting another call from the Admiral so soon, but considering that it was coming in over the secured Section 31 channel, he couldn't help but worry. There was a starbase located a day's travel from their current location, and that was at maximum warp. She seemed hesitant to reveal full details at first, which seemed out of character until:

    "It's the Genesis device, James..."

    "You've got to be @#$%ing me, Jol, YOU of all people..."

    "It's worse that than James, much worse." Her tone dropped, which caused him to furrow his brow more, before she continued. "They were using Project Scorpion, from the Voyager expedition."

    He swore once more, loudly, when suddenly the door chimed.

    "WHO IS IT!"

    "Commander T'Pal."

    "Enter." he sighed.

    "Captain, are you alright?"

    "Prepare the transwarp drive."

    "Aye, Captain." She turned without further question.

    "We're going to talk about this later Jol." He said, pointing accusingly at the screen.

    "That's Admiral right now, Captain."

    "NOT THIS TIME JOL! Not this time..."

    It was the first time Captain Donovan had ever closed the channel on Admiral Aviess, and she frankly wasn't prepared for it. After a moment to compose himself, he exited the ready room and took his seat. His first officer T'Pal leaned over stating:

    "Captain, need I remind you, that the Transwarp drive is still in the experimental stages. While we can use it for limited duration increases in warp speed, doing so will leave us incapable of doing so for a short time afterward. If this is a situation we cannot win, we have no means of retreat."

    "This isn't the kind of situation we get to retreat from, Commander, and we're not using the drive for a speed boost." He reached down and pressed the ship wide intercom. "All hands, This is the Captain speaking. Prepare for transwarp jump, this is NOT a drill. Battle stations. Strike teams Alpha, Beta, and Charlie prepare for full combat incursion. Repeat: This is NOT a drill."

    Everyone on the bridge minus the two Vulcans looked entirely caught off guard, but they did as they were told. From behind, Lt.C Keating tapped the console and reported in.

    "All stations report ready, Captain."

    He tapped the coordinates into the console built into his char, and with a look of focus and determination driven by anger, James Charles Donovan signaled forward: "Engage."

    Within seconds, the nacelles overcharged, bending space itself, instantly placing them within thirty Kilometers from the station.

    "Report." Commander T'Pal ordered.

    "All stations at the ready. We're picking up an unidentified Vessel at the station, they're jamming all external sensors and communications." Keating chimed, while over the comms, Chief Fine, responded with "Primary and tertiary warp cores are on emergency shutdown, but secondary is still able to put up a fight. I don't recommend we use MultiVector though until we get them all back online though."

    "E.T.A?" he asked.

    "No clue until we get the smoke cleared, but with how hard the Transwarp drive blew, it nearly took all three cores with it. Had it not been for the shutdown, we would be left on auxiliary."

    "Move in. We'll go for a strafing run, we'll hit the ship with a light burst from the cannons, so we can beam in the assault teams. Once inside, the teams orders are to disable and detain. Maximum stun..." He sighed heavily. "Lethal Force is authorized as a last resort."

    "Captain?" Commander T'Pal seemed genuinely concerned by this.

    "The order stands." He grimaced before giving the order to attack.

    The ship moved forward into attack pattern alpha, sweeping down with in kilometers of the stations hull, laying a quick burst into the enemy ship, to no affect. As it came about, it tried to open a hailing frequency, but the unknown vessels only response was to begin launching fighters, which billowed a black plasma cloud from it's exhaust as they moved forward, firing anti-proton cannons. The Geist followed suit, pushing power to the forward shields firing a full spread from the forward arc. To everyone's surprise, the fighters didn't bother dodging the fire. They just pushed through the cannon fire, laying down a spread of almost equal force.

    "Come about, push all available power to the weapons." Ordered the first officer as the bridge shook lightly.

    Then suddenly, there was a much harder jerk than before.

    "Damage Report." Donovan ordered.

    "Shields down ten percent and holding, Sir." Keating replied.

    "What did they hit us with?"

    "A tricobalt device, Captain." T'Pal added.

    "A tricobalt device? But fighters are too small to be carrying that kind of firepower."

    "Agreed, Sir, but that IS what they have 'hit us' with."

    "Mr. Sabin, power status. Can we maintain the shield and the heavier fire?"

    "Negative. Their shields are too strong for our standard fire, yet our shields cannot take sustained fire from their projectiles for too long. If we maintain this fight for too long, without the power from all three cores, we will not overtake them."

    The ship rocked again as another torpedo hit.

    "Devon, what's the status of the cores?"

    "We're working as fast as we can, Sir, but the jump drive did a number on a lot of the energy conduits. I'll give you what I can from the secondary, but if we try to restart the other two without replacing the lines, we won't be getting more than a fraction of the power we'd be generating."

    The ship shook again, this time as a console shot sparks at Edison, the fully assimilated Science Chief.

    "Edison?" asked the First officer, turning her head to check on the fallen crewman.

    "It's just a little burnt skin. I've already deactivated pain receptors, but my station is useless, Ma'am." he said in his usual, Borg modulated voice.

    "Are you still capable?"

    "Yes, Commander."

    "Good," Donovan interjected, "head to engineering and give what ever help you can getting those cores back online."

    "Aye, Sir." He turned, heading into the turbolift.

    Another few shots hit the shields, causing the vacated console to fully explode.

    "Sabin: fire control, then full power to the inertial dampeners. Keating: Torpedoes, full spread on my mark. Helm: full power to aft thrusters, pitch and yaw one-eighty. Go" He said, his grip tightening on the arms of the Captain's chair."

    The Geist slowed, rolling forward on momentum as the thrusters kicked in, bringing the ship end over end.

    "FIRE!"

    It was a lucky break, some of the fighters had launched Tricobalt torpedoes and the full complement from the surprise maneuver caught them all, creating a series of spatial anomalies and explosions causing massive damage to the fighters. Most didn't make it, but a few of those that did, made directly for the U.S.S. Geist on

    "a collision course!"

    "Evasive maneuvers!" the Captain yelled

    Commander T'Pal ordered into the ship wide comms "ALL HANDS: BRACE FOR IMPACT!"

    Another crash as the lights went flickered, and when another fighter crashed, they went out completely. Emergency lights were on a moment later, but the damage was done.

    "Shields are down! We have multiple hull breaches, starboard, decks seven through ten. We're getting casualty reports from each of those decks."

    "Emergency fields?"

    "Negative Ma'am, all shield subsystems are down."

    "Seal the hatches, do we still have the holo-emitters?"

    "Yes, Sir."

    "Rescue A-7. Use any power you can muster to get photonic soldiers in the sealed off areas. They're on patrol for survivors, ours and theirs. Main priority is to assist the medical teams."

    "Aye, Captain."

    The Emergency lights flickered as a fighter exploded near the hull, blasted by a hit from the Geist's cutting beam.

    "Two fighters left Captain." Keating said, coughing out the smoke from Edison's console.

    "Take us in close to the ship, we'll need to set up a little surprise. Sabin, can you work up a little surprise for them?"

    The Geist pulled toward the station, moving to dodge shots from the fighters. As it approached, the Geist launched a single high yield torpedo, broadsiding the mystery ship moments after the Federation ship flew passed. It exploded, leaving behind a highly charged graviton field, drawing the damaged fighters directly into the hull of the alien ship. The Explosions did little damage, but at least the ship had a moment to breathe. A moment that was soon filled with a very slow and deliberate clapping.

    "You..." Captain Donovan could hardly believe it.

    And then, to the horror of the bridge crew came the gruff slightly modulated voice of an old enemy.

    "Am I doing this right Captain? You'll have to forgive me, I'm not familiar with many Earther customs."

    "Krotious." The disdain in the Captain's voice was clear.

    "Where is he Captain?"

    "What are you doing here? The last we saw each other, you were flying away in a ship more advanced than anything in this station. What possible reason do yo-"

    "I can destroy your vessel a thousand times over, Donovan. Perhaps you should remember just who you're talking to," He started walking closer to the view screen, only to pass through it, straight onto the bridge of the U.S.S. Geist. "-and tell me WHERE IS HE?"

    T'Pal drew the phaser holstered to the side of her seat, but as she raised it to fire, Krotious of Borg grabbed the young helmsman by the shirt, tossing him at the First Officer, knocking her against the railing of the tac console. Keating followed suite, only to have the blast negated by Krotious' internal Borg shield. As Captain Donovan stood to strike him, the Klingon shoved him back into the Captains chair. Both Keating and Sabin came around the sides, but Krotious dispatched them easily before swinging his arm to the side, taking out the other helmsman, his eyes never leaving The Captains. As he approached again, Donovan had his own phaser ready, blasting a series low frequency pulses directly into the Cyborg's eyes.

    "GAAAAHH ha... Ha ha HA HAHAHA!"

    James had forgotten just how unnatural that laugh was, more so after the initial howl of pain and surprise.

    "Clever little Earther, that actually hurt. I do believe that you've actually managed to knock some of my sensors."

    "What can I say? I don't like uninvited guests on my bridge."

    Krotious grabbed the Captain, pulling him close.

    "Call him here."

    The Captain struggled, Pistol whipping his attacker with the phaser. Krotious however caught his other hand as Donovan swung again, breaking the man's hand in his metallic talon. This time it was the Human's turn to howl in pain and surprise.

    "Bring. Him. TO ME!"

    Even though his hand was broken, Donovan could only glare into the face of his enemy. At first, Krotious could swear the Captain had made a whine, but as his sensors started coming back, the sound had been coming from his side. The wretch must have knocked hit Krotious harder than he thought, to have disrupted the implant on the side of his head.

    "Ahhh, defiant to the last. Is every member of your species this stubborn? Or is it a matter of honor? Always the noble race, yes?" Krotious looked around, before kneeling down and picking up the young ensign by the back of the neck. "Where?"

    "Try behind you, ugly."

    "Damn you, petaQ!"

    As he turned to strike, Wraith used that speed and agility of his to toss the assimilated Klingon against the view screen, hard enough to crack the screen and cause the ringing in his ear to get louder. That is at least, until he realized that it wasn't his ear or a broken implant that was whining. What Krotious had thought to be a desperation move, was merely a distraction and a calculated loss, which allowed the Human to attach his phaser to the Klingon Captain's shoulder. Knowing there wasn't much time, the hand on his cybernetic arm folded backward, the fingers bending further and connecting to the wrist. He raised his arm and shot a heavy pulse directly into Wraith, sending him through the door of the turbolift, as the phaser exploded. The blast shattered the screen behind him, sending a massive shock throughout his already damaged systems.

    James moved through the crew, checking their wounds.

    "Emergency medical team to the bridge. We have multiple wounded, and one, maybe two dead."

    "Acknowledged."

    He was glad to hear Tala was okay, a little good news right now.

    "Mr. Sabin, are you alright?"

    "Mostly."
    "Help Ensign R'saur and T'Pal, I think she has a heavy concussion. I'm going to grab the med kit from my ready room to treat that gash on Keating's face before he bleeds out."

    "And Lieutenant Jeffers?"

    The Captain hung his head for a moment.

    "Wraith..." He paused a moment, without lifting his head. "Wraith is in the turbolift. He's alive, but I have no clue what that insane monster did to him."

    He went into his ready room, ignoring the mess that used to be his office, grabbing a med kit from a panel behind the washroom door. As he rushed back to the bridge, he was abruptly stopped by the five razor sharp claws on the remaining arm of a very weakened Klingon. Each one pierced through the uniform and flesh with ease. Both men fell to their knees, unable to bare the others weight. The crew had been too busy helping Keating and Wraith, to notice Krotious struggle to his feet. His real arm missing, with massive injuries and burns over the rest of his side. As he fell over, he was beamed out by his ship, missing out on a lethal blast from T'Pal's phaser. Things seemed to slow down as Captain Donovan began to fall. He saw Wraith lying there, motionless. T'Pal was yelling something as she rushed towards her Captain, but it had been to muffled sounding.

    As his head hit the deck, he was fading fast, losing consciousness as shock finally took over. The medical team coming in through the second lift, was the last thing he saw before it had all faded into the abyss...


    To Be Continued...
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    This is sort of a chronology--different from how I usually write. Trying for short, light, and humorous here.

    LC 7 redux: "Why Three banned cadets from her ship".

    --Day 1, hours 1 through 4. The events of my LC 59 submission take place. Starfleet security removes the remains of Rianna Vell for transport back to Betazed. Cadets are interrogated lightly by Starfleet Security. Admiral Janeway gives the official all-clear and tells Three to "Get the hell out of Sol system, and keep those cadets alive."

    --Day 2, hour 7. Cadet James Wilkins trips over his own feet while Chief Engineer Belkrab is demonstrating EPS conduit repair, and accidentally crashes head-first into the open conduit. He is treated for second-degree burns and has the charred remains of his hair removed for sanitary reasons.

    --Day 3, hour 4. Two male human cadets get into a fight over a female Orion cadet in the mess hall. Captain Three is guzzling Dosi rotgut as the fight breaks out in an unsuccessful attempt to get drunk*, and physically hits the cadets' heads together until they stop fighting. Both cadets are treated for concussions and massive head bruises.

    --Day 3, hour 8. Cadet Brox, a Bolian, takes some holodeck time, and accidentally activates the Captain's private romance program. A malfunction traps her in the holodeck with the safeties off, and she is beamed out seconds before the Titanic sinks with her trapped on board.

    --Day 4, hour 16. Another fistfight over the aforementioned Orion cadet, between the same two numbskulls, becomes a giant brawl that effectively breaks the entire mess hall. Three orders all stop for repairs and confines all 30-odd fighters to the Brig.

    --Day 4, hour 20. Two Breen starships drop out of warp and attack Three's ship, the Predator, in the interests of recapturing it for the Confederacy. They are disabled, but the Predator is forced to make an emergency landing on a nearby planet.

    --Day 5, hour 17. Chief Engineer Belkrab finishes repair. Three orders an immediate return to the Sol system.

    --Day 6, hour 10. The Predator arrives back at Earth spacedock several weeks early and discharges all cadets. Three sends a very profane letter to Command saying, on no uncertain terms, that she will not under any circumstances go through that mess again.

    * Nemesis units are incapable on getting drunk under normal circumstances due to their rapid metabolism.
    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: Lone Drone




    The IRW Tomalak, a D'Deredix class warbird, hovered in orbit of a generic class M world, seven light years from the Solonae Dyson Sphere. They were under cloak, observing strange activities of the Borg.

    Commander D'Elon stood in front of her command chair. She always preferred to stand, it forced her to be the centre of focus, as she should be. "Report." She looked over to Sub-commander Satra, her science expert and second in command. "The Borg are still clustered in a single area." Satra said. "There's no sign of assimilation. No sign of activity. They're simply...... putting drones on the surface."

    D'Elon frowned. "What in the name of the Raptor's Wing are they doing?" She pressed a comm button on her command chair. "Lolius. Report."
    "We've completed the modifications to the cage. Completely seperate from all power systems, no networks, multi frequency forcefields and a small canister of plasma coolant behind a bulkhead. We're as ready as we're going to be."


    D'Elon tilted her head back slightly, staring at the Borg Cubes orbiting the blue marble. The Star Empire would learn what the Collective was doing here. And if it was something they could use, then they would. Before the Federation, Klingons or Romulan Republic could get their hands on it. "Transporter room. Energise."


    In the modified cell of the Brig, a glimmer of green lights heralded the arrival of a Borg drone beamed up from the surface. The female figure turned and stared at Lolius, who dropped his instrument in shock. He quickly slammed the comm panel. "COMMANDER! COMMANDER! W'VE BEAMED UP A QUEEN!"
    D'Elon let out a string of curses before ordering the ship to move away from the system at half impulse, so as not to trigger the Borg sensors. Once confirmed the ship was not detected, D'Elon made her way from the bridge, pausing only to observe a diamond ship warp into the system, flanked by a pair of cubes. The Commander hurried towards the Brig, ordering an extra three security teams.



    As D'Elon entered the Brig, Ta'al was already positioning Centurions around the room. Lolius was behind a console, finger twitching over the release button for the Plasma Coolant, ready to liquify her organic components at a moment's notice. The Queen was stood up against the forcefield, staring intently at the Romulan Engineer, which only served to make Lolius even more nervous. D'Elon stood directly infront of the Queen, staring her down. "You are in command of the Collective. If we kill you, the Collective dies. So do as we say, or you die."

    The Queen looked directly into the Romulan's eyes, observing her before she spoke. "I do not control the Collective. I am the collective."
    "Same difference. What are the Borg doing on this planet?"
    "So direct. I like that. Such bluntness is a trait we admire. It helps one achieve one's objective so much quicker."
    "Start answering the questions, or I'll dump you in the singularity core of this ship."
    The Queen frowned, a smile ever so slightly tugging playfully at the edge of her lips. "Now I know you're bluffing. The Romulan Republic is allied with the Federation. They will never execute anyone."
    "Then you've been misinformed. This ship is part of the Romulan Star Empire. The Romulan Republic is not an officially recognised government. There are plenty more drones on the planet. One of them will be more forthcoming."

    D'Elon turned to Lolius. "Beam this ***** into the core."

    The Queen barely had time to look surprised as she was transported away. In Engineering, her screams rang out from the Singularity Core as she was torn to pieces and quickly compressed. In the Brig, D'Elon simply sneered and left for the Bridge. Upon arriving, she stood in front of her chair.

    "That Queen was unresponsive. But as she's now dead, the Collective will be in dissaray. At least until they install a new one. Helm. Take us back to the planet. We'll fish another drone."


    As the warbird turned and made their way back to the planet, Satra walked over to D'Elon. "Sir, is this such a wise idea?"
    "We have orders to investigate what the Borg are doing here."
    "Yes, but we were lucky last time. Is it such a good idea to try again so soon?"

    D'Elon turned to her friend. "Satra, we may be on the far side of the galaxy, but we still have a mission. The Borg have shown up in the Beta Quadrant. Whatever they are doing here will have repurcussions back home. We need to know. And as officers of the Empire, everyone on this ship made a vow to uphold the integrity and security of the Empire with their lives."
    "I understand.... but I still think this is a bad idea."


    Before D'Elon could reply, Oensach shouted from his sensor station. "Sir, detecting a Thalaron Radiation buildup from the Borg construct!" D'Elon turned quickly to the officer. "Beam a drone up. NOW!"


    The Romulan ship's advanced cloaking abilities allowed them to use their transporter while remaining cloaked. A lone drone was plucked from the group mere moments before a green pulse envelopped the planet, killing everything there. D'Elon opened a comm, asking Lolius to confirm if they have a drone.

    "Errr..... Yes Sir. We have a Borg.... but it's another Queen."


    That puzzled D'Elon. Why would there be more than one Queen on the planet? Where all the Borg signatures Queens? What was going on? "I'm on my way."









    D'Elon entered the Brig once more. Sure enough, there was another Queen in the cell. D'Elon marched up to her and once again stared her in the eye. She was exactly the same as the last one. Same face. Same eyes. Same arrogance.... no, not the same arrogance. She was visibly nervous. This was an interesting twist. D'Elon smiled as she spoke. "Queen. I don't know if you are aware of what happened with the last one who didn't answer our questions, but-"
    "I'm aware. We were still linked into the Collective at that point. We were all aware."
    "Good. Then you will tell me what the Borg are doing on this planet."
    The Queen hesitated. She was clearly trying to decide what was in her best interest. She decided quickly. "They were dealing with us."
    "Us?"
    "Yes. Specifically, me. Or.... the original me. The many me." She sighed and sat down, defeated, yet still maintaining that air of superiority. "We..... were not always the Borg. Originally, a long time ago, I was a simple individual on a simple world. Until the Borg showed up. They assimilated my people. Ripped apart families. Stole everything that made us unique. I saw a power I had never seen. And I wanted it. So I spent the next ten years working on a way to gain that power."
    "By becoming their Queen?"
    "Basically, yes. I began cloning myself, hundreds, perhaps thousands, and slowly began spreading myself through the Collective, allowing my clones to be assimilated. Eventually, I had a combined mental presence within the Collective to begin shifting their mentality. Over the next few years, I turned them from seeking to elevate all species to their level of greatness, to a quest for perfection. It was the ultimate goal. The only thing I could do with such power at my command."
    "When was this?"
    "Mid 2360's."
    "Starfleet reports did indicate the Borg shifted their objectives around that time."
    "It took a few more years, but I eventually managed it. I took full control, with my own mind acting as the central processor for everything. All I had to do was say a command, and it would be carried out without question."
    "I can certainly see the lure of such power. So what went wrong?"
    "The Borg did what they were designed to do. They adapted. It took them 50 years, but they finally overcame my influence. A shame. I had such great plans."
    "Wait. Is that why the Borg have been mutilating themselves recently?"
    "Mutilating?"
    "Yes. Appearing more cybernetic, gutting out all but the core of their organics. Becoming basic cybernetic Endoskeletons with only a trace of organic?"
    The Queen paused to think about it. "Yes. I suppose it was. They were trying to purge themselves. Finally, they succeeded. But I'm greatful for you rescuing me. Now, I can adapt and reclaim my collective."
    "I think not. Lolius. Gas her."
    "What?" The Queen smashed her fists against the forcefield, trying to adapt. D'Elon simply narrowed her eyes as she snarled. "You are responsible for the Borg's actions over the past fifty years. I hold you as a war criminal. And as such, I sentence you accordingly. By your own admission, you are guilty of galactic genocide. I sentence you to death." D'Elon turned and nodded to Lolius. The Queen screamed in rage as plasma coolant was vented into the cell, burning away her flesh. D'Elon remained motionless, watching her die. She felt no pity for this creature. One of thousands of clones, apparantly. And the cause of so much grief over the years. If the Borg had killed the rest of the Queens, then this could mean the end of their presence in the Beta Quadrant. After all, they only started appearing there around the time she took control. Once the cell was vented, D'Elon stepped inside, staring down at the twitching corpse with disgust. She placed her heel over the exposed neck and pushed down firmly, breaking it. Relieved this was over, she walked to the console and hailed the Bridge.


    "Set course for home. We've got what we came for."
    "Commander, sensors picked up a Defiant class vessel also in orbit of the planet. It engaged a Borg cube, but then fled when it was outmatched."
    "Did it detect us?"
    "No evidence it did."
    "Then make a note of it's ID and engage warp."


    As she felt her ship jump into warp, she looked back to the corpse, science teams already starting to analyse what they can. It was a fantastic tale. But was it true? Were there any more Queens out there? And if they had all been killed, what did it mean for the future?
    *******************************************

    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'
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC 45 redux, using a prompt from the community thread because I felt like it. :D

    "I'm really not cut out for this, you know."

    "Oh, come, come now," said Q, sitting on nothing. "Look how dramatic, how fluid, how natural you look right now! You were born for this, you just needed a devilishly handsome god to help you get where you needed to be!"

    "I think I'm going to puke."

    Commander Azip Shran (first officer, USS George Takei) was currently hanging by her ankles from a rope, being slowly lowered down the side of an entirely too-tall tower on a world that made no sense. Below, a few hundred gholan, vaguely reptilian things in loincloths wielding nasty-looking black spears and axes, snarled and leaped excitedly.

    If Azip had had her phaser, she would've made mincemeat of them. As it was, the idiotic humans she was supposed to save were about to sacrifice her to these guys.

    Something about "not wanting the return of the One Dragon". Which, according to Q and that portentous dude with the stupidly long beard and the pompous voice, Azip was. Despite being Andorian, not human like the inhabitants of this world (gholan excepted). And despite never hearing of this planet with its unpronounceable name and thousands of years of history ever before.

    "You know, you dropped me here in the raw, you overheated puffball. I was in the middle of something with Three when you nabbed me. When I get back? I'm so totally telling your wife that you were spying on lesbians to get your perverted thrills."

    Q--Three called him "John deLancie" and said that he was "totally awesome"--snickered.

    "Oh, out of words? You know, you could use those Q powers to get me out of this mess and put me back on the ship!"

    He spread his arms magnanimously, which looked extremely odd from Azip's current perspective. "I'm sorry, but I can't. Narrative rules, you know..."

    "Those guys are going to eat me. You and I both saw what they were doing to their captives; they set up a sentient meat farm for the Elements' sake! And you're just going to let those idiot up there in Castle Unpronounceable lower me like a snow-lurker's lure?"

    "You have great power, O One Dragon! You must use it to save..."

    "In case you haven't noticed? I don't have power. Not one iota of random reality-warping talent, even though that seems to be the norm here, at least for old dudes in funny hats and ridiculous robes. So, would you please help me out? Vaporize those guys? Get me back to the ship right freaking now?"

    "Look, I'm giving you all the hints I can here. You are, most unfortunately, the One Dragon, which gives you ultimate power over wind and wave and yadda yadda yadda. This universe's equivalent of the Q think a lot like you sometimes; they threatened to tell my wife some things that I would rather she not know, unless I got you here so that you could get the ultimate power or whatever. I'm as new to this as you are, and they said that they'd tell my wife if I interfered directly!"

    "Doesn't change the fact that she deserves to be told, you're a jerk, and I'm being lowered to my death and consumption."

    "I was told that you're supposed to be able to call down lightning and summon the winds. Just do that!"

    "Oh, for the Elements' sake! I'm upside down, starting to have issues from the blood pooling in my head, and being slowly lowered to a bunch of guys who will r*** me to death, eat me, and sew my skin into underpants. And that's if I'm lucky. So I'd really appreciate a little help here!"

    "I was told that you have to face all of your challenges on your own, or they'll tell my wife! I'm being blackmailed here!"

    The gholan were maybe fifty feet below now, sharpening their axes in excitement.

    "Hey, it's MY life that's in imminent danger here! What am I supposed to do, fight them all off? I'm MACO-rated, but nobody can fight off three hundred lizard guys...well, except Three, but she's special that way. So it's just me against three hundred evil lizards, and I don't have my combat armor or my phaser, because as has been previously noted you kidnapped me while I was in bed with my girlfriend, you utter ***hole!"

    "I'm being blackmailed here!" Thirty feet. The gholan were slavering now--then again, they always were.

    "Oh, and that's so much more important than my imminent painful death! Damn it, what I wouldn't give for Three right about now..."

    "I was told that you would have incredible power in this universe! And they're blackmailing me, what was I supposed to do?"

    "Not kidnap me while I'm in the middle of something, that's for sure." Twenty feet. "Look, they're going to tear me apart, my hands are tied, and I'm hanging by my ankles here because those superstitious human idiots up there don't like me for whatever reason. Please help with at least one of those problems?"

    "But...blackmail..."

    "Oh, you useless idiot...GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!"

    At which point the rope snapped for no reason whatsoever.

    "Oh, sh**..."

    And then Azip crashed to the ground, right on top of a rather large and ugly gholan. The other monsters shrieked with glee and leaped, starting to fight for first dibs at their prey.

    Really would be good to have Three right about now... thought Azip as the monsters started tugging at her legs.

    And then there was an explosion of light and sound, and the glorious, sleek, gargantuan shape of the George Takei exploded out of the air, leveled out, and spun like a Hirogen escort with a sound like a thunderclap.

    Oh, f*** yeah!

    The gholan turned as one and gaped stupidly. Then something small and dark shot out of one of the forward torpedo tubes.

    Oh, darling, you did NOT just...yeah, you just did that.

    Captain Nemesis unit designation Three unfolded in midair and crashed through the massed gholan like a living engine of destruction--which was technically what she was. Azip tugged again at the ropes holding her arms, which blessedly loosened. Must've been ripped by the gholan or something during that scrum.

    Azip gave Q the finger, grabbed an unattended axe, and started hitting gholan as Three ripped lizard monsters apart on the other side of the mess.

    The gholan were just smart enough to realize that they were in real trouble, but not smart enough to drop everything and run. Seven of them rushed Azip at once and managed to grab and restrain her (she killed three of them, though--MACO training is a useful thing) before trying to run away.

    Three decapitated them before they'd gone fifty yards.

    "Sorry we're late, honey. Please forgive me for not suggesting that we start where we left off. Nice outfit."

    "Better late than never, darling. Thanks--it's actually pretty comfortable. Pity the lizard dudes ripped it up."

    "I see John deLancie is here, in all of his magnificent TRIBBLE glory." She gave Q the finger with both hands, then lazily chopped an incautious gholan in half with an armblade. "How was your week?"

    "Got kidnapped by Q, turned up naked and unsatisfied in the middle of a crater in some city, grabbed a random thing to use as a weapon that turned out to be a mystical sacred axe that only the chosen one could lift, was declared the chosen one and informed of my destiny to save this place, went on a quest with a useless Q and a useless pompous old dude with a beard who can alter reality but not apparently send me home, got attacked by lizard dudes, learned about their leader--some dude called Dread Lord Molgarathicus or something--"

    "Molgarath, Dread Master of all gholan and Lord of the Mountains of Mist," said Q very quickly.

    "--yeah, that, he's a sexist douche who captured me and wanted to r*** me because he sucks, so I kicked him in the balls and he apparently forgot his evil staff of power and obnoxiousness and ran--well, sort of gingerly scuttled--away whimpering. Then I got told to convince the king of that big tower place to march his armies against the bad guys, and I called him a sexist, misogynist imbecile to his face when he was going on and on about not wanting the chosen one back or something, so they hung me out the window and that's when you showed up. How was your week?"

    "Well, I was unsatisfied too, but D'vek managed to track the transreality conduit that John deLancie used, and we managed to fit the ship through it. I beamed to the torpedo room and shot myself out because why not? And that's where we are."

    "Sounds like you had fun. I had to deal with chauvinist idiots and a shocking lack of quality toilet facilities."

    Three winced. "Ouch. Anybody you want me to kill, honey?"

    It was at this point that a tall fellow in a black cloak and a spiky helmet appeared in a cloud of smoke, a flash, a bang, and a gout of fire from the ground. He laughed menacingly.

    "Mwahahahahaaa!!! YOU SEE BEFORE YOU YOUR MASTER, THE UNBELIEVABLY POWERFUL DARK LORD OF--arglbargl..." He cut off as Three grabbed him by the throat.

    "This the Dark Lord guy who sexually assaulted you?" The man scrabbled desperately at the iron grip of the unit, who ignored him.

    "Yeah. Uh, he's DEFINITELY on my kill list."

    "Awesome. Did he actually, y'know..."

    "Nah, I kicked him in the balls first. He did strap me to a rather hard bed in the raw and make lewd comments about my...assets. Plus he very openly intended to r*** me."

    "Right," said Three, and squeezed.

    "Honey?" said Azip when she was done throwing up.

    "Yeah?"

    "Too much. Strangling him was fine. Squeezing...like...what you just did? Maybe a little over the top, honey."

    "Mood killer?"

    "A bit, yeah. He was a douchebag and killed a lot of people and hurt a lot of others, but...mood killer."

    "Huh," said Three, wiping the gore and bone chips off of her hand with a wet wipe she pulled out of her pocket. "Might want to work on that, I guess. Hey, deLancie, you done kidnapping my girlfriend?"

    "I...uh...I'll see what I can do. You should probably go now before things get really ugly." Q looked a little green about the gills.

    "Awesome. Three to George Takei. Two to beam up."

    As she dematerialized, Commander Azip Shran shot a highly insulting Andorian gesture that translated into Standard as "Your mates laugh at your lack of seed" at Q. This accomplished absolutely nothing whatsoever, but made the Commander feel extremely pleased with herself.

    They materialized in the transporter room, and Three gave the order to leave. The battlecruiser turned ponderously, engines screaming in atmo, and ripped a hole in the universe, which it entered.

    Commander Azip Shran would remember the entire affair in particular for the sixteen-hour debriefing that Starfleet Command insisted on so that all of the Admirals could hear the whole story of the mess six or seven times.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
    Baal%20prop%20pic%208_zpsqaptvpnu.png
  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 8,545 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC #59 - Remember Betazed

    Mindkiller (with apologies to Spider Robinson)

    Captain's Log, USS Bedford NCC-92570
    Captain Grunt recording.

    We are now en route to the Bajoran Wormhole, escorting Ambassador Everan and his three Jem'Hadar bodyguards back to Dominion space following talks with the Federation. For a Vorta, I find Everan to be unusually accepting of those who don't share his religious beliefs - most of them seem positively shocked that we don't worship the Founders the moment we meet one. I suppose that's how he got to be an ambassador, though.

    We're also carrying a team of five Federation diplomats, who intend to continue the talks in Dominion territory. Roclak's been complaining for days about the
    Bedford being used as a passenger liner. I don't mind that so much - it just seems foolish to me to give up an edge in negotiations. But the diplomats say this is the best way to carry forward, and they're the ones in the Diplomatic Corps, not me, so perhaps they actually are right.

    It might just be my misgivings about the crew's performance, too. Nothing I can really point at, but things just don't seem right since we took all these passengers aboard. Oddly, the Vorta is the only one I'm going to miss when we reach our destination. The Ambassador and I will be dining in one of my favorite holodeck programs this evening. I hope he doesn't mind my snail steak - Rock won't even eat in the same room as me any more.


    "One of my great regrets," the Vorta ambassador said, "is that I never found time to visit Ferenginar. The weather seems quite nice - it reminds me of my home district in springtime. Is it true that you constantly maintain it?"

    Outside the holographic representation of a window, a gentle rain fell, blanketing the half-seen swampland with fog. Inside, Grunt smiled. "We purchased the weather-control devices from Risa almost two hundred years ago. We've made a few improvements since, of course. The histories say that when the Risan engineers were told the settings we wanted, they thought we were all insane. Any Ferengi appreciates a good rain, though."

    "As well you should, Captain. Rain is one of the great blessings of the FoundaaaAAAAAUUUUUGGGHHH!" The Vorta collapsed, clutching his head, screaming.

    Grunt leapt to the ambassador's side, slapping his combadge. "Grunt to sickbay! Medical emergency, Holodeck 2! The Ambassador's down!"

    "tr'Dalen. We're busy right now, captain. All three Jem'Hadar seem to be undergoing systemic shock. You'll have to bring the Ambassador here yourself. No, I said stabilize him, you ham-fisted dha'rudh! I swear by all the Elements, if that one dies..." tr'Dalen trailed off into something emphatic-sounding in Romulan, just before the transmission cut off.

    Grunt tapped his combadge again. "Grunt to transporter room. Two to beam directly to sickbay, stat!"

    "Acknowleged." A familiar azure swirl formed around Grunt and Everan, and the holographic restaurant was replaced by an unusually hectic Sickbay.

    tr'Dalen looked around at the sound. "Good, you're here. Get him up on that biobed. Ferst, set up support program 7 and engage the psionic dampeners." The Betazoid nurse hastened to comply, as Grunt hefted the Vorta's semiconscious body up onto a bed.

    "Psionic dampeners?" Grunt asked, puzzled.

    "Yes," the Romulan replied. "I've seen something like this before, back during one of the Reman rebellions. It's an assassination technique usable only by a telepath or empath of sufficient strength - overwhelming the target's neural system with sensation or emotion. Given what I know about Jem'Hadar endocrine systems, someone's trying to hate these things to death."

    "'Hate' them to death? Who'd want to do that? And how?"

    The Vorta stirred. "Voices..." he whispered. "...scream... remember... Betazed..."

    "Mycroft!" Grunt called out.

    The AI coalesced next to him. "Yes, sir?"

    "Was Ambassador Everan or any of his previous clones ever assigned to Betazed? Maybe during the Dominion occupation?"

    "One moment, sir, checking... No, this was Everan's first trip out of the Gamma Quadrant. Apparently, his predecessors tended to be rather conciliatory, which is fine for an ambassador, but not for front-line troops."

    "Well, that's an odd thing for him to say--"

    "There's more, sir," Mycroft interrupted. "I've just turned up a reference to an apparent insurgent group calling itself 'Remember Betazed'. Their hypernet site says that they are devoted to, quote, 'keeping the memory of the Occupation alive, and punishing those who subjugated our world.' It seems to be a fairly minor group, but aside from that hypernet site, I can find no further information, which seems a bit suspicious to me - if the group is active, as this site seems to claim, there should be at least an occasional mention of them in newsfeeds from Betazed, but there's nothing. And there was a group fighting the Dominion occupation of Betazed during the Dominion War using a similar technique..."

    "Begging the Captain's pardon--" a hesitant voice spoke up.

    Grunt looked around. "Yes, Lieutenant?" he said to the Betazoid nurse next to Everan's bed.

    "I, ah, I can tell you why there's no news about -- about that group, sir. I-- I'm not, ah, proud of this, sir, but I have an uncle who was an Arby - a member of Remember Betazed. There are, like, maybe twenty or thirty members in the entire world, and most of them are people who tried to make it into the freedom fighters during the Occupation and couldn't - they didn't have the empathic strength. If these Jem'Hadar had been assassinated by one of them, sir, it would have had to have been with a weapon, not -- not that." The lieutenant paled as he spoke.

    Grunt nodded. "Thanks, son. That helps. So, the attack came from a powerful telepath, but not - what did you call them? Not an 'Arby'. LLunih, how many telepathic crew members do we have?"

    "Four, but none this strong. If we had a telepath able to do this on board, he'd be your new comms officer." The Romulan shook his head. "Maybe one of the diplomats - there are two Betazoids in that group..."

    "Hmm. Maybe. Then again, maybe something else." Grunt looked into space for a moment. "I think I know a way to either find our assassin, or eliminate the diplomats. LLunih, if we could speak privately for a moment..."

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

    Outside the conference room, Grunt stopped and turned to Lt. Zoex. "Now remember, if I haven't given you the all-clear in two minutes after this door closes, contact Shelana and tell her we have a Priority Omega-Seven in this room."

    "Of course, sir, but - what's a Priority Omega-Seven?"

    "I'll tell you later. Ferengi brains are harder for telepaths to read than most, but just in case this one manages the trick, it's better if it can't tell from you."

    Grunt stood erect, straightened his tunic, and marched through the door of the conference room, facing five annoyed diplomats.

    Their putative leader, a Trill named Jenan Greft, stood as Grunt entered the room. Pointedly, the others remained seated. "Captain Grunt," Greft said, with faint emphasis on the title, "we really must protest this heavy-handed treatment!"

    Grunt bowed. "I apologize on behalf of Starfleet Operations," he said, "but it would seem that there was a rather unpleasant disease on the station just before we left. It appears to be harmless to most life forms, but it has proved fatal for at least one of our Jem'Hadar guests. I'm sure you don't wish to provoke any untoward incidents on arrival in Dominion space - fortunately, our Dr. tr'Dalen has formulated an inoculation that will clear any infections from your systems. I have come to administer the shots personally, by way of atoning for this greivous insult." He placed a carefully calculated degree of fawning into his inflections and stance.

    The Trill softened. "Oh, very well, Captain. Gentlemen, if we could please line up here, we can get this over with and return to our duties."

    The diplomats shuffled into a rough line, while Grunt wondered quietly what "duties" could possibly be occupying them aboard the Bedford. Greft, at the head of the line, rolled up his sleeve; Grunt removed the hypospray from his pocket and injected the Trill with LLunih's inoculant.

    Four more times the hypospray hissed, and Grunt announced, "Thank you, gentlemen. Now, there will just be a short pause while we wait to make sure there are no side effects, and we can all return to what we were doing. Drinks?"

    One of the Betazoid representatives in the group began to choke, one arm spasming. "What - what was in that shot?" he demanded, his voice dropping to a vicious growl at the end.

    "Oh, nothing much," Grunt replied cheerfully. "Just some vitamins, a temporary psionic suppressant - the effects should wear off in about an hour - and something LLunih whipped up to counteract that stuff the Undine use to hold their shapes. What's it called again?"

    The "Betazoid" collapsed, writhing. Abruptly, in his place there rose a tall tripedal form, slate-gray skin covering a form that spoke of horror to any who knew of Species 8472 - the Undine. "You were clever, for an animal," the thing growled. "Your mind is not as open to me as these others - but it will be!" The thing's eyes blazed, and Grunt found himself pinned against the wall, his boots almost half a meter off the floor. The Undine came closer, settling one hand on Grunt's head. "The weak shall--!" It suddenly stopped speaking, as its head flew from its bifurcated neck.

    "Perish?" came a familar voice from behind the Undine. "You certainly shall." Commander Shelana began wiping the Undine's ichor from the blade of her prized bat'leth, her eyes as cold as the fields of Andor. "Say hello to my mates in Hell."

    Grunt slid to the floor. "Thanks, Shel," he said weakly. "Just in time, as usual."

    "Good thing you sent the kid to get me," she replied, antennae twitching. "With all due respect, Captain sir, mind telling me why you were so freezing stupid as to come in here alone if you thought there might be an Undine?"

    "Well," Grunt explained, climbing to his feet, "I figured that if the telepaths we know have a hard time reading a Ferengi four-lobed brain, the ones who aren't even used to our universe should have an even harder time. And I didn't want this - thing - figuring out what was going on before we had a chance to expose it. Zoex and I were the only two who even had a chance of getting this close, and I wasn't about to send a kid like that into this alone. Besides, I had to have someone to alert you when it was too busy with me to pay attention to its surroundings, right?" He put on his best charming smile.

    She appeared unmoved. "And what made you think 'Undine' in the first place? I though Mycroft's working theory was a Betazoid terrorist."

    "According to the Betazoid nurse in sickbay, this 'terrorist' group doesn't actually have anyone as a member who's capable of carrying out their attacks. They're about as significant as Terra Prime on Earth, or the Andorian movement to restore the Regency. So the attacker couldn't have been one of them. That led me to the Fourteenth Rule of Acquisition - in any deal, find out who profits most. Had we assumed the attacker was Betazoid, as we were obviously supposed to, that would have led to mass suspicion of Betazoids throughout the Federation, splitting away one of the core members of that Federation and weakening the organization as a whole. And who profits most from that? The Undine, of course."

    "That makes sense - I suppose. Very well, sir, but as your security chief I must protest your throwing yourself into danger with no backup."

    "But I had backup, my dear," Grunt said, smiling broadly. "I had you."

    She grimaced at him.

    Grunt turned back to Greft. "Consul, I would like to apologize again for interrupting your evening, and for my security chief decapitating one of your team members." He bowed.

    Greft blinked. "Quite all right, Captain. Couldn't be helped, obviously. And thank you for rooting out that traitor in our midst. Who knows what kind of disadvantageous agreements we might have reached under that being's influence? Rest assured, when we return to Deep Space Nine to file our formal report with the Diplomatic Corps, your gallant actions, and those of the Commander, will be prominently mentioned."

    Grunt bowed again, hiding his amusement. "It was nothing, Consul. Standard Starfleet procedure, nothing more."
    Lorna-Wing-sig.png
  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Member Posts: 34,060 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC59 redux: (partial first draft)

    Eridian was in her ready room when a priority message came in from Starfleet command. The message was from an Admiral Sh'reth, a Caitian she'd never met or talked to before. The message inside was short: "For your eyes only." It came with a small but heavily encrypted file.

    "what the???" is the only thing Eridian said as she read the decrypted file: "Come to Starbase 215 immediately. Admiral S'voluk." Eridian didn't know what to make of it at first. She'd never even heard of the Vulcan S'voluk, but decided to go along with it anyways. She pushed a button on her desk and addressed her bridge crew, "Set course for Starbase 215, maximum speed." A few moments later, she walked onto her bridge as the U.S.S. Rachel-B hurtled towards the starbase at Warp 30.

    "What's the matter, Admiral?" 12 of 33 asked as Eridian entered.

    "I wish I knew," Eridian replied. "I guess we'll find out when we get there."

    "We have an hour." 12 of 33 said, "perhaps it would be prudent to look to see if anything interesting has happened there recently?"

    "Hmm, it certainly wouldn't hurt."

    "Where to start?" Nescza, the Andorian tactical officer, said.

    "Look up all departures and arrivals in the last few days."

    Nescza looks in the console data for a while. "Nothing has left today. At all. Not even a single freighter."

    "That's strange, it's a major starbase." Eridian said. "What was the last ship to leave?"

    "The Rochli, a Boslic freighter. It departed on it's regular schedule."

    "What about the ships that are still there? Did any of them file a flight plan that would have had them leave before now?"

    "Hmm... several..." Nescza said as she read through it in more detail. "Hmmm.... hard to be sure why they haven't left, nothing was logged."

    "Extremely suspicious" 12 of 33 said. "The Belville was scheduled to be in B'Tran right now. Something is strange."

    "Hmm..." Eridian replied. "Has anything happened to them?"

    "There's nothing listed out of the ordinary." Nescza, "The ship stopped to resupply and several of the crew beamed over for personal time on the starbase."

    "Wait." 7 of 35 said. "The numbers of personnel beamed down don't match the number that beamed up."

    "Any indication who or why?"

    "Hmm..." 12 of 33 replied, "This is odd. The station computer won't let me access a list of personnel on the station. Hmm.... But, if I stream the data logs from the station internal sensors I can reconstruct the locations of the crew of the Belville." She typed at the console for a while then a display of the starbase appeared on screen. "Everyone who isn't a member of the Belville's crew is marked in blue. As the crew of the Belville beams down, each of them will be marked in green." The bridge crew watched carefully as green dots appeared and moved around the starbase rapidly.

    "Wait!" the two Borg said almost simultaneously. "One of them disappeared from the scanners but didn't beam up. Rewinding to time index 05:32:00." 12 of 33 said as she paused the data display and rewound it to a little over five and a half hours after the first of the Belville's crew beamed down.

    "Zoom in so we can get a better look at what happened." Nescza said.

    "Increasing magnification 4x." 12 of 33 said as she prepared to resume the display. When the display resumed, a female Vorta was visible walking aimlessly around a corridor in the shopping area on the starbase. She seemed to be looking at the various kiosks with no particular interest in any of them. As she was pondering one of them, she was approached by a male figure who talked with her briefly before the two of them walked into a turbo lift. "And that's it." 12 of 33 said in an ominous tone.

    "What do you mean?"

    "I can't find any sign of them after they entered the turbolift." 7 of 35 said. "I ran a computer search of all the sensor data we retrieved. After time index 05:37:14, there are no sensor recordings of that individual in the data we retrieved."

    "And all the others are accounted for?"

    "Correct."

    "So who were those two people"

    "The Vorta was a doctor named Yarrath. As far as I can tell, she was picked up as a result of a personnel exchange with the Dominion a month ago and nothing out of the ordinary happened between then and this."

    "And the man?"

    "That's the interesting part. The energy reading of him are too distorted to identify him beyond that he's probably Betazoid."

    "Distorted how?"

    "The distortion pattern is consistent with Breen masking technology, but it looks like it was set to low power to avoid attracting attention."

    "Oh, a Betazoid assassin? That definitely sounds like something that could pose a problem." Nescza said.

    "Well, we're almost to the starbase, so we should find out soon." Eridian replied.
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    My character Tsin'xing
    Costume_marhawkman_Tsin%27xing_CC_Comic_Page_Blue_488916968.jpg
  • gofasternowgofasternow Member Posts: 1,390 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    "No One Is Perfect"

    If there was one place Tristian Matthews was never fond of, it was Drozana Station. He hated the Ferengis that ran the place, he hated the fact that it looked like it was going to fall apart around his ears one day and hated the run around he had to do when the Devidians came knocking one day. The only reason why he's here today was to help unload a bunch of cargo his crew had retrieved.

    As the U.S.S. Natsuki unloaded its cargo, Tristian made his way to the bartender, Belan, who was already grinning ear to ear - he saw the look on the newly-minted Ambassador's face upon seeing him.

    "Don't worry - no run arounds today. I already a few of those new faces doing it for me." Belan said. "You realize how easy it is to get them to fix all of my equipment in the name of getting information out? It's also incredibly cheap."

    Tristian snorted, allowing a small smirk on his face to form. "Just like a Ferengi - finding ways to earn money and keep from spending it." That lead to Belan giving him something of a stink eye before letting it drop.

    "So, what'll it be?" he asked.

    "The Picard." Tristan replied. As he waited, he looked over and spotted the sight of a few Starfleet Officers talking to one of the vendors, a so-called "Lobi Consortium". The vendor made a sale, being given a box full of Lobi as the vendor turned over something that made Tristian's blood boil - a Borg Drone, Romulan in nature. Liberated, yes, but the fact it was being sold...

    "Sit DOWN, Captain. There will be no acts of moral superiority in this station." Belan snapped.

    "They're selling slaves...!" Tristan hissed.

    "Liberated Borg." Belan corrected. "Very big difference."

    "It doesn't matter - it needs to stop right now!" Tristan said.

    "Oh, get off your superior high horse, Starfleet!" Belan snapped, causing Tristan to gawk in surprise. "Do you realize how silly you look saying something like that when everyone here is like that?"

    "What do you mean?" Tristan said, sitting down again. "What do you mean by 'everyone'?"

    "Ev-ery-one" Belan said, slowly. "Everyone who comes to that store - Federation, Klingon, Romulan, Tribble, whatever - gets things from there. What he does with the Lobi he gets, I have no idea, but he makes a killing." He stopped to fix Tristan's drink, giving it to him. "You know what the problem is, don't you? Everyone's grown desperate now."

    "Desperate?" Tristan repeated. "No, we're not desperate, just some are weak-willed..."

    "HA!" Belan snapped, slamming his hands on the counter, snapping Tristan out again. "You STILL don't get it, do you? Day in, day out, there's always some threat out there: the Borg, the Undine, the Tal Shiar, the Voth, whatever. Do you realize why that store continues to do business? It's because the Federation and the Romulan Republic are DESPERATE. If the Federation and the Romulan Republic were truly the peace-loving groups they want to say they are, they would have shut that place down. But, they haven't. Because they don't want the Klingons to have that power, too."

    Tristan glared at Belan as he spoke back. "So, you're saying that it's better to abandon our morals and use an enemy's equipment than have the higher ground and prove that our way works."

    "Wrong. It's easier." Belan said. "Rule #98: Every man has his price. If this means that he's willing to "abandon his morals", as you've constantly said, for better power, then so be it. To the Ferengi, a sale's a sale."

    "Yes, but a sale at what cost? How many people are after that man's head?" Tristan said.

    "Rule #62: The greater the risk, the greater the profit. Even if his profit is a bunch of rocks." Belan said. "If he could, he'd be selling Birds of Prey and Miranda ships like they were hotcakes. And he'd do it knowing he'd have three superpowers after his hide. And he wouldn't care. And neither would his customers."

    Tristian blinked at Belan before looking down a bit, just a little lost.

    "Heh, some Ambassador you are." Belan said. "You're supposed to be the type to outwit me and yet, here you are, whipped by a bartender. Or maybe it's because you know I'm right. I know, it's easier to ignore me, but I know that I've gotten to you. I can see it in you."

    "...have we fallen so far that that is acceptable now?" Tristan asked, just confused.

    "If you ask me, I have no clue. Do I look like a Councilor to you?" Belan said.

    - - - -

    In his Ready Room on the Natsuki, Tristan continued to think over what he and Belan were talking about. As he did, he spied over a set of models representing the ships he had flown since taking command. He picked up one of them, a model of the Ambassador-class U.S.S. Myoudoin and looked it over. His thoughts were disrupted, though, as the doorbell rung.

    "Come." Tristan called out, the door opening and allowing a large Vulcan to step through. His muscular frame was virtually out of place for someone of his race. "Stlin, is there something wrong?"

    "Actually, I have came to see you." he replied. "You have been troubled since the trip to Drozana Station."

    "I have. Tell me, have we fallen so far that we've decided that taking up arms of others is now worthwhile?" Tristan asked.

    "It depends on who you ask. For Kyn, allowing us to use his Cruiser is an honor, especially to the captain who gave him a place on his crew. For Zhekas, being able to go beyond hiding places has been a liberating feeling. I could not tell you how "Three-Fourths" feels, though. He has always been an odd one, despite being liberated from the Collective..." Stlin said.

    "Eye of the Beholder, then?" Tristan replied.

    "That is one way of putting it." Stlin said. "While I do agree that using the weapon of a fallen foe to be... distasteful, sometimes it is a necessary evil that must happen."

    Sitting the model down, Tristan walked over to the fish tank, looking it over. "Why do you think Starfleet continues to allow it to happen?"

    "We are in an ever-expanding war." Stlin said. "To refuse to look beyond our horizons for help would mean failure. You were talking to the Ferengi bartender, were you not? I believe he would label it as "Expand or die"."

    "Heh, he would at that." Tristan said. "Would you think lowly of me if I were forced to get something from them?"

    "I would not." Stlin replied. "As I have said, you have given reason to many of your crew staying here when, years before, they were mortal enemies. That would not change if you decided to act that way." Tristan nodded before looking away from Stlin.

    "Thanks. I guess sometimes it's better to figure out what's best, hm?" he said. "Dismissed."

    Stlin knew that Tristan was still a little shaking from having his values shaken just a bit, but decided pursuing otherwise would stupid. He followed the captain's orders and left Tristan alone, leaving him to his thoughts.
  • danquellerdanqueller Member Posts: 485 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    LC21: "Saying Hello"


    Commander's Record

    Stardate 901161.27


    Repairs on the Nor'Vesa are taking longer than I imagined they would, and as a result, I have found myself at the disposal of the Flotilla. With the ship in the yards, the crew and I have been quartered aboard the flagship, assisting with other ships and their missions in an administrative role...something I was not made for. I am certain my officers would voice their own agreement, were we together. However, it seems the High Command has made efforts to arrange our schedules so that no more than one or two of my crew are on the same ship at a time.

    I must admit to suspecting they intend to reassign us, and I find I am not alone in this. My officers have each come forward individually to voice their appreciation for my performance as their commanding officer, and giving me a tenative farewell in the event we do not meet again.
    It is surprising to me how much I find these painful. Certainly, the man I once was would have laughed at such sentiment and discarded them all as the price of advancement to my ultimate goals. Have I changed so much from the ruler of Europa I once was?

    In any event, I am to assist a senior Flotilla officer today in evaluating one of our newest warships, though the identity of this officer has not been made clear to me. I fear this is a means of delivering my final discharge from Command and reassignment notification without giving me an opportunity to submit a counter-action in time to affect the outcome. Such is how things are often done among the rihannsu.

    I will comport myself with the dignity of my superior being, and no one shall doubt that I will once again command.


    End Record


    ___


    Subcommander Rycho crossed the Bridge with barely a glance at the technicians hard at work on the final tunings of the various workstations. He knew the room well, having spent the last two days overseeing the shakedown exercises from just behind the temporary commander's judgement seat. The desire to take that seat when he saw that officer make some minor inefficiency or issue an unneeded order had been almost unbearable, and it was a relief when the ship had returned to the Flotilla and been placed in Ready Reserve.

    No, his eyes were on the PADD in his hand, scrolling down the lines of text to ensure he knew the report completely before it was out of his hands and entered into the log. It was a comprehensive document, or at least Rycho thought it was. No doubt, someone who had lived among such things would have a different opinion, but this was the longest single document he had ever composed, and it would not be found wanting if he could help it.

    Rycho was surprised that his way was abruptly blocked just as he finished the final page, only seeing the doors ahead when he dropped the PADD to stare at them. Beyond, in the Ready Room, he knew the Flag officer he had to submit the report to awaited. That, as well as the orders Rycho all but knew were the real reason for the visit.

    Taking a single slow breath and straightening, he paused only a moment before stepping forwards. The doors opened, and he entered the room beyond.




    Flotilla Admiral Kererek stood as Rycho entered, his scarred face betraying no emotion as he waited for the Subcommander to approach and stand at attention before him. Behind the senior officer, a hologram of the ship turned slowly, notations on various sections appearing briefly before being replaced by other information. Beyond that, the room was unfurnished, the former commanding officer obviously already having departed the ship and taking the few items he had brought aboard with him. This gave the room the atmosphere of something waiting for what would be next, which only served to enhance Rycho's aprehension about the presence of the Flotilla commander himself at this review.

    Before Rycho could salute, the Admiral waved aside the formality and said "Let us dispense with the trappings of Duty for now. We both have assignments to attend to, and I do not have much time before I must depart. May I see the report?"

    At the Subcommander's nod, Kererek extended a hand and Rycho gave him the PADD. Only giving the recorded document a brief glance, he turned his attention back to Rycho. "So, Subcommander. What is -your- impression of this new Ar'Kif class warbird?"

    Hesitating for only a moment to mentally organize his thoughts, Rycho said "It is a very impressive example of rihannsu engineering, with several improvements over the prior ships of the class. In particular, the new singularity housing seems promising. The extra few seconds it should provide in the case of an implosion event may very well be the difference between safe ejection of the core and complete loss of the ship."

    "Hmmm." Kererek nodded "That would indeed be an important advantage. We can replace cores much easier than we can ships. Or crews. I am hopeful the Five will not require us to discover if it will do so in any immediate future, of course." Then he straightened slightly "As an officer in the Flotilla of Mol'Rihan, is it then your evaluation that this ship is ready to enter service with the Flotilla?"

    Rycho met the other's eyes and replied "It is, Admiral. I can find no fault with the ship, nor with its readiness level."




    For a few moments, Kererek said nothing. Then he moved back to the table and tapped a control on its surface. The display of the ship was abruptly replaced with a security sensor view of the port side cargo deck, long pallets holding rows of various sized containers being moved onto it by loading vehicles. Gesturing to the display, the Admiral said "And this?"

    Rycho moved closer to see the image, frowning as he tried to understand what he was seeing. "I do not know. No shipment was scheduled for this time, and those appear to be...." he broke off abruptly as he noted a familiar container among the growing lines of items on the deck of the hold. Turning to the Admiral, he looked for an explanation.

    "The damage to the Nor'vesa has proven too extensive for our facilities here to repair. Our capacity to work on its technology is limited, and we were forced to return the ship to the Federation. They have made it known that it will not be returning, should it even prove possible to be made usable again." Kererek said "As a result, I have an entire crew to reassign, and a command staff to find new placements for. Rather than go through all the trouble that would cause my Office, I decided it would be simpler to just to keep you all in one place. And, it seems a new warbird has just been certified to enter the Flotilla. A fortunate coincidence, would you not agree?"

    Turning from the Admiral to the display, then back again, Rycho quickly realized what Kererek was saying and again straightened to attention, his mind racing to consider all the possibilities even as he said "Yes, Admiral! I do!"




    The Admiral nodded. "Good. Then there is one more thing to attend to." Touching another control, he switched the display to that of an official document from the High Command, and began speaking in formal tones. "In recognition of the honorable execution of Duty to the Flotilla and exemplary actions which have been determined to have preserved the Romulan Republic, I hereby promote you to the rank of Commander. You are to exercise all Duty and Service of your rank, and receive due privileges, effective immediately, and assuming command of the R.R.W. Thur'Vas with all due dillegence.

    "Do you understand and accept these honours?"

    Rycho kept himself rigidly at attention as he brought his fist to his chest in salute. "I do!"

    Kererek touched a place on the table, and an audible tone sounded. "So it is recorded, and so it will bind us all, until the Five are One, and our road is ended. Congratulations, Commander."

    Reaching forwards to take the offered hand, Rycho smiled. "Thank you, Admiral. I take it from those containers on the cargo deck that I will be keeping my command crew?"

    "That is so." The Admiral gave Rycho a knowing look "It seems more than a few of them have their own reasons for wishing to stay under your command. Regardless, the Republic is facing serious threats right now, and I do not have the time to allow you to break in a new set of cohorts. I need this ship in the field, right now. That means I need you up to speed immediately."

    Releasing the hand, Rycho could not help but let his smile become something fiercer. "You will have that, sir. This ship -will- be ready."

    The Admiral smiled finally as he used a hand to guide Rycho to the door. "Good. Now, let us go greet your officers before I depart. No doubt, they are wondering why all of their possessions from the Nor'Vesa are showing up here, and I am looking forwards to seeing how you explain things....."



    ______

  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    One more, this time with "Do'eth"/D'trel and her crew of brilliant misfits. Omek'ti'kallan is very hard to write, but sooooo worth it.

    LC 14 redux: Of gods and Rihannsu.

    The Admiral is not in a good mood.

    This is unfortunately rather typical; but for whatever reason, unlike a Jem'Hadar, the Admiral seems to be more effective when she is angry. Eraun can sense the rage boiling off of her; he's giving her a wide berth. Probably doesn't want to get killed by her again.

    I sing the Hymn of Praise to Glorious Odo'ital as the Admiral goes and gets the Founder. My God tried to stop his "special" Jem'Hadar from singing the hymns in his praise, but gave up after the first couple of months. Now we have free reign to appropriately worship our God, glorious Odo'ital.

    The Admiral returns with the Founder. Eraun bows. I feel the tug on my psyche, but I resist. I am First Omek'ti'kallan, and I serve none but Odo'ital, may His will come to pass and His glorious name be praised. Well, and the Admiral, but I serve her on the explicit orders of Odo'ital, may His glorious light shine across the galaxy.

    "Founder! Your ordeal is at an end!"

    "Save your sycophancy for a more appropriate time, Eraun." The Founder is terse, but...tired. She looks weak after her years in solitary.

    "Let's go," says the Admiral. "K'men says I'm on a schedule here. Vengeance, four to beam up!"

    No response. The holograms around us flicker and die as the hum of power surrounding us fades with a disturbing hum. I whistle the Hymn of the Love of Kira Nerys and Glorious Odo'ital softly.

    "...Epohh dung. Prepare for a fight, something's up." Then Kar'Ukan and about twenty Alpha Jem'Hadar materialize around us. Outnumbered, outgunned, and with civilians to protect--have I mentioned that I love working with the Admiral? Praise Odo'ital!

    The Admiral wastes no time. "Omek! Restrain Kar'Ukan! Blob, Eraun, behind me!" Her lirpa is already out.

    "At once, Admiral! Victory is life!" I leap forwards, unsheathing my kar'takin and singing the somewhat unimaginatively-titled Hymn of Glorious Odo'ital's Glorious Glory.

    Kar'Ukan snarls and hits me from the side with his own kar'takin, which I block. He is tremendously strong, and I am thrown sideways into a wall.

    "Attack! Kill everyone but the Founder!" He tries an overhand chop at the Admiral, but she blocks with a grunt of effort. "We are dead! We go into battle to reclaim our lives! Victory is life!"

    I stand. Eraun is screaming for reinforcements. An Alpha Jem'Hadar comes for me; I spin my kar'takin and hit him between the eyes with the butt.

    "Praise to Glorious Odo'ital, from whom all blessings flow...Praise Him, all lowly solids here below..."

    Rhyme is not a strength of the Jem'Hadar. We're still working on those hymns.

    Jem'Hadar beam in; soldiers from the Gamma Quadrant, brought in on Eraun's ship.

    "Defend your God!" screams the cowering Vorta. They form a reasonable facsimile of ranks (not much room for formations here) and start shooting Kar'Ukan's soldiers.

    Still singing the Hymn of Glorious Odo'ital's Glorious Glory, I knock three Alpha Jem'Hadar backwards with a thrust of my kar'takin. The Admiral shouts, and kicks Kar'Ukan in the arm, breaking his wrist. He shouts angrily, then retreats, keying in his beam-out code on his arm.

    "Founder! I shall prevail in your name! I will secure Deep Space Nine for the Dominion, and we shall break the solids utterly!"

    He beams out. The Admiral curses--something about exploding donkeys and Kar'Ukan's ghost. She does a spin move with her lirpa, giving three soldiers nasty concussions.

    "Omek, with me! Blob, phaser bait, stay close to us! Cannon fodder, you guys have this?"

    Eraun's First shouts his assent. I grab the sniveling Vorta, who yelps, and drag him across the fight, kicking aside the odd Alpha Jem'Hadar attacker.

    "What's the plan?" says the Founder loudly, above the din of battle.

    "I was smart, and did my pre-mission briefing. The holograms seem to be offline; so do the cell doors. We're going to need to fight our way through however many prisoners are out to reach the ISIS core to boot up the computers. Clear?"

    "Crystal," says the Founder. "Eraun, stay close. You, Jem'Hadar, stop that awful singing!"

    "No," I say to the tune of the Hymn of the Victories of Glorious Odo'ital. "These songs are the Hymns to Glorious Odo'ital, and by command of His love, who finds them "cute", he has given His Jem'Hadar permission to sing them."

    "Stop," says the Founder. "They are out-of-tune, annoying, and have no rhythm or rhyme."

    "You are not my God. I serve none but Glorious Odo'ital, may His will come to pass and His name be praised!"

    She looks askance at me as the Admiral peeks around a corner.

    "I never thought he had it in him. Last time I saw that youngling, he said he was going to try to make atheist Jem'Hadar."

    "He did," I say to the tune of the Song of Praise to Glorious Kira Nerys, She who is the love of Glorious Odo'ital. "He created us for that purpose. He considers us a "work in progress"."

    She snorts. "That's one way of putting it. What did he say when you came to him with these hymns?"

    "Praise His glorious might, He was merciful and said that we had not failed Him. Although, when we brought Him the First Song to the Inevitable Victory of the Glorious Glory of Glorious Odo'ital, may His name be praised," and here I shoot a hulking Gorn in the head, taking him down, "He smoteth Himself on His head with both hands, and He spaketh, and He spaketh "TRIBBLE this, I'm gonna go TRIBBLE my girlfriend for a few weeks". And then He left on a shuttle, and He came back about a week later in a shuttle piloted by His love, who had a quick word with Him before She dropped Him off, and He looked rather odd and worked without pause on the next batch of experimental eggs for a month or so afterwards, and He would not talk about what happened on His trip, and even ordered us to not inquire as to what happened."

    "I remember that," shouts the Admiral over her shoulder as she goes toe-to-toe with a Cardassian. "I got told that story--with holofootage--in Quark's once. Apparently he told her that he'd left you guys hanging when in bed with the Kai, and she immediately stopped, told him to morph into some clothes, got dressed and frog-marched him to a shuttle, then browbeat DS9 orbital control into letting them through the wormhole. Cause a huge diplomatic kerfuffle, too, because Kai Kira can't just waltz away with her boyfriend without pissing off diplomats left and right. Hey, Omek, two on the right! Blob lady, left!"

    I turn and shoot the rioting prisoners. The Founder strangles a Lethean with an extended arm.

    The next room has an Undine, which telepathically attacks the Admiral. She is most displeased. Eraun throws up and the Founder is very, very quiet as I clean up the results of the Admiral's...displeasure.

    Afterwards, we reach the ISIS core. The Admiral swears a few times, but boots it up with a little help from Eraun. Her communicator chirps.

    "Vengeance to the Commander, broadcasting on revolving frequencies, do you copy? Vengeance to..."

    "Here. Four to beam up; tell the Dominion ship to beam up their guys, then we get the hell out of here."

    "That...may be a problem, sir," says Second Daysnur. "See, there's a Dominion fleet in orbit. Kar'Ukan's guys. Um..."

    "Beam us up, direct to the bridge. Blob, Ears, you're with me on the Vengeance's bridge. The rest of your guys can head to your cruiser. Beam out, then cloak us, Daysnur, that's an order!"

    The next few minutes are...eventful. I find the need for the Glorious Hymn of Glorious Odo'ital's Mighty Wrath and the Song of the Baseball Game Officiated by Glorious Odo'ital.

    Or, in human terms, I'm s***ting my pants with fear.

    The Federation shows up in the nick of time, though, led by a massive Odyssey-class dreadnought, giving Vengeance plenty of time to escape to warp and make for DS9, hopefully before Kar'Ukan can get back.

    The Admiral calls me to a private meeting in her quarters as we approach Bajor, where the fleet is staging for the attack.

    "You wished to see me, sir?"

    "Sit, Omek." She looks tired, and stressed, seated at her desk with the bridge of her nose between her fingers. I remain standing out of deference. She sighs.

    "How do you do it?"

    "Do what, sir?"

    "Believe."

    "I..." I am puzzled. This is a difficult question, especially coming from the Admiral, who I know wants the real truth, and not the truth that supports her position.

    "I...well, I am one of Odo'ital's "special" Jem'Hadar. We were not supposed to believe, but He made us, and we could not help but believe."

    "But...he can't fix everything. He's fallible, he makes mistakes; you yourself admit it. Why, then, do you call him god? How can you believe?"

    "With respect, sir, I do not think that it is something that you can understand. You...are not a religious person, and your loss makes you...cynical about the universe. I...well, my species was created to believe in the Founders, and all of my clutch believes passionately in Odo'ital. We know that He is fallible, and mortal in some ways...we just...we believe anyway."

    "How?"

    "Because He cares," I whisper. "Even when His love made Him return to us, it wasn't all her. He cared, too. He cares for us, and He tries to help us better ourselves. And so we believe. He is there for us, He cares for us, and He helps us become more than what we are. That is why we believe."

    She nods slowly. "I see. It's not about his supposed truth, or power. It's because he cares."

    "Yes, sir."

    "I think I might be able to believe, too, if I could be convinced that someone cared. But I guess I had that, and lost her."

    She is silent for a moment. A single tear wells up in her eye and spills slowly down her face.

    "You can go. Get ready for the attack, that Founder wants to try EV insertion."

    "Yes, sir," I say, and I leave her to her thoughts.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
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  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited March 2014
    Why Not

    "I think the phrase is, 'when the cat's away the mice will play'".

    Kathryn looked away from the console and closed her eyes, quietly wishing her solitude was not interrupted. She then turned to face the speaker, not hiding the annoyance on her face.

    The female intruder smirked as she ran a finger against another console's edge then looked to her fingertip. "So why is the cat not away while the mice are playing?" Her smirk changed to a small frown as she rubbed away imaginary dust or dirt, then looked to Kathryn.

    "Because, Q, they deserve a break."

    "Tsk, tsk. Don't you deserve to play too?" Q sauntered closer to Kathryn.

    "Maybe I am having fun. Ever consider that humans can enjoy their work?"

    "Maybe fun is actually on the planet below?"

    Kathryn crossed her arms. "Maybe you should get to the point this time?"

    Q pouted. "Aw Kathy, I'm only trying to help! You look stressed. Although you do have a certain amount of grace under pressure that your species would call 'sexy', I stand by my original intent."

    Kathryn sighed. "I appreciate that Q, actually." She looked away remembering the recent days. "Ever since we found the Misericorde, the crew has been on edge. Taking a break from the Sphere was needed."

    "I warned you not to go there, you know." Q walked over and rested against the console next to Kathryn.

    "It was my duty."

    "Pfft. Duty shmooty. You humans really don't like taking advice from omnipotent beings. Well, you really should listen to me this time, Kathy. Take a break." She raised her hand and waved as if painting on a canvas. "Can't you imagine it? The clear blue water like a mirror reflecting the azure sky. Verdant trees swaying with a gentle breeze that briefly bushes your hair and tickles your ear. Twin moons lighting your path to the secluded candlelit dinner waiting for you?"

    Kathryn could indeed 'see' the imagery described to her and she caught herself nodding slightly then stopped herself. "Risa does have all that I suppose."

    Q grinned. "I know." She snapped her finger.

    ---

    Blinking to clear her eyes, Kathryn could tell without looking her uniform was replaced with a summer dress. The white silk-like garment shimmered from the moonlight. She turned toward a window and could see her hair style changed from the regulation bun to a low ponytail style that flowed over a spaghetti-strapped shoulder. Long-stringed earrings danced above the collar bone and her lips were painted with bright red lipstick.

    Kathryn rolled her eyes and looked around. At the end of the walkway was a table with two lit candles and half-filled wineglasses. As she walked toward the table her high-heeled schools clicked and echoed into the night air. For a second, Kathryn let go of the rigors and structure of Starfleet and felt like-

    "A woman, like a perfect dream."

    Kathryn spun toward the sound of the voice. "Daikar?"

    The tall Deltan entered the moonlight from a shadowed pillar. His broad shoulders filled the formal suit but did not seem tight against his frame. His bald head glistened with the slight humidity. He grinned and walked slowly toward Kathryn.

    Kathryn's eyes widened and she realized her jaw had dropped. "Did Q bring you here too?"

    Daikar stopped a few paces away and stared into Kathryn's eyes. She smiled briefly and started feeling nervous. When she realized she was more concerned than attracted to him is when he stepped forward, wrapped his arms around his waist and kissed her.

    At first Kathryn relaxed into Daikar's embrace as she reveled in the moment. Her left ear twitched enough to divert her attention from his tongue-swirling kiss. Kathryn realized Daikar's kissing was becoming painful to her lips and she pushed away. Daikar resisted until Kathryn stepped back with one foot and shoved him away.

    Daikar looked surprised. "I thought you wanted this?"

    Kathryn was stunned. "I - what?"

    "Come now Kathy, I can tell you are attracted to me." He smirked and licked his top lip, "I felt it."

    Taking a step back, Kathryn became angry. "This is not like you at all." She wiped her lips, red lipstick smeared across the back of her hand.

    Daikar sighed and his shoulders slumped. "Well, I tried." He lifted a hand and snapped his fingers.

    ---

    Blinking to clear her eyes, Kathryn could tell without looking her uniform was replaced with a summer dress. The white silk-like garment shimmered from the moonlight. She turned toward a window and could see her hair style changed from the regulation bun to a low ponytail style that flowed over a spaghetti-strapped shoulder. Long-stringed earrings danced above the collar bone and her lips were painted with bright red lipstick. She looked the same before her encounter with Daikar.

    Kathryn looked around, frustrated and angry. "Q!"

    A female appeared from around a shadowed pillar. Dressed exactly like Kathryn, Q walked confidently toward Kathryn with a smug on her face. "I tried to help you relax and yet, you resisted." She stopped a few paces away, crossed her arms and smirked. "But not at first."

    "That's not funny. What made you think that's what will help me relax? If anything, I'm more stressed now than when I was working!" Looking at Q, Kathryn realized Q can be anyone she wants to be, and her eyes widened. "Was that you?!"

    "Sadly, no. He was literally a figment of your imagination."

    "What?!"

    Q raised her hands. "Stay calm, nothing a quick review of Starfleet records couldn't help with. Very interesting stuff in those antiquated computers you use. I think Section 31 are the good guys, if I do say so myself."

    Kathryn started getting a headache. "Stay with me Q."

    "Look. You are overworked. The burden of responsibility weighs you down and even the Continuum sees it. Give yourself a break! Look around you. We are on Risa! Although a barren wasteland compared to ... never mind. This is where humans like to go to relax. I know you really want to come here, but your 'duty' compels you not to. I'm here to try to convince you otherwise."

    "Why?"

    Q spread her hands out wide, then snapped both fingers. In a flash she was gone and Kathryn could hear her from everywhere. "Why not?
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    LCs 31 and 32 redux: Into the Hive.

    Vega system. Borg fleet staging area.

    Captain Trenek of the USS Challenger tried very, very hard to not let the fear show.

    "Oh, Original," said Nemesis unit designation Three over the dedicated coms link. The insane augment's voice was deadly serious for once.

    Trev Remala, Trenek's first officer, whimpered slightly.

    "Easy, Trev," said Trenek, struggling to stay emotionless. "Fear will get us nowhere. Tactical, prepare a volley of quantum torpedoes, full spread. Begin frequency rotation."

    "Alright, team," said Three. There was liquid terror in her voice. From a woman who Trenek had seen personally disembowel a Hirogen Alpha while singing "White Christmas", this was more terrifying than the massive Borg fleet ahead.

    "We've got no backup, no plans, and no practice run. If we don't stop the Borg here and now, they'll assimilate Earth or something else equally naughty. So we're here to take 'em out. Challenger, stay close. Watch yourself, Trenek. Endeavor, Delphi, provide support. Grav wells, tractor beams. Get the Borg all clumped together, then hammer them with the torpedoes. Heisenberg, TRIBBLE them up with chroniton beams and torps. Use that Manheim Device to rip them up if you're pressed. Challenger and George Takei will punch through once the fleet is down to take out those hive ships. Then we all get in there and disable that octahedron. Clear?"

    "Five ships can't..."

    "Quiet, redshirt."

    "Uh, that's Captain Nelson..."

    "Captain Redshirt, then. We're going to win this. We HAVE to. Because not only are we fighting for the important stuff, but we're Big Damn Heroes. And Big Damn Heroes always, always win. Just try not to die too fast."

    Her voice was still shaking a little, but at least she wasn't actively demoralizing.

    "Right. Gamat'Elon, priority hail to Command. Contract-Holder. This is Three, with Task Force...uh...I forget the name. Anyway. The Borg Queen is leading a fleet on Earth. We're the last chance at defense, et cetera, et cetera. So. We have engaged the Borg."

    George Takei released a volley from the stolen Hirogen cannons that Trenek knew damn well were installed illegally on the prow (despite Three's constant denials). And with that, the nightmare became real.

    Borg cubes closed immediately on the battlecruiser, launching plasma torpedoes. Trenek heard himself whimper faintly as the torpedoes annihilated the...

    No. The little ship blasted forwards with incredible, unbelievable speed.

    Impulse capacitance cell. Beautiful. Cannibalized against regulations from a Gladius-class, but Three never had cared about regs.

    The George Takei turned like lightning, screaming RCS accelerators audible even over the coms link, and launched a torpedo volley that ripped a tactical cube apart.

    "Sir?" said Trev. Trenek realized that he was open-mouthed at Three's complete insanity.

    "Uh...Attack! Take down those cubes!"

    Challenger streaked forwards at high impulse, spewing swarms of torpedoes. Endeavor and Delphi blasted gravity wells that pulled Borg ships into one giant, crashing mass...

    The explosion lit up the world.

    When the light cleared, Trenek pulled himself off of the deck. Red alert sirens screamed.

    "Trev!" Trenek yelled...then he realized that that was Trev lying impaled on a broken console.

    Mourn later. Damn Borg torpedoes.

    "Heisenberg here. Trenek, get the hell out of there, there's a Borg cube on your TRIBBLE!"

    "Move us!" Trenek shouted as he hauled himself into his chair. "Full impulse! Evasive maneuvers!"

    As Challenger pulled away, Heisenberg activated its Manheim device and ripped the cube apart in a hail of death.

    "Three here," said the psychotic augment over coms. "That was the last cube. Now get in here, before those hive ships power up their lances!"

    Trenek wondered briefly if he himself was insane. Then Three started again, with progressively increasing panic this time.

    "D'vek, you loaded the Mr. Thingy into the torpedo tubes, right? Wait, what? OK, that word sounds bad. What word? What word???!?! "OVERCHARGE" is what word! That word is ALWAYS a bad thing! Get that thing out of here! Now! Beam it into that hive ship, I don't care what it takes!!!!!"

    There was a titanic explosion and one of the hive ships imploded.

    "Tactical!" yelled Trenek, panic creeping into his voice. "What the hell was that??"

    "Looks like a modified photon torpedo! Antimatter singularity, sir!"

    "By the katra of Surak, that woman is insane! Concentrate fire on that other hive ship!"

    There was another detonation, accompanied by a plasma lance from the surviving hive ship, and the Delphi was gone. Science Officer Dan Richter whimpered.

    "Tactical?"

    "Delphi is down with all hands, sir."

    "Elements. Get us in by the George Takei, as close as you can. The hive ships can't target us there!"

    Captain Nelson screamed over coms, andEndeavor was gone. Three yelled something incomprehensible, and her ship lit up with weapons fire as the Heisenberg launched another volley of torpedoes. The hive ship reeled, and a piece of the Delphi crashed into the lance weapon tube mere moments before the weapon fired. The blast took out the entire forward part of the behemoth.

    "This is Heisenberg. We're going to fly into that hive ship's maw and hit it with the chroniton torpedoes. Be ready to take out the octahedron as soon as the forcefield drops!"

    "Roger that!" said Three. Trenek realized that he was bleeding from a cut on his forehead.

    Heisenberg fired. The hive ship exploded.

    "Alright, everyone," said Three. "Status?"

    "This is Captain Trenek. My first officer is dead, hull breaches on three decks, and warp drive is offline. Shields are up, but the emitters have been damaged."

    "Brutt here, aboard USS Heisenberg. We're in one piece, but hull integrity is down to 50%. What's the plan?"

    The George Takei fired a pair of tachyon projectiles, which hit the octahedron in its weapons and shield emitters as it powered up.

    "Well, that was anticlimactic," said Three. "Right. Trenek, Brutt, I need an away team to cover me while I take out the Borg Queen."
    Captain Trenek was now quite certain that he was insane. MACO armor or not, he had just beamed into the disabled hive ship.

    Which contained the Borg Queen and about a thousand drones.

    Nemesis unit designation Three strode ahead, picking up drones and throwing them through walls with lazy ease. Her first officer, a wiry Andorian in Dominion shroud armor, and her security chief, a hulking Jem'Hadar in stolen Voth gear, brought up the rear, shooting any that tried to get back up.

    Trenek and Richter stood in between, holding their phaser rifles warily.

    Three peeked around a corner.

    "Next room. Borg queen, a bunch of drones. You guys take out the drones while I terminate the Queen. Ready?"

    "Yes, my God!"

    "I thought I told you to stop that, Gamat'Elon."

    "Glorious Odo'ital gave strict instructions; to find new Gods and serve them."

    "Yeah, I appreciate the flattery, but...you know what, TRIBBLE it. We'll talk about this later. Waste Borg now."

    She turned the corner and stalked forwards with a gait that Trenek had never seen from her before. Menacing. Implacable. Slow, but steady.

    The walk of a stalking predator.

    Her armblades slid out slowly, her face undoubtedly curling into a snarl around her metal fangs. The Borg Queen lowered herself from her harness to meet the unit.

    "Aah, Captain. Your resistance has been impressive, but ultimately will be futile. You will be Borg."

    Three's only response was an inhuman growl. Her shoulders hunched slightly and she leaned forward, breaking into a sprint.

    The Queen smiled. The drones moved forwards.

    The humanoids crouched. Trenek knew the drill. Shoot. Remodulate. Shoot, shoot, remodulate. Repeat. But here, with hundreds of drones, it was not enough.

    Three had apparently never heard of the drill. She strode right up to within three meters of the Queen, drones ignoring her on a silent order, and leaped.

    Trenek fiddled frantically with his gun, drones closing in.

    Three's right hand punched straight through the Borg Queen's chest as the cyborg stuck her assimilation tubules into the unit's neck.

    Trenek lowered his gun in shock...and realized his mistake moments too late. A drone stuck him in the arm with its tubules.

    Three snarled, and yanked, pulling out the Borg Queen's spine with one jerk.

    Trenek screamed in pain as the nanoprobes attacked his body. The last thing he saw before he passed out was Three's face as she saw him, Borg implants starting to erupt from her face, falling out as they encountered the resistance of her invincible skull.
    They told him that he was lucky. Only partially assimilated.

    Richter had been a little further gone; he still had some Borg implants to be removed. The surviving drones were in decent condition for the most part.

    Three had delivered them both personally, saying that she "liked" Trenek and didn't want to see him left with nothing but what field care he had gotten at the battlefield. The doctors said that what Borg implants she had had were badly corroded; they said that Admiral Crusher herself had requested (and received) a sample of the unit's blood and interstitial fluid, which corroded most metals, glasses, and plastics like acid.

    That just wasn't fair.

    The Andorian and the Jem'Hadar had made it out intact. The Andorian had visited Trenek, said that he "did damn well, for a pacifist". Trenek had learned that she was rated at MACO level 5 in hand-to-hand combat.

    How come that augment got all the best crew?"

    Well, it would be a six-month recovery, they said. Challenger was so much scrap, but at least most of the crew had survived.

    As the insane augment would have said, it could have been worse.

    There was a slight commotion, and then an older Trill face came into Trenek's field of vision. It took him a moment to recognize Admiral Quinn.

    "Sir."

    "At ease."

    "How did we do?" Trenek knew that his grammar was improper, but he couldn't care less at the moment.

    "The Borg have retreated to their territories in Gamma Orionis. We're working on reclaiming Vega now. Hansen and Tuvok say that they are hopeful for their chances of reversing the assimilation of the planet within two years. All in all, a victory for the Federation."

    "Delphi? Endeavor? Heisenberg?"

    "Delphi and Endeavor went down with all hands. Heisenberg lost twenty fine men."

    Trenek lay back with a sigh. Quinn rested his hand on the Vulcan's arm.

    "You did good, Captain. If it weren't for your sacrifices at Vega, Earth would have been assimilated for sure. None of our other ships in the sector had the range or power of weaponry to even make a dent in that fleet."

    "I am frankly surprised that we did as well as we did."

    "Tactical analysis shows that you should have lost. If it weren't for that idiot augment and her insane contained antimatter singularity, those hive ships would have destroyed the rest of your ships eventually. And with the Queen still alive, Borg reinforcements would have come through the transwarp conduit. Frankly, it's a good thing for the entire quadrant that you got in and killed that Queen as fast as you did."

    "Do you have access to recordings and logs from the battle?"

    "Yes. Frankly, I am even more confused about Three's behavior and limits now than I was before. I think that I need to reread that Contract again."

    "That would be a logical course of action, sir."

    Quinn raised an eyebrow.

    "Sarcasm, Trenek?"

    The Vulcan sighed.

    "I just survived a Borg invasion force and partial assimilation because of a psychopathic augment who obeys your orders to the letter. What did you really expect, sir?"

    Quinn smiled a little there.

    "Good point. Maybe I should bring her back to Earth and order her to be my bodyguard for a week or two."

    "Sir?"

    "Ah, it's nothing. I just keep feeling like I'm being watched. Paranoia, you know?"

    "Paranoia is logical, in your position."

    Quinn laughed a little.

    "Alright. I'll leave you to your recovery. We'll talk again in a month."

    He saluted, getting a weak response from the Vulcan, and left, saluting Admiral Crusher as she and her personal medical team came in with what Trenek had begone to mentally categorize as the "sampling tools".
    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 April 2014
    Written out of sheer boredom while waiting for LC 62.

    Warning: Dark and violent. Reader discretion advised. Don't read if your parents think that "Jurassic Park" is too violent for you.

    LC 59 redux: Hatred.

    Vice Admiral Do'eth ir'Virinat (real name: D'trel ir'Aehallah tr'Rihannsu) strode onto the Vengeance's bridge, her hair still wet from the hydroshower.

    "Admiral!" shouted First Omek'ti'kallan with a quick salute. "We are being hailed by the Federation ship."

    "On screen," said D'trel, sliding into her chair. "Oh, hey there, Tullat. Nice to see you again."

    The Vulcan grimaced in a decent approximation of a smile.

    "Admiral. Are you prepared to escort us to the talks?"

    "Yeah. Not the ship, though. General Ja'rod says to take you, your entourage, and however much security you want onto the Vengeance and fly you to the talks personally. You alright with that?"

    "Acceptable, and logical given the current political climate."

    "Yeah, the Empire doesn't just let random Federation battleships through the Qo'noS sector. Tuvok and the Enterprise is a special case. You ready to beam aboard?"

    "Yes. One moment, please."

    "Excellent. I'll see you in the transporter room. Omek, shut it off and come with me. Zel, you have the bridge. Daysnur, with me."
    IRW Vengeance, transporter room 1.

    "Admiral," said the Vulcan, stepping down off the transporter pad. "A pleasure as always."

    "Ambassador. New flunkies?"

    "Yes. My new assistants, Laura Anderson, Mikhail Jovanovich, Talla ch'Tholas, and Roth'kar Sarris. My security detail, led by Commander Hundun."

    The security chief sniffed haughtily. "I hope that your security measures are better than what I've seen so far. Otherwise the Ambassador's as good as dead already."

    "How dare you insult our security measures! Your mates laugh at your lack of seed, Commander," said D'trel, shooting a rude gesture at Hundun. "Also, there are shrouded weapons turrets in every corridor that can only be disarmed by vetted crew members. Any assassins who beam in will be dust in seconds."

    "You mate with the unclean, Romulan," quipped the Zaldan with a smile. "A passable solution, if risky."

    "Zaldans," muttered D'trel. "Your parents were overgrown Kyrillian sand worms."

    "You're nothing but an inbred piece of epohh dung, Romulan."

    "You're just a frog-handed apple-polisher, Zaldan."

    "Your mother was a warthog."

    "You bathe in vomit."

    "You feast on sh*t."

    "Your mom f*cks algae."

    The Zaldan actually did a double-take on that one.

    "Good one!"

    "Thank you. I try. You want to see your quarters, Ambassador?"

    Ambassador Tullat, forty-year veteran of the Federation Diplomatic Corps, manager of first contact with three separate species and negotiator of an end to a blood feud that had lasted over three hundred years on a planet in the B'tran cluster, remained open-mouthed and unresponsive for a full ten seconds before he managed to recover his dignity.

    "I...yes. Please."

    "Great. Omek, would you take the Commander here to the holodeck and show him some of our defense schematics so that he can make a few suggestions?"

    "Yes, Admiral. Lowly solid, you will come with me or by Odo'ital's Glorious Glory I shall show you the error of your ways!"

    "Lead the way, scaleface."

    "Daysnur, take the flunkies to their quarters. I'll escort the Ambassador."
    "...and here are your quarters," said Subcommander Daysnur with a vague gesture. "Not much, but should be enough for the four of--hey, where's other one?"

    "Laura?" said Roth'kar Sarris, a reptilian/insectoid nightmare of possible Xindi origin. "She was just...hey, where did she go?"

    Alarm bells went off in Daysnur's head. He could feel mind-strikes, two corridors over. By the holodecks.

    "Stay here. Get into the rooms, block the doors, and put the lead buckets by the beds over your heads for emergency protection. Don't leave or remove the buckets until I say so. I'll be right back."

    And he sprinted away before they could even ask what he had felt. As he ran, he pulled out his PADD and activated the turrets, freshly configured for the Ambassador and his team.

    Daysnur turned the corner to the holodeck corridor at top speed, kicking off a wall in a move worthy of the Matrix, and struck with a wide-band telepathic interference pulse.

    Something responded. A spike of hate-filled power--how the hell had he missed that before?--retracted, then struck out at him.

    Oh, crab nuggets.

    The pulse burned. Damn, that hurt. Amateur, for sure, hitting the motor neurons. Counter, ready mental blocks, walls up, prepare retaliatory strike, thrust.

    The amateur's mental walls broke but didn't collapse completely--wow, those were good for an amateur. Daysnur pulsed his own motor functions gently, and he could move again.

    Walls up, dissipating wide-band strike from the amateur. Idiot. Should've just killed the target and then fought Daysnur. Not that she--she? Yeah, that was a woman's mind, from the images of dresses and bras that he'd gotten in his hasty strike. Extremely dangerous, when properly trained. But she wasn't trained, and Daysnur was a pro, with decades of telepathic counseling and years of intense Lethean mindhound training under his belt. Heck, the Imperial mindhounds rated him third best in the entire Klingon Empire. This amateur didn't stand a chance. But bloody hellfire, she was strong. Stronger than she should be.

    Parry, thrust, crack walls--another hit in the memories, images of laughter and screams and blood and fire and flowers and then blank as the walls went back up--retreat, double thrust, parry counter, thrust again, there was the motor cortex, force her out into the hallway, why the hell weren't the turrets working; oh, the Human woman, Laura Anderson, only she wasn't Human because Humans weren't telepaths and whoah, stay focused on the fight, slashing mindblade strikes at the lower sensory cortex for disorientation, probe in the motor cortex was gone, "Laura Anderson"'s face a rictus of hate, security teams thumping down the corridor behind, have to tell them to stay back...

    And then Commander Hundun threw himself at the enraged woman and knocked her into a bulkhead. She hit her head with a nasty crack, and the pressure was gone.

    "So that was her secret. Betazoid. Hey, Lethean lizardface, help me with the First. That little b*tch got him with a mind strike."

    Daysnur didn't even stop to catch his breath. First Omek'ti'kallan was on his back, shuddering in place and staring at the ceiling.

    Strike to the brain stem. They always tried that. He had minutes before Omek asphyxiated. Crouch down, close eyes, burrow in, grab the offending telepathically-induced imbalance, twist, pull, induce neurotransmitter release, monitor for a moment as the signals picked back up...

    Omek gasped a deep, shuddering breath, and collapsed, limp and unconscious. His breath settled into a safe, even rhythm.

    Daysnur rocked back onto his heels and exhaled.

    "He's stable. Get him to Sickbay, now!"

    "What about the Betazoid frogspawn, lizardface?"

    Daysnur spared a glance for "Laura", hanging limp from the Zaldan's beefy hand.

    "Lock her in the brig. I'll be there, and I'll bring a couple of my cousins who work in Astrometrics. You, uhlan. Go get the Admiral, tell her it's urgent."
    D'trel punched Leara Androi in the face. Hard.

    The Betazoid fell backwards and crashed to the floor with a moan.

    "That's for attacking Omek, you little streak of urine."

    Leara was laughing. The gasping, cackling laugh of the insane.

    "You are so hypocritical, Admiral. We're not that different, you and I!"

    "I know," said D'trel. She hit the woman again as Leara rose, breaking her nose. "I know. The biggest difference is that you're a mind-r*ping Betazoid with increased telepathic powers courtesy of Crell Moset. And I'm just a Romulan. But the funny thing? With three trained Lethean mindhounds in here, working for me, I'm the one with the power. Your mind powers are useless without training, and especially with these bully boys here to counter you. But my fists? They aren't neutered at all."

    She punched Leara again, breaking one of her ribs.

    "I'm not going to claim moral superiority. I've killed unarmed people just for being Tal Shiar. I tortured Hakeev before I gutted him like a fish. If there's an afterlife, I'm going to be in for a painful eternity."

    She kicked Leara, breaking her left tibia. The Betazoid collapsed with a grunt of pain.

    "I'm a monster. I'm psychotic, I've killed people and enjoyed it, and I've been running on hate for sixty years. But the main difference between you and me?"

    She picked up Leara effortlessly with one hand around the Betazoid's neck, and slammed her into a wall, breaking two more ribs.

    "I try to be better. We've done a little digging into your background; you've been stealth-killing innocent Cardassians, Jem'Hadar, and Vorta for decades. And you haven't even tried to change. Me? I tried. I settled down on Virinat and tried to work it out. I didn't kill anyone for over ten years. I saved hundreds of people at Crateris, at Gasko, at the Helix, at dozens of other places. I can never atone for what I have done, but I can promise myself to be better. I have MADE myself be better. While you wallow in your hate and let it rule you."

    Leara choked and struggled against D'trel's iron grip.

    "You just tried to murder my first officer. As much as I want to kill you for it? I won't."

    She threw the Betazoid down. Leara Androi crawled towards her chair, laughing and wheezing.

    "You want to, Admiral. I can practically taste the desire. The temptation!"

    D'trel grabbed her right femur and snapped it.

    "Indeed. But I'm being a good girl. I'm holding myself to giving you a broken bone for every murder you've committed. Maybe the courts won't like this, but we're in the middle of space, and on my ship, in the middle of space, I am the law."

    She grabbed Leara's right hand and snapped each and every bone, one by one.

    "When we're done here, I'm going to have Subcommander Viasa patch you up a little bit--not all the way, just enough for you to survive long enough to stand trial--then I'm going to throw you back in here and leave you to rot until the conference is done and we can take you back to Federation space."

    She punched Leara in the back and broke her right scapula. One of the Letheans was throwing up into a recycler.

    "Done," said D'trel. "That's all the murders we could find. Daysnur, stay here and watch her. I'm getting Viasa."

    Leara Androi caught her breath and started giggling again.

    "You're a hypocrite, Admiral! You're just as much a monster as I am! Come back here and kill me, Admiral! You know you want to! ADMIRAL!!!"

    Leara screamed painfully after the Romulan until long after she had left earshot. D'trel didn't look back.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
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  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    Kathryn stared at the console screen and sighed loudly. S'Rel's Vulcan ears twitched slightly at the sound but otherwise her affect had not changed. Both were watching a remote feed from the hydroponics room on deck eight. Anything not bolted to the room had been washed into the dark vacuum of space when the Breen attack penetrated the shields. The bad situation was made worse when the hydroponics room was hit.

    The women stood from the console, each knowing what the other was thinking. "We're limping back to starbase without a back-up food supply," Kathryn said matter-of-factly.

    The Chief Operations Officer nodded. "Clearly, Captain, you correctly estimated our greatest internal threat is the power reserves we have for the replicators."

    'Even if we launched a Class Nine probe, the response may take a while. We need to establish rationing protocols, so it looks like I picked a good week to stop drinking coffee." Kathryn looked to S'Rel and smiled. S'Rel was obviously impassive to the joke and Kathryn had to enjoy it for herself.
    ---

    Kathryn sipped from her last cup of coffee. She swirled the dark liquid with her tongue then slowly drained it down her throat. The heat warmed her from the inside out and she savored the sharp favor lingering in her mouth. She licked the inside of her teeth and lowered the cup onto the saucer. Looking out the window from her quarters on deck two the stars moved more slowly than she was accustomed to see. Without Warp Drive they were traveling at maximum impulse which was relatively slow.

    She smiled thinking of her Chief Engineer as he explained the likelihood of one of the nacelles tearing free if they attempted warp speeds. Thel enjoyed using hyperbole to drive his point if needed, but he didn't have to this time. The Breen worked over Solaris but he still won out.

    Merow.

    Kathryn tapped the table top and a grey-haired Nebelung cat jumped gracefully onto the table. "Hello, Hector." She ran her hand from neck to tail and Hector responded with a purr and circling back into her palm. After a few more stokes, Hector focused on the contents of the cup and started sniffing.

    "Oh, no you don't." She took the cup away from Hector's investigation. "I've promised myself this is my last cup ... and this time I mean it!"

    Hector looked away toward the shifting stars outside the ship as if to not dignify Kathyrn's action with a response.

    "Actually, this really will be my last cup. Any replicator rations I have must be spent on essentials. That includes your food, you know."

    The cat didn't respond.

    "Hmph. Typical."
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited May 2014
    Written out of sheer boredom. And a bit of wondering about what Three might do with her knowledge of living superweapon creation...

    Starswordc, I hope you like the namecheck!
    LC 39 redux: "Captain, it looks like you need some Remedial Medical Ethics..."

    "Hello, Frankie," said the petite, wiry Andorian as the scarred Human and his muscular Betazoid backup stepped into the dark room. "I assume that I'm safe here, because you and I both know damn well that Three will dismember you if I get hurt. So. What do you want? And I decide if it's OK for you to know."

    "What can you tell me about the Epsilon Theta incident, Commander?"

    The Andorian woman leaned back in her chair and chuckled.

    "Oh, you can know that, Frankie. Be afraid. Be very, very afraid!"
    ----
    Epslion Theta system. Six months earlier.

    Commander Azip Shran, first officer USS George Takei, was bored out of her skull.

    She wasn't the only one. Commander Gamat'Elon had, in fact, been so bored that he had somewhat unwisely taken a frying pan to his head on a bet. He was now in Sickbay with a concussion. At least he was socializing well, as he had been ordered by that changeling, Odo, before being sent off to enlist in Starfleet and "find more Gods".

    Captain Nemesis unit designation Three herself was currently sprawled in her oversized command chair, her armblades out, using the implanted weapons as spears to roast a bunch of epohhs as shish-kebabs over an emergency torch that she had stuck to the floor in front of her.

    Yeah. Patrol missions were boring, even in a dangerous sector like Gamma Orionis, on the edge of civilized space. The George Takei was currently assigned to three months of patrol missions due to Captain Three dropping a Section 31 director on Nukara Prime sans EV suit.

    Ensign Wallace was out cold in his chair at the Conn. Poor kid. He was too young to be sentenced to a patrol mission.

    Azip smirked at her joke, and then her console began to beep. Three looked up from her armblade kebabs.

    "What've we got?"

    "Er...faint power signature. Looks like a disabled ship; it's just around this moon, we should be coming up on it now."

    "On screen."

    The disabled ship was surrounded by a corona of evil green radiation and gas. A Borg probe.

    "Sir? Orders?"

    "Wallace! Wake up, kid! Get me a more detailed scan, power up weapons and shields, red alert, Redshirt Protection Level Four, just in case. Commander, you're in charge of combat as usual."

    "Yes, sir. Easy, Ensign, we'll just figure out what happened here and you can get back to your nap. Bring us about, heading 2-7-0, half impulse."

    Azip set a couple of standard scans going, then set the red alert and RPL4 alarms going. Other Starfleet officers sometimes scoffed at Three's "genre savvy" and strange rules. There was no arguing with statistics, though; Three had a perfect safety record, as opposed to the average Starfleet casualty rate of 8.7% per year (15.6% for vessels with combat assignments). Yes, she was a living weapon. Yes, she was completely insane. But she got results, which frankly was the only thing that Command really cared about anymore, besides of course making Command look good.

    The scans came back, along with a long list of check-in codes from low-ranking crew members reporting to built-in crash bunkers and secure areas.

    "Three, just got the scans back."

    The augment slid four freshly-grilled epohhs off of her right armblade and down her gullet, and snuffed out the torch.

    "What've we got?"

    "Looks like a Borg force ambushed by the Undine. This probe's the only piece of Borg tech that wasn't blown to dust. I'm reading a single Borg drone as the only survivor."

    "Beam it to Sickbay, hostile patient protocol level seven. Then meet me there. Wallace, you're in charge until we get back."
    "I've removed most of the exoplating, but there are enough implants that her organs are going to have trouble reasserting themselves, if they can even start to do so," said D'vek to the woman and the unit. "She's Human, or used to be. Female, late 20s."

    "Rachel Connor," said Azip. "MACO trooper. We were in the same unit before I went back to school and signed up as an officer with Starfleet proper. She was assigned to Vega colony defense forces when the Borg hit. Presumed assimilated."

    "Presumed no longer," quipped Three. "You knew her."

    "She's my ex."

    "Oh. Sorry."

    "Nah, it's fine, we were still friends after she hooked up with Troy from Delta Squad. She's bi."

    "Ah. You want me to kill her, put her out of her misery? Or do I do the human thing and try to fix her?"

    "You can do that?"

    Three shrugged. "Same as I did with you, only I know Human DNA better, so I've got more options. It'd be permanent, but she'd digest the Borg implants over the course of a couple of months and regenerate the missing parts. She'd be immune to re-assimilation, like us."

    "Can you do it before she wakes up?"

    "Standard augmentation protocol--if you're modding a baseline--is to tranq 'em before the procedure and keep 'em under while the virus does its work. Hurts less. Once you're modded, tranqs don't work as well; you just keep the dosage the same, and when the baseline wakes up xe's ready to go. Takes a little while after that for the mods to fully mature, but it doesn't hurt as much at that point. If we're super lucky, she'll never remember being Borg. At a minimum, the brain'll regrow and replace the cortical implant."

    "You can do that?" Azip was partially amazed, and partially horrified that Three would keep such technology private.

    "Only as a favor to an imprint like you. Company policy is to keep some things secret. But yeah, I can do what I did to you to her."

    Azip looked at the twisted form of her friend and ex-lover. Rachel had been the best shot in the squad, although Azip had been the sergeant. Tactical skill trumped sharpshooting for command posts in MACO. They'd had some great times, with Ed and Tarok and the K'janith twins. Fighting Undine, fighting Klingons, fighting sixteen-legged horrors from savage planets in Delta Volanis. Seeing her old squadmate like this was...painful. Azip had never been one for nostalgia, but this...

    No wonder people hated the Borg.

    "Do it," she said. "I'll go get a report ready for Command, and get us out of this dung-heap system."
    Unit designation Three gave D'vek a look.

    "I know that glare, Commander."

    "Sir, with respect," said the Romulan, "This is at best a major breach of medical ethics. At worst, it's..."

    "Whatever the equivalent to crimes against humanity is. Yeah. But honestly, Commander, when was the last time I gave you the impression that I gave two sh*ts about medical ethics?"

    "Never, sir," said D'vek. "But still..."

    "Hey. When I get back home? I'm talking to my Original about the policy. If she agrees, I'm sharing what I know with the entire universe."

    "Sir, please don't."

    "Why?"

    D'vek sighed. "Sir, you know how to turn people into living weapons. That...isn't something that would be good for this universe."

    Three cocked her head to one side. "Point, that. I guess you could say that my very presence in this universe is a bad thing..."

    "Oh, no doubt. A best sir, you're a wild card. At worst? A rabid mogai."

    She snickered at that.

    "Alright. It's a pretty crazy situation, and I've seen a lot of Trek episodes where something definitely nonstandard or morally frowned-upon was done to save someone or a group of someones. I assume that still holds?"

    D'vek blinked momentarily, but fortunately he was used to the unit's frequent nonsensical references.

    "...yes, sir. I think. Technically."

    "Great. Then we do Ms. Connor here, then destroy the evidence. Can you get her DNA, then rig a replicator to replicate a specific virus and set of DNA strands without keeping a record of it?"

    "...I think so, sir."

    "Then do it."
    One month later. Still Epsilon Theta. Still on patrol.

    Rachel Connor woke up. Memories flooded her--memories that weren't hers--and yet they were, in a horrible, terrible, awful way.

    "Oh, god..."

    "Hey," said a husky female voice. "Welcome back to the land of the living and not-Borg."

    "Oh, god. What happened to me? Oh, my god, I was a Borg!"

    "Yeah. Don't worry, we fixed that. Only, there was a little problem, involving the implants; you had too many to remove the regular way for some reason. So we had to augment you without your consent. Here. I replicated a typewriter and wrote this."

    The husky voice moved a massive, humanlike hand into Rachel's field of vision. She focused on it instantly--wow, she'd never had close focus this good.

    The hand held a half-ream of paper. On the first page was a large, block-lettered title. It said "Your New Body--Tips & Tricks for New Units!"

    "What the hell?"

    "We genetically altered you. Congratulations; you, Rachel Connor, are by Nemesis, Incorporated company policy entitled to the designation "Nightshade-Alpha-class living stealth/infiltration weapon unit designation One." You'd be a Nightshade-class proper, except that you're a different template, and you don't have the implants since I can't make the metal in this universe. So...congrats. Um. Yeah, all that jazz."

    "I think I'm going to hurl."

    "...that's a pretty typical response," said the voice. Rachel turned her head. The speaker was a towering, bulky Human woman with a strange, almost armored pattern beneath her skin. Her eyes glittered in the lights. "I'm Three, by the way. Nemesis unit designation Three. Nemesis-class, obviously. A terror weapon unit."

    "What?"

    "Designed to terrorize armies while soloing other armies. You're a Nightshade-class, only without the implants because I can't fabricate the metal for them, and your blood and interstitial fluid now contain corrosive enzymes that digest and reuse any metal, silicaceous material, or plastic that gets into your system. So don't worry, no Borg implants to creep people out. Sorry for doing it without your consent, but D'vek and I figured that it was the only way to fix you."

    Rachel resisted the very strong urge to get up and throttle the brutish woman.

    "What does this mean for me?"

    "It's in the booklet. Including basic armblade fighting techniques, the limits of your modifications, and company policy. If you don't want to join up, that's fine. If you do, there's benefits and salary and Contract rules and stuff; it's safer and more stable than freelancing. Also, as a unit you have the right to explore alternate timelines and universes on company time, tech, and cash. Oh, and Frankie Drake is probably going to want to catch you and experiment on you if he discovers your mods because he sucks, so be careful about that."

    "My squad. Did they make it out of Vega?"

    "Yeah. Azip Shran's my XO now. We're TRIBBLE, hope you don't mind. Your BF's a MACO commander now. The others are in early retirement due to injuries sustained after the Utopia Planitia affair. Uh, some Klingons led by this Lethean badass called Brokosh swooped down and kicked the snot out of the fleet and nuked a bunch of ships in drydock. Giant clusterf*ck."

    Rachel sat up and flipped through the first couple of pages of the booklet. She really, really wanted to strangle Three.

    "What the f*ck is "enhanced adaptive camouflage", you insane b*tch?"

    "Chromatophore skin and altered facial musculature. You can be anybody, congratulations. Or at least any human or Betazoid. And I think that you can imitate a Bajoran, too; the ridges shouldn't be that hard."

    "I really, really want to kill you."

    "Just me? Or a lot of people?"

    "Just you, why?"

    "Huh. Lemme try something--Ensign!"

    An average-looking and very, very nervous male Aenar walked in. He stood at attention and shivered.

    "Do you want to kill him?"

    Rachel looked. "Um...no?"

    "Huh. Interesting. Ve-ery interesting. Then again, the Nightshades have always been mostly human..."

    "What the hell are you talking about?"

    "Nothing important; it's all in the book. Just skip the part about the kill urge, looks like it doesn't apply. Hey, can you do me a favor?"

    "Will you let me punch you?"

    "I'll let you kick me in the groin. But be careful, I have pelvic plating, too."

    "Excellent," said Rachel. And she stood up, darted over to the huge woman much faster than she should have been able to, and kicked.

    She kicked a good deal harder than any human should've been able to, too. Another reason to hate Three.

    Three winced slightly and swayed, but stayed up.

    "Wow," she said, with only a hint of a wheeze. "If I were a regular woman? I'd have passed out from that one. Wow."

    "What's the job? I owe you one, for rescuing me from the Borg, but after this..."

    "Yeah, yeah, I get it, no more favors. I want you to infiltrate Section 31, and sabotage any and all attempts by Franklin Drake to spy on me or my crew. Use whatever methods you like. Three month job, starting in two weeks when we get back to civilized space. Then we reintroduce you as a standard implant-free ex-Borg, have a guy who owes D'vek big-time do the physical, you go live out your life in some colony somewhere. Or sign back up with Starfleet or MACO. Whatever the hell you prefer, I and my Contract-Holder make sure that it happens. Next two weeks are yours, you have free reign of the ship; catch up with Commander Shran, play pool, enjoy my holonovel collection, whatever the hell you want. Ensign Tallas, take care of her. I have to go put on a dress; I have a date on the Titanic in five minutes."

    And just like that, she walked out.

    "I really want to kill her," said Rachel to the Aenar.

    "Yeah," said the Ensign, "A lot of people say that. She's really creepy. But she hasn't gotten anybody killed yet, and it's been a year, so...can't be THAT bad. Especially after Wilson."

    "Wilson?"

    "The previous Captain, on the first George Takei, only it was the Douglass at the time. He got six crew members killed and thirty-seven injured in his first hour of active duty. On a diplomatic mission. He told a high-ranking Klingon ambassador that his--the ambassador's--mother had a smooth forehead."

    Rachel winced. "Wow."

    "So, yes. The snow-crazed augment is our best option. Even if she is more insane than a rabid ice-stalker."
    Present day

    "...And that, Frankie, is why you should be scared."

    "Why should I be scared now, as opposed to a month ago, Commander?" The Human's voice was snide.

    Azip snickered, and put her hands behind her head.

    "Because Rachel ended up deciding that she likes infiltration. She's been a mole in Section 31 for four months. She's bored now, though. So we're going to give you a bit of...instruction, hopefully without too much yelling and punching, and then she's going to go back to MACO. Hi, Rachel, you all set?"

    Franklin Drake saw a keratinous, faintly serrated blade slide in front of his eyes, and then move down to kiss his throat.

    The Betazoid-who-wasn't chuckled softly by his ear.

    "Hey, Frankie. I've found the oddest things in your computers. For example, an order to your minions to kidnap and experiment on my ex-girlfriend..."
    Thoughts, anyone?

    Also, I name-checked Starswordc's excellent fanfic "Red Fire, Red Planet". Go read it, it is awesome.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
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  • grylakgrylak Member Posts: 1,572 Arc User
    edited May 2014
    The newly refitted I.R.W. Tomalak sat in orbit of Mol'Rihan, waiting the arrival of her guest. Commander D'Elon sat in her office, tapping a finger on her desk as she watched the monitor with a frown. "Those humans had some strange ideas of entertainment in their past." The door chime indicated someone was outside, so she shut down the monitor and straightened up. "Enter."


    Ambassador Terrh Movar entered the room and greeted D'Elon. The Commander indicated the seat on the other side of the table. "Ambassador, I'm sure you know why we are here."
    "Yes Commander. You are here to see if you can talk those of us on Mol'Rihan into joining the Empire once more. That will never happen. We would rather die free than live under the oppression of the Tal Shiar again. But D'Ton was insistant I attend."
    "And with good reason. I am here not to represent the Tal Shiar, but the Romulan Star Empire. Like you, we are sick and tired of living in fear. Of living under their constant watchful gaze. Following the dissapearance of Empress Sela, there has been a power struggle within the Senate. While it's obvious there are Tal Shiar operatives still conducting their machinations from within, there has also been a revolution of sorts. Many Tal Shiar bases have been excised from the Empire, as well as all Hirogen hunting parties."
    "I'm pleased to hear that. But it is only words. And we both know the Tal Shiar are good with words."


    D'Elon leaned forward and clasped her hands on the desk. "Admiral. Believe me. Following the destruction of that Dyson Sphere and the battle to defeat the Iconians, many in the Empire have regained their strength. They saw reports from that fight and realised we are not weak. That the Empire can stand strong against everyone who oppose us. Taking the role of Emperor by deception and assasination has been outlawed. That position must be earned. In the meantime, the Empire is solidfying it's position on the Galactic map."
    "And that's why we're here now."

    D'Elon nodded, taking a deep breath and holding it before she continued. "The Republic has been disavowed as an official government so far. You are a splinter faction that broke off and set up your own world. In essence, the Republic is nothing more than a standard colony, yet you put it to yourself to speak for the entire Romulan people. You made alliances with both Klingons and the Federation. And that put the Romulans in a difficult position. While those two powers fought with each other, Romulans whom had allied with either were forced to fire on each other. Now, if D'Tan had a plan where the Romulans would simply let the two wipe each other out, that would be fine." Movar opened his mouth to speak, but was stopped when D'Elon held up a hand. "Let me finish. To put it bluntly, D'Tan has made a mess. One colony does not represent everyone. And that must stop. No negotiation on that point. However, the Star Empire does intend to protect all Romulan colonies, regardless of their political state. As such, I am here to open negotiations in recognising Mol'Rihan as it's own seperate nation, and to give the Republic juristiction in the Tau Dewa Sector. You will only be able to make actions for yourself, and those few colonies that emerge from your crew. Any other Romulan colony will be free of any rules, any influence you intend to impose. They will follow the rule of the Empire. And attempt to take those colonies, or their resources, will be seen as an act of aggression against the Empire."


    D'Elon paused, letting Movar digest what was being put on the table. D'Elon was not one to dance around the issue like alot of diplomats. Just say what needs to be said. Finally, Movar spoke. "Of course, I will have to make sure D'Tan is fine with these 'proposals'. But just as you do not want us on your colonies, no Imperial ships will detain a Republic ship or harrass any colonies. Any intrusion by the Elachi, or the Hirogen, will be seen as hostile moves by the Empire and responded to accordingly. As you saw at the sphere, Commander, we are more than capable of defending ourselves."
    "Yes. Jarok and the Lleiset are certainly a boon for your fleet."
    "Look, whatever history is between you two, I don't care. I truly don't. We will defend ourselves if we have to."
    "Fine. But as I said, the Hirogen are being expelled from Imperial space. Any action they take will be independant, or being controlled by the Tal Shiar. An organisation that has lost it's way since the fall of Rihan. Any actions that they take will not be accountable to the Empire."
    "We'll see."
    "No, we wont." D'Elon leaned forward. "This is the Empire reaching out a hand of friendship. Instead of trying to force you into line, as the Empire of old did, we are trying to work with you. To achieve a middle ground, so your peace loving, Fed boot liking types can live in the swamp lands with the inferior Remans, and the strength and nobility that the name Romulan once held can be regained across the quadrant."


    Movar bristled with fury at the insult. "Are you really the best diplomat the Empire could send?"
    "No. Not by a long shot. I am a ship commander, a person of action. I have strong views that the old ways should be preserved. But, I am one of the officers who have had alot of contact with Republic ships in the past. The Tomalak did help defend Mol'Rihan from the Elachi fleet, and we have participated in numerous joint ventures with Republic warbirds. So Command decided to send me to deliver the message. Official trade treaties will be conducted at a later date with proper diplomats. But for now, Imperial ships in the Tau Sector will be kept to a minimum. And though we will offer aid if needed, you will no longer be classed as a colony. If you desire any help, you will have to specifically request it."


    Movar thought about it. This negotiation wasn't really anything of the sort. It was just to deliver a message. Still, it was a message of hope. "And any Romulans, or Remans, who wish to join the Republic-"
    "Can do so of their own free will. No one from the Empire will stop them. However, if they enter Empire space, they will be subject to the same laws as any visiting alien. And any treaty you sign, any alliance you make, no one from the Empire will be expected to uphold. You will be free to make your own mistakes."


    Movar nodded. "As I say, I'll have to speak to D'Tan before we accept anything officially, but it sounds promising. I'll be in touch."

    "The Tomalak will remain in orbit until we hear from you. Good day Ambassador."


    As Movar got up to leave, he reflected on the conversation. D'Elon was very upfront about her feelings and beliefs. Romulans who are normally that conditioned into believing the Imperial hype were almost fanatical in hunting down anyone who tried to break away from them. And yet, here she was trying to accept the Republic as it's own entity. To work together to form a lasting peace, secure a proper future for the Romulans as a people. If the new Star Empire was filled with people like her, then maybe there was hope for them all.
    *******************************************

    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'
  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited May 2014
    Revenge

    The sheet was pulled and Kathryn grimaced at the sight. She turned from the deceased Jem'Hadar to another table where a Betazoid female lay. Between the two, hers was uncovered first. Kathryn looked at the doctor. "You believe these deaths are linked?"

    The Bolian nodded as he covered the Jem'Hadar, then turned to the Betazoid to cover her up. "They are the only fatalities to have occurred within three weeks and they both expired within one hour of each other".

    Kathryn turned to her Medical Chief standing near her. Khaled Hassan was stoking his pointed beard in thought and nodded to his Captain.

    Returning to the doctor, Kathryn said, "May I please have your analysis for my team to investigate?"

    Doctor Tazan handed over a PADD. "Of course, that's why we called you. These injuries are not like anything I've seen. The station director is hoping to find resolution quickly because he's afraid of hysteria breaking out, much less have a murderer loose on the station."

    Kathryn smiled slightly. "I understand. The resources of the Solaris are at your disposal."

    Tazan bowed slightly. Kathryn and Khaled returned the gesture and walked out of the morgue.

    In the hallway, they looked up and down the corridor. Not seeing anyone, Khaled spoke first. "I have my suspicions that this is not a random occurrence."

    They started walking toward the director's office. Without looking to her Betazoid Lieutenant, Kathryn asked, "Care to elaborate?"

    "There is no doubt both were killed deliberately. I'll need to review the data before I can say more. But I can sense the doctor feels he should be able to solve the problem. I sense reluctance to be working with us."

    They stopped at the turbolift. "You head back to the ship, I'll see the Director about his concerns. Hopefully the presence of the Solaris will allay further fears."
    ---

    On board Solaris
    Khaled scanned the information from the station doctor's PADD on a large viewscreen in his office. Looking at images of the deceased Jem'Hadar's skull, he noticed several fractures along the cranium. Highlighting the cracks, Khaled noted they were radiating from the temporal lobe. Switching to the Betazoid, her skull showed the same radial fractures.

    Shifting images from the bones to the organs, he read the doctor's notes that the Betazoid's vocal cords were traumatized. This suggested she screamed for a prolonged period shortly before or during her death. Both victims brains were half liquefied.

    "Oh, no." Khaled pushed aside his assumption with hope as he said aloud, "Computer, reference medical records declaring radial fractures to cranium and ... cross reference reported Jem'Hadar non-combat injuries."

    There was a brief moment of silence before the ships computer chirped aloud, "there are no public records available."

    Khaled's eyebrows furrowed. "Refine search, open parameters to include Betazoid race."

    The computer returned the same results and Khaled decided to sit down. Realization of a dark truth crept into his mind. "No public records" He stared at the medical notes a few minutes longer while twisting his memories and medical training. Reluctantly he stated, "Computer, refine search, open parameters to combat-related injuries."

    The ship computer beeped and the female voice gently stated, "there are four-thousand eighty three records available."

    Khaled sat up straight. A small strand of fear crept into his thoughts. "Is there a time frame these records were generated?"

    "Stardates 51249.11 to 53803.07."

    "Provide figures localized to within the Beta Quadrant." Fear turned to dread as he asked. He knew the response would confirm his fear.

    "Three thousand eight hundred ninety seven."

    Khaled felt warm under his uniform coat. He continued his hunch to fruition. "How many of those were localized on Betazed?"

    "Three thousand one hundred forty seven."

    ---

    "Yes, Captain, assassination." Khaled sat across from Captain Beringer in her ready room. The station doctor's PADD rested between them. He was very calm with his hands clasped together on the table.

    Kathryn wore a deep frown as she slumped back into her chair. "This is the first case of it's kind since 2376? Do you know why?"

    "I believe a radical faction of patriots from The War have returned. Living weapons whose empathic abilities became heightened, strengthened and ultimately utterly destructive. The psychic energy would be a shockwave felling tens of Jem'Hadar at the cost of the patriot's life. I believe this is what's happened on the station."

    "Why weren't anyone else affected by the psychic shockwave?"

    Khaled spread his hands open. "It's not meant to be used in a large area. According to the report, the Jem'Hadar was on security patrol in the shuttle bay. Very open and very empty at the time of death. The attacker had enough life to crawl away from the scene and died in a nearby hallway."

    Kathryn nodded. "Did these ... patriots ... work alone?"

    "No. But I can't say there is continued danger anymore because there was only one Jem'Hadar on the station. The only traditional target is dead."

    Kathryn leaned forward. "But if free Jem'Hadar continue to join the Federation, then are we witness to a new resurgence of revenge killings?

    "I'm unsure, Captain. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait and see."

    Kathryn sighed. "These assassins, this faction, did they have a name?"

    "The Morituri". Khaled looked down as if ashamed.
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited May 2014
    LC 16 redux ("First Contact"). This is a tie-in for "Invasion".
    Fedepedia.org article on the Ha'ni species, retrieved 9 May 2412.

    The Ha'ni: Biology and society

    The Ha'ni species is a parthenogenetic reptilian race from the planet tr'Akh'ss, or Earth, which apparently evolved from varanid lizards in several parallel timelines. All Ha'ni societies encountered thus far have been capable of superluminal travel, although they lack warp drive. Two Ha'ni states in two separate timelines have been encountered so far; the zhirat, or Ministry, known only from the testimony of Starfleet contractor [Nemesis unit designation Three, and the Khizhat, or Suzerainty, a militaristic state that invaded our universe and was repulsed after a brief but violent political turnover thanks in part to the efforts of unit designation Three and Captain Ael t'Kazanak. Following this incident, all Ha'ni forces left for their own universe, leaving one scientist, S'lin Ta'kat, behind as an exchange officer. The rest of this article assumes discussion of the Khizhat government.

    Ha'ni bear a strong resemblance to bipedal Komodo dragons, with powerful prehensile tails and broad but surprisingly dexterous digging hands equipped with heavy claws. The scales vary in color and pattern by the individual, but broodlines generally share a similar appearance. The dorsal scales are darker and rougher than the ventral scutes, which are generally kept smooth.

    Ha'ni reproduction is similar to that of the certain teiid lizards; Ha'ni reproductive individuals (or jian) engage in copulation in order to stimulate ovulation. Meiosis and mitosis followed by self-fertilization results in eight identical gametes fusing into four zygotes; this helps perpetuate the genetically-determined Ha'ni caste system. The soft-shelled eggs are incubated for an average of six months before hatching. Jin and zin do not reproduce; neither show sexual desire, and zin are considered to lack gender identity (which has raised some interesting sociobiological questions, given the unisexual nature of the Ha'ni.

    Hatchlings are separated by caste at birth, due to the specific care requirements of young jin (soldiers) and zin (scientists). Juveniles are fed regurgitated food by caretakers (other members of their caste) until they are capable of eating solid food unassisted. Juvenile jin are often genetically augmented shortly after this point if a senior Ha'ni deems them worth the effort.

    Ha'ni names have two parts; the personal name, given to each hatchling by a caretaker, and the broodline name, similar to a Human family name; it is considered highly insulting for any Ha'ni other than a close friend, lover, or confidant to use the personal name of another, especially if that other is a high-ranking official. A broodline (khrnit) is a Ha'ni social structure consisting of a large number of Ha'ni all descended from a certain, renowned Ha'ni. If a Ha'ni is particularly exceptional, she (or her closest jian relative if that Ha'ni is not capable of reproduction) is declared the first member of her own broodline, which is given her name. Some broodlines have died out, due to random meiotic chance, and according to zin Ta'kat some had lost the capacity to produce jin and zin before the development of easy genetic modification. Most broodline members have similar personalities, and some similarities are usually visible even across castes; for example, Nivat broodline Ha'ni have a well-deserved reputation for wisdom and strategic thinking skills, while Akh'sat broodline Ha'ni tend to be simplistic and obedient, and Warat broodline Ha'ni are conservative and xenophobic.

    Ha'ni also show personality differences across castes. Jian, who make up most civilian and bureaucratic roles as well as non-combat military roles, are largely similar to Humans in their psychology. Jin, who make up all combat roles in the Ha'ni military, are highly intelligent but very militaristic in their thought processes; a savvy opponent can often use this to gain an advantage. Zin, who perform all duties related to scientific research and weapons development, are easily as intelligent as the most renowned Human scientists, perhaps as intelligent as artificial life-forms such as former Enterprise-E captain Data, but show almost pathological congenital attention-deficit disorder symptoms. Ha'ni have dedicated guards for zin laboratories, and most Ha'ni officials have standing policies of not using zin-designed technology without extensive testing, due to the high propensity of such technology to explode.

    Ha'ni do not salivate, and so consider spitting to be tantamount to regurgitating; a terrific insult. Furthermore, they consider kissing to be deeply perverted, because the only time in casual life that two Ha'ni mouths will touch is when an adult regurgitates food to feed a juvenile. If for any reason Federation forces are serving with Ha'ni, it is imperative to remember this cultural taboo, as it may permanently jeopardize relations and result in the deaths of all personnel involved.

    Ha'ni do not commonly wear any clothing other than armor and a hip cloth to cover the cloacal region. Zin often wear vest-like arrays of belts and pockets to carry half-finished experiments and tools, however. Instead of uniforms, Ha'ni soldiers and officers usually wear necklaces or armbands to indicate their rank and assignment.

    The Ha'ni state is a militaristic and expansionist society called the Khizhat, a Ha'ni word that means "Suzerainty", run primarily by jin military personnel. Jian make up 99% of the bureaucracy and about 30% of the military, mostly in support roles. The Ha'ni may or may not have access to replicator technology, but their society seems to operate without money, like most replicator-based societies. The military is mostly meritocratic, although according to Ha'ni troops who worked with Captain t'Kazanak and her crew during the attack on Earth, some political infighting resulted in promotion discrimination against relatively non-xenophobic Ha'ni.

    The Ha'ni take extreme pride in their civilized status. "Uncivilized" actions, such as pre-emptive strikes, breaking treaties, and certain degrees of treason, are treated with the same harshness as the most dishonorable or cowardly Klingons. Ha'ni "civilization" does in fact bear some resemblances as a concept to Klingon honor; in fact, the Ha'ni have, in a similar fashion to the Klingons, declared certain members of other species effectively equal to their own kind (see below).

    The Ha'ni have an extremely advanced understanding of wormholes, certain exotic particles, and materials science, but have not developed conventional transporters or energy shields. For more information, see the article "Unusual alien technology: Ha'ni".

    Ha'ni invasion: Roots of the conflict.

    In late 2411 (Terran Gregorian calendar), a Ha'ni scout frigate captained by a jin augment named Ar'tana Nivat entered our universe through an experimental wormhole device, where it encountered and destroyed an Undine dreadnought. The frigate (designated Ha'ni Khizhat zar'tanae Naarat, which translates as "Ha'ni Suzerainty Destroyer Vindication") then returned to the Ha'ni universe.

    The Ha'ni supreme leader, Za'raess Rugon, deeply concerned about the stagnation and corruption of Ha'ni society, ordered another incursion, this time with a large fleet, in the hope that the exploration would revitalize the Ha'ni state and provide her with the opportunity to replace particularly xenophobic officials with more moderate Ha'ni. A force of over three hundred Ha'ni vessels, including one hundred and fifty scout frigates, thirty mid-sized exploration vessels, over one hundred battlecruisers, and several dreadnoughts equipped with light-focusing planet killer weapons, entered the Vorn system in early 2412, annihilating a Borg Collective strike force and installation in seconds. The supreme commander of the Ha'ni military, High Admiral ty'Lea Warat, a fanatical Ha'ni supremacist, then attacked and destroyed a Starfleet strike force that had been engaging the Borg, violating several Ha'ni military protocols and direct orders in the process.

    High Admiral Warat was confined to the brig of the Ha'ni command ship for several days, in which time the Ha'ni fleet was attacked by another Borg Collective force and what appears to have been an Iconian fleet, both of which were defeated in seconds by Ha'ni weapons and planet killers. Ha'ni scientists under the command of Captain Ar'tana Nivat scavenged the wreckage and recovered Borg shield emitters, possibly in addition to other technology.

    UFP response.

    Starfleet Command ordered a four-ship task force led by Vice Admiral Alec Hammond to negotiate with the Ha'ni and find an acceptable solution. Admiral Jorel Quinn insisted on assigning his personal "fixer", Nemesis unit designation Three, to the situation due in part to her prior experience with the Ha'ni or another timeline. To counterbalance Three's well-known and self-admitted psychosis, Admirals Jac Chelliss and Kathryn Janeway (herself beset by allegations of psychosis and war crimes) suggested the assignment of Captains Ael t'Kazanak and Adam Pearson to the task force.

    Arriving in the Vorn system, the task force entered into a formal cease-fire with High Suzerain Rugon, who wished to give the "mammalian" forces the opportunity to flee the galaxy before what she saw as the inevitable Ha'ni conquest. The revelation that the Ha'ni offer of unconditional surrender was actually an unprecedented "gift" caused consternation among the task force members, and enraged High Admiral Warat, a religious and xenophobic fanatic who wanted to "cleanse" all potential universes of non-Ha'ni.

    Treachery and attack on Earth.

    After meeting with Admiral Hammond and Pentaxian ambassador S'rR's, Rugon declared a temporary recess of negotiations. While the task force discussed the situation, Rugon was murdered treacherously by High Admiral Warat, who declared herself High Suzerain. Faced with a dearth of suitable candidates, Warat was forced to name Ar'tana Nivat as a High Admiral.

    Warat then invited Admiral Hammond and Ambassador S'rR's back to the command ship for further negotiations; unit designation Three and Commander Pok Raban went as bodyguards.

    The "further negotiations" were a sham, however, and Warat ordered her most loyal troops to kill the Starfleet agents after tearing Admiral Hammond apart with her bare hands. After the survivors beamed out, Warat fired on the USS Concordia, killing Captain Pearson and all aboard instantly, then opened a wormhole in order to attack Earth.

    This breach of the cease-fire constituted an unforgivable act of barbarism to the Ha'ni, and High Admiral Nivat declared a formal alliance with the Vanguard, the only surviving, combat-ready ship of the task force. Meanwhile, Warat destroyed Earth Spacedock and prepared for a planet-killer strike on Earth.

    Assisted by the Vanguard and Klingon Ambassador Worf's bird-of-prey, the Hegh Da, and using a scavenged Borg shield emitter as a barrier field generator, Nivat's ship managed to stop the command ship and disable its planet killers. Assisted by Ambassador S'rR's, unit designation Three, and Commander Pok Raban, High Admiral Nivat boarded the command ship and killed High Suzerain Warat, then declared herself supreme leader of the Ha'ni.

    Aftermath.

    The Ha'ni invasion incident is currently considered to be a draw by the United Federation of Planets. While a considerable number of Borg, Elachi, and Iconian vessels were destroyed by the Ha'ni, the loss of Earth Spacedock for the second time in two years, not to mention four fully-crewed warships and the command experience of Vice Admiral Hammond, constitutes a major loss for the UFP.

    The Ha'ni retreated completely to their universe, with the sole exception of a zin-caste researcher, S'lin Ta'kat, currently stationed on the USS Patagonia as chief science officer. High Minister Nivat officially promised that no Ha'ni military personnel or starships will enter our universe for a century, in the same peace ceremony in which she declared Ambassador Worf a civilized being legally equal to a Ha'ni.

    Starfleet Command has attempted to interview zin Ta'kat about Ha'ni technology, but so far she appears to be operating under a Prime Directive-like requirement to not share her native technology. Captain Ael t'Kazanak, Commander Pok Raban, and Ambassador S'rR's were awarded medals of valor by Starfleet Command, and Vice Admiral Hammond was ordered a posthumous Picard Medal for exemplary conduct above and beyond the call of duty.

    Welcome to Fedepedia! The free hypernet encyclopedia that anyone can edit!
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
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  • starswordcstarswordc Member Posts: 10,705 Arc User
    edited June 2014
    LC 42 Redux: I Am the Legacy of Romulus
    A Day on the Farm
    Part One of Four

    It was hot. Damn hot.

    Not unseasonably hot for Virinat’s southern hemisphere in early January, understand, but hot enough you don’t want to be out in it unless you have to be.

    Morgan t’Thavrau had to be. It was late in the growing season, almost time for the harvest. The satla and kheh, analogs to Terran wheat and rye or so Morgan had been told, weren’t going to irrigate themselves, and she couldn’t handle the irrigation without being out on the tractor. And she couldn’t be out on the tractor if the Elements-damned thing broke down on her on the other side of her 230 hectares. It was hot enough that she’d probably end up with heatstroke if she had to hike back to the house.

    And that meant a trip down to the garage.

    Morgan parked the tractor under the overhang, cut the power, and hopped down, taking off her hat and wiping her sun-browned brow on her sleeve. Luckily they had a strong wind coming off Mount Hyjal today so it was cool in the shade. “Alatra!” she shouted into the machine shop. “Get out here!”

    “Alatra’s out sick,” came a gravelly baritone voice from inside and old D’Vex tr’Hllauyin came out, wiping his hands on a rag.

    “Morning sickness again?”

    D’Vex nodded. “Mm-hm.”

    “What’s she on now, number five?”

    He nodded again. “Mm-hm.”

    “She sure didn’t waste any time.”

    “No, she didn’t. What’s the problem?”

    “The blinkenlights are coming on.”

    “The—” D’Vex gave an angry grunt and glared at her. “Could you be any less specific?”

    “Hey, I’m a farmer, not a mechanic. I can change the lube and the brake pads; that’s about it. It’s the ‘check engine’ light, same as the last five times.”

    The older Rihanha gave a heavy sigh. “All right, let me have a look.” He grabbed the railing and hopped up into the saddle. Morgan tossed him the keyfob and he slid it into the ignition. “Thought as much. It’s that number two fuel cell again. I keep telling you to get that thing replaced.”

    “Well, if I replaced it I wouldn’t get to see your shining face every other week, now would I?”

    “Flattery’ll get you nowhere, Morgan. If you had any more Earth in you, you wouldn’t be able to move.” D’Vex hopped down off the tractor and opened the engine compartment.

    “Well, I have to have Earth in me, I’m a farmer. Seriously though, I’ve ordered the part but it won’t get here until two weeks from now at the earliest.”

    “Where in the name of Fire did you order it from? Eight-mil hyperspanner.”

    Morgan grabbed the tool off a nearby workbench and put it in D’Vex’s hand. “Crateris.”

    “Ow! Crateris? You ordered Havran?”

    Morgan looked at the back of his head. “You got a problem with Havrannsu, D’Vex?”

    “Hrmph, I’m old-fashioned. Bloody goblins are all right but I wouldn’t want my daughter to marry one.”

    “Be that as it may, I order Havran, I know it’ll work. They know their machinery.”

    “How’d you afford the shipping? Last season’s tomatoes weren’t exactly anything to write home about.” As much as they tended to scorn anything not Rihan in origin, the Rihannsu had developed a definite taste for the Terrhain vegetable when the trade embargos were briefly lifted during the Dominion War.

    “Well, you know Pel, that Feh’renga who runs the spaceport in Ahalris? She owed me a favor from about a dozen years back. Before you and Malem turned up in that old T’liss of yours.”

    “You just better hope the part’s compatible with the old girl. This tractor’s had so many parts replaced on it I think the only original piece is the chassis.” He slammed the access panel closed. “Try it now.”

    Morgan clambered into the saddle and hit the ignition. No harmonics, no blinkenlights, just the familiar reassuring thrum and whir of the fuel cells and gearbox. “Thanks again.”

    “That’s six you owe me, t’Thavrau. You planning on paying me back anytime soon?”

    “Just as soon as we get the harvest in, then we can crack a barrel of the ale from last year. My treat.”

    “Oh, no, no, no,” D’Vex said, waggling his finger. “You’re not getting off that easy, young lady. I’ve worked hard enough keeping that tractor of yours running this season I deserve the good stuff.”

    “Wine from ’04? I’ve still got a few bottles left.”

    He nodded. “Ie. It’s a plan.”

    “All right, then. I have to get those crops watered in the south field or they might catch fire if it gets any hotter out here.”

    “The aithaen vr’faeoh says it’ll cool off later in the afternoon. It’ll probably even rain tomorrow.”

    “The aithaen vr’faeoh says a lot of things. I’ve noticed it tends to be wrong two times out of ten. Y’hhau, D’Vex!” She released the parking brake and hit the accelerator, gunning the tractor out onto the main thoroughfare through i’Haanikh, making a left turn towards her home and her fields.


    No matter how many modern technological conveniences were applied to it, farming never really got any easier, and Morgan knew she looked older than a Rihanha of forty-nine standard years should have done. Not much older—a few crows’ feet here, a few laugh lines there, a couple touches of silver in her obsidian hair, and the kind of weather-beaten skin that only comes from years of hard labor under a not-always-forgiving sky—but older than she actually was.

    But it made her happy. As hard work as it was, she loved growing things, and she loved the land. This far from town on an early autumn day, she felt peaceful, at one with the Elements. Earth was all around her. As dry as it had been this week, Water was still in the Earth, making the lehe’jhme vines in her western pasture fragrantly fruit. The Air was in the cool breeze coming off Mount Hyjal, carrying the scent of the fruit to her nostrils, making her mouth water in anticipation of jams, jellies, and wine. Fire was in the blazing star 141 million kilometers over her head, and though it beat down horribly at midday it was bearable as long as the wind didn’t rob her of her hat.

    She loved it all. It made her feel a part of something again. It was a feeling she’d lost in those terrible first years after …

    It was just after midday, fourteen-fifty hours by local reckoning, when Morgan finally turned the tractor towards home. Her cottage was Spartan even by Rihan standards, but it was the right size for an unmarried woman and four farmhands. A cool shower, a light lunch of hlai’hwy and cheese, and an afternoon nap in her air-conditioned living room beckoned.

    First Interlude

    The bridge of the warbird is abuzz with activity as a huge ship, over two kilometers long, looms out of the blackness. Dark-colored and shaped like an in’hhui nnea aehallhai, a nightmare fish from the darkest depths of ch’Rihan’s oceans, with dozens of spiny tentacles sweeping forward as no race anyone aboard knew of would ever build their vessels.

    “Hail them again, Arrain,” Commander t’Ethian orders.

    “Unidentified vessel,” Centurion t’Yalu says into her microphone, “this is the Imperial Warbird Albintian. Identify yourself and state your intentions.” She waits. “No response, Riov t’Ethian.”

    “Keep trying, but remember our priority is to get Fvillhu tr’Chulan and the survivors of the Deihuit across the Outmarches. That ship is 10,000 kilometers out. If they come within 4,000 kilometers you are to assume hostile intent and react accordingly. Amnei’saehne, do you have a firing solution?”

    “Ie, rekkhai,” the tactical officer, Lieutenant tr’Khellian, confirms.

    “Ih’hwi’saehne, what’s the status on the rest of the escort we asked for?”

    “I don’t think they’re coming. The entire subspace relay network is a mess,” Subcommander Morgaiah t’Thavrau answers. “We haven’t gotten a response from anyone since the USS Nobel two days ago. Barring some miracle, we’re it until—”

    “Leih,” tr’Khellian interrupts, “target is changing vector. They’re coming straight towards us. Time to intercept, one minute twenty.”

    “How long before tr’Chulan’s runabout can go to warp?”

    “Two more minutes to repair the warp core.”

    “Unidentified vessel has answered the hail,” t’Yalu announces.

    “Onscreen.”

    The in’hhui nnea aehallhai vanishes from the screen and is replaced with a Rihanha who’s standing too close to the camera. He’s smooth-foreheaded, a recessive trait that still occasionally makes itself known in the Rihan phenotype. T’Thavrau thinks he can’t be older than a century, but he’s shaved bald, with dark eyes filled with bottomless sorrow and rage, and a huge pre-Imperial tattoo of mourning taking up the center of his face. “This is Riov Saeihr t’Ethian of the Imperial Warbird Albintian. Identify yourself, now.”

    “Hello, Saeihr, I’m Nero.”

    T’Thavrau quickly freezes the image on her console and runs a facial recognition search. Perhaps there is something in the Albintian’s internal records.

    And there is. “Riov. Nero ir-Benheris tr’Sihalian, age 69, skipper of Mining Guild vessel Narada. Stationed at … at Hobus.” She can barely bring herself to say the name: The pain is still far too fresh.

    “Leih tr’Sihalian, what in the name of Fire happened to your ship?”

    “A few upgrades. The better to avenge our people with.”

    “Missile separation!” tr’Khellian screams.

    “Shields up!” t’Ethian barks. “Dorsal disruptors to point defense! Helm, interpose us between that abomination and the Deihuit’s transport, now! Tr’Sihalian, self-destruct your warheads immediately and this incident will be forgotten.”

    But the mad Rihanha has vanished from the screen already. T’Thavrau hears the muffled thrum of the old Raptor-class warbird’s dorsal disruptor banks going into rapid fire.

    Impact. The noise is deafening and the entire ship bucks. T’Thavrau is thrown from her chair. A console detonates to her right. The ceiling over tr’Khellian’s station shatters and pelts him with debris. A structural member explodes out of the floor and the operations officer vanishes in a fountain of copper-green.

    “Returning fire!” tr’Khellian shouts. The wounded warbird wheels and lets fly a salvo of plasma torpedoes.

    “Damage report!”

    “Dorsal shields at 41 percent!” an uhlan yells. “Hull breaches on decks one through four, casualties unknown! Medical teams responding!”

    The plasma torpedoes slam into the leviathan. A few of the huge tentacles snap off but the core of the ship is largely unharmed. The Narada won’t be dissuaded. Another volley of missiles erupts as the two vessels close and trade disruptor fire.

    The bulkhead on the left vanishes in a fireball and t’Thavrau, barely back on her feet, is thrown free and slams into the far wall at over eleven meters per second. There’s an ungodly howl as air begins to rush out into space in explosive decompression, taking the screaming t’Yalu with it before the emergency force fields can raise. “We’ve lost main engine power!” tr’Khellian yells.

    The pain is incredible.


    Author's Note: So, we meet my third toon, Morgan t'Thavrau. This story ended up being much longer than I intended so I'm breaking it into four chapters. If any Rihan experts read this I'll accept feedback on the language use (there's a couple spots I constructed my own phrases).

    "Aithaen vr'faeoh" is a Romulan phrase I constructed myself from a couple of sources. It's a weather-forecasting computer program (lit. "computer program for rain").

    RIS Albintian is one of the random names for Romulan Raptor-class cruisers in Star Trek: Armada II.
    "Great War! / And I cannot take more! / Great tour! / I keep on marching on / I play the great score / There will be no encore / Great War! / The War to End All Wars"
    — Sabaton, "Great War"
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  • ambassadormolariambassadormolari Member Posts: 709 Arc User
    edited June 2014
    LC #45: Freestyle



    Adim th'Zarel had a secret, one that he had guarded jealously from his shipmates and friends for quite a long time. It was the sort of secret that could have cost him his rank, his posting, and his self-respect if it had ever come out.

    A year ago, when he had first got his commission as Chief Engineer on the Da Vinci, he had been caught in the midst of a terrible accident. It had been a rookie mistake, one that he had been kicking himself over ever since. In the middle of a level 5 diagnostic of the main power converters in Engineering, he had accidentally left the nearby electrical compression grid running. The resulting high-powered discharge had sent thousands of volts running through his body, shorting out his nervous system and leaving him unconscious for an entire day. Thankfully, the incident had been written off as a freak accident, and nothing had blemished his otherwise spotless record. After a day in sickbay, he had gone back on duty with a clean bill of health and a smile on his face.

    And he had that clean bill of health because he had lied and cheated to get it. The truth of the matter was while the electric discharge hadn't done any permanent damage, a wider analysis revealed that he was suffering from the initial stages of Zhell Syndrome. A hereditary disease that usually affected Andorians, Zhell Syndrome caused the systematic neural degeneration and atrophy of the body, usually starting in the digits and then working its way up the limbs. Sometimes, if a person was lucky, the degeneration would just leave one limb dead and useless and leave the rest of the body alone. Other times, it caused crippling, body-wide paralysis which left the afflicted person an immobile, drooling vegetable for the rest of their natural life. There was no known cure for the degeneration other than genetic tailoring at birth or a mercy-killing, and it only afflicted one person out one hundred, usually in the later middle ages.

    But he had it. By that point, the signs of neural degradation were already visible in his legs, and it would be a matter of weeks before both limbs became weak, numb and useless. Before he was numb, weak and useless.

    Zimmerman, the MkV EMH serving in the absence of an actual doctor on the Da Vinci, had recommended that Adim should be removed from active service due to the severity of his condition-- even with the latest in nervous regeneration technology, Zimmerman had said, it looked doubtful if Adim would ever walk again once the atrophy set in, and there was no guaruntee that the degeneration would stop there. But Adim had spent the better part of his life in Starfleet, and he wasn't going to be retired early. And so, he had permanently silenced Zimmerman by coding a block into his program, effectively prohibiting him from ever mentioning the truth of Adim's condition to another living soul.

    Adim had gotten by, since then, by jury-rigging a pair of medical leg braces with an auxiliary battery and motor servos, and coupling them with a neural interface to give is legs mobility. This not only got him up and walking again, but it also completed the illusion that there was nothing wrong with him, and that he could walk normally. It wasn't perfect, of course. Even with extensive modification too the leg servos, Adim couldn't run if he wanted to, and from time to time he would suffer intense spasms of lingering nervous trauma in his legs. Zimmerman had always tended to these pains with short-term nervous fixes and medication, forced to keep things a secret by Adim's coding. But despite Zimmerman's constant insistance that he do so, Adim refused to go in for long-term treatment, not wanting to be parted from his duties or his ship. The only alternative was nano-reconstruction, and after witnessing the horrors that the Borg had unleashed on Vega Colony, the last thing Adim wanted was to have a swarm of wriggling nanobots injected into his bloodstream.

    Now, though, Adim was on a new ship, with a new doctor on the roster. An actual, flesh-and-blood doctor who could not be programmed into silence. And Adim's first mandatory checkup was today.

    He lay flat on his back on a sickbed, his antennae twitching uncomfortably as he waited for someone...anyone...to show up. A nurse had already given him a preliminary antibiotic hypo and told him to wait for the Doctor to arrive. From what Adim knew, all of the medical files and systems from the Da Vinci, including Zimmerman, had been re-uploaded onto the Archimedes. Hopefully, he would get the hologram again, and no one would discover the irregularity in his nervous system. Or, hopefully, whoever was serving as the Archimedes doctor would take the medical files for granted, and follow up on Zimmerman's false recommendations. At the back of his mind, a part of him knew that he should have come clean from the beginning. If it was discovered that he'd been concealing his condition this whole time, it would end his career for good...

    "Ah, Lieutenant Commander th'Zarel!" A cheerful voice suddenly exclaimed. "Nice to see that you could make your appointment. How are you feeling today?"

    The next thing Adim knew, a tall, matchstick-thin Bolian in a blue Medical uniform stepped into view, a big, friendly smile running perpendicular to the dark ridge that ran from his crown to his chin. Adim's antennae could feel an slight chemical aftertaste of antigens in the man's presence, mingling unpleasantly with the acidic tang of Bolian perspiration. And he was smiling. Adim had to double check that, but yes, this Bolian was actually smiling at him.

    Adim blinked. After dealing with Zimmerman's caustic attitude for so long, this doctor's friendliness was off-putting. "Um...good, Doctor..."

    "Choll." The Bolian shifted his PADD he had been holding under his arm and shook Adim's hand firmly. "Dr. Velnan Choll, Chief Medical Officer of the U.S.S. Archimedes, pleased to make your acquaintance." Releasing Adim's raised his PADD again and looked over it briefly. "I see you're our new Chief Engineer from the Da Vinci? Fantastic. The warp core hasn't been purring like she used to since Chief Mgembe was transferred, and the replicators have been a bit spotty lately. I'm sure you're the man the Archie needs, and I'm doubly sure you'll love working in our Engineering section." He set the PADD down and added, with a conspiratorial grin and a nudge, "Besides, it's great not to be the only blue-skin aboard, eh?"

    "Er..." was all Adim could say in response.

    Setting the PADD down, the Doctor pulled a small, thin, metallic object from one of his medical pouches. "By the way," he said, "please open your mouth and say 'aaah.'"

    Adim opened his mouth, to ask what the hell was going on. The next thing he knew, the metallic object was rammed into his mouth almost all the way to his tonsils, and began beeping very loudly. "AAAAAAH," he found himself saying, involuntarily.

    And with that, Choll took out a medical tricorder and began to scan Adim thoroughly as the thermometer in his mouth beeped. A cold sensation ran up Adim's tongue, and he could have sworn he felt something metallic crawling inside his mouth.

    "Hmm...body temperature is about normal, no sign of fever or chill," Choll muttered as he scanned Adim. "Your respiratory system seems to be okay, your circulation is normal, and unless the nanites have developed sentience and a capacity for duplicity, your heart rate is at nice and healthy Andorian levels. Neural emissions, cellular division and toxin levels are all fairly normal as well." The Bolian smiled widely...a smile that suddenly disappeared just as quickly as it came. "Hmm...as for your legs, there shouldn't be any lingering nervous trauma from your accident...hmm, hold that thought..."

    Without warning, he pulled another device from a nearby drawer. Before Adim could say anything, Choll pressed it to Adim's knee. There was the quick spark of a minor electrical current, and the Doctor frowned, noting the immobility of Adim's leg. "Hmm, that's not right..."

    "I ab meddigal dada..." Adim stammered, the thermometer impeding his speech.

    "What?" Quickly, Choll pulled the thermometer free. The crawling sensation subsided, and Adim resisted the urge to spit out.

    "I said, I have medical data," Adim said, "from the Da Vinci, regarding my legs. Wasn't it uploaded?"

    Choll stared quizically at Adim. "Why yes, it was all uploaded, along with all of the other relevant medical systems," he said. "Why do you ask?"

    By way of reply, Adim straightened up in his sickbed and glanced at the nearest panel. "Computer, activate emergency medical hologram!"

    In an instant, a familiar, balding Human shape appeared directly next to Choll, staring down expectantly at Adim. "Please state the nature of the medical emergency," the MkV EMH said.

    Choll glanced in surprise at Zimmerman, before his brow furrowed. "Ah, of course," he muttered dryly, "I almost forgotten we'd picked up the Da Vinci's EMH as well." He looked at Zimmerman from top to bottom with an analytical gaze. "Outdated program, too."

    The words caused Zimmerman to spin around in surprise. "What-- I beg your pardon!" the hologram sputtered.

    "Oh, sorry, where are my manners." Choll smiled again, and extended his hand to Zimmerman. "Dr. Velnan Choll, U.S.S. Archimedes."

    Zimmerman did not take the extended hand. Instead, he stared incredulously at the Bolian. "Doctor?"

    "Well, yes," Choll replied smoothly. "Chief Medical Officer, in fact. I understand that the Da Vinci didn't have a qualified senior medical officer on board, and hence had to make do with your services, Doctor. Rest assured, though, I'm on the case!"

    "Zimmerman," Adim cut in, "tell Dr. Choll about my condition."

    Choll turned and raised a quizzical eyebrow at Adim. "Zimmerman?"

    "A name the crew of the Da Vinci gave me," the EMH said, "in reference to my program's original creator, Dr. Lewis Zimmerman. They felt it...expedient...to give me an actual name and treat me as a physical crew member." Zimmerman folded his arms behind his back professionally and spoke as though in recitation. "Chief th'Zarel has a temporary nervous condition, acquired as a side-effect of Sufflian flu contracted on Starbase 24, which limits his mobility and has caused a slight degree of muscle atrophy. This necessitates the use of the mobile assistance servos that he has attached to his leg. I have been treating it with regular theuronazine injections and physiotherapy, and his problem should sort itself out in a few weeks."

    Adim almost breathed a sigh of relief as Zimmerman recited his pre-programmed lie. Choll, however, made no reaction as he turned back to his tricorder. With a sinking feeling, Adim saw that the Bolian was skeptical.

    "Hm...an interesting diagnosis, Doctor Zimmerman," he said, "although have you tried any alternatives? Perhaps a bio-receptive cellular regeneration treatment?"

    Zimmerman remained silent, gazing stiffly at Choll and then at Adim. A cold sweat broke out on the back of the Andorian's neck when he realized that Zimmerman had only been programmed to give that one excuse, and nothing more. He couldn't lie any more than he had already.

    Choll continued to stare at his medical tricorder. "Chief th'Zarel, my scans indicate severe degenerative damage to the saphenous and femoral nerves." He looked up from his tricorder to give Adim a harrowing stare. "A simple flu shouldn't have been that debilitating. Care to explain that?"

    Adim fidgeted in his bed. "Well..."

    The doctor gave a long sigh, and closed his tricorder. "You're not the first officer to to contract something that would end their career, Chief th'Zarel," he said, "and you're not the first officer to falsify medical records to avoid a discharge. Although I have to hand it to you, you are the first to try to reprogram an EMH to cover it up."

    Setting the tricorder down, Choll picked up a PADD and began typing on it. "Come to me tomorrow at about 0800, and I'll see if we can start a regenerative program on your legs. If we start now, we may be able to restore some of your mobility in two months or so, though I can't make any promises."

    It took Adim a few seconds to realize he was staring, dumbfounded, at Choll. It took him a few seconds more to realize that the expected doom hadn't come. "What...what is this?" he blurted. "You're...you're not going to discharge me?"

    Choll set the PADD down and gave Adim and almost parental look. "While I don't approve of you aggravating your legs further with those servos," he said, "you're this ship's Chief Engineer. We were already on a month-long waiting list after Chief Mgembe was discharged, and this ship needs someone to look after its mechanical needs." He smiled warmly. "You know, the needs of the many, or however that crappy Vulcan saying goes."

    Adim was speechless. Sitting upright, he tried to find the words. "I...thanks, Doc," he said. "I owe you one. Really, I do."

    Beaming widely, Choll gave Adim a hearty slap on the shoulder. "Always happy to help, Chief!" he replied. He quickly changed his tone as he saw one of the sickbay nurses come in earshot. "Er...come to me tomorrow, and we'll see if that...flu effect is still bothering you."

    Nodding, Adim sat up, stretched his legs with a mechanical whine of servos, and stood up. There was still a reflexive tingle of pain near his right kneecap, and both of his feet still felt numb and dead, but strangely, none of that really bothered him anymore.

    "Thanks, Doc," he said again, before striding out of Sickbay. His heart was pounding in his chest. The danger had come and passed. He could stop worrying about his career now, he knew, and start worrying about that electro-plasma inhibitor that needed replacing near the secondary containment grid...

    As Adim left, Choll turned to the EMH, who had been standing patiently all the while. "So...Zimmerman, huh?"

    Zimmerman raised his chin a little. "As I said, the Da Vinci crew found it expedient to give me a name," he said. His chest puffed up a little. "I was, after all, the one who tended to their medical needs for the longest time, and evidently they were pleased enough with my services that they uploaded my program onto the Archimedes."

    "Ah." Choll gave Zimmerman a slight smile before turning and sanitizing the thermometer with a nearby matter cycler. "Well, you do understand that all senior medical positions on this ship are already taken. However, since another pair of hands is always nice, I suppose we could take you on as a Nurse."

    Zimmerman's face went a simulated shade of beet red. "Nurse? I will have you know, I am fully programmed and qualified for a senior medical position!"

    "Oh, its nothing against you or your programming, Dr. Zimmerman," Choll said, "except...well, I'm the ship's doctor, not you."

    Zimmerman's mouth gaped for a few seconds before he found the words. "I will not be a nurse!" he protested. "I ought to bring this before the Captain!"

    "Oh, I'm sure he'll be happy to know you lied about a patient."

    "As did you!" Zimmerman settled down for a bit, and folded his arms behind his back. "Besides, I was reprogrammed. You have no such excuse."

    Choll frowned, and folded his arms behind his back in turn. "Hmm, it seems we're at an impasse, then, Doctor."

    "Indeed," Zimmerman replied. "An impasse which neither of us can ignore."

    The Bolian slumped his shoulders slightly. "Then, perhaps, for the sake of the crew's health, we should put our differences aside, find an amiable solution, and work together to-- computer, deactivate EMH."

    Zimmerman's eyes widened. "Why you--" was all he managed to say before he blinked out of existence.

    With a satisfied smile, Choll slapped his hands together and looked back at his PADD. "Nurse, could you send in the next patient, please?"
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • sander233sander233 Member Posts: 3,992 Arc User
    edited July 2014

    Let go!

    Same old situation
    Seems it's comin' 'round again
    I won't play the fool
    I'm not screwin' around
    I only play to win

    I only want what I deserve
    So who are you tryin' to kid?
    You can call it
    Like you see it
    But I call it
    Like it is

    I'm sick of shruggin' off your petty little ways
    The names are always changing
    In the end it's just a game

    We're runnin' in a circle, never ending chase
    You keep on steppin' out of reach
    But you won't win the race

    (No more) Waitin' around
    (No more) Hangin' around
    (No more) Draggin' me down
    (No more, no more)

    (No more) Waitin' around
    (No more) Hangin' around
    (No more) Draggin' me down
    (No more, no more)

    Every thing's so easy for you
    But I've struggled to get this far
    I'm alone in the fight
    What's wrong, who's right?
    I take it all to heart

    Your true colors start to show
    You call yourself a friend?
    The teams are drawn
    You chose your side
    You'll get yours in the end

    You play along to the same old song
    Just as long as you can win
    When someone better comes along
    You're too cool to let them in

    So now I've got you wonderin'
    If I've got it in for you
    I'd like to tell you different
    But I can't because it's true

    (No more) Waitin' around
    (No more) Hangin' around
    (No more) Draggin' me down
    (No more, no more)

    (No more) Waitin' around
    (No more) Hangin' around
    (No more) Draggin' me down
    (No more, no more)

    So now I've got you wonderin'
    If I've got it in for you
    I'd like to tell you different
    But I can't because it's true

    Your name here


    Davey Havok and Geoff Kresge of AFI - "Your Name Here"



    P L A Y . T O . W I N



    USS Ray Bradbury, Eta Eridani Sector Block, en route to Otha System - Stardate 68359.94 (2409.05.11.0906)

    Lt. Kenzie screamed as the towering Klingon-warrior-turned-Borg-drone seized her neck and readied its assimilation tubules. Pure, undistilled panic overwhelmed her as she stared into the gray face of death.

    Then a Romulan tomahawk appeared in the middle of that face, sending the massive drone staggering back... and a small object struck its chest, made a puffing noise, and the drone simply exploded in a spray of circuitry and gore.

    The Ferengi tactical officer took several rapid deep breaths and squeaked out, "Is that all of them?"

    "END SIMULATION!" a voice snarled from behind her. A Ferengi male stomped past her console and pulled the tomahawk out of the drone's forehead an instant before the hologram faded. "You're useless, cousin!" Lt. Krispen snapped at her, his needle-sharp teeth clacking together. "You could have at least tried to use your rudimentary martial arts training to defend yourself... and you!" He waved the tomahawk at LCdr. Terdiak, the science officer. "Was your phaser actually set to STUN!?"

    "Shipboard weapons are supposed to be set to stun by default as a safety measure-" the Betazoid protested.

    "Yeah, but when you're shooting at a freaking tactical drone, the recommended setting is Maximum kill."

    "Looks to me like you were doing enough maximum killing for all of us," Cmdr. Nanz Downig, the Tellarite first officer remarked. She sat down in the command chair and crossed her legs. "The rest of us barely had to lift a finger. What's the point of a security drill if the security chief is just gonna use it as a chance to show off?"

    "Exactly how many different weapons do you carry on a standard duty shift, anyway?" Terdiak wondered.

    "I counted nine," announced Starjammer, the android navigator.

    "Eight," Krispen told them. "The Honor Guard pulsewave has a built-in grenade launcher... But that's my point! I shouldn't have to defend you all, if you'd just remember basic counter-boarding combat training and not panic like a bunch of lanas rats at the sight of a few drones! Holographic drones, no less!"

    "Mr. Krispen," Captain McLain's voice boomed over the intercom. "I will see you in my ready room."

    "Yessir!" the security chief said sharply. He folded his tomahawk and returned it to his belt, and turned on his heel and marched to the door in the side of the bridge.

    When he was gone, Roos Terdiak looked at Kenzie and said, "Your cousin scares the **** out of me. I'd rather go up against a Borg crossed with a Klingon crossed with a Gorn crossed with a tricobalt bomb than him."

    "I'd rather pretend he isn't here at all," Kenzie muttered, straightening her bra top and settling back into her chair.
    * * *

    Meanwhile, Krispen paced McLain's ready room as he continued to vent. "The crew is dangerously unprepared to handle anything unexpected. We're bound for the middle of a freakin' war zone and they all think we're on a pleasure cruise around Risa - my stupid cousin is actually dressed the part-"

    "Lieutenant Kenzie's shipboard attire strikes an appropriate balance between current Starfleet uniform regulations and your people's traditional clothing standard for females," McLain remarked dryly. "I realize you've never been very big on Ferengi traditions, but surely you can appreciate her point of view."

    "What she wears is her business," Krispen conceded. "But how she - and the rest of the bridge crew - conduct themselves in boarding combat should be a grave concern to us both."

    "Believe me, I'm concerned." McLain reran the replay of the simulation on his wall monitor, watching Krispen move in a blur across the bridge, tearing apart the holodrones with his impressive personal arsenal. "I'm surprised you didn't hit one of them with your Varon-T disruptor."

    "I told you, that thing got stolen from me in transit," Krispen grumbled. He froze, and stared at his Captain. "Wait a minute - sir, are you criticizing my performance?"

    "Aye. You're a maniac, Krispen," McLain said simply. "I'm not at all surprised the rest of the bridge crew had trouble taking the simulation seriously, watching the way you laid into a bunch of defenseless holograms. Your poor cousin, she was so mesmerized watching you she didn't even see that last drone until it had her by the throat. Nanz was right - you were showing off."

    Krispen's usual frown turned into a deep scowl. "I suppose next time I should just kick back and let the crew fend for itself."

    "Good idea," McLain nodded. "That way you can save your skills as an Eliminator for something that presents an actual challenge, and we'll get to evaluate how the crew performs without your... help."

    Krispen grunted in a tone that indicated respectful agreement. "Will that be all, sir?"

    "That's all." McLain watched his security chief leave, and turned to the replicator. "Tea."

    As the steaming cup of Earl Grey materialized in the replicator unit, a singular figure garbed up like a 19th century whaling captain materialized on the other side of McLain's desk. "The lad grows more troublesome by the day," Ahab, the ship's AI announced. "Krispen's influence on crew morale continues to deteriorate."

    McLain retrieved his teacup and stood. "He just needs to learn his way into his position," he declared. "It can't be an easy transition, going from a professional Eliminator to a Starfleet security chief. But lord knows he's trying. He's sincerely trying."

    "He was seconded into Starfleet two years ago on your recommendation, spent eighteen months in the Academy accelerated course and barely passed the final exams and the lieutenant's test, then somehow scraped through advanced security training, and now you've taken him under your wing... why exactly?"

    "When I first met Krispen, years ago, I had an instant understanding of him. Here was a man of irreproachable honor, who'd grown weary of eliminating other people's petty problems and longed some nobler purpose." McLain struck a Shakespearian pose. "There's no art to find the mind's construction in the face. He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust."

    "Well," Ahab said, "let us hope your trust is well-placed."
    * * *

    Lt. Krispen returned to his quarters to put away his weapons. All he wanted was to keep his ship, his crew, his cousin, and his Captain safe. Why couldn't they understand that? Why couldn't they take him seriously?

    He looked over his weapons as he put them away. He'd collected them all from the various contracts he’d completed in his career as an Eliminator. The Honor Guard pulsewave rifle he'd taken from a corrupt Klingon General. He picked up his tomahawk while searching the effects a Romulan mining foreman that his client wanted to cut out. And then there was the throwing knife… he'd earned that one during one of his first contracts, when the FCA hired him to kill his former mentor.

    They were more than just tools of his trade - they were memories.

    He started to close his cabinet, and his eyes lingered on a box on the bottom shelf. He reached for it, paused, and pulled his hand back. That one... I mustn't remember that one.

    He locked the cabinet and stood up, and began planning his next drill. He knew the crew would treat it like a game. As long as they play to win...

    .
    16d89073-5444-45ad-9053-45434ac9498f.png~original

    ...Oh, baby, you know, I've really got to leave you / Oh, I can hear it callin 'me / I said don't you hear it callin' me the way it used to do?...
    - Anne Bredon
  • sander233sander233 Member Posts: 3,992 Arc User
    edited July 2014

    I need
    Someone
    A person to talk to
    Someone
    To care
    To love
    Could it be you?
    Could it be you?

    The situation gets rough
    And I start to panic
    It's not enough
    It's just a habit
    Hey, kid, you're sick
    Well darling, this is it

    You can all just kiss off into the air
    Behind my back, I can see them stare
    They'll hurt me bad, but I won't mind
    They'll hurt me bad; they do it all the time

    (Yeah, yeah)
    Yeah, they do it all the time
    (Yeah, yeah)
    They do it all the time
    (Do it all the time)
    They do it all the time
    (Do it all the time)
    They do it all the time
    Do it all the time

    I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record
    Oh yeah?
    Well don't get so distressed
    Did I happen to mention that I'm impressed?

    I take one, one, one 'cause you left me
    And two, two, two for my family
    And three, three, three for my heartache
    And four, four, four for my headaches
    And five, five, five for my lonely
    And six, six, six for my sorrow
    And seven, seven, and then n-no tomorrow
    And eight, eight, I forget what eight was for
    But nine, nine, nine for my lost god
    Ten, ten, ten, ten
    For everything! Everything! Everything! Everything!

    Oh, you can all just kiss off into the air
    Behind my back, I can see them stare
    They'll hurt me bad, but I won't mind
    They'll hurt me bad; they do it all the time

    (Yeah, yeah)
    Yeah, they do it all the time
    (Yeah, yeah)
    Yeah, they do it all the time
    (Do it all the time)
    Do it all the time
    (Do it all the time)
    Do it all the time-time-time-time-time-time-time-time
    (Do it all the time) -time-time-time-time-time-time-time-time-time-time-time
    (Do it all the time)
    Do it all the time!


    Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes - "Kiss Off"


    P E R M A N E N T . R E C O R D


    Starfleet Academy, Central Quad - Stardate 68728.06 (2391.09.22.1747)

    "Holy ****, he killed him!"

    "Somebody get a doctor!"

    "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-"

    "I'm taking medical..."

    "Somebody stop him! Restrain him!"

    "He's still alive..."

    "Get a doctor!"

    "Are you ****ing kidding!? I'm not touching the freak-"

    "-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-"

    "Get an ambulance"

    "Look at all the blood..."

    "Watch it, that ****'s corrosive..."

    "Campus security and medical are on their way..."

    "Hey guys, what's going on?"

    "-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!"

    "The demon-freak almost killed somebody!"


    Cadet LaRoca Rusty stood in the center of the ring of frightened young people, staring down at Cadet Koel, who was lying on the duracrete bleeding from several long gashes on his arms and a pair of deep puncture wounds in his chest. I did that, he realized, as his senses returned to him.

    The Bolian coughed, and bluish blood trickled from his mouth. Jamie Ritter, the med student, crouched over him worriedly. "I think he punctured one of his lungs!"

    "Can you help him?" Rusty asked quietly.

    Jamie shook her head. "He needs surgery, and I-" she fell silent and stared up at Rusty.

    The Deinon stood very still, letting his claws hang limp, ignoring the burning sensation on his hands and forearms where they were covered with the Bolian's corrosive blood.

    Campus Medical arrived first - three EMTs and a grav stretcher. Two of them worked to stabilize Ahnzar Koel while the third checked the other cadets for acid burns. "Let me see your hands," the Saurian paramedic told Rusty.

    Rusty knew her. Her name was Luni Uligga - she was a grad student at Starfleet Medical School, and she'd been a TA for Rusty's first aid and combat anatomy courses. "I... I did that," Rusty informed her, not moving his arms.

    "Then you probably have blood on your fingers," Luni told him. "Let me see."

    Rusty numbly extended his hands for her, and let her wipe the neutralized bluish blood off with a swath of damp gauze she held with forceps.

    Security arrived, being led by several cadets all pointing at Rusty. They approached cautiously. "You need to come with us, Cadet," Lt. zh'Thoris announced. Her antennae were pointed right at the Deinon and her right hand rested on her holstered phaser.

    "As soon as I'm done treating him," Uligga told the security officer. The Saurian medic produced some bandages and an analgesic cream from her field kit. "Dermal regenerators don't work on scales, so you'll have to keep this wrapped until it heals. It should be okay to remove it in twenty-four hours. Try to keep your hands dry in the meantime."

    "Arright," Rusty said listlessly.

    Lt. zh'Thoris glanced at the wounded Bolian as he was levitated on the grav stretcher. "Let's go, Cadet," she told Rusty.

    He fell in step with the security detail as they led him back to their office. As he walked, he tried to remember what he had done. Koel had been mouthing off, as usual, but he'd gotten more aggressive about trying to get under Rusty's skin. The Bolian had started shouting from across the quad, being egged on by his friends. When Rusty ignored him, he stepped over and started to get physical. Everything after that was a blur.

    zh'Thoris opened a door to a holding room. "Have a seat, and wait for me," she told Rusty, before locking the door behind him.

    Rusty turned a chair around and sat down, leaning on the backrest with his tail stretched out behind him. He stared at his reflection in what he assumed was a one-way mirror, and tried again to recall his fight with Koel. His nose hurt - had Koel punched him? Or had he struck with his pointed snout to try to make Koel back off? He remembered the wounds he'd made on the Bolian, and he was sure he was just trying to defend himself. But Koel was on his way to surgery and Rusty was in here...

    The door opened and zh'Thoris came back in, with stocky Human deputy. "I've reviewed the holovid recordings of the incident and I've talked to the witnesses and I think I know what happened," the Andorian announced as she took the other chair, "but I want to hear your side of it before I make my report to the Commandant. Why did you attack Cadet Koel?"

    "I didn't," Rusty said softly. "I was just walkin' back to my dorm, mindin' my own business, when he started shouting at me. I tried to ignore him, but he came over and got in my face." Rusty took a deep breath and looked her in the eyes. "I was just defending myself," he told her, more confidently than he felt.

    Lt. zh'Thoris checked her PADD. "The holocams showed that he initiated the scuffle - he shoved you and tried several times to punch you before the view was blocked by other cadets who had gathered around to watch. But then the cadets I talked to said that you - quote - 'carved him up' and then jabbed your claws into his chest and it - I'll paraphrase here - 'looked like you wanted to kill him.'"

    Rusty snorted. "If I wanted to kill him, I would have," he blurted. He clenched his jaw and tried to explain. "I... I didn't go for his throat, or his spine, or his central nervous system, or sensory organs, or major blood vessels. I don't remember actually trying to puncture his lungs, but I know I didn't try to kill him." He looked at the two long fingers on his left hand, now wrapped together in a bandage. "I woulda gone for his throat, if that were the case."

    "Maybe you did, and he blocked you," the Human officer suggested.

    Rusty shook his head. "Only a Caitian is quick enough to block me, but they aren't strong enough. Look at recordings of my martial arts classes if you don't believe me."

    "I believe you," Lt. zh'Thoris said. "The wounds I saw on Koel's arms are consistent with your story. And as for the chest injury... I do believe you were trying to incapacitate him, not maim or kill him." She stood up. "I'll pass this on to the Commandant. This incident will be marked on your permanent record and you will likely draw a suspension, but given the circumstances and the fact that any form of physical contact with you is bound to draw blood, I think you displayed commendable restraint."

    "Thank you, Lieutenant," Rusty said, feeling relieved. "And I am sorry for what I did to Koel. I won't let it happen again."

    The Andorian nodded. "I will advise Cadet Koel not to press charges, as the evidence clearly shows that he initiated and escalated the confrontation. You'll have to wait here until I review the case with the Commandant, but I expect you'll be allowed to return to your dorm tonight."

    "Thank you," Rusty said again. He watched her and her deputy leave, then he slumped over the back of his chair.

    It was gonna happen sooner or later, he told himself. Without Jesu around to stand up for you, they'd just keep hurting you until you hurt someone back.

    I know. People here are worse than they were at school.

    No, not worse. There's just more of them. More aggressive, maybe, but no worse. Remember Suzie Lopez, from first grade? The first one to call you a 'freak'? That hurt bad, then.

    I don't mind their words, and I don't mind if they try to get tough. But why does it always have to be me? Why am
    I the one they all pick on?

    Because you scare them. You're faster, stronger, and better than they are. Of course they'll try to challenge you. And you'd better get used to it, because they'll be doing it all the time-


    Rusty shook the voice from his mind. He couldn't control the others, but he could control himself. He could suppress his instincts, resist the urges. I won't harm anyone else.
    * * *

    They let him go a couple of hours later with orders to report to the Commandant in the morning and to stay out of trouble. Rusty walked back to his dorm. He could feel people staring at him. He could smell their fear and apprehension as he walked through the Academy grounds. He entered the common area, where cadets were playing games or watching HV together. The room fell silent, apart from the entertainment speakers.

    They knew what he was, now. They'd all seen or heard what the sixteen-year-old Deinon was capable of doing when provoked. They were all terrified of him.

    Rusty ignored them. He went upstairs to his dorm room - a double that he'd moved into with his brother halfway through his freshman year. He'd had the room to himself since Jesu left the Academy.

    Jesu had programmed the replicator to make a halfway-decent chicken tortilla soup. Rusty asked the device to make him a bowl, and a glass of Coke. He sat down to eat, and noticed that the sleeves of his jacket had burn marks where they had been spattered by Koel's acidic blood. He pulled it off and stuffed it into the replicator and told it to recycle it.

    There was a knock on the door a minute later. Rusty swallowed his mouthful of soup. "Come in?"

    The door hissed open for Luni Uligga, the Saurian paramedic. "Hi. I wanted to see how you were doing."

    Rusty dropped his spoon, pretended he'd meant to do that, and looked at his hand. "Uh, okay, I guess. It doesn't hurt." He shrugged. "I'm doing better than Koel, I guess."

    "Koel won't be bothering you for a while," she said. "He'll be spending a week in the infirmary, and I'm pretty sure he's too afraid of you now start sh*t like that again." She sat down on in the empty chair at his table. "What did he do this time to set you off?"

    "Same as always, I guess. I don't remember it too well. Maybe he pushed me too far."

    "Hmm. You don't remember the fight itself?"

    "Not really," Rusty told her. "I remember he pushed me, and then he swung a punch... and the next thing I knew he was on the ground bleeding."

    "Maybe he triggered some sort of blind-fight response," Luni suggested. "Some instinctive defense."

    "Maybe," Rusty shrugged. "I'm just glad I stopped when I did. I know I could've killed him. Easily. And that... that scares me, Luni. For me to just... black out like that and start hurting somebody..."

    "You stopped before anything really bad happened," Luni tried to assure him, "and I don't think anyone else will mess with you and risk a trip to the infirmary."

    "I hope you're right."

    Luni got up and looked at a holocap Rusty had on his desk - a picture of Jesu on their father's boat, with Uncle Ricky, trying to release a six-foot blue shark that Jesu had accidentally caught. Rusty hadn't been there. He was afraid of the deep water. But he liked the picture.

    "How is your brother?" Luni asked.

    "Okay, I guess. I haven't talked to him much since he started working."

    "You miss him?"

    Rusty nodded. "Yeah."

    "You should call him. Or visit sometime. Ganymede isn't too far away."

    Rusty sighed. "I know."

    "Well..." Luni put the holocap down. "If you need someone to talk to... or anything, well... I'm here for you."

    Rusty gave her a little smile. "Thanks, Luni. And thanks for checking on me."

    "Sure, Rusty. Well, I'd better get to my studies... take care of yourself, kid."

    Rusty watched her leave. That's what I've been doing. He had another spoonful of soup, but it started to get cold. He carried the bowl to the replicator and recycled it, drank the Coke and lay down on his bed.

    He stared at the other bed on the other side of the room - the one that had belonged to his brother. He lay there thinking about his brother for almost an hour. Then he got up and went to the bathroom.

    The hypo was waiting for him in the cabinet. The voices he heard, the memories of his brother, the gnawing feelings of fear and loneliness - the hypo took them all away and replaced them with sleep.

    He injected himself, undressed, and lay down in his bed to wait for morning.
    16d89073-5444-45ad-9053-45434ac9498f.png~original

    ...Oh, baby, you know, I've really got to leave you / Oh, I can hear it callin 'me / I said don't you hear it callin' me the way it used to do?...
    - Anne Bredon
  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited October 2014
    A certain measure of righteousness
    A certain amount of force
    A certain degree of determination
    Daring on a different course
    --- RUSH, "One Little Victory", Vapor Trails


    Kathryn sat in her ready-room chair and squirmed to be comfortable. She looked to the desk comp, a United Federation of Planets logo looking back at her. Under the logo an icon blinked. Turning to the viewport on the right, she patted her regulation-bun coif as if pushing down a stray hair, then pulled at her jacket to straighten out non-existent wrinkles. Sighing heavily, Kathryn decided to wait a few more seconds to gather her thoughts. The man she was about to talk to had given special orders for her to follow. She was about to give him bad news and he had a reputation for not appreciating receiving such news from captains of the fleet.

    Pressing the activation icon, a human male appeared with distinctly Asian features. His skin was darker than expected without the wrinkles that would normally define his age. Yet the silver streaks in his otherwise black hair above his ears betrayed his seniority. Another shock of silver washed over the front crest of his hairline and flowed toward the top of his head. The man's eyes were steel blue and his lips perpetually frowned. He shifted in his chair and brought both hands together to intertwine his aged hands. The skin on his hands suggested he worked manual labor for several decades, but Kathryn knew he had been an Admiral in Starfleet for over half his life.

    "Admiral Kurita, I am ready with my report."

    The Admiral simply nodded. A small part of Kathryn's soul wanted to say anything else than what she knew had to be said.

    "Camus II needs to stay quarantined."

    Takashi Kurita's frown deepened. "Your orders were to find a way to lift the quarantine." His baritone voice, coupled to his thick Japanese accent, pierced Kathryn's resolve, but did not destroy it. She knew she was right and that confidence shielded her from Kurita's persona.

    Kathryn nodded. "Yes, sir. As you are aware, Camus II was an archaeological survey site of an ancient civilization. Then Captain Kirk's revelation of events from the survey team's mysterious deaths in 2269 prompted the planet to be quarantined. Per your orders, I accompanied the Away Team to corroborate the last reports Starfleet received and to determine if Starfleet can use Camus II as an evacuation destination from, or counter-offensive launch point to, the Bajoran Wormhole.

    "It's been over a century since Kirk's visit. What did you find?"

    "The Federation site experienced expected heavy damage from environmental factors and neglect. The life-swapping alien artifacts were still intact and functional." Kathryn cleared her throat. "I lost my Tactical Chief in that discovery." She bit the inside of her lower lip just enough to feel it without showing Kurita. He would not be interested in the details, but Karl Melango was a good officer. Although his handling of the artifact may have been reckless, the visual state of the artifact betrayed it's potential. His life force was literally drained from his body and the event did not look peaceful.

    Kurita responded as Kathryn expected. "So the loss of one life suggests a continued quarantine around an entire star system." It was not a question.

    Kathryn sat back into her chair, more relaxed with her position in the discussion. "Yes, sir. The artifacts and surrounding ruins seemed inert and ancient enough to be safe. Orbital and local scans did not reveal any active energy source. Karl ... the officer acted with reasonable precautions based on that data. His loss suggests further items, and possibly the entire site, is dangerous enough to require highly sensitive attention. More than Solaris is equipped to handle."

    "But a whole star system?"

    "Admiral, based on my experience, locally the risk is too great."

    Takashi 's affect was blank. Kathryn sensed he was expecting more information and she breathed quickly. "Furthermore, I suggest it will be easier to maintain the current quarantine instead of changing it based on this mission."

    "Explain."

    "To be blunt, Admiral, the quadrant has known to avoid this system for over one-hundred years ... nothing needs to change officially. Unless other actions are ordered, of course."

    A smile grew on Takshi's face, to Kathryn's surprise. "Captain Beringer, given what you know, do you have any recommendation you did not place in your report?"

    Kathryn sighed and looked away to think. Camus II was a dead planet and the civilization was utterly ruined, presumably by their own technology. The life-energy transfer devices were abundant and looked inconspicuous like a vase or other decoration. Without an energy signature, Karl's death from the mechanism was a shock to the team and they evacuated without further investigation. If Kurita was fishing for out-of-the-box thinking to lift the quarantine, then Kathryn would oblige.

    "Captain Cortez with USS Zurich has experienced staff with the best archaeology suites equipped. I didn't make the recommendation officially because it's more appropriate for others to order Cortez to Camus II." Kathryn shrugged casually as she reached past reasonable alternatives, "that or destroy the ruins using the experimental javelin lance weapon on board the USS Titanicus. But that would cause extreme destruction to the surface."

    Kurita nodded. "Interesting suggestions, Captain." He lifted a finger briefly from his clasped hands. "The Titanicus is still field testing and any non-classified reports should be disregarded."

    Kathryn knew what that meant and the Admiral was not subtle. "Yes, sir."

    The Admiral unclasped his hands and leaned back in his chair. His demeanor suddenly became relaxed. "Your insight to the matter is appreciated. We have new orders for Solaris. Expect them within the hour. Command out." The image suddenly switched to the logo of the UFP.
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited October 2014
    Using a LC 45 redux as an excuse for this. EDIT: Added some clarification captions.

    Cast:

    D'trel ir'Aehallah: Linda Hamilton, circa Terminator 2.
    Jenny: Georgia Moffet.
    Dalek 137921: Kevin Michael Richardson.
    SHLIFFG: BRIAN BLESSED.
    ***
    Skaro. Unknown time.

    The sun beat down on the red-soiled wastes. A plume of smoke drifted lazily for the heavens, its source a small, crashed spacecraft lying half-buried in the ground.

    A wiry, muscular humanoid brunette with V-shaped ridges on her forehead and a pair of sharply pointed ears wiped her face on the arm of her uniform, checked a device in her hand, and swore.

    "Damn radiation...I'll need another dose soon..."

    She forced her way into the ship through a half-jammed door, fumbled around for a few moments inside, and pulled out a hypospray, which she injected into her arm.

    "Better get back to work," the woman muttered. She pulled a hyperspanner out of a box by the side of the ship and reached into the innards of an exposed nacelle.

    "Hello!" said a chipper voice.

    The woman yelped, yelled in pain, swore, and pulled her bruised hand out, her other hand drawing a serrated saber-like sword. "Who the Ariennye are you?"

    "Name's Jenny," said the perky, smiling Human-looking blonde in military-looking fatigues. "Do you want a lift? I can take you anywhere and anywhen you like, I've got this time-ship I nicked off of a man in a long jacket."

    The brunette snorted disbelievingly, her sword still up. "Right. Like I'd fall for this. A cute blonde with the only offer I couldn't possibly refuse? Who are you working for, Section 31? Klingon Intelligence? The Tal Shiar? Because if you're with the Tal Shiar I'll kill you right here."

    "Who're the Tal Shiar? Sorry, I'm pretty young. See, Dad got stuck in a progenation machine and I was the result, I've been exploring reality but..."

    "Get to the point. Can you get me off this planet? And more importantly, where the Ariennye is this planet?"

    The blonde smiled perkily. Elements, this was getting annoying.

    "Sure! Oh, and what's your name? Mine's Jenny, short for genetic anomaly."

    "At least you're a better kind of insane than the other genetic anomaly I know. I'm D'trel. Khre'Riov D'trel of the Romulan Republic."

    "Ooh, fancy! Pleasure to meet you, D'trel! Now come along, your chariot awaits! And besides, we'd better get you off of Skaro, and quickly. It's a miracle you've lasted for a full three hours undetected!"

    D'trel followed cautiously. "Five hours," she muttered under her breath. Jenny briskly and cheerfully walked up to an empty spot of air, pulled a key out of her pocket, and...

    It looked for one moment like she was sticking it into thin air, and then a slender, gleaming spacecraft materialized in front of them. D'trel yelped and stumbled backwards.

    "Well, don't just stand there!" said Jenny with another smile, beckoning from a doorway in the ship's hull. "Come on in!"

    Cautiously, D'trel entered. "You know, this really is against my better judgement."

    "Why are you doing it then?"

    "Death wish," said the Romulan without a trace of sarcasm.

    "Sorry to hear that. Oh, and welcome aboard the Time Paradox! I sort of borrowed it from this nice man called Captain Jack who I met once. It's a 31st-century temporal slipstream ship, Jack said it was a steal at any price."

    "Great," said D'trel, looking around. It was bright, and comfortable, with a couple of oddly-designed couches in bright neon cushions, soft rugs, gaily colored walls, and a table bolted to the floor. Hatches at either end of the room presumably led to the cockpit , crew quarters, and engineering section.

    "How many crew?"

    "Apparently it's supposed to have 5, but I do just fine by myself. I do like company, though. Pity nobody seems to want to hang around for very long..."

    "You said anywhere and anywhen in the universe?"

    "Yeah!" said Jenny brightly. "Where and when do you want to go?"

    "Ch'Rihan. About...May 2362, by your Human reckoning."

    "Oh, I'm not Human," said Jenny brightly. "I'm a Time Lord, or Dad was anyway. But I know when that is...where is this "ch'Rihan"?"

    She pronounced it correctly the first time, D'trel noticed. Odd, that. "The Humans call it 128 Trianguli III-A. Second inhabited planet. Just set me down outside Ki Baratan, the capital."

    "Sure! Why are you headed there, anyway?" Jenny started punching numbers into the control pad.

    "To kill a man," said D'trel.

    Jenny stopped. "What? Why?"

    "He destroyed everything I loved," whispered D'trel. "I'm just getting payback. I'm going to kill him before he violates and kills my love and exterminates my friends, and I'm going to fix my life. And everything will be as it should have been."

    Jenny nodded slowly, starting to punch in the numbers again. "OK...I understand, I think."

    "No," said D'trel. "Nobody can understand unless they've lived through it. My therapist understands, he's lived through it through me. Letheans are telepathic, you know? A lot of Rihan refugees understand. But you can't, not some irritatingly chipper woman in a fancy ship with a smile that reaches her eyes."

    "Right..." said Jenny. The ship picked up smoothly and jetted out into space. "Slipstream's coming, should be smooth unless we hit a time lock."

    "Time lock?"

    "Localized artificial alteration of subspace. Prevents direct time travel into an area of spacetime. You can ride the stream around it, but not into it."

    "Sounds nasty. This ever been used?"

    "Gallifrey was time-locked during the Time War, along with most of the war zone. The Dalek Empire and the Time Lords, annihilating each other without any interference. Two survivors from the Time Lords, six that I've heard of from the Daleks."

    "Daleks?"

    Jenny shuddered. "Pray you never meet one. They're pure, sealed evil in a can."

    "I see," said D'trel. Then the ship shook, throwing both women to the ground.

    "Aah! What was that!" shouted the confused Rihanha.

    "Time lock!" said Jenny. "Someone locked off...most of this galaxy, for decades! Who would..."

    "No!" whispered D'trel. "No, no, no!" The monitor started blaring a red alert.

    "Oh, damn," muttered Jenny. "A Dalek ship followed us from Skaro. D'trel, we've got to get out of here. I'm so sorry."

    "Yeah," whispered D'trel. "Everyone's sorry. They can never help me save her, or fix my life, or kill him before he can hurt her."

    The ship shook. "Pants! Daleks!" D'trel could hear the naked fear in Jenny's words.

    "Set random dates! If this time travel is anything like space travel, they won't be able to follow as easily!"

    "Good idea! Plotting random courses!"

    Something jolted them again, and then suddenly there was a planet visible through the portholes, and they were coming up extremely fast, and then...

    Black.

    Iconian Empire base world. Andromeda galaxy.

    "D'trel? C'mon, D'trel, wake up!"

    "Ooowww...my head...what happened?"

    "Crash landing. Come on, the Dalek ship is crashed, too, but there's something going on."

    "What?"

    "I don't know, another species showed up and they've just found the Dalek survivors. Come on, let's peek through the porthole!"

    "I-DEN-TI-FY YOUR-SELF!!!" blared Dalek 137921, fifty Daleks at its rear. "I-DEN-TI-FY IM-MED-I-A-TELY!!!"

    "Bwahaha! Puny and insignificant lesser being! You shall first identify yourself, and then you and all your kind shall KNEEL before the unstoppable glory of Supreme High Lord Inevitably-Fated--for Greatness!!!" SHLIFFG's mustachio quivered menacingly, a thousand Iconian telekinetic warriors arrayed behind him.

    "NO!!! YOU WILL I-DEN-TI-FY FIRST!!! WE ARE SU-PREME, YOU ARE WEAK!!!"

    "Lowly metal being! You see before you the invincible glory of Supreme High Lord Inevitably-Fated-for-Greatness of the inevitably victorious Iconian Empire of unstoppable and indomitable POWAH!!!! You shall identify your species first, feeble servitor!"

    "DAL-EKS DO NOT O-BEY OR-DERS, I-CON-I-AN!!! YOU WILL I-DEN-TI-FY!!!"

    "Ahahahaha! Foolish servitor! You have identified yourself in your primitive speech! Prepare to be annihilated by my unstoppable power!"

    "YOU I-DEN-TI-FIED FIRST!!! DAL-EKS!!! EX-TER-MIN-ATE!!! EX-TER-MIN-ATE!!!!! EX-TER-MIN-AAAAAAAAAAAAATE!!!!!"

    As the two humanoids watched, Daleks and their cybernetic exoskeletons melted...and Iconians died.

    "Well...what do you know?" said Jenny, holding firmly to the Romulan, who had stopped struggling as hostilities broke out. "Put two overpowered racist xenophobes in the same room, and they WILL fight each other...Dad was right, you learn something new every day..."

    Most of the Daleks were melted into goo, but Iconian corpses littered the ground. D'trel spoke up.

    "When this is over...when are we, anyway?"

    "By the Human calendar? 2410. About May."

    "Fine. When this is over...does that Dalek ship have a selfdestruct? We can't just leave this stuff lying around."

    "Yeah! And with the shields down and the Daleks gone, I can set it off remotely! Where do you want to go afterwards?" Outside, Dalek 137921 moved for the last standing Iconian, SHLIFFG, whose mustachio quivered with menace.

    "Mol'Rihan. Dewa 3. Out in the hills north of the main settlement. It's as good a place as any."

    "Alright," said Jenny, as Dalek 137921 shot SHLIFFG just as its travel machine's power cell exploded from a telekinetic stab. "And...D'trel. I'm sorry."

    "I know," whispered D'trel, turning and looking directly into the other woman's eyes. " I can tell."
    ***
    Mol'Rihan

    "Sure you don't want to stay on?" said Jenny. "I could use a companion, you know."

    "I'm sure," said D'trel. "My crew needs me, and the Proconsul needs all the help he can get because he's a fool. I...will always remember this little trip, though."

    "I'm sure," said Jenny. "Hey, I kind of like this place. I might be back sometime, you never know!"

    She smiled brightly one last time, and closed the door. D'trel waved as the Time Paradox vanished, and slid smoothly out into space and time.

    Yeah. She'd definitely remember that trip.

    And one day she'd find who'd time-locked so much of her life. She'd find that person, and then she'd make them pay.
    This came out a lot faster than I expected. I figured there'd be no way for D'trel to meet a Time Lord without trying to go back and kill Hakeev, so I decided to do it like this. And no Doctor Who story is complete without Daleks.

    So I had the Daleks meet the Iconians a la the Dalek/Cyberman fight from "Doomsday", and altered the dialogue a little bit for fun. And of COURSE the Daleks pwnzor the Iconians, the only guy who can reliably defeat the Daleks without massively superior numbers and comparable OP power is the Doctor.

    Hope you guys enjoy it.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
    Baal%20prop%20pic%208_zpsqaptvpnu.png
  • ambassadormolariambassadormolari Member Posts: 709 Arc User
    edited December 2014
    Literary Challenge 29: "Hello Again, Q."




    Captain's Log, Stardate 90159.19

    The Archimedes has been diverted back to the Iota Zephyris Cloud to re-establish contact with the polaric entities we encountered on 88328.81. After our successful first contact-- made possible largely by Lieutenant Sann and her knowledge of Human history-- Starfleet has seen fit to send us back to the cloud, along with an ambassador whom they feel will be well suited to conversing with these entities.


    ****

    "...in other words, please be true!
    In other words...I. Love. You!"


    The music stopped, and Vic Fontaine's audience-- both real and insubstantial-- burst into applause. To his own surprise, Arkos found himself joining in. Human music had never usually been his thing, but he had to admit, he was enjoying what he was hearing tonight. Ahead of him, Vic Fontaine smiled as he stepped down from the stage-- part of a holo-simulation of some old Earth establishment called a "nightclub"-- and bowed to the audience.

    "Thank you, you're all wonderful tonight," the Federation's photonic representative said as he strode out amongst the tables, microphone in hand. "This evening has been something really special. It's not everyday I get to perform in front of Hollywood royalty." He walked over to the table opposite Arkos', where the delegation of polaric entities-- shimmering, black and white representations of old Earth movie stars-- sat. "Miss Hepburn, you're looking beautiful tonight! And Mr. Grant, wonderful to see you as well! And don't think I forgot about you, Mr. Bogart!"

    "You'd better not have!" one of the shimmering representations said in a joking threat. The audience burst into soft-hearted chuckling, and Vic laughed with them as he turned and looked towards Arkos. "But folks, this evening wouldn't be happening tonight if not for Captain Nair here and the crew of the starship Archimedes. They were kind enough to host this evening for us, so let's give them a big old round of applause!"

    The holographic audience started clapping again. Smiling, Arkos waved to the audience. For the occasion, he was wearing a suit jacket, shirt, tie and pants that apparently matched Earth's mid-20th century, although the outfit felt oddly loose in all the wrong places. Personally, he was going to be glad to get back into uniform once this was all over.

    Eventually, Vic walked back onto the stage and started crooning another song. Neiazri glanced at Arkos from where she at next to him at the table. "Isn't this great?" she exclaimed cheerfully. Like Arkos, the Trill Science Officer was dressed in 1930's attire, wearing a slim-fitting black dress and a pearl necklace. Her hair was done up in an absurd-looking bun rather than its usual ponytail, but then Arkos never claimed to be good judge of oddities such as hair. "Not only do we get to establish diplomatic relations with the entities, but we also get a free show and front row seats in the bargain!"

    "I just hope he doesn't bring me onto the stage for any duets," Arkos replied, remembering the disaster that was the ship's last karaoke night. "I'd rather NOT cause a diplomatic incident by hurting our guests' ears." If they had functioning ears, Arkos thought to himself-- seeing as they were non-corporeal projections of old movie stars, based on three hundred-year-old transmissions from Earth, he wondered how they actually heard things.

    The whole thing had been Neiazri's suggestion, of course. Because the polaric entities' only exposure to humanoid life was from the transmissions of old black-and-white Human films, Sann had suggested that actual negotiations should take place in an environment they were familiar with-- a nightclub from Earth's early past, for instance, which was a common place of social gathering for the upper strata of Human society. It had been simple enough to create a suitable program on the holodeck, and replicate period-appropriate attire. It had the Diplomatic Corps' own suggestion to send in Vic Fontaine-- not only was his program still functioning in the years since the Dominion War, but had since attained sentience and was living in the so-called "photonic wing" of Memory Alpha alongside the likes of the Doctor. And so far, it seemed to be working: the polaric entities seemed right at home in the holographic nightclub, so much so that Arkos began to wonder how much of their culture and consciousness had been influenced by those old Earth transmissions.

    "By the way, I did some digging," Arkos said, sipping on his own synthale, "and...apparently Vic Fontaine is roughly from Earth's 1960's, isn't that right?"

    Sann nodded. "The Swinging Sixties, they were called, largely because of the popularity of lounge music in North America at the time."

    Arkos frowned. "But...I thought you said that Lauren Bacall, James Stewart, and...all the other actors our guests are emulating, were mostly popular during the 1930's and 40's?"

    For a moment, Sann seemed to be at a loss for words. Finally, she gave a dismissive snort. "Details," she said, downing another sip of synthale.

    "Oh Captain!" A female voice caught Arkos' attention. He turned and saw two of the polaric entities-- Hepburn and Grant, he remembered being called-- striding towards the table, their black and white forms standing out in the muted, dark colours of the nightclub. "Captain Nair, I just wanted to thank you for hosting this wonderful party!" Hepburn said with a smile. "It's been absolutely marvelous, and the entertainment has been top notch!"

    "Yes, the service is terrific as well!" Grant added, before grabbing the nearby bottle of synthale and inspecting it. "Although I do wonder where you got this particular batch of wine. The taste is...interesting."

    Sann laughed. "Oh, that's a nice 2410 synthale, Mr. Grant, grown from the finest vinyards of the Archimedes' replicators."

    Arkos chuckled at the comment, before turning back to his guests. "I am glad that you're enjoying the evening, though," he said. "Perhaps later, we can see what other common interests exist between your people and the Federation--"

    "Oh, again with your Federation!" Grant grumbled. "Why spoil an otherwise perfect evening with politics?"

    "Quiet you," Hepburn said, giving grant a withering look and a light slap on the shoulder. "The poor man is clearly trying his best, so the least we can do is be civil." She turned and smiled again at Arkos. "What my dear friend here meant to say, of course, is that we're having such a wonderful evening, so...why rush into things?"

    "Oh, I wouldn't dream of rushing anything, Miss Hepburn," Arkos said with a smile. He glanced at Grant. "Maybe I can help improve the mood a bit. You don't seem particularly impressed with synthale, Mr. Grant, so...perhaps I could get you something else?"

    Grant seemed to perk up at this. "Something else? I suppose you have a private Captain's stash or anything like that?"

    Arkos chuckled. "Sadly, unlike some captains, I am not a raging alcoholic," he said. "However, I do have a vintage 2347 bottle of Chateau Picard in my office. It was given to me by Fleet Admiral Jorel Quinn when I took command of the Archimedes, and I've been saving it for a special occasion."

    "Oh goodness!" Grant exclaimed with a chuckle. "Is this a special enough occasion, then?"

    "As far as I'm concerned, making new friends is always a special occasion," Arkos replied. "I'll get the bottle--"

    Suddenly, Vic's song stopped, and the audience burst into applause. "Thank you!" the hologram said, smiling widely at the audience. "Now, for my next song, I'm going to need a partner in crime." The audience chuckled, before Vic fixed his gaze on Arkos. "Captain, come on up here!"

    Arkos froze. The one thing he had been dreading was actually happening: he was going to have to sing. He rooted himself to his chair and gave a weak smile. "Oh, oh no, I'm quite fine here--"

    "Come on, Captain Nair, don't leave the audience hanging!" Vic laughed. "You're the man who made this all possible!"

    "Go on sir," Sann said with a grin. "You know you want to."

    The audience began to clap in unison for Arkos to get up. Even the polaric entities were joining in, grinning and clapping as well. Arkos felt his gut tighten. The fate of Federation-polaric relations depended on whatever he was going to do next.

    Slowly, he stood up, and raised his hands. After a few seconds, the clapping died down. "Normally, I'd say yes," Arkos said, "but the truth of the matter, is that you're not here because of me." He glanced down and gestured at Neiazri. "Lieutenant Sann here is the one who made first contact with our guests here tonight, and she's the one who effectively communicate with them when the rest of us failed. It is because of her that we're all sitting here, sharing a wonderful evening together."

    Neiazri looked up at Arkos with a mortified expression. "Sirwhatareyoudoing?" she managed to whisper out.

    "And besides which," Arkos went on, "Neiazri here has been looking forward to a duet like this for the longest time, so it would be wrong of me to rob that moment from her!" He took a deliberate step back. "Lieutenant Neiazri Sann, everyone!"

    The audience burst into applause. Neiazri stood up and smiled weakly at the holographic partygoers, before flashing her Captain an annoyed look. "Thank you sir," she said dryly, "that was a generous and selfless act on your part."

    "Oh, you're welcome, Sann, any time," Arkos replied with a cheeky grin, before turning and heading off to go get the wine.


    *****

    A few minutes later, Arkos strode back into his ready room. He stopped in the middle of the doorway, however, when he saw that his desk was occupied.

    There was a Human sitting there, roughly...forty? Fifty? Arkos could never tell with their species. He had the light, pinkish skin that was typical for some of their species, a short-cropped fuzz of brown hair, and a standard grey-and red Odyssey uniform. And at the moment, he was grinning lazily as he lounged back on Arkos' chair, with his feet on Arkos' desk, drinking down swigs of Arkos' wine straight from the bottle.

    "Oh, hi there, Archie!" the Human exclaimed cheerfully. "I found this bottle of Chateau Picard in your desk and decided to help myself. I hope you weren't saving it for anything!"

    Arkos felt his molars grinding together before he even felt the cold surge of anger running down his spine and tingling like electricity around his lynsha crests. If he could have channelled his anger into some sort of external energy right now, then this Human would have been a blackened smear on the wall by now.

    "Ensign," he finally breathed, taking a note of the man's pips, "you have about ten seconds to explain yourself before I have you thrown into the brig."

    The Human perked up. "Ensign? he exclaimed, his voice betraying his outrage. "ENSIGN?" He paused, then, and looked down at is collar. "Oh, right." QUietly, the man reached into his pocket, pulled out a few more gold pips, and added them to his collar until his rank was bumped up to Admiral. He turned back to Arkos with a smug grin. "You were saying, young man?"

    Arkos could only gape in stunned, incredulous rage at the man's behaviour. His brain kicked in, though, and he tapped his comm badge. "Captain to Security..." he began. His words died in his throat, however, when he noticed that very peculiar music was playing from his comm badge.

    The man at the desk continued to grin as he waved his fingers like a conductor to the music. With a sigh, he then snapped his fingers, and the music stopped. "Oh, do have a seat, Archie," he grumbled. "You're killing my mood."

    Before Arkos could say anything, he realized he was sitting. At that moment, he was sitting in front of his desk in a (very small) chair that had not been in his room before, facing the strange man in such a way that forced him to look up to him. After a few seconds of numb bewilderment, realization finally dawned on him.

    "Q, right?"

    The man's expression brightened. "That's a bingo!" He exclaimed cheerfully. His cheer quickly melted into a frown. "Is that the way you mortals say it? 'That's a bingo'?|

    Arkos shrugged. "Don't ask me, it's a Human expression." He was still wrapping his head around the idea that there was an omnidimensional entity sitting at his desk and playing games with him. He had heard all the stories, of course, but he had always dismissed Q as something that happened to other, less fortunate Starfleet captains.

    Q smiled again. "That it is. They're so wonderful, aren't they, those Humans? So full of life, and vigour, and boundless curiosity and handy euphemisms. It makes them so delightfully fun to pester."

    Arkos sighed and leaned back in his chair, making a point of not showing how annoyed he really was. If he didn't let Q aggravate him, then maybe, just maybe, he would grow bored and leave. "I take it that's why you're here, then? To pester me? Because I have a rather tight schedule at the moment."

    The omnipotent being laughed. "Why, Archie, perish the thought!" he exclaimed. "Causing you grief or discomfort is the last thing on my mind." As he spoke, he casually turned and tipped the bottle back, finishing off the last of the Chateau Picard.

    "I'm glad to hear it," Arkos said dryly. "In that case, seeing as there's no hard feelings between us, maybe you could...oh, I don't know...leave?"

    Q raised an annoyed eyebrow. "Leave? Please, I just got here." Leaning back in the chair, Q conjured a cigar between his fingers and took a puff. "This is a shoddy way to treat your guest, Archie. I'll have you know that on many worlds, I've been revered as a god! Great ceremonies have been thrown in my honour! Gifts of gold, wine, and attractive virgins have been laid at my feet! Compared to all that, your paltry reception get's a C minus."

    Arkos felt his irritation rising. "Oh, you're many things, Q, but god isn't one of them," he said. "And don't call me Archie."

    "But it sticks," Q pouted. "Captain Arkos Nair of the Archimedes...Archie of the Archie...the only Korda serving Starfleet, an exile from his homeworld...it all sounds so dashingly romantic, doesn't it?"

    With that, Q snapped his finger, and a plastic name tag suddenly appeared on Arkos' uniform. CAPTAIN ARCHIE OF THE ARCHIE, only Korda serving in Starfleet, this is so dashingly romantic, it read.

    "Well I'm glad you think so, Q," Arkos said, quietly removing the tag and tossing it aside. "I'm glad that you think my solitary, isolated status in Starfleet is so terribly fascinating."

    "But you don't, do you?" Q's expression suddenly became serious, and he swung his legs off the desk as he leaned forward, casually butting the cigar out on Arkos' terminal. "While I was rifling through your office, I noticed that...aside from a piece of coral from Nar-Etulis, there isn't a single Korda thing in this room." He gestured outwards at the office. "Oh, I see several Terran books, a nice Vulcan tea set, a dynamic sculpture made by a Rigellian artist, and a few Risian sexual tokens--"

    "None of which are your business," Arkos cut in.

    "--but nothing that reflects any love or fondness of your own homeworld or people. Why is that?"

    Arkos fidgeted. No one had ever asked him that before, and the fact that it had been asked at all made him feel surprisingly angry. "Well, Q, if I had anything left from my homeworld to put on my desk as a nice little ornament, I would," he said stiffly. "But as you said yourself...I'm an exile."

    "Oh, pish posh," Q scoffed, "we both know that's not the real reason, Archie. You simply don't want to be reminded that you're a Korda."

    The comment caught Arkos completely by surprise. "What?"

    Q's smile returned. "Did I ever mention how easy you mortals are easy to figure out? You've been bitter ever since you were exiled, bitter and sore. You hate the backwards religious fanatics who kicked you out, and are ashamed to be associated with a culture that promotes digression into the stone age." He gave a casual shrug. "What better way to get back at that culture than by joining a different one? And that culture's name, Archie, is Starfleet."

    Arkos an uncomfortable surge of heat around his lynsha ridges "That's not true--"

    "Oh no?" Q sneered. "Pop quiz: an alien warfleet is heading towards Nar-Etulis, what do you do?"

    Arkos' mouth felt a little dry. "I...um..."

    A loud buzzer sounded from out of nowhere. "Time's up! You obey your precious Prime Directive, that's what," Q said. "Because let's face it, Archie, at this point, you're more loyal to the Federation than you ever were to your own people."

    Arkos felt his jaw twitch uncomfortably. He was not in the mood for this. The last thing he wanted or needed today was to be psychoanalyzed by an omnipotent prankster.

    "What are you trying to get at, Q?" he growled. "That I've turned my back on my own race? Because from where I stand, it's the other way around." He stood up abruptly. "Maybe I am more loyal to the Federation and to Starfleet. But that's because they've accepted me. They gave my family and I shelter when our own world couldn't tolerate us any longer. They've given me a future, a role I can excel in, and a reason to be proud of who and what I am. As far as I'm concerned, this ship is my home now, it's crew are my family, and the Federation are my people. Not the Korda, and definitely not the Chastised."

    Q's expression seemed to increase in smugness as he looked up at Arkos. "And would you say that the Federation has earned this devotion of yours? This loyalty?"

    "They've done nothing to harass or persecute me, Q," Arkos said. "Unlike my own people, they've done right by me. So yes...I'd say they've earned it."

    Q said nothing in reply. Instead, he simply kept smiling up at Arkos-- the mischievous, krelking grin of someone with a dirty little secret.

    Arkos frowned. "What are you smiling about?"

    "Oh, nothing," Q replied, before casually snapping his fingers.

    There was a brilliant flash of light, and suddenly a pile of things appeared on Arkos' desk. At first glance, it appeared to be a junkyard pile of severed fiberoptic cables, old EPS micro-recievers and console mods. Except, on closer inspection, the equipment all seemed relatively new. New and, Arkos realized, somewhat familiar.

    "What is all this?" Arkos asked.

    "Oh, you're the Engineer, Archie," Q replied. "What do they look like?"

    "They look like..." Arkos picked up one of the strewn objects-- a thin rectangle composed of transculscent jade material. "They look like isolinear data chips, and booster mods, and internal feed nodes. Except...none of this is Starfleet standard issue." He glanced down at the pile. "If I were to put this all together, or attach them to existing systems, they would most likely be used to ensure a careful, uninterrupted data feed."

    Q gave a long, theatric clap. "How very astute of you, Archie," he said. "A pity you never noticed these little add-ons on your own ship."

    The chip fell with clatter from Arkos' hand. "What?"

    "You heard me right, Archie," Q said, gesturing to the pile. "All of these devices were embedded on your ship. There's also a considerable number of annoying little worms, tracking programs and firewall backdoors that I isolated and put on all of these chips for your perusal. They've all been there ever since the Archimedes was built."

    Arkos stared dumbfounded. "But...but who would..."

    "Oh, you can find out exactly who if you just look through all the data on these things," Q said. "You're a smart man, you'll figure it out. But I will tell you this: these devices weren't placed on your ship by Romulan spies, or Mirror Universe agents, or some bored technician on Earth Spacedock. This was all put into place by the Federation that you trust so much."

    For a few seconds, Arkos stared at the pile of monitoring devices...because yes, he realized, that was the only thing they could be: monitoring devices-- before sitting back down. A part of him wanted to believe that this was all a trick, some cruel joke on Q's part. That was the only thing it could be, couldn't it?

    "Why are you telling me all of this?" he finally managed to ask.

    "Partly, so that I could see that puppyish look of profound shock on your face," Q said, steepling his fingers together like some disappointed parent. "But also because, for a self-professed skeptic, you're guilty of the one thing you've always despised: you've placed an absolute and unquestioning faith in something. You have been an ardent believer in the cult of the Federation, a devotee of the Church of Starfleet, and you have prayed fervently at the altar of the Prime Directive. But now? Now you know the ugly truth behind all of the sermons you've been fed. Consider this a lesson in real skepticism, Archie: believe nothing, question everything."

    There was a sudden, mechanical beep, and Q pulled out an archaic pocket watch. "Oh, look at the time!" he exclaimed. "I'd promised to meet Sheogorath at the Outer Planes of Sigil for tea and crumpets later this evening. I can't afford to be late, or he'll throw a cosmic hissy fit." He glanced back at Arkos. "It's been fun, though, Archie. Let's do lunch sometime! Just remember, you're buying."

    And with that, Q disappeared in a brilliant flash of white light.

    A silence descended over the room as Arkos was left alone with the pile monitoring devices, secret sensor logs, and chips full of malware on his desk. He almost didn't hear the mechanical hiss of the door behind him.

    "Captain?" Neiazri's voice called. "The polaric dignitaries are getting impatient. Do you need--" She trailed off, noticing the pile on Arkos' desk. "What...is that?"

    Arkos slowly glanced back at Neiazri. "These?" He looked back down at the spyware, staring at them for a few seconds, confirming to himself that they were real. Slowly, he shook his head.

    "I...I don't even know any more."
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • zidanetribalzidanetribal Member Posts: 218 Arc User
    edited March 2016
    Literary Challenge #5: Shards of the Mirror

    LC05: Glass Spider
    Captain's Log, Stardate 89130.87. The Lord English is on a routine patrol in the Regulus Sector Block. Reports of raiding activity by Klingon marauders are still frequent enough to warrant guarded security measures off the beaten path, so the crew will be extra diligent in the course of their duties. Once we finish the patrol, it'll be Drozana and dabo for us.

    ===

    It was crewman Hollister's first week on board the Lord English, and already he was feeling a bit weird. Should he say something to the CO of the Lord English? Try to make conversation? Point things out? Air concerns over his job? As Hollister thought, his gaze scanned Vice Admiral Remus Lee up and down. Lee was busy chewing on a piece of toast as he was trying to put on his right shoe. His uniform's overcoat was still unbuttoned and draped on his shoulders. Crumbs began littering the floor of the turbolift they were both in.

    "Crewman, can you hold onto this for me?"

    Hollister looked at Lee, who was holding the piece of toast towards him. Wordlessly, he took it.

    "Thanks, crewman," Lee said as he began buttoning his overcoat. Once he was finished, he took the toast from Hollister. Soon, the turbolift stopped at the bridge.
    "Here's my stop. See you around, crewman."

    Hollister stared blankly as Lee walked onto the bridge.

    ---

    The bridge of the Lord English was awash with activity as Lee took the captain's chair. His first officer Kay Taylor was ready to brief him.

    "Admiral, we've received a distress call within the Briar Patch. We've also detected weapons fire."
    "Put the call on-screen," Lee ordered.

    A disheveled-looking Orion female in a tattered uniform appeared on the screen, as she furiously tapped on the console.

    "Mayday, mayday! We are- Remus? Is that you?" she exclaimed.

    Lee looked at his bridge officers in confusion before responding.

    "Hello, do I know you?"

    The Orion was unceremoniously shoved out of the way by a disheveled-looking Human male in the same tattered uniform.

    "I'll explain later! We have escaped from a Klingon Bird-of-Prey and are being chased by it! We need immediate help!"

    An off-screen explosion prematurely ended the distress call. Diligent bridge crew quickly put the distress call's origin on the viewscreen.

    "Take us in," Lee ordered. "Be ready for combat and emergency transport."

    Amidst the roiling clouds of metreon gas and electrical charges, a Kivra shuttlepod attempted to dodge the disruptor fire of a B'rel Bird-of-Prey with a 95% success rate. The 20th shot, however, connected with the shuttle and sent into a death spiral.
    The Bird-of-Prey maneuvered to place the shuttle once more within its cannons' arc, but the arrival of the Lord English caused the Bird-of-Prey to break off the attack and cloak away, to Lee's chagrin.

    "Losing the taste for battle already?" he snarked. "Some Klingons! What's the status on the distress call?"
    "We're detecting a Kivra shuttle at 10 o'clock," Taylor replied. "It seems the pilots have lost control of the shuttle and are unable to reply to our hails."
    "Beam the occupants to sickbay and secure the shuttle in the main shuttlebay," Lee ordered.

    Soon shuttle and occupants were on the Lord English.

    "Shuttlebay 1 reports that the shuttle has been secured," Chief of Operations Kovat Vystan reported. "Damage control teams are en route now."
    "Sickbay reporting- we have the shuttle's occupants alive," Chief Medical Officer Four of Thirteen reported. "One female Orion suffering from combat stress, and one male Human with cracked ribs and radiation burns. I also detect signs of torture on the Human."
    "Can you patch up the two patients as quickly as you can?" Lee asked. "I would like to talk to them."
    "The male Human has also insisted that he talk to you," Four replied. "I will send him as soon as he is cleared. However, the female Orion seems to have fainted upon hearing your voice; I would like to keep her for observation."

    ---

    "I am Vice Admiral Remus Lee of the USS Lord English, but you seem to already know that. First off, tell me who you are."

    Lee sat at his desk in the Lord English ready room drinking a cherry and vanilla cola from a glass. The male Human sipped ginger ale from a mug before responding.

    "Actually, I don't know you- that is to say, this version of you. My name is Joel Harris, and I am a refugee from what you call the Mirror Universe. I served in the Imperial Starfleet until the debacle at Vega IX. I escaped the slaughter by using a multidimensional transporter, but the Klingons in your universe captured me. I met the Orion you rescued and your Mirror counterpart in the same Klingon brig."

    Harris stared into his mug of ginger ale before continuing.

    "Aranea -the Orion- and I escaped solely because of the actions of the Mirror you. He was the one who had broken out of his cell and commandeered the shuttle. He would have come with us except the doors to the Klingon shuttlebay were damaged and needed to be held open manually. The last I saw of him, he was at the shuttlebay door controls when a Klingon guard shot him in the back..."

    Both Lee and Harris fell silent. Lee pondered the story of the fate of his Mirror counterpart and wondered whether or not he would act so self-sacrificially if the situation called for it. Harris pulled out two isolinear chips and a Klingon PADD.

    "The Mirror you gave this to me before Aranea and I escaped. He says it's his and Aranea's service records on the chips and a recording for you on the PADD. If we were to ever find this dimension's version of you, we were to give this to you to verify our story."

    Lee continued to ruminate for a while before speaking.

    "Well, now that you're free of the Terran Empire and the Klingons, what will you do?" Lee asked Harris.
    "I don't know, I hoped to go back to Earth," he answered. "Maybe start a new life with Aranea. For now though, I would like to rest in quarters instead of the sickbay."
    "Given what you've been through, I wouldn't hold it against you. I don't have any more questions, so you're free to go, Mr. Harris."

    ---

    First Officer Taylor visited Lee later that day in his ready room. On the ready room desk was a Klingon PADD with the more disheveled Mirror version of Lee on the screen. Every so often, Admiral Lee would swipe the Klingon PADD's screen before typing on his own PADD.

    "Admiral, may I come in?" Taylor asked.
    "It's open," Lee responded.

    Taylor took a seat across from Lee.

    "I've heard the report about our two new guests and the fate of your Mirror counterpart," she commented.

    Lee didn't look up from his work as he scribbles some more on his own PADD.

    "Four cleared the Orion for release. She and Mr. Harris were given quarters on Deck 15."
    "That's good."

    Taylor could get the distinct impression that Lee was too absorbed in his own thoughts.

    "The closest starbase to our position is Starbase 24," Taylor commented. "We should drop off our passengers before continuing on our patrol."

    No response. Lee continued to type absentmindedly on his PADD.

    "we should probably search for our universe's version of Aranea and Harris, so we can tell them about their Mirror doubles."

    Lee mumbled to himself and grunted a non-committal reply. Taylor's patience was wearing thin.

    "Admiral, what are you thinking about? Is there anything I can do?"

    Lee again failed to reply to Kay. She finally got his attention by grabbing the Klingon PADD off his desk and throwing on the couch in the ready room.

    "Hey! I was watching that!" Lee exclaimed.
    "Admiral, I am beginning to think that your judgment has been compromised by the knowledge of your Mirror counterpart's death," Taylor informed him. "This is conduct unbecoming of a Starfleet officer."

    Lee sulked under his ready room desk.

    "Well, what would you do if you learned that someone that for all intents and purposes was you was now dead?" he asked Taylor.
    "I wouldn't care," Taylor replied. Doppelgangers and counterparts are their own people and their own actions and fates don't reflect me. Whatever your double did, he did on his own terms and should not affect you in any way."
    "Even so, I feel as if an integral part of me had died with my Mirror counterpart," Lee retorted. "Whether it's a blow to my pride as a denizen of this universe, or a reminder of my own mortality, the heroic death of my counterpart is something i cannot just ignore."

    Taylor slammed both her fists onto the ready room desk, shaking everyone on and below the desk.

    "Admiral," she said with barely contained ire. "permission to speak freely."
    "G...granted," Lee replied timidly.
    "The crew of the Lord English requires a captain who will not second guess every move simply because of bad news. You and I have been through many situations in which the safety of this ship and its crew hinged on making split-second decisions. There are many dangers in space which would instantly destroy us all even with the best leadership. If you choose to remain conflicted because of your double's death, I will be forced to initiate procedures to remove you from command of this vessel."

    This last statement triggered something in Lee. He crawled out from under the desk, straightened his uniform, and adopted a confident posture.

    "You're absolutely right, Kay," Lee admitted to her. " If I'm stuck on my Mirror double's death, I'll only end up digging my own grave, and then where would that leave me? To hell with the Mirror Universe."

    Lee hailed the bridge.

    "Bridge, set course for Starbase 24! We need to drop off our Mirror Universe guests before we continue to defend the Federation from all threats."

    Chief Medical Officer Four of Thirteen replied from the bridge.

    "Admiral, I've come from sickbay with news about our Human guest, Mr. Harris. Where are you?"

    ---

    Harris made his way to the Lord English's computer core room. Pulling out a chair from the core's interface console, he sat down and pulled up his sleeves.
    "Computer, access Lord English database, verify identity using ocular, blood, and skin biometric data," he ordered.

    The computer core replicated several probes which took biometric data from Harris. Once the probes relayed the data to the core, they were recycled into energy. The console's lock-out screen gave way to a user-friendly screen with an open window that stated:
    Identity verified. Welcome, Admiral.

    Harris proceeded to copy and compress the entirety of the computer core's data into a single archive file. However, as he attempted to transmit the archive to a third party, the console suddenly shut down. Knowing the jig was up, Harris attempted to sneak away only to meet Lee, Taylor, and a squad of security officers.

    "You've certainly know how to mess with people, Mr. Harris," Lee commented. "except that's not your real name, is it? When my Chief Medical Officer said your bio-signs were already in our ship's computers, I was surprised. When my First Officer said the only record to a 'Joel Chandler Harris' in our databanks was to a 19th Century American author, I was concerned. But when the computer core said I had accessed the ship's data while you were in the room, I knew what had happened. Your story of my Mirror counterpart's death is a lie."

    Lee pointed an accusatory finger at Harris.

    "You, sir, are the Remus Yue-chung Lee of the Mirror Universe!"

    Harris stared blankly at Lee, before adopting a mocking pose and hand gestures as he confronted Lee.

    "Oh, you got me, mirror me. That Orion <REDACTED> told me that this plan was flawless, and that's why I had all this cosmetic surgery done. Well, let me tell you that if she can outwit me, she can definitely outwit you."

    Taylor pointed her phaser at Harris.

    "Your Orion friend won't be going far," she warned him. "Our security officers already have her in custody."
    "She's not the Orion you need to be concerned with," Harris retorted. "She's just a pawn like me, in a gigantic web that will catch everyone that my new master is weaving. If you want to not be eaten, you will do well to follow my lead and curry favor with her before it's too late."
    "You have the right to remain silent," Taylor replied. "Security, take hi-"

    Taylor's order was cut short by an explosion which rocked the ship. Chief of Operations Kovat Vystan reported from his station.

    "Admiral, the Klingon shuttlepod in our shuttlebay suddenly turned on and flew into the shuttlebay doors!"

    With the Lord English crew distracted by the shuttlebay disaster, Harris pressed a button on his wrist device. The Klingon PADD in Lee's ready room emitted an electromagnetic pulse which disabled the bridge's systems for 0.5 seconds, but it was enough of a window for Harris to be beamed off the ship.

    "What happened?" Lee yelled. "Where did Harris go?"
    "Admiral!" the bridge replied. "There is a Klingon Bird-of-Prey heading away from the ship!"

    A Klingon Bird-of-Prey decloaked from its hiding spot under the ventral hull of the Lord English and flew away at 3/4 impulse. Before the Lord English crew could react, the Bird-of-Prey escaped the ten-kilometer effective range of ship's weapons. As the Lord English attempted to give chase, the Bird-of-Prey hailed the ship. Lee ordered the hail answered, and a well-dressed and familiar-looking Orion Matron appeared on the screen.

    "Vice Admiral Lee, I must commend you for spoiling my plans!" she said. "Next time we meet, you will not be so lucky."
    "So you reveal your true form, Aranea," Lee replied as he returned to the bridge .

    The Orion scoffed.

    "Don't call me Aranea, that's the name for the piece of trash Mirror Orion I'm letting you keep. I have taken the name Vriska to show I am more superior. You may call me the Spider Marquess."

    Lee motioned for the Lord English to keep pursuing the Bird-of-Prey, although the ponderous Odyssey was too slow and too hindered by the Briar Patch to keep up with the Klingon vessel. Before long, the Bird-of-Prey exited the Briar Patch into open space. The Bird-of-Prey hailed the Lord English one last time before transwarping away.

    "Be grateful that I have decided that you are more useful to me alive than dead, admiral," Vriska stated. "Rest assured that I will repay your insolence to me ten-fold once I have avenged myself on Melani D'ian and the rest of my enemies."

    Lee stood flabbergasted as the Bird-of-Prey escaped with his Mirror counterpart. Soon, all traces of the Bird-of-Prey and its enigmatic occupants were gone, faded into background radiation. Were it not for the Orion being escorted onto the bridge by security, Lee could have sworn it was a crazy hasperat-induced dream.

    ===
    Captain's log, supplemental. An insidious plot against my ship using my counterpart from the Mirror Universe was foiled. The Orion operative that was left behind professed no knowledge of the operation, or of my counterpart's actions; it would seem she was as taken in by the ruse as we were initially. Although her earnestness makes me believe her story about escaping the Mirror Universe with Mirror Me, Starfleet Intelligence will to grill her further. For now, my concerns are with her prime universe counterpart, named "Vriska", who seems like the kind of person who will make life hard for me for no reason.
    Post edited by zidanetribal on
  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited December 2014
    What goes around ...

    Kathryn sat down at the table and looked at the person sitting at the table on the other side. He was middle aged with short blonde hair and clean shaven. With high cheekbones and a square jaw, she smiled as if to appreciate whom she was looking at. She looked to the guard that escorted her into the room and nodded. The guard turned and exited the Spartan interrogation room. Turning back to the prisoner her smile disappeared as she acknowledged the scowl from his otherwise handsome face, then cleared her throat.

    "Please believe me when I say I am sorry for what's happened."

    The man looked away from a few seconds before replying. "Under normal circumstances I would be curious about it all. But this time I don't care. Fix it."

    Kathryn nodded. "It won't be easy, Captain."

    The man paused and did not change his tone or demeanor. "Let me say it another way: I don't care. Fix it."

    Kathryn reached into her left sleeve and pulled out a small finger-shaped cylinder. Pressing a button and placing it on the desk, it hummed faintly. "This is creating a localized dampening field, blocking every signal transmission within ten meters. We have about a minute at most. Your name, well mine, is Ulric Solask. I don't want to be in your body any more than you are in mine. The transfer was an accident."

    Ulric's demeanor soured. "So, what's the plan?"

    Kathryn raised her eyebrows and shifted in the seat. "Well, if I can get to the artifact, then I can try the transfer aga-"

    Ulric raised a finger to interrupt. "Do not try, Ulric. Do."

    "Right. Can you ... I ... get you ... me ... out of here?"

    Ulric crossed his arms. "You are a Starfleet Captain now. You have certain discretions. Yet, the truth will set you free, so to speak. Just tell them you need the confiscated artifact. We'll change bodies and go our separate ways."

    "I must admit, Captain," Kathryn looked down and patted herself just below her TRIBBLE. "I would rather hope to get to know you more. But I realize this is not a good way to start anything."

    Footsteps could be heard coming toward the door. Kathryn exchanged glances from Ulric to the door. Ulric snapped his fingers. "Stay with me. Just tell them the truth. There are stranger things that happen in the galaxy."

    The Captain looked into Ulric's eyes. "I stole the artifact from the Zurich, can you promise me some form of asylum or immunity to help you?"

    Ulric nodded quickly as beeps were heard as if to activate the door to open.

    Kathryn stood and grabbed the dampening device, shutting it off. As the door opened, she tugged at the uniform jacket to smooth any creases then cleared her throat. Two station guards entered the room and flanked the doorway to allow a third officer to walk in. He surveyed the room quickly.

    Before he could say anything, Kathryn spoke up. "Forgive me Commander, I needed a moment of privacy with Solask." She stepped toward the officer and presented the dampening device.

    The Commander accepted the device and inspected it briefly. "Why the concealment, Captain?"

    Kathryn sighed. "Actually, Commander I can explain that. But first let me say -", Kathryn pointed to Ulric. "That is Captain Kathryn Beringer."

    ---

    The artifact was carefully placed on the table in the interrogation room and the guards stepped away not hiding their relief. The device was an equal-sided box, sand-colored, with a stylized dodecahedron on top. The side panels were blank, yet the eleven visible sides of the round-ish shape were iridescent, like the surface of a soap bubble.

    Kathryn placed her hands on two sides of the box, then looked up to Ulric. "We'll need a little help because all you will do is touch any side of the 'hedron. If a guard will push you into the device, without telling you when it will happen. We should try to think of something else -anything else - than what we are doing now. That should replicate the accident." A guard reluctantly volunteered and stood behind Ulric.

    "Okay, Captain. Whatever meditation technique you know, I recommend employing them." She looked to the guard. "Give us about two minutes. After that, push him toward the device. He'll need to touch it before he knows what is happening, so be forceful." She looked to Ulric. "Again, I'm sorry."

    "This had better work." He closed his eyes.

    Everyone in the room was silent and waited. The guard seemed to be counting seconds. After a few minutes, the designated "pusher" shoved Ulric toward the table. He was surprised as he collapsed onto the artifact and grunted as he recovered to stand. Everyone looked toward each other, wondering if anything had changed as if expecting an alien-inspired lightshow to show the life-energy transfer. Yet, there was nothing.

    Kathryn stood away from the artifact and looked at her hands. She smiled and looked to Ulric who returned the smile. "It worked." She turned to the Commander. "You may arrest him again."

    Ulric Solask was shocked. "What?! You promised!"

    "Your right. Forgive me. Commander, Ulric Solask's charges should not include impersonating a Starfleet officer. Clearly, he did not do so with intent."

    The Commander nodded. "Understood, Captain." he nodded and the guards grabbed Solask to escort him away.

    "Wait! Captain Beringer, you promised immunity," Ulric pleaded.

    Kathryn raised a hand and the guards stopped. She walked up to Solask and leaned in closer to whisper in his ear. "If you hadn't made a pass at me using my own body, then I wouldn't be whispering in your ear. I'm sorry, Solask." She stepped away and nodded to the guards.

    Ulric Solask was visibly stunned as he was escorted out the room.
  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited January 2015
    Surprise Gets You Nowhere

    Kathryn put her fingers to her lips as she vaguely recalled her Academy days. She slowly nodded and whispered to herself, "I've heard of this before." Then the recollection hit her like a thunderbolt and she snapped her fingers. Looking from the blank viewscreen to her Science Chief, Omazei, the Trill knew the look from Kathryn.

    "Red Alert, raise shields." The crew moved as if on instinct. Omazei's fingers flew across her console. When she finished, Kathryn's command chair beeped. She sat into it and pulled up the data Omazei sent. After scanning the report, Kathryn said, "Helm, evasive maneuvers, flight pattern Thunder Two." Ian acknowledged and the ship lurched to port.

    Blue-hued beams shot at the space Solaris emptied.

    Kathryn continued the orders. "Thel, get an emergency shield up around the Deuterium tanks and modulate through the spectrum. That's for precaution." The Chief Engineer replied as Solaris changed vector and more beams raced past the ship.

    "Omazei, open a channel, all frequencies." A beep was lost in the rumble of the ship's engines as they pushed the massive cruiser into twists directed by Ian McKinnon's controls. "Attacking vessel, this is the Federation warship Solaris. We are on a diplomatic mission and was pulled into The Void. Cease fire or we will be forced to retaliate." The bridge crew turned to Kathryn as she spoke, surprised by her choice of words.

    Thel spoke after a few seconds of silence as the attack seemed to stall. "Captain. A warship?"

    Kathryn nodded and spoke quickly. "I'm hoping the bluff will work. Can you get your teams to work on a polaron modulator? That's how Voyager got out and we'll need to as well; history will be our guide in the dark. S'Rel, are there any records of vessels disappearing near our previous coordinates? We may need to go on a rescue mission before we save ourselves. Omazei, find a way out."

    The ship shook from multiple strikes and the crew grabbed onto anything nearby to keep their balance. Thel reported, "shields down to 65%, the Deuterium tanks are still at nominal levels."

    Kathryn growled, "Strong guns. Anthi, return fire at will, go for crippling shots for now." The Andorian First officer affirmed the order and several banks fired into the void, out of view from the main screen.

    Anthi raised a fist and pumped it slightly near her chest. "Target shields down to 20% and engines offline."

    "Good shooting. Aim for weapon points next."

    A blue beam landed onto Solaris' shields, illuminating the invisible barrier briefly. The answering volley shredded the enemy ship, sending debris in all directions. The hull stayed intact but it was obvious power within the ship was shut down.

    Kathryn smiled. "Well done, everyone." She walked over to S'Rel's Operations console and asked, "any luck?"

    The Vulcan shook her head. "Nothing has been reported within the last six months. Based on this, I perceive our attackers have been here for at least that long. I'd recommend we find a way out of The Void with celerity."

    "Agreed. Anthi, beam aboard any survivors and put them in the brig for piracy. I'll need to ask some questions from them anyway."

    ---

    The Devore stood as Kathryn and Anthi stepped into the brig. "I am Captain Enaos. It's ironic, you placing me and my crew in the brig. You've just made living in this dark hole in the universe better for us as our own supplies were running low." He smiled. "You, like us, are trapped now. Consider the Void your own prison.

    Kathryn placed her hands behind her. "Interesting way to start a conversation. I'm Kathryn Beringer and welcome aboard, for what it's worth. You may not know this, but the Federation has entered and left The Void before. You only had to ask for help; we would have assisted without prejudice or reciprocity."

    The pompous smile evacuated Enaos' face. Kathryn continued, "we will wait for another funnel to allow us to leave once our astrometrics team finds one nearby. As for your fate, I'm sure the Devore Imperium will be interested to learn how you have spent your time here."

    Enaos seemed to bristle at the concealed threat. "We had to do what we could to survive or die."

    Kathryn ignored the defense. "How many more ships are in The Void?"

    "Does it matter?"

    "No. I suppose not. Well then, Captain ... enjoy your stay on Solaris." She looked around the sparse brig and grinned. "Unlike you, I do not plan on staying any longer than necessary."

    Kathryn turned and started walking away from the cell. Looking to Anthi, she said loud enough to be heard by Enaos, "Commander, please destroy Captain Enaos' ship to star dust and take you time doing so. Just in case anyone watching decides we are easy prey." Kathryn turned on her heels and looked back at Enaos sternly. "Starfleet doesn't take kindly to surprise attacks."

    The doors to the brig closed.
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