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Literary Challenge #53 : The Gateway

pwebranflakespwebranflakes Member Posts: 7,741
edited November 2013 in Ten Forward
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges! :cool:

Today we start the two-week run of the fifty-third Literary Challenge: The Gateway
D'Tan plans to reactivate the Iconian Gateway that was found on New Romulus, and you've been invited to be a representative that will be present for the event. Write a Log entry sharing your preparation plans and your personal thoughts on the situation.

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

The rules may change from one challenge to another, but I'd like to remind everyone what the base rules are. These may grow as we move on, so also feel free to give feedback!
  • Each Challenge will run for two weeks. For 2 weeks we will sticky the challenge and let you make your entry.
  • There are no right or wrong entry.
  • The background story, questions I ask, and format requested are only to serve as a platform that you can start your writing from. Feel free to change up the back-story or the way you deliver, as long as the entry stays on topic of the original challenge.
  • Write as little or as much as you would like.
  • Please keep discussion about the entries in the appropriate Discussion Thread.
  • In the Discussion Thread, feel free to write what inspired you and what your thoughts on the topic are.
  • A few other important reminders:
    • Please heed the rest of the forum's rules when submitting your entry! All of them apply to these posts.
    • Each poster can have one entry. Feel free to edit your post to fix typos or add/ remove content as you see fit during the next two weeks.
    • After two weeks time, the thread will be locked and unstickied, as we move on to the next challenge.
    • We'll have two threads: One to post the entries in and one to discuss the entries. **Cross-linking between these two threads is acceptable for these challenges ONLY!!**
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  • weiir1weiir1 Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Admiral Timothy T'Nell Clark's Personal Log stardate 90826.61

    I am currently making preparations to attend the reactivation of the Iconian Gateway on New Romulus. Being as I am the director of Deep Space Intelligence, a valued supporter of my people on New Nekellis, an Admiral in Starfleet, and a formerly conscripted officer under the Iconians in Andromeda, I seem to be an ideal attendee that D'Tan seems to be looking for. Many of my colleagues at the joint Intelligence operation IRIS, will also be attending as this doesn't represent one of biggest assets in Federation Intelligence alone, but the biggest for the quadrant as well.

    Still, I cannot shake the unwavering feeling that this is a mistake. Put aside for the moment that the Dewans had it backfire on them centuries ago, The Iconians are still out there. They're hatred for the Federation & the other alpha quadrant powers is so great, especially after the destruction of their empire in Andromeda, that the activation of the gateway could spell catastrophic repercussions for us all. Seeing as the current circumstances with Deep Space Intelligence make it's future and my future resistance against them uncertain, what could we hope to do if the Iconians invade in full force?

    I might be overreacting a bit. After all, there are more agencies in the United Federation of Planets that can handle the Iconians more efficiently than us, however with much less delicacy. D'Tan has no idea what he'd be getting his people into if for some chance a threat emerges or reemerges from that gateway. His own eagerness in putting New Romulus on the map, could easily do the exact opposite. Still, that decision is not mine and D'Tan has made it clear that the gateway will be reactivated one way or another. I can only hope he's making the right choice.

    End Log.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • sharpie65sharpie65 Member Posts: 679 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    George Aubrey, Captain's Log: Stardate 90874.22

    I have been requested by Starfleet Command to be a representative for the Federation at the reactivation ceremony for the Iconian Gateway. I don't exactly hold any ill will toward the new Romulan Republic, but I would prefer to know more about what D'Tan intends to do before I accept his invitation to attend.

    They already have a location picked out, and reconnaissance drones that were sent through the gate have confirmed that the atmosphere is suitable for humanoid consumption - the drones confirmed that there is a high presence of materials either rarely or not found in any Federation, Klingon, or Romulan construction. Initial scans have convinced the our technicians that the unknown construct is a vessel, possibly of Iconian origin...

    End of log
    MXeSfqV.jpg
  • icegavelicegavel Member Posts: 991 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Captain's Log, Stardate 91432.2. Not long after our deep space reconnaissance assignment, the USS Determination is heading for Mol'Rihan. It wasn't long after my recent climbing trip with Q that I received a report from D'Tan. Now, to brief my officers on what happened.
    ***

    ' "So they got it working... interesting." Ilaa'kshis' hissing was heard despite the universal translator, as it was for most Gorn. Similarly, Kopaka's electronic garble was heard, even after it was translated from the noise of his Breen helmet. The acoustics of the Determination's Conference Room caused a small echo with the mechanical whine.
    ' "I still believe it should be destroyed."
    ' Rygo shook his head. "Kopaka, we've been over this. D'Tan can be trusted. He's agreed to allow us to go through with the Republic forces, a joint exploratory command. I understand your disagreement, but I simply think D'Tan can do this."
    Gollum nodded. "I did not personally know D'Tan, but I know Obisek trusts him. I was willing to trust Obisek's judgement to the death when I was in the Resistance... this has not changed. D'Tan will do the right thing."
    ' Seven, the Liberated Borg Chief Engineer, replied to Gollum. "I know he will. He studied under Ambassador Spock in the Reunification movement in the late '60s, and genuinely believes in those principles. He's trustworthy."
    ' "Indeed," Kopaka said, his head lowering slightly in what may have been an admission of defeat. "So, captain, what does this have to do with us?"
    ' Rygo leaned over the table the embedded lights playing shadows over some parts of his face. "Because of the role we played in discovering and securing the Gateway, D'Tan has requested our presence at the ceremonial reactivation. However, this isn't JUST some diplomatic call. The records we discovered with the Gateway indicate that the geothermal taps the Dewans used 150,000 years ago - and the ones the Republic are using now, though with more safety precautions - may be unstable. In case of a disaster like the one that destroyed the Dewans, the Determination will spearhead an emergency task force focused on evacuating the planet if the worst comes." The red-skinned admiral rose back to his full height. "D'Tan thinks the improved safety measures are enough. I hope he's right. The away team that was with me when we discovered the Gateway - that's Illa, Remata'klan, Motstand, and Gollum - will accompany me to the ceremony. If anything happens, we'll act as security for D'Tan and the other dignitaries. The Determination will watch out for apocalypses, Tal Shiar, and anything else that may interfere. This could be a VITAL boon for exploring the galaxy. Let's make sure this doesn't go horribly wrong. At least, as much as we can."
    ' The officers nodded. They knew the plan. "Kopaka, lay in a course for Dewa III. Seven, have your new assistant chief engineer... Shonol, I think her name was, dig out that old Borg Subtranswarp system, and integrate it into the engines again. Take us to Transwarp when you're ready."
    ' Seven nodded. "I know exactly where I put it. And fortunately, I left the old system mostly intact in anticipation of this. Drop it in, connect power, and we're good to go. I could even hot-swap it while we're at warp."
    ' "Good thinking, Seven. Remata'klan, Ziroh, make sure the defensive systems and crew are ready for a fight. Sela's operatives may try to interfere, even without the Empress around." The pair of officers nodded. Rygobeth concluded, "Ilaa, Gollum, Motstand, D'Tan sent me specifications for his geothermal taps and safety systems. All of HIS engineers approve of it, but he wants a Starfleet opinion. Pore over the schematics. ANY issues, tell me immediately. Tasop, make sure the infirmary is ready for casualties - from battle or from the end of the world. Prepare Cargo Bay Three as a triage center, in case. Dismissed." The senior staff rose. Most went to fulfill their assignments. Those who had none talked with those that did, offering aid. Rygo turned slowly, looking at the monitor and the Gateway schematics displayed upon it. A nag of doubt, of worry, sat in the back of his mind... a gut feeling said things would not go as planned. Time would only tell.
  • buck311buck311 Member Posts: 12 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Vice Admiral Ramses von Dewey's Personal Log: Stardate 90876.7

    As I make this entry, I prepare to attend the reactivation of the Iconian Gateway on New Romulus, and operation headed by D'Tan of the Romulan Republic.

    The discovery alone was a monumental event not only to the Romulans, but to myself personally. The Iconians have always been a fascinating subject to me, increasingly so ever since my trips into Fluidic Space. They're technology, their people, their ships-- why do they build ships? What is the purpose of building ships, when you have Gateways to take your people across the Galaxy? How were the Gateways developed? What purpose do they really serve?

    Just a few of the many questions I ponder about the Iconians. I hope to perhaps find some clues to their whereabouts through this gateway. But who knows what we'll find on the other side?

    I must admit, I am anxious for this journey through the Gateway. My crew seems to feel the same way; my Breen First Officer, Tran, questioned me about the event an Earth day ago. I could provide very little detail on the event; I know little myself.

    Tran will be overseeing the ship in my absence. Hopefully he can manage; my crew is one of the most diverse in Starfleet: Tholian, Jem'Hadar, Vorta, Borg, Breen, and many others make up the crew of the R.X.S. Mercury.

    I will record my findings later. For now, I must finish preparing for the activation of the Gateway.

    End Log
  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    The Road to Hell


    "So it gives me great pleasure, to promote you to the rank of lieutenant," said Captain Amanda Palmer, reaching out and afixing the additional rank pip to T'Natra's uniform.

    "Thank you, Captain," replied the Vulcan navigator. "I shall strive to carry out my duties as efficiently as before."

    "Congratulations," Palmer said, briefly giving T'Natra a crisp handshake, before raising her right hand in the ta'al.

    The officers assembled in the mess hall began to clap, and make their way forwards to offer their congratulations to T'Natra, so Palmer discretely moved towards the bar, where Selya Chirk slid a glass of Altair water towards her.

    "Perfect," Palmer said, accepting the drink from the statuesque Bolian hostess. "You've put on a fine spread, I think there's something for every-"

    "Excuse me, Captain, I'm sorry to interrupt," said the soft voice of Cadet I'K'rR'h. "I have an urgent communique for you."

    "That's quite okay, Cadet," Palmer replied, taking the PADD from the young Pentaxian. "Have something to eat while you're here."

    "Thank you, ma'am," I'K'rR'h acknowledged crisply, twisting spryly on her toes, and sauntering across to the buffet.

    Palmer lowered her gaze to the PADD, and pressing her thumb to the screen, was surprised to see the features of Admiral Jac Cheliss.

    "I have an assignment for you, Captain," he began somewhat ominously. "An invitation has been extended to Ambassador S'rR's to attend a ceremony on New Romulus."

    "That won't be a problem, Admiral," Palmer said. "We can be there in less than a day, thanks to our slipstream drive, but does the invitation include the Vanguard, or should the ambassador travel via shuttle?"

    "I want you there, Amanda," Cheliss replied, his tone making Palmer decidedly uneasy. "D'Tan has not only announced the discovery of an Iconian gateway, but he wishes to host a diplomatic gala to witness its re-activation."

    "What?!?!" Palmer exclaimed, before remembering to whom she spoke. "I'm sorry, Sir, but with all due respect, has he gone mad? Is he not aware of what happened when the Iconian gateways in the Moab System were activated? Or the rift the Undine opened near Betazed?"

    "I appreciate your concerns, Amanda," Cheliss replied with a heavy sigh. "Believe me, I share them myself. This is why, I need you to have the Vanguard in-system, should anything like what happened on Moab come through, there will need to be an immediate response.

    "I do not give this order lightly, but you will have my full clearance to effect General Order twenty four, should such a situation arise. I am additionally assigning the Endeavour to accompany you, as Captain Atreides' first officer is one of the highest ranking Romulans to serve in Starfleet, as well as having family on New Romulus.

    "Don't be surprised if you also encounter the Tiburon, the Chin'toka, the Athena and the Solaris in-system, as this is a situation which has the potential to rapidly get out of hand, and in the event of an incursion, Admiral LaRoca will assume tactical command of any Starfleet assets present. I assume you have no problems with that?"

    "None, Sir," Palmer replied. "As you may be aware, the admiral and I met following the destruction of the Valkyrie in the Moab System, and he was extremely accommodating. My crew will all willingly defer to his authority in such a scenario."

    On the PADD, the Betazoid admiral nodded, his eyes reaching through the screen like blackholes.

    "Very well, the best of luck to you, Captain," he said. "I fear that you may need it."
    ***

    "Now entering the Dewa system, Captain," T'Natra announced from the helm.

    "The Endeavour is already in orbit of New Romulus," Commander Brandon Mayer reported from his position at ops.

    Nodding, Palmer ground her fingers into her palm nervously.

    "Collapse the slipstream, and bring us up behind the Endeavour," she said.

    "Aye, Captain, dropping to sub-light velocity and plotting approach vector," T'Natra acknowledged.

    Rising from the command chair and automatically smoothing the front of her dress uniform jacket, Palmer reached up and tapped her comm badge.

    "Siri: we're in orbit, meet me and Claire in cargo bay three in five minutes," she said, moving to stand behind the helm and ops positions.

    "I'll be there," replied the disembodied voice of Ambassador S'rR's Kane over the intercom.

    "Captain, would you not prefer a security escort?" Claire enquired, looking up from where she stood by the communications console.

    Palmer shook her head.

    "If things go wrong, you can simply go offline," she replied. "Frankly, I think D'Tan's intentions are insanity, and I don't want anyone unnecessarily endangered."

    "But my avatars are expendable," Claire pointed out.

    "I prefer to think of them as less vulnerable than a biological crew member," Palmer clarified, before resting her hand on the back of Mayer's chair. "Brandon, I want you to pinpoint the gateway on sensors before it is activated, and maintain a manual fix on the area, before the interference from the gate prevents a clean lock," Palmer said.

    Looking up from his console, Mayer regarded the captain with a mildly confused frown.

    "Captain?"

    Palmer sighed.

    "In the event of a hostile incursion, I want you to immediately lock onto the surrounding area with the tractor emitter, and rip it out of the planet."

    "Uh, that could involve a radius of several kilometres, Captain," Mayer hesitantly observed.

    "And?" Palmer snapped. "I've read Admiral LaRoca's after action report of what happened on the surface of Moab when the gateway was activated. We may have lost the Valkyrie, but we had things light compared to what happened planet-side. I have no intention of letting the same thing happen to the people on New Romulus. Admiral Cheliss has already authorised General Order twenty four, and I would rather we not have to go to those lengths if it can be avoided."

    Sobered by the thought, Mayer swallowed visibly and nodded.

    "Aye, Captain, locking onto the given coordinates for the gala," he replied, his normally ebullient voice hushed and subdued. "Sensors are picking up a considerable gathering already."

    "Captain, I'm being hailed by Captain Atreides aboard the Endeavour," Claire said, leaning casually against the communications console. "He wants to know if you plan on beaming aboard, before transporting down to the surface."

    Palmer shook her head.

    "Inform the Captain I will be transporting to the surface directly in an ATV, and recommend he does likewise," she said. "Download to your mobile emitter, and report to cargo bay three, we're going for a little drive..."
    ***

    At fifteen feet long, and nine feet wide, the blunt wedge shape of the Wayne Enterprises all terrain vehicle squatted ominously in the cargo bay on massive ground-hugging tyres.

    In four hundred years, despite being updated to accomodate the technology of the day, the basic design was otherwise essentially unchanged from the original prototype: The massive rear jet engine had long since been eliminated -- replaced instead with an RCS assembly and anti-grav thruster from a Type Nine shuttle, which would enable the ATV to boost into a rampless jump. Liquid metal grappling lines replaced the original winches and bridging cables, and phaser strips more than compensated for the loss of slug-throwing machine guns.

    Ablative armour and monotanium plating replaced the original terrestrial metals, and despite being the same gleaming white as a shuttlecraft and sporting Starfleet insignia, the ATV exuded an air of barely restrained malevolence.

    S'rR's Kane turned as the cargo bay doors opened behind her, and admitted Palmer and Claire.

    "Really?" she asked sardonically, jerking her shaven head toward the ATV behind her.

    "Once the gateway activates, transporters will be unable to lock on to anything in the vicinity," Palmer replied, walking toward the Pentaxian ambassador, who for the past quarter century, had been like a sister to her. "This will allow us to get clear of the interference if we need to."

    S'rR's nodded as she accepted Palmer's reasoning, and slipped off her sleeveless floor-length cloak, revealing twin vintage Type II phasers holstered under each arm.

    "I'sH'd's insistence," she replied, seeing Palmer's silent enquiry as they approached the ATV. "When I realised what you had in mind, I had him return to his quarters. I'm hoping I won't need to use these..."

    "That makes two of us," Palmer said, touching the contact pad which caused the cockpit roof to retract.

    "Captain..." Claire called out.

    Turning, Palmer saw the photonic officer holding out her hand, and automatically did likewise, surprised when Claire handed her her mobile holographic emitter.

    "I thought you had to be in contact with this," she said.

    "Ten foot projection radius," Claire replied, before her holographic form winked out of existence, and her voice continued from the emitter. "There's only room for two in the ATV."

    "I'll let you drive," S'rR's said, climbing into the passenger seat, and bringing the systems online with practiced flicks of her fingers.

    "Driving Miss Siri," Palmer sighed as the cockpit roof silently locked forwards, enclosing them into a hermetically sealed shell, before hitting her comm badge. "Palmer to Chief th'Shaan: ATV is ready for transport. Energise..."
    909d7cda93335d83bb43d3459b4dfcd5_zpsayiqcsfi.jpg
  • knightraider6knightraider6 Member Posts: 370 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    USS McGrath, near Cygnus X1

    "good riddance." Schrodi watched as the probe carrying the artifacts accelerated away from the ship, in moments moving even faster as it neared the event horizon. There were Cultists and others that would have paid a fortune in Latinum, hell they would have given her a planet for some of them, holy relics of the Good Masters.. She had built up a good sized collection, then once she had gotten what she needed from them, well they were too dangerous to be left around anywhere. Hence, their trip here. Black holes, reality's garbage disposals. Too bad she couldn't toss Dave Huntington and whoever else was mixed up with him in there as well. Once the probe was out of sight She turned and started heading back to the airlock, wanting to see the probe gone with her own eyes-silly she knew but it felt good.

    As soon as the lock repressureized and cycled there was an annoyed looking Tellarite waiting for her "enjoy your stroll Cap'n?" her XO asked.

    "would have felt better if I could have thrown a few people in there as well, but yeah. Those artifacts are gone, a half dozen gate keys and associated dangerous TRIBBLE." She said with a grin as she set her helmet on the rack.

    Ponta just rolled her eyes. "Which leaves what, six or seven million more to go?"

    "Not that many, at least I hope not. Otherwise I'll retire doing this and my grandkids will be still going around cleaning up the Iconians messes."

    "heh, you have to have kids before grandkids cap'n, and I think your sister and that tomcat of hers will beat you to that."

    "probably," Schrodi agreed as she wriggled out of the pressure suit. "my grand nieces and nephews then."

    A few minutes later she was dressed, and the Nebula class ship was leaving the black hole behind, it's smooth lines marred by borg-bits that had been incorporated here and there along the hull-but it improved the systems, and that was the important thing. at least in the Corps of Engineers. The advantages to having a science ship she thought as she checked on the course Lt Pickens was following towards their next objective. No one really cared where or what they were doing. Of course she could only do so much on her side of the border, her 'sister' had to take care of the Klingon side of things. They still hadn't found a way to prevent the portals from opening though, not from lack of researching how. it was only a matter of time.



    She glanced at Pickens as she watched the stars go by on the viewscreen. Mel had fit in pretty well, for a bunch of, how did BUPERS describe them? 'worthless bunch of misfits and lunatics.' Well to be fair, they were a lot of civilian scientists on board, as well as a still, and she thought the Casino was still somewhere on deck 11, she'd have to get security to check for it again.

    She idly went through her messages before getting onto the real paperwork, Daystrom Institute sending another offer for her to work there, a Ferengi Prince needed her help in getting several thousand bars of gold pressed latinum out of Ferengar, an invitation from D'Tan to the gala event on New Romulus for the opening of the Iconian gateway-wait what?

    "What the frack!" Everyone turned to look at her, both at the unexpected outburst, and the fact that all of the Captains fur was standing on end. "they can't be..that's...it's...they're MORONS!"

    Thag looked at Ponta worriedly, true the Cap'n had passed not only the CMOs medical eval, but a full Psyche exam by Starfleet Medical after her last outburst months ago, but still... "Everything allright cap'n?" Thag asked.

    "Remember that gate on New Romulus they found?"

    "you mean the one you sent them the instructions on how to safely disarm and destroy it?"

    "the pointy eared idiots are having a grand gala, when they fire it up." she said, tossing the PADD to the deck. "D'Tan himself cordially invited me, to thank me for our research on the Iconian gates!" she said , cursing in Caitian under her breath as she stalked to the helm console, bringing up a galaxy map, with the Atlas overlaid on it. "no possible breaches in that system at least but...damn. There's stupid, then there's this."

    "When are they doing it, we could get there before they set it off maybe, try to stop it?"

    "Bah" Ponta just shook her head "Romulans are too stubborn to be talked out of a bad idea once they get it in their heads, the only way to stop this would be to nuke it from orbit."

    "Don't tempt me" Schrodi muttered darkly. "it's moot anyway. We're in the wrong quadrant, even with slipstream we'd get there two weeks after the party." She closed her eyes, talking inwardly "can you get there?"

    {no, we're just as far in the other direction from you, picking up that Bird of Prey that K'Tirr shook loose for me to use. At best, we'd get there two days afterwards.}
    {We've got to get one of us with the Romulans}
    {you volunteering?}
    {Нет, спасибо, ромуланским еды не делает мое расстройство желудка.}
    {how about Mary, or Monroe-they might be in a position to get there before it's over.}
    "they're both CC'd on the message from D'Tan, for their work in the field as well. So hopefully one of them will be close enough." She sighed and picked up the PADD, sitting back down.

    "well, what can we do?" Mel asked from the helm.

    Schrodi shook her head and sighed, her hand rubbing over her face "at this point? Pray there's still a New Romulus when they're done with this. There's nothing else we can do-even a message sent through the subspace relay network wouldn't get there till the day after. Keep on our present course Mr Pickens. We've got science to do."
    "It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier." R.A.Heinlein

    "he's as dangerous as a ferret with a chainsaw."



  • burstdragon323burstdragon323 Member Posts: 851 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Encrypted Log Entry
    VA Zolaria
    Chief Intel Officer, Orion Cygnus Task Force

    I have received orders via Deputy Commander Ocasio to divert to New Romulus. Apparently, D'Tan has decided, without consulting us or the Klingons, to activate the Iconian Gateway. This is probably the worst move he could have made. My only guess is that he wants to establish the Republic as a serious power by showing off the activated gateway to the dignitaries he's invited to the event.

    In anticipation of something much worse, not only am I diverting to NR, I am using my authority as CIO to diver the USS Omega Imperius and USS Attack Dog, commanded by VAs Azlera and Adam Jensen to NR as well. If the situation goes south, part of the Orion Cygnus task force will be in system to render assistance.

    -END LOG-
    -ENCRYPT: DELTA-EPSILON-ALPHA-THETA-HYDRA-
  • drajoradrajora Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    With a thundering crash, the ship slewed sideways, inertial dampers insufficient to handle the sudden stress. Amazingly, there were no showers of sparks from bridge consoles.

    "Impact on the port shield. Minimal damage. Overload shunt diverted surge to engines. We jumped forward about...six hundred meters." The engineer pursed his lips in a silent whistle. "I think the Starfleet Corps of Engineers is going to be very interested in that little piece of technology."

    "Status on the swarm?" asked Captain Selene Persico, commanding officer of the repurposed Jem'Hadar Attack Ship USS Talon.

    "We've cleared a narrow path through. The Zz'gryx and its squad-mates have enough shielding remaining to handle the smaller stuff that got past."

    "Excellent work everyone. Another convoy with mechanical problems saved from the menace of rogue asteroid swarms. Some days I almost miss the Borg."

    There was a chirp from the Operations console. "Incoming message Ma'am. Starfleet Command, Priority One."

    "I just taunted Fate again, didn't I? Put it through to the headset Lieutenant."

    Selene tapped a control on the wearable device. Constructed from Dominion technology, the set had a small earpiece and one-eye heads up display. In combat, a Captain could see at a quick glance the status of weapons, shields, hull integrity, and even the number of casualties the ship had sustained. It could also be configured for Communications Mode, allowing a private viewing of a message even on a crowded bridge - a useful feature on a ship where the concept of a Ready Room was synonymous with the weapons locker.

    The display flicked over from Status to show the visage of Admiral Quinn.

    "Captain. You're a member of the Fast Response Squadron and do we ever need a fast response. You are needed at New Romulus on an urgent mission. I'm sending an encrypted packet with available intelligence, but the short of it is that the Romulans are potentially about to do something very dangerous. You'll need to stop by Starbase 234 to pick up Lieutenant Commander Eight. She's our resident expert on what you'll be facing. Best Speed. Quinn Out."

    Selene sat silently in the captains chair, mentally digesting the message. The promised encrypted file popped into the view and unraveled itself. It only took a quick scan of the synopsis for her spine to acquire an acute case of chills.

    An Iconian Gateway. The Romulans were going to reactivate an Iconian Gateway.

    "Helm. Immediate course for the Transwarp Gate, warp nine point nine seven. Commander Anthi, please relay our apologies to the convoy and then inform Captain West on the Blade that the Talon has been recalled and he is to take charge of the Squadron. Staff meeting in thirty minutes in the mess hall. Go."

    The ship flashed into warp as Captain Persico began planning.


    Captains Personal Log, Stardate 97951.1. Talon is en-route to Starbase 234 to pick up Lieutenant Commander Eight. As her name implies, a liberated Borg citizen. She's been studying the Iconians and has apparently assimilated enough information that she's the closest thing we have to a proper Iconian expert. On that note, I must admit a deep concern about the Gateway. I've sent out a request to the Romulan captain that helped uncover the gateway. Unfortunately, she was one of the group that elected to ally themselves with the Klingon Defence Force. I remain uncertain if my request for a meeting will be granted.

    The howl of the Red Alert siren brought Captain Persico out of the log. She tapped her combadge.

    "Captain to Bridge, Talk to me!"

    "Romulan warbird decloaking directly aft. They're powering disruptors!"

    Disruptors? We're at warp. You can't fire energy weapons forward out of your own warp field. Torpedoes yes, energy fire no. So it's a message, not a threat. What message? Oh.

    "Bring us out of warp. Raise shields and charge the weapon banks. I'm on my way."

    Selene arrived on the bridge in time to see the warp flash as the Romulan vessel appeared. It was an unusual configuration, with a wedge-shaped hull and forward-swept wings. The tactical computer considered it's readouts for a short moment and then flashed an identification. Modified Ha'Feh-class warbird, optimised for cannon fire. Registration RRW Scythe, under the command of Vice Admiral Karlyn Venas.

    "Incoming hail from the warbird."

    "On Screen."

    Captain Karlyn was every inch the Romulan. Severe black hair framed the distinctive double-V of the forehead ridges, and she was dressed in a Red-and-Green Vice Admiral's overcoat. She sat comfortably in the command chair of the warbird, something suspiciously close to a smirk on her face.

    "You know Admiral, a simple 'pull over' is a lot more polite than the threat of weapons fire"

    "It was effective though, was it not?"

    Selene decided not to press the point.

    "Admiral, I would like to meet with you to discuss-"

    "The Gateway. Yes. I fully support of the endeavour. D'Tan has extended an invitation to myself and my crew for our role in it's recovery. Such a powerful device can only be an asset for the Republic. Naturally, since the Republic and the Federation are officially 'friendly' powers, I will be happy to share my logs from the recovery expedition. I would also be happy to escort your ship to New Romulus."

    The word 'friendly' came out with a twist at the mouth. The admiral had chosen her side, and it wasn't the Federation. The connection terminated without so much as a goodbye, and a moment later Anthi nodded as the promised files arrived. Then she grimaced.

    "Captain? These logs have been transcribed to text and written in a very old dialect of Romulan. I'm not sure we've got the translation matrix for it loaded. I'll have to check with Intelligence back on Earth."

    Selene sat back in her command chair, fingers steepled before her.

    So thats the way it's going to go is it? Well Admiral, two can play at that game.

    On the screen, the massive Warbird wheeled and turned towards the distant star of New Romulus.

    "Very Well Commander. Contact Starfleet Intelligence and get that translation. Helm, resume course for Starbase 234. But wait until after our gracious hosts have jumped to warp."

    "Captain? Should we inform the Scythe of our detour to Starbase 234?"

    "I don't see any special need. The Admiral is obviously quite busy and we shouldn't waste her valuable time with needless minutiae."

    Commander Anthi grinned. "Of course not Captain".

    Three hours later saw Captain Persico in the small transporter room, welcoming Lieutenant Commander Eight aboard. The ex-Borg was a tall human, with the "Seven" suite of implants retained - a ocular adjuster above the eye, and an aural enhancer by the ear. Her left arm was replaced by an advanced prosthesis, since the original limb had been 'swapped out' during some point during her time with the Collective. She didn't require one of the body-hugging dermaplastic wraps, and was instead dressed instead in a standard Starfleet Sierra uniform.

    "Captain Persico. I believe we will need to discuss contingency options for the upcoming unveiling. I would suggest startin-"

    Selene's combadge chirped.

    "Captain, the Scythe has warped insystem. They sound...put out. Should we resume course for New Romulus?"

    "By all means Lieutenant."

    Eight had an eyebrow raised in an almost perfect imitation of a Vulcan inquiry.

    "Just a little friendly rivalry. I happen to agree with you in regards to contingency planning, and have several suggestions I would appreciate your input on. Here."

    Selene handed Eight a PADD and waited while the ex-Drone thumbed through it.

    "Impressively efficient Captain. But have you considered the Sela Contingency?"

    "The one where Iconian monsters jump through and take everyone hostage?"

    The two women exited the transporter room, discussing the anticipated reactivation in animated detail.


    "Ah, Captain Persico. Welcome." D'Tan greeted the away team as they beamed into the repressurised chamber deep inside New Romulus. Pipework and display readouts festooned the central artifact of the chamber, two thrusting pinnacles that formed the edges of the inactive gateway.

    "Thank you, D'Tan. May I introduce my executive officer Commander Anthi, Specialist Lieutenant Commander Eight, our resident Iconian expert, my operations officer Lieutenant Wolversham and of course Emma, our Enhanced Medical Hologram."

    D'Tan stepped forward to properly greet them, and then paused as the sight of holstered phasers and tricorders registered. As did the case that Lieutenant Wolversham was carrying.

    "What's in the case? And are the weapons strictly necessary?"

    "The case has several phaser rifles, multiple wrist flashlights, a subspace beacon and some miniature pattern enhancers. An ancient organization on Earth once declared that one must "Be Prepared", and we intend to be prepared for anything once that gate opens. And we certainly hope that we will never need to use our personal weapons."

    D'Tan considered her answers and nodded. "Sensible precautions, although I would wish they were not necessary."

    Each of the crew exchanged handshakes and greetings with the leader of the Romulan Republic. He stepped back and was apparently about to launch into a speech about the importance of good interstellar relations, or possibly about the benefit of the gateway, but a Romulan scientist called him over first, pointing excitedly to a readout.

    The distraction gave Selene more time to look around. The first thing she noticed was several Klingon warriors, a Gorn and an Orion clustered around a generator of some sort. A momentary flash of worry dissipated as she recognized the head of the Klingon Delegation from the intelligence packet given to her by Admiral Quinn.

    In another corner was Admiral Karlyn, surrounded by several of her crew - two Romulans and two Remans. Selene hid a grin as a container beamed in as she watched, and several plasma pistols were extracted from it. Copycats. Then her smile died in puzzlement as the dark shape behind the Romulans registered. well, less the shape itself and more the small part of it peaking out from under the covering.

    The small part that set off a shock of recognition. She had to be sure, but that fragment of hull plating looked suspiciously identical to something she had seen before. Only a few weeks previously in fact - but in a place that she suspected was very, very far away.

    But that's the point of the Gateway, isn't it? Get from Point Here to Point There almost instantly.

    She strode over to crew of the Scythe and was intercepted by the Admiral.

    "Admiral. What, exactly is that?"

    "Is what?"

    "You know very well. What is under that tarpaulin?"

    "Oh, that's out little insurance policy." Karlyn swept an arm back, and the Reman crew pulled the covering off a gleaming Scorpion two-man fighter.

    "This may sound odd Admiral, but could you tell me the registry of that vessel?"

    Admiral Karlyn frowned and hesitated before replying, apparently searching for a reason in the Captain's request.

    "MRDF-047, on loan to the Scythe from the Republic. Why?"

    "No reason". Selene smiled and forced herself to casually stroll back to her officers, despite wanting to sprint. The rest of the ID matched precisely to what she had glimpsed at the end of her Q-sponsored trip to the alien Dyson Sphere.

    Once surrounded by her crew, she contacted the Talon.

    "For Immediate relay to Starfleet Intelligence. Message Begins. Have suspicion of hostiles on other side of Iconian Gateway. Possibly a species called the Voth from the Delta Quadrant. Refer Intelligence Report Persico-Six-Three-Q-Four. Send with Priority One."

    That done, she turned to Eight. "I don't have much time to explain, but we could be dealing with a Sela-Five Contingency. Stand by when that Gateway activates."

    As if to punctuate her words, there was a loud VWORP behind her, and she wheeled to see a flickering image resolve.

    "Uh, Representatives!" A flustered D'Tan announced, caught off guard by the sudden activation. "Behold, a working Iconian Gateway!"

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

    The delegates were looking directly at the activated Iconian gateway when the first drone shot through. Wedge-shaped, it had five trailing appendages that apparently provided some form of locomotion. The single red eye at the front glowed, and then a beam of energy shot from it - to slam directly into the panel controlling the Gateway.

    Selene and her officers heard the distinctive whine of an overloading plasma capacitor and dived for the deck, just as the console detonated violently.

    Eight was the first to recover. "Sela-Two! Weapons Free!"

    Almost instantly, three phaser beams converged on the drone. Brilliant shimmering betrayed the presence of energy shields protecting the attacker.

    Selene dropped her hand phaser and dived for the crate her crew had brought down from the Talon. Extricating a phaser compression rifle, she shouldered it and took careful aim.

    The alien drone was now dodging around the room, spearing generators, delegates and cables with it's energy beam. Her crew were sustaining phaser fire on the drone, and from the other side of the chamber came the whine of plasma pistols as the crew of the Scythe joined in.

    Tracking carefully, Selene took the shot. The shield around the alien robot flared and then failed, and Lieutenant Wolversham dived out of cover and brought up his own phaser rifle. His shot flashed across the chamber, a direct hit causing a detonation of burning scraps.

    Balek Wolversham smiled and shouldered his rifle, turning towards Selene. Which meant she had an unparalleled view as two more drones shot through the gateway and immediately struck him down.

    Time seemed to slow as the young Bajoran toppled forward, a look of shock on his face. Already the Enhanced Medical Hologram, Emma, was sprinting directly for the fallen Lieutenant. Sound seemed to vanish, and she could hear his anguished grunt clearly, as well as the clatter of the dropped phaser rifle.

    The chamber grew much brighter. Far too bright. She twisted, still seeming to exist in slow motion, seeking the source of the flare. As impossible as it seemed, Selene saw it. A twisting, crawling packet of ignited plasma, erupting from the turret atop the Romulan Scorpion. One. Two. Three. They screamed across the cavern. The first shot missed, chewing a crater out of the rock wall. The second and third were direct hits, shattering the drones.

    A battlefield silence settled over the chamber - devoid of weapons fire, but with quiet whimpers and moans of the injured. She took a quick scan of the room, and felt her stomach drop directly into her boots. By the exploded console lay the charred remains of D'Tan, leader of the Romulan Republic.

    Her brain tried to process the implications. They would be vast. Splinter factions, resurgent Tal Shiar, a fractured fleet. The dual alliance with both the Federation and the KDF would split the quadrant in two, as the ever-flickering war would spill over into Romulan space. Against weakened and weary forces, the Borg would simply roll over what was left. Blame, recriminations on all sides before assimilation.

    Assimilation. Ah, Hell! The mere thought of it had started the reaction. Normally that was deal-able with, but the death of Wolversham and D'Tan? The destruction of the chamber? It was too much, too quickly. Selene's breathing quickened and her muscles started trembling. A sense of utter dread, paradoxically coupled with exhaustion spread through. She couldn't move, but had time for one despairing whisper before the attack fully hit.

    "Not Now!"

    Everything was utterly wrong. Disaster. She had to escape. Her breath came in short gasps as nausea flooded up. She tried to take one stumbling step, but tripped on a cable and fell to her hands and knees. The warm metal plating seemed to throb malevolently in time with her heartbeat.

    I am in control.

    The first line of the Vulcan Keethara was lost in the tumult of the intense anxiety attack.

    Function is the essence of control. I am in control.

    Her heart was still thudding faster and faster. A great invisible beast loomed over her, pressing all that she was into a small worthless lump. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted movement, as a familiar face whirled towards her.

    Logic is the foundation of function. Function is the essence of control. I am in control.

    No, she couldn't breathe. She felt sick. A yawning black abyss loomed all around. The Chamber was too big, It was too small, the disaster was beyond anyone's ability to rectify. War was inevitable, Defenses would crumble, The Borg would come. Resistance was futile. They would all be assimilated, their biological and technological distinctiveness added-

    A hypospray hissed, and Selene collapsed facedown in a heap.


    She woke to insistent shouting. She was calm. Artificially calm. The Beast was still lurking within her somewhere and it wouldn't let go without a fight, but for now oil covered the choppy waters it tried to agitate.

    Sickbay. More specifically, the cramped, undersized sickbay of the Talon. Shouting voices were clearer. Emma. As territorial as a Sehlat defending it's range, the hologram was arguing vehemently with someone.

    "The Captain still needs rest!"

    "Captain Persico was not injured in the conflict. She requires this report and I must deliver it to her!"

    "Which will only stress the patient out more! As Chief Medical Officer, I can and will have you banned from this sickbay!"

    Selene levered up on her elbows. Eight was face to face with Emma, who was blocking access to the main biobed. She tried to speak and found her voice dry and weak. Swallowing, she tried again.

    "The patient isn't getting any rest with you two yelling like that either. Let the messenger pass, please. I need to find out what's going on."

    "Captain, your panic attacks are based on fear of the Collective. You could suffer a relapse if you-"

    Selene waved her off and swung her legs over the side of the biobed. Her attack had left her exhausted and drained, but a Captain's place was in charge, not lying on her back, asleep.

    "I'll be fine Emma. If it'll make you happy, I promise not to step outside sickbay for at least the next six hours."

    The hologram considered and then handed over the PADD she had taken from Eight, who standing in stoic silence, pretending to ignore the medical officer.

    "Very well Captain. Computer, deactivate Enhanced Medical Hologram."

    The report was indeed grim reading. The Romulan Republic had splintered, and one part was at war with the KDF, another part with the Federation. Contact from starbases along the neutral zone was intermittent at best, Starbase Sierra-39 was silent after reporting an attack. The Talon had been ejected from Romulan space and was en-route to Starbase 83.

    She chucked the report onto the biobed and rubbed her face in her hands.

    "Well, this half of the galaxy is done for. War, Disaster, Conflict. A right mess of things, would you say?"

    "The outcome from the activation was...less than optimal for all parties involved."

    Selene stood straight and picked up the PADD, clearing the depressing reading and calling up a stored file.

    "Well, I suppose its time for the Persico Eight-Five-Two Contingency."

    "I do not believe we discussed that contingency, Captain."

    "I call it my Go-To-Hell plan. Eight-Five-Two is related to what Admiral Lowe once told me. He used to say there's a mystery behind every nebula. I was more interested in finding a way to exploit the mysteries on this side of the nebula."

    Selene called up a section of the file, retrieved a second PADD and began working on it as well. She handed the first PADD to Eight.

    "Here. I need the common subspace compression ratio for these readings."

    "These...are exceedingly complex temporal calculations, Captain."

    "Yes they are. Which is why I need your help."

    The former drone was momentarily confused, but soon began tapping away, correcting and calculating the figures.

    They had been at the problem for nearly a hour when a nagging suspicion finally got the better of Selene.

    "Anthi sent you with that report, didn't she?"

    "The commander did ask that I hand-deliver it, yes"

    "That's because Anthi's too smart to waste hours trying to argue with Emma. Congratulations, Lieutenant Commander, I do believe you just got hazed."

    "Hazing. A competitive process to induct new members to a small, typically exclusive, social grouping."

    "That's the one. Don't take it too hard - Ensign Wilson spent three hours in EVA sandwiched between the outer hull and the engineering space looking for negative-matter neenion contamination."

    "I am not familiar with that class of particle."

    "Neither was Ensign Wilson, apparently."

    There was another lengthy pause as they both worked on the calculation. This time it was Eight who broke the silence.

    "Captain. Why are you unaffected by my presence?"

    "Unaffected?"

    "I am Borg. Your medical officer mentioned a fear of the Collective. Why do you not fear me?"

    Selene continued typing on the PADD as she spoke.

    "Because my problem is not with the Collective. It is with assimilation, and in that lies a critical difference. A small one perhaps, but when dealing with one's own fears, small differences can count for far more than they seem to.

    You were once but are no longer Borg. You are living proof that assimilation is survivable. That a way back is possible. The Talon has rescued dozens of drones from the Collective. And in each of them is a reassurance that no matter how crippling my fear is, there is always a sliver of hope.

    I do not fear you, because you give me hope. I do not fear the Collective, because the Collective can be beaten.

    What I fear is loss of control. I fear my very self being subsumed and destroyed. Assimilation is simply the most visible and reliable of the triggers to that fear."

    Eight considered the unexpectedly frank outpouring carefully.

    "Your viewpoint in this matter is...illogical. Such an attack triggered by the fear of losing control would only serve to make you lose control. The cycle is self-sustaining. It would be more logical and efficient not to fear, thus eliminating a cause of the attack."

    "That's the wonderfully terrible thing about humanity, Eight. We are so very illogical. And we haven't figured out how to just lock our emotions down like the Vulcans."

    Eight raised one eyebrow in another perfect mimicry of a Vulcan inquiry. Selene burst out laughing.

    "Or the Borg, Eight. Or the Borg."

    The PADD in her hand beeped.

    "Ah. Here we go. One solution to galactic war and imminent destruction of all we know, utilizing a cheap shot from a forgotten mission log. Persico to Bridge."

    "Bridge here"

    "Lay in a course for Cusak IV. It's a Class-L planet under Starfleet interdict, located in the Rutharian sector of the Beta Quadrant. We're going to need to break a couple of standing orders on this one, Commander."

    Silence. Then:

    "Aye, Captain. Course laid in. Any point in lodging an official protest?"

    "None whatsoever. Maximum Warp. Go."


    Three weeks later, Selene stood on a rain-wracked promontory, a shuttle grounded behind her. The carbon-dioxide saturated atmosphere was kept at bay by a rebreather mask, but the cold rain still soaked her uniform. Coruscating energy streamers swirled overhead. Beyond that sky, Romulan and Federation and Klingon ships attacked each other in righteous fury. New Romulus lay scorched, it's new beginning trashed by quantum torpedoes from orbiting starships. Border worlds burned, countless lives being lost to proclaim one side the masters of a fragment of a muddy ball of useless rock in backwater systems. And from Gamma Orionis came chilling reports of waves of Cubes, conquering everything in their path, a vastly understrength Task Force Omega unable to halt them.

    Selene turned back to the transmitter and entered the painstaking calculations. The set futzed for a few moments and then stabilized. It was transmitting a recorded message and an encrypted databurst, and all that was required now was to wait for a certain reply.

    The reply came two days later in a very familiar voice.

    "This is Captain Persico of the USS Talon. Your transmission has been received and is being relayed to Starfleet Command per your instructions. Good Luck. Persico out."

    Selene turned, watching the reality wavefront cancel the shuttle and march onwards towards her.

    Funny. So this is what utter destruction looks like. This is what I fear the most. The complete end of my existence. Although I suppose it isn't the true end, not really, since-

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

    The shimmer of the transporter deposited Captain Selene Persico in the Iconian Gateway chamber, deep under New Romulus.

    Admiral Kererek waved her over. "Ah, Captain. May I introduce you to Commander Maiek, our operations officer for the Gateway. I'm sure you are familiar with Ambassador Worf, and this is Captain Koran of the IKS Bortasqu."

    Selene greeted the dignitaries, trying to ignore the calculating look that Captain Koran was giving her. The KDF were very interested in certain aspects of the Jem'Hadar ships that the Federation had repurposed. She was saved from having to deflect any questions by the arrival of Captain Shon from the USS Enterprise-F.

    Looking around the room, it appeared the message she had passed on had panned out. Unlike the scenario depicted with it, D'Tan was nowhere to be seen, the crew of the Scythe and the Lleiset were collaborating quietly, and there was a double guard of security and engineering officers. A quick check revealed a higher tolerance of plasma capacitor had been installed in the console as well.

    Whomever that unknown Captain had been, and whatever the source of that oddly distorted transmission, it seemed that the higher ups at Starfleet Intelligence had taken it's dire apocalyptic warning seriously. She had some suspicions - one did not receive visitors from Temporal Investigations unless some sort of time-travel shenanigans had taken place.

    Ambassador Worf and another officer were talking to Commander Maiek as the Iconian Gateway rose out of the ground, and Selene grinned as the officer attached what appeared to be spatial charges of some kind to the gate. Lieutenant Commander Eight was deep in conversation with a Romulan scientist, comparing notes.
    Still, all the preparations were complete, so her job here was done.

    "Persico to Talon. One to beam up."

    The chamber dissolved in sparks.

    Selene had only just got back to the Bridge and settled into her chair when the tactical console beeped accusingly.

    "Captain, we're picking up major seismic activity, emanating from the Gateway location. Contact lost with the Chamber."

    No mention of this in the message. Must be something new.

    "Red Alert!"
  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Captain's Log, Stardate 91400.7

    The Solaris is en route to New Romulus to attend a ceremony as D'Tan is planning to activate the Iconian Gateway. Admiral Cheliss has informed me that he is also sending several other Federation diplomats due to the importance of the event. The Iconian Gateway is known to have caused the extinction of the Dewans, and even though the Romulans are sure to have taken acute precautions to avoid a similar destiny, any unforeseen effects will be met with the appropriate response. Thus, several other combat-ready ships are meeting in-system.

    To prepare for the event, the crew have pulled extra time on their respective shifts to make Solaris better than tip-top shape in the event any of D'Tan's delegation honors us with a visit. On a more serious note, I have also ordered extra combat drills for both space and ground combat.

    Our travel to Bajor, and ultimately to Solanae, is put on hold for this. And frankly, after a visit from Q, I'm considering this detour to be worthwhile.

    Personal Log, Stardate 91400.8

    D'Tan is a bold man. I understand his motivations, as far as I know them. He wants to improve the Romulans, to make them better than before. It's admirable. They will pay a price for their desires, but do they really know the cost?

    I'd like to think, if I were in his shoes, I would make the same decision. The potential benefits outweigh the risks, even given the catastrophic history. The efforts the Romulans have gone to avoid repeating the past are many and great. I agree with the current thought that the Federation has almost done the same with the Bajoran Wormhole - and there was a war before there was peace. If war comes from the portal, it may actually be a unifier to the galaxy ... Borg notwithstanding. If the same planetary calamity were to begin, the Romulans would be safe from extinction - the Federation and Klingon interests would prevent that.

    So ... what if ... what if the Gateway works as wanted. New planets to explore, new cures to be found, new alliances to forge. These were the thoughts when the Bajoran Wormhole was discovered, and everyone knows the immediate result. So what if the opposite of that experience happens?

    The galaxy stands at the precipice of either greater strife or greater prosperity, and D'Tan holds the key on New Romulus. Either way, my crew and my ship will be there to see the door open.
  • raventomoeraventomoe Member Posts: 718 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Stardate 90213.68

    Personal Log Captain Robin Harlen

    Commanding Officer of U.S.S. Gotterdammerung

    We are currently parked near Deep Space 9 after a mission near Cardassia had myself and Colonel Commandant Yagami tracking down rogue Jem'hadar who had received dangerous Elachi equipment from the Huckenbein Family in exchange for information on Prophet's Orbs and Preserver or Iconian technology. The mission itself was a full success and I requested Shoreleave time from Starfleet for my crew. The Admirals Harloawns gave their consent for LPRF6 and the crew of the Wolfram to do the same.


    Robin sat back in his chair of his own personal quarters, sipping a glass of Bajoran-made Tea while reading over the latest Daystrom Institute reports on trying to get a grip on T.S.A.B. technology that the organization made available under a recent treaty that allowed Starfleet to start researching Magic in greater detail under controlled conditions. So far, not only was a manifestation of the Q's power ruled out but 'Magic' seemed to delve into layers of Subspace only The Traveler and maybe the Ocampa could touch. A deeper layer to everything that manifested as a fantastic power in the hands of those who knew how to tap it.

    Add in that Linker Cores were confirmed to exist in nearly every race with the ability to dream, imagine, and everything else connected to that. It began to make the words of The Traveler, as quoted by Picard at a recent symposium on the subject ring true. "Thought is reality." He muttered and also remembered another quote Picard said, from Q himself.

    Hearing the sliding doors to his bathroom open, he smiled as probably the biggest surprise from the whole one year/one month stay (depending on time reference of an observer) came out. The towel was busy drying her hair as she wore a long robe made of Tholian Silk. Dropping the towel, Hayate Yagami; Colonel Commandant of the TSAB's Dimenional Navy Marines and commander of the elite Lost Property Riot Force 6 as well as the Captain of the LS-Class Dimensional Warship Wolfram. She looked at him and he swore he could never get tired of those blue eyes she had. He knew the power and personality behind those eyes too. A woman of duty and strong determination, she understood that a Commanding Officer's duty came first always with relationships second. The fact they could afford time for each other had been something of a miracle at times.

    "So, what's new from the Joint Task Forces we work with?" Hayate asked as she walked up to the Replicator and said. "Water." The machine coming to life with a hum and light as a cup of water appeared in the recepticle.

    "Just the usual news. Omega is putting in special requests for Medical Support. Nukara wants Gadget Drone support craft on site, being the only machines they can field that so far survive for any length of time in Nukara Prime's atmosphere. Nothing yet from New..." That was when a com beep sounded and appearing on the screen on his desk was the face of the Liberated Borg Operations Chief, Lieutenant Commander Six of Nine. Her white hair and ponytail somewhat covering the implants and Borg face plate on the right side of her face. She had been left in command of the Bridge, electing to take her personal leave by taking apart the Borg technology and categorizing it by usefulness to Starfleet and Omega.

    "I have a Priority One communication from the Vice-Admiral on Starfleet Channel 47." Robin shuddered as very few had access to that channel. It was a new one created for the Liason Flag Officer who worked with the TSAB, Romulan Republic New Romulus Command, and Klingon Imperial High Command.

    Hayate came over, hearing it as well and nodded. "Put it through Six." She said with a smile. In minutes, the face of an old woman appeared. Her hair grayed by time but not the look in her eyes. The Vice-Admiral was a living legend of Starfleet as she nodded.

    "Hello again Captain Harlen, Colonel Yagami. I was going to message you both seperately but this saves time. I am sorry to say Shoreleave has been rescinded. New Romulus has extended an invite to both Starfleet and the Klingon Empire for a delegation from each to come to New Romulus. You are aware of the Iconian Gate found there on Dewa III right?"

    "Yes. The discovery itself was made by Captain Tanaka and her crew while helping survey the site of the first city that will be made." Robin said and sighed. He had a funny feeling he knew where this was going. "The praise heaped upon her by the Romulan Republic Flotilla command actually has her fast-tracked to be on the short list for Captain of the Bellepheron-class that will be the second ship to bear the name Voyager." Robin continued, thinking back to that young Lieutenant who he helped rescue back on Midchilda.

    "Yes. She is on the list at my recommendation. I was not going to let anyone less sit in the chair of a ship with that name." The Vice-Admiral replied.

    "But anyways, D'Tan is going to have it activated...." Robin had been sipping his tea when he did a spit-take all over the side of his desk.

    "Are you kidding me? Please tell me they aren't using the same freaking Geothermal Taps the Dewans used?" Robin asked, wanting already to get the ship going.

    "Afraid so but so far, the S.C.E. has gone over the specs of their safeguards and think they will do but Starfleet is not wanting to put anything to chance and neither are the Three Admirals." The Vice-Admiral said with a look on her face of concern. Rightfully earned concern with what he knew of Iconian technology and Iconia itself.

    Hayate had that glint in her eyes that already told Robin she was already giving orders at light speed via that Telepathic trick all Mages on Midchilda or in the organization learned at a young age.

    "That said, both Starfleet and the T.S.A.B. will be in attendance as both the diplomatic delegation AND as back up in case things go wrong. That said, the Gotterdammerung & Wolfram have the teams we need on site if things go horribly wrong. Hayate, the Admirals have given their permission for you to release your own Limiters to full SS+ rank and take the safeties off the Wolfram's main gun." Hayate nodded.

    "Robin, the Gotterdammerung is authorized to take any and all measures to protect the planet or the sector should we attract unwanted attention..." Robin knew that he was to buy time for Hayate to prime the main weapon of her ship and run the minute she set it off as they would have only seconds to get clear of the Dimensional Distortion Wave that would rip Subspace and twist it into pretzels. He had the distinction along with a small combined fleet of Romulan and Klingon ships to see the effects on a Borg Unimatrix Command ship. The huge vessel could of easily run the Wolfram over yet the small Dimensional Warship had exterminated the Borg ship. Pieces flying off and exploding yet unable to before it all collapsed on itself and vanished in a rainbow explosion.

    "I've also confirmed that the Commander Natal will be on hand in her new ship as well as Rakok with the Saint Church Delegation and Ambassador Worf....who I understand is a personal friend of Rakok." The Vice-Admiral said and nodded.

    "Well Admiral, you can count on us and besides...I want to see and congratulate Rakok." Robin replied with a smile. Hayate just nodded with a smile before speaking.

    "The Riot Force will be in full attendance and it will be good to see Carrim again since her last message about her news. I will have to ask her to confirm the rumor I heard from Chrono that she had a few broken bones afterwards." Hayate said with a mischievous glint.

    "Good to hear Captain and Colonel. Starfleet out." The channel closed as Robin laid back and mumbled something.

    "What Robin?" Hayate asked, looking at the man with a smile on her face.

    "Oh nothing, just going through all that could go wrong and knowing it will be nothing I predicted nor will it be normal." Robin said with a wry smile.

    "Well...your Universe does have a penchant for coming up with new ways to threaten itself and reality as well. I will never understand why this place never got on the map before you dropped in on our doorstep like you did." Hayate said, punching Robin in the arm.

    "Hey, at least I do not go feeling up Six whenever she is off-duty." Robin responded back playfully. He than stood up and reached to put on his uniform. "I got nearly 800 disappointed crewmen who are NOT going to like their Shore-leave cut short. I trust D'Tan. I know also that both Nottra and Obisek trusts him too..." He started to put the jacket on as he sighed and continued, "But I can't help but shake the feeling that something is going to go horribly wrong and our four groups will be the only ones who can stave off the largest disaster since Hobus."

    All Hayate could do was nod. She had the feeling deep in the pit of her gut that all hell was going to break loose when the gate activated and they would be on the front lines once more staving off the onslaught that could come and destroy a world or more.

    Robin hit a button as he said. "All Senior Staff to the Ready Room in one hour. Prepare to instigate Contingency Plan Bravo Six-Niner. Recall all Crew from Shore-leave and warm up the Transwarp Coils and set destination for New Romulus. Yellow Alert." He could see the slight dim as the ship power systems were automatically shifted by Six to send everything to the Shields and Engines. The alert lights going yellow to signify that the crew was not taking anything about to come lightly.
    "The Multiverse, the ultimate frontier..."
    Thus begins...Lyrical Trek
  • keepcalmkeepcalm Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    She sighed as all six limbs spread out in the overly large bathroom of the Calypso. One of the best benefits of having her own ship, rather than being given command of a 'proper' Republic warbirds was that Romulan ships were either old and cramped, or new, hastily built, and cramped. The Risian Lohlunat class had a truely ridiculous set of amenities on it, and the Calypso, even after being stripped down twice - first by the smuggler and occasional slave trader who had comissioned it from the Risians, and then by the Republic after she had aqcuired it from said individual.
    And killed him.

    She wasn't entirely sure how long she lay there in the steaming water until a melodic beep startled her out of her half-awake state, followed by the sound of her sister's voice.
    "Daring?"
    Sighing to herself, Daring pushed herself out of the bath just enough to reach the door controls, before sliding back into the water. Thanks to a quirk of her homeworld's laws, an unapproved departure like hers meant two things. First, that she wouldn't be able to return, and also thatshe no longer had a name. Not, at least, until she had been given one she liked the sound of, and being told that she was daring after hijacking the slaver's ship ... she had liked the sound of that, for sure.

    "What is it now, Derry?" she asked, absently rollong over onto her stomach. "They want us to make another run through Tal'Shiar space?"

    "No," her sister replied softly. Far more softly than she would have just a year ago. Before her brief, but apparently not too brief stay in the Calypso's now-removed 'cargo bay'. Daring frowned slightly, making a note to prod the counselling staff a little harder next time she saw them.
    "Orders from New Romulus." Derry continued. "They're starting up that gateway, and want some ships and crews on hand, just in case. Apparently we're one of the ones close enough to return in time."

    "They're turning it on?" Her earlier worries about her sister were, for the moment forgotten as Daring grinned. "And we get to see what it does. Great. You've turned the ship around?" As her sister nodded, Daring relaxed again. "Make sure to pack extra weapons. Just in case. And stay with me, okay?"
    She shifted, feeling a familiar twinge. "And Derry ... fancy a trip to the holodeck later? This silly Romulan gravity's getting to me again. I don't know about you, but it'd be nice to turn the gravity down to proper levels for a bit."
    "The halfling way of battle is simple: You jump on their face and keep stabbing until the screaming stops."
  • yuzralyuzral Member Posts: 158 Media Corps
    edited October 2013
    Captain's log, stardate 86821.54. Vice Admiral Obas recording aboard 93256-A Sutherland.

    We've arrived at Mol'Rhian in response to an invitation from D'Tan and the Republic. Ambassador-designate T'Varek and his staff have been transferred to the embasssy three days ahead of schedule and Engineering are reporting no problems from two days of constant high warp and slipstream velocities. Counsellor Arret has expressed concern at elevated stress levels in the senior officers aboard ship, but we are both confident that the problem will resolve itself now that the source has been removed.

    This...invitation...from D'Tan however...it's been six months since we discovered and secured the Iconian gate under New Romulus. We also discovered that the last attempt to activate it was what caused the mass extinction that wiped out the Dewans 150,000 years ago. I wondered at the time - still do in fact - if that wasn't actually a spectacularly lethal security measure the Iconians left behind: remove the power source and force a race that hasn't discovered their reactor technology to use geothermal power instead. It'd look good until you ran a full power activation, at which point the planet blows anyone tampering with the gate sky high. There was no proof of course, but the chance to study Iconian tech without our computers getting crashed by viruses every ten minutes was too good to pass up so I recommended we study the gate but not try to power it up. Other elements in the Fleet wanted the whole thing buried and there was a fairly vocal campaign doing the rounds on code 47 to have the whole complex uprooted and dumped into the nearest convenient singularity.


    The Romulans, it seems, weren't listening to any of us since they've decided to activate the gate. High risk, given what happened last time but they think they've solved the problems with the geothermal tap (though I'm sure the Dewans thought that as well). Apparently some low power, short duration tests with probes have gone well and a few days from now they're going to run the first full power trial.

    It should be a moment for optimism. If we can get the gateway to work, it could - no, would - revolutionise interstellar travel. Warp drive, slipstream, even transwarp...wouldn't be obsolete as such but the ability to get from...well, anywhere to anywhere else in an eyeblink boggles the mind. Exploration would be as simple as picking a target and switching on the gate. Of course, so would invasion or attack...but once we understand how the gates work we'll be in a better position to defend against such methods.

    And yet, I can't help but think back through our prior encounters with the Iconians. The Yamato destroyed by a watchdog virus. Sela and her flagship grabbed out of a fleet engagement as easily as I'd pick up the teacup on my desk. Hakeev and Taris dedicated to their 'dread masters' in a way that's flat out weird for a Romulan of their background. All the hints of manipulation of the Undine that we've encountered over the last three years. Even Q seemed to take the Iconians seriously when we last met and Eraun's attitude was 'roll over and beg'. How powerful - more to the point, how nasty - do you have to be to terrorise the Dominion?

    So here we are. Yes, we - Sutherland isn't the only ship in orbit. Enterprise, Bortas'qu, Lleiset, Bloodwing, Qutluch...the list goes on. Someone in the Republic - I suspect Kererek, since he's always been a little more cautious than D'Tan - has 'invited' enough veteran ships and crews to have a medium sized war on the spot if it's needed and I find myself agreeing with the caution.

    I'm not the only one, either. You can spot the captains in orbit who've had prior contact with the Iconians - we're the ones running battle drills with the main computers offline. The old joke about adequate preparation being indistinguishable from paranoia doesn't seem too funny at the moment.

    I hope it's paranoia. Just for once, it'd be nice to be wrong.
    Blatant self-promotion: Producer of the Delta Rising Tribble Timewarp, Foundry Frolics and more: http://www.youtube.com/user/Yuzral
  • grylakgrylak Member Posts: 1,572 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Admiral Rykon sat behind the desk in his Ready Room, the room itself mostly spartan, but with a few small momentos and keepsakes of past missions dotted around. He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes as he kept rubbing, feeling the start of a headache coming. Oh that was never a good sign. The comm went off, Captain Grylak over the comm.


    "Sir. We've got an incoming hail for you."

    "Thank you Grylak. Route it through."


    With a sigh, he turned in his chair and activated the screen in his desk. A familiar face came on screen.

    "Hello again Drake. What's wrong?"

    Franklin Drake simply nodded curtly before continuing.

    "Romulans. We've got word D'Tan is doing something increadibly stupid, and it needs to be seen to. The usual."

    "Understood."


    The transmission ended abruptly. Rykon brought up the transmission carrier wave and ran the spectral analyser over it, seperating the information from the standard transmission. Rykon was an Admiral in charge of dealing with political fallout and brush fires on worlds along the borders. Operating from his flagship, the Odessey class Halestorm, he was used to contact with Drake. Knowing full well he worked for Section 31, an organisation that had suffered some secrecy trouble during the end of the Dominion War, but had been able to slink back into the dark so they could continue to protect the Federation, it was Rykon's decision what to do with the information that was provided. It just so happened his objectives aligned with theirs often.


    As he started reading through the reports, he leaned forward.


    "You have got to be bloody kidding me."




    Ten minutes later, Grylak had been joined by Rykon and Commander Berry, the Ship's First Officer, a human woman of African descent. The Admiral rested his elbows on the desk as he informed the other two.


    "Basically, D'Tan, leader of the 'Free Romulan Republic Hippies' or whatever they're calling themselves, has decided it's a good idea to ignore all history and activate the Iconian Portal they discovered in the ruins on New Romulus."


    Berry frowned.

    "Iconian portal? I thought the reports coming out of New Romulus said that thing was offlined perminantly when the Dewans tried to use it."


    Rykon nodded.

    "Indeed. The reports had been. But.... it seems the Romulans have proven once again their resourcefulness. They've tapped into the geothermal power used by the Dewans, claimed to have stabilised it and have got power flowing to it. They intend to activate it next week, with a delegation from the Klingons and the Federation present."


    Berry stiffened slightly, knowing what was coming.


    "At maximum Slipstream, we can be there in just over-"

    "No." Rykon was perfectly calm as he interrupted. "The Halestorm can not be seen in the sector. Instead, I want you to take Lister and head to Galorndon Core. There you will find a Romulan scout ship. Cloak her and meet up with us in the Dera system for picking up the team."


    Berry saluted, then left to carry out her orders. Rykon turned his attention to Grylak, whom had been quiet the entire time.


    "What's up Captain?"


    Grylak shifted slightly on his feet. Rykon indicated for him to sit down. After doing so, the Captain still seemed unsettled.



    "Admiral, doesn't this fall under the Prime Directive? The Romulan Republic found that gateway, they are the ones powering it up."

    "I'm going to stop you right there Captain."

    He emphasised the Captain, letting Grylak know this was not one of their usual informal meetings for orders. There was going to be no discussion on this.

    "While at the outset, it does seem this falls under the Prime Directive, I'm overriding it here. The Romulan Republic has been recieving aid from Starfleet for months now. Without our help, they never could have discovered this gateway."

    He held up a palm, cutting Grylak off even as he opened his mouth to interject. The Admiral continued.


    "In addition, it's an Iconian Gateway. That by itself means this is something far too powerful for one nation to wield. Remember the tales of the Iconain Empire? There have been reports of unknown ships spotted in the Tau Dewa Sector, that promptly vanish as soon as a sensor scan is started on them. And then there's what happened with Sela. It's clear the Iconians are not as extinct as they want us to believe. And if they are waiting on the other side of that portal, I don't think the Federation can stand up to yet another enemy at the gate."



    "Sir, 'History is written by the Victors.' We have no proof the Iconians are the force of evil history thinks they are."

    "And I have no desire to give them the chance to show us they are. Even if the Iconians are peaceful, what about the other species in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants? What's to stop them moving on New Romulus with a flotilla of ships and taking the gateway? Any of our enemies were to get that tech, they could wreck terrible havoc. Imagine, an army of heavily armed Klingons appearing in the middle of Starfleet Headquarters. A spatial charge rigged to blow is moved into the quarters of the Federation President. Tal Shiar agents land on Vulcan soil completely bypassing Federation space. Cardassians laying seige to Bajor in retalliation for their humiliation. Dominion shock troops are able to break out prisoners of war without even needing the Bajoran Wormhole to get them back home. Hell, someone could just dump a Trilithium bomb into a star and blow up our homeworlds without needing to move offplanet! The Romulan Republic Hippies may have their own fleet now, but I doubt they could mount a defence against a serious threat and I am not confident putting the safety of the galaxy in their hands. Captain Sisko and Ambassador Picard both destroyed the gateways they encountered. Can we do no less? We owe it to the safety of the Federation population."


    Grylak sat in silence a moment. He obviously wasn't happy, but he saw the point the Admiral was making.

    "Understood Sir. But the Romulans wont take kindly to our destroying the gateway. The Republic could cut all ties to Starfleet."

    "Indeed. Which is why a small strike team is going to go undercover in that Romulan Ship Berry is fetching. Surgically altered to look Romulan, a small group will infiltrate the geothermal power plant and sabotage it. Either cause it to loose power or overload, it doesn't matter. But that gateway must NOT be activated."


    "Sir, sabotaging the plant could lead to a cataclysmic event like the Dewans saw. It could render the planet uninhabitable if we 're not careful. We could cause the Romulans to lose their homeworld a second time."


    Rykon stared Grylak straight in the eye. He didn't blink once as he simply replied "I know. But given the alternatives, it's a risk we must take. Put the team together and prep an insertion plan. I want everything ready by the time we reach Dera."


    As Grylak stood and turned to leave, Rykon stopped him.


    "You understand Starfleet can not be seen to have a hand in this. If something goes wrong, if you are discovered, you and your team will be rogues acting on your own. Starfleet will disavow all knowledge of you."


    "The Romulan Republic is too valuable an ally to lose. I understand Sir."


    As Grylak left, Rykon turned to look out the window. As the Halestorm turned and jumped to warp, Rykon rubbed his chin, leaning back in the chair. Was this the right course of action? Yes. From an objective viewpoint, yes it was. Was it the morally right thing to do? Lord knows it wasn't. The slightest miscalculation, and he would be responsible for the destruction of an entire world, and possibly ending the peace treaties between Romulans and the Federation. But that was why he sat in the big chair. Dealing with political problems, he was used to issues of this nature. But that didn't make it any easier.
    *******************************************

    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'
  • takeshi6takeshi6 Member Posts: 752 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    New Romulus, Command Center, Admiral Kererek's office, August 14, 2412

    "Ah, Commander Takor," Admiral Kererek said as Veleen walked into his office. "It's good to see you. I trust your crew is settling in to your new ship well?"

    "We are, sir," Veleen replied. "It's a bit smaller than the Seruk, but larger than the ship that we'd been using in the interim."

    While Veleen had been performing her usual duties with the Warspite, including helping a joint Klingon and Federation operation in the Moosehead Nebula, engineers attempting to repair the Seruk had found microfractures all along the housing for the ship's Singularity Core, most likely caused when the ship was caught in the shockwave of that exploding gate several months ago. The microfractures were so extensive that the lead engineer remarked 'It's a wonder this thing hasn't breached yet.'

    As such, the Seruk had been declared Beyond Economical Repair, and once Veleen came back from the Moosehead Nebula, she was given an Ar'Kala Class Tactical Warbird that had been retrofit into a Carrier, which she named the Virinat's Pride, in honor of the home she had lost to the Elachi.

    "I'm glad to hear that you're doing so well," Kererek remarked. "However, I'm afraid I need to pull you away from your ship for a mission."

    Veleen blinked. "What mission would that be, sir?" she asked.

    "You remember the discovery of that Iconian Gateway a few months ago?" Kererek queried in reply.

    "I heard about it," Veleen remarked. In fact, when she'd heard about the discovery, she'd immediately sent a message about it off to Erde. "I think I remember sending you a message, saying that it should have been destroyed."

    "Yes, I remember that message," Kererek said. "Well, rather than destroying it, D'Tan has had scientists and engineers study and repair it - he's arranged for a gala tomorrow to showcase it, and plans to activate it then."

    "WHAT?!?" Veleen shouted. Memories of what she'd heard in that briefing before the Battle of the Gate came to mind. "Are you sure that's wise, sir?"

    "It's our first major discovery since first establishing the colony here," Kererek remarked. "We can use it to show the galaxy just how far we've come."

    Veleen mentally grimaced at that. She knew how important something like this would be for her people, and if it were anything else, she'd be as excited as some of the other New Romulans. But given what she'd learned about the Iconians, and the 'Good Masters'... as well as the stories of what happened at Moab and Betazed... "I at least hope you've taken any necessary precautions, sir," she said.

    "We're taking security very seriously, Takor," Kererek replied. "And that's part of why I want you at the Gateway site, providing security during the gala."

    Veleen frowned, but nodded. "I still think activating it isn't in our best interests..." she said, "but I'll follow orders."

    "Thank you, Commander," Kererek replied. "I'll see you at the gala in a few days."

    Veleen saluted, then walked out of the room. As soon as she was out of the room and out of Kererek's sight, though, that walk turned into a run as she bolted for the transporters.

    She had to let Erde know about this.


    (To learn more about the Moosehead Nebula mission, stay tuned to knightraider6's newest story, 'Sins of the Fathers, Part 2. Suffer the Children'.)
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  • unitarunitar Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    "Captain's log, stardate 91434.61, Captain Quintin B. Stone reporting: The day has finally come for the Romulan Republic on the map of intergalactic affairs. Admiral Erika Seto, has the Commander of the Federation Task Force in orbit of New Romulus, has been invited along with various dignitaries, including Ambassador Worf, who I only known in passing during the Dominion War, to witness the Iconian Gateway that was discovered several months ago.

    "On a personal note, this is a very dangerous time for the sector. A functional Iconian Gateway will no doubt be envied throughout the Quadrant. I look back at the instances where the Federation has encountered them and in both instances, those in command of those missions elected to destroy them, with the knowledge that this technology was too advanced for anyone to possess, even the Federation. Problem is, however, that this sits at the Capital of Romulan Space and we are powerless do to anything about it.

    "I can only imagine how the Bajorans felt when the wormhole was discovered when I was still at the Academy. Probably the same way that D'Tan feels right now. The discovery of this Gateway is remarkable in its own right and the possibilities of trade and commerce are endless, but I still question this technology belonging solely to the Romulans. It is not that I don?t trust them with the technology; it's what others will do to take it as their own and what they might do with it. I shudder at the thought.

    "There will be a video feed to those not able to attend because of various circumstances. Our excuse will be because that the Fairchild contains the executive office of the Federation Task Force, namely I. The scientist part of me wants so much to be a part of this, the Captain in me is saying to destroy this technology for the betterment of the Quadrant, but my orders are just to sit and watch what unfolds. Admiral Seto was right about one thing about my personality, I can't merely sit on the sidelines and watch; I have to be right at the thick of the action. End log."

    Captain Quintin Stone closed out his log entry by hitting a control on his command chair. He looked around the bridge of the Fairchild and no one was paying wholly attention to their stations. Quin couldn't blame them as a matter of history was ready to be unveiled to them. There was no guessing what the others thought about what was going to happen and he wasn't going to start asking them one by one. Those on the bridge would record this in their memories in their own way and that is the way it should be. Of course, Lieutenant Commander Param and Commander Bianchi, who still is referred to as Six by Quin, would be looking right at their Captain as he made his entry.

    Emuzei Param, his Trill operations officer, was a friend of Quin"s that now expanded into a second lifetime, looked like she wasn?t surprised by the log entry. Their friendship had been going on for nearly 40 years and was at the point to where she could have claimed to be part Betazoid. "Quin, you have to grant yourself some time to look on this moment. If you want to be technical about it, this is the face of the action right here. You and I have seen some history in our time, this would be just one more notch in the belt and by the looks of things you need to drill one." This would be referring to the weight loss program he undertook after his near heart attack on Aegis station several weeks prior.

    Commander Bianchi, on the other hand, remained quiet at her post. It seems like she was doing more observing of the bridge and recording her own memories as the two friends seem to share another one of their moments in the sun. Then her console sounded an alert. "Captain, the video feed from the surface is being transmitted, placing it on the viewscreen." Then by touching a control, the gathering of the dignitaries and scientists, along with Admiral Seto, appeared. The camera panned out to show the outer edges of the Gateway were already in position, just waiting for the portal to be activated. Without a command, though, Commander Six panned on a small device at the base of both archways. "Captain, you might find these of interest."

    Quin removed himself from the Command Chair and walked forward toward the OPS/Helm console. The devices were circular in nature and appeared to be active. Positioning himself behind Param and placing a chair on her chair. "What do you make of this, Old Man?"

    Her fingers danced over her console, concentrating on her duty now instead of basking in the history of the moment. After several seconds, she reported, "The enhanced sensors you asked me to configure are having trouble getting a positive read on them, Quin. My guess would probably be some kind of failsafe device as they don?t match the description you gave me months ago."

    "They are obviously expecting the worse from this device, Captain," Six commented from her station, "a prudent precaution, considering the unknown and potentially volatile nature of the Iconian Gateway."

    Quin would move back to his seat and watching the ceremony unfold. Six had panned the camera back to where the group assembled was in full view. He could pick out Admiral Seto by the fiery red hair she possessed, there was no mistaking that. There was no mistaking one of the Klingons in the crowd, Ambassador Worf. Worf had come a long way from the times on the Enterprise-D. Quin had made a point to know about the case to where, when the Federation was in an "unofficial" war with the Klingon Empire, the Empire had tried to stage an incident to where Worf would be held responsible for the deaths of over 400 Klingons citizens. The treachery was discovered and the plot to bring Worf back to the Empire failed miserably.

    There was silence on the bridge as the video and audio stream filled the deck. There wasn't a soul paying attention to their stations and Quin had to steal glances at the crew members to get them at least working again. History was being made right now and there wasn't a feasible way to get anyone to not focus on that. Quin?s own thoughts were very much in turmoil as the speeches and comments were made. Then there was the command to turn the device on. There wasn't a word uttered as Commanders Param and Six went immediately to work on the effects of the Gateway, the others on the bridge watched in awe, along with their Captain in the display. Suddenly, alarms started blaring on the bridge as the viewscreen lit up with activity from the video feed.

    "Captain!" Six started her report, "seismic activity has increased greatly on a global-wide scale. Unable to get a Richter scale reading at this time!"

    "Confirmed, Quin!" Emuzei yelled as the audio feeds from the cavern nearly drowned out every other sound on the bridge.

    The Captain's eyes never averted from the viewscreen as the cavern seemed to cave in around them. It was fortunate that they were still able to witness what was going and suddenly there was an explosion coming from the archways and filled the viewscreen with bright, white light that Quin had to shield his eyes from as well as anyone that was looking at the turbulence occurring below.

    As the light faded from the viewscreen, Quin and the rest of the of the Fairchild bridge crew couldn?t believe their eyes of what they saw. The archways had survived the blast. It was obvious now that the failsafe that Six had referred to were explosives meant to disable or destroyed the gate, but the explosion seemed to have no effect. The next thing they all witnessed before the video linked was severed was Worf, Erika, and the remaining delegation running through the still functioning gate.

    Quin slowly rose from his command chair as the viewscreen went blank. "Commander Six, dispatch the following message to all the Federation Task Force: I am assuming command of the Task Force until either Seto is found or otherwise properly relieved. Once you have gotten acknowledgement call a senior staff in my ready room in ten minutes. This has just gotten very ugly..."
  • mjarbarmjarbar Member Posts: 2,080 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    Dramatis Personae:
    Vice Admiral Mjarbar - Human male from the European Conglomerate, Earth (currently commanding the USS Essex-B)
    Commander Mirra - Andorian Female - First Officer (XO)
    Commander Dytav Yhrom - Andorian Male - Chief Engineer
    Lt. Commander Oneida Rosann Tisa - Human Female from New Japan, Earth - Chief of Operations
    Lt. Commander Mazria Usly Lorura - Unjoined Trill Female - Chief Medical Officer
    Lieutenant Ranglok - Klingon Male - Science officer
    Lieutenant Glaak - Klingon Male - Chief of Security and Tactical Officer

    PREPERATIONS

    Captains log stardate 90854.32: We have just finished a 4 month preliminary survey expedition to the Delta Volanis cluster and are heading back to ESD, very much looking forward to some shore leave back on Earth before heading out on our next mission to New Romulus to aid in the building of the new Romulan Republic...

    "OK IS EVERYONE HERE?" I call out to get the daily meeting under starter's orders. "As you know we are heading back to ESD and some of you will know, that this morning, I received a priority one communique from fleet HQ. I can tell you now that unfortunately our shore leave has been temporally cancelled and we are to head directly to New Romulus at best possible speed."

    At this a chorus of groans sound out from around the table

    "Oh well there goes my bet with Ensign Drake, I had a 50 credit bet I could beat his t-shirt souvenir from our last shore leave" said Dytav, "I'm sure I can find something more gaudy than something that says 'Engineers do it with warp cores."

    "Yes...thank you for that contribution Dytav, I'm sure the Admiral found that most insightful." said Mazria with a small smirk.

    "Alright folks, on with business." I cut in before it turned into a free for all where we sit for a couple of hours and get nothing done, "As you can guess the nature of our mission to New Romulus has changed and I'm sure I can say with confidence - it has changed not for the better. Tagged on to the orders was an invite from D'Tan himself asking for third party help in reactivating an Iconian gateway found intact under the surface. It seems that our run in with Hakeev and his gateways have left us in the position of the 'go-to' people when help is needed."

    "And what-just-is-the help we are supposed to give here Admiral?" asked Mirra "This ship is an advanced escort, hardly equipped for extensive scientific studies, and it's not a medical ship - unless you count creating casualties as a medical treatment!!!"

    "Nothing quite prosaic." I reply "Apart from our previous encounters you know first and foremost I am a scientist, and while the 60% of me as a scientist is very much looking forward to this as an opportunity to explore strange new worlds, the 40% of me that is the tactician is screaming that while it is all very well for us to go through the gate, there just might be something on the other side waiting to come back! As such I want us prepared for any eventuality"

    "We can't be the only ship Starfleet is sending?" asked Glaak

    "Good deities no!" exclaimed Oneida "I would have thought that every power in the quadrant would want a hand in this, let's face it, a working Iconian gate would give whoever controlled it the instant upper hand in all the power struggles going on."

    "And you would be right, as well as us Starfleet is sending the Enterprise with Capt. Shon and his crew, the Klingons will be represented by the Bortasqu' commanded by a certain Capt. Koren and while I haven't crossed paths with her myself, you don't get to command the KDF's flagship by being nice."

    "That would be putting it mildly" interjected Glaak more to himself.

    "We will also have a special guest as well, D'Tan has asked if Ambassador Worf will be there as an advisor"

    "Ambassador Worf has had past dealings with Iconian gates," said Ranglok "he is also a good choice as he is respected on all sides in the Klingon-Federation conflict, if anyone can stop this escalating into another flashpoint it would be him."

    "My thoughts as well," said Mirra "so who is going down there with you admiral, I would like to remind you that as tempting as it is, you are still an admiral and commander of this ship, needless to say if anything happens down there the knowledge you have makes you an instant target. Standard regs say..."

    "Yes I know what they say Mirra," I cut in "you take great delight in reminding me on every away mission we go on, however this time I will be going alone. Before you say it," I hold my hands up in a placating manor before Mirra goes a deeper shade of blue than she already is, "look at the company I'll be in, Starfleets' elite, the pride of the KDF as well as the Romulan Republics head of state and quite a few of the brightest minds the quadrant has to offer, I think me as the sole target out of that lot would be a very unlucky day indeed. No, while I'm down there I want you lot to prepare for what might come through the other way, Mirra you will of course be in charge, Dytav you will be XO. Oneida, I want you and Mazria to prepare for casualties and fast supply of consumables in case needed. Ranglok stay on sensors, I want the system so under surveillance that if a fly farts on DS9 I want us to know about it first, likewise Glaak, anything happens that is a threat to us in the caverns or to the ship, shoot first and I'll ask the questions later, just try not to blow up the Klingons or the Romulans while you're at it, have security teams on standby for a fast insertion. There is a chance the gate may produce interference that will affect transporters so have the Runabouts on standby. Also as you know the nature of the gates mean they could open anywhere so be prepared for boarding actions as well as ships suddenly showing up on our tail."

    "Aye aye, admiral"

    "In the meantime set course for New Romulus and engage the trans-warp drive..."
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  • johngazmanjohngazman Member Posts: 2,826 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    +++ Commence Personal Log +++
    Sarah Walker
    Officer Commanding, U.S.S. Gemini

    Since the discovery of an Iconian gateway under the surface of Dewa III - now more commonly named "New" Romulus - the Romulan Republic has made clear it's intention to re-activate and investigate the mysterious gateway. Despite advice suggesting that it would not be wise, D'Tan has agreed to move forward with the project, leaving Starfleet - and the Klingons - no option but to offer their support in the matter.

    As such, I have been dispatched to New Romulus to oversee the activation ceremony. Whilst my previous experience with Iconian Gateways puts me in at an advantage in dealing with them, if there's one thing i've learned, it's that nothing good comes from Iconian gateways.

    I can only hope someone on New Romulus shares my concerns. End Log.


    +++ Log Terminated +++

    ***

    Tau Dewa Sector
    New Romulus


    Dewa III loomed into view on the Gemini's viewscreen as the Vesta-class ship slowed from warp nine and began to manouver into a geo-synchronous orbit. The ready room doors hissed open as Sarah Walker stepped back onto the bridge, now dressed in her Dress Uniform.

    "Status, Akeen?" she asked, straightening her jacket slightly.

    "We are in a geo-synchronous orbit of New Romulus, Captain." Akeen replaied, his antannae twitching slightly as he tapped the armrest console. "The Enterprise has already arrived, as has the IKS Bortasqu'. We're also detecting several Romulan ships in orbit."

    "Nothing to be worried about. The Bortasqu' is permitted to be here, and this is Romulan space now." Walker replied. She took a moment to glace out of the viewscreen at the ships milling around New Romulus. "Commander, you have the bridge until I return."

    "Captain, need I remind you that going down there is a gross violation of protocol?" Akeen interjected as she turned toward the bridge turbolift. "The captain of a ship should not be leading an away mission."

    "This isn't an away mission, Akeen. It's an official diplomatic function. And that means officially, nothing can go wrong" Walker informed him, jovially.

    "And unofficially, sir?"

    "Unofficially" she said pointedly, her face hardening "I want a team of officers with MACO training in the transporter room the entire time i'm down there. And keep a torpedo ready. The moment things don't look right, I want boots on the ground."

    "To stabilise the situation, I assume?" Akeen inquired

    "Once they've rescued me, of course!" Walker joked as she stepped into the turbolift "Deck nine."

    The turbolift hummed to life and descended into the ship. As it came to a halt on deck nine, Walker's commbadge chirped to life

    "Captain, i've got an Admiral D'amarok of the 'N'Ventar' hailing us. He says he needs to speak to you, immediately." The harsh voice of Andaak, the Klingon Operations officer, came through

    "Is he prepared to beam aboard?" Walker asked, turning a corner and following the corridor. There was a momentary silence as Akeen and D'amarok spoke, during which Walker proceeded towards the transporter room, giving respectful nods and occasional salutes to crewmen as she passed.

    "Yes sir, he'd be happy to beam aboard" Andaak replied eventually.

    "Very well, beam him to transporter room two" Walker ordered, entering the aforementioned room. The room shimmered with light for a moment before a tall Romulan wearing a long, deep-red coat appeared on the pad. D'amarok was somewhat typical of a Romulan; his skin was a touch greener than a typical human, and his shaven head clearly showed off his cranial ridges and pointed ears. He stepped forward, and offered his hand to Walker.

    "Admiral D'amarok, I presume?" Walker asked him, shaking his hand.

    "Indeed Captain, thank you for seeing me on such short notice." D'amarok replied

    "No problem Admiral." Walker said, before turning to the transporter chief "Chief, can you give us a minute?" The junior officer nodded silently and quickly left the room. Alone with him, Walker turned back to D'amarok "You said you needed to speak to me urgently? Is this about the Gate?"

    "Yes, indeed it is Captain." D'amarok confirmed "I know I don't have to tell you how dangerous toying with an Iconian Gateway is - I made a point of reading about all known encounters the moment the Republic's science cronies suggested activating it." D'amarok paced a moment before continuing "It's taken us a long time to get where we are now, Captain. Activating this gate could be catastrophic for my people."

    "D'Tan doesn't seem to think so. You brought this before him before you came to me, I take it?" Walker asked

    "Of course. Myself, Admiral Praex of the Ventarix and General Sorval of the Reclaw all voiced our concerns to D'Tan in person. But..." D'amarok paused "...D'Tan is determined to rebuild our world, and our influence. Understanding Iconian technology could be a significant boon to our people. But the dangers...I fear his judgement is clouded in this matter."

    "I see." Walker thought a moment before adding "What do you intend to do about it?"

    "We can't stop the activation, not now." D'amarok admitted grimly "But Admiral Praex, General Sorval and myself have men at our command in case the worst comes to pass. Can we count on your support?"

    A moment of silence passed between them. It hung on the air like a bad smell.

    "You'll have it, Admiral." Walker assured him, offering her hand. His gloomy look brightened somewhat at this, and he shook her hand. The doors hissed open as the Chief returned, and Walker indicated the transporter pad. "Well, shall we?". He stepped onto the pad alongside her, and she turned to the junior officer at the transported controls.

    "Energise."
    You're just a machine. And machines can be broken.
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  • danquellerdanqueller Member Posts: 484 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    __

    Commander's Record

    Stardate 90143.55

    The Nor'Vesa has.....we have left our mission to....Mol'Dirsan on my orders. We are on courses to....the galactic core Barrier, where I believe a danger to all civilized space eclipses my....all other considerations. The source for this danger....

    Computer, end recording.


    __


    Subcommander Rycho, commander of the Republic starship Nor'Vesa, sat in his judgement seat in such a state of weariness that his normally muscular shoulders sagged and his head had fallen to his chest. This was to be expected, despite his enhanced physical attributes, as he had sat in the same position for the last twenty six hours.

    At first, he had attempted to sleep normally. Then he had asked the Master Healer for a sedative, something he would have avoided in consideration for what the crew might see as grounds for concerns no commanding officer needed on their ship. However, each time, the dreams induced by what he had seen during his last encounter with the being known as Q forced him back into wakefulness after only a handful of hours, feeling worse each time than if he had stayed awake.

    Looking up, his eyes taking a moment longer than they should have to focus, Rycho saw the ship was still just over twelve hours from the barrier at the center of the galaxy. Even the use of the transwarp conduit system had not been able to place them closer, and now the ship had to proceed under standard warp speeds the remaining distance. Part of his mind knew he needed to get rest, or he would be in no condition to face whatever was awaiting them there, but his stubborn refusal to allow yet another encounter with the nightmare visions kept him in the only place he could ensure there would be no rest.

    He was trying to formulate a question to the duty crew, something to put his strained mind to, when he was seized from behind by two pairs of strong arms and pulled physically out of his chair.

    __


    The Bridge spun for a split-second, then there was a sensation of falling as the light abruptly changed and Rycho felt the side of his face impact with a floor that seemed harder and decidedly less padded than it should have been. He vaguely realized the sounds around him had also changed, no longer the ones he had grown to know in the days and weeks since he had come aboard his ship but different instrumentation sounds that echoed oddly, and a strange humming that seemed to come from all around.

    Rolling onto his front, he quickly managed to get his feet under him as reflexes took over and he gathered himself into a ready stance for a follow-on attack. Crouching in a huddle, he looked about at the cavernous room about him, illuminated by spotlights situated around it. Huge pieces of equipment were situated about the chamber, which he now realized actually was a cavern of no small size, some of which actually appeared to be embedded into the stone itself. He saw several figures in bulky armor of a type he did not recognize, but who he could make out were Romulan. From behind him, two more flanked his position but remained out of striking distance, and he realized these were where he expected to find those who had attacked him.



    Before he could turn to look behind him, a single figure moved into the light around Rycho, and he had to blink to refocus his eyes on what he was seeing. The man wore an elaborate robe of purple and green and carried an equally elaborate staff, both highlighted with symbols and fixtures Rycho recognized from some of the senior Tal'shiar officers he had read about, though in greater quantity than anyone he knew of. However, why this particular Romulan would be so adorned was what set Rycho off-guard.

    "Welcome, Sub-Commander Rycho!", said Proconsul D'Tan, performing a sweeping bow "Consider this your invitation to the first activation of the Iconian gateway on Mol'Rihan. I hope you don't mind we ensured it was one you could not refuse."



    As Rycho took a moment to adjust to the sight before him, he was once again seized from behind, and lifted to his feet by the guards there. Too confused by the rush of events and his own lingering weariness, Rycho did not immediately resist and found himself set upright and released before he could do so. In the struggle to remain on his feet, he saw that D'Tan was smiling in the manner of a politician and seemed to be enjoying some private joke.

    Then D'tan turned to a group that had been behind him and said "Given Subcommander Rycho's past ignorance of official summons, I have to wonder if we'll have to do this everytime we want him to appear before us. I present your officer to you, Praetor!"



    One person stepped forwards out of the gathered figures, an imposing Human whose muscular form seemed to wear the uniform upon him as an afterthought, various parts left open to display the chiseled physique of the wearer for all to see. An open invitation to challenge and a warning, as if the broken symbol of a Terran Imperial officer hanging like a necklace around his neck was not enough for that purpose. His entire bearing was that of a warrior king unbent by the years that had turned his hair grey and lined his face, even as his eyes bespoke an intellect that noticed and catalogued all around him.

    And Rycho felt he had truely lost his mind as that man stepped up and studied him through slitted eyes.

    "Indeed. It appears you have done well, Proconsul." said Khan Noonien Singh as he continued to stare at Rycho "No doubt the good Subcommander will be the first to attest to your success."



    In an instant, Rycho's mind cleared and he realized what must have happened, where he must be. The symbol about Khan's neck told the tale plainly, and he knew he had to act quickly. For, if this was indeed the mirrior universe, it was clear they had mistaken him for his counterpart here. Any suggestion they were mistaken might cause them to react in a way their own counterparts would consider savage, and that would likely mean his swift execution.

    Falling to one knee, Rycho lifted his hand to his head in the salute he had given so many times in the past and said "My lord! I have ever been your loyal lieutenant! Speak your command, and it will be done!"

    Nodding down at Rycho with regal tolerance, Khan said "Of course." then he looked about the room and raised his voice to be heard. "I require words with my Subcommander. You will all leave this chamber."

    "But...Praetor Singh! We have..." D'tan seemed taken by surprise "..The equipment must be monitored! We cannot leave the gate open..."

    Khan cut the air with his hand as he rounded on the Proconsul "You will do as I command! Now!"



    Straightening with an air of indignity, D'tan stamped his staff onto the floor with a metalic booming that sounded across the cavern and turned with the other figures in the room. As they left, Rycho thought he could make out several faces looking back at the two men remaining with eyes that held calculation and cunning. Then the armored doors to the chamber sealed with a resounding thud that reverberated thoughout the space, leaving only himself and the man he had followed and served through war and conquest, and even unto the very ends of the universe.



    Before he could shape a question, Khan spun and pinned him against the side of the gateway with an arm that held even more strength than he remembered. The eyes that looked into Rycho's were harsh and knowing as Khan hissed "Who are you?"

    Rycho gripped the arm pinning his neck, knowing Khan would be even more infuriated if he did not prove his own strength by doing so, and found the expected pressure was enough to allow him to gain breath if he did so, but more than enough to hold him fast. He held Khan's gaze as he said "I am Desalle Mendez Rycho. First Lieutenant of Greater Europa and Warlord of the great Khan Noonien Singh!"

    Khan nodded as though this was what he had expected, then said "But not my Subcommander Rycho, yes? "

    "No." Rycho hissed as Khan began to overcome his resistance and the pressure built against his neck once more. "From another....reality!"

    Khan tilted his head as he watched Rycho struggle for a moment, seeming to evaluate something, then abruptly released him and stepped away, turning to look out over the shadows of the room as Rycho fell back to his knees gasping.

    As Rycho managed to get back to his feet, Khan glanced back at him and nodded. "The Subcommander Rycho I have been familiar with was not so quick to remember his oath to me. Even after we were both freed from the stasis field on Ceti Alpha Five, he dared to think he could cast aside his loyalty...to me!"



    Rycho watched as Khan came up to him, not as a vengeful ruler but as a noble leader addressing one of his trusted advisors, and said "Your reality, it seems, differed in this?"

    The Subcommander nodded. "In my universe, you sent me out alone on the scouting expedition. I was the only one the Tal'shiar discovered on their infiltration of Federation space after the Genesis Incident."

    Khan's eyes widened slightly. "Genesis incident? Most interesting. I have seen records of this 'Federation' from Imperial ships we have broken, but nothing about such an event. Yes, I would like to discover more about this."

    Rycho could not help but ask as the question rose in his mind. "If there was no Genesis incident here, what happened on Ceti Alpha Five?"



    Khan's expression grew hard and his hands clenched into fists. When he spoke, it was in a low growl of rage controlled by will alone. "After we both were...lost, the Terran Empire came to test a new planet-killing radiation weapon. They found our people on the surface, and two Imperial officers beamed down to investigate. The officers.....tortured....all they could find. Including....my beautiful wife."

    After a moment of silence during which a muscle in Khan's jaw twitched, he continued. "When they had determined how many survivors there were and where they were located, they used their weapon to eliminate all life on Ceti Alpha Five. None of our people escaped. Only our stasis field preserved our own lives from the same fate.

    "When the Tal'shiar scouts found our chamber and related their goal of overthrowing the weak-willed government of the Republic, it was only natural they would recognize our superior intellects and ask for our leadership in their effort. As well, this provided an ample opportunity to repay the Terrans for what they had done, and we would finally have the empire we are due."



    Then Khan smiled slightly "It was such a pity when the other you decided to plot my death. I had little choice but to kill him, of course. However, I could not let your...his...death be known. By agreement, the Subcommander and I had kept ourselves at seperate locations to deter D'tan's attempts to eliminate us both at once. Should he have learned that I had killed Rycho, I do not doubt he would move to...revoke...my title with extreme prejudice."

    Looking up at the gateway behind Rycho, Khan nodded. "And for that reason, this cannot be allowed to continue to function. With it, D'tan may do as he wishes any place in my domain, and take you any time he pleases. How he managed to retain sole ownership of the access codes is a mystery I will enjoy extracting from his head once it is no longer important to suffer his presence."

    Rycho shook his head. "Yet, I am standing here. He knows I am present, and can achieve his goals if he realizes he can strike now. Or, should you elect to kill me, he will likely discover this and be that much closer to his goals."

    Khan nodded, respect plain on his face. "I would have been very disappointed in you if you had not recognized all of the possibilities. Very well. From your conduct, I surmise you served me with loyalty wherever you are from. You have earned your life. I will send you back through, then permanently disable the gateway. It would appear the technicians were most careless when they left the consoles unattended."



    Guiding Rycho to stand in front of the pulsating plane of energy that stretched between the curved arms of the gateway, Khan took his arm in Rycho's in a salute between warriors since oldest times on Earth. "Never forget your destiny!"

    Rycho nodded and released the salute as Khan stepped back. However, before he could step through, Khan said "Oh, one....last thing...."

    Turning, Rycho saw Khan smiling at him in a way that seemed...wrong. When he spoke, the voice was no longer that of Khan, but a deeper, more sinister one. "Did you like this face? I have so many to show you."

    Then twin bolts of jagged energy flashed out from Khan's eyes, impaling Rycho upon them in shock and burning pain, and knocking him off his feet back into the gateway.


    __



    Rycho lurched bolt upright in his judgement chair, his heart racing and breath coming in startled gasps. Around him, the Bridge crew looked towards him in alarm, expressions of confused concern instantly replacing the routine boredom of a long journey at warp speed.

    Looking frantically about, Rycho searched for the gateway that should have been directly behind his chair, but saw only the empty space he had walked through dozens of times in the past. No field of energy or distortion of light filled his sight, and when he reached out, only empty air met his questing hands.

    Subcommander Tosik came up to him and gave Rycho a curious look. "Commander, is there something wrong? You appear agitated."

    Rycho took several breaths to control himself, then asked. "Have I been here for the last....ten minutes?"

    Tosik cautiously nodded. "Yes. You appeared to be...resting...in your seat. There were no changes to the ship's status, so it did not appear necessary to alter that."



    Looking about at the crewmembers, who were now being very attentive to their stations, Rycho took a moment before slowly sitting back in his chair. Glancing around, he saw that things did, indeed, appear to be as they should. Then he looked at Tosik in surprise "What are you doing on the Bridge? Duty is not for another six hours, is it not?"

    Tosik nodded. "I was called by the Duty Centurion to analyze Tetryon traces on the sensors, but they appear to have disappeared."

    Rycho frowned. "Outside or inside the ship?"

    "Unknown." Tosik grimaced "I didn't have time to localize the reading before it disappeared. Only that it was in close proximity to the ship. Since we're at warp, the probablilty is that we flew through a light radiation cloud, but we would have to double back on our course to confirm that."

    Rycho could not help bringing a hand up to rub at his chest. Even though the fabric of his uniform was unmarred, he could almost feel a fading warmth there, and...

    Standing, the commander rubbed his eyes and gave a grunt. "I am going to Sick Bay, then I will be in my quarters. If I have not returned to the Bridge in seven hours, send an attendant to awake me. Most likely, I will be...unresponsive."

    Tosik nodded with a guarded expression. "May I ask why, sir?"

    Rycho stood and tested his legs before walking to the turbolift doors. "I anticipate the Master Healer will insist I get rest, and this time I intend to follow her instructions with great effort. You have the conn."



    Tosik's questioning face was blocked from view as the doors to the turbolift closed and Rycho again rubbed the spot where he had been struck. Or had he? Was it a dream, or something else, and could he be sure he would know the difference at the moment?

    That he even had to ask such a question was the firmest reason for his decision to seek sleep with whatever means the Master Healer deemed necessary. He would gladly face the nightmares he had experienced before, rather than the one he had just been through.

    And perhaps, just perhaps, he could forget the sight he had seen as he had fallen back through the gateway. The vision of the great Khan, his mentor and leader, altering into something that was no longer human.


    __

  • moonshadowdarkmoonshadowdark Member Posts: 1,899 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    Captain Elijah B. Lowe's Log, Stardate: 89830.60

    I have received word from the Romulan delegation that my presence is requested on their homeworld of New Romulus. They have apparently gone through with opening an old Iconian Gateway. While most of the Federation and to an even more personal extent my crew, are adamant that this event will prove catastrophic, I cannot help but feel a twinge of excitement. A lost portal being activated with no idea what lies beyond it's threshold? It sounds like one of my Holodeck roleplaying game files! This could be the start of a grand adventure worthy of my personal heroes, Captain Jean Luc Picard or James T. Kirk. I should head to the ready room to meet with my crew about the upcoming mission brief. But I do notice I have some time to kill...

    ____________________________________________________________________________


    First Officer T'Luminareth walked down the brightly lit corridor of the U.S.S SIERRA. She nodded her head slightly to the passing crew members as she made her way to the Ready Room. She brushed her long jet black hair over her pointed Vulcan/Romulan ears in her pace. Her bright blue Sierra uniform boots squeaked slightly as she turned down the last hall and approached the door. It opened automatically and she walked in without skipping a beat. She took a quick look about the room. Sitting in the furthest chair from the door was the ship's Chief Engineer, Lumsi. A short ex-Ferengi trader, Lumsi had a tattoo on his right temple to signify his former occupation. He was in a deep discussion with their new charge and acting Ensign, Two of Three, A liberated Borg human T'Luminareth had overheard been called "a smoking hot babe" by the Engineering crewmen during her visits. She did not understand the phrase and wondered if Two was having overheating problems. Across from her was the Chief Medical officer and T'Luminareth's Reman half-brother, Kohal Hwaerianh. He wore a black hood over his head and a special UV mask that protected his face from the lights of the ship. All three of the commanding officers looked in her direction as she walked in. She stood at the door way and sighed, realizing who wasn't in the room.

    "Captain Lowe is late?" she inquired, raising her eyebrow at her fellow crew. They all nodded in unison. Lumsi let out a sharp cackle.

    "Eli ish in the Holodeck, I bet. Lovesh to watch hish shtories before he headsh out on an asshignment." he lisped. T'Luminareth sighed again, acknowledging the Ferengi's astute guess. Lumsi was the Captain's best friend when they were both in Engineering for the U.S.S GORDON, and he and Lowe had a powerful friendship, despite their species. That friendship is what got Lumsi transferred to the Sierra, though his own expertise of ship engines and warp drives earned him is current position. T'Luminareth had to admit, the Ferengi wasn't a bad person, despite her initial expectations. Aside from a compulsive need to borrow currency, he proved to be a stable and somewhat polite individual. Two raised a black metal laden hand in the air. T'Luminareth nodded and pointed in her direction.

    "Captain. Lowe. Not. Joining. Tuh. Loomee?" she asked mechanically, using T'Luminareth's nickname. T'Lumi always dismissed of others who used it on her, but not Two. Two blinked her glassy black eyes in confusion. Her silver-white hair in a perfect bob in front of her face, she tilted her head slightly to the left in a sharp motion, as she often did when she would try to look concerned. T'Lumi felt that Two was more like a human doll toy than a machine-human hybrid they rescued from a derelict Borg cube that fell into a dying star. Since they found out she had been severed from the Borg Collective for reasons unknown to then and to Two herself, the task of teaching her humanity had fallen onto Lumsi. Why the Captain chose a Ferengi to teach a Borg how to be human still eluded T'Lumi's logic.

    "No, Two. Captain Lowe will join us. He's just preoccupied at the moment. I will head down to the Holodecks and retrieve him. Kohal, keep everyone here." she ordered. Kohal raised a gloved hand in belligerent acknowledgement and turning his chair away from her. T'Lumi felt displeased at her "brother" sometimes. A secretive man with almost no people skills, his position in Medical seemed almost mismatched. But he had proven time and again to be a talented surgeon and a very efficient doctor. T'Lumi often suspected that Kohal wasn't really her half-brother, as the thought of the nice, caring Romulan father she had known would birth such a cold, angry son scared her.

    T'Lumi turned around and jogged to the turbolift, catching it as it closed. She selected the Entertainment deck and waited as the lift descended. As the turbolift chimed to tell her she had arrived to the Entertainment deck, she swiftly exited and followed the doors down. She glanced at each Holodeck's panel which dipected the current occupant's file. She soon found one marked "PRIVATE SESSION" and accessed it. The door slide open with a soft WOOSH! She entered the dark holodeck. As she did, her regulation Sierra uniform transformed on her person, resembling an old 23rd century Federation uniform. She walked through the darkness for a few seconds before a sliding door opens in front of her, blinding her with light. She raises a hand and walks through it.

    The sounds of battle emanated ahead of her. As her eyes adjusted, she found herself standing on the bridge of the U.S.S Enterprise. She saw James Tiberius Kirk in the captain's chair. Spock was at his station, as were Uhura and Sulu. However, there was an extra crewman, standing behind them all with a satisfied smirk on his face as he watched them fight an enemy that lay just off screen of the view screen. T'Lumi recognized the observer as her current captain, Elijah Barnabas Lowe.

    __________________________________________________________________________

    Elijah watched the crew of the Enterprise brace their stations as the assault from the Hyper-Gorn flagship rocked the virtual ship. He always enjoyed this roleplay game the most, as it incorporated one of his favorite Kirk-era maneuvers, the Solar Chicken Run. Kirk would fly the Enterprise towards the sun that burned a few thousand miles above them. The Hyper-Gorn would follow, trying to keep hitting the Forward shields, as they had been hammering away at them for quite some time. Simply starting the attack over again on the other shields would have proven a better tactic as the ship's shielding had gone to the Forward to survive this long, but the Hyper-Gorn weren't as intelligent as their real counterparts. They would inadvertently soar ahead of the Enterprise, get caught in the star's gravity field and the Enterprise would simply use the Hyper-Gorn ship as a target for the Repulsor array and push themselves to safety. Elijah smirked at it, mentally commending the characters on such a clever move. He felt someone tap his shoulder and looked, surprised to see his First Officer standing next to him in a short blue miniskirt and tight dress top.

    "T'Lumi! Wuh-what are you doing here?" he stammered, hurriedly moving his eyes off her attractive form and locking firmly on her deep green eyes. Elijah flustered whenever his First Officer would show up unannounced, especially in his roleplay games set in the 23rd Century, when Starfleet uniforms were not as formal as the Sierra dresscode. He knew that thinking about pursuing T'Lumi was a foolish errand, both by practical and emotional degrees. She was his First Officer and a Vulcan raised woman. She did not comprehend or acknowledge human emotion and Elijah was certain that even if she did, she'd never be interested in a man-child such as himself. She just walked in on him playing, for God's sake! He pushed the thoughts from his head, grateful that none of his crew or important personnel were Betazoid.

    "I'm here for you, sir. You were wanted in the ready room. The Romulan Delegation is activating the Gateway, remember?" T'Lumi reminded. She raised her eyebrow at him.

    "Oh! Right, right, right..." Elijah stated bitterly, "Pause. Save game. Terminate program." The holodeck shimmered and the command deck dissipates, along with the era appropriate attire and space. T'Lumi beckons Elijah with one finger and he follows her, mentally kicking himself in the rear. They both boarded the turbolift and T'Lumi selected the Observation deck where the ready room was located. The lift hummed as it began to ascend. Elijah leaned back against the lift wall and waited.

    "Captain, are you nervous?" T'Lumi stated, taking Elijah by surprise.

    "Nervous?"

    "You seem quite distracted," T'Lumi turned, looking at her captain, "Is this about me?"

    Elijah blanched and stuttered. "You? What-what are you saying?"

    "You seem distracted by me. I believe I know why." she said. Elijah swallowed a lump in his throat and braced for a calm tirade about his feelings for her and reject him.

    "I think you are feeling guilty about this mission."

    Elijah blinked. "Wait, what?"

    "You feel guilty that the Romulan Delegation asked you to go alone to New Romulus to witness the activation of the Iconian Gateway. You know that I, as a Science Officer, would be fascinated by the scientific properties of the Gateway and must harbored some sort of resentment towards you for being selected over me. I wish to inform you, with the utmost of sincerity, I do not. I am happy that you are attending this occasion and I do not bear any sort of negative impression onto you." she stated, turning back around. Elijah breathed a sigh of relief.

    "Uh, sure, yeah. Let's go with that." he deflected. The turbolift dinged and the doors opened. T'Lumi exited first, with Elijah in tow behind her. They walked into the ready room. Lumsi was now standing at the window, looking out into the dark expanse of space at the small planet they were headed towards. Two sat cross legged in her chair, slapping her hands together in odd intervals. Kohal remained where he was previously, only turning his chair enough to see the Captain and T'Lumi enter. When T'Lumi took her seat next to him, he turned his chair again, facing the door. T'Lumi frowned and placed her cheek in her hand. Elijah took his seat at the head of the table and grinned at Two.

    "Hey there, Two. Whatcha up to?" he greeted. Two looked up and smiled.

    "Lumsi. Taught. Two. Clap. Hands. Two. Practice." she said, slapping her hands. Elijah smiled and nodded encouragingly.

    "Good job, Lum. Maybe next you can teach her how to bum creds, too." Elijah smirked at the Ferengi as he sat down.

    "I told you, I will repay you when we make ishore leave!" Lumsi slurped, giving Elijah their old Engineer hand sign. Elijah returned the gesture with an old and rude gesture of his own. Lumsi laughed and Elijah looked at his crew.

    "Alright, so as you all know, D'Tan of the Romulan Republic as invited me to attend this Gateway opening thing. It's a huge deal and all and I just want to get your feedback. Is this a good idea?" Elijah posed to his crew. He points at Two, who raises her hand, "Go, Two."

    "Gateway. Important. Very. Fun. Wish. Could. Go." she said, one corner of her mouth drooping slightly. Elijah patted the young woman on the hand.

    "I know, Two. But D'tan feels it'd be safer if the less people who go to this thing, the better. Can't risk sabotage or anything like that." Elijah looked up and pointed at Lumsi.

    "Lumshi hear that famoush Klingon Worf be there. Captain Lowe, honored you sh-ould be to meet shuch a hero." he said. Elijah grinned and nodded at Lumsi's words. He looked over at T'Lumi, who was giving him a "Let's be realistic" look.

    "Captain, our primary objective should be if the Gateway is safe. Let's not forget that a entire species died out because of one of these gateways." T'Lumi pointed out. Elijah nodded.
    "True, T'Lumi. True," he agreed. He looked at Kohal's chair back, "What's your opinion, Kohal?"

    Kohal's shoulders went up and down in a very lax attempt at a shrug. Elijah rolled his eyes at the Reman.

    "Thanks for the input, Kohal, but I'm going to stop you before you yak our ears off," Elijah quipped. He tapped the intercom, "Transporter, we cleared to beam?"

    The intercom chirped, "Affirmative, Captain. Awaiting your presence."

    Elijah grinned and stood up. He walked over to the doorway and was about to leave when he heard T'Lumi clear her throat. He turned and looked at her.

    "What?" he asked.

    T'Lumi looked into Elijah's eyes and for a second, he thought he saw a look of worry.

    "Captain, be careful. We still do not know everything of this Gateway and I feel tha-"

    Elijah waved his hand, cutting her off.

    "Don't worry, T'Lumi. I'll be in great hands. It's Commander Worf, the leader of the Romulan Republic and even the Captain of the Enterprise herself!" he said, backing out of the room.

    "What's the worst that could happen?"
    "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP"

    -Leonard Nimoy, RIP
  • ironphoenix113ironphoenix113 Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    When we reactivate the Iconian Gateway

    Bryan could not stop reading that line of the invitation he had recieved from D'Tan.

    Iconinan Gateway

    Those two words struck more fear into his heart than seeing the Borg Queen's vessel during the recent battle of Unimatrix 01. He thought back to the batte at the Brea system, when he watched Sela's flagship get captured by an unknown vessel and disappear through an Iconian Gateway disguised as an asteroid. He got up from his chair and looked around his quarters. Somehow, he knew that something was going to go very wrong, and that he was going to be on the front line.
    *******

    Standing in the center of her bridge, Selana looked around at her crew.

    It's been a while since we met, she thought, looking specifically at Tovan, Satra, Veril, and Hiven, the four officers that had been with her since the beginning. I just hope you are all ready for the worst, even though we're not entirely sure what that is.

    Don't worry, came another's thoughts, We would follow you no matter where this path leads.

    Veril she thought, touching her Reman lover's mind in turn, while smiling slightly, I know that you all will. You are the best crew in the Republic. I just wish I knew what was going to happen to us today.

    Well, what ever happens, We will be there beside you.

    Selana nodded to Veril, smiling slightly. "Veril, you have the deck," she called, "I'll be in my quarters. I have a few reports I need to go over before the gate is activated. Let me know when we arrive at the rendavouz point with our Starfleet contact.'

    "Aye, aye, sir," Veril called, and Selana walked into the turbolift and disappeared behind the doors.
    *******

    The Athena slid smoothly out of warp at their rendevouz point, only to find another ship there waiting for them.

    "Sir, we have a Roluman Scimitar class dreadnought in the area," Athena said, just as Bryan entered the bridge.

    "I see it," He replied, noticing the pale white, bird-shaped vessel outside the front window.

    "Shall we go to yellow alert?" Ibalei asked.

    "No," Bryan said, studying the ship very carefully. "Raise the shields, but let's not press the issue quite yet.

    "Raising shields now," Six called from her seat.

    "Sir, they're hailing us," Athena said.

    "Onscreen," Bryan nodded.

    "U.S.S. Athena, this is Centurion Satra of the Romulan Republic Warbird Aquila," The Romulan woman called, "My commanding officer and her first officer are requesting permission to beam aboard your vessel."

    Bryan nodded slightly. "Granted. Tell them I'll meet them in transporter room one."

    "Very well. closing channel."

    The viewscreen went blank. "Ibalei, with me. Six, power down the shields. You have the deck while Ibalei and I are gone."

    "Yes sir," the Liberated Borg replied. "Is something wrong?"

    "No," Bryan said, actually smiling a little. "I just have a hunch as to who the Republic sent."
    *******

    Bryan stood in front of the transporter pad, his first officer behind him. Suddenly, two green anomalies shimmered in, and there stood a proud Romulan woman, wearing a long, dark green coat with gold trimming, to large shoulder pads with similar coloring, and twin black capes flowing down, one from each shoulder. Behind her, trying to stay in the shadows, was a Reman woman, who, despite her attempts to shadow herself, still looked no less proud.

    "I thought that you would be my contact," Bryan said, smiling sightly.

    The Romulan smiled as well. "It's good to see you too, Bryan."

    "Athena, dim the lights," Bryan said, looking at the Reman woman.

    "Thank you," The Reman said, smiling slightly now.

    "Well, anyways, welcome aboard the U.S.S. Athena, Vice Admiral Selana Da'is."

    "Do you have to be so formal?" Selana asked, chuckling a little, "We are family, afterall."

    "There are some regulations that I take seriously," Bryan replied, laughing a little as well. "Come on, let's go down to the lounge."
    *******

    The four sat down at the bar in the Athena's lounge.

    "So, how have you been?" Selana began. "It's been a little while since I spoke to you last."

    "Honestly?" Bryan said, suddenly looking very tired. "I'm not sure how much longer I can keep this up. The other Admirals are questioning my every move. It seems like no matter what I do, they don't approve of it. You heard about the battle of Trill recently, right? I volunteered to participate in the ground action there as well, because it's good for morale if everyone sees their commanding officer actually standing on the front line fighting with them. During my time on the ground, my chief tactical officer, Kerry Avalrez, was killed when a high yield photon torpedo impacted the hull. Ibalei offered to take up the mantle of chief tactical officer, so I gave her a month long evaluation. The entire tactical department has shown a drastic improvement after she took over, so I let her keep the position. The other Admirals thought I allowed her to switch because of our relationship, even after I showed them the statistics. In the end, they almost court-martialed me for 'Breaking regulation,' but I barely managed to stave them off. I'm starting to wonder it they're right though. Am I going to far to secure victory for the Federation? Am I-"

    "No, you're not," Selana said, a slight fire in her eyes.

    "Exuse me?" Bryan said, taken aback slightly.

    "No, you're not," She continued, her green eyes gleaming in the dimly lit room. "You are one of the strongest and the most determined Admirals in Starfleet's history. You are willing to take the risks and fight the battles that the others refuse to fight." You have held the line, and won, when others would have retreated. Starfleet is at war, and so it needs to change with the times. You are the only one who has embraced that fact. Don't stop. I know you can do it."

    Bryan smiled slightly, "Thanks Sel."

    "You're welcome," She quipped, smiling a little as well.

    "So, how about you? What's it like being an Admiral in the Romulan Republic?"

    Now it was Selana's turn to look exhausted. "It's tough, I won't lie. It's become my job to give orders and send men and women to their deaths. I try to be on the front as much as I can, helping against the Ealchi, Tal Shiar, and everyone else that threatens the Republic, but it can be quite difficult at times."

    Bryan nodded. "Well, at least you try to be out on the front. Most of Starfleet's Admirals are too washed up for front line service."

    She laughed at that comment. "I wouldn't doubt it."

    Bryan looked down into his drink. "So, what are your thoughts on this Iconian Gateway?"

    Selana sighed heavily. "Do you want the honest answer or the 'be a good little Admiral' answer?"

    "Sel..."

    "Fine," She said, roller her eyes slightly, "I'll give you both. Objectively, I have to believe that D'Tan is doing what is best for our people. Honestly though? The whole idea scares me. We really should not be so anxious to try to use that which we do not understand."

    "I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks so," Bryan sighed heavily.

    They were silent for several minutes.

    "Bryan," Selana spoke up suddenly, "I need you to promise that, whatever happens down there, that you will keep Mol'Rihan safe, no matter what."

    "Of course I will," he replied, slightly taken aback by Selana's outburst, If you don't mind me asking though, what brought this on?"

    "I lost my first home, Romulus, before I was born," She said. "I was born on a colony world to a single mother who was determined to make that world a home for me. Then, when I was only ten, my new home, my mother, was taken from me by the Tal Shiar." Tears began to slide down from her green eyes, now full of pain and loss, rather than pride. "Killed, simply because she was defending her new home. Then, two years ago, the world of my birth, Virinat, on which I still lived, was taken from me as well, and many of my close friends were killed, simply because we happened to be on the planet. I couldn't bear it if I lost another home. I just couldn't..." Her voice broke. She placed her head in her hands, and started to cry, the sound of her pain muffled slightly.

    Bryan hugged his half-sister tightly, and she placed her head on his shoulder, her tears beginning to soak into his uniform. "I promise you, Sel," he said gently, as he continued to embrace her, "I promise that I will do everything I can to prevent you from losing another home."
    *******

    Selana appeared on the screen in the computer in Bryan's Ready room. "What do you need Bryan?" she asked.

    "First of all, Athena," he called, "I need you to triple layer the encryption on this channel and cycle the keys every three seconds. Use the best algorithms you can manage."

    "Aye, sir," the AI replied, and the screen jumped for a moment while the computers synced.

    "Good, now that that's done, we can discuss this securely."

    "What's this about Bryan?" The Romulan asked, looking very concerned.

    "Selana, what I'm about to tell you is to stay between you and me, understand?"

    "Bryan..."

    "Do you understand." He repeated.

    "Fine, yes, nobody will hear about this. Now what is it?" She asked getting rather impatiant.

    "I'm sure by now you've heard about the fact that Iconian gateways have now reopened all over the galaxy?"

    "Yes?"

    "And that scanning the gateway in orbit in the Jouret system caused the Enterprise to mysteriously lock down?"

    "What are you getting at Bryan?"

    "I had to get special permission from the rest of the Admirals in Starfleet in order to release this to you, and I am telling you that nobody, save for ship captains and flag officers are to know about this, understand?"

    "Of course."

    "Sending the files now." Bryan touched the screen, and selected all of the reports the were flagged with a single symbol: Omega.
    Vice Admiral Bryan Mitchel Valot
    Commanding officer: Odyssey class U.S.S. Athena
    Admiral of the 1st Assault Fleet
    Join date: Some time in Closed Beta
  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 8,258 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    "The Gang's All Here"

    The Nebula-class starship USS Messier sped through the void of otherspace, bound for the world once known as Dewa III, now Mol'Rihan. In her ready room, her commander, Vice Admiral Jon Sills, was speaking on hyperchannel with his old colleague and classmate, Vice Admiral Sajak, commander of the advanced escort USS Pournelle.

    "I mean, have you seen the list of ships Starfleet's called in?" the Human asked, waving expressively at a printout. "It's like a Who's Who of who you call when the waste's about to hit the fan!"

    "It is indeed impressive," the Vulcan replied. "To be sure, I was rather surprised when Command relieved us of our assignment in the True Way pacification to respond to this summons."

    "Yeah, and they pulled us off the Borg front, too," Sills said, fuming. "If we lose an engagement because my ship was out of position..."

    "You will do what, exactly?" Sajak asked drily. "You may have the rank, Jon, but like me you are just as subject to orders as the day we first reported to the Northwestern for our cadet cruise. No, logically our only open course of action is to respond to this order, and rely on our compatriots in Starfleet, Task Force Omega, and the Cardassian Defense Force to manage without us for a short time. I have no doubt that once this incident has concluded, we will be returned to our former duties."

    "If it concludes, Sajak. D'Tan's determined to open an Iconian gateway! You know as well as I do what that can mean - even if they do manage to avoid what happened when the Dewans tried to activate that same gate, who knows where the other side will lead? What if it comes out through that big gate around Brea, and New Romulus starts venting atmosphere into space? Or worse, what if this was the gate the Iconians used when they escaped, and we're about to get a good look into their headquarters?"

    "There seems little point in examining 'what-ifs', Jon. What was that saying of your father's? Something about 'ifs' and 'ands'?"

    Sills sighed. "'All those 'ifs' and 'ands' can leave you sitting on your 'buts'," he quoted. "But sometimes the old man made mistakes too. How can we prepare when we don't even know if there's going to be anything to prepare for?"

    On the screen, Sajak nodded. "Indeed. For the duration of the ceremony, the Pournelle will remain in yellow-alert status, with shields up and weapons energized. May I recommend a similar posture for the Messier?"

    "Not a bad idea. Better coordinate with some of my Klingon counterparts from Omega, though - the KDF's sending a fair contingent too. Intel says they're even sending the Bortasqu', probably as the opposite number to Shon's Enterprise, and I don't want to make her captain nervous. I guess it's a good thing neither of us was selected as Starfleet's representative, although I can't say I'm that comfortable with who they chose. Just a captain? And a Ferengi captain at that?"

    "I take it you have not yet met Captain Grunt," Sajak replied. "I had the opportunity some time back, when his Hephaestus assisted us with relief efforts at some old Romulan colony worlds. He is quite atypical for a Ferengi - while, like most of his people, he does look for profit in all things, he does not regard profit as the sole worthwhile motive. He is also unusually brave and resourceful, and his service record shows that he has a talent for, as your people would put it, 'falling into an outhouse and discovering a dilithium mine'. I believe his advancement through Starfleet may have been impeded by certain ingrained reactions to his species - reactions not unlike yours, if I may be so bold."

    Sills sighed again, then chuckled, running a hand through his thinning hair. "Yeah, thanks, Sajak. I can always count on you to poke logical holes right through all my unspoken justifications, can't I?"

    "I am, as always, pleased to be of service, my friend. Now if I may be excused, there are a few matters I would like to see to before we arrive, which by my estimates should be in less than three standard hours. I will admit that I look forward to sharing your company again."

    Sills grinned. "You still can't make yourself say you'll be happy to see me, huh? Don't worry, though - I'll have that bottle of Coke I owe you. And yes, this one's brewed by an authentic Coca-Cola factory, not replicated, so you'll get the authentic sugar buzz."
    "Science teaches us to expect -- demand -- more than just eerie mysteries. What use is a puzzle that can't be solved? Patience is fine, but I'm not going to stop asking the universe to make sense!"

    - David Brin, "Those Eyes"
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  • hawke89305092hawke89305092 Member Posts: 237 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    "I call, and double your bet."

    There was no doubt whatsoever in Lieutenant Commander Jack Storen's voice as he tossed a handful of round plastic chips into the middle of the table. He looked completely at ease, leaning comfortably back in his chair and letting his grey hued blue eyes play idly over the other senior officers seated at the poker table. The first officer of the U.S.S. Atlanta, Storen was quite handsome, with well-proportioned features and almost girlishly high cheekbones, and he kept his chestnut hair neatly combed.

    Directly across the table from Storen, Lieutenant Commander Jalik's deep brown eyes narrowed a little. Tall and broad shouldered, he wore his short black hair in the traditional Vulcan style, exposing his pointed ears. His slanted eyebrows and strong, squarish jaw gave him a stern look, but when he spoke, his voice was calm and considered.

    "You cannot be serious."

    Storen smiled and turned his palms upward in a helpless gesture, not at all worried by the grave look on the Chief Engineer's face.

    "Oh, but I am."

    "It is not logical to bet without even looking at your cards."

    "In that case you shouldn't have any trouble winning the hand."

    Jalik was about to say something else when a compact woman sitting to Storen's left shook her head and cut him off.

    "Let it go, or else we'll reach New Romulus before we even finish the hand."

    Storen turned to face the woman, raising one eyebrow in a quizzical look. A pretty young woman with blue eyes and pale blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, Lieutenant Lisa Hill could still pass for a Starfleet Cadet despite holding the position of Tactical Officer and Security Chief aboard ship.

    "And will you be joining the hand, Lisa?"

    Hill merely smirked as she stacked up a pile of chips to match the first officer's bet.

    "It'll take more than that to get rid of me."

    Jalik silently called the bet, and subsequently all eyes shifted to the fourth player, an attractive young Risian woman with caramel brown hair that hung in a loose cascade about her slender neck. Currently her clear blue eyes, set neatly amongst exquisitely fine features, were looking absorbedly out the window at the stars streaking past. A slightly puzzled look on her face, she turned back to the table.

    "Does it seem like the ship is going faster than usual?"

    Storen frowned as he looked over the science officer. Laiale Karn had joined the Atlanta's crew only a few months ago and despite numerous missions together, Storen still felt like he hadn't quite gotten to know who she really was. Putting those thoughts aside for the moment, he gave a nonchalant yawn before answering her question.

    "We've been at warp 9 for the last five hours, ever since the Captain was invited to New Romulus."

    "The Captain was invited to New Romulus?" Karn echoed. "Why?"

    "Apparently the Romulans are planning to reactivate the Iconian Gateway they found. They're making a show of it to us and the Klingons, and there are a fair few important people attending, including Captain Va'Kel Shon. Captain Gilmore will complete the party."

    After he had finished his explanation, Storen noticed that Laiale was still yet to make a move.

    "Are you going to call?"

    "Sorry, I fold."

    "In that case..."

    Storen flipped over his cards and was rewarded with absolutely nothing. A crestfallen look passed over his face like a storm front, and he gave an exaggerated sigh in mock despair.

    "Well, that didn't work."

    Jalik fixed his gaze directly on the first officer as he leant out to collect his winnings.

    "It would seem that logic prevails once again."

    Storen shook his head in regret and collected everyone's cards, bringing them together before he started to shuffle them expertly.

    "Doesn't it seem a bit reckless for the Romulans to try and activate the gate?" Karn asked suddenly, the thoughtful look on her face making it perfectly obvious she was still preoccupied by the news.

    Hill smiled wryly. "Tempting fate is more like it. Last time that Gateway was used, an entire civilisation was wiped out."

    Storen nodded in solemn agreement. "Not to mention that when the Romulans tried to use Iconian technology for their own ends before, they blew up their homeworld."

    "I didn't think D'Tan would want to risk everything like that," Karn murmured, her eyes clouded with concern. "He's tried so hard to give his people a future, and now he might be throwing it all away. It just doesn't make sense."

    Jalik appeared entirely unsurprised by that observation. Taking a short, almost tired breath, he turned to the science officer and gave her a critical stare.

    "D'Tan is Romulan. And Romulans are governed by passion and impulse. Doubtless this show is a product of a moment's strong emotion rather than well-reasoned planning."

    Storen tilted his head a little, then smiled as something occurred to him.

    "Either that, or D'Tan is a Changeling."

    "And this is how conspiracy theories are born," Hill commented exasperatedly, closing her eyes and putting a hand to her forehead.

    Storen chuckled to himself and began to deal out the cards with a practiced hand. They flew neatly across the table under his direction, and he soon finished and set the deck down between the four of them. Now that his hands were free, he glanced down and picked up his cards. He grinned confidently and was about to make some boastful comment despite the fact his cards were awful when Lieutenant Karn spoke in an almost inaudible voice.

    "If something goes wrong down there... the Captain is going to be in danger."

    "There is no need for concern," Jalik said dismissively. "Transporter Chief Kelly and I have prepared a portable pattern enhancer for the Captain. At the first indication of trouble we can beam him back to the Atlanta, even if the Iconian Gateway is generating interference."

    "And what about everyone else?" Karn asked.

    Jalik's gaze did not waver as he considered that question. "Captain Gilmore is our responsibility, not the others."

    Hill gave the Risian a reassuring smile. "Besides, I'm sure we're not the only ones who are concerned. There'll probably be half a dozen precautionary measures in place."

    Somehow that statement did not seem to have the desired effect, and it seemed for a short time as though a pall of silence was draped over the poker table. Realising there was nothing to be gained by worrying, the first officer turned to Hill and forced a nonchalant smile.

    "It's your bet."

    "Oh, right."

    Although no one mentioned the Iconian Gateway again, a slow burning anxiety seemed to pervade the room as the officers continued the poker game, one that they were each of them powerless to extinguish.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • proteusrexproteusrex Member Posts: 62 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    Admiral James Gorman watched quietly as Captain Dennis Merrik stormed into his ready room. The younger man looked furious, and James knew why, it was the fifth time that the launch of his ship, the USS Explorer, had been delayed.

    "What the hell James?"

    "You've been out of the game too long old friend." James smiled. "But you need to understand. You and your crew spent almost a year stranded in the mirror universe. I've read the reports, you fought every day to survive, and did a lot of questionable things. Things that must have come really close to compromising everything you stand for. That kind of stress takes its toll."

    "I'm as sharp as I've ever been." Merrik snapped, his eyes narrowing.

    "And all the doctors agree with you." James nodded."But there are people who want to ground you and shove you behind a desk, and they're trying really hard to use your experience as a reason."

    "Your friends." He let the words hang in the air. He hoped the word would remind Merrik that he wasn't challenging him, he was just trying to help. "We have worked really hard to make sure that isn't going to happen. You're not the only one who had to pull favours to get your ship back. So pardon me if it doesn't suit your schedule."

    "We've been on leave for months..." Merrik began, only to be cut off.

    "During which, you took up with some Klingon outcasts, started a relationship with an enemy officer and somehow convinced a long-lost Romulan war hero to return to his people. That doesn't sound like leave to me."

    "You know she's Orion right?" Merrik said, a sly smile creeping across his face. "We found this secluded beach on Risa and..."

    James shot him a sharp glance and Merrik's voice faltered, a quiet reminder that he still feared him, for now anyway. "I was going to say 'hatched eggs'..." he finished quietly.

    "I'm serious Merrik." James continued. "You've got to watch yourself. The political climate since you've been gone has gotten a lot murkier, there's not a lot of trust floating around. Don't even get me started on your Fleet Alliances."

    "Here's the deal." He pulled a PADD out of his pocket, and extended it toward Merrik.
    "I'm authorizing your launch, a little shakedown cruise. A chance to test out the new Explorer and get your space-legs back. You've got a top notch crew, and a top notch ship. Go through the drills, test your systems, and you'll be back on the front lines in no time."

    "Thanks James." Merrik accepted the PADD. "So what's the plan?"

    "The Romulans are going to activate their Iconian gateway. They want representatives from the Federation and from the Empire to attend what will surely be a historic event for the New Republic and the Quadrant. Dr. T'Mira is one of the Federation's leading experts on Iconian technology, she was on the Enterprise during their first encounter with one. Pick her up on Vulcan, and escort her to the event, make sure she and her team are safe."

    "Wow." Merrik studied the PADD. "That's quite a guest list, looks like every commander in the fleet is coming." He went silent as he scrolled through the more technical details. "You sure this is a good idea? The first activation of this ancient 'star gate' seems pretty risky for a bunch of diplomats to watch."

    "Gateway." James corrected him. "D'Tan's people have been working on it for months. They've assured us that the activation will be tightly controlled and our representatives will be safe. It?s all very political and ceremonial, the New Republic is grasping at legitimacy and they saw what the wormhole did for Bajor. That said, it's a pretty amazing technology and research opportunity for us, we'd be stupid not to risk it. Even so, I can't think of a better officer to keep our people safe."

    "You sure you're not trying to kill me? " Merrik raised his eyebrow. "Did you pay Shon to shove me into that gateway?"

    "I wish." James snorted, "I couldn't kill you if I tried."
  • aten66aten66 Member Posts: 646 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    Captain's Log:
    I've been delivered a personal letter by a young Reman Centurion from New Romulus. I can only guess as to it's contents, and am as now, about to peer into its words.

    ******
    Stardate 90834.59

    Jolan Tru, Vice Admiral Son'aire.

    From D'Tan of The Romulan Republic:

    It's been an eventful year, from beginning to near end. The war with the 2800 at Bajor and DS9, the capture of Hassan the Undying at Nimbus as his involvement with Tal'Shiar is exposed, the joint Borg/Undine war efforts, the Tal'Shiar being exposed as agents of the Iconians, as well as the disappearance of Sela and the death of her general Hakeev.

    The most important event, was your helping to found New Romulus, helping my people to explore their new world, beating back Tholians, and discovering the greatest jewel Mol'Rihan held in its fold!

    And I would like to invite you to see a new event taking shape in the Romulan Republic. Come today to Mol'Rihan, as you and a few others who have taken important roles in establishing a foothold on our new home have been invited to take part in the activation of the Iconian Gateway found in the depths of our planet
    .
    Many of your contemporaries have already joined us in the last few days, hopefully you too, can witness the next step for the Romulan people.

    I toss the P.A.D.D. away from me, as an audible crack is heard from the durable pad hitting the glass trophy case across from me.

    "Idiots, all of them idiots... destroy the stupid thing I say, but no.... The Undine don't have a Gateway anymore, the Tal'Shiar gateways have been confiscated/destroyed they say... they rebuild the one that caused cataclysmic extinction of at least one species... idiots all of them" I shout to an empty, and now trashed, room. I hit my combadge to signal the helmsman. "Immediate course change to Mol'Rihan, authorized to use transwarp capabilities, Gregs-Sharvan-32-X, just get us to that planet yesterday," I know I'm yelling for no reason, but I only fear the horrors that the gateway could unleash.

    **********

    Stardate: 90835.59

    Finally arriving in New Romulus orbit, I was hailed by three other ships in orbit, all of them familiar to me. All requested transport onto the Oregon, and I decided to meet them in my ready room.

    Two green beams and a red beam, accompanied by a whirring sound, brightened and dissipated, revealing a Romulan, Reman, and my brother standing before me. "Well, it's good to see you brother," said my brother in a sneer, "The Romulan clone, and his pet Reman." I rolled my eyes at his comments, I knew he wasn't serious, but that doesn't mean he wasn't hurtful in his words.

    Sal'vin merely rubbed the bridge of his forehead, he didn't really appreciate his half-brother, and insulting his friend wasn't what they all came together for. "It's good to see you two, and we all know why we're here." We all nodded, knowing that we each had a stake in the Iconian gateway not blowing the planet to bits. "We all know D'Tan plans to activate the gateway no matter what the Feds and KDF say, but that doesn't mean we within D'Tan's forces believe this is the wisest course," Sal'vin continued, "I've managed to stall D'Tan for you two to show up, so all three of us can continue on with the delegation planet side, while Zdar here," he said pointing to the young Reman miner, "He will keep watch over the Romulus while we're down there."

    I nodded, we all knew that even opening one gateway, we could unleash the Iconians upon an unsuspecting galaxy. We were all in agreement, while our own personal superiors had political confrontation issues, we four would put our differences aside.

    "Let's hope by the end of this experience, we all survive to live another day," said the quite Reman in the background.
  • wraithshadow13wraithshadow13 Member Posts: 1,533 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    He was in awe.

    Every one has to have heroes, and I suppose, for how young he truly is, it was about time for even Wraith to have one. I suppose it was my fault really. It's not every day we have some one on board who has done so much over the years, for so many. Captain, General, Ambassador... He was the first ever Klingon to serve in Starfleet, and even when he left, he still had a presence through his actions, both on the battlefield as well as in any diplomatic situation. To be honest I suppose, I had been a little star struck as is were. Ambassador Worf, son of Mogh, gin'tak to the House of Martok, was coming on board for a tour of the ship.

    We were on a security assignment to New Romulus, escort and security as per usual. It seemed that D'Tan and his people had managed to get an Iconian Gateway they'd found, up in working order. They'd called in both Klingon and Federation allies, to some kind of conference or presentation where they intend to reactivate the gate. I was brought in to act as Admiral Aviess' personal escort, as well as lending my engineering team where needed. As a personal favor, she asked that I give the Ambassador the personal tour, knowing that it was more of a treat for me, to show a man like the Ambassador one of the most advanced escorts in the fleet.

    And yet, from the get go, I had managed to upset him at every turn. Don't get me wrong, he was a very respectable man, but frankly he viewed me as soft. Where some see me as a father figure, he saw weakness. My tactical prowess was nothing more than an excuse to let others fight for me. I even managed to earn a grimace when I declined his offer to eat Gagh. He conducted himself in every way an Honorable Klingon Warrior would, but for what ever reason we just didn't get along and it showed.

    "Be nice to him, he's an ambassador."

    "Just put up with it for a little while longer."

    "After the activation of the gateway on Mol'Rihan, you'll never have to see him again."

    Needless to say, that when I received reports that a fight had broken out in the mess hall over a broken replicator, I was almost running to get down there to "man up" as it were. Little did I expect to find the Ambassador standing over the boy, who had been laid out on his TRIBBLE, both of which were covered in prune juice and laughing. Before I could even ask what the hell was going on, he boasted "The Boy has spirit, but he lacks the warrior's heart. Come. We will begin training right away." With that, Wraith's black and red eyes, lit up like a child at Christmas, and the two were off.

    I had some how managed to lose control on my own ship, and each time, it only stood to make me look that much weaker to a legend like the Ambassador. Afterwards, at least from what I could gather from reports, Wraith had been sent to fix the replicator, but while doing so, had been accosted by the Klingon, who had. From eyewitness reports, the two began talking, before Ambassador Worf began berating the young man. Wraith, being the timid type normally, slipped causing the replicator to spray them both with prune juice of all things. Wraith began laughing at the situation, and the obvious outcome was that the Ambassador took a swing at him.

    At first, he couldn't land a single blow, but being the legend that he is, he began thinking a few steps ahead. Despite Wraith's numerous advantages, Worf still had a life time of experience as a warrior of the empire. A punch was nothing but a distraction for a well timed kick, any attempt to grapple pulled the boy into a headbutt, each time Wraith adjusted, the Worf would switch it up. At one point, Wraith had jumped to avoid a leg sweep, while the ambassador grabbed a tray and slid it under the boy as he landed, which is how they ended up in the positions that I found them in.

    As Wraith explained it, they were having a talk about his warrior status. Worf began asking questions about his training and abilities, Wraith seemed less interested in combat as he did asking about Worf and his "magnificent beard". Dealing with the stories of a devil incarnate, or a... or a "Vulcan with the lust of ten warriors"... must make one curious. Especially when you meet that person, only to find they are the exact opposite of what you expected. The Ambassador raised his voice when Wraith mentioned that he really didn't like fighting much, or how he didn't see the point in battle. Mostly in disbelief, He swung at Wraith just to see if the stories were just lies to cover the failings of other. To his credit, Wraith gave as good as he got from the sound of it, but in the end, the Klingon was able to drop him on his butt, stating "You are not the first Augment I have faced, and I have learned much since then." I'm not even sure if he knew about Wraith before or after the fight.

    Since then, when not on duty, Wraith spent much of his time reading or watching holorecordings of Klingons in combat. At one point, I had entered his quarters to the sound of Klingon opera. He even asked to use a little bit of his vacation leave to join the Ambassador planetside for something called the "Mok'Bara". I hadn't even stopped to think that he had actually been accruing leave of any sort, until he asked. But I agreed as long as he didn't get too talkative with the rest of the group about his origins. For as much of a secret as the boy may be, there are way too many people that know about him as it is. Unless cleared to know other wise, he was to tell people that he was assimilated as a child. A weak story, but when the Borg were involved, few people asked questions. While the Admiral loudly stated "Honesty is the honorable decision, always", he did agree to not disclose who Wraith really was. A man like that knew how terrible the outcome could be for all involved.

    E'Saul thinks I'm showing signs of jealousy. I suppose she may be right, but it caught me off guard to think so. Normally i'd have been the one he looks up to, but lately all he seems to do is talk about how much he is learning from the good Ambassador. I'm almost conflicted. I'm all for him taking an interest in learning about other cultures, or even finding some one to look up too, but still, a Klingon (even the honorable type) might not be the best of role models. While he has a good heart, sometimes Wraith can be... "provoked" for lack of a better term. I've seen him become ruthless and aggressive, committing acts, that not many in the Federation would be capable of, in any sense. I could only shudder to think of how the Klingon Empire would handle such a being.

    It struck me suddenly however. "What if he asked to leave?" What if Wraith asked to go with Worf? Just a few days, for a day even? What if we decided to go permanently? It was a question that plagued me as I prepared any and all security from the Federation's standpoint. It was a question I also feared, that I would have to ask of the Admiral. He's a living being, he had choice, freedom, he wasn't bound to Starfleet like the rest of the crew, yet because of what he is, and what people could do with that information, could I really let him leave? Would the Admiral let him out of her sight? Would section 31 be able to let him truly be free? There were a lot of questions and problems coming up, all of which were just adding onto the problems that might arise from the opening of that Iconian Gateway.

    With all that was on my mind, it came as a surprise that I had not one, but several requests that Wraith be at the presentation. Worf requested it, so that "the Boy might learn that a Warrior handles diplomacy with the same honor and ferocity that he would handle battle." Chief Fine requested that her team, assistant included, be present to assist in case of systems failure, while T'Pal commented that it would only be logical to have him there in case something came through. It seemed very left field to me, but given the clearance level that most of the attendees had, it was a safe bet that a few of them already knew about him. The Admiral agreed to it given his sudden popularity. He would be allowed to go down to the presentation as Chief Fine's assistant, once he was no longer needed, and only then, would he be allowed to learn the "finer points" of Klingon diplomacy. I almost shudder to think what all he might learn. With only two hours until they activate the gate, I shudder to think of what we all might learn...
  • zidanetribalzidanetribal Member Posts: 218 Arc User
    edited March 2016
    Literary Challenge #53: The Gateway

    LC53: Blood on the Doorposts
    Captain's Log, Stardate 87526.46. The Lord English has been spending the last few weeks hunting down Klingon rebels on Nimbus III. However, I have received an invitation straight from Proconsul D'Tan of the Romulan Republic inviting me to the opening of the Iconian gateway found at the Hwael Ruins. This has been in recognition of my assisting the New Romulans. The crew of Lord English will get some well-deserved shore leave while I attend the ceremony.

    ===

    A thin line of green blood trailed from a thin wrist-blade as it dragged on the ground. At the far end of the trail, a Romulan Republic subcommander and her squad lay dead as Dewan arthropods picked over their bodies. At the source of the trail, a Tal Shiar agent clad in black moved swiftly over the craggy ground of the Vastam Peaks on Elachi-made cybernetic legs as it made his way towards the city. The agent began receiving subspace emissions from a nearby Tal Shiar device in the Borg-derived implants in its brain.

    "Agent Warrigul, you are now to make your way to New Romulus Command. The traitor D'Tan is attempting to open an Iconian gateway and has invited dignitaries from the Federation and the Klingon Empire to attend the grand opening. This is an opportunity to slaughter important members of both factions as well as to dismantle the rebels' command structure. The more dignitaries you kill, the more likely the alliance between the rebels and the foreign powers will fail and the easier it will be to destroy the rebellion."

    "Un...understood," Agent Warrigul replied. It turned to the city on the horizon before activating a stealth module and running off into the distance.

    ---

    "What does Admiral Lee think about the Iconian gateway reactivation?"

    Commander Kay Taylor was sitting in an outdoor cafe with the Lord English's Republic contacts, Twimek and Liviana. Taylor sipped at a cup of Romulan travit milk as Liviana ate a travit meatroll and Twimek dipped some bread in khellid honey.

    "Your guess is as good as mine," Taylor replied. "He's always so over the place, sometimes I think he'd be better off as a writer than a ship captain. I hear that the Federation wants to dismantle the Iconian gateway out of security concerns. They are concerned that an open gateway could mean invaders at our back entrance, so to speak."

    Liviana nibbled at the edges of her meatroll.

    "It is a troubling thought," she continued. "New Romulans are hoping that the gateway is New Romulus' answer to the Bajoran Wormhole. Of course, the wormhole gave prosperity, but it also brought the Dominion. The Federation doesn't want another war, especially with an entity we know next to nothing about, apart from their desire to enslave the known galaxy."

    Twimek flipped some bread into his mouth.

    "Of course, the Klingons think that anything that comes through the portal is just another chance to win honor for themselves," Twimek stated. "They fully support the gateway reactivation mainly because someone else is shouldering the risks. They can look like supporters of Romulan sovereignty without exposing themselves to the fallout if something goes wrong."

    Taylor finished the rest of her milk.

    "In any case, I'd bet latinum that whatever happens with the gateway, Admiral Lee would at least be grateful he'd be doing something other than hunting down Klingon rebels one at a time on Nimbus III. I think he thinks it's irrelevant whether or not the Republic holds onto the gateway," Taylor replied. A beeping on her tricorder alerted her to other things.

    "The admiral wants us to keep a lookout for a Subcommander T'Vara and her squad. They went to patrol the Vastam Peaks and haven't reported in."

    ---

    "Palmer, Amanda. Beringer, Kathyrn. Worf. Kererek. Sills, Jon."

    Agent Warrigul pored through the databanks of the RRW Hyperian. At its feet, the head of an uhlan spun slowly as it began losing the angular momentum it picked up when it was cut off its body. An implant on Warrigul's face began blinking as it recorded the data off of Warrigul's visual cortex.

    "Koren. Persico, Selene. Harlen, Robin. Tekor, Veleen. Valot, Bryan."
    "By the elements! Taevaid!"

    A Romulan sublieutenant walked onto Warrigul and found his dead comrade at the feet of an unknown assailant. Before the uhlan could reach for his pistol, however, a thin blade shot out from Warrigul's arm and pierced the uhlan's skull. A few arm movements from Warrigul and the second uhlan fell down dead, brains flowing from the wound in the uhlan's head. Alarms rang out as Warrigul's presence was finally detected.

    "You triggered an alarm, didn't you?" the voice in Warrigul's head said. "You weren't supposed to get anyone's attention, you imbecile. You were only supposed to see who was going to attend the opening ceremony."
    "Wh... wh... what should I do now?" Warrigul whispered.
    "Get what data you can and start your mission," the voice replied.

    Warrigul looked at the last few names on the list in a great hurry.

    "Lerginas Rygobeth Rykon MJarBarJarokTianuSchrodingerM'chelle-"

    Before any more names could be read, Republic security officers stormed the databank room. Warrigul tapped a few buttons on the side of its jaw and teleported back to the surface of New Romulus.

    ---

    "Here we are. 221B Via Xiomek. My home away from Lord English."

    Twimek allowed Liviana to enter his apartment first. After her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she marveled at how tidy the Reman's belongings were. Even her own apartment was not as well-kept.

    "Please, sit wherever you like," Twimek suggested as he put on a soft Romulan ballad on his music player. A soft baritone voice wafted through the air as Liviana made herself comfortable on the two-seat divan. Twimek sat down next to her.

    "Oh, commander," she said coyly. "Both Federation and Republic protocols oppose romantic relations between officers," she added, pulling off her boot toe-first.
    "As I recall, the Federation protocol on displays of affection only affect on-duty officers," Twimek responded as he sat down on the divan next to Liviana. "Admiral Lee is going to be deep in preparations for the gateway opening. It'll be at least a day before we are called back to service," he said as stretched his arm around Liviana.

    Liviana smiled.

    "I don't think the admiral is going to do much preparing. You know how last-minute he is. He'll probably be tagging epohhs up until the ceremony starts."

    Liviana ran her fingers around Twimek's chest while Twimek slid his own hand down Liviana's waist.
    The two science officers were quite ready to do some off-duty research as Liviana and Twimek began one-handedly unclasping each other's uniforms.

    "Do you think we'll have many things to do once the Iconian gateway is open?" Liviana asked as her hand moved towards Twimek's trousers.
    "Knowing the admiral, he'd probably order the Lord English to plunge into the gateway if he could. It'd be interesting what they find on the other side of the gateway," Twimek answered while undoing Liviana's skirt. The two officers began orienting themselves horizontally on the divan when...

    "Red alert! Commander Twimek, Commander Liviana, report to the staging area! A Tal Shiar agent has attacked the RRW Hyperian and has escaped to the surface! We believe he or she is after the delegates! I'm going to assist the security forces in catching the agent!"

    ---

    "What... what do I do?" Warrigul whispered to itself.
    "You keep bungling the mission. Find the delegates and kill them and anyone who gets in your way! You are the product of all the Tal Shiar research we have, don't keep messing up!" the voices in its head responded.
    "Halt! You are under arrest for the deaths of two officers of the Romulan Republic!" a Republic centurion ordered. The centurion fired a stun bolt from his plasma pistol which Warrigul took without flinching. In response, Warrigul pointed its finger at the centurion. A thin blade reached out from and stabbed the centurion through the eye and killing the centurion.

    "Everything is frightening..." Warrigul mumbled as it continued to make its way towards the Iconian gateway.
    "In pursuit of assailant!" shouted the patrol centurions in pursuit. "Subject is about 1.5 meters tall, slender build, male or possibly female!"
    "What do I do, enemies are chasing after me..." Warrigul mumbled to itself.
    "Pull yourself together, agent!" the voices in its head ordered. "Rebel security forces are converging in the Isha forest. You will have to take the Vastam Peaks Bridge and cut through the Paehhos Crater. Cut down anyone that gets in your way."

    As Warrigul made its way towards the bridge, it stumbled onto a barricade manned by half a dozen Republic Security Forces officers. Armed to the teeth, the security officers wasted no time in letting loose a flurry of plasma bolts at Warrigul. Without thinking, Warrigul raised its hands to protect itself; from its palms, a thin plate emerged, deflecting the bolts.

    "Good, the defensive systems are working as intended," the head voice asserted. "Now to test the countermeasures."

    Four spindles shot out of Warrigul's back, emitting hypersonic waves. The security officers keeled over in pain and were quickly cut down by the Tal Shiar agent. Warrigul continued down the bridge, its wrist blade skewering security officers and civilians alike. As it made its way down the bridge, a phaser bolt grazed Warrigul's shoulder. Warrigul could see Commander Taylor at the far end of the bridge staring down the sights of a phaser battle rifle and pouring fire down range. Warrigul deployed the shield from its palms again, unable to advance in the face of Taylor's assault.

    "I don't know how to deal with snipers!" Warrigul hissed.
    "It's a Federation sniper," Head Voice determined. "Take a rebel hostage and she won't be able to shoot."

    Grabbing a Romulan scientist, Warrigul ran down the bridge using the hostage as a shield. Unable to fire for fear of hitting the hostage, Taylor discarded her rifle and unsheathed a combat knife. Warrigul tossed the scientist off the bridge and began close combat with Taylor. Taylor slashed and stabbed several times at Warrigul; however, what came out of the agent did not have the consistency of Romulan blood. Some portions of the purplish substance clotted around the wounds that Taylor inflicted. Other portions formed into armor plates or blades which defended the Tal Shiar agent and allowed it to counterattack. Although a top fighter, Taylor was unable to defend completely against the erratic movements of the Tal Shiar agent, and suffered several debilitating cuts.

    "What the hell are you made of, Tal Shiar?" she shouted as another strike knocked her to the ground. An attempt to trip Warrigul failed as the agent was able to project a lower plate to protect its shins. Warrigul stood over the fallen commander.

    "How... how should I deal with the Federation sniper?" Warrigul asked the voice.
    "The Federation supports the rebels. Deal with them as you would a rebel," the voice responded.

    A long and thin blade protruded out of Warrigul's veins. Taylor watched as Warrigul readied the killing blow.

    "My blood is a liquid polymer, you know," it declared as it stabbed down.

    ---

    A kiss for you that is sorrowful, a goodbye for you that is loved.

    Taylor's life flashed before her eyes as Warrigul stabbed downwards with its polymer wristblade. Suddenly, Warrigul recoiled backwards heavily. Taylor turned to see Commander Twimek assaulting the agent with mental blasts. With Warrigul's attention drawn from Taylor to Twimek, Taylor stabbed the agent's cybernetic leg stalk into the ground, pinning the agent to the ground.

    "That's not good... I can't move," Warrigul stated. "I don't understand how I can be beaten so easily."
    "Don't think, just do," head voice ordered. "Deploy the countermeasures again."

    The four spindles shot out of Warrigul's back again, but before it could use its hypersonic attack, a stream of plasma flame engulfed the agent. Liviana poured burning plasma into Warrigul, and although the agent's biological components were protected by its suit, the agent's exposed liquid polymer blood was set ablaze, causing great pain to Warrigul.

    "It hurts! I don't understand! How do I deal with this?" Warrigul yelled as the polymer began burning it from the inside out."
    "This was an unfortunate circumstance that you should have been aware of," head voice stated. "You've failed your mission, agent. We're cutting the cord."

    Suddenly, the implanted Elachi and Borg technology in Warrigul began exploding violently. As Warrigul writhed in absolute pain, its humanoid form dissolved, leaving behind a six-tentacled cephalopod.

    "I threw away everything..." Warrigul said after its Tal Shiar programming faded but before the Tal Shiar killswitches melted its brain.

    Twimek helped Taylor up to her feet as Liviana scanned the remains.

    "There isn't much left," Liviana replied. "The Tal Shiar is quite skilled in making disposable agents, but I think this one was a Vendorian, modified with Borg and Elachi technologies and filled with some sort of ferrofluid."
    "Vendorian, the shapeshifter species? I thought they were destroyed during the Dominion War," Taylor opined.
    "It could be possible that the Tal Shiar smuggled Vendorians off Vendor before the planet was destroyed by the Dominion," Twimek stated. "A shapeshifting spy would be a powerful asset to have for the weakened Tal Shiar, if they could spare them."

    Taylor scraped off what she could from the ground.

    "In any case, the delegates are safe," she said. "I doubt the Tal Shiar can mount another assault of this magnitude for a while. They sure won't be able to go after the delegates once we strengthen security measures around them. Lord English, beam down a security escort on Admiral Lee's position in the Isha Forest."

    ===
    First Officer's Log, Stardate 87526.46. The Tal Shiar has failed in their attempt in using a modified Vendorian to assassinate delegates to the Iconian gateway opening. The most troubling thing about the Tal Shiar's terror attack is the level of sophistication they've employed; who knows what other technologies they'll employ? In any case, I will inform Admiral Lee about the situation after he comes back from the opening ceremony.

    ---

    "Agent Warrigul has successfully drawn security away from the gateway. Agent T'liss is cleared to act."

    Unseen by the other technicians in the gateway room, a worker began covert modifications to the Beta power feed to the gateway.
    Post edited by zidanetribal on
  • jaelkjaelk Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    The first thing he was aware of was the glow, his vision coloured in the familiar blue green illumination of his cabin lights even before he'd opened his eyes.

    Still coming fully into consciousness he looked at the clock on his side table.

    *I still have time*

    His shift started in about 30 minutes, but he knew Octavia would have the bridge until he arrived. Stumbling through the comforter on his double bunk he barely managed to retain his balance as he moved, all be it clumsily to the wardrobe where he withdrew a day uniform and began dressing.

    "Computer, Begin recording."

    His command was answered by a disembodied chirp.

    "Captain's Log
    Star Date: 91400.8
    USS Republic, Captain William Fenton Commanding."

    "We have altered course leaving our assigned patrol route in the Gamma Orionis Sector in the capable hands of Captain Jennifer Hume and the USS Stiletto. She may not be suited for an extended campaign but she's a tough ship just like her captain."

    He sensed a short spike of jealousy from the next room; Aliena was his wife and had been his friend and companion for longer than Jennifer had been alive, probably longer than her parents. But even she had a small amount of insecurity when it came to the Captain and his protege. Already the emotion had vanished.

    "Command has informed us that the Republic has been requested to attend the New Romulus colony in the Dewa System where my command crew and I will attend a ceremony to commemorate the successful activation of the reconditioned Iconian Portal discovered beneath the Hwael Ruins. While I did not initially concur with command's decision to pull us off the line defending the Andorran colony, I have been persuaded by my staff that the crew could well use a change of scenery."

    Aliena's trill laugh derailed his train of thought immediately. His mind filled, once again with the thoughts, memories and recommendations which had convinced him of the tenuous nature of shipboard morale. The fact that none of the memories were his and had been once again placed at the forefront of his mind failed to shock him as once it had. That the information came from two separate minds, all be it one second hand was still something he was adapting to.

    He'd learned to think of it much like a flavour. Lt Vaughn's thoughts held an edge, an intensity of emotion, a reflection of the tragedy of her early life. Ailena's were an odd mix of the Ancient sage and a mercurial Terran god.

    *Loki is the name you are looking for dear*

    *I'm trying to work here*

    Her mind retreated and he was once again alone, the muted stream of consciousness reminding him that she hadn't gone far.

    He pulled up the front of his uniform fastening it in place as he went.

    "The crew has been on the Orionis sector frontier for much longer than originally intended. While the command crew has been in place substantially longer than any of my previous commands the crew is mainly comprised of recent academy graduates that re-enforced us after losses in the defence of this sector. While the Republic has a reputation as a learning experience it is the recommendation or my third officer and ship's counsellor that these kids may have seen to much."

    *I like to think that our recommendations were a little more professional then that*

    *They weren't, and Octavia was crying in at least part of hers*

    A loud crack echoed from the head, he tuned out the mental stream of obscenities that followed. She had taken quite a liking to the ship's counsellor. While their physiology supported their intimacy their genetics made the chance of even conceiving a child unlikely at best.

    So from time to time Aliena "adopted" one of the officers as her own.

    "Commander Duchene has graciously volunteered to write up a rotation for the most 'at risk' crew members to take shore leave at the Romulan colony."

    Another crack, punctuated by the sound of crystal shattering.

    *That's going to cost you*

    The thought snapped across his mind accompanied by a memory of their last trip to Risa where she had procured a rare and expensive pheromone rumoured to be particularly effective on empaths.

    He closed the link, and enhanced his defence.

    *Sometimes discretion.....*

    "Chief Engineer Chisom has informed me that he can work some of his magic on the Slip Stream drive to shunt us to new Romulus in a matter of minutes and, even given the fact that he's been perfecting his alchemy for a number of days now. The VI has informed me that he is .. and I quote 'close', whatever that means. Chisom was always a dreamer."

    He felt a subtle pulse, a harmonic over the operation of the ship's drive systems that indicated the sonic shower was in use. Dropping his guard slightly he reached out to his wife with a subtle probe. Her mind was involved in the task of washing, yearning for water, but weren't they all. They'd been companions for decades, this wasn't a daily occurrence but he knew who she was, granting her privacy he focused, once again on his report.

    "I'm not certain what I think about this event. Harnessing the gate is certainly a major feat of engineering that we'll all benefit from. But the fact that if resides in a Romulan colony, even one that is currently friendly to the Federation is concerning. With this device the colonists gain the ability to launch strikes, either covert or overt against any location in the galaxy. There are two things here to consider; one if the colonists decide the Federation is a target for terrorism and the other if the Iconians decide Dewa III will make a good staging ground against us."

    He felt her presence well before the harmonics faded, she'd exited the shower and was content, oddly focused, but content. She passed beneath his focus much like ambient noise, they'd rarely strayed more than a kilometre from each other for a little over a century, that sort of familiarity seemed to have bred a form of shorthand.

    " I have asked Lt Vaughn to manage the transit to the Dewa System, Octavia, while being the ship's counselor has expressed an interest in spreading her wings and this is a good opportunity for her. Chisom was not very happy to have been working "in the middle of the night" until I reminded him it was completely relative. I suspect that I will need to continue to manage him directly rather than pass him to another. He remembers Aliena and I far too much from Utopia Planitia and his issues surrounding Commander Fox's betrayal may restrict his ability to become a functional member of star fleet beyond his current assignment."

    Her hands pressed on his collar.

    "Commander Devaraux has confirmed that all the command crew's squads are well versed in close support and diplomatic service, surprisingly they are accomplished martial artists."

    That had been a surprise, at least one senior member of each team had volunteered to form part of the honour guard. Octavia had filed a report tinged with concern that the members were far more likely to sacrifice themselves in unreasonable situations to protect their wards. He'd approved her request to move them to the top of the list for R&R and asked to have them observed upon their return.

    Pain arched through his chest, as one of his rank pins pierced his skin.

    Suddenly focused on the here and now, instinctively he drew in a quick breath preparing for attack. He drew the pheramone deeply his lungs. Rapidly it worked its way into his system, the effect instantly intoxicating. His awareness spread to the form pressed against him the silk chemise gliding across his exposed chest.

    Aliena pressed into him nipping his neck, later he realized that he wasn't going to be making his duty shift on the bridge. For an instant he considered resisting. A small voice in the back of his mind reminding him of duty and maturity, the memory of their last trip to Risa efficiently eliminated that voice as Aliena pressed her advantage and lowered him lovingly onto the bed.



    Aliena leaned back, astride her husband and gazing down on him.

    Bill was always so detached from the way he felt. Even a novice in the house of Duchene would have sensed the tension in his mind. Her irritation as his dismissal, his blame, had moved her to action. While she'd shattered the vial out of frustration the pheromones transitive nature presented her with an opportunity, and she never passed on an opportunity.

    Even now while he succumbed to its effect she, ignorant of the danger, wove deeper layering of emotion into this psyche and then tied hers into the ever expanding effect.

    As the pheromone kicked in and she felt herself surrendering she dragged her eyes from her husband who had completely succumbed to her trap.

    "Computer, cease recording. Seal this apartment for 12 hours or until countermanded by myself or the Captain. Also inform Lt Vaughn that the Captain is ... unwell and won't be reporting for duty."

    A chirp was her only response, one she did not hear as she fell under the sway of her own device. At some point he became partially aware and called her "encouragable" but even the pheromones couldn't entirely filter out the string of obscenities, distant as they were from Octavia who had deferred command to another and retreated to the crew's lounge in search of their real alcohol to tune out their tryst.

    She awoke first to silence. Moments later Octavia tartly asked her if she'd enjoyed herself, then moments later for details, the infraction forgiven.

    All the while her husband, the captain's mind roiled in bliss filled ignorance. He deserved it, these people owed him that much.

    She considered dressing and reporting for duty but instead tested her tenuous relationship with the first officer. Octavia, sensing her thoughts informed her that Alyssa has been on the bridge for hours covering for them.

    She didn't need to thank Octavia; her thoughts were already fraying as she released herself back into the call of her body.

    *Surely at some point we'll wake up*

    But at that point she couldn't bring herself to care.



    Captain's Log Supplemental - Post New Romulus Event: Refer Starfleet command sector references.



    The doors whisked open and Bill strode confidently into his ready room. They closed moments before he stumbled and slumped into a chair. Blood trickling sluggishly from his side onto it's arm.

    *I really need to get more furniture.*

    He stayed still, allowing the pain he'd blocked for so long to gain hold.

    "VI institute a class 9 dampening field on these quarters and overlay a class 10 scrambling field. Authorization Alpha Dawn 1.

    "Your authorization is not required Captain, as I have both verbal and biometric verification of your identity." Intoned the VI.

    "That being said Sir, I am duty bound to notify you that your injuries are in accordance of article 4 of the code of conduct for reporting of mortal wounds. Would you like me to inform the CMO?"

    He grimaced, he'd thought it had been that bad, clearly mortal, funny that they thought of wounds he'd received every other decade as such. The simple fact was, in this case, as tough as Ambassador Worf was he wasn't even remotely as resilient as the captain was. Not that he felt so at the moment.

    "Negative VI, load the protocol and ... *UGH* run it"

    A loud thunk emitted from the deck as the Captain fell to the floor. He didn't think that he'd broken anything else, but the complete surrender he knew was required to heal from his wounds was concerning him.

    "VI please tell me no one is going to hear anything from me here."

    "Not on an auditory level Captain, that being said you have any number of psionic beings who could detect your anguish and if I may take this opportunity to remind you that, following this event Command will require you to sign off my complicity in your subterfuge as per section 22a of your commission."

    *I don't remember any of my previous computers being any where near this whinny while trying to save my life.*

    "VI, Load the freaking Protocol and shut the..."

    He felt Aliena's probe and was barely able to block it. He only had a few minutes before she sensed him.

    "VI, Stage 2. Hurry"

    Light surged in front of his eyes and three hypos appeared on the ground before him.

    *I seriously need furniture, this isn't dignified.*

    He was injecting the second before he had another conscious memory but his gaze was locked on the third. Jet Black and filled with liquid fire, he knew what was to come.


    Ailena, withdrew from the Fighter's entrance making a study of the door seals as she went. It was busy work certainly but she knew that this one inspection would ensure that about a hundred more wouldn't need to happen.

    Straightening she attempted to sense him again, nothing, she knew he was fuzzy when he returned from the surface. Generally that never ended well. Traffic was that things had gone to "Custard" down there, that he hadn't returned immediately. Add to that his psyche felt like a nebulous cloud only reenforced her suspicions.

    "Commander, I'm going to cut this short, I'm needed elsewhere", She said, as Wing Commander Jean Devaraux guided her descent.

    "I'm sorry ma'am, orders came through while you were inside requiring me to accompany you to sickbay. It seems that there was an event on the planet".

    "Nonsense, " He disappeared as she spoke, she hadn't lost him in a decade.... Pain struck her, like a wave, a tsunami, where was she? who.. *Darkness*


    The Commander stiffened mid sentence and started twitching. She fell like a slab of stone toward the deck and Jean caught her.

    *Damn Vulcans are heavy. No wonder she hits so hard*.

    Lowering her gently to the deck, her twitching subsiding.

    "Medical Emergency, Flight Deck", she screamed into her com link.

    Over the ships communication network she noted an alert already in place and a medical team exiting the turbo lift.


    Aliena awoke, staring at an accustomed grey panel.

    *He's going to pay for this*

    It was her immediate thought before she became truly awake then she rolled her head in his direction and saw him, unconscious on the next bed. Her concern fading as her mind found him moments beyond waking. Beside him Octavia still roiled in a sea of broken daemons, and her concern shifted.

    Sitting up she heard her husband's weary yet forceful voice.

    "I need to get back to my ready room."

    She sensed that Octavia wasn't that far behind them and looked at her husband forcefully. Not everything needed to resort to telepathy.


    "Vi, begin recording Captain's Log - Supplemental".

    He looked down from the ceiling and caught the twin glares before him. He'd asked for a chair and a lounge beyond his desk and now Aliena and Octavia were comfortably ensconced in them bathing him in their accusing gazes.

    "As has been no doubt reported at this stage. The activation of the New Romulus gate did not go according to plan. I followed Ambassador Worf as per Ambassadorial Directive into the gate and proceeded to defend the away team and effect egress from our situation." That much, at least was the unabridged truth, the rest was designed to move the focus of command from their personal experience onto the larger one they had identified.

    "While a great deal was discovered regarding the reconnaissance activities of these minions of the demons of air and darkness I would note the one finding that causes me greater concern. The largest focus of our investigation of the Hobus event has lead us to the understanding that all of the events involved are due to the Undine's belief that we are responsible for attacking their native universe, and the Iconian generation of that belief. Evidence that I have identified in the anomaly indicates that the Hobus System was accessed without the knowledge or approval of the Iconian Servitor race."

    He paused looking at his two officers across his desk, the blood slowly withdrawing from their faces, they knew of the implication. "I have sent a priority communique to command that they investigate this possible turn of events."

    His wife, and her friend looked first at each other and then him, their looks confused, then shocked.

    "I am certain that they will be as concerned as I was when I considered. Someone who can misdirect the Klingons, the Undine, and then use the Iconians themselves as their pawns. I am awaiting Commands orders on this matter while we assist the citizens of New Romulus with reconstruction and humanitarian aid.".

    Looking at his captive cabinet Bill saw they'd completely forgotten the questionable events of the day, focusing more so on the big picture. He could only hope that command did the same.

    "End Log."
  • allen1973allen1973 Member Posts: 22 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    Notes: Vice Admiral Daaral Zentron.

    Preparation for the event was standard. Special regard was taken for tactical, astrophysics, and the quantum mechanics team. I had also reviewed stolen Romulan military programming information regarding their engineering procedures, most of which had to do with conversion techniques and ratios regarding foreign technology.
    The tragedy on New Romulus regarding the tectonic breakdown and the miraculous discovery of the Iconian ship has already been well documented. My science team is still in review regarding tectonic plate retroversion gravitron pulsewaves; however the frequency dampeners may have been somehow compromised. Essentially you have two pulse forces making waves, the actual vibrations of the machine at work and that of the retroversion gravitron compensation activity, which is to be compensated by frequency dampeners. Our lack of understanding of Iconian technology is likely the failure. With two complex vibration frequencies at work?it is quite complicated. Nature being almost impossible to predict, cannot at times be compensated, this is our best data at the moment unfortunately. The retroversion gravitron pulsewaves should have acted like a shield to 'float' the gateway mechanism within the cavernous and active geothermal ductways, however the compensators were somehow too rigid and at some moment gave way, or perhaps even contributed to seismic activity. This is a shame, and again, there could have been sabotage. The Tal'Shiar is somewhat omnipresent in this sector, despite our best efforts at security. Now is the time to wait for further results.
    The Iconian Gateway itself is a genius piece of machinery. Dimensional transgenesis migration is a very complicated technological feat, yet my engineers have evidence of trans-dimensional transgenesis migration, which is even more astounding. For one thing we now know where all of the Iconian gateways in the galaxy are, we are learning how to open them, and each one has specific coding. We had teams and teams of engineers, Starfleet, Klingon and the Old Romulan Republic members within an orbital periphery of Iconia, prepared to take scans, make readings, and essentially be there with a trans-dimensional 'catchers mit,' in case of emergency. That was not necessary, we had actually prepared for that, and until recently this was somewhat more classified data, at best it is known by members of the scientific community; however the general populace of the local stellar neighborhood will not be made aware of it for some time. It will eventually be known, there are decloaked Iconian gateways in almost every star system now, hard to keep such secrets. What we did not know is that many of these gateways are not visible from their planet's surfaces. It is obvious that the Iconians had a prime directive of their own. Reports also indicate that the invisibility of the gateway is not possible beyond a certain altitude. There is some kind of temporal refraction emanating from these gateways, and even though we now know for certain where many of these gateways are, we can assume that not all are decloaking anytime soon. There are reports of this as well; it may prove to be some time before all of these gateways are completely controlled.
    There is evidence that suggests that the Iconians planted DNA sequences and attempted to harbor life forms on worlds which were essentially primordial, this is well documented in the 24th century. We did not realize, although it had been a theory, that Iconians had been so prosperous in the exo-biological terraforming process to this regard. M class planets with the most abundant life have the most abundant examples of cross breeding. Many new discoveries about Iconian assimilation and colonization have led to equally new and exciting theories. One such discovery, which my scientists believe to be very late placement of Armadillidiidae on the Terran planet by the Iconians, had led to many other discoveries of late introduction of species onto the planet as superfluous exo-biological attainment. This is empirical study based on older data in order to find similar trends on planets that we are not as familiar with. The Earth is a prime example because of its documentation history, and it's still relatively unadulterated eco-synthesis. Another discovery leads to the conclusion that Neanderthal simian humanoids were also introduced by the Iconians. This however could not be the case due to the chronology, the Icnonians were struggling to survive divisive political unrest at the time that the Neanderthal simian humanoids were introduced to the planet earth, and so another theory was devised, based on other existing data sources. It is possible that Borg place the Neanderthal simian humanoids on Earth in order to produce a more sturdy humanoid.
    At that time in the galaxy the Iconians were likely on the defensive. However our data suggests that the Iconians devised the Borg in an earlier time of general political uncertainty in their then galaxy wide empire. As Iconian political power waned, and certain expanses could no longer be defended by outer galactic invasion or inner turmoil, the Borg took placement as a self-inducing regimented attempt at the preservation of what the Iconians regarded vainly as their own organic heritage. Sentient life itself would be cataloged and kept like a secret seed vault, also self-perpetuating, and able to construct further defensive mechanisms. It was a harsh and greedy political blunder for the Iconians, who prided themselves on integrity, intelligence, and technological advancement. Eventually the enemies of the Iconians made it impossible for the Iconians to defend themselves and control the Borg. There was apparently also a resources dilemma, this would explain why so many sectors of the Delta Quadrant as explored by Admiral Janeway are so sparse of star systems, as many have been consumed by either the Borg or the Iconians. The Iconian political structure had scrambled to create devices that would ensure the safety of sentience that would eventually grow to such a degree as to be able to confront the Borg. It was thought that these groups would unite to control the Icnonia that they once knew. In a sense the gerrymandering of sentient life in the galaxy by the Iconians lead to their somewhat 'Freudian' god-complex slip of creating the Borg in the first place. On the other hand, and we are able to ascertain in this local stellar neighborhood, and other remote pockets of life in the galaxy, there is a viable source of resistance to the Borg. Based on our own technological evaluations the galaxy should recover from Borg encompassment in less than five hundred years.
    One reason for the length of the dissipation is likely due to recent figures captured from Borg transcriptions; at this time, the Borg control at least sixty percent of the galaxy. This new information suggests a new visitation to the diplomatic process surrounding the Borg Initiative policies will be necessary if life in this galaxy should remain non-Borg-assimilated.
    One important configuration that was necessary for security reasons was to ascertain whether or not the new gateways could be detected by the Borg, they can, only if they come and discover the gateways themselves, and if they could, there is not real evidence to suggest that they could defeat us in order to utilize this gateway system. It is plausible that the Iconians thought to restrict certain technological signatures from interacting with the gateway system, the Iconians are quite intelligent, and we can only hope that they had created such a system for themselves. Risk assessment is still being evaluated. It would seem that the Iconians comprehending their faux pas de technologique had found a way to build an 'underground railroad' for the last of their planted genome successors. It would be difficult if the Borg should choose to utilize these gateways for their assimilation processes, however we do not yet know for certain that it would really be possible for them to do so. Keeping all of this in mind, my scientists and engineers are also developing new defensive strategies, and deborgification processes. Saving life will be the new struggle for the galaxy in this regard.
    One theory that came from my team was that the gateways could be trans-dimensional. If this is the case we would need to know more about the 'mirror-universe,' as it were. From a gathered database of hundreds of interviews of refugees, and prisoners from the 'mirror-universe,' we have shocking information, and we must keep in mind that this is highly privileged information. For some reason, relative to the 'mirror-universe,' our local stellar neighborhood had been spared by a vast Iconian empire. Certain species are allowed to live in order that they gain strength and virility enough to help defend the Iconian Empire. In the 'mirror-universe,' militancy is the only order and orders are given by the Iconians, all factions are divided and must quell against one another. Strangely enough, in the 'mirror-universe,' the Borg do not exist, replaced by them are a successful and extremely militant Iconian Galactic force, which rages and controls everything in the galaxy. Borg have been known to travel from our dimension to the 'mirror-universe,' however the immediacy of their displacement often leaves the Borg with a tactical disadvantage in the opposite realm. Citizens of that universe have been known to deassimilate the Borg, however beyond that a common form of acclimation of the deborgified is seemingly not yet known to them. The Mirror Iconian Empire relishes Borg technology and considers Borg capsulation the ultimate prize, Captains under their wing are rewarded greatly for such finds.
    Our hope is that we will soon discover how trans-dimensional and dimensional transgenesis migration is possible with the Iconian gateways, and we are developing special probes to help relay to us information to that regard. If there are Borg sleeper agents in our midst then we will find out soon enough how defendable our new prospect is.
  • sander233sander233 Member Posts: 3,992 Arc User
    edited November 2013

    You know the day destroys the night
    Night divides the day
    Tried to run
    Tried to hide
    Break on through to the other side
    Break on through to the other side
    Break on through to the other side

    We chased our pleasures here
    Dug our treasures there
    But can you still recall
    The time we cried?
    Break on through to the other side
    Break on through to the other side

    Everybody loves my baby
    Everybody loves my baby
    She get
    She get
    She get
    She get
    High

    I found an island in your arms
    Country in your eyes
    Arms that chain
    Eyes that lie

    Break on through to the other side
    Break on through to the other side
    Break on through, oh
    Oh, yeah

    Made the scene, week to week
    Day to day, hour to hour
    The gate is straight
    Deep and wide
    Break on through to the other side...


    Jim Morrison of The Doors - "Break On Through (To the Other Side)"


    S T R A I G H T . A N D . W I D E



    USS Ray Bradbury, en route to Mol'Rihan

    "Why us, sir?" B.C. Hawkes wondered.

    "Can you imagine it, Bryan?" Captain Lewis McLain replied, not really having heard his security chief's question. "Being the first to see an Iconian Gateway activated is like being the first to go through a new wormhole. Its the opportunity of a lifetime!"

    To say McLain was excited would be an understatement. Throughout his long and storied Starfleet career, he'd always dreamed of a day like today. He was fascinated with the Iconians and their technology. He'd visited ruins, collected artifacts, explored holoprogram recreations, studied schematics... And then they turned out to be alive, and hostile, and he'd gotten himself involved in an interdimensional war against them. But finally, he had the chance to study their technology intact.

    "But why us, sir?" LCdr. Hawkes persisted. The security chief could be extremely persistent when he needed to be.

    "'Why him' you mean," Cmdr. Nanz Downig grumbled. The Tellarite first officer had served under McLain since the Dominion War. "And that should be obvious, even to a one-eyed meathead goon like you. Our good Captain's official job title is Scientific Advisor to Starfleet Intelligence.' Unofficially, we investigate strange phenomena for the Technical Intelligence Group and determine if they can be of strategic value to the Federation. Like this Gateway for example."

    "Starfleet's policy of late has been to blast the holy bejeezus outta every Gateway we come across," McLain reminded his two most-senior officers. "They are considered strategic liabilities, not assets. No, the only reason I - and the rest of us - would have been chosen for this mission is because of our previous experience working with a multi-faction ad-hoc task force and dealing with Gateway technology."

    "But that whole thing was classified so far above Top Secret, they don't even have a name for it," Hawkes declared.

    "I'm pretty sure the people who put this together have access to those records," McLain figured. "Look at all the countersignatures on these orders." He tossed his security chief a PADD. "D'Tan, Proconsul of the New Romulan Republic; Can't get much higher access than that if you're a Romulan. Admiral LaRoca, Diplomatic Liaison to Starfleet Security; obviously ConOps would be involved in anything like this. Admiral Clayburn, STIG; our boss. Admiral Davis, STS; so the research side of this is legitimate. General Ssharki, KDF CentCom; he's been supporting exploration efforts on New Romulus for the last year and I think he actually discovered this thing. Plus he practically runs the military side of Klingon Intelligence and rumor has it he's Jesu LaRoca's best friend. All these people would have no trouble looking up a classified report."

    "And they're all people who you know," Downig pointed out. "It's your connections who got us into this."

    "I don't know Ssharki that well..."

    "A Gorn never forgets a friend," Nanz reminded him. "Especially somebody he saw combat with."

    "Besides, Ssharki's the direct upline commander to all those folks in the KDF we were running around with last year." Hawkes stared at his CO. "But how do you know D'Tan, sir?"

    "Ugh." Instead of answering immediately, McLain turned his chair toward his replicator. "Tea," he ordered. The ship's AI knew exactly what he meant. McLain retrieved the steaming mug of Earl Grey with honey and lemon, took a sip, and turned back to face Hawkes. "D'Tan was at my wedding," he announced. "We've kept in touch."

    "You were married? To a..?"

    "A Romulan refugee, yeah," Downig picked up. "We found her after Hobus, drifting in an escape pod, and they fell in love." She said the words with disgust, but then admitted "She was really beautiful, for a pointy-eared green-blood."

    "She was a mistake," McLain mumbled. "Selfish, lying, manipulative, conniving... Besides the Dominion War, that marriage to D'Lanae was the most horrible experience of my life. I try not to talk about either of them. But D'Lanae happens to be D'Tan's cousin, which makes my son his nephew, which sort of obligates us to stay in touch-"

    "You have a son?" B.C. Hawkes simply could not imagine his Captain having a family outside of his crew.

    "His name is Nicco, which is supposed to be short for Nicholas. He's a junior science officer in the Republic Flotilla. He was never told about me," McLain concluded bitterly.

    Hawkes frowned. This was exactly the sort of thing an enemy could use to compromise his Captain. I should have checked his personal history, the former Section 31 agent kicked himself mentally. All that time I spent researching his career and combat records, and it never occurred to me to look into his life outside of Starfleet...

    "And this is why he never talks about them," Nanz muttered.

    "No, I'd much rather talk about the Gateway," McLain said, his tone brightening. "Ahab, let's see that three-D schematic again."

    The ship's AI dimmed the lights in the ready room and projected a wireframe model over the Captain's desk.

    "Now this site is particularly interesting for a number of reasons. First of all the Gateway mechanically retracts when not in use, which is so far unique among all the Gateways that have been catalogued to date. It's also tied directly to a geothermal power core, something that's only been observed at the site on Moab III prior to this discovery..." McLain went on, slipping back into the mode of the Academy professor he had once been, and was probably always meant to be.

    Bryan Cecil Hawkes could actually feel his eyes glaze over as Captain McLain started to write out the quantum field calculations that some how made the Gateways work the way they did. His concerns about security were forgotten and replaced by numbers and inscrutable symbols. Oh, gawd, he moaned internally. Why us?

    ...
    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
  • pwebranflakespwebranflakes Member Posts: 7,741
    edited November 2013
    Hi Captains,

    Just a heads up that I am going to be extending challenge #53 for an extra 2-weeks. #54 is currently planned to go live on Nov 26, and will be a sort-of Part 2 to this challenge.

    Enjoy!

    Cheers,

    Brandon =/\=
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