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Literary Challenge #54 : Beyond the Gateway

pwebranflakespwebranflakes Member Posts: 7,741
edited December 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-fourth Literary Challenge: Beyond the Gateway
D'Tan's reactivation of the Iconian Gateway had some unintended consequences. Using the gateway that was revealed in the Jouret System, KDF, Federation and Romulan fleets can now instantly travel to the Solanae Dyson Sphere that sits on the edge of the Delta Quadrant. Write a Log entry sharing your findings from the Sphere and 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!!**
Post edited by pwebranflakes on

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  • wolfbear2012wolfbear2012 Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    Personal Log, U.S.S. Orion, Admiral Fenrys, Commanding Officer.
    Stardate: 86903.7

    It's strange. I almost opened this log by saying "Captain's Log" instead of Admiral. I am not used to being stuck behind a desk and thus was glad to be given the chance to get back on the front lines, taking command of one of the Federation's finest vessels, an Odyssey-Class cruiser, U.S.S. Orion. I will miss my old ship, my old friend that I flew for years. She was one of the family. Although she was an older class, the Challenger, an Intrepid-Class, will be missed although she maintains a position in my personal fleet.

    It has been a week since the activation of the Iconian Gateway due to the efforts of D'Tan, the Proconsul of the new Romulan Republic.

    The gateway was discovered beneath the surface of New Romulus, otherwise known as Dewa III in the New Romulus System. D'Tan and the Republic government believed that they could harness the power of the gateway safely, unlike the previous inhabitants of Dewa III who unfortunately attempted the very same thing many thousands of years ago; the Dewan's attempt to harness it then was catastrophic, leading to the extinction of their entire species due to violent surges in radioactivity and tremendous seismic activity. I did some research on the history of Dewa III and found the following information in the computer's library:

    "...200,000 years ago, Dewa III was a colony world of the Iconian Empire. They ruled oppressively over the native Dewans, killing any who did not fall in line.

    When the Iconian subject races rose up against them, Dewa was the first planet targeted. The rebels bombarded the planet from orbit, killing thousands and destroyed the geothermal taps that provided power to everything on the planet. The Iconians on Dewa III fled through their gateways, abandoning the Dewans, and the rebels moved on to other Iconian worlds.

    With the Iconians gone, the surviving Dewans formed their own civilization.

    Thousands of years later, as the Dewans were preparing to launch their first starships, an abandoned Iconian Gateway was found in a subterranean cavern. Tempted by the possibility of instantaneous travel, the space program was abandoned and all resources were thrown toward making the Gateway operational again.

    When the Gateway was ready, it was connected to geothermal power taps to provide the necessary energy. The Dewans failed to realize the bombardment millennia ago had made this dangerous.

    When the Dewans activated the Gateway, it triggered massive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that wiped out most of the population and bathed the planet in a killing cloud of radiation.

    The surviving Dewans retreated to caves to escape the radiation and the nuclear winter, but ultimately their resources ran out and they died off."

    Needless to say, Iconian technology is considered highly dangerous by nearly all Alpha Quadrant races and when discovered, is quickly destroyed or quarantined. In nearly every case of any other action being taken, the outcome has always been tragic. However shared my misgivings were, the New Romulus government was determined to make the technology of the re-discovered gateway work for them and to aid in building a home for the survivors of the Hobus supernova that took Ambassador Spock from us as well as destroyed Romulus and Remus, claiming billions of innocent lives.

    As a show of good faith, the Romulan Republic extended invitations to both the Klingon Empire and the Federation to assist with the reactivation of the gateway and to be present for the occasion. I was also extended a personal invitation to attend along with Captain Shon of the U.S.S. Enterprise, Captain Koren of the I.K.S. Bortasqu' and Commander Tiaru Jarok of the R.R.W. Lleiset. A special guest of the Klingon Defense Force was Ambassador Worf, was present. I was in fact honored at the request but deeply hesitant, knowing fully the risks and dangers of tampering with Iconian technology.

    I briefed my senior officers on the developments and all of them, like myself, were intensely curious but at the same time more than cautious. One simply does not admire the teeth of the wolf by sticking one's head in his jaws. The crew of the U.S.S Orion however, was more than ready to lend assistance and so we made the trip.

    Of course, as is always the way, nothing went to plan. Activating the gateway was a disaster. Something went wrong, terribly wrong. I have reviewed sensor logs over and over again from the computer cores that were controlling the activation and still cannot figure out what caused the malfunction, only that the energy spikes suggested that something was trying to come through the gateway, at the same time that we were trying to open it. The sights of the exploding consoles, showers of sparks raining down, debris and rubble crushing those who did not make it to the gateway in time as the chamber began to collapse...smoke everywhere...the smell of burnt flesh...Memories that will haunt me until I die. I wish I was human and did not have the sense of smell of my Caitian heritage: the smell of blood is not one easily forgotten.

    I, Ambassador Worf and the scientists, Captain's Shon and Koren, along with Commander Jarok escaped through the gateway. Somehow we ended up in a subspace pocket and encountered some familiar faces...solanogen based life forms that seemed more than curious about us...detained us...conducted experiments on us...mutilated some of us. They have not been seen since the Enterprise-D's encounter with them years ago under the command of then Captain Picard. Not all of us made it out alive. All of us will have nightmares for years to come.

    Working together with Worf and the others, we managed to find our way into a hub of sorts which revealed to us our worst nightmares: The Iconians were not extinct, nor were they hiding...but rather planning a mass scale action of some kind, with spies, watchers and surveillance all over the galaxy. We were able to make it out in time by breaking into a carrier ship of some kind and taking it through a gateway into the Joret system. We were able to take much information from the Iconian computers we encountered, however, I fear the price may have been too steep for in doing so, we had to reactivate every Iconian gateway in our galaxy.

    The demons of air and darkness as they are called now have many doors and windows.

    We cannot possibly hope to shut them all.

    Now, as a consequence of our actions, an Iconian Gateway, one of many, has opened onto the edge of the Delta Quadrant. Scout ships have revealed that it leads into a structure only documented a few times in Federation history in any quadrant: a massive Dyson's Sphere that encloses an entire star.

    This sphere is now a hot battleground between the Federation and its allies and a new enemy calling themselves the Voth, a saurian bipedal highly advanced race of beings first encountered by Admiral Janeway years ago when Voyager was lost in the Delta Quadrant.

    Whomever controls this sphere, controls access into the Delta Quadrant and the Voth are showing every intention of fighting to the death to claim the sphere for their Doctrine's beliefs, which are unquestionable to their society. I have taken the Orion into the sphere once before myself and my crew were called off to the Borg front and the technology I have encountered there is beyond anything I have ever seen. Ships big enough to swallow multiple Galaxy-class cruisers as if they were mere gnats. Dinosaur-like creatures used as cybernetically enhanced fighting beasts. As our forces are stretched thin enough already, I pray that this newfound cooperative effort between the Alpha quadrant powers against the Voth will not be short lived because we will need to fight side by side simply to survive.

    I fear that the Voth, combined with the resurgent Borg, may become a threat combined that we could never have possibly imagined and if the Iconians do decide to return and all evidence suggests that they are, this may very well prove to be the end of us all. Captain Chakotay and the U.S.S Voyager have returned to the Delta Quadrant with the rest of Project Full Circle. Perhaps answers to the Voth can be found that way.

    No matter the danger however, the crew of the U.S.S Orion is ready to stand and fight, to render aid to those who need it and explore strange new worlds. We will never give up on the ideals of the Federation and will always be a light in the dark.

    I hope that a peaceful solution will eventually be found, though hope is waning daily as the fighting explodes anew, every hour, both on the ground and in the air inside the Sphere.

    END LOG

    U.S.S. Orion, Starfleet Records, NCC-93043
  • maelstromvortexmaelstromvortex Member Posts: 127 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    (This is a recorded ships log of events leading to discovery of the "Prime Gateway".)

    Brigadier General Maelstrom Vortex (Federation Translation of the flurry of hisses and growls that constitute his name), formerly of the Gorn, now of the KDF, was a bit of an eccentric character. He was known for eating his enemies and having the temper of a poorly fed Targ which had been given to drink blood wine. Yet despite his temperament, there was a slight touch of genius to the old lizard, enough to get him in serious trouble and to leave him perpetually paranoid.

    The most recent situation with the gateways, and spheres.. had almost sent him over the edge. "There's a pattern, don't you see it?" He practically roared at his bridge officers in a deep guttural gorn dialect. Even the translator translated his slurred "s"es into whatever language his audience was listening in the accent was so thick.

    The senior staff had gathered in a conference room of the I.K.S. Lung Ta' or.. to the Federation.. the "I.K.S. Dragon Emperor", a both borg and Romulan retrofitted Bortas battle cruiser. It glowed like some earth child's Christmas tree in the darkness of space.

    The staff looked over an elaborate pattern of iconian gateways and the sphere at Solonae. "We do not." B'Etara of House Oggad, chief science officer replied while examining the gateways.

    Maelstrom pointed with his talons to the projected hologram images and drew lines between all the gateways and the sphere. "The larger ship gateways do not only go to key planets. There is a set on an axis that are in alignment with the sphere. The distances between them increase based on prime numbers.. see? These two are exactly 2 light years away from the sphere... then 3 from it, 5 from the next, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19.. and it continues.. I calculate the one that corresponds to 1000000000000066600000000000001 light years, would theoretically put it outside of our universal borders."

    The senior staff were instantly stunned by the implications.

    "We know the Iconians had reach... but... another universe or outside our own? Where's the entry gateway?" B'Etara's Reman assistant Shakat asked, still trying to shake the stun from his visage.

    Maelstrom zoomed in on the sphere.. "Where their enemies and those unworthy would have a great deal of difficulty getting to it at the time they built it; the gravitational center that supports the sphere and the gravometric distortions it generates to create these gateways.. in the core of its star. Lay in a course, we're going to scan this star. I have a plan.. if we can find the gate and its current orientation.. we may be able to access it, as well as trans-warp through it. Using trans-warp, we would only be exposed to the stars heat for a fraction of a second. We'll just have to hope that the instance we make it out on the other side and stop.. there isn't something waiting for our ship to collide with or that the exterior of this universe.... is not exceptionally hostile."

    ### Hours later at the Core of the Solane sphere ###

    The entire battle cruiser shook violently as they approached the star, yet they were not even close, "What was that?" Maelstrom hissed as he almost fell out of his chair.

    B'Etara's talon tipped fingers danced across her crimson red interface before she replied, "The star is generating a gravitational field that is larger than expected for its size, General. The distortions are so great, it would indicate we are near a singularity.. yet there is no apparent structure."

    "Give me a detailed scan of the star. We'll need to know the cause of these distortions before we go further. It's likely the gate.. we will also need to know the orientation of the gate before we attempt any passage." He hissed.

    S'hakat replied from his station, "The star has a.. structured.. plasma core. I've never seen anything like it. The magnetic or gravitational fields required to control this... sir.. I don't think this star even FORMED.. naturally before the sphere was built around it!?!.. Wait.. I've found the gate. It's the only non-plasma structure, as expected, at the core. It appears the star itself is being used to power it and shield it from collapse."

    "Suggestions?" Maelstrom tilted his head.

    B'Etara observed, "It looks like the star itself may be some sort of control mechanism for the gate, but we have no idea how to interact with it. The gate itself appears to be aligned with the axis, but we have no way of detecting the telemetry to determine where it's exit is located. It could be 2 light years away.. or half-way to Sto'vo'kor for all I can determine."

    "Could we get back if we attempted to use it?" The Gorn idly picked his teeth while leaning on his arm rest while looking at the star in the distance, a nervous habit.

    Pouring over his console readings, Shakat finally made a determination, "We might.. be able to activate the gate.. and we might.. be able to hold it open."

    B'Etara rushed to his console, "What have you found?"

    Maelstrom rose and moved to lean quietly over their shoulders as Shakat spoke, "There is a conduit made of magnetic coils running plasma through the star.. one end appears to be an input funnel. If we fired a beam of antimatter at the funnel, it appears rigged to carry the energy of the reaction to a receiving area inside the star.. which.. will trigger one of two things. It will either obliterate the star, causing a supernova which will destroy everything in the sphere including us.. or it will activate the gate.. and will sustain the gates active state until the fuel supply runs out."

    "Horin, can you give us an accurate estimate on the rate of burn?"

    Horin, the ship's chief engineer.. an android, glanced to Maelstrom, "If we use the correct amount, we should be able to sustain the gate about an hour.. without obliterating the stars. The gravitational and electromagnetic forces that are being used to sustain the gate are of incredible power and probably designed for a much greater length of burn. But to be safe, I would limit it to that amount of time."

    "Will trans-warping through the star disrupt the control system?"

    "I do not believe so, General. In fact, based on the information we've gathered on the structure of the star.. it seems a very similar technology was used to access the gate during its operational period.. inferring that our own systems not only would not damage the star.. but may even be be a compatible approximation to ancient iconian systems. We caught up to them, a little, in propulsion design it seems."

    "Very well.. initiate the activation procedure, we go through in ten minutes. This shall be glorious!"

    Maelstrom broke out some blood wine and toasted his crew, "To.. Great Egg Bringer knows where.. this gate will take us." He then downed the whole stein he had served himself with.

    After the preparations were made the Dragon King shuddered as it re-oriented to face the gateway obscured by the fire of the star.. in line with an unknown number of gateways along an indeterminately long axis through all of space/time. The trans-warp engines fired as shielding was raised to maximum.. the trans-warp engine peeled layer upon layer of the star around the ship in a blink. Within a fraction of a second, they were through the gate.. and....

    Outside of known time and space. The ships sensors went black.. the ships hull recorded recorded 0 K cold and absolute 0 particle density, a first outside of a lab.. a true vacuum. What little bit of space their shields carried with them moved by osmosis into the void rapidly. The ships shields were being drained as any particle that bled free of the containing fields floated into the great void. In the distance they saw a spec of light. Just behind the ship was a lone Iconian gateway, their exit, apparently assembled in vacuum. There were no mass readings, other than the gate and the ship in all directions.

    "Computer.. what is that?" Maelstrom inquired.

    The computer replied, "Based on estimations of quantum flux and temporal displacement, that is the universe at approximately 1000000000000066600000000000001 to the 1000000000000066600000000000001 power light years away. The number has been simplified into an equation for ease of comprehension and to preserve data storage space."

    Maelstrom couldn't find adequate words and his brain was struggling to wrap his head around what he was perceiving.

    B'Etara observed, "Temporal displacement? When are we?"

    Computer, "Unable to calculate time due to data sizes exceeding acceptable parameters of ship's memory."

    The gateway was still open, the door way bulged with mass of the star that wanted to escape free into the void like water wanting to osmose through a cellular membrane. The field it was generating began to flicker.

    "Get us home.. now!" Maelstrom barked, "We do not want to be isolated out here! It's literally NOTHING!"

    The IKS Dragon Emperor pivoted on a dime the helmsman was so anxious to obey the order.

    Shakat stammered, "There are more gateways! Further out into the void! The next one is so distant I can barely detect it!"

    "Record what you can! We're returning home now!" Maelstrom roared.

    The Transwarp engines once again came online.. and in seconds.. they were back outside the star, a plasma plume coming off it in their wake.

    The entire bridge crew was gaunt, they had expected to be anywhere.. anywhere except truly nowhere. They had just narrowly escaped a near certain death by self-exile. Maelstrom looked around at the crew then stated over the coms, "This incident is classified. Details will be given to high command. No one utters a word to another soul that was not on this ship about this incident under penalty of death. If there's any slaves or second class citizens on board or in the brig, anyone of questionable loyalty to the Empire.. well.. follow protocol 'fade to black'." He continued, "Computer, classify all recordings and logs of the past 200 hours Council's eyes only and transmit to Qo'noS immediately deca-layer encryption with multivariate key. Inform them it is urgent."

    The computer cut off just as screams were being heard across the ship.
  • captainslamsoncaptainslamson Member Posts: 5 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    (Read this in a female Irish accent)


    First Officer's Log, U.S.S. Abaddon. Stardate 91473.1. Commander Alexa Regina Grenway recording.

    I'd first like to admit that I had my reservations about Vice Admiral Slamak accepting the invitation from the Republic of New Romulus to explore the Dyson Sphere in the Delta Quadrant. As Starfleet Command well knows my appointment as Slamak's First Officer was conditional in fact to "keep the Admiral out of situations where he might snap". As Starfleet well knows I've done my best despite his eccentricities. Please refer to my previous logs concerning the "dead plant incident", the "AI for his holographic parrot incidents" and the numerous occasions where I had to step in when he kept calling the Deferi "Hamsters". I'm letting the eyepatch slide knowing that for one, he doesn't actually need it and two, it's fitted with sensors that give him full range of vision and then some. My compliments to Commander Sron for that one. At the very least the Sphere took his attention away from making the crew wear 23rd Century uniforms and we're all back into modern garb now. Also him naming the new Fleet Avenger class ship the Abaddon. I swear the TRIBBLE does it just to annoy me!

    Computer. Delete that last sentence.

    *Sorry, you are not authorized to edit or delete log entries*

    What!

    *Sorry, you are not authorized to edit or delete log entries*

    Command override ***********

    *Authorization not accepted*

    I'm going to kill him.

    With kindness, yes, kindness. Ha ha haaaa.

    Saints preserve us. Moving on. Where were we?

    Oh yes! Upon arrival at the Sphere in the Delta Quadrant we managed to get through the indoctrination process fairly quickly. The Admiral seems to really like working with the New Romulan Republic, which allowed us all under his command to relax and focus on our jobs. I don't think I've seen our Science, Engineering or Exobiology departments quite this excited in a very long time. Everything here is new. The Allied controlled area of this vast system has yielded many new opportunities for exploration and discovery. Tactical hasn't been slack at all during this. We've encountered Iconian defense systems and a race known as the Voth. The Voth, a race of reptilians encountered in this sector first by the U.S.S. Voyager, are aggressive and xenophobic despite evidence that their origins would point to Earth. We're holding.

    The Klingons and their allies are a constant worry from a tactical stance. The war with them, at least on this front, seems to be suspended. Perhaps we can thank the Romulans for bringing peace for once in stead of fostering paranoia and cold war aggression.

    The Contested Zone truly is an area of constant battle. Our forces are in a perpetual battle for control of vital areas within it. The center of which contains the main area of control on the ground. We have a foothold situation there that is tenuous at best. This is one of the places within the Sphere that is producing Omega particles. The Omega particles must be obtained and destroyed at all cost.

    Admiral Slamak, despite all my protests, insists on beaming down there to join the fight. I was too young to know him during the Dominion War or what he was like before, but I've known him since, and he is...different. I know combat, I know what it does. But he is Vulcanian and he's already seen a lot of death. He treats it like a "turkey shoot", but I know better.


    End Log.
  • raventomoeraventomoe Member Posts: 719 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    Robin Halren checked himself in the window's reflection once more, Earth below him spinning ever so slowly as he stood in the overlook that was behind Admiral Quinn's desk in the man's office. He pressed his new Admiral Uniform once more and checked the rank insignia a second time that day . The man was slowly getting used to wearing those markings on his uniform and frowned. Like that would keep him out of the chair like some in Starfleet would prefer now. 'Chronic Herotitis' some had started to call it, saying he didn't go looking for trouble but jumped in with both feet.

    Still, it felt good to wear something like this as he had just been promoted a few days ago with some of the highest marks and commendations to date. Courage above and beyond the expected call of duty for a Starfleet Officer, he had received the Starfleet Medal of Honor for holding the line against the Elachi long enough for reinforcements to arrive and kept as many as he could alive all a week and a half ago.

    None of that would do the dead and suffering any good. Once more, he had witnessed the power of what the Midchildan's termed 'Lost Logia' unleashed and nearly destroy a world for the second time in his career. The Huckenbein themselves had inflicted their own wounds on them as well.

    Robin turned at the sound of footsteps and looked to the slightly balding Admiral. "Greetings Admiral." Robin greeted with a bow.

    "No need to do that any more. Youngest Admiral in Starfleet I swear..the Paperpushers want you strapped to a desk but more than half of those on the frontlines said they would quit and let the Borg, Undine, and whatever else over-run us before they get their wish." The older Admiral looked out the window and sighed. "So it's a good thing you are getting a command again though the loss of the Gotter is one all of Starfleet is bearing with you."

    "That's why I specifically requested the assignment I did." Robin replied, putting his game face on. "Ausril is adapting thankfully."

    "Yes, instructing fine Cadets now from a hoverchair I understand." Quinn would comment but left it at that. "I hear she specifically forced Six of Nine to take the seat she was leaving after no one else wanted to step into her shoes out of your Senior Staff as your First Officer."

    "That is correct." Turning to face the Admiral after those words, Robin asked. "This is not a social call is it?"

    "No. I know you were put through several debriefs but I myself would like to hear, in your own words, what happened on that assignment Admiral Harlen. I know you need to leave Off-Universe for a funeral." Quinn asked of the young man. Who would of believed this youth went from being an Ensign all the way up to being Captain of his own ship, travel across dimensions to another reality and bring back powerful allies like the Midchildan's and the Time-Space Administration Bureau.

    "The assignment started well enough though everyone came down armed as they could. I kept my Senior staff on the ship while I beamed down. Colonel Yagami teleported in with Captain Takamachi-Scrya, Enforcer Fate Harloawn, and Head Librarian Scyra."

    "Commander Natal was on sight as well. Captain Rakok and his new wife Carrim joined us along side Ambassador Worf." Robin said, keeping it official.

    "After a few preliminary checks and safey precautions were taken with the help of Captain Shon. The Gateway was activated..." Tightening his hand into a fist, Robin growled.

    "...That was when everything went wrong. We tried to shut it down and the Midchildan's tried to seal it with their magics but nothing worked and our only path of escape was cut off so we had to use the Iconian Gateway to escape before the cavern collapsed." Robin would say, taking a deep breath.

    "It's alright son. Take your time. I understand a lot happened on that mission." The elder Admiral would say. Robin was letting himself cool off.

    "My apologies Admiral. We ended up in a place we could only determine was not in Normal Space. After assessing our wounded and supplies; I, Fate, and Nottra scouted with the Ambassador. We left the others under the protection of Rakok, Nanoha, and Hayate." Robin would continue on, giving his perspective on events.

    "We than split up upon finding another large room beyond with the rest of the survivors holed up there while I went with Worf, leaving Shon and his counterpart in the KDF to handle the other two paths...that was when the survivors we think were attacked." Robin said, growling about what happened.

    "We tried to message Shon and Koren only to have Shon fall under attack from our thinking and Koren completely gone from communications." Admiral Harlen said, keeping at attention.

    "We found near the scene of Shon's disappearance his and the Ensign's equipment as well as a piece of Autonomic Technology equipped with powerful shields and an Antiproton beam." Robin reported, remembering the whole event as it it happened yesterday.

    "We decided to trace Koren's path and found a room that Worf remembered very well sir." Robin commented. "As well as Nottra, growling and using her plasma disruptor to seal a wound to her shoulder." He would add.

    "She told us that the entire group had been attacked by multiple Unknown Drones nd proceeded to take the whole group prisoner, immediately knocking the Midchildan's out with a Neuro-suppressor field." Robin spoke, growling.

    "Knowing now what we were potentially up against, we engaged other Units till we found the holding cells and freed the others...save for Shon and Yagami. Both of whom had been taken out with the Head Romulan Engineer on the project. Me and Worf staged a rescue and barely got there in time to save Captain Shon and Colonel Yagami...but not the other." Robin would report.

    "I am sad to hear how that one Romulan died. That was not a pleasant way to go." Quinn commented and shook his head. "Having your blood replaced with a synthetic liquid polymer..." One could see the man shudder.

    "We left through the only access point and found ourselves in a massive complex hiding in subspace. Deciding to hunker the main group down; I, Rakok, Nottra, Hayate, Nanoha, Fate, Carrin, and Yuuno went ahead with Ambassador Worf to scout ahead. Along the way, we found reports detailing Iconian survelliance activities and evidence of their coupability in the Hobus Supernova event..."

    Quinn had not read any of the reports, wanting to hear it from Robin's own mouth. "What else did you find young man?" He asked, noting how Robin's eyes lit with fury.

    "Sir, we found a total eleven platforms...seven of which were linked to certain points." Taking a deep breath, Robin gathered himself. "It is what was found on last one sir." He remembered greatly the view of the world on that seventh platform. He heard those who knew it curse. Carrim break down into tears. Seeing Nanoha being held by Yuuno as she just stared slackjawed at the image in horror. Fate at that moment he could believe looked like her actual mother Precia with the mad rage on her face. Rakok was growling and cursing under his breath in Klingon.

    Nottra herself was calm in the storm at first glance but a look at her eyes and he pitied any Iconian who she would of found. The sheer murderous fury in her eyes made her every bit the walking Terror of the Tal Shiar that Hakeev had painted her to be.

    Hayate was staring as well but than collapsed into a heep and cried. Robin remembered bending down to pick the love of his life up as he walked over to the console. In that room, Robin would recite word for word what the console had said once he got it to read in something a Human could understand.

    "Planet: Midchilda. Dominant Species: Midchildan Servitor Presence: Level 6 Surveillance in affect. Civilization uses Magic similar to Ancient Belkan and Al Hazardian systems but far more refined. Shunned the use of Technology completely till recently. First Contact Prevention has failed as the attempt to hide our home Dimension was thwarted due to possible interference of either the Q Continuum or Organians."

    "The society is strongly self-preserving, highly creative, and willing to work towards a greater goal as a whole. Attempts at corrupting through politicians not recommended. This is in no small part the fault of the three Interloper Ships from the Alpha and Beta Quadrants having interfered in local politics by virtue of local corrupt powers attacking them. Have also made use of ancient Virus via corrupt economic elements but cure was found through the Dominion (Ketra-cel White suppresses and Jem'hadar physiology produces natural antibodies to Eclipse). Recommended for Extermination using the same method as used for Romulan extermination."

    Robin finished and looked at Admiral Quinn. The elder man nodded. "So that's why you wanted the command of her. It's personal for you all now." He understood why Robin Harlen wanted to dive head first into the fight now.

    "Yes sir. As you know, we managed to find our way out and find the ancient ship. But our resetting the Gateway network unleashed a storm of Elachi Fleets on the galaxy. We headed for the Jouret system and started the fight. The Enterprise, Bortasqu, and Lleiset came to our aid as did the Wolfram, Claudia, Artha, and the Gotterdammerung."

    "That was when the Huckenbein appeared in the Esquad along side the Elachi Fleet lead vessel, in service with the Iconians with a weapon added to their ship..an Antiproton Lance. " Robin said.

    "Their first shot broke the 'Dammerung in two sir. It was only luck that allowed the Warp Core to be ejected before it breached." Robin said and growled out the next, "The second shot disabled the Wolfram. They prepared a third shot but..."

    Quinn waved his hand. "You can go...I've heard all I needed to hear."

    Robin gave a bow and salute. "Thank you sir." Quinn just nodded and turned as Robin left the room. He had a funeral to get too.

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

    The weather was dreary today. Rain came down but not hard thankfully. The gathering was huge with many in a dark grey uniform. The TSAB Funeral Dress. An Honor Guard stood watch over the grave and casket. The whole of the Wolfram's crew was there as she was in drydock for repair and refit from her battle damage at the Dimensional Main Branch, a giant space station in Subspace as big as the Elachi Station that Nottra had infiltrated.

    Standing there was were the crews of all six ships. The Starfleet Officers dressed in their own formal uniforms and standing at parade rest. There was also Romulan Republic officers in their own dress. The Klingons came dressed in Ceremonial armor and three of them stood to one side with Romulans from the personal security guard for D'Tan as well as K'Gan.

    His own crew, including now Academy Insructor Ausril Kirlax in her hoverchair, were there and turned to face him before giving salute. "Sir." Six said, the Borg having taken command when Ausril was unable too and put into effect General Order 13 when the Gotterdammerung had been scrapped in one shot. She now was his First Officer and right-hand at Ausril's request.

    The Numbers themselves were near the casket, dressed in their skintight suits. Each with a Roman Numeral denoting their number and name (in Italian strangely enough). The group had once been foes of the gathered friends but after the events at the Ground Forces Headquarters, started to work together and had found friends and allies in the ranks of the Romulan Republic; who had looked past their troubled beginnings as criminals to give them jobs. Quattro herself had morphed from a vicious psychopath into something respectable under both the guidance of D'Tan and Franklin Drake. Her vicious and sadistic streak only turned on the Tal Shiar.

    Robin watched as Hayate took to the front and bowed her head. The Wolkenritter and Hayate were at the front, all in their uniforms with Hayate bearing a scar from her cheek down to the the left side of her chest. It was from her and Curren getting into it with their fists and whatever sharp weapons were around as the woman had tried to board the ancient ship to kill Hayate herself in person. She got off lightly as she had got Curren into the cargo bay and shoved the whench out it into space when she got the doors to open without the protective forcefield.

    Curren had tried to hold on as the vacuum attempted sucked them both out into a cold death. Hayate bringing out a simple Klingon-style Disruptor she got from the Ferasan Troop commander and pointing it at Curren's head. She fired, vaporizing the skull of the leader of the Huckenbein in the shot.

    The scars from that life or death fight were mentally deep now but because of it, most of the Huckenbein were apprehended and locked up in Facility 4028 with no key and no organic beings allowed contact save for Jem'hadar...who were immune to Eclipse by some quirk of their genes and Ketrecel-White. The only ones not lucked up was the girl who could control the Esquad as well as Touma and Lily.

    "We gather on this day to remember our fallen friend and comrade. He died in the line of duty doing what we, the Time-Space Administration Bureau, are charged with doing as our duty. We are the protectors of Law and Justice in the land. The light that keeps civilization safe." Hayate began to say, her eyes betraying how hard it was to give this speech. The hardest job any commander had to do was to speak for the fallen.

    "Sometimes, the cost of that duty is our lives. Make no mistake, it is a noble sacrifice. We never know if and when we are asked to make it. On the day he fell was his call to make that sacrifice. In doing so, he saved the lives of over thirty children of our friends and allies in the Romulan Republic, both Romulan and Reman alike." She could continue to say before stopping to rest and collect herself.

    "He did not because they were friends or allies...but because it was the right thing to do. It was what we are all Oathbound to do whether we are Enforcers, Aerial Mages, Zauber-Ritter, Church Knights and Nuns. No matter where we fall. The fact that many of our friends who we met that day over a year go for us share this same belief in Duty, Valor, and Sacrifice being the watchwords of their own oaths says something to how universal it is as a belief." Hayate smiled and than put on her serious face.

    "In light of his sacrifice, we would be derelict in our duty to not answer the challenge now presented by the Iconians and their Servitors in the Solanae and Elachi. They have made perfectly clear their intention for annihilating our civilization. In doing so, they have made a grave mistake. We will honor him now by continuing to not only serve as we have but..." She brought out a small envelope and opened it.

    "By Order of the Three Admirals, Major General Nakajima of the Ground Forces, Lieutenant General Pixy of the Aerial Mage Corps, and the Order of Priests of the Church of the Saintk Kaiser...The Five Worlds of the Time-Space Administration Bureau are ordering a full mobilization of all assets to help both in homefront defense and engage in open warfare with any and all confirmed Iconian assets, allies, and personnel. Order given is unconditional surrender of enemy or outright annihilation should they turn down surrender."

    She closed the order and bowed, letting a Priest from the Church of the Saintk Kaiser step forward to finish the ceremony. "We now commit our friend and fallen to the land from which we all born. Let his spirit sail among the Sea of Dimensions, free of all hatred and malice. The Endless Frontier awaits as the eternal blaze is lit in his soul forever." He than stepped back and nodded to the side of the small raised dias.

    Standing there as well was a friend of the group and the Numbers in particular; Ranka N've. The Romulan Republic Pop Idol had done more for the good image of the Romulans and Remans with her own brand of song inspired by what Nanoha called J-pop...the name morphed into R-Pop.

    She stood there with a small choir, waiting to start singing as she had been a friend of the fallen and their newly started family. She took a breath as the small band behind her started up and than she broke into song, a full.
    <I remember the days of summer
    We were so close together
    You were humming the songs of silence
    Sweetly plucking the harp of wind>

    Nanoha and Yuuno stood to the right, holding Vivio and Einhart's shoulders as the two girls cried. Nanoha was bowing her head in reverence while Yuuno watched as the Honor Guard began to fold the flag of the Time-Space Administration Bureau. The emblem of the shield with the three branches emblazed in fields of blue for the Air Mage Corp, black for the Dimensional Navy, and brown for the Ground Forces.

    <Every moment was sacred and mystic
    We were near to the shore of eternity
    The days are gone, and will never come back>


    Next to them was Carrim and Rakok, the former in full Saint Church Dress regalia for funerals consisting of formal armor and sword. Shach by her side faithfully in the purple nun uniform and habit. Carrim was doing her best to put on a straight face but one could see even this death had shaken her. The crew of his new Hegh'ta-class Bird-or-Prey, the I.K.S. Torg
    <You were a half of me...long time ago>

    Nottra, Tovan, and the crew of their ship; the R.R.W. Ra'kholh'nnea'ch'Rihan, a Haakona-class Warbird with a very meaningful name as it was nameless till after the events of the last week. The 'Avenger of Romulus', it was to be put into Frontline duty to fight back the Iconians and their Servitors no matter where they showed up on any and all fronts. It's first mission was to head beyond the Jouret Gate to investigate the area and the woman the Tal Shiar once called 'The Raptor's Daughter' was more than willing to give anything that was a threat to her friends, family, and new homeworld a fight it would not forget...or survive.
    <Life can never be perfect without you
    But I'm still on my way to the future
    For I remember your sweet song in my mind>


    Admiral Lindy stood there, nodding at the coffin and by her side was her son Chrono in his old Barrier Jacket; a black longcoat with metal spikes on the shoulders. Durandal in his left and his wife Amy and children on the right. His left eye gone and a pirate patch in it's place with his right arm in a sling. He had crashed the Claudia into the Esquad, disabling both ships though paid dearly with the loss of his left eye. He was going to stay Admiral and Captain of his ship though, making it clear he would not let such an injury stop him from defending his home world from the coming threat. He was to lead the strike forces against all Elachi ships in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.

    Linsdy herself was getting the new Arthra, a LX-class Dimensional Warship and the first of it's kind to field not only a hybrid Phaser-Plasma beam similar to the rest of their beam weapons; omnidirectional with physics-bending targeting. The ship also carried a first generation Transphasic-Quantum hybrid torpedo. She was taking up the job of liason to the TSAB of the task force that would be sent in to deal with the Omega Particles found on the other side of the Jouret Gateway. It was time to retire the old war horse she had Captained for so long and gave to Chrono.
    <To the lost horizon, I'm calling your name
    Again and again>

    Next came the Forwards, all in their formal uniforms save for Teana and Fate standing by them in the night black with gold trim Enforcer Uniform. Fate was looking sadly at Tovan Khev, the two separated for now by this loss for the Funeral. She was also a friend of the family in question as well and sighed. Behind her was Shari, her once beautiful face marred from burns and scars when her console exploded on the Wolfram. It would take weeks of plastic surgery to repair the damage done in that hit from the Lance weapon.
    <Though the night is so dark
    A new dawn is so close to me
    Sun will come and shine on all seeds of hope
    Bud and bloom...>


    <I remember the days of winter
    You were sitting beside me
    All alone in the shuttered places
    We were waiting for thawing day>


    As the flag was folded by different members of the Honor Guard, Chrono stepped forward and accepted the duty of the final fold. Taking the flag in hand, he walked up to the Numbers and Jail as they were gathered around the one closest to their fallen along with D'Tan. He had not been asked to come but wanted to anyways as the man who died was a hero for his sacrifice and Jail himself had consulted on the Iconian Gate. The death was the fault of those who sought to pervert his work for their own gains and that enraged Doctor Scalgietti. Before doing so, he removed from a pocket a black case and continued onwards.

    <Every moment was sacred and mystic
    We were hoping the night was eternal
    The days are gone, and so far away
    I'm still singing your sweet song for long
    Long windy nights...>


    Sitting there was Rinna; Tovan's sister and Laguna Granscenic; both wearing Romulan-style mourning tattoos as Laguna had thought it appropriate to join her Sister-in-Law in mourning. Behind them was D'Tan himself, wanting to be there to honor such a selfless sacrifice for the lives of others. "Rinna, Laguna....we in the Time-Space Administration Bureau feel and join you in mourning your loss." Chrono said as he handed over the flag and case. He opened it and there was a gold medal sporting the sigil of the TSAB. A golden shield with the symbols for the three branches: Ground, Air, and Navy. Below the shield was written, 'In memory of Adm. Clyde Harloawn and all who receive this honor'...the Clyde Harlaown Medal, named for Chrono's father who had sacrificed himself and his ship to stop the rampaging Book of Darkness by ordering his own friend and fellow Admiral Gil Graham to fire the Anti-Material Annihilation Cannon Arc'en'Ciel at his ship; even with his wife Lindsy onboard Gil's ship to hear the order given.

    This medal was made right after and dedicated not just in his name but all those who put themselves in the line of fire like the man who earned it post-humously did. It was the TSAB equivalent to the Starfleet Medal of Honor.

    D'Tan put a hand on the shoulder of Rinna Khev and spoke softly, "Do not fret. Master Sergeant Vice knew what he was doing when he ordered Storm Raider to take remote control of his helicopter the with that load of children without him onboard Rinna." D'Tan

    She nodded as the leader of the Romulan Republic continued to give her sollace. "His sacrifice will be long remembered by the lives he saved that day. His legacy will live on in the child you carry now." Vice had been a long friend of the group and their Helicopter pilot plus Sniper to back Teana, he died in a rock slide not long after giving Stormraider the command.

    In Rinna's hands was the dogtag with a green gem engraved in the Midchildan stylized form of English 'Storm Raider' as it beeped and spoke, "[You are my Master now.]" The device would continue to serve on with the fellow pilot to her now dead master.

    She nodded her thanks as Admiral Robin Harlen stepped forward and spoke. "Attention!" Stepping forward were seven people, snapping up to attention. Five were Starfleet Security Personnel in Starfleet Honor Guard markings and carrying TR-116 rifles. The sixth was a Romulan carrying a Plasma rifle set to compression bolt stun; C'Nar Yilmak, the Gotterdammerung's former Romulan Republic Liason Officer. The final was Master Sergeant Ginga Nakajima with a standard TSAB stave. A sign of how tightly knit the groups were as both had volunteered for this duty.

    Robin continued the commands. "Port..ARMS!" The five TR-116s, the Plasma Rifle, and the Stave left the ground in unison and were held at a forty-five degree angle with the muzzle, firing emitter, and green orb up and to the left.

    "Half right..FACE!" The seven pivoted perfectly to a forty-five degree angle with the weapons not moving an millimeter.

    "Aim." The seven aimed their weapons thirty degrees above the casket. "FIRE!" Five rifle shots, one plasma shot, and a basic shooting spell fired off with the sounds one would expect of that. The weapons were back to port arms in a second with the Starfleet personnel clearing and reloading the chamber.

    "Aim, Fire!" "Aim, FIRE!" Twice more it happened to a total of twenty-one shots were unloaded. "Half left..FACE!" Robin had personally asked for this detail.

    "Present ARMS!" Robin snapped and the weapons were snapped to the front and vertical with the power-cells, and magazines out. The staff had it's bottom end on the ground as Ginga assumed standard posture for the order in the T.S.A.B.

    A final salute from Robin Harlen and he nodded his head and everyone gave a salute to the casket one last time.

    ******

    It was a small bar that had been discovered by those from the Alpha and Beta Quadrant during their one year stay in Midchilda. The place was called 'Dimensional Dragon Tavern' and was one of the oldest pubs of it's kind on Midchilda. Now it was a gathering spot for the senior staffs of six ships. Captain Tanaka and Captain Irax had left early due to time constraints for the service.

    Hayate sat there, nursing a Belkan-made ale as Rakok nodded in time. Robin himself was playing a song on his guitar. She lost track of which one. The only thing out of place was the one chair no one was sitting in with a shot glass turned upside down on the table. It was Vice's favorite spot and no one dared sit in it right now.

    Robin stopped and smiled, knowing full well that Vice would not the atmosphere so gloomy. He smiled and looked to Ausril as she nodded. It was a silent code between them and she started to signal everyone else to get ready for the more personal honoring of Vice's memory. They were going to start singing his favorite song. One he had picked up from the Admiral's collection of Earth music and had found was of meaning to him.
    As silence started to reign now in the small pub, shot glasses were being filled with Romulan Ale and passed around. Robin nodded and raised his glass high. "To lost friends...may they find their paths among the stars." He took the shot of liquid in the glass and smiled before starting to sing and was soon joined by even the Vulcans; T'Shimak, T'Laale, Voreros, and Pole. Six of Nine even joined in, understanding they were honoring a friend and ally.
    Friends all tried to warn me but I held my head up high
    All the time to warn me but I only passed them by
    They all tried to tell me but I guess I didn't care
    I turned my back and left them standing there

    All the burning bridges that are falling after me
    All the lonely feelings and the burning memories
    Everyone I left behind each time I closed the door
    Burning bridges lost forevermore

    Joey tried to help me find a job a while ago
    When I finally got it I didn't want to go
    The party Mary gave for me when I just walked away
    Now there's nothing left for me to say

    All the burning bridges that are falling after me
    All the lonely feelings and the burning memories
    Everyone I left behind each time I closed the door
    Burning bridges lost forevermore

    Years have passed and I keep thinking, what a fool I've been
    I look back into the past and think of way back then
    I know that I lost everything I thought that I could win
    I guess I should have listened to my friends

    All the burning bridges that are falling after me
    All the lonely feelings and the burning memories
    Everyone I left behind each time I closed the door
    Burning bridges lost forevermore

    Burning bridges lost forevermore

    ....
    *****************

    [Two weeks later]

    The air was crisp, clean, and breathable at an altitude that on Earth would of been the start of the Ionosphere. Hanging there in the open; without any method to support it, a massive ship-sized Iconian Gateway hung in the open. A sign of advanced technology before it suddenly started up and coming through as a massive beast of a ship. Jade-green, the front looking like that of a stylized hawk and a Roman Centurion helment had a child. The four wings tipped in nacelles glowing a neon green.

    ****

    The bridge of her new ship was a hive of activity. Seeing as Federation and Klingon ships shutdown when they scanned Omega or it's traces, it was quickly decided by the Expedition Forces to send a Romulan Warbird through. It had the advantage of stealth as well as sheer firepower. Commander Nottra Natal nodded as she looked out the view screen. An open sky. She smiled broadly.

    Standing next to her was Jail Scaglietti. The Doctor was still by definition a Mad Scientist but had proven his worth on numerous occasions, including when he scared Hakeev senseless almost as bad as Nottra could with just a speech about how Hakeev had let the power of science rule and delude him rather then using science to bring power to others and show what it could do. It had been his endgame plan originally on Midchilda before the Al Hazard Prince Ryleh decided to hijack his work and move. He said Universal Domination sounded like a bad movie villian's goal, mentioning something about a Mad Russian General with insane martial arts skills as if he was a joke.

    Though now knowing that the Iconians may have had a hand in the recent events and the near destruction of the Typhus was enough to make her blood boil. Now they were here, the Numbers ready to deploy as forward scouts as sensor readings came in.

    Hiven raised and eyebrow and whistled. "By the Elements. If I did not know any better...I think we are inside a Dyson Sphere." The Chief Science Officer said and shook his head looking around the bridge.

    "Atmosphere is breathable even this high up. Structures to our left. One of them is a massive monolith. It could be turned into a forward base." Tovan said, looking over the tactical readouts as well. "Looks like it has some landing areas near the main body."

    Nottra nodded as she said. "Helm. Move the ship ahead and prepare the shuttlebay to start launching and delivering teams. Begin Beachhead Operations. Tovan, send a hail back through and alert the rest of the Spear that it is clear."

    *******

    The Warbird moved out of the way and the first ship through was the Wolfram. Leaner and meaner looking than the Warbird, her sensors had an active range beyond most normal short-range sensors. Her triangular design making her look like an Elachi escort ship, but made much bigger as she was nearly the size of the ship she was moving behind as well as a D'Deridex.

    The next ship through was a massive, flying, white wedge. Black structures gave it a modern art look as it moved ahead and forward. On the side, painted on the black with white was the ship's name.
    United Federation of Planets
    Tuatha Da Danaan
    *******
    Admiral Harlen was standing at the platform just before his bridge seat. The thing still took getting used to. Before him was a holographic representation of the local area. "Hangar Control, launch Swarmers from Bay 1 and the Peregines and Scorps from Bay 2. Swarmer wing is to be set for Intercept and Escort duty. Peregines and Scorps will work Combat Patrol and scouting. Relay all data to Science and Tactical CIC stations." He started to say.

    Standing near the holographic display on the side opposite of the First Officer station was the newest member of the crew. A young Human female, she had the Hangar command and Chief of Operations, Ensign Teletha Testarossa. "Yes sir." She replied with a smile. Her scores in Hangar simulations were astounding as was her knowledge of Ship Operations and Logistics. Robin snatched her up right out of the Academy. Her hair was a platinum as well as her eyes, a strange coloration indeed.

    "Helm. Bring us out and closer to the Spire. Ready Away Teams at all Transporter Stations and Shuttlebays for launching. Tell Ks'nar not to go all 'We are dead' on the poor newbies. I don't want those Ensigns scarred by the Jem'hadar...or I will tell Signum to have words with him." Robin said next, wanting to tease even by vicarious pleasure the Jem'hadar on what many said was a Boyfriend/Girlfriend arrangement though both profusely denied it.

    "Wolfram reports they have deployed Wolkenritter, Stars, and Lightning to the Spire. Meeting no resistance or traps so far. Numbers Uno and Quattro have TRIBBLE control circuits. Landing Hangars are opening. We can begin deployment and establishing a beach head in this area Admiral." Came the reports from Six of Nine. She turned and looked at the Captain before an alert sounded.

    "Captain. Fighters report running into potential unidentified hostiles. They are falling back quickly as the enemy was able to pierce the cloaks of the Scorpions." She quickly said and began to look over the readings as the holographic display zoomed on on the retreating fighters and their pursuers.

    "Hostiles have Capital ship support. Hailing them." Came Karan's report.

    A viewer-type screen popped up and Admiral Harlen came face to face with an alien from the Voyager reports. "Identify your reason for invading Voth Territory and violating Doctrine." The man asked as Robin could see the ship deploying more fighters and was soon joined by two smaller escort-types.

    "I am Admiral Robin Lind Harlen of the Joint Exploration Frontier Task Force, Captain of the Tuatha Da Danaan for the Starfleet contigent. Our presence here is to ascertain the status of the local environs, exploration, and to neutralize the presence of the Omega particles that we picked up upon our arrival."

    "The particle is the property and creation of the Voth. Now surrender yourselves and your vessels." The Voth said as Robin had signalled a message to be sent back through the Gateway. A nod signalled Rakok's Bird-of-Prey, a Hegh'ta-Class named the I.K.S. Torg came in. It seemed while this was happening, the Voth Commander was consulting with someone.

    "We've had dealings with your Starfleet..." The way the Voth said that made Robin scowl. "Now you will surrender yourselves to us and tell us how you activated that device!" His soon-to-be foe demanded, probably having seen the Raider come through.

    "No." Was the response as Robin narrowed his eyes. "I will not. You want to take us...you will have to fight us."

    "So be it." The Voth said as the channel closed.

    "Deploy all Swarmers. Recall Scorpions and Peregrines into Intercept command. Ready all weapons. Signal the fleet. Red Alert." Admiral Harlen said with a frown. This was going to be a tough mission.

    (To be continued in Lyrical Trek: Frontier...see you next Deculture!)
    "The Multiverse, the ultimate frontier..."
    Thus begins...Lyrical Trek
  • tiberusceasertiberusceaser Member Posts: 2 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    Log entry of Vice Admiral Tiberus


    Commanding officer's log.

    With discovery of the Solanae Dyson sphere two weeks ago D'tan and the New Romulan Republic have pushed ther dominace in this situation as the gate is in there space and the federation and KDF do not want fleets of the now readly available drednoughts standing against them.

    Now to the adversary we face in the sphere. The voth were contacted by Kathryn Janeway and the crew of Voyager during their adventures in the delta quadrant they are a very formidable foe but little is known about other than that they think they are native to the dilta quadrant what turned out is that they are native to earth before the flood. Either way they are formidable and are after omega the science officer will know more.

    End of entry
  • shadowhuntermanshadowhunterman Member Posts: 16 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    ~Section 31, Report #43
    Agent Five
    Project Premonition

    *Agent Five, continuing report on Jason Michael Prophet*
    *Taken from his Personal Log*

    ~Start of recording~

    Vice Admiral's personal log...

    Zefram Cochrane's flight ushered in a new age. It began the creation of the Federation, and in his words he said "On this site, a powerful engine will be built - an engine that will someday help us to travel a hundred times faster than we can today. Imagine it: thousands of inhabited planets at our fingertips. And we'll be able to explore those strange new worlds, and seek out new life, and new civilizations. This engine will let us go boldly, where no man has gone before."

    But when you first see the Spacegate...there is nothing like it. *pauses* No, there is. Fear. Almost paralyzing fear. And then, when you learn what is on the other side of it...

    The crew of the U.S.S. Nike are strong people, and being issued one of the first Avenger-class battlecruisers is apart of that strength. But they are just...*chuckles* mortals, just like me, looking at something that strikes the most eloquent dumb.

    Instantaneous travel. That is the promise given by the Spacegate. And the Solanae Dyson Sphere...what is it's promise? I've been in contact with a Voth scientist that has extreme misgivings about this Dyson Sphere, and I can't say I blame him. *pauses, then continues in almost a whisper* His arguments are sound...

    *Returning to normal volume* I cannot shake the fear that this place, this Dyson Sphere is an already opened Pandora's Box...but the horrors that should have escaped are just hiding around us, both for the Voth and the alliance of the KDF and the Romulan Republic...*short, mirthless laugh* and don't get me started on this alliance. That is a whole other topic...

    The Spacegate is open. And it leads to a place that produces *REDACTED*. We have a foothold, but so do the Voth. Those are the facts of the situation. We cannot turn our back on those facts. We cannot allow whatever this Dyson Sphere was created to do come to fruition. We, this alliance, has to draw the line HERE. THIS far, NO further.

    The Federation used to be a force of peacekeepers and explorers. But I've been fighting my entire career in Starfleet...so has most of my senior staff. I just hope, that the future is brighter than what it appears to be now.

    *End of Entry*

    Agent Five's Personal Note: I'm withdrawing my observation of Jason Prophet, effective immediately. I can't continue to spy of my brother.

    Request of Immediate Reassignment: Accepted
    Agent Five has been removed from Project Premonition

    ~Section 32, end of Report #43
  • bluegeekbluegeek Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    -- Begin Secure Transmission --

    Chancellor J'mpok, Honored K'men, and the Klingon High Council,

    From Lieutenant General Rhyannha, of the House of Khorthas, reporting:

    Glory to the Empire and to your Houses!

    As you know, the Romulans under the leadership of D'Tan have claimed the Iconian Gateway in the Jouret system. My mission was to investigate and to provide the High Council with a detailed report of the Romulans' early exploration of the alien Artifact on the other side of the Gateway and the events leading to the conflict with the Voth, as well as to provide a strategic analysis of the current situation there.

    After thoroughly questioning my own contacts on this side, I decided that the only means of hunting down the information we needed was to journey to the Artifact myself.

    I was immediately struck by the effortless transition from the Jouret system to another location so many light years away in the Delta Quadrant. I can see why the Romulans have such an interest in it. To possess such technology... the Empire would be invincible. Though I have to wonder what the cost would be to our own culture and stability if we did have it. For now it is sufficient that none of our so-called "allies" possess it either.

    The reports do not do the Artifact justice. The immensity of an artificial construct so large that our entire fleet -- no, the entire homeworld -- could disappear within... incredible. The Artifact is teeming with ships from the Federation, the Empire, and the Republic. And still, the mission is so overwhelming that even these are not enough to do what must be done.

    I have been able to discover that the first incursions into the Artifact were without challenge. The Romulan ships scouted the terminus point under cloak and found an area that was seemingly abandoned and ripe for the taking. They quickly realized that they did not have sufficient forces to exploit the situation and they were beholden to share their discoveries with both the Empire and the Federation in any case.

    A loose command structure was agreed upon that gave the Romulans oversight of operations within the Artifact, and that is when our own ships first entered there. To the Empire fell the task of securing the space around the terminus while the Romulans and the Federation began their scientific research.

    The amount of data was overwhelming to their scientists, let alone the spies we set to watch them. But it was clear that something was actually generating a great many dangerous Omega particles. The combined forces began to seek out the source.

    And that is when the Allied forces first encountered the Voth.

    The Voth are an ancient species, which my intelligence sources say were first encountered by the Federation starship Voyager during its' ill-fated exile to the Delta Quadrant. This reptiloid species follows an inflexible Doctrine that asserts that they are the oldest race in the galaxy and that every other species is inferior. In addition, the crew of the Voyager alleged later that the DNA of this species contained distinct markers that indicated that they were of Terran origin -- the same world that the Humans came from.

    Apparently, the Federation neglected to share this information with us. Perhaps it was considered to be unimportant, since there was no feasible way to make contact with or to travel to the Delta Quadrant until now.

    I have not been able to gain access to an eyewitness of the first encounter with the Voth, but the incident was a terrific shock to both sides and it did not end well. As soon as the Voth realized they were dealing with species that resembled the Humans, they responded by trying to destroy us. The conflict escalated, and both sides began fortifying their positions and sallying strike forces to probe each others' defenses. Regrettably, the Voth have proved better at penetrating our defenses than we have been at penetrating theirs. Our only advantage is that their technology is geared more toward defense than offense, and so far, within the Allied Zone and hiding behind a minefield of self-replicating mines, we are victorious.

    And yes, I say "so far". The efficiency of the Romulan commanders is pathetic. They have no experience with an invasion force of this size and their leadership is disorganized. The priority should be to neutralize the Voth at all costs. But no, they send our forces on arbitrary assignments to dissipate ion storms, repair plasma leaks, transport supplies, and investigate anomalous waveforms -- often resulting in an ambush by the Voth, who have their own cloaking technology.

    I sense a Federation hand in this foolish preoccupation with scientific discovery, logistics, and maintenance work. Then again, the Romulans have always been too curious for their own good and the Republic is as unimaginably idealistic as the Federation sometimes. In this case however, speaking as a science officer the best strategy might be to invade now, research later.

    Fortunately there are many in the Republic who take a more pragmatic view and we should seek to support those who hold it. I recommend that we strengthen our own ties to the popular leader of the Reman ex-rebels, Obisek. He may see things our way, and he has some influence with D'Tan.

    The Voth themselves are worthy foes to test our warriors and commanders. Their smaller ships are difficult for ill-trained crew to bring down, and their most massive vessels more than a match for a small fleet. I myself have helped to hunt down giant, cybernetically enhanced dinosaurs and I can truthfully say that they are more than able to cull out the weak and the inept. Whether we win or lose, the battle will be glorious!

    I continue to collect as much information about the Voth as I can. There is still much we do not know about their motives and objectives. Honored J'mpok, I counsel you to demand of the Federation all of the data they possess about the Voth from their encounter with Voyager. They are withholding information, I'm certain of it.

    Even more troubling, I suspect that there are Tal Shiar operatives mixed in among the Romulans. They could very well be orchestrating the disorganization of the Republic command at the behest of their Iconian masters. We must watch our flanks at all times. Treachery may come when we least expect it, from those we least suspect. We will root out the spies and we WILL conquer this territory for the glory of the Empire, with or without the help of our "allies"! Q'apla!

    Lieutenant General Rhyanna, out.

    -- End Transmission --
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  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    Sphere of Influence

    "Looks like they beat us here," S'rR's Kane remarked as the ATV skidded to a halt beside an identical vehicle.

    With a wry tilt of her head, Captain Amanda Palmer opened the cockpit canopy, and they climbed out, dropping lightly to the soil of New Romulus. As she approached Commander Ael t'Kazanak, she heard Claire's holographic avatar coalesce behind her.

    "Where's Captain Atreides?" she asked, struggling to keep the note of irritation from her voice. The commanding officer of the USS Endeavour had the maddening tendency to appear absent from almost any diplomatic function, even when his presence was positively confirmed.

    "He's already below," Ael replied. For the sake of protocol, she resisted the impulse to embrace her friends. "They're beaming people into the area directly to save on slips and trips in the cave system."

    "That's not a bad idea," Palmer acknowledged, following the Romulan officer toward an automated transport platform. "I had a new tattoo a few months back -- my grandmother's cameo necklace wrapped round my forearm. Have you anything new?"

    "Uh, the last addition was my parent's names in Rihan script, also on my forearms," Ael replied trying to recall the most recent addition to her collection. Despite the slight difference in their ranks, the two women had known each other since the Romulan attended Starfleet Academy, and they had developed something of a competition in their ongoing collections of body art.

    They stepped onto the platform, and were immediately transported below the surface of the planet.
    ***

    "Welcome to New Romulus," said a young Reman male standing in the reception area by the transporter platform. "I am Frenek, and I serve as a liaison officer for D'Tan. As you can see, we've stabilized the environment in this area as part of our investigations of the gateway. Protective gear is no longer necessary. Admiral Kererek is waiting for you in the gateway chamber."

    "That's something of a relief," Palmer admitted, taking in the heavy industrial construction of the area. Beneath her feet, lava churned and flowed, but heatsinks in the transparent aluminum flooring kept the chamber surprisingly cool. "Could you tell me what's actually going on here? Admiral Cheliss' briefing was somewhat sketchy on details, and I'm no archaeologist."

    "It would be my pleasure, Captain," the Reman said. "As part of our excavations into this area, we found artifacts from a much older civilization that once lived on this world. These primitive people appeared to share the planet with their 'gods' - in actuality, a species with a much higher technological level than their own.

    "These Dewans were abandoned when their 'gods' left the world, but over time developed their own culture and technology. Then they found the gateway - it's Iconian, but it must have seemed almost magical to the Dewans. Using geothermal energy, they managed to activate the gateway briefly - but the reaction was too unstable. The geothermal tap caused a chained volcanic reaction that devastated the planet. Our scientists say that ash clouded the sky, dropping temperatures and dramatically altering the climate if much if the habitable land. Radiation levels spiked, and many of the Dewans died.

    "The survivors retreated to underground shelter, but it was the end of their civilisation. Only the flora and fauna that could adapt survived - Until we arrived and discovered the secrets of this world. Now that we've found the Iconian gateway, we feel that it would be a boon to the Romulan Republic. The entire galaxy will be at our fingertips!"

    Palmer and S'rR's exchanged a sideways glance at the barely contained enthusiasm in the young Reman's voice -- it was just a few steps below fanaticism.

    "Thank you," she said as politely as possible. "I'm sure we'll find the Admiral through here."

    They began to walk through a corridor which appeared to have been carved directly from the rock. Various groups of people, officers both from Starfleet and the Romulan Republic stood in quiet conversation, although as they passed one group, Palmer heard someone mutter:

    "We're taking a lot of risks here..."

    No s**t... she thought uneasily, before turning to face Claire.

    "How're you holding up?" she enquired.

    "I'm fine, Captain," the photonic officer replied cheerfully. "My mobile emitter is functioning well within normal parameters, and as yet, my uplink to the Vanguard hasn't been severed by interference from the gate."

    "Let me know the instant it does," Palmer said, as they came into a massive cathedral-like cavern. All about them, engineers and scientists worked at a variety of consoles and devices.

    Almost immediately, they were greeted by a Romulan admiral, who broke off from his conversation with Ambassador Worf and Captain Koren to welcome the latest arrivals.

    "Welcome," he said. "The Romulan Republic is here with representatives of our allies in the Federation and the Klingon Empire, to witness the dawn of a new age. Harnessing the power of this gateway will change everything for our people."

    "I'm sure it will," Palmer replied. "With the greatest of respect, this really is not a good idea. I've seen the effects of activated Iconian gateways first hand, and I've gotta tell ya, it wasn't pretty!"

    "Yes, we must be cautious," Kererek admitted. "The Dewans tried to do the same and it destroyed them. But we have been studying the gateway since we discovered it, and we believe that we understand where the Dewans went wrong. We now have the technology and the knowledge we need to successfully adapt Iconian technology for our own use. We have a few final adjustments to make, and then we'll be ready to -"

    "You think you have corrected the issue?" Worf interrupted. "Consider what happened to the Dewans -- and what the result would be if the Romulans lose a second homeworld."

    "Ambassador Worf was invited here because of his experience with Iconian gateways," Kererek explained. "He has been -- voicing his concerns with our decision to activate the gateway. My science teams are convinced that they have solved the problems of the past, but I fear that, like the ambassador, some of my engineers have their doubts."

    S'rR's stepped forward from beside Palmer, and addressed the aged Klingon.

    "Ambassador Worf, on behalf of the Empress of the Pentaxian Dynasty, I am delivering an official protest to these proceedings," she said. "The activation of an Iconian gateway has the potential to have effects which will impact across the quadrant. May I count on your support in our opposition of these proceedings?"

    Worf looked down at the slender Pentaxian before him. She wore the long sleeveless cloak of a Klingon commander, which he knew many of his people would consider an utter mockery of the garment of office, but he detected no trace of sarcasm or discourtesy in the young woman's voice or behaviour

    "I have encountered Iconian gateways twice before," he replied. "I share the concerns of your empress, as in both those instances, the finest commanders I ever served found the technology to be too dangerous to preserve." He turned to face Kererek. "It is difficult to believe that you have managed to do what they could not..."

    "D'Tan and the Senate believe this to be an important step for the New Republic," the Romulan replied. "But it is a step that we must take with our allies. Do you not agree, Commander?"

    "Sir," Ael snapped formally. "I am a Starfleet officer and a citizen of the Federation. My orders are to provide any and all assistance to Ambassador S'rR's. Sir."

    Palmer's eyes widened in amused shock at Ael's words. She had not spoken to Kererek in Rihan, but Federation Standard! Her rejection of his words and plans was as clear as if she had spit in his face.

    To his credit, Kererek merely smiled benevolently and continued.

    "We respect the opinions of our allies and want them to join us in this venture, just as the Bajorans and the Federation worked in tandem when the wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant was discovered.

    "In the interests of easing some concerns, Ambassadors, I invite you to take a final check of the data. Perhaps Captain Palmer would be willing to assist you?"

    "Well, I'm no expert," Palmer admitted, taken aback by the offer. "But I'd be happy to take a look."

    "That will be acceptable, Admiral Kererek," Worf conceded. "We will start by reviewing your science team's work."
    ***

    "I'm... I'm sorry, did you need something?" Researcher A'dranna asked, as Worf and Palmer approached and introduced themselves. "I don't mean to be so distracted, but it's taken a lot of work and a lot of late nights to get here. Finally, we're ready. We've considered everything that could go wrong, and planned for any contingency."

    "What kind of assurances can you offer of your preparedness?" Worf asked, towering over the slight technician.

    "The Dewans weren't as advanced technologically as we are," the Romulan girl replied. "They hadn't even become a warp culture when they tried to repower the gateway. We have advantages they could only dream of having.

    "There's some risk, of course, but anything worth doing has some risk. We wouldn't be standing on a new homeworld for our people if we hadn't been willing to take a chance and challenge the Tal Shiar.

    "With all due respect, Ambassador, I don't think there's anything to worry about. If you want, I'll review the data my team has collected with you. Captain Palmer can review the power coefficient numbers for the Alpha, Gamma and Delta monitors. Maybe I do need another set of eyes... I've -- had a lot of trouble sleeping..."

    Crossing to the console indicated by A'dranna, Palmer recalled what she had studied of Rihan and keyed in a status enquiry.
    Alpha 45Tj PvC 14
    Beta 34Tj PvC 77
    Gamma 44Tj PvC 47
    Delta 44.6Tj PvC 38
    Epsilon 45.1Tj PvC 9

    She relayed the information to A'dranna, who nodded wearily.

    "As you can see, Ambassador, we have all the numbers perfectly in order. Does that satisfy you?" she asked.

    "Your numbers may be correct," Worf grumbled. "But have you ever witnessed the power of one of these gateways outside of a holodeck? Well I have. I was invited here to share my knowledge with those willing to listen. Even the best plans seldom survive contact with the enemy."

    "I appreciate you speaking up about your concerns," said a Romulan male with a shaved head. "If our projections are off at all, we could end up freezing to death like the Dewans. This gateway is an extremely valuable resource, but is it worth losing everything we've built here?"

    "We're just here to help," Palmer replied simply, spreading her hands.

    Commander Maiek nodded in acknowledgement.

    "Finally, someone who sees sense!" he exclaimed. "You want a full-time job here? I could use some reliable help. Hmm, these numbers aren't too bad. Better than what we had before... Maybe this will work after all..."

    "I agree that the simulations look promising, but I still have some concerns." Worf admitted.

    "So do I," Maiek agreed tersely. "But we're on a deadline. My team has the geothermal tap operational and with the proper numbers, we can finally align the power flow to the gateway and activate it again. I'd be happy to discuss your concerns with you Ambassador, but I'll need someone to help with the final commands to raise the pylons while I monitor the power levels. D'Tan invited you here, Ambassador. He had a good reason, and he's a good man. I trust him. If he think you have something important to say, we need to listen."

    Worf nodded in appreciation of the Romulan's words, inwardly shamed that he had once witheld essential ribosomes which would have saved the life of an injured Romulan.

    "Perhaps we can find a solution which will ensure the safety of all of us," he said more softly. "Show me your projections."

    Maiek held his PADD out.

    "The numbers are good, but something seems -- off. This gateway may not be exactly like the others we've encountered," he said as Worf scrutinised the figures and equations.

    Again, Worf nodded, his steel-grey hair rippling and catching the inferno light of the lava beneath their feet.

    "Agreed. Sensor readings from the gateways I've encountered were significantly different than this. Could it be because of the power source you're using?"

    "Readings like this -- make me wonder..." Maiek admitted. "You open a door, and that means there's got to be something in the other side. Maybe this isn't a one-way trip..."

    "Do you think there could be something on the other side, trying to come through?" Palmer demanded.

    "The numbers aren't saying that exactly, but it's real possibility. I understand what the gateway means to my people, but I'm concerned about what could happen if we open it without taking more precautions."

    "Captains Shon and Koren have been consulting with Kererek's security forces," Worf said. "I will ask Koren to deploy some of her finest warriors. I do not know Captain Shon, but he commands an Enterprise, he must be a formidable man. He also has less -- enthusiasm for activating the gateway than others here. I am certain he has considered all the options."

    "Shon and I know each other," Palmer replied. "I'll speak with him and see what our options are."

    She walked over to where the slender Andorian stood, solemnly taking in the proceedings with a distinct air of disapproval.

    "Va'Kel, it's a pleasure to see you again," she said. "I wish it were under different circumstances."

    Shon dipped his head, and his antennae moved to point directly at the Human woman.

    "Absolutely, Amanda. May I help you?"

    "Ambassador Worf has some concerns about the gateway --" Palmer began.

    "And because he can't come over and chat with a Starfleet officer without raising some eyebrows in his own delegation, he's sent you instead," Shon concluded. "Interesting... Tell him I share his concerns about this gateway. What does he think we should do?"

    "He wants an option to neutralize the gateway if we need to..."

    "I'll admit, I've been dubious of this project from the start. Some things are too powerful for anyone to have," Shon sighed heavily in admission. "Still, it's my job to do what Starfleet Command orders, so the Enterprise is here to represent the Federation. But it's also my job to protect my ship and the Federation, so I had my engineers work up some contingency plans. If Koren is bringing in extra ground troops to deal with any unwelcome visitors, that should help.

    "My chief engineer worked up a few spatial charges with enough power to take out the gateway. If we attach them to the base of the pylons, we'll be able to stop a disaster before it starts. I don't want to use them unless we have to -- we're here at the Romulan's invitation afterall. But it's always good to have a backup plan."

    Palmer nodded.

    "I'm MACO-rated, I'll take care of it," she said.

    "Allow me, Captain," Ael said as she joined them. "If we have to blow then, at least they will have been planted by a Romulan."

    Shon dipped his head, and discretely passed two demolition charges to the Romulan officer, who turned and made her way sedately toward the two extended pylons.

    Glancing about discretely, she knelt, and while re-fastening her boot, discretely placed the first charge at the base of the claw-like pylon. Rising, she made her way to the second pylon, and knelt again.

    "What're you..." Maiek began, but seeing what Ael was doing, he smiled. "Ahh, good idea..."

    Worf and Palmer had moved back toward the entrance to the chamber, and as Ael approached to join them, she overheard the middle of the conversation between S'rR's and Koren.

    "-Koren, daughter of Grilka, captain of the mighty IKS Bortasqu' and survivor of a hundred battles. I demand to know by what right a Pentaxian wench wears the garb of a Klingon warrior!"

    "I am S'rR's, ward of the Empress of the Pentaxian Dynasty," S'rR's snapped back, her voice taking on a haughty tone Ael had never before heard her use with another person. "This cloak was a gift from my mentor, Rynar Lambert, grandson of Dahar Master Kor, and I wear it to honor his tutelage."

    Moving closer to her friend, Ael subtly prepared herself to act should the argument escalate, but instead, Koren sniffed and nodded grudgingly. The mere utterance of the name of the Dahar Master enough to settle any dispute.

    "I would much rather be on the front than here," the Klingon woman admitted. "But the Romulans are our allies now and they have asked for our assistance. The High Council has despatched the flagship of the fleet to show the strength of our friendship."

    Palmer appeared about to say something, but Kererek spoke, his powerful voice overriding all other conversation

    "If all the preparations are complete, I see no reason to delay. Prepare to activate the gateway!"

    "Initiating final power transfer..." Maiek said, entering the commands into his console.

    A'dranna kept a watchful eye on her own console, and the rising curve on the display.

    "Power output rising," she reported. "Levels are within expected parameters..."

    Maiek nodded, and his fingers skated across the console before him.

    "Activating gateway... We've got a spike! Attempting to compensate... No good,"

    "Abort! Abort the mission!" Kererek yelled.

    "Shut it down!" Worf thundered.

    "Detonating charges!" Captain Shon replied, unfolding his tricorder and keying in the activation sequence.

    At the base of the pylons, there was a powerful detonation, but the gate remained active.

    "No effect," Worf gasped.

    But there had been an effect.

    The subspace field of the gateway had reflected the shockwave from the charges back into the surrounding cavern, which was not equipped with the necessary shock dampeners to absorb it, and with an ominous rumbling, rubble began to drop from the ceiling.

    "Get everyone out of the chamber!" Worf shouted.

    The assorted officers and technicians began to flee back into the tunnel, scrambling to get to the transporter platform.

    Looking round, Palmer saw a chunk of the roof dropping toward S'rR's and Ael.

    Without time to shout a warning, she dived forwards, pushing the two women clear of the falling debris, looking up in time to see darkness descend upon her.
    ***

    "The gate has been activated," Claire said, looking across the bridge of the USS Vanguard. "Before I lost contact with my remote avatar, there was considerable instability in the cavern which housed the gateway."

    "Sensors're unable to penetrate the subspace distortion, Commander," Cadet I'K'rR'h reported from the Ops console. "But I'm picking up massive seismic activity. Reading seven point five on the Richter scale, with the distortion directly at the epicentre."

    In the command chair, Commander Brandon Mayer slammed his fist into the arm rest.

    "Claire, contact D'Tan and request an update. Advise him we are immediately dispatching assistance. Copy to all Starfleet vessels in-system and advise they do likewise. Let's get our people out of there."

    "No response from D'Tan," Claire reported. "Local comm lines are jammed, but the Endeavour, Solaris and the Archimedes have signalled that they are readying relief efforts."
    ***

    S'rR's opened her eyes, and saw Ael's face inches from her own, emerald blood seeping from a cut beneath her fringe.

    "Are you okay?" she whispered hoarsely, touching her friend's shoulder.

    "Mmmnn," Ael groaned, squeezing her eyes more tightly closed. "We're not dead, are we..."

    "No, we're..." S'rR's began before trailing off, realising that transparent aluminum was suspending them both above the lava flow. "I don't know what happened."

    "Emergency protocols shut down my avatar and projected a forcefield around you both," Claire's disembodied voice said from the holo emitter on the floor.

    "But you're a hologram," S'rR's pointed out as she rolled onto her back and slowly sat up, warily eying the rocks suspended mere inches from her head. "A hologram is --"

    "A projection of photons and forcefields." Claire pointed out. "But given the tonnage my sensors detected, the projection could only be a seven foot bubble."

    S'rR's looked about her, feeling her cardiac tubes contracting painfully in panic. She remembered a push from behind, which had to have been Manda, but only Ael was beside her. Screaming into her balled fists, she began to cry.
    ***

    Forty Eight hours later:

    Admiral Jac Cheliss sighed as he read the reports from Shon and Ael, both of whom stood before him in his office on Earth Spacedock.

    "Admiral, I take full responsibility for what happened," Ael said. "I placed the charges."

    "Belay that, Commander," Shon snapped. "Placing the charges was my idea, and I keyed in the detonation codes."

    "I hold neither of you responsible for this," the Betazoid admiral said softly, although his tone carried the clear order for them both to shut up. "In light of the outcome of the gateway activation, this event is being looked upon as a success. However, I can assure you both, that Starfleet is lodging the strongest possible protests with D'Tan about the disregard for the safety of his guests, as well as the populace of Mol'Rihan. You may both return to your ships." With a nod, both officers turned smartly, and were about to leave, when Cheliss spoke again. "If you could wait a moment, Commander t'Kazanak, I require a moment of your time."

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

    On the bridge of the Vanguard, Mayer heard the rear turbo lift doors open, swiftly followed by I'K'rR'h's formal shout:

    "Captain on the bridge!"

    Rising from the command chair, he turned, coming face to face with Ael.
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  • buck311buck311 Member Posts: 12 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    Quite a shame. Quite a shame indeed.

    Not long after the Romulans entered the Sphere and began setting up an outpost to research the wonders of the Sphere and it's makers, they encounter a species from the Delta Quadrant who are also researching the Sphere, and what do they do?

    Start bumping heads.

    And not long after, it escalates from a small skirmish to a full bloody war.

    I'm no Ambassador, but I'd at least give peace a chance. Talk to the Voth. They obviously are more advanced than the Klingon Defence Force, Starfleet, and the Romulan Republic. Their assistance could have put us leaps and bounds ahead of where we already are. But no, both sides must assume the worst, and begin slaughtering each other.

    Of course, I don't know the details. Perhaps the Voth fired the first shots. Perhaps they did try to talk, but someone said something to offend either party. I haven't yet received the full report, so for now, it's up to speculation.

    *A sigh can be heard.*

    However, I was pleased to make contact with Nelen Exil, a Voth scientist who detests the Doctrine. There are more like him, thankfully. Hopefully we can make contact with other rogue Voth scientists, like we did with the Breen splinter group.

    My first mate, Tran, particularly sympathizes with the Voth Scientist's plight. I had talked to him not to long ago. He was the first of the Breen splinter group we had talked to, and it was he who gave us the ability to contact them.

    ******************
    "The Voth Scientists are in a painful situation, sir."

    "How so, Tran?"

    "I have been observing the Voth's culture from intercepted transmissions, logs, and battle plans. The Voth live by a code, known as the Doctrine. I do not know the specifics, but from what I understand, part of it states that they originated in the Delta Quadrant."

    "But data gathered from Voyager's encounter with the Voth states otherwise."

    "Exactly. Now, the Voth are trying to say that the Sphere is of ancient Voth origin. However, there is much evidence that contradicts this statement. We know that the Sphere is of Iconian origin, and was built by one of their Servitor races."

    "The catch?"

    "The Voth Researchers know this as well. Nelen Exil gives us an interesting insight to the Voth's culture. They know the truth about the Sphere like us, but they're being censored by Inquisitors. They can't tell the others the truth; they are forced to feed their brothers and sisters propaganda, all because of the Doctrine. And it eats at them. They hate it."

    "You seem to hate it as much as they do, Tran."

    "I don't just know their feelings. I have felt them."

    "In the Breen Confederacy, I bet."

    "Yes. I did not agree with my commanders. I knew attacking civilian vessels was not right. But I went along with them, silently hating them for their dishonorable ways. And now I know the Voth do the same. They too, live a life of propaganda and lies. They have no mouth, and they must scream."

    "There is hope. Others like Nelen communicate with us. They brave the danger and fear of being exiled by their people."

    "Perhaps I will meet with Nelen. I believe he too would find comfort in knowing that his is not the only race living a lie."

    "I didn't know the Breen could be therapists."

    "The universe is full of infinite possibilities, Sir."

    ******************
    I will not lie, I was moved my Tran's statements. To know that he feels that strongly about the Voth, even though we've only been in contact with them for a few short weeks...

    *A long pause is heard.*

    I move out into the "Battlezone" tomorrow. My orders are to provide support for teams attempting to secure the Omega Particle silos. The Voth have been fighting fiercely to keep the 'zone under their control, but we've finally managed to secure a command center.

    I don't know what to expect, but I do know what to hope for.

    Peace.
  • aten66aten66 Member Posts: 653 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    I was running, and that's all I remember. They were close, beams of antiprotons were shooting at me. I was in the alien hallway again, the door a few feet from my position. I saw the door again, shimmering and gleaming, welcoming me through it. It was an Iconian gateway. Strangely the shooting has stopped all I could hear was the echoing of my boots against the metallic floors. The window had begun to open and I had reached the end of the hallway.

    I plunged through the gateway to freedom.

    And I fell into the abyss of darkness below.

    ******

    I woke up sweating, the nightmare had returned again, and it always freaked me out. I decided to get up and get a drink to calm my nerves. "Computer, lights please" I said, my voice trembling a bit. The lights flickered to life, and I sat up in my bed for a second before trudging over to the replicator. "Hot chocolate, dark, add milk, and a plate of gingersnaps" I ordered, and took my midnight snack. A good cup of Hot Chocolate has always lifted my heart in times of trouble.

    Since the incident with the Iconian Gateway on Romulus four days ago, I've found myself troubled more and more. Earth, Qo'nos, the Dominion, the dead Iconian home world, even the Delta Quadrant is under there watch...how far does this conspiracy go? The Elachi, the Solanaegan lifeforms, the Undine, the Tholians, and the Iconians all have a part in this, but what...but...what...

    ******

    Personal Log: Admiral Son'aire

    Huh, where to start this log...
    Well to begin, I've had the nightmare again, second time in two days. Maybe if I recount the tale that led to this, I can rid myself of these terrors.

    After a...meeting with a few friends after arriving in New Romulus orbit, I beamed down, leaving Zinuzee in charge. There on the ground I met my counterparts in the K.D.F. and Republic, my brothers Berg Eria'nos and Ace Chernok. We met up with a Reman delegate, who took us to the familiar gate room of the Iconian Gateway. We met up with Worf, the Klingon diplomat and ex-federation member, as well as Captain Shon
    , a familiar person I've met before and Captain Koren of the I.K.S. Bortasqu'.

    After a short test of the system by Berg, and Ace planting specialized bombs on the pillars, I raised the pillars of the gateway, and was given the chance to witness it's activation. Then it all went wrong. A error...a blip in the system... an overload or some other excuse caused the cavern to overload and tectonic tremors had began. Of the delegates that had attended, 16 escaped out of the cavern, 13 into the gate, with 13 civilian personnel missing and unaccounted for.

    After stabilizing the situation in the subspace pocket, we had split up, Berg with Koren, Ace with Son, and I with delegate Worf. And it was good... an enlightening experience for both of us.

    Of course we lost contact with all the groups, and only I and Worf were left. After dispatching the guards, hacking, and blowing up a door, we found and rescued the others, as well as learning about the Solanae scientists. After saving Captain Shon, and with the tragic loss of a new friend, we decided to stick together.

    We found an enormous room, we split up to survey the many winding pathways and consoles until I we found a main console and connecting gateway. Before that, one of the many side consoles we studied popped open, revealing a drone programming plan I was able to download.

    Then of course I fell off the pathway. I began to regret everything I had and hadn't done or taken care of, before I felt the familiar tingle of transporter technology on my skin. I literally popped up next to the remaining group assembled at the main console, while Worf, and Ace TRIBBLE the main console to reset the Romulan Gate. I don't think they noticed me pop out of thin air, but that may have been because of the darkening artfical sky and hiss of angry drones. I took Worf's position at the console and finished his work, allowing the remaining ones to escape into the TRIBBLE Iconian Gateway.

    Of course I had to reset the coordinate destination for Ace and Berg, so they could take their own ships, but of course I wasn't supposed to know that yet...I'm not quite sure with all these temporal anachronisms bouncing in my head lately. But I digress, and this is a story for another time.

    Each of us took an alien ship out to battle a massive Elachi fleet drawn to the Jouret Iconian Space Gate. We won. And then we lost, of course when we detected Omega.

    Recent surveys have returned to show the Voth are interested in the Dyson Sphere as well; the Omega's intense power drawing out every being's lust for power and control, as well as the right to enforce their power.

    I can only hope the Voth, Doctrine or not, have the sense to listen to reason, before we are all killed.

    My fear though lies in the Iconian origins of the sphere, my nightmare is the fear that I felt when I fell, that I may never make things right.

    Of course maybe through this shaky alliance, I can mend burned bridges.

    Computer, Classify this as a personal log, only accessible with my single command code, Blacklist it if you must.

    End Log.
  • allen1973allen1973 Member Posts: 22 Arc User
    edited November 2013
    The Delta Quadrant Dyson Sphere is a hyperbolic quagmire. Ambassador Janeway had worked for a very long time trying to secure positive relations with the Voth, however, the Voth believe that they were destined to defeat the Borg and rule the galaxy. Apparently they had their hearts set on it. Meanwhile all Alpha and Beta Quadrant factions are doing what they can to gain from Iconian technology, including finding Voth who are not sympathetic to the causes of their own military.
    My ship The Qotsa is not designed to withstand the Voth incursion in the Dyson Sphere. We have been very lucky to have been able to inherit Iconian space travel. My newest consignment, the Aries 3 Delta, is somewhat of an unbelievable mystique. Iconian technology has proven to hold on strong. The crew is however adapting to the new ship with some misgivings. It is not a standard Starfleet vessel. We are doing our best to create a tolerable level of comfort that is not going to insult the integrity of the professionals in the field.
    I have placed many of my crew members into missions in the Dyson Sphere. The repetitive nature of the structural dynamic here maintains the regularity of repeat missions. Not to say that they aren?t fascinating, I?m not sure how many times my engineers are going to be interested in restocking the control spire towers with stem bolts. My assault teams are begging to be assigned into Voth territory, and are beginning to make new risk assessments based on their new familiarity with their surroundings. My scientists and engineers alike are making radical discoveries every day. Our technological salvage alone may take decades to completely process, if our estimates are accurate. The commonalities of these events are somewhat astounding. Making discoveries that are untold millennia old has become a common occurrence.
    One commonly noted quality of the Dyson sphere is the fog. With no rotation or revolution occurrence natural to planets of most star systems, there is almost no atmospheric genesis. The slightly metastatic quality gaseous atmosphere contains moisture and creates ozone. In fact the nebulous ozonic regions in the ionosphere altitudes of the Dyson Sphere work much like the Earth?s ozone layer, only inverted. Combat pollution has created a new element to the atmosphere of the Dyson Sphere. The running joke is; Until the _____ arrived? [Voth, Klingon, etc.] Such a rhetorical device can work like a nice complement to our allies and add to our list of problems with our enemies. Our urban geologists have ascertained that one of the reasons for the shape of the Iconian starship design was to help with atmospheric genesis in the Dyson Sphere. The actual positioning of the urban landscape here actually suggests how air borne transit would otherwise help create storm activity within the atmosphere. Scientists and engineers have mostly agreed that within the Sphere itself, it would seem as if somehow we have yet to discover the ?on? switch for the weather patterns. The nature preserves have varying water tables, and in most cases altitude and reservoir depth are the only random geological qualities we have observed so far, however the actual placement for these naturalized areas are otherwise placed in a set pattern. All of the structures that we have observed are otherwise uniform in width, height and density.
    The socio-dynamic data that we have gathered from the Dyson Sphere indicates that the urban centers and much of the sphere itself was meant to be a data source compilation, a trade center, and a place for diplomacy. For the most part, Iconians were at home here and felt that the rest of the galaxy should do its best to evolve to match it. That had to be a fairly audacious stage in the psychological development of the Iconians. However it is certain that the Iconians left to help propagate their species in other parts of the galaxy, and to also help restore the rest of the galaxy from an impending Borg threat. It is clear that they created the Borg to help defend the galaxy from outside invasion, however internal political strife made the Borg an unforeseen impediment, and likely became an advanced tool to further create their own undoing.
    One amazing change here is that the separate factions are communicating and working well together. Our alliances are maturing and we can learn from our enemies and former enemies in new and profound ways. The Klingons have for the most part put aside their xenophobia, and actually appreciate the Voth as an enemy. Many Voth may choose the Empire as a common ally in the future, although we at the Federation do not know much of their previous trade alliance with the Klingons. As secreted as their negotiations were, it would seem that they had been betrayed in an equally dumbfounding manner. Like the Romulans and the Federation, this assault on the Dyson Sphere was unprecedented to all concerned parties. The Gorn however do have some misgivings about this, they share my personal disappointment in a loss of an ally, however genealogically, there is no actual reason for the Gorn to appreciate the Voth, and vice versa, although they, like the Saurian, and perhaps even the Cardasians all must share a common ancestry somehow. It is difficult to say how the Iconians or the Borg have harvested preternatural worlds, what DNA they must have planted in order to attempt to save the galaxy from intruders. Perhaps like the Voth and the Hadosaurs of Earth there are further correlations to discover. My exo-biology team will not give up on making or discovering such connections, we can be sure of this.
    The Romulans never cease to amaze us. From five different sources recently, as we have progressed through the Dyson Sphere territories, have confirmed older reports and theories which acknowledged the possibility of previous Romulan knowledge of Iconian and Borg technologies. One must wonder what the Romulans can learn here. However there is a sense of humility from them when they face either Iconian or Voth technology or prowess. They respect their sources of academic discipline. It never ceases to amaze me how many New Republic Romulans have created active faction alliances with the Klingons and the Federation. The Tal?Shiar are not welcome here, yet we must still be ever vigilant of spies.
    There is much we can learn from this new technological source, however it is disappointing that our former ally has turned their backs on us, the technological exchange from Voth sources was something that Janeway had planned heavily on. To say the least the new discoveries from Iconian technology soften that blow, yet galactic unification is almost certainly the only way to defeat the Borg presence in the galaxy.
    As audacious as it was for the Iconians to create such a galactic-centric ego for themselves, they must have been humbled to have realized their errors and attempt to secure sectors in the face of a possible elimination of their progeny. We are still looking for some kind of stasis chamber, anything at all to give us clues to any actual whereabouts of the Iconians, although the Deferi are the closest decedents that we know of to the Iconians, we still don?t know exactly where they disappeared to, or exactly how. We have also found little evidence suggesting the Borg simply assimilated them all. One theory is that they now rule the Mirror-Universe, a universe that has no Borg activity what so ever. That theory would be counter intuitive, it is difficult to assume that the Iconians would seem so rational about the Borg and responsibility here in the galaxy, yet to enslave the Mirror-Universe in the absence of the Borg . . . it is more logical to assume it is not the same Iconian species. Yet to tell the truth, we still know little of Iconian logic.
    One occurrence that is also astounding is the audacity of the Voth. One must assume that they have a large empire in the Delta quadrant now. Our intelligence on the subject is varied and prisoners are never a reliable source of information. Our Telaxian informants and allies in the Delta Quadrant ensure us that such an empire only holds use as a deterrent to the Borg in that particular sector, and that once we have proven ourselves in combat effectively enough then perhaps renegotiation will occur. I?ll just hold my breath. Right now, looking at the casualty rate, I think this war might be playing right into the Borg?s tactical consignment.
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited December 2013
    First attempt at in-depth RP. Please be gentle with criticism!
    Captain's personal log, Romulan Republic starship IRW Vengeance, Do'eth Emanekafsuoivbo, commanding officer. Stardate: I don't care. Location: Solnae Dyson Sphere, Delta Quadrant.

    Voth. Freaking Voth with laser dinosaurs. Laser dinosaurs, like something out of those old Earth "Jurassic Park" movies crossed horribly with a Borg. It would be surreal--fundamentalist lunatics with apocalyptic plans like some crazy cult from a 20th-century Earth movie, with terrifying animal servants like something out of another 20th-century Earth movie--if it weren't so REAL.

    We should never have come here. Everything I have seen points to an Iconian origin for this place, and all of the evidence that we've found shows that they (or possibly their minions) screwed up their own technology so dramatically that they were forced to evacuate to subspace. And now, by all evidence, they are coming back. D'tan is quick on the uptake, and the Federation already have a protocol for the Omega particles (as do my comrades in the KDF), but they still aren't ready for the coming war.

    Worse, everyone's focused on the sphere and the Voth. I hate them and all that they stand for, but the Voth have the potential to be powerful allies against the real threat. As it is, though, we're screwed.

    Mol'Rihan forced Starfleet and the Klingons to work together. I have a Breen, a Jem'Hadar, multiple Klingons, Letheans, Orion, and Nausicaans, and even a Vorta on my crew. Cooperation between even bitter former enemies IS possible--even current bitter enemies! And still neither Joint Command nor the Voth see that we CAN work together.

    That's part of why I loathe the Voth, or at least their government. Command has at least tried to reach out, in the early days anyway, but we've only found tentative support among renegade scientists. The Voth government is, quite frankly, run by intolerant racist idiots.

    My crew has been jumpy at best, although the war zone on the central spire is ironically where they are calmest. Mr. Khev is drinking again. Good for him. Omek'ti'kallan (new first officer--need to remember to fly that promotion past Command next chance I get) says that most of the crew is behaving the same way. Remember to schedule psych evals for everyone.

    Analysis of Voth technology has enabled us to reverse-engineer some new Voth devices for the ship. The defensive consoles and tactical modifications are incredible. I have found that transphasic torpedoes penetrate Voth shielding, which is otherwise nearly impregnable. I spammed this across some Republic and KDF message boards about a week back out of boredom. Then I took a leave of absence to kill some Breen who were cheesing me off and stole their weapons. Remarkably effective. Plus, Thot Trel isn't going to be attacking random planets anytime soon.

    Need to schedule personal psych eval--I'm rambling like my idiot uncle. Daysnur knows my secret--really, it's hard to have telepathic counseling to recover from indoctrination while keeping secrets like my real identity. Doesn't matter, though--that Lethean is trustworthy. I paid his price several times over, and his "cut" is more than enough to ensure his silence anyway. Plus he's one half of my chief engineers. You can never have enough geeks, my dad always said. Should've remembered that back on Virinat. Maybe with more geeks, we could've stopped Hakeev and his Elachi goons.

    That reminds me--this sphere was built by Iconians. They created everything I hate--the Hobus event, which destroyed my homeworld, the Elachi, which assimilated my friends like the Cybermen from that old Earth TV show "Doctor Who" that Daysnur likes so much, this sphere, which tears apart my crew like a meat grinder and is swarmed with Voth whose hatred of us runs so deep that they are willing to destroy warp capabilities in the galaxy to be rid of us, and Hakeev.

    They may not have personally spun his atoms into form, but the Iconians created that monster of a man just the same. They created him, and he broke me. He killed my Adani, and he destroyed my people, and all I could do was kill him.

    Wow. I'm remembering stuff from over sixty years ago. Elements, but I still love Adani so much. She always was my better half.

    Thinking of taking Viasa and Zel down to the war zone for a girls-only Voth killing party. Not sure what gender that Breen is--if they even have gender--but it should be fun anyway. The Voth are everything I despise; rigid and stuffy, almost patriarchal, utterly devoted to some stupid Doctrine that runs their society into stagnation. As that renegade, the sane Voth, whatshisface, says, you can't have science if some of your findings are not allowed.

    You can't have progress that way, either. And without progress, we will not be ready for the oncoming storm.

    End log. [computer records several seconds of silence followed by a sigh] Aah, delete that whole mess. I'm sure the intelligence guys go through my personal logs. Computer, delete previous log entry.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
    Captain's personal log, Romulan Republic starship IRW Vengeance. You know who I am. I don't remember the stardate, and I'm too lazy to ask Viasa.

    We won. Although what, exactly, we won remains to be seen. We kept the Voth from taking the Omega particles, but it was rough. Zel (still don't know that freaking Breen's gender) froze a Voth medic with his/her visor beam. That was the high point.

    Low point was getting shot in the chest by a Voth laser dinosaur. After being stepped on by a Voth exosuit. Really, it was overkill.

    We found something, in a mission to the Voth-controlled zone. They have good sensors--they almost pierced our cloak--but we evaded them. Thank the Elements for this small ship--the Lieset or the Enterprise never would have made it.

    We made it all the way to the Voth fortress ship, which was being repaired from our attack last week. They have it guarding something now. Something big. Something that the Voth must think is important.

    They've been at the top of the technological ladder so long, they've stagnated, with that ludicrous society of theirs stamping out progress in the name of Doctrine. Whatever they've found, it's big. Iconian, from the coms chatter we picked up before we had to make a getaway. It, plus the alliance's challenge to their might, will either break them or give them enough of a kick in the pants to change. I'm starting to hope for the former. Nelen Exil is the only sane Voth in this sphere.

    Talked to Exil again. He's scared, for good reason. This sphere is a giant time bomb. An apocalyptic time bomb. If even one of those particles blows, we will be stuck here. All of us, even the Voth.

    Exil is smart, and seems to have had linguistics training. He saw right through my name. That's fine. The only people to whom my real name would matter are dead.

    One at my hands, one at his hands.

    Psych eval showed that I'm suffering from mild depression and extreme stress. I could've told Daysnur that. Therapy and medication is helping, slightly. Daysnur suggested companionship. I broke three of his teeth and reminded him of the memories that he'd just scanned. He apologized. Then he said that I am "obsessed" with Adani. Epohh dung. I had him report to Sickbay.

    I took a break to fight in a bat'leth duel with some pretty Klingons. I won a finely-made bat'leth, which I asked Ambassador Worf, who was visiting Joint Command, to sign. He did so. He's a great man. Braver than I could ever be. I heard that he fought a dozen Jem'Hadar in a prison camp once, and won. If only I could be a tenth the man that Worf is...

    Commander Arnold says that the war zone on the spire is ours, for now. Until that fortress ship comes back, we're able to get some research done. Viasa is having a field day with Satra and the sci teams. I am just worried and terrified.

    And hateful. It is a destructive emotion, one I must control. But I burn. I burn with pure, uncontained hatred for the Iconians. I will destroy them. I will exterminate them for you, my love. Every one of them will pay in blood for your death.

    Mr. Khev is now addicted to Dosi rotgut. I should probably not be surprised. I wish you could see him, my love. He's a nice fellow, for all that he's insubordinate. I'm going to kick him upstairs to his own command as soon as I can. Maybe put him on the homeworld defense fleet. They hardly see any action, he'd see his sister every day, and he's not that bad of a tactician, when he's sober.

    If only you could see us now, Adani. We have a world, a capital city, and a fleet. The Klingons send their most honorable warriors to fight by our sides. Starfleet sends their best to help us build. We are strong, united. Not feared, but respected. For all that we were small, broken, and scattered we have come together, drawn by Ambassador Spock's dream.

    If he ever returns, we shall be eternally grateful. The goal of Unification made us whole again.

    Our only obstacle is the war. I am certain that both Starfleet and the Empire tire of the ceaseless fighting, but there are hard-liners on both sides who want to see it continue. I think that T'nae is a Vulcan supremacist. She has been nothing but condescending towards me and my Federation-allied contacts whenever one of us has met her. On the flip side, there are Klingons like Worf and Ja'rod--those who see this war as an honorless struggle, unfit for true warriors.

    And Data is on our side. He fought with Worf during the Dominion War, helped the Ambassador and the legendary captain Picard defeat Shinzon during the coup. He at least suspects that the war was set up by the Iconians, my contacts are sure of that. If we can unite them, we have a chance.

    United, we are strong. Separated, we are weak.

    I will unite them, Adani. The Iconians will fall, in the name of my love.

    End log. Computer, save encrypted file to my personal PADD, then delete file from main database.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
    Baal%20prop%20pic%208_zpsqaptvpnu.png
  • hawke89305092hawke89305092 Member Posts: 237 Arc User
    edited December 2013
    "We've got a spike! Attempting to compensate- no good!"

    "Abort!" Kererek ordered. "Abort the mission!"

    The world shook and darkened; rocks and debris began to break loose from the cavern's ceiling.

    "Shut it down!" The deep voice of Ambassador Worf rang out over the sound of the earth tearing apart.

    "Detonating charges," Shon acknowledged with a look of grim resolve.

    Twin flashes of bright light engulfed the cavern, but when they faded the metal of the gateway was barely tarnished.

    Worf's eyes bulged. "No effect!"

    Shon turned to face him, the Andorian's jaw slack in sheer uncomprehending bewilderment.

    "That should have worked," the
    Enterprise's Captain whispered. "Why didn't it work?"

    He was about to say something to reassure Shon when without warning his vision was filled with blue, blue and silver, and everything faded away until-


    ***

    Captain Zane Gilmore's hazel eyes snapped open with a trace of panic. His eyes darted quickly around at a speed to match his racing heart rate, but all they found were the familiar surroundings of his ready room aboard the Atlanta. Gilmore sighed and rubbed his forehead, realising that he had only been dreaming. Feeling suddenly very stiff and constricted, he got to his feet, brushed his long, light brown hair back behind his ears and walked over to the replicator.

    "Water, cold."

    The glass materialised with a soft hum, and Gilmore quickly snatched it up and took a long draught. He then turned to look out the window behind his desk, a vaguely troubled look on his face.

    The view from the ready room was nothing short of spectacular. The gray metal of the Miranda Class Starship had a beautiful, almost ethereal glimmer under the bright light of the sun, and beyond the neat curve of its hull the the sky was pristine and clear. It still seemed strange to Gilmore to look out and see anything other than the black emptiness of space, even after two weeks stationed in the Solanae Dyson Sphere. Seeing blue sky just like back home on Earth whilst simultaneously being aboard a starship was disconcerting to say the least.

    A short chirp echoed out from the computer, the sound of someone requesting entry.

    "Come in," Gilmore replied quietly.

    He sculled the last of the water and sat down again as Lieutenant Lisa Hill stepped through the ready room door and walked over to the desk.

    "Is there something I can do for you, Lisa?"

    The tactical officer shook her head. "No sir. I just came to give you my analysis of the Voth City Ship we detected."

    Hill pulled a PADD out from behind her back and sat it down on the desk next to several others. There were at least six of them sitting there awaiting the Captain's attention in addition to the one directly in front of him, she noted, which was two more than had been there yesterday.

    Gilmore sighed again at the thought of another report. "I don't suppose you could give me the gist of it in under a minute."

    "Well, there's not much to it. Only having a long range sensor reading to go on limited the analysis. What little we did get was consistent with records from the U.S.S. Voyager regarding the Voth ship they encountered in the Delta Quadrant." Hill frowned. "The details are all in there."

    "I suppose I'll get to it eventually," Gilmore said absently, glancing down at the PADD. "Was there anything else?"

    He looked back up to see Hill's blue eyes boring relentlessly into him, an unusually serious expression on her youthful features.

    "I'm a little worried about you," she admitted. "I haven't seen you this tired since you were an Ensign."

    Gilmore shrugged. "I haven't been sleeping well lately."

    "Are you still having nightmares?"

    "The light from outside is taking a bit more getting used to than I expected. I understand a lot of the crew have been experiencing disrupted sleeping patterns."

    Hill did not look at all satisfied with that answer. "And?"

    "And... I'll admit, my dreams haven't exactly been pleasant. I just can't stop seeing what happened down there. Watching as everything started to collapse, as people were crushed, it was..." He closed his eyes briefly. "I'll be alright. I've seen death before, and faced it too. I just need time, and rest."

    Hill glanced down at the array of PADDs and raised one eyebrow in a sceptical expression. "I'm not sure how good your chances of getting either of those are."

    The Captain let out a weary laugh at that. "Funny, isn't it? This sphere is possibly the greatest scientific discovery in decades. It's changed the face of Alpha Quadrant politics, and the events that take place here may well shape the future of the galaxy. And what are we doing? Sitting here preparing reports. Reports for Joint Command on our operations, reports for Starfleet on the sphere's technology, reports for our allies on any battles we engage in - even the Federation Archaeology Council wants to be kept advised of anything we learn about the origins of the sphere."

    "You should take a break, Zane. Ever since New Romulus you've been putting in more than anyone has a right to ask of you."

    "Is that an order, Lieutenant?"

    Hill smirked and chuckled a little at that. Her mirth soon faded, however, and when she looked up to meet the Captain's gaze again a solemn light had entered her eyes.

    "Do you remember how we met?"

    "Of course," Gilmore replied, a mystified tone creeping into his voice. "Three and a half years ago, aboard the Phoenix. You came up to me after I had been working for twenty hours straight, told me I was being stupid, and ordered me to get some rest."

    "I also said I would keep an eye out for you and offered to give you a hand if you ever needed it." She paused. "That's all I'm trying to do. The fact that you're my commanding officer doesn't mean I can't still look out for you."

    "I know."

    Gilmore glanced away, looking at the report in front of him. He had barely made any progress through the study, a complicated analysis of the metals used to construct the sphere. The thought of trying to continue reading brought on another wave of fatigue, and he realised that Lisa was right. His lips set in a resigned expression, he leaned forward and put the report aside.

    "Everyone will just have to wait."

    Hill nodded approvingly and stood to leave. "I'll see you tomorrow then, Captain."

    "Oh, and Lisa? Thank you."

    "Anytime."
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • wraithshadow13wraithshadow13 Member Posts: 1,538 Arc User
    edited December 2013
    It hadn't taken long for the Boy and the Ambassador to be back on their feet again. To be honest, Wraith was walking about shortly after he came too, but Worf was just being stubborn. Apparently the only reason he didn't take off once he was patched up was, as he put it, "Your Tiny Medic was... quite insistent that I stay over night. She even threatened to mind meld me into incontinence."

    "Yeah... she uh... she does that. She threatened to nerve pinch me one time, in a place that wasn't my neck... Needless to say, I learned to dress before coming out to the decon chamber after that..." Wraiths expression went into a half blank, almost traumatized look.

    Both the Ambassador and I cocked an eyebrow at that one.

    "Regardless," the Ambassador interjected after an awkward silence, "you have earned my respect Captain Donovan. I'm sorry that I must leave things as such, but I should report back to the council and let them know of this Krotious."

    Him and Wraith said their goodbyes, and with that, the legend himself was beamed back to his ship. After a briefing with Admiral Aviess and D'Tan, it was decided that the Admiral would be taken home by one of D'Tan's ships. Apparently something new had taken precedence in the form of New Romulus' new Iconian Gateway. Not the one they'd dug up, and more specifically not the one they'd had appear in orbit, but what they'd found on the other side. Or I suppose they were worried about the fact that they'd even found the other side.

    As it turns out, when Krotious took the docked ship, he never stopped to think of turning it off. The Romulans can't even figure out how to turn it off, let alone if they can change the destination. Whereever the other side happened to be though, was putting off some very strange readings, at least for Mol'Rihan. The Geist however had completely went into lock down as soon as the gateway opened. It's the only reason they didn't try to pursue the ship he'd stolen or respond to our emergency hail. Getting back on board, the Omega symbol made it quite clear what had happened. As a precaution, D'Tan had the orbital Gateway pulled several light years away, but still with in the usefulness of his people. It anything happened to this gate it could possibly destroy all of subspace making this entire sector incapable of warp travel.

    It was decided that we would send in a single ship, to be more specific, the U.S.S. Shadow. It was something they only pulled out of the mothballs, when both Section 31 and the Romulan Republic had joint interest in something that they couldn't make public. They'd sent a probe through, but none of the readings made sense. Seeing the insides with my own eyes... It still didn't make sense. I hate to say it, but I may need to let Wraith make a call to his "Aunt Kathy"... This level of science stuff was way over my head, and to be honest, probably my pay grade. Mr. Edison referred to it as a Dyson sphere, and even with all the Borg records loaded into his head, he still managed to be quite amazed. An entire star powering an almost inconceivable structure, that for all we can tell, was uninhabited. Fully furnished and self sustaining ecosystems, yet there were no animals or people.

    The scale of it was insane. All of the ships sensors were lit up like a Christmas trees, and crew was finding something new to amaze at with almost every sweep. The gateway had been placed near some sort of spire, another massive structure, that had been powered down and dormant for who knows how long. To be honest, we really couldn't tell how long either. All maintenance routines were still functioning, keeping things dust free as well as keeping the plant life from overgrowing the entire interior. The machinations of this place alone was astounding.

    The atmosphere was nice and breathable, and there was no pathogens or anything, so I put together a few away team. Myself, Dr. E'Saul, Edison and Sabin, and T'Pal running security for us. Since everything was in the green, I even let Wraith and Fizi tag along to check out some of the Park land beneath the Spire. They're some of the younger people on the crew, so I figure a little lighter duty could do them well, so I put them on a picnic. Not literally of course, that's just what I call the smaller scan details. It's basically... well literally, I suppose, a walk in the park. Scanning the fauna and enjoying the sunshine while the rest of the team was inside, digging around. The day went quietly, and everyone seemed to be checking in as per usual. It was shortly after lunch that we got the call that from one of the teams that was scanning the city scape. They were picking up silos of some sort, almost as if it were an entire manufacturing system to create and collect the Omega molecules.

    There were too many questions being raised here, and my teams couldn't even begin gathering answers until we had more of the files decrypted from the Spheres computers. What would have caused the makers of the sphere abandon it in such perfect condition? How is the sphere making one of the most complex molecules known? Even the Borg couldn't master the Omega, and here was an entire Solar system sized factory synthesizing and storing them for some unknown purpose. It looks like the Romulans made the smart move by allying with both the Federation and the Klingons. If the Borg came knocking, they would need all the help they could get to defend the gateway. Who knows what the collective could do with something like a Dyson sphere. Before I could contemplate the deeper problems this sphere could bring, a new issue landed itself right in my lap. Wraith and Fizi came running back in, all excited. Well the boy was excited, but young Nurse Pruz seemed to be having issues with her Tricorder.

    "Captain! Look at this!"

    He handed me a bone of some sort, but after examination, it was clear that it was a tooth of some sort.

    "It's a dinosaur tooth!"

    "Where did you find this? It doesn't look old enough to be a fossil."

    "I punched a dinosaur!"

    "It had to have been something else, maybe a Saurian beast like the Gorn use."

    "No Captain," Fizi spoke up, tapping her tricorder "It was a Dinosaur. The markers in it's DNA are too much of a match. I.. I couldn't believe it myself, but it came at us, and Wraith was able to fight it off." She seemed to be in complete disbelief of what she'd just witnessed, even as Dr. E'Saul took her tricorder and went over the readings herself.

    "She is right Captain. While I cannot identify the species, Nurse Pruz is correct. What ever this creature was, it is entirely too similar to be anything else. Curious though, there are a few markers that seem artificial."

    "That's just perfect Tala," The Captain sighed heavily as he placed his palm over his face, "this is just perfect. We have a genetically engineered super soldier, who is only six years old by the way, who just punched out a dinosaur... This is getting too ridiculous, even for our line of work."

    It wasn't long before we had similar reports coming in from the other teams. Luckily though, there were no other dinosaur sightings, but there were reports of heavily armored troops, some of which even seemed to be in some sort of tank like armor. Immediately I ordered all teams return to their beam out sights. It would appear that we weren't the only people to have access with the Dyson sphere. From what we could tell, they seemed to be an early scouting party as well, only more armed, and more advanced. They seem to have set up shop similar to what we're doing, just a few sectors away. With the new arrivals it occurred to me that when we had to reset the Gateway to save New Romulus, we might have reset them all. Who knew how many different species might have suddenly found themselves with an ancient Gateway in their orbit? How many of those would lead to elsewhere in the sphere? What reason would they have making something like a dinosaur? Why would anyone genetically engineer a monster....

    I couldn't help but look to Wraith as the thought hit me.

    Why would anyone genetically create monsters, historical or mystical: Shock troops. Who would fight an army of monsters? Who would believe anyone who saw a scouting party full of them?


    I really didn't like where this was going.


    I decided that it would be best to return to base and give D'Tan our findings. Even if I wanted to stay, it would be best to get the larger teams in to the spire to stake their claim. This situation was going to be an uphill grind to get to the top of things in the Dyson Sphere, and it was one, I'm sure I would dread the whole way up.
  • drajoradrajora Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited December 2013
    Selene walked down the narrow corridor. A week had passed since the incident at New Romulus Gateway and the subsequent battle in the Jouret system. All available ships were being diverted to Gateway suppression duties, and that had entailed a certain discussion about a certain particle. Confined to the senior staff of course. Starfleet couldn't have whole starships shutting down from an internal alert the minute they even approached a gateway. Doubly so now that Elachi, Orion and even Ferengi were 'claiming' the Iconian relics and vigorously defending them.

    Lieutenant Commander Eight had remained on board the Talon. Her expertise as an Iconian specialist had been vital in shutting down the three gateways encountered so far. However, this morning was different. It was nearing oh nine hundred hours, and the normally punctual ex-Borg was late for her shift. Selene took a left and ducked through the doorway into the small sickbay compartment.

    "Report"

    "We found her in her quarters, locked into an alcove. Three missed wakeup calls, and some sort of sensor recording on a loop. It's currently lodged in her neural processor on constant repeat."

    Emma handed the PADD to Selene. A few taps brought up the contents.

    "Stabilized Omega patterns, from the O-3 Gateway. We recorded this yesterday."

    "It seems that the Lieutenant Commander was processing the logs and for some reason looped up this fragment of the recording. Only twelve seconds long, but she's been watching it for the last five hours. There's nothing physically wrong with her - this loop is just occupying all of her attention."

    "Can you bring her out of it?"

    "I've got Lieutenant Wolversham working on it. This is more an engineering issue than a medical one."

    "And I'm almost done" came the voice of the Bajoran operations officer.
    "This isn't a simple case of a regeneration cycle not ending, what I'm doing is basically forcing a restart in the neural processor - the electronic equivalent of throwing a bucket of cold water on someone. It's not going to be polite, but it will be effective."

    He tapped some controls, and turned to watch the sleeping ex-Borg. Eight abruptly convulsed twice, and then rocketed up off the biobed, falling automatically into a combat stance. She held it for a moment before looking around, perplexed.

    "Sleep well, Lieutenant Commander?"

    "I...my functions are impaired, Captain. I cannot explain this. I am unable to concentrate clearly. My enhancements are functioning at well below optimal capacity and my self-diagnostic is indicating the presence of unpurged toxins."

    Emma immediately began scanning, and then comparing the results with the medical database.

    "Your regeneration cycle wasn't properly triggered. It's a simple case of advanced fatigue. I would recommend a regeneration cycle, but I'd much prefer to know why the last one didn't trigger properly."

    Eight looked distinctly uncomfortable.

    "I...I was reviewing logs and sensor data. The Omega particle is....fascinating. It is perfection. To be observing it is to be before something that is greater than oneself. I cannot adquately communicate the sensation."

    "You saw the face of your Prophets". Wolversham spoke up, his hand touching his earring. "Lieutenant Commander, I believe you've just had a religious experience."

    Selene held up her hands. "I'm too experienced a commander to open that can of worms. I have no problems with religious crewmembers, but I would ask that you contain your devotions to off duty hours, or submit a request stating your needs."

    "That will not be required, Captain. I do not believe it was a 'religious' experience in the common sense. The Particle is simply fascinating. I have it under control. "

    Selene watched as her officers filed out and then turned to Emma.

    "Does she?"

    "The neural reboot, or Mr Wolversham's "Bucket Of Water" has already been loaded into her regeneration cycle. You might get a cranky Borg, but she won't be late for her shift again. Also, if I may Captain, I recommend contacting Seven of Nine, at the Daystrom Institute. The database indicates she encountered stabilized Omega in the Delta Quadrant. She may have additional insights into the Lieutenant Commander's fascination."

    "Good Intel. Thank you Emma. To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to trying to explain to Starfleet Command that the First Church of the Galaxy-Destroying Particle was being formed."

    ****

    The Talon swept through the Jouret gateway in convoy with seven freighters and six Starfleet cruisers. There was a brief half-instant of blackness and then....

    The USS Talon arrived at Solanae.

    Blue. That was the first impression. Very faint, far off into the distance was the intricate lines of a thousand coastal fjords, butting up against a rich green and brown tapestry - life on an unimaginable scale. The air added some distortion, but not enough to hide the sheer size of the Sphere interior.

    Closer, white and blue and black towers rose. Curved and built with an almost organic look to them. Some exhibited what almost seemed like damage - possibly weathering, although the size of a storm needed to impact them would be prodigious. Alien apparatus simply hung in the air - loops, platforms, tubes and tethers.

    The scale of the Sphere threw everything off. The area claimed by the Dyson Command was gigantic, but compared to the Sphere itself, it was tiny.

    The Talon followed the freighters to a staging point for supplies, the crew still drinking in the sight on the viewscreen. A lifetime would be too short to fully explore this place.

    Captain Shon had said in his report that the Sphere was truly "a new frontier", and Selene could not dispute his words.

    Which meant that the shrill beep of an incoming communication was an unwelcome intrusion into the majestic splendor before them. It repeated twice, urgently.

    "On Screen, then"

    The caller was a very stressed-looking human in a Federation uniform. The background showed the interior of a Sphere building, but consoles glowing with Romulan, Klingon and Federation displays had been set up.

    "This is Spire Control to the USS Talon. Commanding Officer Captain Persico. Welcome to the Solanae Dyson Sphere and Welcome to the Solanae Task Force. Your commander is Admiral Wolken, although I regret to report he is unavailable at the moment. In fact almost every senior officer is unavailable at the moment."

    The officer grimaced and then caught himself, arresting his expression to mild annoyance.

    "Sorry, but it's absolute bedlam here."

    "Is everything alright over there?

    "Well, this is embarrassing as all-hell, Captain. I gather by now your senior crew is briefed on the nature of the Omega threat?"

    "They are"

    "Good. There was some sort of screwup on the other end and the transport-loads of workers were received were not properly briefed. We've got seven thousand workers here to help set up the Outpost."

    "You need briefings?"

    "Not really. What we did was specifically request personnel with excellent teamwork skills, and high efficiency ratings."

    Selene glanced at Eight, seeing where this was going, and began struggling to suppress a grin.

    "You've got seven thousand ex-Borg, and - let me guess - none of them turned up to work today."

    The controller nodded in confirmation.

    "Pretty much. Four thousand, six hundred and ninety-two Borg out of five thousand absent, and about five hundred from other species. We've located some and brought them in, but they-"

    "They're all unresponsive. We're sending through all our data on the phenomenon, and a treatment our medical and ops staff came up with. It might need some adapting, but the groundwork is there."

    The controller rubbed a hand across his face, and let out a relieived breath.

    "Thank you, Captain. I'll pass that on to our medical teams immediately. I hate to ask more of you, but we are requesting that all starships send down a team to help locate - and I guess treat now - the absentees.

    "Not a problem, Ensign. Commander Anthi, take Wolversham and Info. You're on detached duty to Spire Control. Go."

    No sooner had the three crewmembers left the Bridge than another call came through.

    *****

    The shimmer of the transporter deposited Commander Anthi, Lieutenant Wolversham and Lieutenant Info in the center of a hastily-rigged township. Alien spires stretched up and overhead, and clustered around them were standard Federation quickfab shelters.

    Starfleet uniforms scurried around in small teams, an urgent chaos of movement reminiscent of a buzzing hive of bees. Transporters hummed on an almost regular basis. A few civilians worked at consoles or erecting more quickfabs.

    Anthi's combadge chirped.

    "Commander, we've received a distress call from the Sector Upper-Delta, which is on the far side of the sphere from here. Some very lost research shuttles apparently. We should be back in a few hours. Do you anticipate any problems playing truancy officer for the time being?"

    "Not at all, Captain. We've got everything covered here."

    "See you in about six hours. Persico, Out."

    The three away team members watched as the tiny speck that was the Talon brightened and then streaked away towards the glaring red eye of the Solanae star.

    Anthi unfolded her tricorder and examined their first task.

    "Plaza Fifteen. Three absentees all in building One-Five-Dash-Alpha-Three-Two. Lets get to it."

    *****

    The Sun hadn't moved from overhead, but Info's internal chronometer told him that several hours had passed. This was the eighteenth building the Talon Away Team had been assigned to, and the running tally of 'absentee' drones was finally down into the low triple digits.

    He watched as Lieutenant Wolversham scanned the bulkhead door. "Locked".

    "Allow me, Lieutenant"

    Info walked over and seized the central latch in one hand, and gripped the opening edge on the other. He applied power, servos becoming barely audible at the force, until they were drowned out by a metallic screech as the door was wrenched off its hinges. Despite its weight, Info carried it easily across the way and placed it against a wall.

    Wolversham and Anthi had already ducked into the house, phasers drawn. They emerged again a moment later, a PADD and a small device in their hands.

    "Got another one. Couple of hours into the loop by the looks of things. Seven liberated drones and one Caitian in there." Anthi sighed and tapped her combadge.

    "Away Team Talon to Spire Control. Retrieval transport required at our location. Seven looped drones, one Caitan, all tagged with frequency-174. Recording is from the USS Swiftsure."

    "Copy that, Team Talon. Logging your discovery as Swiftsure-Fourteen. Next absence in the queue is being uploaded to your Tricorder. A co-operative of five drones, about six hundred meters to your north. Usual story - no show for their shifts."

    "We're on it, Control. Talon, Out."

    The hum of a transporter split the air as the entranced beings were whisked away to a hastily converted triage bay somewhere in the Spire. Balek consulted his tricorder and got his bearings, then pointed north.

    "Six hundred meters thataway. Lets go see who's playing hooky this time."

    ***********

    Location: Solanae Sunset Bar, Spire-7

    Info entered the bar and performed a quick scan. After the efforts in the camps were completed, they had dispersed for some R&R under the authority of a very relieved Spire Control.

    He found what he was looking for. Lieutenant Wolversham was sitting in a corner booth, engrossed in conversation with a Romulan female.

    "-and so she's gone for the whole six days we're on leave. Don't know where the Q took her, but she was firing reports off for a day or two afterwards."

    Wolversham looked up as Info approached the table.

    "Lieutenant."

    "Hey! Info! Subcommander Mai'zi, this is Lieutenant Info, also of the Talon. Sit please, Info. The bar here is great. I'm sure the autotender can whip up an Oil Sunrise or whatever.

    "Info, this is Mai'zi, assigned to Spire Control. She grew up in a Suliban Helix, if you can imagine that! Really fascinating stuff."

    "Lieutenant, this is important."

    "Can it wait? It's been a very long day - still is really. We're finally off duty, and I'm kinda in the middle of something here."

    "Lieutenant, it has now been twelve hours, four minutes and seventeen seconds since the Talon departed on the rescue mission. In casual parlance, I believe the correct expression is that the Captain is worryingly late."
  • optimusjamie1stoptimusjamie1st Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited December 2013
    Captain's log, stardate...

    Will facepalmed. It had been a tough day, and he hadn't slept for 22 hours. "What was it again?"
    Jhines, Will's Andorian first officer, cleared her throat. "91473.1."
    "Thank you, Jhines."

    Captain's log, Stardate 91473.1. Will McMahon reporting.

    Last week, I was present at the incident involving the Iconian Gateway found on New Romulus. Following our investigation of the Spacegate that was subsequently discovered, the Temeraire was assigned to be the first Starfleet ship to go through...

    The bridge of the Temeraire was buzzing with excitement when they came out of warp to find the Spacegate. A number of ships from the Federation, Klingons and Romulan Republic had formed a staging area of sorts.
    "Helm, bring us up next to the Enterprise," said Will.
    "Aye, sir," replied Lt. Cmdr Serk't. Her console beeped. "We are being hailed."
    "On screen."
    The screen switched to an image of Captain Shon of the Enterprise.
    "You're late, McMahon," said Shon. "As usual."
    "Had an issue with the Quantum Slipstream drive. The Sovereign-class is a good ship, but she's not designed for that sort of-"
    "I understand," said Shon condescendingly.
    "Oh, come on. Just because you got the Enterprise gig doesn't give you the right to order me around. We're both Captains, remember."
    Shon chuckled. "Alright. Just remember why I got this 'gig'."
    Will sighed. "Alright, let's get this over with. Helm, move us into position."
    "Aye, sir," said Serk't.
    "Are we ready to enter the gate?"
    "Ready as we can be," said E'Manuk, the Reman science officer. "We have no idea what's on the other side. For all we know, we could find ourselves in the middle of an Iconian-"
    Jhines interrupted him. "That's enough."
    "Well," continued E'Manuk, "Shields are raised and our weapons are primed."
    "More importantly," said Will, leaning back in his chair and smiling, "is the gate ready for us?"
    Shon stared blankly. "We're still waiting for the report from the probe we sent through. Has your crew been briefed on... what happened last week?"
    "Yes."
    "Good. We're not sure what the significance of the presence of an Omega Molecule is, but we may find out today."
    "Right, got it. When should the probe be back?"
    "If it hasn't been destroyed, it should be returning within one hour. We're scheduled to fly through the gate in three."
    "Understood. I'll see you then. Close the channel."

    Later, in the Officer's Mess, Ryan was having lunch. He set his sandwich down and sat opposite Jhines.
    "Hello," said Ryan.
    "Hey." Jhines looked up. "Have you seen Six anywhere?"
    "She said she had to fiddle with the Quantum Slipstream drive. It's been giving us trouble all week, remember?"
    "Ah, yes."
    "Does the Captain know Shon from somewhere?"
    Jhines laughed. "Oh, yes. At the Academy, they were always trying to one-up each other. It was like- Oh, you should've seen it."
    Her combadge beeped. "Jhines, come up to the bridge. The probe just came back, and it looks bad."
    "Aye, sir."
    Ryan finished his sandwich and followed Jhines to the bridge. Will was looking unusually grim, and paniced muttering filled the background.
    "Ah. You're both here."
    "What's going on?"
    "The probe reports that the gate leads to a Dyson sphere, and there's a hostile fleet inside."
    "Hostile? As in Iconian?"
    "No. Have you ever studied the logs of the Voyager?"
    "Uh, yes. I think so."
    "One of the species they encountered was the Voth, a lizard-like species that believed themselves to be the oldest living species. They've set up shop inside the sphere."
    "What for?"
    "We don't know, but at the centre of the sphere, there's a massive concentration of Omega molecules. We believe they're producing them on an industrial scale. Admiral Quinn has ordered us to go through the gate immediately, along with the Enterprise and the Bortasq'U. I suggest you get to your consoles."
    "Aye, sir."
    "Got it."
    "Helm, take us into the gate and prepare to reverse shield polarity. Tactical: When we're through the gate, prepare a quantum torpedo salvo and deploy the Supermarine." He turned to face the front of the bridge. "We're going in hot."
    The Temeraire's impulse engines fired up and the ship moved through the gate. In an instant, they were inside the Sphere. A lush green landscape curved around the Sphere's edge, and filling the inside was a blue Earth-like sky.
    In front of them, a group of Voth ships decloaked and opened fire. The Temeraire's shields held, the reversed polarity keeping them stable. The cruiser turned to deliver a broadside of phaser beams whilst the Voth were recharging their guns.
    Orange, red and green beams streaked through the sky as more ships arrived in the Sphere. A Voth frigate exploded, crippling the others in its formation.
    "Target their weapons!" said Will.
    One by one, the Voth ships recloaked and moved away.

    I later met Captain Shon on the surface of the Sphere...

    Will materialised in a clearing in a dense forest. A few officers from the Enterprise had set up a base camp.
    "McMahon. We're not sure where the Voth went, but they haven't bothered us since we arrived. My crew's been taking readings from the surface. There are no Omega molecules here, but the Directive still applies. We have to find a way to stop the Voth, no matter what the cost." Shon's words hung in the air.
    "I agree. The Voth are bad enough, but if the Iconians plan to rebuild their empire, then they're going to want those molecules for themselves."
    "Sir! There's something coming!" shouted one of Shon's officers.
    "What is it?" he replied.
    "It looks like a... Tyrannosaurus Rex, sir."
    "Wha-"
    The T-Rex burst into the clearing and snapped up the officer in its jaws. It was cybernetically augmented, and carried antiproton weaponry on its back.
    "Bring it down!" said Shon, shooting it with his pistol.
    "Is that a stun pistol?" said Will, taking aim with his sniper rifle.
    "Now is not the time!"
    The combined firepower of the group was able to bring the dinosaur down.
    "The hell? They have dinosaurs?" said one of the other crewmen.
    Shon tapped his combadge. "Shon to Enterprise. We've got a dead cyborg T-Rex down here."
    "Really?" said the comm officer.
    "I'm serious. Beam it to the cargo hold before McMahon tries to take a stupid holo with it." The dinosaur dematerialised almost immediately.
    Will glared at Shon.
    "What's with that look? That thing could have all sorts of diseases on it."
    "Hmmph. Alright."

    The Enterprise reports that the dinosaur was a Voth construct, designed to police the surface of the Dyson Sphere. Later analysis revealed that the Sphere is an Iconian construction, though its purpose remains unclear. In the coming days, the Temeraire will be participating in further exploration missions inside the Sphere, to ascertain its purpose. The Omega molecule factory seems to be the obvious answer, but with the Iconians, nothing is ever certain.
    Computer, end captain's log.


    "Right. That's me done for tonight. Jhines, you may return to your quarters," said Will, picking up a cup of tea from the replicator.
    Jhines yawned. "Seeya in th'mornin'." SHe walked out of the ready room and into the turbolift.
    Will sat in front of his desk. "Computer, open up a channel to Admiral Quinn. Good evening, Admiral."
    "The same to you, McMahon."
    "You wished to speak to me about something?"
    "Yes, McMahon. Your orders have changed."
    "What do you mean?"
    "I trust you are alone?"
    "Affirmitive."
    "The Omega molecule factory- do not allow it to be destroyed."
    Will felt his stomach knot. Why would Starfleet not want to destroy Omega molecules?
    "Instead, your mission is to place it under Federation control."
    "Urm, Admiral, that is a violation of the Omega Directive. Do you have any idea what-"
    "I understand your objections, but that facility is of the highest strategic importance. The future safety of the Federation depends on it." Quinn closed the channel.
    Will returned to his quarters, trembling with shock. There was no way he was going to allow anyone to get their hands on a large supply of Omega molecules...

    Was there?
  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited December 2013
    Solaris turned to Starboard and toward the enemy's ventral side while increasing speed. Bright beams of orange light laced from beam banks and struck the Voth cruiser's port shielding, itself bright blue flashes of light as the shielding absorbed the attacks. The Federation vessel crossed the ecliptic and more orange beams quickly filled the space between the ships. The Voth shielding was strained, then failed, as the beams chewed into the armored underbelly near the engines. The Bastionclass ship was wounded as internal explosions bubbled the exterior plating. Solaris banked to port and deuterium vented from the impulse engines, accelerating the ship away.

    The Voth cruiser stalled and started to fall from the sky. Seven kilometers away, the Excelsior-class ship coughed a quantum torpedo from its aft launcher. It impacted against the nose of the enemy cruiser, further disfiguring its sleek hull. Explosions continued detonating and ripping the ship to pieces. At its current altitude, debris will take ten minutes to fall to the surface, all the while trailing smoke, metal and death.

    ---

    "Well done. Return to Yellow Alert. Helm, plot a course back toward the Allied Zone." Captain Kathryn Beringer smirked as she stood from the command chair. She pulled at her jacket as she watched the aft video of the Voth cruiser disappear from view, then turned to the Engineering station. Chief Engineer Thel Ythysi sat looking at the console. Images of the Excelsior-class ship had red dots scattered in various locations, some turned blue then green as Kathryn walked up behind him. "How's he doing Chief?"

    Thel didn't pause. "The ship sustained minor damage overall. The Voth anti-proton weaponry is not impressive and their ships, although quick, are like flying aluminum cans."

    Kathryn smiled. "After that fight, I agree." She patted Thel's shoulder then stepped to the Science station where Omazei sat looking over her console. The Trill marks were visible from her neck due to her short brown hair before disappearing under the color of her uniform jacket. She looked up when Kathryn approached.

    "Omazei, may I see you in the Astrometrics lab in fifteen minutes?"

    "Of course, sir."

    With that, Kathryn nodded and looked toward her First Officer, "Anthi, you have the conn." She entered the turbolift to make sure she was at the lab before Omazei arrived.

    ---

    The doors to the lab swished open and the Science Chief entered the darkened room. A translucent image of the Dyson Sphere rotated from the center console and it's light illuminated the room, casting dark shadows in every direction. Kathryn was hunched over looking at a screen from the center console then looked through the image at Omazei as she walked toward her Captain.

    "Thank you for being prompt. I'm looking at our mission parameters and I'm going to make a recommendation to alter the banality of patrol, if that's appropriate. I wanted your feedback before I send the request."

    Omazei nodded then looked at the screen Kathryn was standing over. The ship's current position was dotted on a detailed map with a blue triangle. Various other ships were represented as either green or red triangles for the Romulan and Klingon factions at the Sphere. Whenever Voth ships were reported by real-time feed, then a purple triangle would appear. The Solaris was in the relatively quiet Allied Zone, having recently exited the Contested Zone which was an area tinged in orange.

    Kathryn looked toward the floating image of the Sphere above them. "What can you tell me of the progress for the Sphere's exploration?"

    "The efforts of Joint Command have been to maintain control of the Allied Zone. It's proving to be a challenge due to the Voth's technical supremacy." Omazei tapped onto controls at a nearby console and brought up various data. "Yes. Twenty ships have been dispatched to conduct further exploration of the Sphere beyond the Allied and Contested Zones to date. As you know, this is a massive structure that will take many years to fully explore properly. All scientific research is delayed due to the conflict."

    "Have they been successful?"

    "Relatively. Progress is slow because of the scale. It's easy to chart a star system using long-range sensors and probes. But the Sphere is something completely different: there's the external and internal surface of the shell, with the atmosphere above and space between it and the star it encompasses. There is still argument if the Sphere will require using a new system to measure coordinates! Then there are the Omega Particles -"

    Kathryn raised a hand to interrupt, "I see. If we used standard planetary coordinates, could you show me where Dyson Joint Command would be?"

    "Yes, sir, but we have to make some assumptions, the first being that the Sphere has poles relative to the galaxial-plane. Given that- ", Omazei entered more commands and the image of the Sphere added a cylindrical line making an axis showing theoretical north and south poles. Then very small area became highlighted toward the zenith pole. It expanded as Omazei zoomed-in, forcing the Sphere's borders to disappear. "- DJC is approximately at 36 degree 10 minutes 30 seconds North, 115 degrees 8 minutes 11 seconds West in the northern hemisphere. Give or take several seconds, if not minutes because of the scale."

    "Interesting. By chance, have any vessels been catalogued as missing?"

    "Yes." More commands were input and more data scrolled on a screen. "The Misericorde, and Kerg'kak. Both deep space science vessels. The Misericorde was sent toward the western border of the Allied Zone and expected to have a 50 degree parabolic arc, whereas the Kerg'kak went north with a 30 degree arc."

    Kathryn nodded. "Thank you, Omazei. This will help with my recommendation."

    "If I may, sir. What is your recommendation to Command?"

    Kathryn's eyes almost sparkled. "To go looking for the Misericorde.
  • ironphoenix113ironphoenix113 Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited December 2013
    The Athena slid out of warp just in front of the massive Iconian Gateway in the Jouret system. Bryan stood from his chair and paced around the bridge.

    "Status?" He called.

    "All systems report green, sir," Athena, the ship's AI said, her hologram shimmering to life next to him and matching his pace.

    "Good. Before we go back through the gateway and continue the engagement with the Voth, there are a few calls I need to make first. I'll be down in the SCC. Ibalei, you have the deck until I return."

    "Aye, sir." The Joined Trill replied. "Don't be too long though. We'll be needed back in the contested zone any minute."

    "I hopefully shouldn't be too long. I just want to see if I can get a few more ships to the front line over there."

    "Sounds good. I'll hold down the fort until you're done."
    *******

    The doors to the Athena's Strategic Command Center hissed gently open as Bryan approached. Inside, multiple displays showed the progress of the engagements that were happening all over the Federation. He was thankful that the Klingon border had quieted down since the discovery of the Dyson Sphere, allowing Starfleet to concentrate its forces elsewhere. Bryan walked up to the large galaxy map in the center, and rested his hands on the edge.

    "Athena, get me the U.S.S. Vanguard," He called.

    "Putting you through now, sir," the AI replied.

    Bryan looked at one of the screens in the Strategic Command Center as a face appeared in its center. "Captain t'Kazanack," he said, "I remember you from the...incident...at the Iconian Gateway. You have my sincerest condolences for the loss of Captain Palmer. I heard she was a very good leader."

    Ael raised an eyebrow and her lips quirked wryly, a bizarre fusion of Human emotional expression, with a near-Vulcan appearance.

    "Thank you, Admiral," she said. "I never had the honour of serving under Captain Palmer, but I considered her a friend. The crew has understandably been shaken by her death, but they are adapting well to the transition, which I attribute to the excellent support provided by Counsellor T'Reya. How may I be of service to you, Sir?"

    Bryan looked down solemnly at the strategic display in the center of the room.

    "I'm going to be honest with you here, Captain, we need help over in the Dyson Sphere." He manipulated the display to show the situation within. "I was hoping I could bring a few more ships over there to support the war effort. It's a stalemate right now, and there is a distinct no-man's-land here," He zoomed in on a small section of the sphere. "We've been fighting in constant fleet actions with the Voth here, and there is a full scale ground war taking place just beneath over a series of Omega particle generators. I was hoping to recruit you and several other captains to help out within the sphere."

    Ael glanced down, presumably at the tactical display on the armrest of her command chair, and nodded.

    "This ship was specifically built for combat," she said, looking back up. "It will be -- enlightening -- to see what she can actually do. We have slipstream drive, so can be at the Jouret system within the hour, Admiral. It will be an honor to assist the forces within the sphere. If I may, Sir, Captain Atreides, aboard the Endeavour has something of an interest in Omega phenomena. It would be prudent to contact him for his expertise in that matter."

    Bryan nodded. "I'll notify him as well. Before you go, however, I would like to extend you an invitation to join my personal task force within Dyson Joint Command. We tend to be involved in areas where the fighting is at its heaviest, and we have had more successes the most other task groups within Joint Command. The fleet is made up primarily of ships designed for combat, though we do have a small number of auxiliary vessels as well. If you don't want to be assigned to me, however, I understand."

    "As much as I would like to accept, Admiral, I must decline," Ael said, with what Bryan could tell was genuine regret in her voice. "As you are no doubt aware, I am by training a tactical officer and MACO-rated, but the presence of Ambassador S'rR's on board prohibits me from placing her in extended situations of peril via Starfleet operations -- if anything were to happen to her, Admiral Cheliss would have me flying a Sacagawea-Class scoutship for the rest of my career, not to mention the Empress..."

    "The Ambassador is her adopted daughter, is she not?" Bryan recalled. Close enough, Ael thought, before nodding.

    "Essentially so, yes, Sir," she replied.

    "In any event, Captain, there is one final thing I need to discuss with you," He said, manipulating the strategic display to show a single ship. "Do you see this vessel? This is the Voth Fortress ship. About One-hundred-thirty-four-and-a-half kilometers long, and bristling with enough weapons to level a small star system. I have a plan to take it out of action, at least temporarily, to allow us to gain some ground on the Voth, and I need all of the ships I can get for this. Our plan will be to weaken the structural integrity field keeping the ship's hull together, breach the hull once we find a weakness, then find and destroy the main reactor. This is going to be extremely high-risk, but if we succeed, I cannot understate how major a victory this would be for us. Do you have any suggestions we may have overlooked on how we may achieve this?"

    Ael pondered a moment, before highlighting an area on the ship.

    "Those look like communications arrays," she mused. "I'm just wondering if it would be possible to transmit a photonic operative aboard via a data transmission like a computer virus. Have them do the footwork and shut down the shields and structural integrity fields from the inside... If this was done during an external engagement, and a software glitch was additionally transmitted, say a command order to deactivate life-support systems, the Voth may be too focused on us, and that, to realize there was an operative on board."

    Bryan studied the highlight area.

    "That could work," he replied, "The only issue I can think of is that we're still not sure how well the Voth secure their computers against external access. The Voth are well known to be rather paranoid about outside influences."

    Bryan highlighted a handful of areas spread along the hull.

    "The areas I just highlighted are believed to be structural integrity field generators. They are well defended by about six heavy turrets each, but, if we destroy enough of them, it may give us an opportunity to find a weak point."

    Ael nodded.

    "I agree, Sir, they should definitely be the primary focus. Given the size of the Voth ship, had you considered landing troops on the hull and allowing them to bring down the turrets to open the way for aerial support which could then take out the field generators?"

    Bryan studied the image for a moment.

    "That could work," He said, "I'll have a few carriers launch assault shuttles. It'll be too risky to try and transport away teams directly to the exterior of the hull, and we'll only be able to knock out the ones on the top. As for the units mounted on the side, we'll likely have to deal with those the old fashioned way."

    Ael nodded.

    "That's why Starfleet still trains MACOs, Sir," she said.

    Before Ael could say more, she was handed a PADD by a female cadet with a wave of platinum blonde hair on the top of her head, which was closely cropped at the sides. The style was barely within regulation, Bryan noted, though it did not really concern him very much. The communications subroutines did not pick up her voice as she spoke to the Romulan captain, but from what may have been claws at the tips of her fingers, Bryan suspected that she was a Pentaxian. After a moment, the cadet acknowledged the order Ael gave her, and turned smartly away. As regulation-bending as her hairstyle might be, her comportment was certainly above reproach.

    "You'll have to excuse me, Admiral," Ael said, returning her attention to Bryan. "Apparently there is a situation in astrometrics which requires my attention."

    "Very well, Captain," Bryan replied, nodding, "I'll see you when you arrive in the Jouret system."

    With that, Bryan closed the channel.

    One down, many more to go, He thought.
    *******

    "Admiral on deck!" Justin called as Bryan stepped back onto the Athena's bridge.

    Looking out of the window, Bryan saw that the first of the ships he had requested, including the Vanguard were already gathering in formation near the Athena. Nodding, he moved over to his chair in the center of the room and sat down.

    "How much longer until the last of the ships arrive?" he asked.

    "Should be about two hours at the most, sir," Ibalei said.

    "Good. Inform all ships that operations against the Voth, including the Fortress vessel, will begin in four days. Until then, all crews will be granted shore leave within the Sphere itself. I want everyone as rested as possible for the coming engagements."

    "Aye sir. Is there anything else?"

    "Send all of our available tactical data on the Voth to ever ship that I've called to this sector, and inform them that we will proceed through the gateway once the last ship arrives. Once we're on the other side, everyone's shore leave will begin."

    "Aye, aye," Ibalei replied.

    Bryan got up from his chair once more and walked over to the window the was behind the main viewscreen. He leaned his head down, closed his eyes, and rested his head in his hand. He knew that a number of the ships he had requested would likely never return, and the very thought sickened him slightly.

    This is war he thought bitterly, and, in war people die. All we can do is minimize the casualties.

    With that in mind, he walked back to his chair and sat down once more. It was going to be a long few weeks.
    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
  • danquellerdanqueller Member Posts: 485 Arc User
    edited December 2013
    __


    Master Healer Personal Journal, R.R.W. Nor'Vesa


    Stardate 90148.22


    It's been three days since we first entered the massive construct that is being called simply the 'Sphere', and we have finally reached the section controlled by friendly forces. This is fortunate, as we had apparently entered the Sphere on the opposite side from where our sensors told us other Republic units were present, and many of the intervening sectors are either notably ruined and inhospitable, or occupied by hostile forces. The Nor'vesa would normally have traversed the distance in minutes at warp speed, but the contained nature of the construct does not allow atmospheric particles to depart as in a normal planetary body, leaving all but the most distant points from the surface with some trace atmosphere. Warp travel under such conditions is impossible, as the impact of even trace levels of such matter upon the ship's shields at such speeds would quickly burn the ship to vapor.

    The commander did a good job getting us here, and we only had a few instances where the ship came under fire. I've never once begrudged the incredible technology of this Federation ship, especially the medical facilities, but I admit there are occasions where I wish they had not been so committed to honoring the outdated agreement to avoid development of cloaking technology. It would have made my work much easier. Still, the injuries have been mostly minor, hardly taxing the Sick Bay equipment at my disposal. I haven't even had to employ the traditional treatments that the spartan conditions on the old R'uhuv required, though I am not certain the crew are happy about this...they appeared to have become quite appreciative of Risan medicinal traditions, I suppose.



    When we arrived at what is known as the 'Allied Zone', we were ordered to dock directly with one of the massive structures called a 'spire', which has been retrofitted to act as a kind of starbase-in-a-box (yes, I started the term and if the higher-ups want to bring me before a tribunal for it, I'll own up to it. I like it). The commander and some of the senior officers were called to appear before Subcommander Kaol, who seems to be the officer the Flotilla has placed as a liason to the ships operating in the Sphere. I don't know exactly what was said, but the news that there were a substantial number of Borg somewhere in the structure could not have been welcome. Given that shortly after they returned I was ordered to prepare Sick Bay for departure within six hours, I can't help but feel we've been tapped to go find them.

    For myself, this is a mixed prospect. I have gained my position aboard this ship through hard work, study, and the embracing of my Romulan...sorry, my Rihannsu heritage. On that level, I can't help but want to go find where the Borg are hiding and sterilize them as I would an infection. However, all that I know has its origins in my childhood on Risa, and the traditions of both my homeworld and of the healer I have become can only hope we never find the Borg again. A futile wish, of course, as they will no doubt come looking for us if we delay too long, but I know that any encounter with those cybernetic destroyers will mean people I know will be coming into my Sick Bay with injuries and missing biologic components.


    If they come back at all.


    So, I half-hope we never find them again, just as I half-hope we manage to uncover their hiding place. That suits me, as I am half of two things myself. A divided mind comes along with the territory, though I like to think I got the better side of each culture. For all that the Rihannsu have explored emotion, they still tend to not know how to throw a truely stirring party, while the Risan people lack a certain stubborness that would have kept alot of tourists from taking advantage of them year after year. What's mine is mine, thank you very much. I guess that's why I was so relieved when a few visiting Rihannsu recognized me as one of their own and took me with them so many years ago....



    Wait. I have just heard the engines come online, and now the Bridge is calling all hands to ready stations! Are we leaving so soon?! I must end here and make preparations for launching.



    <Pause Recording: Stardate 90148.23>



    <Recording Start: Stardate 90148.41>



    Well, we certainly didn't waste time getting out of that place. It seems another race calling itself the Voth are attempting to take control of the Sphere from us, and they launched an attack on the minefield that seperates the area we control from the area they do. I don't know what a science ship like this one is supposed to be doing about that, but we burned some duetrium getting to the battle area to find out.

    Only, the Voth didn't stay. And we ended up arriving too late to do more than watch them fade away into cloak.

    Did I mention how much I wish -we- had a cloaking device?

    So, no shooting and no casualties for me to patch up. That could make my day pretty much a perfect one, except that I hear that, since we're already out here, the commander has decided we might as well just keep going and start our search mission early. While it's true we only have half the supplies we were supposed to take aboard, the fact that we're not going to be far from help probably means we don't need more. At least, that's what the commander said when I asked him.


    I hate that man. Well, when he does things like this. Other times, he's really good to look at. For a human.


    < Pause Recording: Stardate 90148.41 >


    < Recording Start: Stardate 90148.42 >


    Wait, did I just put a personal observation about my commander in an official record of my Medical duties aboard a starship of the Republic? A record intentionally made so I can't erase entries?

    I have to stop pulling double shifts.


    < Pause Recording: Stardate 90148.42 >


    < Recording Start: Stardate 90148.42 >


    Note to self: Don't push the log entry button until you record the Master Healer's orders to the Master Healer to stop pulling double shifts. So noted and copied into the log.


    End recording and save file to Archives.



    <End Recording: Stardate 90148.44>

    ____

  • zidanetribalzidanetribal Member Posts: 218 Arc User
    edited March 2016
    Literary Challenge #54: Beyond the Gateway

    LC54: Sombra Negra
    Captain's Log, Stardate 90903.36. In the weeks after the failed reactivation of the New Romulus Gateway and the appearance of a gateway in the Jouret system, the Lord English has assisted the newly-created Dyson Joint Command in keeping Omega particles out of the hands of the Voth. DJC is in need for more personnel to cover losses incurred, so the English is stumping with the USS Enterprise, IKS Bortasqu', and RRW Lleiset to drum up support for the Solanae operation from our respective starfleets.

    ===

    Vice Admiral Remus Lee was in a rut. He had spent the last seven hands of Big Two losing chips to Captain Shon, Captain Koren, and Commander Jarok. He began absentmindedly chewing on his last 5 credit chip, much to Captain Koren's distraction.

    "Vice Admiral," she said curtly. "Although Earth cuisine may be bland and lethargic, it would still be better to eat than that chip. Now, will you play or pass?"

    Lee looked at his hand; two fives, three sevens, the nine of spades, and the ace of diamonds. Not a bad hand, but it'd require smooth maneuvering to beat the other CO's and win back some of his losses. Lee tossed in his 5 credit chip and an unusual badge from his pocket. Shon eyed Lee's bet with confusion as he picked up the badge.

    "I haven't seen this before," he noted. "I don't think it's Starfleet issue." He ran his fingers over the badge, a pair of wings crossed on a five-pointed shield.
    "Those are the Wings of Freedom," Lee said to Shon. To Commander Jarok, he added, "I believe it would be Aen nnea Lleiset in Rihannsu. I was going to gift it to you at the opening ceremony, Commander, but then things happened. I can give it to you after I win this hand."

    Lee placed his fives and sevens down as a full house. Jarok smiled.

    "It is a touching sentiment, but ultimately unnecessary, Vice Admiral."

    Jarok placed her last five cards, a nine-high straight flush, on top of Lee's full house, winning the hand and the pot. Shon and Koren smirked as Jarok collected her winnings and Lee groaned.

    "I thank you for your gift, Admiral," Jarok told him. "I'll make sure to wear it when I divest Captains Shon and Koren of their chips."

    As the three CO's continued their game of Big Two, Commander Taylor paged Lee over the comm system.

    "Admiral, you have a visitor. Captain Meulin of the USS Weeping Angel is in your ready room."

    Lee excused himself from the table as Koren and Shon engaged in a high-card duel to see who would start the next hand. Jarok turned to Lee as he began to exit.

    "With all due respect, Admiral, you should work on your poker face. We can all tell if you have a good hand because you keep making a creepy half-smile."

    ---

    Lee rifled through the PADD drawer in his mind until he got to Meulin's entry. If he recalled correctly, Meulin was the daughter of the Caitian representative on the Federation Council and one of the youngest captains in Starfleet. Lee had met her once before she joined Starfleet, when her father toured the Lord English as part of a diplomatic delegation. He remembered that she spent the visit hiding behind her father; Lee's impression of her was that she was very bright, but horribly shy.

    Well, since she's a captain now, I suppose she's gotten more self-confidence since I last saw her, he mused to himself. After acknowledging his bridge crew he entered his ready room. Draped on his desk was a golden-furred Caitian, dressed in a crop top, a short skirt, and knee high boots.

    "Hello, Remus, it's good to see you again," the Caitian remarked.
    More self-confidence than I expected, Lee thought to himself.
    "Hello, Meulin, it has been some time since I last saw you," he replied. "How's your father?"

    Meulin responded with a pout.

    "I haven't seen you in ages, and all you ask about is my father?" she said. "Why don't you ask about me?"

    Meulin slid off the desk and sauntered seductively towards Lee.

    "I've been thinking of you ever since I came on to your ship as a cub," she said as she leaped into his arms. "A tall, strong, and seasoned Starfleet captain blazing his way through the stars. I joined Starfleet so I could meet you again someday, and now you're acting like we're strangers."

    Lee wasn't sure why Meulin added the modifiers tall and strong, as she was ten centimeters taller than he was, and he was quite uncomfortable holding her up.

    "Well, I'm flattered you have so much interest in me. I'll be glad to give you advice as a Starfleet veteran," he said.
    "Is work all you can think about, Remus? I'm crushed," Meulin replied with mock distress. "I was hoping that since we're both flag officers, we could exercise more discretion."

    Lee stood Meulin on the floor.

    "I won't say I don't care for you, Meulin, but I care for all my comrades in Starfleet," he said. "It is our duty as Starfleet officers to protect the Federation, moreso than the personal benefits that accompany the uniform."
    Or lack of, in your case, he wanted to add.
    "Oh Remus," Meulin replied. "You really are dedicated to your job, aren't you? Well, I guess I should be doing my job as well."

    Meulin tapped her combadge. Suddenly Lee felt himself transported off the Lord English and into a non-descript room. Too late, he realized that Meulin had placed an isolinear tag on him when she leapt into his arms. Lee looked around the room and saw a familiar scarred face staring at him from a seat in the corner.

    "Hello, Admiral," said Franklin Drake. "I hope you haven't been unduly inconvenienced."

    ---

    "Where have you taken me, Drake?" Lee asked. "You usually send me messages over subspace when you're plotting shady deeds."
    "I decided this matter was for you alone to hear, Admiral," Drake replied. "We are in a secure room on board the USS Weeping Angel. Nothing can come in or out."

    At that point Meulin entered the room, dressed in the non-descript suit that Section 31 personnel usually wore. Lee's face bore a sign of dismay.

    "I see that you've managed to recruit someone for Section 31 after all," Lee remarked.
    "We decided that Captain Meulin could best serve the Federation's interests by acting as a go-between between Section 31 and our Starfleet supernumeraries, just like I do," Drake replied.
    "Why have you brought me here then?" Lee inquired. "Is this about the Jouret gateway?"

    Drake smirked a little. Lee saw a reflection of himself in that smile.

    "You're not entirely correct, but it was a good observation. It's less about the Jouret gateway and more about what goes into the Jouret gateway. You remember the Vaadwaur pilot you recovered in the Pelia Sector a few months back?"

    Lee's eyes widened with recognition.

    "You mean Junior Scout Lesa? I haven't heard from her since we dropped her off at ESD," Lee commented.
    "Then I suppose you didn't know that she's made quite the name for herself as a mercenary for the Romulan Republic?" Drake commented. "Apparently she's become one of the Republic's top Elachi hunters, and we at Section 31 suspect it's because she's had prior dealings with them."

    Lee pondered the matter.

    "Would it be too good to hope that you want to recruit Lesa into Section 31 as an anti-Elachi specialist?"

    Meulin gestured to Drake that she would field the question, and Drake allowed it.

    "Were it possible, we would have recruited her into Section 31 already. However, her psychological profile pegs her having only one goal: returning to the Vaadwaur. And now we have an open gateway for her to return to her people."

    Drake chimed in.

    "Obviously, we can't have that. The Federation is already knee deep in the Solanae Dyson Sphere fighting the Voth at the behest of the Romulans. Under no circumstance can the Vaadwaur even learn of the existence of the sphere, much less omega particles."

    Drake stared at Lee, who unhappily understood the meaning of his glare.

    "Oh hell, Drake. You can't believe I'd be willing to kill a representative of a species that I personally welcomed to the Federation. In fact, you'd probably know that I'd warn her of your coming if I could."
    "I did know you'd say that," Drake answered. "It's precisely why I had you taken out of your ship to meet with you face-to-face, so that nobody else on your ship will know this plan outside of you. Operatives are already hounding Lesa if she makes any moves towards the Jouret system."
    "Of course," Meulin added, "Her services to the Federation and the Romulan Republic against the Elachi make her invaluable, and we're pursuing this course only as a last resort. However, if Lesa goes for the gateway, we want you to stall her however you can. If she decides to stay, good! We won't risk it if she wants to leave, though."

    Lee began feeling distraught. It was a lot for him to digest and he could feel that he was not coming out of this with a happy ending.

    "I don't appreciate being put in these kinds of situations, Drake. Even I have limits as to what Section 31 can have me do, and I'm the kind of guy who'd risk temporal oblivion to protect the Federation."

    Drake was unmoved.

    "If you want words of comfort, stick to Captain Meulin. I'm only here to give you advance warning of our plans out of professional courtesy. Whether or not you warn Lesa is up to you, but I will say that you mind the consequences of your decisions this time. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to meet another supernumerary. Until we meet again, Admiral..."

    With that, Drake beamed Lee back to the Lord English.

    "Drake, isn't there some other-

    ---

    "-solution?"

    Lee found himself in his ready room again. Everything was as it was before he was taken off the ship. He tapped on his combadge.

    "Kay, has anyone left the ship while I've been busy?"
    "No, Admiral," Taylor replied. "Our guests are still playing cards in the forward lounge and nothing has been coming in or out of the Lord English ever since the Weeping Angel met up with us."

    As Lee expected, nobody on the Lord English knew he was visited by Section 31. He sat down at his desk and opened his terminal.

    "Down to work already? This Vaadwaur business must really have you in knots, Remus."

    Lee jumped in his seat as he saw Meulin again on his couch. This time she was in a vice admiral's longcoat. Lee calmed down as he resumed his work.

    "I suppose Drake didn't sanction this visit."
    "Drake may be my superior, but he trusts my judgment enough to allow me to make my own decisions. I'm here to offer my own help with whatever decision you make."

    Lee was unmollified and he let Meulin know it.

    "It bothers me to no end that my efforts to befriend Lesa on behalf of the Federation are being nullified as a preemptive measure," he griped. "It's as if the decisions of Starfleet officers don't count anymore."
    "Section 31 doesn't make these decisions lightly, nor do they design plans which won't benefit them in some way," Meulin replied. "It's the supernumeraries which do most of the work, and Section 31 just works around them."

    Meulin sat up in her seat and leaned towards Lee.

    "Section 31 is more deeply ingrained in the Federation than you think, Admiral. Section 31 supernumeraries fill the history books you so love to read. Malcolm Reed. Lance Cartwright. Matthew Dougherty. William Ross. Even the noted anti-Section 31 activist Julian Bashir had at one point worked for Section 31. More importantly, they have advanced Section 31's goals and thus the security of the Federation, whether directly or, in Cartwright and Dougherty's case, indirectly through their failure by playing the rogue admiral."

    Lee's head began to swim.

    "So why are you and Drake telling me all this? Wouldn't it have been easier if none of this came onto my desk?"
    "As Drake says, he's telling you because he puts you in high esteem, and he puts you in high esteem because you are the kind of person who will rush into a situation which career officers fear to tread. As for me, you don't need to know why I hold you in high esteem."

    Meulin leaned closer to Lee. He could feel her fur on his cheek as she whispered into his ear.

    "Whatever you choose to do with Lesa, I'll take responsibility for it. As our little secret, I'll tell you that you're too important to Section 31's plans to be punished by them. In return, I would like to get to see you more often, Remus."

    Meulin planted a kiss on his cheek before stepping back.

    "No isolinear tags this time," she said before beaming off.

    ===
    Captain's Log, supplemental. The USS Weeping Angel has left the Jouret System after our meeting, and the CO's of the three flagships have returned to their posts and left as well. I am left wrestling in my own limbo as I weigh my options. Warning Lesa would ease my conscience, but could risk the Federation; however, keeping silent would make me complicit in the murder of a foreign dignitary. In any case, the burden is mine to carry, as I've decided not to mention this to my senior officers. It's back to the Delta Quadrant for us.
    Post edited by zidanetribal on
  • pwebranflakespwebranflakes Member Posts: 7,741
    edited December 2013
    Thanks for participating in #54! I am about to post #55, and look forward to seeing how creative you get with it :D

    Unsticking for now, but feel free to still post an entry if you'd like!

    Cheers,

    Brandon =/\=
  • proteusrexproteusrex Member Posts: 62 Arc User
    edited December 2013
    OOC: Shoot, missed this one by a day. Going to post this anyway, and start working on number 55.




    Captain Dennis Merrik slumped into the chair of his ready room. He let out an exhausted sigh and pivoted the chair letting it spin lazily. The chair came to a stop facing the window. Instead of open space or warping star field the window was full of the lush blues and greens of the exotic Solanae Dyson Sphere that extended as far as he could see in any direction. The scale was too much for his brain to wrap around and he wasn't alone, there were reports from all over the ship of people having a similar time trying to take it all in. It didn't help that they were in the Delta Quadrant, relying on another almost incomprehensible technology to get home.

    An old quote that he had read somewhere echoed through his head.
    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

    He chuckled. He lived in the 25th century, on a starship, in a day and age that would seem like science fiction to anyone who had lived before. It was an age where science ruled, and there was little space for magic. Even so, he couldn't comprehend the logistics or resources needed to build the sphere, or produce Omega particles, or even the Gateway itself.

    There was definitely some magic to this place.

    He smiled to himself. This must be how the earliest explorers must have felt, sitting on the edge of knowledge, trying to find understanding in the magic. It was exciting.

    A starship flew up across the window, startling him, sending a sharp pang of pain up through his arm disrupting his thoughts.
    He gasp for air in reaction to the pain and took a second to get comfortable again.

    He looked over his shoulder to where a thick white bandage was wrapped around his arm. Under the freshly wrapped bandages was a ring of sharp puncture marks from the most recent battle with the Voth. The ongoing conflict was certainly keeping the joint task force's medical facilities busy. His injury hurt, but he'd live and with his medical staff already taxed supporting the fleet, he'd grit and bear it until it was his turn with the dermal regenerator.

    But what bothered him more was the headache.
    He rested his head on the desk letting his hands support the weight.

    "Computer, how long since my last treatment?"

    "Forty Four hours."

    "Damn it." he cursed softly, this particular headache was a tell-tale sign of cellular decay and while he wasn't unfamiliar with them, they were occurring more frequently than normal.

    Merrik turned from the desk and moved over to the replicator. Crouching, he pressed his fingers against the panel beneath it.
    There was an audible 'click' and the panel released from the wall. Catching the panel, he set it down beside him. Behind the panel was a modified hypospray, a small magnetic containment unit and a hexagonal device about the same size and diameter as a basketball.

    Merrik snapped the container open, and pulled out a hypospray cell, he clicked the cell into the hypospray, closed the containment unit and grabbed the hexagonal device. Setting the device and the hypospray on his desk, he settled back down into his seat.

    "Computer, activate 'treatment protocol' , authorization Alpha-Alpha-Thirty-Seven"

    "Commencing treatment protocol" the computer chimed, as a Level-10 force field surrounded Merrik's Desk. A second later, his ready room door locked, and a do not disturb message activated for anyone trying to contact him.

    Merrik tapped a few buttons on the device and twisted the top portion 90 degrees to the side.

    The device flickered to life and began humming. Two bars appeared on its side, lighting up from bottom to top and then transitioning from green to red.

    Merrik could feel his hair standing on end as the thermionic radiation slowly filled the area inside the force field.

    He pulled the hypospray off the desk, and pressed it to the side of his neck. The hypospray hissed as the deuterium cocktail flowed into his body. For a moment the flesh around the injection site shimmering silver before fading away into his skin.

    He smiled and took a deep breath, letting the radiation saturate his body while the cocktail replenished his cellular structure. It was a warm comfortable sensation that reminded him of a soft blanket, a fireplace and a cup of hot chocolate.

    "Computer, transfer the Doc to my ready room."

    The computer chimed in acknowledgement and moments later an angry looking bald man appeared.
    When N'Orlock, the renegade Reman scientist, joined his crew, he secretly smuggled on board a pirated EMH Mark 1 as his personal assistant. Despite being in violation of Starfleet regulations, the Doc proved himself and earned his place on the ship. Even so, Starfleet Intelligence would probably kill him if they knew 'Doc' was onboard.

    "What do you want?" He said, smoothing his Reman-style lab coat as if the transfer had disrupted its sharp creases.

    "The headaches are happening more frequently." Merrik said.
    The Doc raised his eyebrow and pulled a medical scanner out of his lab coat.

    He stepped through the force field and began scanning Merrik's temple. While he scanned, he held his chin high, his nose pointing upward. It was a slight gesture of superiority, known to the EMH1s, that hadn't been removed when the Reman's TRIBBLE his programming.

    "What happened to your arm?" he asked unamused.

    "A dinosaur bit me."

    "A dinosaur,? the Doc repeated, his eye brow rose, ?you realize how absurd that sounds?"

    "I guess it is." Merrik laughed. "Even more magic in this place." he said softly.

    "What?"

    "Nothing." Merrik replied, shrugging it off.

    A few more silent moments passed. The thermionic generator whistled and it powered down, indicating a completed cycle. The radiation would dissipate fairly quickly and the force field would drop once the radiation levels were safe for humans.

    The Doc completed his scan and checked the scanner.
    "Your biomimetic structure is intact and stable." He said, "Nothing here suggests anything more than the usual cellular decay caused by the ship's warp fields."

    "What about their frequency?"

    "Did you consider that maybe you're in the Delta Quadrant on a Dyson Sphere, being shot by Voth and bitten by dinosaurs?"
    The doctor said, a hint of sarcasm in his voice. "I can't speculate on what else you're being exposed, or if it could interfere with your deuterium-based TRIBBLE."

    "Any recommendations?"

    "Request reassignment." The Doc paused, "but you're not going to leave this place, are you?"

    "No." Merrik replied, "there's too much to do here."

    "Then..." The Doc sighed. "I recommend you wear some personal and environmental sensors next time you return to the surface. Bring me back some data and I'll review it. In the meantime, bump up your treatments to maintain stability and increase the dosage slightly to boost up your levels."

    "Very well." Merrik nodded, hoping there would be something else they could do.

    The force field buzzed as it vanished and the computer announced that the treatment cycle was complete.
    Getting up from his chair, Merrik took the equipment and secured it behind the replicator panel, locking it. The panel was hidden and shielded, keeping it out of sight from prying eyes or sensor sweeps. Like his biomimetic origin, his periodic treatment was a secret from most of his crew and known only to a handful of Starfleet brass. It was paramount that knowledge of 'silver-blood' lifeforms stayed secret.

    "So Doc." Merrik said getting back to his feet. It would still be a few more minutes before he could transfer the Doc out of his ready room. "What are you and Mr. N'Orlock working on today?"

    Visibly annoyed, the Doc sighed, "Must we engage in this idle banter?"

    "Humour me." Merrik said dryly.

    "Very well," the Doc slipped his scanner back into his pocket. "N'Orlock has me performing a series of tests on Voth genetic samples to see if..." the hologram paused, his eyes shifting toward the window. "Is that snow?"

    "What?" Merrik looked up and moved toward the window, white powder was gently falling down from the sky and accumulating on the hull of the ship. "There's been no report of snow in the sphere."

    "Bridge." He tapped his combadge.

    "Bridge here." The com replied, but instead of its usual chirping sound, they heard the jingle of bells.
    His mind echoed back about a year, a feeling of uncertainty started to form in his gut.

    "What day is this?" He asked cautiously.

    The bridge replied a few seconds later, it was a familiar voice, but not one of his crew.
    "Why, it's the first day of the Kot'baval Festival sir!"

    At the same time, a chorus of carols and songs began playing over the ship's com.
    "TRIBBLE." Merrik replied, as the ship was engulfed in a brilliant flash of light accompanied by a gentle chime.
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