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Literary Challenge #56 : Academy Teachings

pwebranflakespwebranflakes Member Posts: 7,741
edited January 2014 in Ten Forward
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges! :cool:

Today we start the two-week run of the fifty-sixth Literary Challenge: Academy Teachings
You've been called upon by your superiors to return to the Academy to provide a lecture to the next class of graduates on a topic of your choice.

Write a Personal Log entry that contains your thoughts on this assignment, the topic you are choosing to lecture on, etc. Feel free to write a second entry on how the lecture went and if anything unexpected happened while you were there. Did you run into any old friends, or maybe even a enemy? Get creative!

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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  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    I'm going to extend and refine this as I go. Because perfectionism. Also, I want to do this from my Romulan's perspective.

    UPDATE: Added a third piece after an idea from marcusdkane.
    What were you thinking, Contract-holder Quinn? I think. More importantly, what the everloving **** were you smoking? I need to get me some of that.

    So yeah, here I am sitting at this little podium in 'Frisco. I don't know what the hell I'm doing here.

    Seriously. This time yesterday, I was on Risa with the Klingon ambassador (he was quite fun, by the way), getting some well-earned...well, neither rest nor relaxation, but definitely vacation. Klingons are fun. The week before, I was getting the living daylights kicked out of me by sentient ooze, which was less fun.

    And so I got the call from Contract-holder Quinn this morning on Risa, saying that I have to give a lecture on a subject of my choice here at the Academy.

    Which I have never been to before, being a genetically-altered living superweapon from another universe. So I have absolutely no clue what I should be talking about.

    I've been sitting here--standing, technically--for about ten minutes now. The cadets seem to be rather bored.

    I clear my throat.

    "Right. So. I'm Captain Nemesis unit designation Three. Commanding officer, USS George Takei. I'm here to talk about the many applications of genre savvy."

    The cadets look politely confused.

    "Ahem. So. Rule number one of genre savvy is to NEVER, under any circumstances, wear red clothing at any time, but ESPECIALLY not on duty or on an away mission. Rule number two is to wear Lieutenant or better pips at all times, no matter what. Rule number three is to be CERTAIN that you can be described with a minimum of three distinct adjectives in five seconds at any particular point in time. Rule number four is, if think you're having great luck with someone you are attracted to, he, she or it is a spy for some rival faction. Rule number five is to put some surge dampeners or something on every single bridge console on your ship, so that there is absolutely zero chance that a random EPS conduit blowing out on deck 12 or something can blow out a bridge console."

    They're looking at me like I just crawled out of a Vorta cloning pod or something. Ah, well. In for a penny...

    "Rule six. Reinforce decks six through twelve on your ship. In a fight, those will take the hardest hits. Trust me. Rule seven. If you follow these rules, you WILL run into crazy stuff. However, these rules will keep you and your crew safe--if you're just the nameless NPC starships, you're basically screwed, so it's really better this way. Rule eight. In order to minimize risk, never allow any sophont of any species who has had any sort of irregular spatiotemporal...things happen to them onto your ship. This does not hold for anything that happens on a crewman's career on your ship. Also, refugees from spatiotemporal phenomena do not qualify under this rule, so they're fine to bring onto the ship."

    Some of the nerdier-looking cadets have gotten looks of dawning comprehension and are writing frantically. I see a man with a set of fancy veterans' medals looking sick over by the main building. Huh, he sure looks like Barclay. Like Barclay on a transporter pad.

    "Rule nine. If you wish to engage in rank-inappropriate fraternization, there are two essential guidelines: Keep your official rank out of the bedroom, and make up some drek about alien mind control to cover it up. Hell, the old alien mind control excuse works like a charm for me."

    Admiral Janeway is giving me a death glare. Heh. Fortunately for her, Contract-holder Quinn has informed Command of my physical abilities. Fighting me on the ground is suicide for a baseline.

    "Rule ten. And this is critical. Unless your first officer is a Vulcan or Vulcan hybrid, never leave him or her in charge of the ship. NEVER. For any reason. Rule eleven. You can never have enough geeks. Hire as many geeks as you can. If you have a choice between a geeky Tellarite and a steroid-pumped Gorn, pick the Tellarite. In the same vein, if you have a choice of computer techs between the brilliant and erudite head of the universe's largest computer conglomerate and a teenage hacker dweeb who's trying to impress his subject of romantic attention, pick the nerd and leave your worst enemy with the genius. Rule Twelve. Klingons make the best security chiefs. Any questions?"

    About twenty hands go up instantly. The rest of the cadets look lost. I hear Admiral Janeway growl quietly to herself from across the crowd. The guy who looks like Barclay is whimpering quietly and checking something on his PADD.

    "You, in the back. What's your name?"

    "Edwin Anderson, sir. Sir, I was just thinking, you make the universe sound like a Captain Proton holonovel, sir."

    The guy who looks like Barclay looks up from his PADD, white as a sheet, and faints dead away. Admiral Janeway is glaring lasers at me. Admiral Riker is whispering something to a woman who looks like Troi. It sounds like "So THAT's why the Enterprise kept getting taken over by complete idiots! I WAS bad karma as a first officer!"

    "Yeah, that's the point, although it's neither a holonovel nor a poorly-scripted sci-fi franchise. Well, except for Star Trek 5 and that one Voyager episode, at least. Anyway. Sorry, off topic. Now, where I come from, we have this thing called Star Trek..."
    Rihannsu (Romulan) Republic Officer Training facility. Mol'Rihan planet surface.

    I can see the fire in the Reman's eyes.

    There's only one Reman in the first officer corps, but her eyes burn, the same way mine do. The rest of the cadets are Romulan and Acamarian, with a few Suliban refugees who joined up after the Helix incident. They are young, green, and idealistic for the most part, but I can see the fires of loss in some of them.

    The Reman has it worst, though. I see myself in those hard, hating eyes.

    Well, I'd better get started with this "motivational speech". Proconsul D'tan and his crazy ideas. He spends too much time around humans. Then again, some say that I spend too much time with Klingons, Breen, and Jem'Hadar.

    "I'm going to be honest with all of you, and I'm not going to waste your time. You all know who I am and what I've done. I know that many of you--hell, I can pick which ones out of this crowd--lost something or someone special. Like I did."

    I have their attention. Good.

    "We're in a tough spot, and I'm not going to lie to you. Our two strongest allies are still in a cold war, and there are about a dozen major powers committed to wiping us all out. I know that you lost someone, or something. I know that you still love what you miss, and I know that you hate. I know that hate. I have known that hate for fifty Terran years, and I have known that love for the same time."

    I pause for a breath.

    "She was everything to me. And that monster Hakeev took her from me. I was young, idealistic. I broke. I couldn't take the hate. I left ch'Rihan the next week, stowed away on a warbird and left for good. I was useless for so long. The captain took pity on me; we were a scout ship, T'liss-class, full of dissidents, malcontents, and other military personnel who had pissed off the Empire and the Tal Shiar, but not enough to warrant more permanent punishment. A good ship. The captain gave me a bunk and a cut of the rations."

    The Reman has a look in her eyes. She's been through this, too.

    "We were about two weeks out from ch'Rihan when I figured out how to cope. At first, I just embraced the hate. Let it fuel me. It was tiring; I spent every night crying myself to sleep, and I kept getting stiff from the exhaustion, but it was fuel. Like oil for a fire. I lived like that for twenty years, made lieutenant, killed hundreds; mostly Nausicaan and Breen pirates. I had a weapons console, a disruptor, and my hate.

    "It all changed on a little dung-heap mudball world in the Psi Velorum sector. We had an away mission. There were Tal Shiar there, a crashed ship. I was used to the hate being cold, dispassionate. Something that I used as a tool to power myself, to kill pirates and other random space scum. This time, it was hot. Passionate. And it used me.

    "There were five survivors, all injured. I found them huddled in a mostly-intact piece of the ship, in their Tal Shiar uniforms. One looked so much like him. And I felt it rise and control me.

    "The captain found me from the shots and screams. They beamed me back to the ship and I spent two weeks in the brig, and a month in therapy. To this day, I don't know why they let me live, and why they didn't tell the Imperial authorities, although I can hazard a few guesses. Sometime in there, I decided that I needed to control it somehow. So I made myself rules. A personal code of conduct. Every time I went into battle, I would ask myself, "Is this what she would have wanted? Would she have wanted me to do this?" And it worked."

    The Reman is staring at me with rapt attention, as are two of the Suliban and five Rihannsu. The others look somewhat nervous. Obisek and the Admiral are having a frantic, whispered discussion with Proconsul D'tan.

    "So I harnessed my love for her to hold back the hate. And I spent some time thinking. After the Hobus event, we ended up at this little colony world, Virinat. It's gone now. The captain decided to help them thrive while staying out of the way of major powers. That day, I remembered the last thing she said to me before she tripped me down the escape hatch and told me to run. She said "Whatever happens, find something to care for. Find something to love. Hate is destruction. Love is construction." And so I lived like that.

    "We had a good, simple life. Then the Elachi came. They annihilated the colony, kidnapped about half of the colony for subsumption, and killed almost all the rest. And in space, at the bridge of my first ship, I saw him. And I felt it rule me again.

    "I made quite a few mistakes. I assumed the Elachi were working for that monster. That killing him would be enough. I was wrong. The Iconians are behind that entire mess, and they want nothing less than our extinction. And I was ruled by my hatred. I killed so many people."

    I'm clutching the lectern now, crying to myself. The Reman and one of the Romulans are both crying.

    "I had peace, after I killed him. The hate was still there, but it was lower, sated. Simmering, not boiling. Then we went through the gate, and I found that Iconian console. And it returned even stronger.

    "This time, though, I'm ready. I will chain it. It is always there, it will never really leave--for it is rooted in my love for her, and her loss. But I will chain it, and I will make it come to heel. For hate is a monster, a beast in your heart. And if you unleash it, you will burn as it kills.

    "The take-home point is to never let yourself be ruled by your hate. Don't use it. Restrain it. Think of that person you lost, or someone you love. Think of the most wonderful person you know. And ask yourself, every time, "Would he/she/it be happy with what I am about to do?" Always remember that, no matter how bleak the situation, no matter how many species wish for our extinction, no matter how many forces are arrayed against us. For if you let it out, it may not come back."

    I step back, tears flowing down my face. The Reman, the two Suliban, five Romulans, and a trio of Acamarians all stand and clap, grimly and forcefully. The others follow, somewhat more hesitantly. The higher-ups are still in conversation. Kererek makes a suggestion, but Obisek cuts him off forcefully.

    I step off of the stage, behind the curtain, and Omek'ti'kallan grabs my shoulder with a respectful but iron grip.

    "Alright, sir, time for your appointment," says Daysnur. "I have some new ideas for combating your depression, and I want to try a few before your meeting with D'tan later. IRW Vengeance, three to beam up to my counselor's office."
    Starfleet Academy. San Francisco, Earth.

    Well, this is a new one. Giving a lecture while drunk. Maybe those experimental meds of D'vek's weren't a good idea. Normally, I can hold my ale, but today I'm boozed up on what normally would be a light breakfast drink. Unfortunately, the part of my brain in charge of rational thought is no longer in charge.

    My name is Azip Shran. First officer, USS George Takei. I'm giving a guest lecture to fill time while Professor Barclay is revived after fainting during my Three's--I mean, my captain's--speech.

    Need to stay professional. Don't show the Romulan ale that I've been hooked on ever since we got sucked back in time and Three predicted EVERY SINGLE THING that happened to us.

    That was when I first got hooked on her, too. But that's another story.

    "Oo-k, class," I drawl, slurring my words a little. "Let's forget about what my sweetcheeks--I mean, the captain--just said; it'sh perfectly fine, we'sh all real. Real enough. Something. So I'm gonna tell you 'bout...the...the whatsit, the thing that happened to ush lasht week. That thing, with the thing, and that other thing, and that big thing, and the exploshion, and the things, with those other things, using thoshe things, to shoot at ush, and that guy, with that thing, and hish evil plan, and--" I take a drink from my bottle. "that thing, that he wash gonna use, and that other thing, and that thing, that we ushed to shtop him, and that other thing, with the pewpew gunsh..."

    I try to remember exactly what happened. Admiral Janeway is heading for the podium with some hulking Benzite MACOs.

    "Right, we took the ship, and we were on this planet, see, and there was this guy, see, who was this mad scientist, and wanted to ushe this thing, see, to make this slime sentinet...seintinelt...think, see, and so we had to stop him, see."

    Three is with Professor Barclay, who demanded her assistance the moment he woke up. Perhaps unfortunately, the infirmary where they are located is on the other side of the academy. Elements, but this Romulan ale is good.

    Part of my brain watches this train wreck with a feeling of mounting horror.

    "And sho, see, we had to shtop him, b'cuz Three shaid that thinky-slime was bad, so we shot him, see, with out phasers, like this, see," and here I pull out my phaser and shoot it in a random direction, blowing up an empty chair. There is much screaming.

    "Jusht like that, see, so then his thing, his pewpew, his gun with the DNA stuff innit, shot th' mud, and the slime became thinky, so it tried to kill ush."

    One of the MACOs grabs my shoulder.

    "Hey, 'm not done yet! Hey, gimme m' phaser! Gimme!"

    The other MACO pulls out his own phaser and shoots at me, but I trip over the other guy's foot as I bend over and retch on Admiral Janeway's boots.

    Oops, thinks the part of me in charge of logic and reasoning.
    Two hours later

    "Well, no physical harm done, lesson learned, Admiral Janeway pissed off. All in all, a good day!"

    D'vek is cheerful and happy, which is a not uncommon sight with the Romulan chief science officer and part-time doctor. Three is carefully inspecting every inch of me for damage. It's kind of hot, to be honest.

    "Yeah, except the part where your so-called wakey-wakey meds made me drunk. And I'm being court-martialed for vomiting on Admiral Janeway."

    "Heh, the captain'll get you off that in a minute. Right, sir?"

    "Yeah, shouldn't be too much trouble," says Three. "The blame's spread widely enough, and it was Admiral Janeway herself who told you to get up there and say something while they double-checked Barclay. I figure if you gimme three minutes and a decent lawyer I can pin it all on her."

    "Apportioning of blame--the most important function of Starfleet," I mutter. "Do you guys remember when we got to explore cool planets and didn't have to give lectures?"

    "Yeah," says D'vek. "I got to try all kinds of weird meds back in the day."

    "Well," says Three, sweeping me up into her arms...mmm, those strong arms...as I yelp in exaggerated shock. "I can pull a favor or two. Admiral Riker owes me some latinum, and Admiral Quinn owes me a favor or seven for services rendered out of Contract. I can get us a six-month exploration posting in the Delta Volanis cluster, if it helps."

    I lean in close to her ear and kiss the lobe. "Sounds great, honey. Now, let's get out of Earth space before Admiral Janeway comes after us."
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
    Baal%20prop%20pic%208_zpsqaptvpnu.png
  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 8,313 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    Transcript of lecture to Starfleet Academy junior class (2415), from guest lecturer Captain Grunt, UFP Starfleet. Topic: multicultural acceptance.

    GRUNT: Good afternoon, Cadets. I am Captain Grunt, commander of the starship Bedford. Professor Zdarsky has requested my presence today to speak to you on a topic that's probably going to bore you to tears, because of course there's no discrimination in Starfleet. All personnel are accepted as they are, and no one is ever judged because of their species or planet of origin.

    Bat puckey.

    Certainly, things seem decorous enough on the bridge of a starship; no one is going to make jokes about my chief engineer, even though he is a Pakled. [pause] Ah, that's what I thought. A small bit of laughter, there in the upper left quadrant of the audience. [Grunt taps one ear] These things aren't just for show, you know. There's no shame in acknowledging differences in physical abilities, and Ferengi tend to have quite good hearing. However, those of you on the Engineering track may be familiar with the name of Commander Vovonek. You, there. I saw your expression change. You've heard of Vovonek? [Grunt points at Cadet Terence McCreary. McCreary stands.]

    MCCREARY: Aye, sir. Commander Vovonek was responsible for the integration of major systems from three different classes of starship to build a rescue craft when you were adrift in the Gamma Quadrant. Our instructor in field repairs had us study his work.

    GRUNT: Well done, mister. Except it was four classes - I don't know if your instructor forgot about the computer system from the 29th-century timeship we found, or the parts we had to cannibalize from what was left of the Bastogne. Suffice it to say, without Vovonek, there's a fair chance we'd never have made it back from there. Of course, given the quality of the Bastogne, there's a fair chance we'd never have made it more than a few weeks out of Spacedock, so there's that. Some of you are going to be assigned to ships that aren't exactly top line - we need every ship we can fly out there, even those antique Mirandas. And you can't dismiss good officers just because everyone assumes that, say, Pakled aren't smart, or Vulcans are passive, or my personal favorite, Ferengi are cowards. It's a problem that exists in a number of species. An ancient Terran philosopher called it the "planet of hats" syndrome - a tendency to assume that everyone from a given world acts exactly the same. He called it "wearing the same hat". A Pakled's hat is being slow and clumsy - an image they cultivate, because it's easier to take advantage of someone who's underestimating you. Vovonek plays with the image sometimes, but the hat doesn't fit him well. For another example, Klingons are all bloodthirsty but honorable warriors; no scientists, no poets, no artists, just fighters. Except that if this were true, there wouldn't be Klingon cruisers flying through two quadrants of this galaxy, and controlling almost as much space as the Federation. My science officer is a Klingon, and if there's anything about his discipline he doesn't know, I haven't caught him out yet. As for their poetry, I know Klingon opera can sound like two Ferasans in a fight to the death, but get a translation of the lyrics - say, The Song of Kahless and Lukara, from the Fek'lhiri Cycle. Then try to tell me there aren't any Klingon poets. They may not get the press, but they're there.

    And it's a problem that persists today. Anybody here from Risa? No? Then you probably think of Risa as a resort planet, inhabited exclusively by sybarites who are only there to make your stay more pleasant. And there are a lot of people working their butts off every day to keep you thinking that, because luxury is their world's sole export. Before the locals perfected weather and seismic control, and someone started a resort on their smaller continent, Risa was primarily known as a massive swamp with a good supply of dilithium. And if their control systems were turned off for more than a local day, which actually happened about forty years ago or so, the world would barely be class-M. If you get a Risan engineer on your crew, you do what you can to keep them there - their children are raised knowing how to repair almost anything. But if you just go by what "everyone knows", you'd never guess they had such depths.

    And then there are my own people. Yes, I know the stereotypes. We're cheap, greedy, cowardly, and cruel, and we run everything like the most cutthroat business ever. And yes, there's quite a lot of that in our society, especially the cheap and greedy parts. But not every Ferengi you meet is going to fit that template. There are a lot of us who just don't fit in at home, because we're the engineers, the builders, the artists, the mathematicians, the underpinning every society needs to exist but sometimes don't want to acknowledge. Some of us come to Starfleet because since the dual-citizenship program began, we can find a new home here. Only we often find that new home rejects us just as much as the old one did, although for the opposite reason - here, we're rejected because we're expected to act like the "hat" we've been given. And you'll find that even the most supposedly "venal" of Ferengi, once he's given his word, will stick to at least the letter of it - after all, as the Rules of Acquisition say, "If that's what's written, then that's what's written."

    For that matter, let's look at the dominant culture of the Federation, the one that forms most Starfleet traditions - the Humans. Human society is, of course, free of greed or want; people no longer desire material possessions; and you've evolved beyond the need for religion or the use of violence.

    You're here, you're in Starfleet, and you've been at this academy for three years, so you know that's bat puckey too. If you were "beyond the use of violence", your starships wouldn't be heavily-armed enough to face off against a Klingon Mogh or a Romulan Scimitar. You've evolved beyond the tendency your people used to have of resorting to violence first, and that's commendable, but sometimes the need to be violent is still there. You've mostly channeled it into more productive ways than war, that's all. As for the greed and possessions issue, well, again, if this were true our jobs would be a lot simpler. If only Orions were the only pirates, Nausicaans the only thieves, how much simpler things would be! But then you run across the privateer, bought or stolen from the Klingons, with a Human crew, who rob Orions and feel justified because everyone knows all Orions are really pirates anyway. And they don't even see the contradiction in their own statement as you're hauling them off to face a court at the nearest starbase. Here on Earth, of course, there's no want, because replicators are everywhere and cheap fusion and solar power mean that it's not even worth it to monitor their use. There are a few other worlds of the Federation like that - Vulcan, say, or Deneva. But you get out toward the fringes, out by the Cardassian border or the far end of Eta Eridani sector, and it's not always so easy and clear-cut. That's why Federation credits exist, because there are still a lot of worlds that need to use trade to survive.

    So you see, even you Humans, or "Hew-mons" as some of you probably expected me to say, have your "hat" that you've been assigned. And a lot of you are from out there, and know how poorly the hat fits you. I just want you to remember, as you go through your careers, to look at the people under your command - not the Pakleds, or the Caitians, or the Vulcans, or the Humans, or the Bolians, or even the Ferengi, but the individual Starfleet officers you're serving with. Don't assume they're all going to be exactly the same, and don't assume they're going to be even vaguely like whatever preconception you have floating around in your head. Treat them like individuals, learn from them like individuals, and you'll be able to succeed - as a group of individuals.

    Oh, there is precisely one group you can treat as a single monolithic entity - because the Borg are a single monolithic entity. Hive-minds with FTL connections are the exception to the rule.

    Thank you for your time, and I'll see some of you - out there. [gestures toward sky]
    "Science teaches us to expect -- demand -- more than just eerie mysteries. What use is a puzzle that can't be solved? Patience is fine, but I'm not going to stop asking the universe to make sense!"

    - David Brin, "Those Eyes"
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  • jauhn82jauhn82 Member Posts: 52 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    Captains Personal Log:

    The U.S.S. Chimera is on course for Earth, for much needed R&R from the frontlines? and my next assignment. I have been ordered by my superiors to give a lecture on, "The Effects of War on the crew and its captain," at the Academy in San Francisco. But who am I to give a lecture to these students? I never went to the Academy; I was just a farm boy when I was assimilated by the Borg. So what if I have the collective knowledge of all those who did go to the Academy that never returned, it's only thanks to this knowledge that I am an Officer in Starfleet and command of a ship.

    Sigh.

    The effects of war, eh... Is that really something that can be analyzed and taught? War is something that affects everyone differently and none are the same. No matter how we try to organize and group people together, no matter the names and "side effects" we label, it will never be the same from one person to another.

    Take my first officer, Commander Evans, every death on the Chimera and battle lose affects her greatly. She gets to know most of the crew on a personal level, and when one is killed her heart sinks. She tries to hide it with anger and the crew respects her because she expresses an emotion they all feel but do not want to show.

    I have the crews respect as a captain, but not as a being. They don't know that I know about the names and whispers, "The Borg" they call me. Oddly enough this name I was given by the crew is not because I was once assimilated by the Borg, but because I show no emotion for the dead. I have become numb since... since... wow, I can't remember when it began. I remember when I use to know ever little detail about my crew, no matter how personnel, but now I cannot tell you half their names. I use to personally right every letter of remorse to the families of the fallen, now I have a letter where I just change the name and job title and send it to the families.

    War has changed since the time humans first fought with swords and spears. The medical know how is advanced so much that a lot of the wounded that would have died in wars past are now up and sent back to the lines. But so has the means of death, in times of old it use to take hundreds of men to kill hundreds of me, but today all it takes is the push of a button. But what hasn't changed is the true victims of war.

    Silence.

    That's it, the topic is all wrong. I guess I have no choice but to change the topic of my lecture. I might get punished for it, but it is something that I believe these cadets need to know. They joined Starfleet during a time of war, so they knew that by signing up that they would go to combat and may even die. Anyone who goes into battle knows this to be true. What they don't know but should is about the true victims of war.

    The true victims are the families, one may know that they might die in battle during a time of war and may be willing to give their lives, but its families that are affected. They stay safe in their homes waiting for their loved ones to return, they are the ones who must live with the pain of the death of their father, sister, lover. Medical technology may have advanced a lot, but there are things that they can't heal nor fix, and it's the families who have to care for their wounded.

    I wonder if there are programs for the families. I guess I should research that and write my notes for my lecture. Computer, close log.

    END
    Vice Admiral Jauhn Chinera
    U.S.S. Chimera
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    @Rellimtime82 - Foundry Author
  • grylakgrylak Member Posts: 1,572 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    Captain's log. The DarkFyre is patrolling near Starbase 39 on a routine assignment. So far, everything has been normal.


    Bennet looked at his command crew. Though they were all young, they all seemed to be handling their first assignment well. Taumer worked his console, scanning the sector as they entered it. "Captain, I'm picking up a distress call from a civillian freighter."
    Bennet set his jaw line. This was it. Time to be heroes. "On screen."

    "This is the..... ter Oscorp. We......ck by....rates. Need hel"


    Taumer shook his head. "That's all there is." Bennet turned to Verity at communications. "How many people on the Oscorp?" The young woman brought up the ship information on the main screen. "She's a T-60 class freighter. Crew of One hundred twenty. Her distress call is coming from an area of heavy plasma storms." Bennet nodded. "Then it's probably a trap. Red Alert. Deflectors and shields to maximum. Froda, intercept course."

    The Bolian woman plotted the course and guided the old constitution class refit towards the destination. As they approached, Bennet called for everyone to keep alert. Taumer's console started beeping. "Captain! Garidian ships decloaking!"
    "Evasive!"

    The ship rocked as it was hit by weapons fire. "Shields down to 72%."
    Bennet looked at the screen. A pack of seven Garidian D'deridex warbirds had decloaked and were circling the disabled freighter, predators on the hunt. They all turned towards the DarkFyre and fired another volley. Again, the ship rocked, shields dropping down to 60%. Bennet paused, trying to think of the next move. The DarkFyre began listing to the side without commands. Dammit, he was the Captain. He needed to make a decision. "Ok, we're not going to abandon that ship. Helm, get us around behind the warbirds. We can focus all of our firepower onto their blind spots. That should make them think twice."
    "Aye Sir." Froda moved the DarkFyre around, much smaller and more agile the the Garidian ships. They came about behind the rear Warbird and opened fire, pouring phaser blasts and photon torpedos at the ship. Shields flashed green, protecting the pirates from harm as the firing cycle finished. Taumer reported. "Their shields took damage, but otherwise no effect."
    "What? That can't be." Bennet was aghast. All the firepower of this ship, and they were nothing. The warbird fired rear disruptors, smashing the DarkFyre sideways. Consoles on the bridge exploded as the shields failed. Over the noise, he heard Verity shouting a panicked report. "Boarding parties are beaming on."
    "Security teams to all decks. Fight them off! Keep firing at the warbird. Their shields can't last forever!"


    The DarkFyre shot again, proving just as ineffective. The other warbirds had swooped around and were giving chase behind the Federation ship. Volley after volley struck the ship, each one knocking out more systems. And still Bennet demanded they keep firing everything they had, while trying evasive manouvers.But it was no good. The warbirds grouped together into a tight formation and unleashed another wave of torpedos. The ship screamed as it was battered mercilessly, before the world went white, indicating the warp core had breached.







    When the lights came back on, Talaina moved her hover chair away from the observation position towards the Captain's Chair. Bennet stood at attention as she approached, as the other cadets got to their feet, the fires extinguishing themselves. The battle simulation was over. Talaina, still hurt from the Gorn ambush a few weeks ago, moved infront of the human. "Cadet Bennet. Congratulations. You just killed your entire crew, and got the crew of the Oscorp captured. Who knows what will happen to them."
    "Sorry Sir."
    "Oh don't apologise. You're the first ones to take this particular test. Though I don't appreciate seeing my old ship getting destroyed like this. I'll have to have words with the Academy."
    "Yes Sir."

    Talaina stopped looking around the Bridge that she had spent many years on and focused on the young man before her. "Let me ask you something. Where did you think you went wrong?"
    "Sir. The DarkFyre's weapons were not powerful enough to defeat the Garidians. The ship is too old. Too weak. Sir." Talaina frowned. "They were only simulations. I remember once this ship successfully defended the Alhena Deuterium Station from rogue Cardassians. And their ships are just as powerful as those you faced. Outnumbered. Outgunned. And yet, we succeeded. Do you know where the basis of this simulation came from?"
    "No Sir."
    "Recently, the Sentinel was ambushed in much the same way. Ten Gorn battlecruisers used a civillian freighter to lure us in and battered the ship. We lost many good people that day. Alot of them captured. But the majority of the crew, and the ship, survived. And it was for the same reason as the Alhena situation. Something you should have seen here. Something that you cadets..." Talaina looked around at all of the cadets on the Bridge. "All of you cadets need to learn before you can become Command Officers. Flying around and shooting everything is all fine and good for one on one ship fights of equal footing. But when the numbers are against you, when you are against an opponent that clearly outclasses yourself, that is when you need to think. Use your brains and be smart. The Sentinel got out of this trap by routing the Transwarp drive through the Deflector and opening an unstable Transwarp gate in the centre of the Gorn ships, catapulting them to unknown parts. The ship survived because we used our ingenuity. What tools we had at our disposal. That will save the day nine times out of ten. Going in all guns blazing will only do so that one time. Do you understand?"

    "Yes Sir. But... this class of vessel was made before Transwarp."
    "This ship was made for the centennial celebrations of the iconic design. One of a few that were. As such, it has many of the modern features, such as a Transwarp drive. If you had done your homework, you would have read that in the ship's profile for the mission briefing. That's another lesson. Always make sure you are familiar with what your ship can and can't do. A good engineer will always find ways to do what can't with what can. Think about what I said cadet. I hope you take heed of my words. Because you won't get any second chances when you're out here for real."
    "Yes Sir. You've given me much to think about."
    "Good. Dismissed."


    As the cadets filtered out towards the lower decks, Talaina watched the rest of the teachers clearing the simulation from the consoles and patching up explosion damage. The test seemed to work. A varient of the Kobyashi Maru. But being done with a real starship, it helped give the cadets a greater sense of what it's like out here. As the DarkFyre went to warp to it's next teaching location, Talaina was glad she wasn't assigned to the Academy full time. They had requested her presence for the first test, since it was based on what she had gone through. They had done a good job. A good job indeed.
    *******************************************

    A Romulan Strike Team, Missing Farmers and an ancient base on a Klingon Border world. But what connects them? Find out in my First Foundary mission: 'The Jeroan Farmer Escapade'
  • sirboulevardsirboulevard Member Posts: 716 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    Admiral Brendan T. Stevens
    Captain's Log, Stardate: 87114.15

    The U.S.S. Rhea has done well in the last few months. Being on the frontline against the Voth threat has been very hard on the crew and some shore leave is definitely needed. And fortunately, Starfleet agrees. Commander Miyazaki and I have made plans to revisit our families in Kyoto and the one month layover will give the Corps of Engineers time to refit the Rhea. She's an old ship, but I wouldn't fly anything else.

    In addition, Starfleet Academy contacted me as we passed through the Regulus Sector. Apparently they would like me to give a lecture on the Prime Directive to the student body. They feel someone who is dealing with grey moral grounds on a daily basis might be just the person to discuss this with our upcoming officers. Still, it has been nearly a year since I taught anything at the Academy. It's exciting to have the opportunity to come back and shape more young minds.

    --- STARDATE: 87121.86 ---
    --- EARTH DATE: FEBRUARY 14, 2410, 11:30 AM PST ---

    Admiral Stevens: Good morning class.

    Class: Good Morning!

    Stevens: Nice to see most of you made it on time today. I know its Valentine's Day and those of you with romantic partners want to cut class and spend it with them. Well, don't worry. I'm about to give you a speech that will put you right back into your student coma on the desk.

    Class: <Bemused Chuckles>

    Stevens: All right, I suppose Professor Mendez mentioned that I would be discussing practical application of the Prime Directive today. That's not quite right. Today we will be discussing ethics of the Prime Directive and the importance of knowing when to violate orders.

    A hand rose from the front row of the class: a young, 20 year old human woman, brown hair and green eyes with a look of skepticism on her face.

    Stevens: Yes, Cadet...?

    Cadet: Cadet Johannson, sir. Sir, the Prime Directive is Starfleet General Order Number One. Are you saying there are times we should violate it?

    Stevens: Cadet, the Prime Directive is a guideline, just like every other orders and regulations you will have to work within your career with Starfleet. We're not looking for yes men who follows all orders. We are looking for officers who are here to make well informed decisions. Cadet, do they still run the Huron Simulation?

    Johannson: Yes, sir.

    Stevens: And based on the color of your uniform I'm assuming you were either in Communications, Helm, Security or Command for that mission.

    Johannson: Command, sir.

    Stevens: And during that simulation, did you destroy the alien artifact as per Starfleet's orders?

    Johannson: No, sir.

    Stevens: And why not?

    Johannson: Because Starfleet's orders were to destroy an irreplaceable alien artifact. That would have been a loss of irreplaceable history of that race as well as a violation of Starfleet's mandate of research.

    Stevens: You still violated orders. By your own argument, you should have destroyed the artifact.

    Johannson: I... believed it was the right decision to make. The artifact was returned to its field and no harm befell the planet, preserving the planet down there and the artifact's historical value.

    Stevens: So you violated orders to uphold the spirit of the orders?
    Johannson: Yes sir.

    Stevens: So do you think that there would ever be a situation in which violating the Prime Directive might be the right decision?

    Johannson: I... I... I don't think so sir. Non-interference is a major part of Starfleet?s principles.

    Stevens: <Chuckles> Perhaps, but there are always better options. How many of you know of Admiral Archer's encounter with the Valakians during his command of the NX-01?

    The entire room raises its hands.

    Stevens: How many of you agree with Archer's decision?

    Roughly 90% of the hands in the room dropped.

    Stevens: Ah, now that's where this gets interesting. Under the letter of the law of the Prime Directive, Archer did the right thing, but most people find letting a race die to be uncouth. And yet he is not the only CO in Starfleet to make this order. So let?s go the other way now. A Captain with more PD violations on record than any other Captain. Anyone want to take a guess? Um... You there, Cadet...?

    Cadet: Cadet Matthews, sir. Are you speaking of Admiral Janeway?

    Stevens: Definitely not. The Admiral invokes the PD for breakfast. Anyone else? You, Cadet.

    Cadet: Cadet Stewart. Are you speaking of Captain Kirk?

    Stevens: Yes, I am. Very good, Cadet. Captain James T. Kirk. Probably the single most famous Starfleet Captain in history. Captain Kirk violated the Prime Directive 47 times in his career. In fact, one of them got him promoted to Admiral. Now you're wondering how someone could violate a directive that's said to have Captains take their own lives rather violate it become an Admiral for violating said directive. I will cite an incident that occurred during the third year of Kirk's first five year mission involving the people of the asteroid ship Yonada. Yonada was a ship on a collision course with a nearby inhabited world at an angle that likely would have killed the people of Yonada and decimated the planet they planned to land on.

    Commander Spock: "Sir, informing these people they are on a spaceship may violate the Prime Directive."

    Captain Kirk: "Perhaps. But anything has got to be better than the entire destruction of these people."

    Commander Spock: "Logical, Captain. Flawlessly Logical."

    How many of you know why Commander Spock sided with Captain Kirk?

    A cadet raises her hand.

    Stevens: Yes, Cadet?

    Cadet: Cadet T'leris, sir. Commander Spock agreed that their lives were worth saving over letting the PD lead to their deaths. But, sir. That's a risky option. Couldn't allowing them to live lead to-

    Stevens: Lead to them having a Hitler or a Khan Noonien Singh? I've heard that argument so many times, I've stop counting. Play the odds, Cadet. What is more likely, these people will create a Hitler or simply live out their lives in peace? Just because we don't know if we'll win the game doesn't mean we choose not to play it. The PD has been used too many times to justify the death of races. And the sad part is the law will back those COs up. It is just as likely you could allow a race to die that may one day join the Federation and revolutionize our theories on Warp Drive or medicine. The PD is never certain about the future of races, only that we need to be careful in how we deal with them. Cadet Matthews, I see your hand raised.

    Matthews: Sir, it sounds like you're completely opposed to the Prime Directive.

    Stevens: Far from it. The PD has its purpose. It's just overreached a lot of the time, like many laws and regulations. I can cite two instances from the Enterprise-D'?s journeys that were good uses of the PD. The first is their encounter with the Mintakans. Captain Picard did expose himself to prevent the creation of a religion worshipping him. That was based on a lie and frankly the incident has lead to constant review of Starfleet's use of Duckblinds on primitive worlds for study. The second incident was the Klingon Civil War. The Federation had no right to be involved in what was purely an internal matter of the Klingon Empire. However, we did stretch the PD and made sure the Romulans were not getting involved either. And that's just as important.

    At the end of the day the Prime Directive is there to prevent us from playing God or conquering civilizations. One of the threats you will face out there when you leave this academy is a race that does just that. And, no, I don?t mean the Klingons. But the part of the Prime Directive that is unwritten is that you must do what you feel is ethically right. The Directive is there to make you stop and think "Is this the right choice." Follow your morals and principles and you will find the correct answer. Starfleet needs flexible officers who will do the right thing, regardless of regulations. If you want to be purely held to the rules, I suggest you transfer to the legal division. Commander Timison could always use more Paralegals.

    Starfleet is not an easy career. You have to be use every bit of knowledge, ethics, morality and most importantly compassion to make good decisions. But you also cannot be soft when a threat comes along. Every choice you make will have consequences and it will be you not Starfleet Command who makes them. You will lose officers, you will lose friends, you may even lose your life. But as long as you do what you believe is right and in the best traditions of Starfleet, you will succeed. This the road less travelled and you will have the hardest choices of your life ahead. But, you wear that uniform and are beholden to the truth. And the truth is this: nothing is written in stone and nothing so sacra saint as to not be questioned.

    Stevens looked around at the young faces before him. Whereas before they had the look of promising officers who looked forward to their careers, many now had solemn faces of concern on.

    Stevens: Now don't give me those faces. Starfleet is an amazing career and nine times out of ten you won?t have to deal with an ethical dilemma like the ones we?re discussing today. You will have to face these choices at some point, but let me tell you: you always know what?s the right decision to make. I think I'm out of time today, class. Have a Happy Valentine's Day and hopefully I'll get to see you all soon. Class dismissed!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    TRIBBLE Hydra! Hail Janeway!
  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    Author's Note: This entry is a direct continuation of the plot begun in Part VIII of Echoes Upon Distant Shores

    The Opposites of Attraction

    2412.7.15, 1700 hours

    "Come in."

    Captain Ael t'Kazanak turned from the replicator as the doors to her readyroom hissed open to admit Ahd'r I'sH'd. Lowering herself into the chair behind her desk, Ael noted the scowl which turned the Pentaxian's handsome visage into a mask of rage.

    "Osol twist?" she enquired, raising the small plate.

    I'sH'd shook his head.

    Popping the sour confectionary in her mouth, Ael sighed.

    "What can you tell me? Did you find her?" she enquired.

    "Nothing," I'sH'd replied. "It's as if she vanished after her meeting. I conducted some interviews, and no one had seen anything unusual."

    Ael raised an eyebrow and her lips quirked.

    "'Interviews'," she repeated. "I think our people share a mutual understanding of that euphemism, surely someone knows something."

    "So one would think," I'sH'd replied. "I beat that boy Lucas within an inch of his life, but he maintained that the ambassador left the building unharmed. If he had been lying, I would have found out. If she was taken, no one saw anything."

    "Do you think-" Ael began, but I'sH'd cut her off, intuiting her concern.

    "It has happened before," he admitted "After what happened at the Khitomer conference, I can't believe Section 31 would try something like this again, but it's the only thing that makes sense. How do you suggest we proceed?"

    Ael picked up a PADD from her desk and waggled it.

    "Well, I've been invited to give a commencement speech for the Academy's graduating class," she said, before tossing the PADD back down. "Refusal is not an option."

    Seeing I'sH'd stiffen, Ael raised her hand.

    "Let me finish. You know that Siri and I have been friends since we were cadets, her disappearance disturbs me as much as it does you -- probably more so. So here's my proposal: I take a shuttle to Earth, and leave the Vanguard here to investigate her disappearance. I won't need to order Commander Mayer to assist you, he'll want to know what's happened to Siri as much as I do."

    "That would be acceptable," I'sH'd said. "Do you know what you will lecture the cadets on?"

    "Tolerance is always a good theme," Ael pondered. "At my commencement, Admiral Janeway delivered a speech on the morality and applications of the Prime Directive. I'm sure I'll think of something before I get to Earth."
    909d7cda93335d83bb43d3459b4dfcd5_zpsayiqcsfi.jpg
  • saihung423saihung423 Member Posts: 548 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    He sat off to the side of the podium, his Starfleet Uniform crisp and sharp. His handsome features made more distinguished just by wearing the honored uniform.

    As the introduction to his speech is finished up, Jim looks around at all of the young faces gathered for this Cadet Symposium. He wonders how different his life would be if he had paid more attention to the speaker when he was a cadet.

    To a round of thunderous applause, Kirk rises and stands before the podium, waving to a few familiar faces.

    "Cadets. Thank you for your honoring me. Today...I am here to speak to you about the dangers that you will face now that you have donned the...Starfleet uniform," Kirk intones.

    "I want to...share with you, my mistakes, the issues I faced as a new cadet. I am sure most of you will face the same issues at some point in your career."

    Kirk shuffles his papers, trying to gather his thoughts?and notices a beautiful Bajoran cadet as she stares at him at the podium.

    "When I was a cadet, we weren't taught anything about what the galaxy would offer us because we had no clue. It wasn't until I was informed that I had fathered children on 3 worlds that I couldn't pronounce that I realized I might be in big trouble."

    "You see, as a member of Starfleet, you will exude confidence and capability when you wear your uniform. Members of the opposite sex will LITERALLY throw themselves into your embrace."

    "But you are young, you have your whole lives ahead of you. Don't make yourself the subject of news stories and scandals by not controlling your urges. There are many species, including human, who would share a night with you in hopes of claiming a part of your Fleet earnings to make their lives easier."

    "People will come out of the ship's hull to make "offers of a lifetime", "galactic opportunities" that won't miss. But all they want is a piece of your present and future successes."

    "When you leave this symposium today, I want you to have a clear idea of the perils and pitfalls that face you. I want you to remember who helped you to get where you are today and to remember to lean on them for support and advice. None of us got to this point alone, we all owe someone else in part for our success."

    "My Ship's Doctor, Leonard McCoy, sat me down the day he diagnosed me with a venereal disease I had acquired from a so called pleasure planet, and he told me how my behavior was being imitated by younger officers and recruits. That I was a role model for not only civilians and other species, but for our own members of Starfleet."

    "That solar day, I went through my crew's pay chits to find that over a dozen cadets on my ship had children on planets we visited. They were paying to support children that they would likely never see again. Their own lives, like my own, had become more difficult due to my indescretions."

    "I implore you, be responsible, be safe. And don?t do like I have and scatter children all over the galaxy. If anyone has any questions or would like to discuss this symposium, please feel free to see me in my Academy Suite and bring some Saurian Brandy."
  • ironphoenix113ironphoenix113 Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    Bryan sat down in his quarters on the Athena as the ship slid smoothly into orbit of Earth. He had been called back to Starfleet Academy to give a lecture to the most recent class of graduates. Shaking his head slightly, he sat down in his chair as he began to compose his thoughts.

    What should I even talk about? he thought to himself.

    He looked down at the blank console in front of him and pondered for a few minutes, thinking back to what many of the cadets in his graduating class were thinking. It was then that he realized what he needed to tell them. Something he wished he had learned in the academy.
    *******

    Bryan walked to the center of the stage in the auditorium, and stood there for a moment looking around at the cadets, who were still chatting amongst themselves. Eventually, once all of the talking died down, Admiral Valot finally spoke up.

    "Well, I've seen worse, but not by much," The Admiral said into the microphone, eliciting a chuckle here and there from the eager young recruits.

    "At any rate, I've been asked to deliver a lecture to you all, and I've chosen to talk to you about trust. Now, to begin with, when you're assigned to a ship, as an office, of any rank, can you tell me who it is you should trust?"

    A few hands raised. Bryan motioned to a young Andorian woman to stand. "You there, what's your name?"

    "Cadet Nylsha Ivori, sir." She replied.

    "And whom, Cadet Ivori, should you trust?"

    "Those below me in rank to do their duty and those above me to not be careless with the lives of myself and the crew I serve with."

    "Is there any point where your trust should stop?"

    That gave the Cadet pause. She sat there for a moment, thinking. Finally, she spoke up, saying, "No sir, we should trust all of our superiors and subordinates."

    "Incorrect," Bryan replied simply.

    That got a lot of cadets murmuring.

    "Who here thinks they know how far your trust should extend," he asked.

    No hands raised.

    "Your trust should go no further than the airlock of your ship. The captain is the highest authority that you can put your trust in. You should not trust your flag officers, at least not as easily as you might trust in crewman you serve with. It is your captain's job to get you home safely, not the flag officers. This is not to say that the rest of the Starfleet Admiralty are not excellent officers. They are. It's just difficult trust them the know what's best for you and the ship you serve on. That is why the captain is the highest authority you should trust. The crew of the Athena trusts me completely, and I trust them. They trust me because I see them on a daily basis. The Athena is as much my home as it is theirs. But nobody else in my fleet should trust me. Why? I rarely see them beyond when we are involved in a fleet action. Even then, I don't know each of the officers personally. The Captains, yes. But the rest? I am simply unable to remember who each and every one of them is. Regardless of that, I have to trust them to do their jobs. But they shouldn't trust me because I can't know them as people. It is impossible for me to learn of their strengths and weaknesses."

    "It's your Captain's job to trust me," Bryan continued. "They are the ones that I communicate with on a regular basis. The Captian is who I communicate the orders to. The Captain is the one who tells me if his or her crew can or cannot get the job done. That is why you should trust your Captain over anyone else. They tell me what you and your ship can and cannot do. If any of you become Captains, your burden of trust becomes much more difficult, as you must trust, not only your crew to do their jobs, but you must also trust the Admirals to know when they are pushing your crew beyond their limits. We, the Admirals have to trust you all, but you cannot trust us, simply because we don't know you. That is not to say that we cannot earn your trust. It should not, however, be easy. Trust is, in summary, a one way street. No matter what, we have to trust those below our rank to do their duty. You must trust your Captain know what is best for you and the rest of your crew. Captains need to trust the Admirals to know what is right and wrong and they must trust their crew to preform at their absolute best. Any questions?"

    No one raised their hands. Many of them now had somber looks on their faces, and a few were visibly shaken by what he had said.

    "With all of that said, I want to wish you all good luck in your Starfleet careers. I know that I can trust you all to do your duties, and to do them admirably. You all are going to be a part of one of the greatest orginizations ever created, and I know for a fact that you all will exceed the expectations given too you. Good luck in your journeys, and remeber: you all are the heroes now. Thank you."

    With that, Bryan stepped away from the podium, and left the stage, smiling a little as he heard the applause fade away behind him. They were going to be very good officers.
    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
  • allen1973allen1973 Member Posts: 22 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    She came in, she was dressed in her brown, tan and white robes. One of the foremost scientists of Vulcan, now a pagan priestess of a very high order, I had invited her for chess. My futility was known to her, I could not imagine any other way to create a device in which to allow for her visit. I knew she would stay for at least a few if not several moons. She would of course realize that I was interested in children and family.
    I was researching the latest scientific data while my proposal to Starfleet was being examined. I had already been informed that my proposal had been sent to Earth for further scrutiny. The bottom line was that neither my wife nor I wanted to spend any more time teaching at the Vulcan Science Academy. I was willing to entertain teaching at Starfleet Academy on Earth while my transfer orders were being considered. I also had requested command befitting my rank. I had passed the 'post-graduate' Vulcan Science Academy tests, some of them they had said. The directors were not certain that any further testing would prove to be relevant to my credentials, is what had been said.
    "Don't worry about your proposal results, that can just mean anything, they could have been rude due to your prowess, or likely enough, there would be no logical point in further embellishing your pride or ego." My wife had said."?Ta'an, really, I myself am stuck between a multi-faceted multi-cultural paganism and a reactionary scientific community, what should I do? Well, I want to stay with you and find out my solution, I want your company, I want to examine your meta-data."
    "How alarming," I conceded. This comment was indicative of my arousal at her finalization. I was transfixed upon how much further than a simple game of chess that this event had become and I no longer had intellectual appetite, as I had discovered, my other yearnings. Perusing meta-data is what we pretended to do at the Starfleet Academy on Earth for many reasons, the humans however would generally conclude that only one outcome could be possible, who were we to disagree? It however was a childless marriage, and our Starfleet careers were largely responsible for our frustration. At times we were assigned to the same ship, on two occasions. As joyous as those instances were, they were odious reflections of a stagnant Starfleet career, each occasion in fact in which I needed to once again return to the examination of meta-data, rote officer tasks and training notwithstanding.
    "For someone who hated gaining rank in the fleet, you did well, and always satisfied me when you were aboard and not on some damn fool mission." She smiled sweetly at this. I had a cold meal being stored.
    "Permission to board granted lieutenant-commander?" I wasn't exactly saluting.
    . . .
    After reminiscing on quaint colloquialisms that we remembered from our time with humans, I reheated my soup, and then went back to a relaxed position. Although I liked her cooking better, there wasn't anything wrong with my technique, if anything I was methodical. There was further reflection however.
    The meta-physical and spiritual often exchange in moments of passion and love. Love for Vulcans is a difficult and complicated ritual. We found that the humans had liberated us somewhat, we embellished and relished this, yet with such profound understanding came responsibility. Her fundamental understanding of complex spiritual and metaphysical concepts, and my own had been impacted greatly by our free expression of love. She had decided that the best thing to do would be to become something akin to a Terran druid, except the Vulcan variety, which was literally a priestess. This had interfered with her Starfleet career. For a time she had been assigned to DS9 and was promoted to on-planet duties on Bajor. Her spiritual link was appreciated by Bajorans and Starfleet members alike. All could find comfort on her variations of comparative theology. For some reason it seemed remarkably humanizing.
    Even Klingons would rather at times pray at a Vulcan pagan alter than a Bajoran one. Tal'aan even helped the staff of a prominent Klingon Captain, a 'Mong-Dech,' in officiating a prayer sight on Bajor for Klingons. Captain Mong-Dech had cited that although he did not mind praying with other species, it is a very personal experience for Klingons, and frankly he was not a member of the monotheism in the Empire. Tal'aan had taken initiative and even went to lengths to find orange, green and red candles for the Captain to light. She even went so far as to find a brimstone pyre and a sage variety that smelled like a war or an enormous festival frankly, and this comforted Mong-Dech greatly. He himself funded the Klingon pagan worship site on Bajor. Tal?aan, a handful of Klingons, and her Bajoran counterparts worked together to create a structure that could honor the old gods. Amusingly enough when Vulcans mistook it for their Vulcan site, Mong-Dech, who was present during its coronation, found Vulcan candles and incense and created a unique section for guests in an impromptu manner, knowing both the names of Vulcan and Klingon gods he guided the Vulcan to the proper representation, and then had Tal'aan address them to the location of the Vulcan pagan place. Other than complete her command training, she also was commended for diplomacy, as Mong-Dech had, on the Klingon pagan site?s coronation, had introduced her to Galron, and his wife, who were speech-less at the selflessness on the behalf of the Federation and Bajorans.
    Galron's wife had commented on the authenticity, as it was a very accurate megalith, and Galron himself had said that Mong-Dech had spoken highly of her, and to his comfort amongst the brimstone pyres and smell of vanquish-he had to say he even felt nostalgia! This was an unfounded compliment, and Mong-Dech and his wife began the busy task of pouring ever one in attendance bloodwine. This was some time after the war with the Dominion, and publicly it was known that Galron had no wish to revisit this place. He was proven wrong, and his speech reflected well on everyone involved in the project. Mong-Dech had later suggested to Tal'aan that certain combat trophies from the Dominion conflict could be used to embellish the Klingon god of war?s structural depiction. Galron had then noted that it was in the old style, ancient, no modern embellishments, the sculptural representations barely looked Klingon! Of course his wife had studied ancient formations and was quick to note on the accuracy to that point also. Galron and Mong-Dech had their metallurgical fragments and electronic fragments beamed down to the megalith, and they were placed as honor trophies indicating the struggles that had been had in that vicinity of space. Galron and his wife as well as Tal'ann had complimented Mong-Dech on his creativity.
    I recalled arriving late to the event, having to accomplish duty transfer protocols in another location nearby in the Bajoran capital. We were to serve on DS9 together, and it was our second time working together in the fleet. The Klingons were handsome, drunk and extremely grateful to be acknowledged and honored for their troubles. Martok had arrived early and had left early also, he was due to patrol, and said nothing further. Galron had acknowledged that unfortunately the honor of protecting the planet remained in the general's hands as long as the chancellor was deemed to visit. Surprisingly Martok had worked something out with his command structure and arrived later than I. He was the first Klingon to stare at me and then suddenly give me a large hug. He had appeared out of nowhere to do so. He then slapped my shoulder, almost knocking me down while exclaiming, "Qapla!" I had been introduced to everyone other than he, and it seemed this sudden outburst had divided my wife's attention somehow. The general made grandiose, and general statements about the relevance of the megalith, I didn't find it too hard to follow, and it seemed to make sense. Galron, on the other hand squinted as if he need eyeglasses to hear better, I thought immediately not to mention. Remembering so much amused Tal'aan and I finished my soup in light of her brevity.
    "You don't remember, I said, 'How did you know this is my husband,' and he laughed the way old men sometimes do when it isn't worth the explanation." I conceded to the accuracy of her account. I remember having pointed out to him Galron and Mong-Dech's contributions to the war god alter. Galron had crossed his arms and Mong-Dech was surprised that Galron would so rudely challenge the general in such a display of expectancy.
    Mong-Dech had mentioned, "Did you save those spent energy-coil conductors?" Galron had indeed had, and every public place aboard his ship had one on display with a plaque and specific dates and other relevant historic information. The conflict with the Dominion had worn out the Klingon fleet extensively.
    "I have three of such in my special on-board quarters, and another three in my captain's office, also aboard, I will have four beamed directly here, and have plagues manufactured for all of the relics!" I recalled that the General would not be outdone, and I had complimented him, on his addition to the megalith, insisting on shaking his hand, with both of my own. He was genuinely pleased with himself from that point onward and the Klingons carried the evening to a renewed measure of amicability.
    "The Klingons are always interesting, especially when they aren't completely terrifying, the humans however are more fascinating in that they are continuously profoundly weird." This won me a chorus of Tal'aan's laughter.
    "We had spent time with Captain Mong-Dech comparing his eccentricities to that of normative human behavior." She had added.
    "Galron had said that he was even weird by human standards, and that had been embarrassing to him-until he realized that it was apparently true." I added.
    "'Truth is stranger than fiction,' his wife liked that comment." Tal'ann embellished.
    "I think Galron was drunk. He said that humans had to act out because they were so plain otherwise, at least in appearance. Although it is true, compared to Bejorans and Vulcans," I mused.
    "Indeed. They must make up for it by being so inventive."

    We had for a time been aboard a ship, the Incessant. We were to make the DS9 and Bajoran Fleet members and civilians comfortable, and find ways to make them able to adapt to the incoming deluge of Gamma Quadrant refugees. We had finished very far ahead of schedule, mostly due to Tal'aan's guidance with networking. With Klingons, when one project is done, another begins. The Empire, like Starfleet, wanted to have stations on DS9 as well as Bajor, so the Megalith was a beginning of diplomacy for them. The Bajoran had to be constantly cajoled and prodded by Tal'aan and myself, they saw the Klingons as invaders like the Cardasians. We repeatedly assured them of Klingon philosophy, the enemy of my enemy, is my friend! And the like, the General, the Captain, even the Chancellor, had repeatedly confirmed this at the coronation. I'm afraid the Bajoran Ambassador was a little too retroactive, however everything would work out for the best. Bajorans don't like having to concede out of their comfort zones, they would prefer neutrality in all things, this is not at all possible in stellar politics.
    The consequence of these Klingon posts would ultimately be that a join Fleet / Empirical task force would be needed to build a Gamma colony and transfer place, in order to make them feel at home, and to help expedite them to the Alpha Quadrant. As it turned out however, they were generally highly adaptive and many only needed minor transference. This did not reflect poorly on the Gamma colony on Bajor however, it never filled to capacity-in such a regard that a secondary colony was ever built. Regular traffic through the wormhole, now guarded by Klingons and Starfleet alike continued.
    Working with the Starfleet embassy wasn't my primary concern, and Talaan's neither. We were working on adapting technological knowledge from all primary sources. Galron and the Klingons had promised some leeway, and we sent an official inquisition form to his office. We were quite surprised by his reply. He gave us all data on almost everything Klingon up until the second decade of the 23rd century. This was extremely much more than we had bargained for. The Klingons were obviously secure in their information network. Comparative technological improvements from Gamma quadrant sources however, were very hard to come by, this was a much slower process. We interviewed every Gamma quadrant scientist and engineer that came through the worm hole. When aboard the Incessant we toured secured areas of the Gamma Quadrant, mostly trade networks, and continued our research. Trade and diplomacy had made this possible, yet there were constant tensions with the Dominion. The Incessant, was primarily a military vessel, it was a large D class vessel, Daedalus designation. My wife and I had the luxury of maintaining the areas of science aboard ship that crossed over into foreign engineering. It's called developmental and/or proto-sociological mechanics. We wanted to find rational conclusions to the study in order to be able to tie more leads into the comprehension of Borg technology. Teams of scientists and engineers from all over the Federation were pouring over the Klingon data that we had managed to secure. The thinking is that universal understanding of the general polemics of engineering should help us to logically rationalize the Borg technological construct. Klingons and Fleet vessels would often negotiate the Gamma quadrant together. Safety in numbers, security in the diversity of discovery, this is what Martok had told Galron at the Klingon megalith, their gateway to Sto'Vo'Kor. Mong-Dech had described a correlation between the wormhole as a star-gate and the qa'lojmIt on Bajor, and had further predicted a great understanding between the two factions that would lead us into victory against the enslavement of the Borg. I stupidly chose to question his experience against slavery. I was instructed by both the Chancellor and the General that this Klingon Captain was pro-equality, and pro-civil labor union, and had before joining with the KDF as a commander, completed major grassroots community civic efforts that helped to maintain and stabilize the sanctity of the urban on Qo'Nos. I merely at the time imagined that I could research these facts, as I knew not of such records. This was good enough for the Klingons to dismiss what might have been mistaken as an insult, my own admittance of ignorance to the matter. That conversation ended on a positive note as my wife and I, and the Mong-Dech couple discussed comparative systemic civics in our respected fields. The other Klingons listened intently with Martok and Galron occasionally nodding towards one another. Towards the end of this discussion Mong-Dech explained that there is no shame or dishonor in discovering comparative civics. All could readily agree. My wife and I lamented time apart and the frustrations of continuing research, which was greeted with a general sense of sympathy from the Klingons. The Mong-Dech couple had similar difficulties, however civil engineering had to him been replaced by command some decades prior in his career, and he found it difficult to reinvent or restage further development at times on older projects that would require review, yet he did, and also would follow up research on such projects with continuous new proposals for civic renewal. Martok and his wife had no such previous experience of civics before his glory had been achieved as a Captain, he would build something near the House of his family for the benefit of the community, a library, a replication station, a new aqueduct, things that were needed that only successful generals before him had implemented. Galron was very quick to point out that many Captains followed this example thereafter, and that it quickly became a noteworthy chapter in the legacy of K'mpec. The Klingons could smile at this and Mong-Dech recited memories of such examples that lead to his volunteer efforts as early as before he had even joined with Klingon Academy. I found that such fascination conversation had given me time to appreciate bloodwine. This fact was met with grins of satisfaction by the Klingons. My wife did not hate the wine.
    "This is still something I will not drink away from diplomacy." Tal'aan added.
    "Last month the lecture I gave in San Francisco was much more formal of course, however I did mention that you will not otherwise drink bloodwine." I waited for it, humans would savor the pause in the moment, expecting an outrageous response-I savored the comfort of being with someone I consider to be a crucial part of my existence.
    "Well I was on my last pilgrimage with a mixed group of Romulans and Vulcans, there was nothing I could do." Ouch, the telling pained us both.
    "I did note that your faith largely puts diplomacy in a position of primacy to most other regards." She smiled. I was 'off the hook.'
    "Captain B'Elanna told me as much, she is still doing xeno-cultural diplomacy as a neutral third party advisor for the Marquee. She wants my students to teach on Bajor for the betterment of all species involved in theology there. Starfleet was against it until B'Elanna expressed interest."
    "She interrupted my lecture twice to give current updates actually. She is still a Federation Captain, and a Klingon Captain, so she kind of has respect everywhere at once, in most to all quadrants also." It is considered dry humor to humans, although it is when I am performing comedy at my best, I decided to remind Tal'aan that I was only Vulcan after all.
    "Yes she does." She replied with some wit to her tone.
    "I didn't know, and in fact was rather shocked when a half-Klingon / Human academy student asked me what I thought of the fact that Klingons used the megalith on Bajor as a mecca for pilgrimage, as well as a tourist attraction for off duty officers. I hadn't known it had grown to such use, I merely replied that I would be interested in a more detailed report on those circumstances and that naturally that cross cultural miscegenation was indeed the purpose of its existence. Although before approving my lecture outline Belanna had informed me that Klingon Captains had begun to visit the megalith regularly."
    "I was unaware that it had gotten to be such a center for heroic acknowledgement, warriors face the reliquary there in hopes to someday add their own to their god of war. The Romulans seemed to have heard some of it, I thought perhaps it was their close proximity to Khittomer and normative Klingon trading routes."
    "Perhaps polytheism will make peace in the local stellar neighborhood."
    "Perhaps." Tal'ann had noted.
    "A cadet also had an engineering question regarding Borg data compilation, and I was forced to concede that 'only standard research practices' would be necessary to make the appropriate analysis's necessary to examine new technologies to such a degree. I wish one of the Klingons were there from the megalith coronation actually. I told B'Elanna so much and she said, "I swear I won't be so staunch." Her explanation was that unfortunately due to the covert nature of such analysis trans-mechanical currency was the best hope for a design philosophy miscegenation that was universal enough to begin to understand Borg comparative structuring. I liked her answer better."
    "Again, I concede to her wisdom on such matters."
    "The cadet looked somewhat frustrated by her response, it sounded better, however it was not much different in all actuality."
    "I hate to think of the tribunals that we suffered in Academy, but I do remember the Redwood trees." She had a certain look in her eyes as she finished her plomeek.
    "I remember surfing and camping with you. I will never ever in my life forget the times we had on that planet. Honestly B'Elanna had asked what was my best memory from our Academy years, in front of all of the cadets so even the officers sitting in could hear in the side front and top rows."
    "So you told them that. What did she say?"
    "Well my husband was in a penal colony after I was in Academy, so I transferred to become a marquee hoping that I could save him, although in all honesty we had not really met."
    "I then asked, 'It is difficult to save the mating bonds of an interdisciplinary couple, is it not Captain?' She of course just smiled and said, 'We at least know how to make it work do we not?' At least we do I replied, hoping that some idiot officer was in attendance that could understand how frustrating it was to have two masters as we do."
    "No she told me of this actually, and there was a Captain Paris, her husband was there, B'Elanna told me they were accommodating to your blight of my absence. Well, they cannot get assigned to the same ship because no Admiral wants both a former Marquee member and an anarchist / cavalier pilot hooligan to lead them against foes and keep diplomacy in the Delta quadrant, although they still are occasionally assigned to help Admiral Janeway, which is no small favor to them."
    "It was all I could do to ask them to give the Admiral my regards, I felt defiant in their confidence and all of the damn bureaucracy that keeps us apart at times. Cadet members in trans-xeno relationships had many questions, 'Is your wife going to become the new Ambassador to DS9?' 'Will you return to New Vulcan should you develop progeny?' The most unique question was, 'Will deborgified people find the unborgified attractive, and if so will the opposite be true?
    "That had to have been an above board hit with the Captains." Commented Tal'aan.
    "It was, but following the path of our personal development as a couple in Starfleet the questions were then from the Captains themselves to steer us back to my lecture, because I was more than happy to accommodate the cadets inquiries, and eventually did. 'Is Ambassador Tal'aan more attracted to Romulans or Klingons,' is what B'Elanna had asked." This comment received a chorus of laughter from Tal'aan.
    "No more than I am was my answer." She kept laughing of course. "Indeed the Cadets found it amusing also. Lots of genuine smiles there, it was nice to be surrounded by so many interesting people, and I naturally said so also. Paris, his question was different, serious. "If you are on a ship and making formal technical corrections in compliance to the Federations New Borg Initiative Protocol Standardizations and you come across a higher ranked officer, such as myself, who is either too inquisitive or who is adamantly opposed to your work, what do you do?"
    "I have met them both personally, that is just like Paris to give credence to the highest formation of consternation." Tal'aan said.
    "I admited that I have had to relieve a Lieutenant-Commander, and on another occasion a Lieutenant for similar reasons, which I couldn't specify. In these cases there is usually a team of engineers there to assist, so they would be learning something new, Captains are free to watch as often as they like, as long as they aren't in the way. Usually an engineering chief accommodates these procedures. They cannot actually know exactly what I'm doing or how, they can see what they can for themselves, they might not know all of the specifics, such as the physical properties of specific formations of augmentation, or in some cases how circuitry is being re-routed. There are insignias in place so if certain areas that I had been working on should for some reason come in to scrutiny, at the least engineers can determine easily enough that whatever the work was that was done was my doing. At the worst there are standardized A.I. holograms that instruct engineers what to do should these insignias not be properly recognized. 'Its' okay if you don't get it, Scotty will help you, although he will likely drink your scotch and whiskey also.' No cadet could give an answer like this to a Captain however. Paris looked me dead in the eye, and addressed the crowd."
    "That's right, that might be exactly who, and don't sweat that, by the time you are a lieutenant you'll be correcting the A.I. because you'll know that much more about it by that time."
    "Actually that's likely correct, remember to depict exactly what transpires should the A.I. direct your technical applications in the future into your own personal logs and situation reports to your commanding officers." I was actually kind of impressed with how Paris didn't undermine the relevance of my duties, and I related as much to Tal'aan, as I had previously done with both Captains in question.
  • superhombre777superhombre777 Member Posts: 147 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    Starfleet Academy, Earth

    Professor ch'Raul arrived fifteen minutes early and took a seat in the last row of the room. He assumed that none of his students had taken the time to read his biography, so they were not likely to recognize him. People watching never ceased to be entertaining.

    He stood up on the hour and walked to the front of the mostly full room. "To those of you in the room, good afternoon and thank you for joining me. I wasn't planning on being here in person for any of the lectures, which is probably why several of you signed up for a virtual course. But since I am here, I thought it would be good to meet some of you and share our first session together.

    "This course is 4CR9755, Counseling and Command Interactions. Most of you are either pursuing a career in social services or continuing your education while you serve. My aim is to make this course as practical as possible.

    "My name is ch'Raul, and I am the senior counselor and second officer of the Executor. I was recently promoted to the rank of captain, so I am trying very hard to drop my second officer position before everyone gets confused. Most of your professors have probably advocated a strict separation between the counselor and the command crew. That's why the higher-ups created this class! But after decades of service, I will not advocate any rigid rules. The universe is a hard place, and it's our job to keep our crews as mentally stable as possible. And happy if we can. Rules may or may not help.

    "I'd like to use this first session to talk about an enlightening experience I had while working as a junior counselor aboard the Sierra Leone. Some of you were crawling around on all fours - or sixes in your case, cadet - when this happened.

    "We were scheduled to pick up a diplomat and his family from Bh'renz'ev. Their system is near the Federation/Tzenkethi border. Our admiralty decided that one way to woo them into joining the Federation was to have their diplomats live among us for three to six standard months. It sounds like a great cultural exchange, right? This is what the Federation exists for - peaceful harmony with its members and neighbors.

    "I was young and full of energy, so I read every description of Bh'renz'evian culture that I could find. There wasn't much, but one thing stood out - a lieutenant from the Omaha was reprimanded for distributing a memo discussing life expectancy based on records he gathered ?without explicit permission.' I say explicit permission because he used data that was publicly available on Bh'renz'ev.

    "Something didn't seem right. I contacted a former classmate who was stationed at Memory Alpha and asked him to find that memo for me.

    "I happened to be dating the chief medical officer at the time. One of my bondmates died the previous year. I was pretty shook up by th'Laal's death and honestly didn't give a damn whether or not my two other bondmates cared about me hooking up with a beautiful human woman.

    "Anyway, I asked Leanna if she would run passive scans on the Bh'renz'evian family during their stay. She objected with privacy concerns. We fought about it for about a week, but eventually she saw my reasoning and agreed to perform active scans when they arrived. She sold it to Captain Orosco as a test to make sure that they weren't allergic to any of our foods.

    "The Bh'renz'evian family came aboard, got settled, and faded into the background. A few of the officers shared meals with them, but for the most part they sequestered themselves. I didn't think too much about it until the daughter died unexpectedly.

    "This was just before sentient artificial intelligences became commonly used for ship computers. Chief engineer Strohwig was paranoid about cloaked Romulans abducting her in her sleep, so she programmed an amazingly annoying alert that broadcast ship-wide when there was an unexpected change in the ship's crew. Unfortunately the Romulans never came for her. But, the alarm went off at an unreasonable hour in the middle of the night, and everyone knew that something had happened.

    "I was blissfully asleep in the chief medical officer's bed that night. She hurried to the diplomat's quarters and was shocked to see who had died. The next morning I told her about the memo that my friend at Memory Alpha had uncovered.

    "The buried memo reported that young girls around 12 standard years of age died more frequently than statistics would predict. The average lifespan was 50 standard years, so an above average number of deaths at 12 is unusual. The girl that died on board the Sierra Leone was 11 standard years old.

    "All the pieces fell into place in my head. Young girls dying but not boys? They must be failing some rite of passage. Bh'renz'evians must be cold, heartless creatures.

    I literally ran onto the bridge and told Captain Orosco what I suspected: murder. He ordered me to calm down and put my observations in writing. I told him that he didn't understand the gravity of the situation: the Federation was playing nice with a species that murders young girls. It didn't matter if that reason was intelligence, height, breast size, or something else. Murder is murder and universally despicable.

    "Let's just say that the argument got heated. I was eventually relieved of duty. Then I was ordered to report to the brig. Two security guards came to get me. They realized something odd was going on and didn't drag me out of the room. I continued to argue with Captain Orosco. He said something I will never forget: "You have thrown your career away based on a speculation that you can't prove." I responded with a few choice words. Then he pushed me towards the door. That's when I punched him in the face.

    "I spent a few days in the brig and had some pleasant conversations with a JAG lawyer. In the end, my speculation was correct. The medical scans proved that the girl was in perfect health. She died in a ritual that any reasonable person would detest.

    "A few years later I learned that Starfleet was interested in setting up a clandestine spy post on the Bh'renz'evian homeworld. The plan was for them to reject the Federation's offer and then secretly align with us against the Tzenkethi. We would have turned a blind eye to the slaughter of little girls. Doesn't that make you sick?

    "There are a lot of lessons that could be extrapolated from this: don't trust the admiralty. Expect the unexpected. Keep your head and don't punch your commanding officer in the face. But what I want to emphasize is this: trust your instincts and your training. Counselors live on starships and starbases for a reason. We have perspectives that most officers miss. Do your best and go to bed each night with a clean conscience."

    He paused and scanned the room. Species express feelings in different ways, but it was clear that most of the audience had the same reaction: shock. ch'Raul smiled and made eye contact with a cadet in the second row.

    "Do you have any thoughts or questions, cadet?"

    The human sat up straighter but wouldn't make eye contact again. "You got lucky, sir. Most people who act like that probably end up in New Zealand."

    "What do you mean by 'act like that?' And look at me when we are speaking. If you can't sustain eye contact, how will your patients take you seriously?"

    The cadet stood and made eye contact as directed. "You were impulsive and rushed to judgment. You forced your interpretation onto others and happened to be correct." He paused for a moment. "No offense meant, professor."

    "No offense taken," ch'Raul replied. "I was quick to judge, and that is a good point. I was young and hadn't learned how to be tactful.

    "But when you address a topic, don't use vague phrases to try and soften your words. I'd rather hear you say 'you were an impulsive fool' than something meaningless like 'acting like that could put you in prison.' No one is ever helped by euphemisms."

    ch'Raul continued the conversation for the duration of the session. Afterwards seven of his students accompanied him to a nearby coffee shop, where they talked for two more hours.
    ---

    ch'Raul walked to a familiar destination after saying goodbye to his students. Some of them might turn out well after all, he thought. A few of them will also have their names recorded where I am going.

    Most of the tourists flocked to the popular memorials - Archer, Kirk, Janeway, and others. Not many entered the single-story building that he did. ch'Raul used a secondary stairwell to descend six levels. Then he took the second left and the first right before reaching his destination.

    The underground memorials were holographic but arranged like a fully physical display. Each floor was dedicated to a specific time frame, and private rooms featured prominent events during those years. This room covered the year 2384. After a moment of searching, an image of the Sierra Leone appeared.

    Of all the lovers he had lost, Leanna Adelard's death was the hardest to come to terms with. She died three months after he transferred from the Sierra Leone. They were both in that awkward phase where they knew that duty kept them from having a relationship, but their passion remained. That lack of closure plagued him to no end, but it never stopped him from coming here every time he was on Earth.

    He displayed her photo, closed the door, and wept on the bench.
  • cptgold172cptgold172 Member Posts: 11 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    Captain's Log star date 91628.19

    After a long deployment in the "Sphere" I've been called back to Earth too give a group of cadets a lecture. But what should it be on? The last time I was at the Academy was about 25 years ago, that was too long. The U.S.S. Endeavor has been assigned to the "sphere" for 2 years now. The only person whom I graduated from the Academy with, was my First Officer. She has been with me ever since we left the Academy. Now about that lecture, I still don't have a topic yet. I believe there is enough time before we reach Earth to come up with a topic. "Computer end log."

    I enter the bridge and look around to check on my officers.

    "Helm what's our ETA to Earth?". "ETA two hours sir" said Lieutenant Miranda. Hmmph two hours isn't enough. I sat down in my chair with Commander Flores next to me giving me a concerned look. "Is there a problem Admiral?" Said Flores. "Well I have too give a speech to the class of 2430, and I have know idea what to talk about."

    "Well we did encounter many things in the Dyson Sphere that you could discuss." Said the Commander, still giving me a concerned look. "Helm slow us to warp 3" "Aye sir slowing to warp 3." Said the Lieutenant. "Why did you do that?" I asked . "I'm giving you more time because I know it will take you a while." Flores sat down in her chair and crossed her legs. "Tell me this Commander, why do you have such a concerned look?" I asked. "Well I've been thinking about the times we were at the Academy, and even when I first met you." Flores said.

    While Elisa was talking about our days at the academy I started having flashbacks of our mission in the Dyson Sphere. It first started with the Voth Fleet we encountered after taking control of the sphere. We had it in our grasp but that only lasted for a month. So many ships were lost during that battle..."Admiral are you alright?" The entire bridge was looking at me as if I have woken from a long sleep. "You fell asleep for a good amount sir" said Doctor Kall.

    I sat up and the Doc started heading back too her post. "Helm what's the ETA to Earth?". "We are just about to drop out of warp sir." "Dammit, I guess I'll have to make it up as I go." I said to my self.

    The Endeavor drops out of warp and makes a smooth turn into Earth's orbit. "Flores, would you mind accompanying me?" She did a slight nod and we got up and moved towards the turbo lift. "I want to see my Senior Officers at the 647th Club tonight at 1800. I'll buy the first round." I said looking around the bridge. I decided that my lecture would be on words of encouragement.

    As we enter the shuttle, Lieutenant Commander Renuzia wishes me good luck. "Elisa I think it's your turn to fly." I said with a smile. The shuttle lifts off and drops into the Earth's atmosphere. Thirty minutes later the shuttle lands at the Academy. I head forwards the Academy's stage preparing my self for the lecture. Before I enter the stage Elisa gives me a kiss on the cheek. "Well that was unexpected." I said. She peeks out to see how many cadets there are. "You've got quite a crowd. I say about 100 cadets and even Fleet Admiral Picard is here." I give her one last look as I enter the stage. Fleet Admiral Picard tells the cadets to quiet down. As the room became silent I began my speech. "Good Evening class of 2430. I am Rear Admiral Leroy Archer, Captain of the star ship Endeavor." "I've been called upon my superiors to give you a lecture." Some of the cadets looked excited to hear that. "I know graduation is in two days, and I came here to give you some words of encouragement."

    "You may all know that my Great Grandfather Johnathan Archer was in command of the NX-01 Enterprise." "How many of you know the voyages of the Endeavor?"
    About a third of the class raised their hands, a group of Romulans looked surprised."Hmm looks like most of you know. Did any of you hear about the incident at the Dyson Sphere?" No one raised their hands this time. "Well I can't tell you that because it's classified." There were sounds of disappointment through out the room. I heard a sigh come from Admiral Picard.

    "Anyways back to the subject. You all know why you joined Starfleet. You joined because you want to help defend the Federation. I had no choice but to join after I lost my family to the Borg. Some of you may have joined so you can explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and new civilizations. You want to explore places where no species has gone before. If someone offered you that chance I'd take it. We are all explorers seeking new things. Think about the humans in the 21st century, living on a single planet. Imagine what the chaos must've been. Many looked up to the stars and wondered "are we alone?". And here we are, in the 24th century with advanced technology."

    "I'm sure many of you are proud of the career you've chosen. I know I am. It is your duty to wear that uniform...it doesn't matter if your Engineer or Tactical. All that matters is you wear that uniform to show others that YOU are a Star Fleet Officer. So you will wear the uniform to show the true meaning of your self. I think it's time to begin a new chapter in life. It can be anything you want it to be." I look over to see tears of joy coming out of Elisa's eyes. "Cadets, I want you to start that new chapter right now, in this room. I hope I'll see you on the field or even on the Endeavor her self. Enjoy the rest of your evening and also if you want to start talking about ship assignments, meet me and my senior officers at the 647th Club at 1800 hours. Cadets, it's been an honor to speak with you all. See you star side."

    As I exit the stage, the room fills with clapping and cheering. Admiral Picard has a grin on his face for once. "Well Leroy I think that was the most encouraging speech I've ever heard." Flores cut me off before I got the chance to say something. "Flores to Endeavor...two to beam directly to the Captain's Quarters."
  • aten66aten66 Member Posts: 650 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    Personal Log,
    Gregs Sharvan Son'aire
    ***

    It's been a bit since I'm been planet side, and I didn't expect it to be Earth, or more specifically Starfleet Academy.

    I'm still a bit shook up since crossing back into this universe, but nothing a bit of ale can do to relieve your nerves. Though 18 hours without sleep seems to be conflicting with the wonderful feeling of being drunk right now. Or maybe it was the two hours of weapons training in the holodeck against a menagerie of Alpha, Beta and Delta Quadrant foes, getting pumped with adrenaline, that's conflicting with me trying to pass out right now, or perhaps the nervous energy of being called back to Earth while I'm drunk and on the verge of exhaustion.

    Of course I didn't expect to be called by the Brass to give a speech, while I was drunk. The universe must hate me right now. At least it's freeform, so I get to talk about whatever I want, as it is just a guest lecture. Supposedly it's guest lecture week, to encourage the graduating classes, yay for me. From what I heard, at least I won't hopefully be like some of the other speakers this week, I've heard of some horrible incidents with the speakers this year.

    Supposedly Sal'vin is coming as a guest lecturer, so I'll get to say hi to Romulan Friend. Maybe I'll see his speech before I decide to give mine, but with how the day is going, it'll be my luck and I'm supposed to go on before him.

    ******

    I'll have Zinuzee remind me later to have me shut my trap while I'm ahead. With a pounding headache in my upper right forehead, and a group of eager, young Cadets ready to graduate, and I'm having to make this up on the spot. At least I was able to sound off my main ideas against Zinuzee while we were still three hours out from ESD.

    I stand now in front of an oak podium, in an older building of the academy, and am having a horrible reaction to the lights. "Please direct the lights away from my face, they seem to be extremely bright today in this dim auditorium," I say looking offstage to a stagehand, before turning back to the crowd, "Thank you, now I know your all here to listen to my speech, but honestly I don't have one ready, so I'm winging it." There is a few coughs from the students in the audience, and I could tell a few students were tuning out. "But what I am here to talk about is your Ship, your Crew, and your Captain," I said nervously, hoping I didn't slur my words, it was pretty hard to tell for me, "Your ship is your home, your crew is your family, and your Captain, or for those pursuing your own command your Bridge officers, are the ones who will get you through in good times and bad." At this a few heads stir at my speech, hopefully not because I am obviously drunk.

    "My ship, the U.S.S. Oregon, Odyssey-Class, NX-101772-F became my home after piloting at least six other ships in my time in command... has it been three years so long since I was a young ensign like you?" I say, "Because I have loved each and every ship I commanded as if it were alive, my best friend if you may, and I treated the loss of each ship as such as well," I continue on, hopefully more brazen sounding, "Let me give you my most recent example, on stardate 90989.83 I lost a personal friend of mine, the U.S.S. Cordius, the best Shuttle A.I. I had fostered like a child, he as I referred to it, gave up his life so that I could kill a Borg Queen, who had also given me this scar," I said pointing to the easily seen newest feature on my face, of a vicious looking, blackened scar caused by assimilation tubules, "To kill (I say this silently) Janeway I had to use his A.I. programming as a carrier for a specialized and modified Iconian Super Virus and containment field, and I miss him, because all I have left is an empty Borg Shuttle, a bunch of bits and data mashed into following my programs." I grabbed the Oak desk, firmly grasping the table top, and I see a droplet of a tear hit the stained and polished, wood surface.

    A hand raised and I looked to the Cadet the limb belonged to, a young Caitian student. "Sir, you speak as if your ship was a living being, a part of your crew, why is that, if it was just a ship Borg or not?" she asked. I smiled at this.

    "Because young kit, this brings me to my second topic, the crew is your family, and your family defines your home, your ship is your home, and your home is part of your family," I say, "While this is confusing, and illogical, this is the way I view all my ships and crew, your crew defines your ship therefore your ship becomes one with the crew." I look around the room, then see another hand raised. "Yes you there in the corner," I say.

    An Ocampa Cadet was raising his hand, one of the few Delta Quadrant Cadets we gained upon exploring the Dyson sphere. "The name is Kirder sir, I'm new here, and wished to ask you about the third part, about your Captain and your Bridge crew, how does that relate to the first two points in your speech?" he asks.

    "Good point Cadet, you see a captain is the head of command on a ship, as you well know, but there will be times where you will solely have to rely on your Captains knowledge and experience to survive, or oppositely, if you are a captain, you'll have to rely on your Bridge crew to get you out of difficult situations, whether delicate diplomacy, or guns-a-blazing against a horde of enemy ships, there will be tough times," I state, "But I've learned over the course of the years that loyalty, friendship, and trust can turn you and your bridge crew into a tight knit family, able to overcome pirates, mass murderers, mad geneticists, augmented Gorn, monsters from a hellish dimension, subterfuge and sabotage, your evil dopplegangers, and non-corporal life forms, as well as your worst enemy...Q." I shudder at using the name of Q here, but he can be a pain in the butt at times.

    All of a sudden I couldn't stop shuddering, when I felt my body turn into a Sehlat. Q stood over me in his fancy chair, before snapping back out of existence. 'I hate that being,' I think to myself, before Zinuzee walks up to the stage.
    "Well, while Captain Son'aire is unavailable, I believe since he sounded off his ideas to me, I can finish his speech until he is back to normal, or when Q decides to pop back in," she says nervously, "To sum up the rest of his speech, trust your crew, believe in your ship to do the impossible, keep your captain informed, and trust them to make the right choice, or if you are the Senior Officers, make the hard choices informed of all options." She steps down from the podium, stooping low to pick me up, then walks away as the next guest steps up to the podium.

    ********

    Scratching the last flea out of my hair, as I am now back to normal, I can't help but feel embarrassed that I was humiliated by Q. "I hate Q," I mutter quietly.

    "Well sir, be glad that Q came in to fix what Q did to you, she scolded you well afterwards for accusing Q as being a bad guy," this from Zinuzee, who is laying on my shoulder in a fancy dress, "And you should thank Ace for throwing an after party for you, I mean, he wanted to congratulate you on being the highlight of this years speeches, and at least we'll have some fun, I mean who wouldn't want party tonight, as I'm sure the Cadets are down at the academy!" She fixed the tie I was wearing with my suit, and I groaned. "He was also amused Janeway didn't kick your rear end after mentioning you killed a parallel version of her, when she heard you were hung over, she was lenient," she says, "He also said he counted your total slurs, and you slurred ten words together during your speech."

    "Well, whatever, just next year, I don't care but I'm not giving another speech until I'm retired," I say, as we arrive aboard Sal'vin's ship, "I'll just try to enjoy the party tonight." I'm going to try and not get drunk tonight with all the Romulan Ale aboard this ship, I don't want a repeat of this morning.

    .
    ...
    .....
    \End Log\
  • ambassadormolariambassadormolari Member Posts: 709 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    "Right," Captain Johol breathed, "we're going to get to the bottom of this. Cadet Ranek, would you please tell me, in your own words, what happened?"

    Sitting in front of his desk, Cadet Meral Ranek shifted uncomfortably in her seat, her grey skin a bit paler than usual. Next to her, Cadet William Ayelewo continued to rub absent-mindedly at the side of his head, an ugly, swollen purple bruise visible just above his eye. Both Cadets were making an obvious effort not to look at each other.

    Ranek swallowed before starting. "I was in the mess hall, at the lineup for the replicator," the young Cardassian woman said. "I was just there for my lunch, the same as anyone else. I'd...heard that the replicator databases had been updated recently, so I tried ordering something from home-- boiled taspar eggs with yamok sauce." She gave a slow shrug, the movement causing her neck ridges to seemingly coil slightly. "Nothing happened. That's when Will...Cadet Ayelewo, who was in line behind me...spoke up."

    Johol folded his hands. "What did he say?"

    Ranek's features visibly tightened in repressed anger. "He said...'Give it up, the replicators don't serve Cardie food.'" Next to her, Ayelewo's own expression seemed to sink a little, though he remained quiet. Like everyone who had been briefed on proper etiquette at the Academy, he no doubt knew how little tolerance the Academy instructors had for racial slurs.

    Slowly, Johol leaned forward, staring for a few moments at Ayelewo. "Is this true, Cadet?" the Denobulan instructor asked.

    "Sir, I..." The Human cadet's words seemed to fail him the moment they came out. He must have realized that excuses wouldn't avail him, so instead he simply nodded. "Yes, sir."

    For a few more moments, Johol was quiet, allowing the uncomfortable silence to permeate the room. Finally, his gaze drifted back to Ranek. "And is that when you hit him, Cadet Ranek?" he asked.

    Ranek's look of discomfort returned. "No, sir," she said. "I...ignored Ayelewo and tried to order something else. Then he said 'Just go back to that dung-heap you call home and eat there instead of forcing us to smell your Cardie garbage. The Federation is already wasting time and resources to feed you people anyway." She took a deep breath, no doubt trying to keep her anger under control. "That, sir, is when I turned and hit him on the side of the head with my food tray."

    Johol said nothing. He already knew the rest of the details from eyewitness reports and security feeds: Ranek had started clubbing and kicking Ayelewo even when he was down, and had had to be forcibly restrained by her fellow cadets. Ayelewo had been rushed to the infirmary with a minor concussion and a cracked rib. The entire incident had been a disgrace, a shameful display unbecoming of future Starfleet officers, and the Commandant's office had demanded that the matter be looked into and settled as soon as possible.

    He turned to Ayelewo and glared at him. "Cadet Ayelewo, words cannot express how disappointed I am with you," he said sternly. "I am placing you under detention in your quarters. You will remain there until the Academy Disciplinary Board decides what to do with you. In the meantime, a demerit will be attached to your record."

    Ayelewo jumped slightly in his seat. "What?" he cried. He gestured to Ranek. "But what about her? She assaulted me! All I did was--"

    Johol's elastic facial muscles extended downwards, creating an impossibly large and unnerving frown. "You are dismissed, Cadet," he said, in a tone that brooked no argument.

    For a moment, Ayelewo seemed to hesitate. Starfleet discipline kicked in, though, and he gave a slow, defeated nod. "Yes sir." He stood up stiffly, and after flashing one final, vindictive look at Ranek, he turned and walked out of Johol's office.

    The moment Ayelewo left, some of Ranek's suppressed anger seemed to surge forth. "Sir, you're just giving him a demerit? That's a slap on the wrist for what he's done!"

    Johol allowed his facial muscles to relax as he looked back at the Cardassian woman. "As I'm sure you're aware by now, Cadet Ranek, our disciplinary methods are not as...severe as those practiced by the old Cardassian Union. Cadet Ayelewo's record is now permanantly marred, and this, along with whatever decisions the Disciplinary Board makes, will severely impact his future in Starfleet." He folded his hands and leaned forward. "There is still the matter, though, of your own actions, Cadet Ranek. Technically speaking, you have still committed assault and battery against a fellow Cadet"

    "He provoked me!" Ranek snapped. "He practically admitted it! How was I suppposed to keep calm when he was saying things like...like that about my people and homeworld? If anyone has a problem here, it's him!"

    Johol sighed. "I don't know if I should tell you this, Ranek," he said, "but Ayelewo's 'problem' is that both of his parents were lost with the Marseilles at the first Battle of Chin'toka. The reason he seems to dislike you so much, if I may guess, is because the Dominion War made him an orphan."

    Ranek looked as though she had been slapped. "But...sir...I'm not the one who killed his parents!" she protested. "And Cardassia suffered in the war as well!"

    "I know." The sorry state of post-war Cardassia was a matter of public knowledge-- even now, almost two decades after the end of the war, there were still reports of bodies and wreckage being found in what used to be Lakarian City. "Even so, Cadet Ranek, Ayelewo is not unique among our cadets here. The sad truth is that a lot of the scars of the Dominion War still have not healed-- there are still a lot of people who lost friends and loved ones in the war, and have been hurting ever since. And there is still a lot of resentment, both in the Academy and in the Federation as a whole, for the role Cardassia played in the war."

    The Denobulan looked the Cardassian girl in the eyes. "Look, Cadet Ranek...I know that people other than Ayelewo have been harassing you ever since you started here. I've heard from second-hand sources that you've been the victim of hazing and vandalism, and slurs against you have been found written in the public restrooms. My office could come down hard on these bullies and discipline them if an official complaint were lodged. And yet, until now, you've done nothing to bring this to my attention. Why?"

    For a moment, Ranek was quiet and shamefaced, like someone who had just had a dirty secret exposed. Slowly, though, Ranek swallowed and forced out a reply. "That...that would be what they want, sir," she said. "To break me. To make me go for your support instead of holding my own." She took a deep breath. "My father, sir, taught me that whenever I'm in a rough situation, I should find my place and hold it, no matter what tries to knock me over. That's what I'm doing, sir. I'm holding my place."

    Johol stared at her thoughtfully. "And what is your place, Ranek?" he asked. "You must have known, even before you came here, that many would dislike you on the basis of your race. Why is it that you want to join Starfleet?"

    He saw Ranek's expression become a little more downcast. "Because there's no place for me on Cardassia, sir," she replied. "It's...difficult to explain..."

    Johol gave her a sympathetic shrug. "I have a lot of time, Cadet," he replied.

    Ranek nodded, took a deep breath, and continued. "After the war...my family split apart, sir. We'd lost so much already...my brother, Jaral, died fighting under Damar...and it drove a wedge between us. My father was already a career soldier, so he went and joined the provisional government. He was one of the first people to advocate accepting Federation aid. Mother, though...she was one of the few survivors of the Obsidian Order, and always hid the fact from my father. She saw what the Federation was doing as just a repeat of the Dominion occupation-- she felt that we had once again been subjugated by a foreign power without firing a single shot." Her face twisted into a grimace. "They argued, said a lot of nasty things to one another, blamed each other for all of the bad things that had happened to us, and then finally went their separate ways. I was left in the care of my aunt, and I hardly saw either of them ever again."

    She sighed. "And now look at Cardassia, sir. There's the current government on one side, and this new group...the True Way, on the other, with my father and mother on opposite sides. And I know other people on both sides as well, sir. Friends. Relatives. People who were such good friends with my mother and father that they're considered family. And these people are constantly trying to get me to pick one side over the other, to fight for them and betray other people I know and care about." She shook her head. "I can't make that choice, sir. I refuse to."

    Johol leaned forward a little, and slowly nodded. "And so you entered into the Academy to avoid making that choice," he said. "To pursue a new path. I understand not wanting to side against your loved ones, Cadet Ranek, but if you joined the Academy to avoid making a difficult decision, then you joined for the wrong reason: Starfleet officers often have to make hard decisions in the course of their duties. Whether or not to uphold the Prime Directive or assist a primitive species in crisis, for example, or whether or not to defend the rights of an individual at the expense of the needs of a community. The universe rarely gives officers an easy answer, and almost never gives them the luxury of being able to turn away."

    Ranek nodded grimly. "I know, sir. I never came here thinking that the road ahead would be easy. But if I stayed on Cardassia, everyone would keep expecting me to pick one path or the other, just because I'm the daughter of someone important. At least here, in Starfleet, I'd be able to live my own life without having to fulfill someone else's expectations."

    Johol was quiet for a moment. There were many things that he did not want to bring up-- whether or not Ranek realized, for example, how many of her own people would see her as a traitor for joining the Federation, or whether or not her Starfleet duties might bring her into conflict with the very factions she had sought to avoid. He had the impression that Ranek had already considered those factors when she made her choice, and yet had stuck to this path anyway.

    "Very well," he finally said. "If this is the path you have chosen, Ranek, then I certainly can't dissuade you. But if you wish to endure here-- let alone succeed-- then I think you may need to alter the way you have been handling yourself. In spite of what your father may have taught you, Ranek, Starfleet works on a principle of cooperation and collaboration. That means allowing others into your life, and sharing your burdens with others, rather than shutting yourself off and trying to endure on your own."

    Ranek gave him a frustrated look as she shook her head. "It's not that simple, sir!"

    "I know it isn't," Johol agreed. "It is always a shock to have to interact with new people from different species. And I'm certain that the hazing hasn't helped matters either. But the more you shut yourself off, the more you make yourself a target for all of the misdirected anger from cadets like Ayelewo."

    For a moment, Ranek was quiet as she bit her lower lip. Finally, she gave defeated sigh. "Well, sir...what do you suggest? I...I just really don't know how to approach anyone here. I feel so...different."

    Slowly, Johol smiled. "As it so happens, Ranek, I did have something in mind." He took a PADD from his desk and passed it to her. "I've been reviewing your grades, and have noticed that you have been excelling in courses in the Tactical spectrum-- starship battle tactics, phaser drills, boarding procedures and planetside small unit tactics. As it so happens, one of the student groups here at the Academy is the Ares Club, who hold regular holodeck re-enactments of famous battles from different cultures and epochs of history, and regularly discuss all things relating to tactics and combat. I think it would be a good fit for you, and I think the club members would value your participation."

    Ranek stared warily at Johol, then stared down at the PADD as though it were going to leap up and bite her. "But...sir...what if they wind up hating me? What if they take offence to a...Cardie joining them?"

    "Then you tell me," Johol replied, "especially if any of them call you a 'Cardie.' The Academy's zero tolerance policy on specieism isn't just there for show, Ranek: it means that no one is ever allowed to belittle you on the basis of your race. Ever." His smile returned. "It's time for you started trusting others a little more, Cadet Ranek. If you're serious about a future in Starfleet, then one day, you're going to have to rely on others, just as you'll have others relying on you. And even though you will still have hard decisions to make in the future, you won't have to make them alone."

    Ranek went silent again as she seemed to take Johol's words into consideration. Then, slowly, she reached up and took the PADD. "I'll...see about joining this club then, sir." She gave a nervous, but sincere, smile. "Thank you."

    Johol allowed his smile to widen a little, stretching outwards into a beaming grin. "You're welcome, Cadet Ranek," he said. "Your actions will still have to be reviewed by the Disciplinary Board, but I will make sure to advise them that you were provoked in this matter, and I'm certain they'll be further satisfied when I tell them of the talk we've had. In the meantime, don't hesitate to contact me if there are any other difficulties you're facing. Dismissed."

    With a nod, Ranek took up the PADD, stood up, and hurriedly exited Johol's office. There was, Johol noticed, a little more liveliness in Ranek's step as she left. He smiled inwardly to himself. There was hope for Ranek yet. With luck, maybe Ayelewo could be saved from the brink as well with a bit of counselling. Both Cadets showed a lot of promise, and he would hate for Starfleet to future officers like them to an ugly incident like this.

    He sighed and glanced at the schedule on his terminal. Two more meetings with students over instances of misbehaviour and flagging grades, respectively, and then he had to do lunch with Admiral Kane. His stomach growled at the thought, and he idly wondered if Madame Chang's would be serving the egg drop soup again...
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • masopwmasopw Member Posts: 157 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    Present Day, San Francisco

    "Hey, Blue Boo...does this Sierra top make me look fat?"

    Arky closed his eyes at Sara's question. They were married too long for him to not know the right answer. She had walked out of the bedroom of their hotel room, hands on hips, a pout on her face.

    "My Darling...you look absolutely...ravishing!" He dipped his antenna suggestively, then nodded towards the bedroom. "You're as beautiful as the day you stopped hating me."

    Sara moved into the kitchen, a grin on her face. "You babooze," she growled out. "Don't give me that husband answer. Give me the truth."

    Realizing the trap, Arky deftly avoided it, scooping up soiled dishes and walking them over to the sink. "Sorry dear...busy. My turn to clean up."

    "Fine," Sara said, pouting. "Don't answer me. Let your wife look like a cow."

    Arky ignored her, asking, "What time is the shuttle supposed to be here?"

    "Six thirty. C'mon...this Sierra, or should I just go with civvies? The reception isn't formal, but it'll be the first time we've all been back to the Academy together, and I want to look nice."

    "How about that dress I bought you for your birthday?"

    "See! You do think I look fat in this!"

    Arky's antenna drooped in defeat. "I give up. I don't know what you want me to say. Can I cash in a 'stupid male' coupon and we just drop it?"

    Sara smirked as she pulled off her shirt, saying, "Fine. But you owe me, mister!" She gave a playful wink, and threw the Sierra top at him. "What do you think Nico's gonna talk about?"

    "I'm not sure. I know Sotek is going to talk about overcoming cultural differences, that's his go-to speech for cadets. Nico made some allusions to how building relationships during the Academy years can affect your entire career. He said something about using a funny story about us before static cut off the transmission completely."

    Sara frowned. "Weird. Wonder what kind of anomaly cut the comms this time?"

    "I'm sure he'll get somebody to explain it," he answered playfully. "You know how he is with precise science. But the Bonaventure just upgraded her comms, so I will be interested to know what happened."

    Sara leaned against the door frame, crossing her arms, a huge grin breaking through. "Maybe he'll tell the story of the fifth time we all went 'team building'..."

    Many years ago, off the North Shore of Oahu

    "Paddle, paddle, paddle!" Nico screamed.

    What seemed to Arky as a huge wall of water quickly overtook him, and he struggled to stay on the surfboard. He wrapped his arms and legs around the board, fighting the surf in an attempt to keep from drowning.

    "No more, pinkskin!" Arky cried. "No more paddle paddle paddle. My arms are exhausted, and my back is killing me. This sunscreen is fading with each wash out..."

    His words were interrupted as yet another wave tried to sink him. Sotek, as usual, made a spectacular fall, missing Arky by a few meters.

    "Wipe out, not wash out, brah," Sotek called out when he surfaced. "Learn the lingo!"

    "Wipe. Wash. I Wish you would stop encouraging this madness," Arky growled. "Andorians are not meant for watersports and heat. My skin is raw."

    Nico caught a wave, showing off for the girls on shore as he cut back twice. Instead of flopping into the water like Sotek, Nico ended his ride as if his board was on repulsors and he hit the brakes. "Arky," he said, "You've got to give it a chance. C'mon. I *hate* the cold. *HATE*. And yet I spent last weekend on the Alps with you skiing."

    Arky glared at Nico, sputtering, "And I didn't like that either. What is this fascination you have with sports that require balance? You want to sit in the center seat for your career...exactly how is *this*," he motioned with his arms, indicating the Pacific, "supposed to help with team building?"

    In this short time, Sotek had paddled out, caught a wave, and once more wiped out spectacularly, the board flying away from him so hard Arky thought the leash would rip his leg off. He shook his head, waiting for the Vulcan to resurface. When he did, he simple said, "It is logical, brah. Surfing teaches us to get back up when we fall. To continue to strive to improve."

    Nico grinned, but Arky was having none of it. "Improve? Is that what you're doing? You can't ride more than two meters without falling!"

    Sotek just threw him a shaka and paddled out once more.

    Arky just shook his head again.

    Nico splashed him as he went for the next wave, saying, "Fine. Take five. But do you want to go on shore with the girls?" Sara, L'naa, and R'nee were on the beach, Sara trying to teach the others the latest dance moves to a truly annoying song that sounded to Arky like angry targs.

    "No," Arky said. "I think I'll let my ears be the only part that doesn't hurt. Besides, I find that injured dolphin amazing. I don't know how he swims like that...but maybe I'll learn something from him about moving in water when you're in pain."

    Sotek, with excellent hearing, called out from twenty meters away. "What dolphin? Injured how?"

    Arky indicated a dark blur circling him. "This one here. I don't know how he does it, holding his breath, yet being graceful with a broken tail and horrible gashes on his side."

    Sotek raised his hands, shading his eyes as he squinted over. "How do you know he has a broken tail?"

    "Well...it's vertical instead of horizontal. I know I couldn't walk if my leg was bent the wrong way!"

    Nico's eyes widened like saucers when he looked over as well, and he struggled to keep his voice calm. "Arky. Uhm...just sit on your board. Take your legs out of the water."

    Confused, Arky asked, "Why, pinkskin? Is this a new teaching technique of yours?"

    Sotek scanned the waters around Arky, then called out, "No brah. He is not teaching you anything except how not to become dinner." His head on a swivel, Sotek strongly and confidently...and quite quickly...paddled towards the shore.

    Waving his arms over his head, Nico yelled out towards shore, "Call for emergency transport!"

    L'naa saw him, and turned down the music, ignoring Sara's squeal of protest. Her head was cocked to the side, and though he couldn't see it from here, Nico knew her right eyebrow was raised.

    The distance was too far, and she couldn't hear him, nor Sotek, who was almost at the shore. The waves were crashing too loudly in the late fall, so he had to try and convey the urgency of their situation. He raised his left arm above his head and made a revolving motion at the wrist, two fingers up.

    On shore, R'nee mirrored L'naa's pose, wondering why he was calling for them to beam in M.A.C.O.'s. Hawaiian laws were quite stringent...no transporter use, period, unless for a medical emergency. There were huge fines for violating this...and Nico was insistent on following local laws regardless of where they went. She called out to Sotek, who finally made it to shore, "Why does he want M.A.C.O. assistance?"

    Barely out of breath, Sotek looked back. The glare on the water did make it look like Nico was calling in reinforcements. "He is not concerned with M.A.C.O....he is concerned with the mako."

    Sara looked out in horror, the situation coming clear. She just started warming up to Arky, and panicked at the thought of the effort coming to waste. She screamed out, "SHARK!!!"

    Arky, by this time precariously balancing on the board, screamed back, "REALLY?! DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE!!!"

    Nico was slowly moving away, wondering why it was taking them so long to find a communicator. "Arky," he called out, "try to remain calm. Just...just...relax."

    "RELAX? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR PINKSKIN MIND?"

    "No, I'm staying calm so I don't look like a potential meal. What's wrong with you...you read that book I gave you...a dolphin is a mammal...when you didn't see a blowhole why didn't that clue you in?"

    "You're a mammal too, pinkskin!!!" Arky cried out. "Stick it in *your* blowhole!" The dark shaped circled closer, and it looked to Nico that Arky's eyes were going to pop out. The shark bumped the board, and Arky let out a noise that was a cross between a whimper and a sneeze. He gripped his arms around his legs and shut his eyes, his antenna flattening against his forehead.

    And then the shark jerked to a stop, turned in the opposite direction, and swam away at top speed.

    Present Day, San Francisco

    Sara wiped away the tears from her eyes as she finished telling her version of the story to her husband. "Who knew that Andorian pee was a shark repellent that would be then be issued in every survival pack!"

    Arky frowned, not exactly pleased with how much his wife was enjoying that particular memory. "I do hope that he'll find something a bit more dignified. Maybe survival training in Germany...when you ate that..."

    "I don't think so!" Sara blurted out. "Don't even go there! Or should we tell the story of Athena?"

    Antenna drooping, Arky held his hands up in surrender. "I yield." He glanced at the monitor on the wall and noted the time. "It's getting close. I thought we'd have heard something from the cadet who's to escort us to the reception by now."

    "Hmm," Sara sighed. "Where's your PADD? Maybe they sent a note?"

    "Left it at home. It's broken."

    "You're an engineer. Why didn't you fix it?"

    Arky rolled his eyes. "Fine. I'll cash in another stupid male coupon if it will end this. Where's your PADD?"

    Sara walked back into the bedroom, calling out, "In the suitcase. Hold on...what...no..."

    "What's the matter? Your PADD broken too?" Arky asked as he followed her into the bedroom.

    Sara was white as the bedsheets, tears running down here face. Her mouth slowly moved, but Arky only heard a whisper of, "No."

    And then she collapsed.

    "SARA!!!" Arky screamed, jumping over to her side. He cradled her head gently as he slapped his communicator, screaming for an immediate emergency medical transport.

    The room grew dark after the blue lights of the transporter died down. A PADD was on the bed where Sara dropped it. On the screen was front page of the San Francisco Times:

    Starfleet regrets to report the loss of the Starship Bonaventure. Initial reports from a Ferengi merchant states that a debris field exists in the last known area the Bonaventure was in prior to losing communications with Starfleet. The debris material is said to be consistent with that used in construction of Oddysey class starships. There were no survivors. The USS Serenity has been dispatched to initiate recovery operations. More on this story as it develops.
  • danquellerdanqueller Member Posts: 484 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    Admiral's Personal Journal


    Once again, the Academy has requested I visit and instruct our newest Officers in the paths before them and the responsibility they are accepting. As in past attempts, I have to wonder how many will actually take something away from these that will let them avoid learning such things the hard way. No doubt, this has been a concern all Admirals have faced since the beginnings of the Fleet, or even before our peoples learned enough to leave our homeworlds. I'm one of the few beings who can claim to remember those times, though it remains to be seen how long that will remain a valid point.

    I'm getting too old for this sort of thing.

    Still, my Prime would have wanted this, so I have an obligation to do at least one more, I suppose. And who knows? Maybe this time, they'll actually provide padding for the seat.


    End Recording


    ____________________________



    The old officer sat on the bare wood of the stool they had provided him with, leaning with familiar ease on the engraved cane as he swept his keen gaze across the roomful of people seated in the teirs around the slightly raised dais he occupied. Despite the white hair that framed the long lines of his face, it was clear he was a leader who had lost none of his steel to the years behind him, and remained as indominable as his military record suggested. Of course, the white uniform of a Fleet Admiral would have made that obvious had there been anyone in the room who had doubts as to his level of commitment to overcoming whatever obstructions were put in his path.

    He fixed the young woman who had spoken with a raptor's eye. "No, Cadet. We did not have hyperwarp in those times. Actually, we referred to the early prototypes as 'slipstream drives', but it wasn't until we could maintain it for more than a few minutes at a time that it became the standard of star travel it is today. And in any case, we were inside the Sphere. Engaging any sort of warp drive would have been a very short way to end all of our careers, don't you think? Atmosphere and all that."

    The woman gave an embarrassed nod and sat down, her classmates offering whispers of support or quiet looks of disapproval, depending on their disposition towards her. The Admiral was actually not as displeased by her question as he let on, as every lecture needed one person to ask something that would get the rest of them thinking, and he hoped this would do the job.

    Clearing his throat, he returned to scanning the crowd. "It's important to be aware of your surroundings, in space moreso than on a planet. You have to know what you can and cannot do at any one moment, and that can be different from what you are accustomed to at other times. An action you wouldn't think two seconds about can get you and those under your command killed. So you think about everything at least two seconds ahead of time."

    A young Reman stood, his grey face hesitant. "But Sir. You were just explaining how you had come up with a way to discover the missing Borg in the Solanae Dyson Sphere. The whole idea about sending out subspace signals identifying the ship as a Tal'Shiar vessel dispatched to gain control of the Sphere's operational command codes. So that their collective memories would make them...."

    "Yes, I think I remember what I said five minutes ago." the Admiral replied cuttingly "I'm not that far gone yet."

    The Cadet seemed about to withdraw his question, but rallied and continued in a voice that only held a shadow of doubt "Well, it's just that...how was that thinking ahead? You had to have known how that would turn out. I mean....respectfully, Admiral Rycho, but your ship was only a science ship. Isn't that an example of not thinking things through?"

    Admiral Rycho smiled for the first time since he had entered the room, and the audience abruptly stopped trying to move away from the Cadet. "Lesson number one for today: Never underestimate your enemy. They are thinking beings trying to do their best to stop what you intend to do, just as you are doing your best to stop them. They will be motivated to find ways around your plans that you cannot see.

    "On that day, on the Sphere, I forgot that lesson, and we ended up in serious trouble....."


    _________________________________



    The Bridge shook again as the Nor'Vesa was hit, and Subcommander Rycho gripped the sides of his judgement seat tightly as the inertial dampeners failed to shunt all of the gravitational forces acting on the ship away. In the red lighting that highlighted everything, he saw several panels spark as power overloads destroyed some piece of non-essential equipment.

    He -hoped- it was non-essential.

    Looking at the main viewer, he saw the Borg Sphere coming around the far side of the spire again, its green cutting beams firing even before the entire ship had cleared the structure. In a wash of emerald color, the picture flashed and more tremors went through the hull as kinetic energy released by the impact of the beams onto his ship's shields passed through the hull. This time, no systems failed that he could see, and he coughed in the smoke-filled air before he barked "Report!"

    "The first strike took out our main energizer! Warp engines are functional, but we can't get power from them to other systems." Science Officer Tosik toggled several controls as he glanced at his readouts "Shields are down to twenty-two percent. The Borg used some kind of protonic pulse weapon to set up a feedback spike in the emitters, and they overloaded. Minor damage to the hull from discharge arcing. Weapons operational and continuing to fire."

    Rycho nodded as he saw the Nor'Vesa's phasers track along the side of the other ship, ripping open hull material and causing some form of gas to vent away from it. The other ship had not come upon them cloaked as he had expected, but had used the structures near the surface of the Sphere to conceal themselves. When they had sprung from that cover to fire on his ship, the Rihannsu ship had none of the warning signs of a decloaking ship, and had taken fire before reacting to the surprise attack.

    Now, his ship was in far too close to disengage quickly, and the Borg had obviously learned something new in the weeks since they had arrived. Now, more than ever, he knew he could not let them take the knowledge of the Sphere back to wherever they intended to go.

    "Graviton surge to the deflectors!"Rycho ordered, deciding to give the Borg a new surprise of their own "Put that ship in a gravity well!"


    _____________________________



    "...so as you can see, I did have a plan. I just didn't consider that the Borg might have one as well."

    Admiral Rycho finished and took a sip from the water left on the table beside his stool. As he put the glass back down and looked back at the Cadet, he shook his head. "All in all, I was fairly certain we were going to die that day."

    The Cadet still did not sit, and seemed to be blind to the signals one of the Instructors was trying to give him without the Admiral noticing. With no more than the span of time needed to ensure he didn't seem to be disrespectful, the Cadet pressed on. "That's not how the description of the battle reads in our manuals, Sir. It clearly states that for every move the enemy tried, you came up with a counter. That you never doubted your victory."

    "I happen to read those manuals myself, when I have trouble sleeping at night. They are the same ones that claim it was a good idea to have computers that spoke rather than display all their information. Do you know how many times I had to mute my own ship's systems just to hear what my Officers were trying to tell me in the middle of a crisis?" Rycho twisted the cane as he held the Cadet with his eyes. "Don't believe everything you read in the officially-approved handbooks. I knew we were in a bad situation, and the Nor'Vesa was likely going to be destroyed, no matter what I did.

    "And that brings us to lesson number two: Even if the situation is hopeless, even if you know it is, never let those under your command see even a hint of it. Never offer them an excuse to abandon hope, because that's exactly what they will do if they think their commander has. A crew that has lost hope has lost any ability to prevail or fulfill its Duty, even if that hope is that their sacrifice will somehow make the job of those who come after easier. As officers in the Fleet, it is your responsibility to those you lead to keep them from despair.

    "Even unto the end...."


    ________________________________



    "Error compounding intermix chamber!" the synthetic voice of Master Engineer Xa'jev announced from the intercom "Five segments in failure assured! The engines dropped must!"

    Subcommander Rycho cursed mentally in several languages as he looked at the display on the main viewer again. The Borg ship was still caught in the artificial gravity sink produced by his own deflector array, but it had locked them in a tractor beam before being pulled in. Now, every engine system on the science ship was in overload attempting to break free of both effects, and their own efforts to avoid closing were actually aiding the Borg in clawing out of the distortion that was supposed to trap them.

    "Cut the deflector beam and execute shearing manuever Von Six Three!" Rycho ordered as he saw the phasers again score hits on the enemy ship. As the two ships were abruptly freed of the gravity well, they swung away from each other, the Borg tractor beam taken out of the arc of its projector also freeing the Nor'Vesa.

    Then a thunderous impact hurled him out of his judgement seat and into the helm console. Several small displays around the Bridge exploded, and one of his officers screamed from behind him. He felt the ship yaw wildly up and to the side as he fell to the deck, a piercing pain spreading from his left arm.

    Stumbling back against the forces twisting him around, he managed to regain his chair as he called "Damage report!"

    Tosik was frantically trying to bring up information on his own station, and managed to get one working. "Torpedo hit on the starboard nacelle! It's gone! We have antimatter spillage on the strut, and...."

    Abruptly, they were all wrenched in the opposite direction by another jolt. Most managed to keep from losing their positions, and no more stations failed. On the static-filled screen, the view stopped spinning and became steady.

    "Tractor beam!" Tosik reported, turning to face Rycho with the knowledge of what that meant. "They have us locked in."



    Then the speakers around the room came to life, speaking the words every crew had learned to dread above almost all others.

    "We are the Borg. Your defenses are insufficient to resist us. Lower your shields and prepare to be assimilated. Resistance is futile."



    Standing slowly, Rycho looked around the Bridge, at the damage he could see displayed on the monitors and the officers who looked to him for orders. They all told the plain and simple truth; they were finished. Nothing remained to fight the Borg with, and even ramming the other ship had been made impossible. In a matter of minutes, their shields would fail, and the Borg would come.

    He knew this all, felt it in a way he hadn't since the day many centuries past when he had been forced into exile from Earth. Defeat, and a sure promise not of death, but of a fate worse than that.



    Standing there, he gave them all his most determined smile, the grim set of his face telling them that there were still options to be taken. In a steady voice, he said "All hands to escape pods. Abandon the ship. I will make certain the Borg have more to worry about than trying to grab what they cannot hold!"

    When the others failed to move immediately, he shouted "Go!"

    As the officers began to file out of the Bridge, some carrying those who could not walk unassisted, Tosik looked at his commander. "I will remain."

    Rycho squinted at his arm, knowing it was broken as he cradled it against him. Then he gave the Science Officer a hard look. "Why?"

    "You know as well as I that there is only a small chance any of the pods will escape, and I have no desire to end my Duty away from my post." Tosik turned back to his instruments "As long as my station is functional, I will remain."

    Sitting back in his chair, Rycho could only nod. He wasn't surprised when the majority of the Bridge crew stopped, then moved back to their own stations.

    Romulans.

    In grim satisfaction, he decided he would have to file official reprimands in several service records before the Borg assimilated them....


    ________________________________



    Admiral Rycho looked around the room again, seeing the audience absorbing what he had said. "That's what it comes down to. Every single person on every single ship in the Fleet is expected and required to accept that they are putting their lives on the line, and may be required to give them in the performance of their Duty. That is what makes us Fleet. That is what keeps the Confederation intact. Never forget that."

    Standing with obvious effort, he straightened as the senior Instructor called out "Attention on deck!", and the entire room stood with him. Leaning only slightly on his cane, he nodded at them all and began to turn to leave.

    "But, what happened?" The Cadet called out, halting him and making him look towards the Reman again. The obviously anxious man seemed to be caught between his need to ask and his discipline, shifting even as he tried to stand at attention. "The records don't say how, but you're here! How...."

    "Young man, do you know what an Alpha is?" The Admiral asked as he held up a hand to forestall the Cadet's Instructors from interrupting and dressing down the other right there and then.

    The Reman looked uncomfortable as he realized where the conversation was going. "Uh...yes sir."

    "And you know I am an Alpha. That my Prime was the actual Desalle Rycho. That I have all of his memories and am, in all likelihood, here because he is not?"

    The Cadet seemed at a loss for words. However, before the Admiral could turn again, the Reman spoke up. "Sir, respectfully, but if you....he....had died in that battle, you couldn't have known what was happening to tell us today. I mean, since you have to be around to have your brain scanned when it's cloned and no Alpha can have memories that aren't already there when....." he stopped as the Human woman next to him dug an elbow into his side.

    The Admiral nodded, giving a pleased grunt. "I'm glad at least one person here knows how to think beyond the textbooks! Yes, I did survive that particular battle, and no, we were not assimilated."

    The Cadet swallowed as he gathered his courage again. "If the Admiral pleases, how?"

    Admiral Rycho smiled again, a sad one this time as he looked around the room once more. "By the final lesson of this lecture, a lesson our Empire had forgotten in the past more often than we like to admit"

    Looking up at the Cadet, Rycho said "Lesson number three: You can never have too many friends."


    _________________________________



    "Incoming ship!"

    Tosik's words brought Subcommander Rycho's head whipping around. "What? Identify!"

    The Science Officer checked his instruments as Rycho saw a flaring comet streak in behind the Borg ship, the flare of atmosphere frictioning against the shields of the incoming vessel proof that the other commanding officer had actually pushed his ship well past atmospheric safe speed limits.

    Then the burning plasma faded as the other ship fell back into tactical speeds, and Rycho felt his hands grip the sides of his chair as he saw the lines of a Federation cruiser. And not just any cruiser but....

    "Identification positive." Tosik said, turning to Rycho "It's the Conquest!"

    On the screen, the Sovereign class cruiser unleashed a barrage of phaser fire that cut into the Borg ship, several scoring deeply as the defense fields failed completely in those areas. Secondary explosions detonated on one side of the Sphere, and green energy arced into the area around the Borg ship.

    However, the Borg exacted a harsh price a moment later. Abandoning the crippled science ship, the Sphere accellerated towards the Terran ship and began to open several ports in its sides. In the next instant, the Borg ship came apart, finally failing for the final time under the assault of the larger cruiser, but not before several missiles streaked away from the open hatches towards the Conquest.

    Two survived to impact the cruiser, passing through the shields as though they were not there to slam into the secondary hull. In twin flashes, the missiles disappeared, and where they had been, the hull began to fly apart. As he watched, Rycho saw the effect expand, the ship literally being ripped apart from the points where the missiles had struck.

    The face of the commander of the Conquest appeared on the screen. "Nor'vesa! We've been compromised by some kind of disintegration wave weapon that is unbinding the matter of the ship. Requesting permission to evacuate immediately to your ship!" Admiral Verne said, his voice steady but with a note of desperation in it.

    "Granted! Our transporters are only partially functional, though." Rycho had to keep his own voice controlled as he saw what was happening to the other ship.

    "We'll use ours. Prepare to receive alot of new guests for dinner." Verne said before his own image vanished.


    ______________________________



    Admiral Rycho settled into the padded shuttle passenger seat with a satisfied sigh of relief as the Academy Commandant looked on from the dock of the building. "You never really appreciate how valuable the invention of seat cushioning is until you try to sit without it. For an hour."

    The Commandant shifted nervously. "Proconsul....ah, Admiral....I hope you don't take offense at the conduct of some of our...young gentlemen. We don't normally...."

    Rycho waved aside the protest as he looked up at the other Officer. "Commandant, I intend to sponsor that Cadet for the Fleet as soon as he completes his Apprentice cruise. Don't tell him that, of course, but we need exactly that kind of courage and drive to seek the truth of things in the Fleet today. If we are to meet the challenges ahead of us, it will be Officers like that one who will carry the day."

    The Commandant nodded, and saluted before the doors closed and the shuttle began lifting away towards the sky. Aboard, Admiral Rycho let the sight of the Academy shrinking below them fill him with a hope for what the next years might bring. He spent a long time watching.

    Then the shuttle lifted higher, the stars coming out above them, and Rycho decided he was not, after all, too old for this sort of thing.



    _

  • zidanetribalzidanetribal Member Posts: 218 Arc User
    edited March 2016
    Literary Challenge #56: Academy Teachings

    LC56: Imagine the Audience Naked
    Republic Commander's Log, Stardate 91623.63. Until the time New Romulus Command deems fit to establish a Republic Naval Academy, prospective Republic Fleet officers are using the educational facilities of our Federation and Klingon allies to learn ship functions. Admiral Kererek wants me to brief a new batch of sublieutenants about the events which occurred in the Jouret System; this will give me an opportunity to meet Vice Admiral Lee's new Voth defector officer.

    ---

    "I only needed a small opening. This is why you cannot stop us."

    Subcommander Tovan Khev stared the Voth defector Nelen Exil down. His Security team had been unable to check his advance and now the Voth defector was fourteen meters from his goal. Tovan saw his team was on its last legs as Nelen readied himself to shoot.

    "Legs, don't fail me now!" Tovan shouted.

    Tovan exerted all his strength jumping in Nelen's path, but it wasn't enough. Nelen's shot flew past Tovan and hit his mark. Tovan fell to the ground defeated as his Security team looked on in disbelief.

    "I do everything I can to ensure I succeed," he said. "My failing is an impossibility."

    A buzzer sounded and Kay Taylor shouted into a microphone.

    "That's the final buzzer! Science Team has beaten Security Team by a score of 89 to 80! Good game, everyone!"

    Nelen helped Tovan back to his feet as the Security team and the Science team gathered at the center of the court. The two teams congratulated each other for a game well played. Science team captain Kira came up to Nelen afterwards with the game basketball.

    "That was some basketball skill you showed back there, Commander Exil!" Kira remarked. "You've even outperformed the players who've been playing basketball for years! Are you sure this isn't your first basketball game?"

    Kira handed Nelen the game ball, and Nelen accepted it, spinning it on the point of his right claw.

    "This is the first time I've played basketball, but there is a custom on the planet Hokath in Voth space where bathers toss rocks into elevated sulfur pools in order to create sulfur showers, so I used the same techniques."

    Kira marveled at Nelen, who continued to tell tales about Voth customs. Just then, Commander Taylor came up to Nelen with a PADD.

    "Mr. Exil, Admiral Lee is requesting that all the Voth officers attached to the Lord English report to Transporter Room 3 in fifteen minutes with one exception," she told Nelen.
    "I assume I'm the exception," Nelen replied. "I wonder what he wants with the Voth and me."
    "Between you and me," Taylor replied, "it's probably something absolutely crazy and off the cuff. All I did was inform him that Admiral Lirina needed help with her lecture at Starfleet Academy. Let's go."

    The three officers left the court together.

    ---

    One hour ago...

    ---

    "Rhadam. Rha-dam. R-h-a-d-a-m."

    In the ready room of the Daeinos-class RRW Stratoavis, Vice Admiral Lirina of the Romulan Republic was standing in front of a full-length mirror, writing in her palm in an attempt to swallow her performance anxiety. She picked up the PADD which contained her lecture to the next class of Republic officers.

    "As I'm sure many of you have learned, a massive Iconian gateway was discovered in the Jouret system," she read. Then she re-read it with disdain and rewrote the section.
    "Men, women, and other-gendered sublieutenants of the Romulan Republic, I come before you in the wake of the disaster on New Romulus to..." she erased the rewritten portion and started again.
    "So, a funny thing happened in the Jouret system, we discovered an artifact from a long-dead civilization... ugh, no!" she cried as she threw her lecture on the divan. She walked up to her mirror again.

    "Elements save me, why did Kererek want me to lecture to some bright-eyed young sublieutenants who have yet to come face-to-face with an Elachi predator or a Borg tactical cube and expect them to come out learning anything?"

    Lirina wondered if she could beam disruptive students to her ship's brig. She would rather deal with a Tal Shiar hit squad than a delinquent sublieutenant, because nobody would question her if she shot a Tal Shiar spy in the kneecap. She adjusted her collar in the mirror.

    "Rhadam. Rhadam. Rhadam."

    A chirp on her desk console broke her meditation. Lirina went to see and found Admiral Kererek on the other end of the communication.

    "Have I caught you in time for your lecture, Lirina?" he asked jovially.
    "I still haven't spoken yet, if that's what you're asking, Admiral," she replied. "I don't think I can be an instructor for these sublieutenants. I'm barely older than some of the sublieutenants."
    "It was either you or A'dranna, and we're still trying to see how far she's been compromised. You're the only other surviving Romulan officer from that mission."

    Lirina pouted.

    "Even so, I would like to state for the record that I am doing this assignment against my better judgment."

    Kererek nodded.

    "Your objection is noted, Vice Admiral. One more thing before you go down, though. Starfleet Intelligence is sending an agent to oversee your lecture. There are some security concerns that she wants to go over with you, so keep an open mind. Kererek out."

    Lirina closed the connection and returned to her lecture. She expected someone important was going to attend her class; perhaps her presence will keep the rowdier sublieutenants from acting up, she thought.

    ---

    Lirina felt a heavy weight on her shoulders as the one hundred or so sublieutenants and one intelligence agent watched her every move. Far from relieving her anxiety, the intelligence agent increased it due to the nature of her assignment.

    Starfleet Intelligence wants me to tell you to be careful with what you say in today's lecture, and to not reveal anything about Omega particles, she told Lirina telepathically.

    Lirina looked at the back of the room at the operative. Agent Hedril was a Cairn, a species with highly advanced telepathic abilities. Every so often she invaded Lirina's mind to keep tabs on it.

    I apologize for the last-minute nature of this assignment, she told Lirina, but Republic and Starfleet Intelligence wants to limit the proliferation of Omega molecule knowledge. Admiral Chakotay doesn't want to risk the Tal Shiar or like-minded individuals learning what we've learned, and we haven't been able to vet everyone in your class.

    Lirina understood the nature of the request, even if she was getting annoyed with the telepathic oversight. The real problem was that large parts of her lecture were being censored by Hedril, and that manifested in halts in her speech.

    "Are you alright, admiral?" a particularly inquisitive sublieutenant asked her. "I was asking about why civilian ships are being restricted from entering the Jouret Gateway when ships are free to go through the Bajoran wormhole unimpeded."
    "Well, the thing is with Jouret is that the opposite end leads to a *pft*, that is to say, elite personnel are engaged in *pft*, I mean, there's still a lot we don't know about the other terminus, you see."

    Lirina could see the class starting to lose interest. Lirina kept glaring at Hedril, who kept mouthing "I'm sorry" while projecting an image of Tal Shiar, Omega particles, and Admiral Chakotay into Lirina's mind.

    Fvadt! Lirina thought to herself. How am I supposed to lecture if you keep interrupting me?

    Hedril shrugged apologetically while still projecting images into Lirina's mind. With few options left, Lirina tapped a distress signal into her communicator. Hopefully she could get Admiral Lee to help salvage the class.

    "Admiral, can you tell us more about what happened after the New Romulus gateway was deactivated? We would like some answers!"

    A growing number of sublieutenants began grousing. Before long, they would be staging a walk-out, Lirina thought. This would reflect badly on her service record and might even tarnish her career.

    ---

    Before Lirina could attempt to calm the class down, however, the lights in the classroom turned off. Amid the confusion of the sublieutenants, a 2-dimensional movie was projected on the far wall. Images of Earth's dinosaurs began showing as a voice played over the comm system.

    "Before the first Humans looked to the stars, before the first Klingons picked up a blade, before the first Romulans left Vulcan for the great unknown, terrible lizards roamed the planet Earth as emperors of their domain! But, over 65 million years ago, those dinosaurs disappeared, a mass disappearance that is still not fully understood today, leaving the planet to the ancestors of Humanity."

    Lirina tried very hard to recognize the voice on the comm system. If she recalled correctly, she first heard it in the Shangri-La club on Nimbus III.

    "Fast forward to today," the voice continued. "The Jouret system has opened up a new world for the powers of the Alpha Quadrant to explore, but much like the Bajoran wormhole, the Jouret gateway is not without its perils! Robotic sentries! Ships larger than Borg cubes! And one particularly interesting spacefaring species..."

    On that cue, a small platoon of Voth began beaming in to the classroom. Lirina noticed that the rowdy sublieutenants were now silent, enamored by the preening Voth specialists. Lirina turned to the closest Voth to her.

    "Is this Admiral Lee's doing?" she said. "What is he thinking?"

    Nelen Exil turned to Lirina.

    "I'm not sure myself," he replied. "but apparently it's something called 'showmanship'."

    Nelen turned to the assembled sublieutenants and bleated. The other Voth stood at attention.

    "Greetings, sublieutenants of the Romulan Republic! My name is Nelen Exil, and I stand before you today as a representative of the Voth species! My colleagues and I come in peace in order to pool our knowledge and mutually help each other against the threats which menace both our species!"

    The class was enraptured with Nelen's description of the Voth, from Voth history to the Voth Fortress ship to minute descriptions of Voth life. Lirina noticed that even agent Hedril was drawn into the narratives that Nelen and the other Voth put forth. Lirina pulled up a chair and sat down as she drew herself into the stories of the Voth as well.

    ---

    Soon, the lecture was over. Lirina overheard the leaving sublieutenants talking up storms as she met up with Hedril and Nelen.

    "That was incredible! Who knew that the Jouret system opened up to such an incredible place?"
    "I know! But there's still a lot for the Republic and its allies to do before the rest of the galaxy can go in. I can't wait until that happens!"
    "I'm hoping that I can join a ship to go through the gateway in a year or two, I'll need to be the best the Republic has to offer."

    Lirina turned to Hedril. The intelligence agent was pleased with the results of the meeting, and she let Lirina know it.

    "That was... an interesting lecture, Admiral Lirina," Hedril told her through an artificial voice box. "I can tell Admiral Chakotay that we were successful in preventing Omega particle knowledge. Starfleet Intelligence thanks you for your cooperation and will reimburse you for your cooperation."
    "Just... if I don't have to lecture again, it'll be too soon," Lirina replied. Hedril smiled and left the room with her report.

    Lirina and Nelen began cleaning up the room. Lirina turned to Nelen as she put away the chairs.

    "So, I should thank you and Admiral Lee for helping me with my lecture," Lirina told Nelen. "Where did you get that announcer from?"
    "Admiral Lee said he tracked him down after his visit to Nimbus III," Nelen replied. "He said the announcer was working as a chef."
    "I bet it was a lot of effort to put all that together in such a short time," Lirina surmised.
    "It was of no trouble, Admiral," Nelen replied. "There is a lot that people in this quadrant can learn about the Voth, especially that not all Voth are your enemies."
    "Well, if I learned anything today, it's that you really are a friend to me, and to the Republic," Lirina proclaimed.

    As Lirina stacked her PADDs, she turned to Nelen again.

    "Will you be returning to the Lord English? I would like to treat you to a Romulan banquet as a show of gratitude for your assistance."
    "That reminds me," Nelen exclaimed. "Admiral Lee has invited you to the Lord English to partake in an event called a 'movie marathon'. He wants to know if you are interested in coming aboard."

    Lirina pondered the choice. Soon she gave her response.

    "I'll be delighted to accept Admiral Lee's invitation, if mainly to tease him about his 'showmanship'."
    "I believe the admiral will be pleased to hear that. He said that you would enjoy the selection of movies he chose. I believe the first one is called 'Jurassic Park'."

    ===
    Republic Commander's Log, supplemental. I have survived my bout with performance anxiety and gave a lecture which will stick with these new sublieutenants for years to come. Although it was not as professional as I'd have hoped, it has still created the desired effect of stirring up curiosity with the next generation of Republic officers. Hopefully, they will serve the Republic for years to come. I know that I will expect no less than the best from them.
    Post edited by zidanetribal on
  • wraithshadow13wraithshadow13 Member Posts: 1,534 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    To be honest, I had no clue what I was doing here. Over the course of the last two weeks, I'd been racking my brain over what use, if any, I could be to these people. Most of the missions my crew and I undertook were labeled as classified information, or falling under Article fourteen, section thirty-one of the Federation Charter. The U.S.S. Geist, for all intents and purposes, is an escort ship. We handle numerous security missions as well as direct conflicts with the Borg, the Tal Shiar, and more recently the Voth. This isn't a science ship, so very seldom do people out side of the Admiralty, will ever hear of us.

    Yet here I was, back on Earth, back in San Francisco at Starfleet Academy. Some how MY name had been brought up, and I was called in to give a speech to the Graduating Class. What could I really say to these cadets that wouldn't scare the hell out of them? Hell, most of the things I've seen scare me, and I'm the one who deals with them. Even on rescue missions, you can find the most dangerous of situations, sometimes you find monsters, or gods that change the universe with a snap of their fingers, and in some cases, we've found the very darkness in our own souls. My crew is the only family that I have left, and I shudder to think of the dangers we face out in the black, or how I might fail had it not been for the strength they give me.

    I decided that a little leave time would be in order for the Geist, allowing most of the crew to visit home if they could. For Lehla Er'hAb, it would be her first visit home since she was nearly crippled in a conflict with the Klingons. Tala and T'Pal would pay gratitude at the Vulcan temple where they had worked on T'Pal's rehabilitation. Wraith would be getting his first look at my own home planet, which would give him the chance to visit both his... "Aunt Kathy" and his "Wife", the Ek'kardian Ambassador Nanete. Even Ensign Richards would manage to make it home for his Fathers birthday. Over all, it would seem that this leave would be good for everybody's well being, other than my own, as I wracked myself over this speech.

    We met the Admiral and the Ambassador at an Irish restaurant, that reminded her of a little town called Fair Haven. It was apparently the only place that made Welsh rarebit without using replicators, which made it better than anything the boy and I had eaten in the last several months. My face managed to find its way to my palm rather quick when the Admiral asked what was he'd done since they'd last spoke, and Wraith, without missing a beat, managed to blurt out "I HAD SEX!" The rest of the people in the place were nice enough not to stare, but both of the ladies at the table had immediately turned to me with eyes that could drop a charging Sehlat.

    Luckily, I was able to quiet the excitable young man from going into graphic details, but after explaining the situation as well as his condition at the time, both ladies were once again smiling. Ek'kardians had never heard of Vulcans or pon farr, so Nanete made the comment "How unfortunate, to only be able to love once every seven years."

    Admiral Janeway made the point to add "Actually, the condition only occurs once every seven years, they're free to be intimate any time they choose."

    "WHAT?!?!? Why did nobody tell me this?"

    Again... my face sunk into my palm to hide from the looks we were getting from the other tables. Nanete and the Admiral were almost in tears from laughing so hard. I had to be bright red by this point.

    The rest of the meal had gone rather well, and with considerably less embarrassment at my expense. I would later be chewed out by Admiral Aviess about this, but I decided to let Wraith Go with the two ladies (without escort or supervision) since they were both trustworthy. He deserved to have that. He'd earned it many times over, but it was something that would do him some good. Nanete and Aunt Kathy were like family to the boy, but not in the same way that the crew was. Rather than just beaming all over the place, we'd taken the Captain's Yacht, so after I'd dropped the group at the Ambassador's penthouse, I'd managed to do something I hadn't done since I'd left Earth for the last time.

    I went home.

    Mind you I don't own a house, or any property on earth, so the only home I really have left is my ship, so I went to the place where I had once lived with my wife Marleen, and our son Thomas. I'd landed my shuttle a little ways away, and beamed over, as to not draw much attention to myself. I paused at the end of the block, gazing at the house where I once had a family. It had been the same dull brown, but was in fantastic shape, complete with a young couple on the porch, their twin daughters playing in the yard. Marleen would have wanted this. She was always so happy when Tommy was a child, laughing away in the yard with a few of the neighborhood kids.

    I stood there for a few minutes, lost in the moment, before turning and walking back towards town. It was a happier place now, and that family didn't need me drudging up old memories as they made their own. I wandered for a while thinking about everything about everything. I thought about how good it was to see Wraith so happy at dinner, how happy that family had been in their home, and where I had been in life. My mind seemed set to focus on everything except for the speech at hand. I'd even began thinking of places as I'd passed, places I used to go with Marleen and Tommy. There were a lot of memories that flooded back to me as I strolled casually through this small town. With the weight on my mind piling on with each block, I figured that it was about time to make one more visit.

    It took the better part of an hour, but I trekked my way across the town to the cemetery where my family was. I had managed to get there shortly before they were closing for the night, but given the Starfleet civvies I'd had on, or more likely the lost expression I wore, the caretaker was more than kind enough to let me stay as long as I'd needed. I moved slowly towards their markers, but I didn't even have to look at the registry. Lost in thought, it was like my heart new the way, even though I had only been here on two other occasions. First for Marleen, and again for Thomas.

    I stood there looking to the marker. A large rectangular stone, Marleen's epitaph in the middle, and my son's to the left. The third spot on the right was left blank, presumably for myself, but given my line of work, who knows if I would end up here or drifting in space somewhere. I don't lie to myself, sometimes I wish that I were here with them. I wish that I could be with them again like that family living in our home. I can't even begin to explain how hard things were without her. She was my drive for a better life, and without her, I just buried myself further into my career. I haven't taken much personal time since I've lost her. After losing my only son, I nearly lost all hope as well.

    Even now, I can't help but think of how different life might have been had Marleen pulled through. Tommy and I would probably not have had our falling out, which led to him taking that position at Vega Colony. Who knew where I would be then? Where would the Geist and her crew be? Where would Wraith be? In some lab maybe? What would have become of Nanete? There were a lot of ways that life could have played out differently, some ways for the better, some ways for the best, but other ways would be clearly for the worst. It was at that point I did something very uncharacteristic, sitting down, tearing up, and I talked. I talked to Marleen, I talked to my son, I talked to my family about how much I missed them, and how they were my world.

    I was there for who knows how long, just pouring out everything I had been holding onto. Afterward, I had a few minutes of silence as I collected myself. I made my way back to the caretakers office to thank him, but he held up his hand to stop me. Neither of us exchanged a word, but he knew he had my gratitude. I could only hope that I wasn't holding him up from his life, but for what he did for me, I would be able to make one more step in mine. I slowly walked out of the office, pulling out the remote for the Yacht and triggered the transporter. Perhaps I had had enough of the day and just wanted it to be over, but I'd decided that it would be better to go home and sleep on the events of the day. Maybe a little reflection would help me clear my mind enough to write a speech.

    I had arrived at the address which seemed like an upscale apartment complex, the Ambassadors suite taking up the entire upper floor. I called up on the intercom only to be surprised by the Admirals, both Janeway and Aviess, who buzzed me into the building. The place was well cleaned and full of numerous decorations I could only assume came from Nanete's home planet. A lot of very ornate, yet tribal looking things adorned the walls. Both of the Admirals were in the kitchen area, talking over coffee. I was pretty sure I had been the subject of discussion as they both got quiet as I came into view.

    I was offered a cup, but I declined as I didn't want to be awake any longer than I had to at this point. Apparently, even after months of not seeing each other, Nanete was still being as attentive as possible. It would seem that she is still just as sweet as ever, even after being in the political circles new ambassadors usually get dragged into. Wraith himself wasn't the type of person to hold her to her father's promise, but as the Admiral put it, it's like they'd never parted. They were outside on the balcony in the hot tub, enjoying the evening air. It made me smile to know that he didn't need to try and fit in here. I was informed that I would be in the guest room, so I made my way in, took a long shower, and climbed into the most comfortable bed that I've ever been in.

    I lay there in the dark, just trying to fall asleep when I realized that I could hear Nanete and Wraith talking through the open window. It would seem that they had just switched from talking about her people to Wraith's time on the ship. While her people had early warp technology, they didn't seem to travel much, so she was very interested in hearing about his "adventures" as she'd called it. I was trying not to eavesdrop as much as I could, but it was how the boy responded that seemed to catch my attention the most.

    "Space tends to test you, I think." He told her. "It really does. It throws all sorts of things at you, and just waits to see how you react."

    He talked for a little bit about all of the horrible things that have happened, but how the crew managed to hold together. He mentioned that he wouldn't tell any of them, but they all gave him the strength to keep going. Sure he had his troubles at first, but he would never have made it through a lot of what has happened had it not been for the people he was surrounded by. It really got me thinking about how right he was. No matter what had happened in life, Marleen had always been my source of strength, but losing her and our son, I learned to lean more on my crew. After everything I've been through, my crew has become that strength I can draw upon when I need it, and they've learned to do the same with each other and even me.

    In the end, space really does test you, both as a captain and as an individual. I'd often heard Admiral Archers speech, where he starts off "Space: the final frontier" and laying there in bed, I couldn't help but think how wrong he was. Space is only there to test you, to shape and to mold you. It prepares you and your crew for all of the new frontiers that you have yet to discover, truly, to boldly go where no one has gone before.
  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    The rifle was sleek and cool to the touch. Kathryn smirked slightly as she lifted the rifle and looked down the sight. She activated the targeting system and swiveled in a circular motion to complete the calibration. Tetryon rifles were a personal favorite of hers, even though she typically used Phaser rifles for away missions.

    The combat holodeck doors swished open and Anthi Ythysi, the ship's First Officer, stepped into the darkened room. Kathryn nodded to her Andorian friend and continued practicing quick-lifting the rifle. Anthi opened the nearby locker and pulled a Polaron rifle. "Mind if I join you?"

    "Not at all. I welcome the company actually."

    Both women completed looking over their respective rifles in silence and stepped toward the circle in the center of the room. Once inside the ring they put their backs toward each other and the dim lighting of the room faded to black as the program waited for a command to activate.

    "Something on your mind, Captain?"

    "Am I that transparent?"

    "No offense, sir, but we're at Earth Space Dock, still aboard the ship, in a Holodeck, holding rifles to use against multi-colored balls of light."

    Kathryn hmphed. "Fair enough. I've been invited to the Academy to share my ideas on ... something. It's an open topic and my presentation is tomorrow. So, I'm working a few ideas in my head."

    "Care to share?"

    "Oh, you know, the usual: life on a ship, our Dyson Sphere experience, the Mirror Universe Borg - things like that."

    They stood in silence with the rifles held up to the shoulder expecting the program to activate, but both knew nothing would happen until the conversation was over.

    "Permission to speak freely, Captain?"

    "Of course."

    Anthi cleared her throat, "they already get plenty of talk about 'duty', but I'd like to share with you something I picked up from Bur'ar I think deserves some attention and may be worthy for the future officers of Starfleet."

    Kathryn lowered her rifle hearing her Security Chief's name. The Klingon was a permanent member of Away Team Alpha. He was granted permission to use his family Bat'leth for combat, eschewing the use of energy weapons. He was the best martial artist on the ship. "Oh?"

    "Yes, sir. It may be a Klingon maxim, although, I've heard a similar form used within the Andorian Guard. The idea is 'duty' is the ultimate expression of personal honor. Soldiers live and die to preserve their honor. Therefore, life is directly tied to their duty, from the cook to the General."

    "But Starfleet officers are more than soldiers. We are scientist, doctors, engineers. We can't purely live the soldier's life - it's not our way." Kathryn raised the rifle to her shoulder and mentally noted the moment's irony.

    "I agree. But Starfleet was founded on noble ideals and duty is not taken lightly. Remember, Thel's response to a Lieutenant who didn't follow procedures? Ultimately she failed in her duty. In these trying times, we may not be soldiers by spirit - but we must be soldiers in mind and body."

    Kathryn was silent for a few seconds before she spoke. "Computer begin sharpshooter program Beringer Four in thirty seconds."

    "Acknowledged," replied a serenely sounding female voice.

    Looking over her shoulder, Kathryn asked as she placed a finger on the trigger, "What was it that Bur'ar said?"

    Anthi gripped her rifle tighter, preparing to best her commanding officer again. "The joy of life is to die knowing your task is done. The fear of death is that we die our work incomplete."
  • icegavelicegavel Member Posts: 991 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    Admiral's Log, stardate 91661.2. After quite some time, I'm back at my adopted home. The big blue marble its natives call Earth. With everything that's happened in recent months, it'll be nice to have boots on friendly soil again. While the USS Determination docks at Earth Spacedock for its newest set of refits (including weaponry taken from the Voth), I have been asked to give a lecture at the Academy. I expect I will make quite the impression on the students, considering... a surprise I have in store.
    ***

    Rygobeth Lerginas tugged his uniform straight. A flag officer, after all, should look his best in front of cadets. Out there now was a friend of Rygo's, doing the introduction. The lecture was about how to combat the Borg, so it was... fitting, that Admiral Antilles would be prefacing it. After all, mused Rygo, he was one of them. Rygobeth had met Charles Adam Antilles here, on Earth, during his last sojourn at the Academy. Antilles had just been liberated, and they'd become fast friends. Rygo had even sponsored his entry into the Academy. He could hear Charles wrapping up his preamble, so Rygo tapped his combadge. "Lerginas to Motstand. Ready?"
    The reply came. "Affirmative, Admiral."
    "Very good." Rygo tapped off his combadge. He tuned his ears again towards the stage, and heard his cue.

    "And now, without further ado, I present... Vice Admiral Rygobeth Ircretian Lerginas."
    Show time, thought Rygo.

    Rygobeth strode out onto the auditorium stage, a great many cheers coming from the assembled students. After all, less than a year ago, he'd been one of them (again). They were seniors, just starting their final year. The Class of 2410. He had known quite a few of them. Granted, they'd been Freshmen or Sophomores when he graduated, but he'd had many underclassmen as friends. Rygo even thought, just for a moment, that he saw a few familiar faces in the assembly. As he arrived at the podium, he cleared his throat and tapped a control. "Good afternoon, Class of 2410. I am, as Admiral Antilles said, Vice Admiral Lerginas. Some of you may even know me. But, none of that matters at the moment. What does is that the Federation is under attack, and it will eventually fall to YOU to defend it. Ladies and gentlemen... meet the Borg."
    He tapped another control, and the hologram of a drone appeared. "You've seen them before," he said, "in classes. You've likely been taught about assimilation, about the hive mind, about the threat the current invasion poses. Here, now... I will teach you how to fight them. There are a few simple rules that you must ALWAYS follow when engaging the Borg personally."
    His right hand slipped to the left side of his belt, where a dagger was sheathed in plain view. "Rule One," he said. Then, in a flurry of motion, he drew the dagger and stabbed the holo-drone in the throat. It reacted, shuddering from the hit and falling backward when the blade was yanked out. As the holo-drone hit the ground, its holomatrix seemed to shatter like glass - an intended effect the admiral had programmed. "Always carry a melee weapon. Always. The Borg can adapt to phasers. They can adapt to disruptors. In the heat of battle, if the Borg are close, you may not have time to remodulate. And the Borg CANNOT adapt to having their heads cut off. The difference between freedom and assimilation may one day fall to whether or not you followed this rule. It's certainly saved my rear-end on occasion. Doesn't matter if it's a dagger, a katana, or a bat'leth - bring something. Also, if you can get your hands on the replication patterns, there's a Starfleet rifle that was never mass-produced that I've seen used effectively - the TR-116. It fires a chemically-propelled tritanium projectile. The Borg can-t adapt to projectiles, either. Hell, if you can get an antique Earth firearm, those will do, too. Point is, bring something the Collective can't shield themselves from."
    "Rule Two," he said after a pause, "is that the Borg are stupid. I don't mean they're unintelligent, they have intelligence in spades. But they're stupid. It's incredibly easy to lure the Borg into a position of ambush. Use terrain to your advantage - a doorway, a bit of tree cover, a boulder. Pull the Borg through a bottleneck, and have squadmates ready to attack from multiple sides. Take the drones down quickly, you will never have time for a protracted fight."
    Rygobeth sighed, composing himself. He then spoke, his tone slightly more somber. "Rule Three is that... eventually... you will see friends and comrades assimilated. We have the medicine to counteract the process... but many times, on the front line, you won't have the time to access it, if you have access to it at all. And, as any Liberated Drone will tell you, assimilation is a fate worse than death. If you can't help your fallen, there is only one thing to do for them... be merciful. Kill them, quickly. No one should ever have to suffer the ravages of the assimilation process."
    A smile then curled on the admiral's crimson lips. "Rule Four... know your enemy." He tapped his combadge, employing what effectively was a redial mode, and spoke a single word. "Now." Beside him, a transporter stream appeared, and from it materialized... a Borg drone. Mortified gasps rose from the audience, but Rygobeth raised his hand. "Steady. This is Motstand. He is the Chief Field Medic on the USS Determination. He is directly under my command. I liberated him several months ago, but his body was far too heavily wounded, and he became dependent on his implants to survive. Few could be removed safely, so they have all stayed. Motstand has volunteered to be an example of a Borg drone. You are, at this time, permitted to form orderly lines to approach and examine him up close. Know your enemy." With that, he stepped away.
    Half an hour passed, and he was happy to see many cadets approach his officer, examining him. They even asked a multitude of very good questions, and in that regard Motstand provided what he could. He also had a short chance to say hello to the familiar faces he'd seen that had attended, but eventually all of the students returned to their seats. Finally, he made his last statement. "Rule Five... Watch your back. The Borg may be thick, but they're sneaky. They can and will beam drones in behind you. Never be off your guard. Keeping your wits about you, we may once and for all, fight the Borg out of Federation space. We may even eventually end the threat of the Borg forever. And you, the Class of 2410, will be the key to that effort! So go forth! Fight, for your homeworlds, for the Federation... and for all those who desire to live in peace and liberty. I bid you adieu." He began to stride from the podium, Motstand snapping to and falling in behind him, as the assembly rose and a roar of applause washed over them. He left smiling, knowing that what he had said may one day mean victory for the Federation.
  • pwebranflakespwebranflakes Member Posts: 7,741
    edited January 2014
    Thanks to everyone who participated in this challenge! There are a few of your lecture choices that would be pretty interesting to attend. :cool:

    As always, the thread will remain open so feel free to still contribute an entry when you'd like :) Challenge #57 will be up shortly!

    Cheers,

    Brandon =/\=
  • masopwmasopw Member Posts: 157 Arc User
    edited January 2014
    Ooops...sorry...wrong thread...meant to post in discussion forum!
    Admins, please delete!
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