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Literary Challenge #62: All Good Things...

pwecaptainsmirkpwecaptainsmirk Member Posts: 1,167 Arc User
edited April 2014 in Ten Forward
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges! :cool:

Today we start the two-week run of the sixty-second Literary Challenge: All Good Things...e as a special chance for everyone involved with our regular Literary Challenges to express their well wishes and goodbyes to our one and only Admiral BranFlakes.
All Good Things...

You've received a Priority One Communication from Starfleet Command. One of the most decorated and well known Admirals in the Fleet has announced his retirement, and his plans to board a private high-warp vessel to voyage into the unknown. Admiral BranFlakes has saved our Galaxy more times than any officer since the great James T. Kirk, and has single handedly improved our communications with dozens of new species and civilizations, as well as being a key driving force of our alliances with the Romulan Republic. His tireless work with the treaties existing between the Klingon Empire, the Dominion, and the Breen Confederacy have effected a lasting peace across our quadrants. Without his leadership, countless worlds across the Federation would be in a frightful state. Your orders are to return to ESD and accompany your Senior Staff to Admiral BranFlakes disembarkation ceremony. You have been chosen to officiate at this auspicious occasion based on your personal history with the Admiral. Prepare your finest dress uniform and your speech, and report to Admiral Quinn upon arrival. This is a day of honor when we will be allowing representatives from the Romulan Republic and the Klingon Empire to take part in the ceremony as well, so keep your diplomacy skills set to maximum, and return to Earth for the privileged honor of saying farewell to a member of the Star Trek Online family.

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

The rules may change from one challenge to another, but I'd like to remind everyone what the base rules are. These may grow as we move on, so also feel free to give feedback!
  • Each Challenge will run for two weeks. For 2 weeks we will sticky the challenge and let you make your entry.
  • There are no right or wrong entry.
  • The background story, questions I ask, and format requested are only to serve as a platform that you can start your writing from. Feel free to change up the back-story or the way you deliver, as long as the entry stays on topic of the original challenge.
  • Write as little or as much as you would like.
  • Please keep discussion about the entries in the appropriate Discussion Thread.
  • In the Discussion Thread, feel free to write what inspired you and what your thoughts on the topic are.
  • A few other important reminders:
    • Please heed the rest of the forum's rules when submitting your entry! All of them apply to these posts.
    • Each poster can have one entry. Feel free to edit your post to fix typos or add/ remove content as you see fit during the next two weeks.
    • After two weeks time, the thread will be locked and unstickied, as we move on to the next challenge.
    • We'll have two threads: One to post the entries in and one to discuss the entries. **Cross-linking between these two threads is acceptable for these challenges ONLY!!**
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  • aten66aten66 Member Posts: 650 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    "All Good Things..."

    When I first heard a highly esteemed admiral was retiring from Starfleet to go into the unknown, I truly thought it would be Janeway. *Chuckle* But when I heard it was Admiral Felczer, I truly was saddened.

    Admiral Brandon "BranFlakes" Felczer, a man I knew who helped us against the Iconians, one of the driving forces behind a Federation, KDF, and Romulan Republic alliance, and one of the many admirals who had faced the Iconians head on and lived, or at least that's how the stories go.

    I didn't know BranFlakes that well, but knew he was one of the first on the scene when the Romulan Republic was attacked by the Elachi, when the Iconian Gateway was first activated and the fragile alliance was in peril. He was the first to go public to the Federation about the Omega Particles, the deadliest threat we could ever face, let alone a warring society based solely on Omega Particles. He is tactical and diplomatic, and a great poker player next to Captain Data.

    Well, I know he's also left the Fleet in god hands, to Captain 'Smirk'. Trevor McNesby, you better treat Brandon to a stein of Romulan Ale before he leaves for the unknown.


    "... Must Come To Their End."

    To quote an old Earth Comic: "Let's Go Exploring!"

    Go explore BranFlakes, never forget, never surrender, and always Live Long, and don't forget to Prosper.
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    Personal log, Vice Admiral D'trel ir'Aehallah tr'Rihannsu.

    I remember when I first really met Brandon Felczer.

    It was a bitter fight against the Terrans at Vauthil Station. A Terran virus had disabled the Vengeance's computers, and we were dead in space with Terran battleships pounding the shields.

    The Vengeance is a fine ship, but even a retrofitted T'varo-class is just an escort ship. We were maybe three seconds from being pounded into fragments.

    Then Brandon "BranFlakes" Felczer was there, the Avenger gleaming like a sun, and the Terran ships fell in a hail of fire and death. His computer experts beamed over and fixed the virus that had stymied my best officers, and mere minutes later we were back in the fight.

    Now he's retired. I don't know any man who deserves a rest more. He did more for our universe than anyone else I know of.

    I'm a special guest at Earth Spacedock now, watching the Admiral emeritus as he gets into his warp ship, a specially-modified light exploration cruiser, almost entirely automated and equipped with Starfleet's latest technology. His mission: To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where none have gone before.

    The universe awaits him. Knowing that man's luck, he'll be halfway to the Andromeda galaxy before he has even a tiny holodeck glitch.

    I'm not jealous, though. If there's anyone who deserves that kind of luck, it's Brandon Felczer.

    He's cleared ESD's perimeter now. Only seconds left.

    Goodbye, Brandon, I think. Thank you for saving me.

    And he's gone. Blasted off in a transwarp jump.

    Good luck. And may the Elements protect you.

    End log.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
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  • lordmentallordmental Member Posts: 30 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    It took me a few days to figure out exactly what I am going to say. Even then, it went through significant rewrites. Eventually, I decided to toss the PADD out the airlock, and speak from the heart.

    Space is truly vast - and there are many stories to be told, some as of yet unwritten. We cannot forget that Starfleet has gone through many commanding officers who have left their own impact on the Federation and the galaxy at large. Who among us does not remember the legends of Roddenberry, Archer, Kirk, Picard, Sisko or Janeway? Each of these commanders have been responsible for shaping our galaxy as it is today, even if they were unaware of the lasting legacy of their contribution.

    We gather here to salute a man who has left his own indelible mark on the history of Starfleet.

    Admiral Felczer, may the stars guide you to the final frontier.
  • heavystar1985heavystar1985 Member Posts: 5 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    >>"Personal log, Stardate: too close,

    this is probably my last entry... my last entry about a good old friend.
    My crew wasn't prepared about his leave - and even if I can't show it to them - so wasn't I.
    Admiral BranFlakes was more then Starfleets finest communications expert. He was a friend. A friend to cadets, admirals or even to the gardener.
    I remember one particulary moment in the last years: Beside a shuttle mission at the Rhi colony, I asked him, if Starfleet Academy would be able to open the airspace for new cadets to train with shuttles on earth. He taught me that - especially the academy - is no shuttle 'playground' - yet.
    But times may change. And as unpredictable the happening of this described event is, as unpredictable was Admiral BranFlakes retirement. But anything can happen as we need to accept it. And so, it is my honor and my duty to say 'farewell', 'qapla' and 'jolan tru' to Admiral Brandon 'BranFlakes' Felczer, communications expert, fleet captain and friend. Thank you. "
    Computer, save log and transmitting it to Admiral Quinn. <<
  • gavriil1983gavriil1983 Member Posts: 71 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    *written as my vulcan T'varis*

    "Personal log, Vice admiral T'varis L'MAYET;
    It is in most unfortunate circumstances that I will relate to my crew the retirement of Admiral Brandon Felczer.
    Very few humans have contributed to the diversity of starfleet as he has, and it is a loss to the fleet that we are saying farewell to such a valuable officer.
    I am sure that many in starfleet and the allied forces in the romulan republic will no doubt grieve this loss for some time.
    However, I choose to honour his many contributions and offer the traditional vulcan farewell salutation as he goes into parts unknown
    'Live long and prosper'.
    my first officer would no doubt say some quirky human sentiment such as 'Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine'.
    I never understood this saying, until now."

    *End personal log*
  • grylakgrylak Member Posts: 1,572 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    Talaina was lying in her bunk, pillow propped up against the wall to elevate her head slightly. An ice pack was sitting on her stomach as she drank some cold Mango juice, reading through the current news reports that came over the Federation Datanet. The Viper was on some down time, holding position with the rest of Task Force Omega, following the ceasing of activities in the Dyson Spheres. It gave Claire Dotson a chance to fiddle with the warp engines. Xui Li was able to catalog what inventory was left on the ship and what would need replacing next time they put into dock. T'Fon and Ttorkkin was recalibrating the sensors. Jenna was off on one of the lower decks somewhere trying to put together a band. Talaina hoped she had good luck with that, there wasn't alot of people to choose from on a Defiant class ship.



    Talaina smiled as she read an article stating the Bonaventure had been found. That was a relief. She hoped her friend was still alive. She made a mental note to try and contact him soon. Obviously the guy would need a bit of time to calm down and debrief Starfleet following his ordeal. Assuming he was alive.


    She scrolled to the next article and stopped, her eyebrows raising ever so slgihtly in surprise. Huh. Admiral Felczer was retiring. Talaina didn't think he was that old. But come to think of it, he did seem to be a perminant fixture at the Academy every year. She didn't know him well, only ever having talked to him directly once during her Academy days when a holodeck had malfunctioned and he was passing, pausing to ask why this cadet was beating up one of Quark's Leeta holograms. The holodeck had malfunctioned and given the Orion Ninja she was meant to be sparring with the appearance of Leeta, with the safety's off. The Admiral had helped shut down the holodeck and get the cadet out in one piece. It was the only time she had directly interacted with the Admiral, but she had always followed his broadcasts on the Datanet, under the author name 'Branflakes'. She never did get why he had named himself after some Earth food, but she had found him warm and genuine. His broadcasts had always been funny and full of information. She was going to miss the broadcasts, but wished him all the best with his future.


    She noted there was going to be an official send off at Earth. Even at maximum warp, Viper would not make it in time. Even Transwarp would have to push it. And they were told to wait with the rest of the Task Force. Talaina adjusted the ice pack.


    "Sail well Admiral. May you fly with the wind at your back and the stars guiding you. May the Ice never stop you from reaching you goal, and the warmth will keep you strong."



    Taking a sip from her drink, she scrolled to the next news item.
    *******************************************

    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'
  • squatsaucesquatsauce Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    Flag Admiral Khas Ker'at, Starfleet's (thankfully) only Arkathian officer gripped the podium in his secondary manipulator appendages and gazed meaningfully out at the assembled Starfleet officers and foreign dignitaries.

    "There is a man among us to whom we owe much. A man who's filthy mammalian gravitas has done much to build goodwill and trust among the races of this quadrant. A man who smells slightly of mint. We are here today to thank this man for everything he's done." Khas gestured delicately with his mantis-like bladed forelimbs and double-checked his prepared speech.

    "It was Admiral BranFlakes' superb diplomatic skills that helped solidify our alliance against the Voth and Iconians. It was Admiral BranFlakes' unerring commitment to the Prime Directive that compelled him to not intervene when the primitive peoples of Yan Sindra were threatened with extinction. And it was his foresight and leadership that allowed the Federation to build a thriving multi-species community in the ruins of their doomed civilization two years later."

    "If I could feel anything save loathing towards the human species, I would have expressed a great deal of this 'not-loathing' for a man who served as an example of what it means to serve. Thank you, Admiral, your service and your time. Though we may part ways, you will remain with us in memory, a memory reinforced by the nineteen-foot-tall bronze statue of you we have erected at Starfleet Academy.

    Khas stepped down from the podium, but no one clapped or even acknowledged he was there. Of course, he had died several weeks ago, so that's only to be expected.
  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    Ael left main engineering, heading for the turbolift, when she heard quick, heavy footsteps catching up to her. Gritting her teeth, she stopped and turned to face Three.

    "I'm in a hurry, Captain," she sighed. "What do you want?"

    "I was just wondering if Romulan and Vulcan chicks're the same..." Three purred, running her gaze lasciviously over Ael.

    "In what way?" Ael asked hesitantly, knowing she was likely going to regret the answer. "Romulans and Vulcans are descended from the same species..."

    Three leaned against the corridor bulkhead, and ran her fingers along the fastener of her jumpsuit.

    "Well, Vulcans only do it once every seven years," she said. "I wondered if Romulans were the same."

    Ael chuckled lightly and shook her head.

    "The pon farr is the result of Vulcans constantly repressing their emotions," she replied. "A person, even a Vulcan, can only repress themselves for so long before that repression causes behavioral anomalies. I understand pair-bonded Humans experience a similar behavioral disturbance which they refer to as the Seven Year Itch. So no, Romulans do not undergo the pon farr, because we do not repress our passions."

    "That's what I was hoping to hear," Three admitted.

    Ael raised an eyebrow.

    "Well, let's see," she murmured. Reaching out, she grabbed Three's crotch and with an exageratedly curious expression on her face, flexed her fingers. "Oh, that's a shame..."

    "What?"

    Ael removed her hand and folded her arms across her chest.

    "I had a Brazillian classmate at the academy," she said. "We visited Rio one summer and spent most the time at the beach and the carnival, so I'm more than well acquainted with the Human's third sex. I thought that's what you were... But, I'm afraid you lack the, uh, equipment, that I like in a partner, so let's call an end to the clumsy seduction attempts before I report you for sexual harassment. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get changed as Admiral Felczer's leaving ceremony is due to start on Spacedock, and I need to get into my dress whites."

    With a sickly sweet grin, Ael turned away from Three and walked towards the turbolift as briskly as she could without appearing to hurry.

    Three watched her walk away.

    "Shemales," she murmured. "You kinky b*tch..."
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  • kazisakikazisaki Member Posts: 7 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    All good things...

    Vice Admiral Chester "Antox" Horatio was in his ships ready room when a message came through his display screen.

    "Bridge to Captain Antox" came the voice of his Executive officer Commander K'shaph, the two of them had known each other since their initial tour of duty on the Tselinoyarsk and like many members of class 2409 had both gone on to do amazing things.
    "Captain here" he replied. "we are receiving a priority one communique from Starfleet Command" Antox swivled his chair around to face his computer screen "patch it through." it was text only informing of him of the impending retirement of one of Starfleets more famous Admirals. Admiral Brandon Felczer. he had never had the pleasure of meeting him in person,and Antox looked up to men like him. enterprising individuals like him that paved roads between people originally considered enemies of the federation now becoming allies. paving the way for the future and helping to advance Starfleets purpose. to seek out new lifeforms, and new civilizations.

    Antox hailed main engineering, his cheif engineer LT Commander Ensasov responded "yes Captain?" "Hello, i know we have a rotation scheduled to refit the ships warp coils 20 hours from now." he started "captain are you about to ask me what i think you are?" the engineer started "will you be able to squeeze any more power through those coils before they burn out?" "Captain... where do you need us to go in such a hurry" Lt Commander Ensasov asked with some concern in his voice. the captain responded "i need us to get to earth space dock within the next 48 hours can you do that for me?" Lt Commander Ensasov responded "itl require pushing the engines way past the red line for the full time but we should get back to ESD within 47 hours..." he said

    Antox finished "that's cutting it close but it will have to do. make the necessary preparations." he cut the channel and left his chair exiting the ships ready room and going onto the bridge. it was an origin type bridge, Commander K'shaph was sitting in the command chair her Andorian features now clearly visible, a large amount of his crew were Andorian as well. not counting many guest officers from many other cultures Jem Hadar, Breen, Reman, Gorn and even Voth "Captain on the bridge" the commander said standing up and moving to the first officers seat. captain Antox sat down and pressed a few buttons on a hidden panel on his chair "Now hear this" he had accessed the ship wide intercom

    "we are about to take a bit of a gamble with our ship here, a priority one message from Starfleet Command has informed me that Admiral Felczer is retiring, many of you may know the name many of you may have been fortunate enough to meet him. i believe the Guan Yu should give him an appropriate send off worthy of an Admiral of his caliber, make it so nobody forgets his name as makes his way towards the undiscovered country and in true Starfleet tradition, goes boldly where no man, where no one has gone before."

    "Close channel, Helm set course for Earth Maximum Warp"

    "ready sir"

    "do it."

    the Avenger class vessel performed a graceful 180 degree turn lining itself up with the best course for earth, it picked up speed and the nacelles glowed as the warp coils were energized one last time. and in a flash of light it flew towards its destination
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • destroyer831642destroyer831642 Member Posts: 58 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    “Captain’s log, Stardate 91874.21

    The Calico Jack is now in spacedock after I helped Captain Va’Kel Shon with testing out new anti-Undine weaponry for first Contact Day. We have just received a hail from Admiral Quinn saying that Fleet Admiral BranFlakes is retiring, and I have been called to lead the disembarkation ceremony. This…this is a great honor, both for me and for the crew of the Calico Jack. I wonder why I was chosen for this honor, despite my rank, I don’t have near the resume of Captain Shon, or the prestige, why was I chosen? I guess one would have to ask Starfleet command. But, reason or no, I am now the keynote speaker of the disembarkation ceremony. I have already alerted the senior staff, and they will be in their best dress uniforms for the occasion. Now, to create a speech…

    Meanwhile, the announcement had sent ripples throughout the quadrants, and the ceremony was going to be broadcast all over the alpha and beta quadrants. Reporters were clamoring to get in the Admiral’s ready room on board his ship, the U.S.S. Avenger, and, being the friendly guy he is, he usually accepted them in. The admiral was a fairly aged man, his silver hair matching the hull of his ship. One of the reporters asked him, “Admiral, why are you retiring?”

    “Family. Life is too short to miss out on some very important family moments coming up, and with a few exceptions, my entire family is in SoCal.”

    “Did the previous battle against the Iconian-Undine forces have any influence in your decision?”

    “Yes…how could it not? We all lost a lot of friends during that battle, it was the battle that reminded me that life is short, and with my life in its latter stages, I realized that…Starfleet will go on without me, Captain Smirk will be a fine successor.”

    “How tough was this decision, to leave Starfleet?”

    “It was a very tough decision to make, but the support from my colleagues, as well as my family and friends, has been extraordinary. And honestly, please know this: if our current transporters had the range to transport from lightyears away, I would do it in a heartbeat. But with this war with the Undine heating up, our alliances, that I have worked so hard to build, fraying, and the rising presences in the quadrant, I realized that this is a young man’s era, and my era has passed.”

    Ambassadors from all over were coming to Earth Spacedock to offer well-wishes to the Admiral. The Romulans, the Klingons, the Cardassians, the Bajorans, the Dominion, Earth Spacedock was filled with more species than you would ever imagine! It was an incredible hassle to get anywhere! But the day was near at hand. Des practiced his speech over and over in his ready room, he asked his bridge officers to help tweak it, over and over, until it was exactly perfect! The day had arrived, the ceremony was at 1200 hours. Des dressed in his best uniform that he had, his diplomatic uniform, as per standard, it was largely white, and it had red trim inside. His bridge staff also got their diplomatic uniforms, at least all that had them, (which made it rather uncomfortable for Wisel, who, as a liberated borg drone, had lost most of his body and had it replaced with machines, he essentially had no clothes…) At around 0800, Des beamed down to Earth Spacedock from the Calico Jack, “Good thing the Transporter pads are clear, or else that would have been messy.” He thought as he saw the bustle of people inside the transporter room alone. He had taken 6 of his most senior officers with him. Takerra, his Andorian first officer, who he had known for almost his entire career, even from the first moments on board the Horatio Nelson. Next, he had Kengla, his Betazoid wife and chief Medical officer. Next, Kafruss, his Klingon chief of Engineering, Several females, both Klingon and otherwise noted how well he cleaned up. The Orion female Tugo, the Breen Sek, and the Jem’Hadar Tamata’Rax were also there, he decided against taking Wisel, for aforementioned reasons. While that was all Des was taking personally to the ceremony with him, the rest of the Senior staff were in various areas milling around the station. While Des and his senior staff were shuffling their way toward the stateroom, where the ceremony would be taking place, Des got an odd feeling, “this place is awfully crowded…perfect place for an Undine infiltrator…” He tapped his combadge, “Des to senior staff, be on the lookout for Undine, they were brazen enough to attack Mars, this is the perfect place for them.”

    “Aye captain!”

    “Lorix, because of your telepathy, you are our best shot at catching them, be on alert. However, do not contact me, Kengla, Takerra, Sek, Tamata, or Tugo if you find something, you have to fix it yourselves.”

    “Yes, sir.”

    Lorix went down to the level right beneath the main level, where there was surprisingly almost no one there, and just sat, and waited. Waiting for a potential Undine signature.

    1200 hours had come, everyone had already piled into the stateroom. Admiral Quinn stood up to lead the ceremony,

    “Ladies, Gentlemen, polysexual and unisexual beings alike, welcome. Today we are here to honor the career of an esteemed Admiral of Starfleet. Admiral BranFlakes has been an instrumental member of Starfleet, and the Avenger has been a mainstay of the fleet for decades. Now, we are gathered to honor that career, to honor the man. So now, I present, today’s keynote speaker, Vice Admiral Des Troy Roberts LXXXIII."

    The room roared with applause as Des as he took the stage. He breathed in, and out as he began to speak, you could hear a pin drop…

    “Thank you, Admiral Quinn. Truly, Admiral BranFlakes has touched us all in ways we can’t even imagine. He has served Starfleet for decades, and risen countless times above and beyond the call of duty. Truly, few have done more for Starfleet in its entire history. He has forged alliances with the Romulans, the Klingons, and a dozen other species. He has discovered more species in his time here than anyone in Federation history, and has embodied the phrase, “To boldly go where no one has gone before” like no one else on record. He has fought valiantly against the 2800, against the Iconians, the Breen, and others, all in defense off the Federation. But truly his record but scratches the surface of his contributions to the Federation, nay, the GALAXY! Truly he was the people’s admiral, for without his efforts, this galaxy would be much different, much more hostile. When we look back fifty, a hundred, TWO hundred years from now, the name BranFlakes, and the exploits will be told in glory on every tongue from Earth to the loresingers on Qo’Nos! It is truly an honor for any of us to be standing here today for this momentous occasion! But he is more than a man, as we should all strive to be, he is a role model for all those who would wish to join Starfleet, he…was even my own role model… For as a young man, I dreamed of being the captain of my own starship, wishing to be just like him, now…standing here, being the one to present this speech,” Des…began to cry… “It truly is one of the greatest honors I can ever receive, and for that, I thank Starfleet Command. But now, as all things must, the illustrious career of the Admiral has…come to an end. Enemies and allies alike, friends and foes, we will all miss you Admiral. You have done a great service for us all.” Des said, now, almost completely breaking down, “Now, I guess the only thing left to say…is…” He held up his hand in the Vulcan salute… “Live long…and prosper…”

    Not a dry eye was watching as the crowd stood to their feet in roaring applause. A few more speakers took the stand, each better than the last. After the ceremony ended, Des tapped his commbadge,

    “Roberts to Lorix, come in Lorix.”

    “We got ‘em Captain, but Wisel is hurt, badly, we already had him transported to the station’s medbay, they say he is stable.”

    “Thank you, Lorix, we’ll meet you there.”

    To be concluded…
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  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 8,312 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    Transcript of Federation News Service Special, Brandon Felczer: A Look Back, segment 17. Interviewee Capt. Grunt, commanding USS Bedford NCC-92570. Interviewer Rebecca Sheldon, senior Starfleet correspondent.

    RS: Thank you, Captain, for agreeing to join us this evening.

    G: My pleasure, Ms Sheldon. The Bedford's on a routine patrol just now, and your interview comes as a bit of a refreshment, to be quite honest.

    RS: The first question on everyone's mind, of course, is why you weren't invited to attend the Fleet Admiral's sendoff in person, particularly given the non-urgent nature of your current assignment. Are you worried there may be some lingering prejudice against dual-citizenship officers?

    G: Against Ferengi, you mean? (chuckles) Not really, no, especially at a function devoted to Admiral Felczer. His was one of the main voices pushing the dual-citizenship program, you know, back when he was with the Diplomatic Corps. If he hadn't been afflicted with more than the Human normal amount of desire for adventure, he could have carved out quite a career there. If I were to try to pick out the single being in all the Federation with the least prejudice toward any other life forms, it would have to be him.

    RS: Then how do you explain the seeming snub?

    G: (grins disarmingly; fangs mildly spoil the effect) Who says I was "snubbed"? In fact, almost every ship in the Fleet got an invite. By the time we were able to respond, the Bedford couldn't get within a parsec of Sol system - too much traffic!

    RS: Did you know the Admiral personally, Captain?

    G: Not well, of course, but who in Starfleet doesn't have a Felczer story or two? He was the commander on my cadet cruise, in fact, back when he was still commanding the Venture in between Academy lectures. I was at the weapons console when we ran into a squad of Nausicaan mercenaries in the outer fringes of Procyon system - they were preying on Andorian shipping, and I guess the Capt- ah, the Admiral now, had promised he'd take a look. We were pretty badly outmatched, at least according to standard procedures. Too bad for the Nausicaans that Felczer never met a standard procedure he couldn't ignore. He pulled a variation on the Picard Maneuver, then set an external holoemitter to project a mirror image of the Venture - it was the first use of what's now a fairly standard system, only of course now the images even have the ability to produce damage. We didn't have that then. Confused the mercs long enough for Felczer to drop their shields with a viral-matrix attack, though, then launch a full spread of photon torpedoes into them. (shakes his head) I actually felt kind of sorry for them. Poor [expletive deleted] never knew what hit them.

    RS: Er, yes, I can understand...

    G: My chief tactical officer, Commander Shelana, even had the honor of taking courses in advanced starship tactics under the Admiral during the time Starfleet tried to make him stay at the Academy. That's saved our lives a few times. You've heard the phrase "thinking out of the box"? I'm not sure the Admiral even knew there was a box. And if he had known, he'd have wanted to know if there were any cookies in it.

    RS: It sounds as if Admiral Felczer will be badly missed, now that he's retiring.

    G: He certainly will. I'm sure Fleet Captain McNesby will perform the job admirably, but nobody will ever be like ol' Branflakes.

    RS: Thank you again, Captain Grunt. Coming up next, we'll hear a few words from Captain Talaina of the USS Viper, after these words from our sponsors.
    "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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  • mli777mli777 Member Posts: 90 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    Part One, the unofficial "per-Ceremony"

    Wednesday, April 9, 2414
    Primary Hangar Bay, Deck 6, U.S.S. Canada, 1500 kilometres Over Western North America, Earth
    4:54:09 PM Pacific Time

    The massive Hangar was cleared of most shuttlecraft, which were either stowed below on Deck 7, or were moved to Spacedock for maintenance. The ship's Delta-Class shuttle, "The Arrow," was the only shuttlecraft on the main hangar deck, painted White with red "Lightning Bolt" stripes on either side, along with the Blue, White, Red Maple Leaf roundel of the Pre-WWIII Royal Canadian Air Force. In front of "The Arrow" was a dias flanked by collapsible chairs set up in two rows. The hangar was draped in the Flag of the United Federation of Planets, as well as the historical flags of the United States of America and Canada. The Starfleet Pennant was also draped from the ceiling of the Hangar Bay.

    In front of the dais, all 800 crewmembers and officers of the U.S.S. Canada stood at ease in parade formations, separated by departments and specialties. The ship's contingent of 80 MACO soldiers were also standing in formation, with deputy commander Captain Jeremy Simonds standing in front of his men. Off to the side, the ship's band, with members from every department, held their polished instruments, and checked the PADDs that replaced the music sheets of years past. In the centre of the formations, a colour party of security officers and MACO troops bore the Canadian and American flags, along with the flag of the Federation. In front of the entire crew, Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan MacDonald, the seniormost NCO of the Canada, stood at ease, with an immaculate infantry sword in his hand. They were now awaiting a very special guest. In the seats flanking the dais, members of the Canadian Starfleet Regiment, the family and friends of the special guest, as well as a few others sat awaiting for the event to start.

    Observers who weren't aware of the ship's traditions would have been surprised by the lack of Starfleet uniforms present. Instead, everyone was dressed in ceremonial dress uniforms from a much different era. The MACOs were dressed in the uniform of the Canadian Army, circa 2020, with British-styled military insignias and all wielding C7A2 Assault Rifles with bayonets fixed. Security officers were dressed in the iconic Red Serge uniforms of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, while the rest of the crew were dressed in the uniforms of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

    At 5:00 PM Sharp, the main entrance doors to the Hangar were opened as seven officers marched onto the hangar deck, as CPO1 MacDonald Bellowed out, "Pa-rade! Atten-tion!" A second later, the hangar boomed as nearly nine hundred people stomped to attention. The arriving officers marched to just in front of the Dias. Spectators noticed the seniormost officer, dressed in the ceremonial dress uniform of the Royal Canadian Navy, with a peaked cap embroidered with gold oak leaves. His sleeves bore the rank of Vice-Admiral, and a neat row of medals was displayed. Vice-Admiral Lee, the Commanding Officer of U.S.S. Canada, looked straight out of the 21st Century. He ordered his senior officers to fall in, taking command of the different departments. Soon, the crew stood at ease, awaiting the arrival of the guest.

    Outside the hangar, Admiral Brandon Felczer stood, a bit surprised as he looked strangely at his uniform, wondering how the hell Vice-Admiral Lee convinced him to let the Canada honour his retirement this way. He was donned in the uniform of the United States Navy, bearing the rank of Admiral, as he was about to have an old school military parade in his honour. As he entered the Hangar, he felt as nearly 900 pairs of parade boots bang the decking as the parade stood at attention. He soon made his way to the dais, after which the ceremony began.

    "Parade, General Salute, Present, Arms!"

    The MACOs presented arms, as the Officers lowered their swords. Then the band began to play a short music, followed by the anthem of the United States of America and then the national anthem of Canada.

    After the salute, Vice-Admiral Lee exchange another set of salutes before leading Admiral Felczer on an inspection of the assembled crew. Due to the size of the parade, it would take a while to finish the inspection. Subsequently, the retiring Admiral was directed to stand on the dais, as Vice-Admiral Lee ordered the crew to prepare for a march past.

    "By the Centre, Quick march!"

    Brandon watched as the parade marched around the hangar, as the band played "Heart of Oak," "The Great Little Army March," and the "RCAF March Past." The different departments snapped a salute as they marched past the dais, with Admiral Felczer returning the salute. He was surprised to see crewmen and officers, whether be Human, Vulcan, Andorian, Tellarite, Trill, Caitian, Betazoid, Deltan, Rigelian, Romulan, Reman, Klingon, Orion, and even a few Voth, marching together, all apparently sharing in this ship-based tradition.

    Following the March Past, Vice-Admiral Lee stood alongside Admiral Felczer on the dias, as a lectern was transported onto the platform. Lee approached the lectern and took out a sheet of handwritten paper as he began to make his speech.

    "Admiral Felczer, Admiral Kelley," he noted the commander of the Canadian Starfleet Regiment, "ladies and gentlemen, and last but not least the crew of the starship Canada, we are gathered tonight to celebrate the career and legacy of one of the finest members of Starfleet. There will be a more official ceremony taking place at Spacedock on the 11th, but this parade is my crew's gift for you, Admiral."

    "I had met Admiral Brandon Felczer many times in my career, be it at formal ceremonies, receptions, meetings, or several occasions where he had save by rear-end. I will never forget the day when then Vice-Admiral Felczer first saved this ship The Canada was ambushed by a dozen Tal Shiar Warships, including a Scimitar dreadnought, while we were exploring the Eridan Belt. The Canada's shields were failing, the bulkhead were beginning to strain from evasive manoeuvres, we were down to less than 30 torpedoes, and the dreadnought was about to deploy their Thalaron pulse. Then, the U.S.S. Avenger arrived, phasers and torpedoes showering the Tal Shiar. This sunnuva gun then buzzed past my ship, went right in front of the dreadnought, then blew the ship to pieces."


    Lee mock-glared at the smug-looking Admiral

    "And you still won't tell me how the hell you managed to do that. Ladies and Gentlemen, this man managed to beam a tricobalt warhead past the dreadnought's secondary shields, and the primary shields, which I might add were at full strength, right into the Thaleron Generator room.

    But aside from his blasted stunt, Admiral Felczer has maintained the core principles of Starfleet and the Federation. We must applaud his mediation between the Federation, the Klingon Empire, and the Romulan Republic to form the Dyson Joint Command, as well as his leadership following the 2800 crisis...."


    Friday, April 11, 2414

    Stateroom A, Earth Spacedock
    10:00:00 AM Station time

    The Official Ceremony began for Admiral Felczer, today dressed in his Starfleet uniform. Vice-Admiral Lee was the officiator of this ceremony, and was today dressed in a more Starfleet-standard dress uniform as a Starfleet Vice-Admiral, though the insignia of the Canadian Starfleet Regiment was displayed on his left arm. Dignitaries from the "Big Three" powers, including the Federation President, Ambassador Worf (in a rare visit to Earth), Proconsul D'Tan, Fleet Admiral Quinn, Captain Shon, Commander Jarok, Captain Koren, and many, many others were assembled in the cavernous stateroom.

    This was a more formal ceremony, with many speeches to be made regarding the exemplary career of Admiral Felczer, along with anecdotes of his past...
    USS Canada
    N.C.C. 171867
    Sovereign Class
    Saint John Fleet Yard
    "A Mari Usque Ad Mare"
  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    She finished pulling her hair up into a regulation-style bun, then pulled on her white diplomatic jacket. Twisting at the waist to see how her posterior looked in the dress pants, the Captain smiled inwardly.

    "Oh, you look beautiful and you know it."

    Kathryn Beringer turned away from the window toward the other woman in the room. Behind her, the grand interior of Earth Spacedock revealed several Federation starships ships in various states of mooring or repair. Her own ship, Solaris had the starboard nacelle removed and several Work Bee shuttlecraft buzzing around the hull. Kathryn requested a room with a direct view to her ship to be able to see the status of repairs.

    "Thank you. I appreciate the kind words." Staza Murai was flirting and Kathryn pushed aside the small advance.

    The Orion smirked and pulled her own long dark-green hair over her left shoulder and tugged at it's length. "I'm being honest. Tales of the infamous "Scarlet Scorpion" are exaggerated. You have a soft side."

    Kathryn walked toward the restroom to finish applying make-up. "I hope you can appreciate a need to be strong in the face of adversaries."

    Staza nodded to no one in the room. "Oh, I can certainly appreciate that. It's just refreshing to see. Anyway, remind me why we are here?"

    "Besides a major repair for the ship? Admiral Felczer is retiring and has decided to personally chart unexplored space. Several Captains have been invited to his send-off."

    "So, with so many ship Captains here, doesn't that mean they are not somewhere else? Like defending territory or protecting the innocent?"

    Kathryn poked her head out of the bathroom. "What's your point?"

    Staza shrugged. "It just seems like a lot of resources are being spent for one man. He is just a man after all."

    "From a certain point of view. He is a hero, so to speak, of the Federation. Honestly though, my presence is coincidental." Kathryn thumbed toward the window.

    "Ah, so you are not really here for the Admiral?"

    Kathryn stepped back into the bathroom. "I never met the man personally. But when Starfleet Command wanted to promote me to Vice Admiral, Felczer supported my appeal to remain as Captain. He didn't have to do that, but he did. And for that, I would have come anyway."

    Staza's curiosity was piqued. "You turned down promotion? Why? Doesn't higher rank have prestige?" She stood from the bed and walked to the door, knowing Kathryn was almost finished dressing up.

    Kathryn appeared and was fixing a second ruby-red stud earring to an ear while walking to the dresser. "Yes. But I'm not interested in that and the higher responsibility would distract from other obligations."

    "Like hunting the Orion Syndicate?" Staza's arms were crossed as she spoke.

    The comment stopped Kathryn at the dresser and she looked at herself for a few seconds in the mirror. She turned several responses in her mind while also being satisfied with her appearance.

    "I'm not apologizing for what I have accomplished. And the Syndicate has not apologized for what they have done. So I will grind whatever grist the mill requires to fulfill my duty." Kathryn placed her combadge onto her jacket in the regulation distance from the collarbone and armpit above her left breast. She then turned to the Orion ambassadorial attach
  • superhombre777superhombre777 Member Posts: 147 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    Three days after the events of LC56, How ch'Raul Punched His Captain in the Face...and Got Away With It.

    Beta Quadrant, Orion Sector


    Captain T'Panna waited for the ship to exit warp near Starbase 24. She remembered her former captain and lover, Everett Carter, telling her about the necessity of being present and accessible to the crew: "Everyone knows that the captain is busy, but that doesn't mean you get to hide in the ready room and write reports. The officers want their captain to share experiences with them. And yes, sometimes that means sitting on the bridge for the last ten minutes of the journey to talk with the staff before they arrive at someplace horribly boring."

    The memory caused her some mental anguish. She remembered the discussion because it helped her career, but now that Carter was dead, she wished that more of her mental activities were focused on remembering their short romantic relationship. She still couldn't remember the night before he died, or even the last words that they shared. If I truly loved him, wouldn't I remember those things?

    Her thoughts were interrupted by Counselor ch'Raul clearing his throat. She looked at the central display and saw that they had arrived at Starbase 24. The helm officer was probably waiting for her order.

    "Standard orbit," she said as she stood. "Send a ship-wide message stating that we will be docked here for twenty-four hours before departing for the Solanae Dyson Sphere." She sat back down and looked at ch'Raul.

    "You were lost in your thoughts again," he said quietly. "Were you thinking about Carter? Or dreaming about the luxuries about one of the most decrepit starbases in the fleet?"

    "I think you know the answer to that," T'Panna replied. "How long was I out for?"

    "It wasn't long, perhaps two minutes max. The bridge crew was focused on their short leave, so I doubt anyone noticed. They were just going through the motions to get out of here."

    A high-pitched voice interrupted them. "Sir, the Executor has detected an unusually high number of shuttlecraft in stationary orbit around Starbase 24 and has automatically raised shields while performing a threat assessment."

    Threat assessment? T'Panna's mind started racing. "Thank you, ensign...?"

    "Elsayed, sir."

    "That's a nice feature in a brand-new ship," ch'Raul noted. "Did you ask for that?"

    "Not at all," T'Panna replied. "Ensign, perform a thorough sensor sweep of all ships in orbit. Look for non-standard configurations or any variations that suggest terrorism."

    The bridge was silent for a few moments. Then Elsayed's console chirped. "We are being hailed by the starbase," the ensign said.

    "On screen."

    The image of an old Denobulan appeared. "Starship Executor, this is Starbase 24 control. Why are you scanning the ships in orbit?"

    T'Panna remembered how Carter would roll his eyes when faced with an unintelligent question. He would take the time to point out the foolishness of the question before getting back to the situation at hand. While practical, there was a certain lack of...

    Counselor ch'Raul's voice interrupted her thoughts. "...just seemed unusual for so many shuttlecrafts to be parked in orbit here. I don't remember Starbase 24 being a shuttlecraft repair facility. So why do you have so many parked in orbit?"

    "Your thoughtfulness is appreciated, but I assure you that there are no terrorists hiding here. Your crew is safe to disembark. Lower your shields and enjoy your stay. Control out." The Denobulan's image disappeared.

    "Why don't you go back to your quarters? I'm going to look into this a bit more, and then I'll join you."

    T'Panna's heart warmed at the thought of spending more time with ch'Raul...except that if I loved Carter, I wouldn't be so fascinated by ch'Raul. She stood up and headed towards the turbolift.
    ---

    Ch'Raul knew that something unusual was going on, but it wasn't immediately obvious. Why would the starbase personnel keep track of who scanned adjacent ships? They must be hiding something.

    He walked over to Ensign Elsayed. "Ensign, I'd like you to run tight-beam scans on every shuttlecraft, one at a time. Someone is hiding something here, and I'd like to find out."

    Then he walked to the captain's chair and requested a listing of events planned at the starbase. The only unusual one was a retirement party for Commander Felczer, an operations officer. Who reserved that must conference space for a two-day retirement party?

    It took a while for ch'Raul to sift through the bureaucratic noise and nonsense before learning the real situation. Then he erased all of the records of his search.
    ---

    Ensign Elsayed realized that she was alone on the bridge of a starship for the first, and probably only, time in her life. For a moment she wondered if she was actually in charge, but a quick check of the duty roster told her that Lieutenant Mohapatra was just late.

    She stood and started to slowly circle the bridge, taking in the details that would normally escape her. She paused next to the tactical station and imagined just how stressful life as a tactical officer would be. Her goal was to eventually graduate from gamma-shift helm to something noteworthy, but what kind of dedication would it take?

    A blue hand rested on top of the console. "I wouldn't fire if I were you," the counselor said. Elsayed startled and barely bit back a scream.

    "At ease, ensign," ch'Raul continued. "You are welcome to wander while there is nothing else to do. I do have one request though - forget about the large number of shuttlecrafts and our examination into it."

    "May I ask why, sir?"

    "You may not, because you forgot about the incident," ch'Raul replied. "And it looks like you have the bridge now. Enjoy whatever time you have off during this stop."

    The counselor walked away, leaving Elsayed in utter confusion.
    ---

    The computer informed ch'Raul that T'Panna was in his quarters, not hers. This gave him time to assess the situation. She was likely in bed, curled in a fetal position, overwhelmed with guilt over her conflicting emotions. Decades of mental discipline had crumbled with Carter's death, and ch'Raul knew that his actions had caused part of the problem. There was nothing wrong with them finding happiness in each other, but the timing was too soon.

    At least she had forgotten about the abundance of shuttlecraft. She didn't need to worry about it, especially now that he knew what was actually going on.

    He paused, took a deep breath, and entered his quarters.
  • drajoradrajora Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    "Good Morning Commander. What disasters unfolded during the night?"

    "We responded to three mechanical-cause distress calls, gave directions to a half-blind freighter, cleared a viral infection on Ganymede, intimidated a Ferengi, and shipped medical supplies to a supply depot out by Saturn."

    "Mmm. We get anything from the Ferengi?"

    "A very grudging 5% discount on self-sealing stem bolts, so long as we let him loot Mining Station 17-Beta-5. We discouraged him, so..."

    "No discount. Well, the quartermaster will just have to live with his disappointment. What's on the docket for today then?"

    "Starfleet Cartography has requested an update of Grid 887, mapping the Oort Cloud. We're en-route there now. We have thirteen freighters scheduled for departure through that sector, and we are assigned customs inspection for arrivals in Grid 800 through 899. Oh, and you still have a waiting invite for Admiral Branflakes's farewell."

    "Commander Tala, this is never to be repeated, but thank the Gods for routine busywork. Send my deepest regrets to Admiral Quinn, but I will be unable to attend the ceremony today."

    "Captain?"

    "Don't get me wrong. Admiral Branflakes is one of the best in Starfleet. He was the one that gave me command of the Rampart. We fought together against the Gorn Incursion in 2408, and we shared bloodwine with Ambassador Worf after the third Khitomer conference. I sent my farewell gift in to him a week ago. But the real thing is our little bet."

    "To avoid each other?"

    "Not quite. We were drunk on bloodwine and assuring Ambassador Worf that the Federation was in good hands. So much so, that we promised not to skip out on our duties - even to attend each others retirement parties."

    "Prophetic of you, Sir."

    "Well, we both despise those sorts of politicing shindigs. There's about twenty or so of us Captains with standing orders to use a phaser set to Stun on him if he's ever asked for a speech."

    The chirps of ship systems helped fill the abrupt silence that fell over the bridge as Commander Tala heroically suppressed her mirth.

    "Ah. I...see. We should arrive at Grid 887 in sixteen minutes. The bridge is yours, Captain Bh'ypiv"

    "Acknowledged, Commander. One last thing. Anything from sickbay?"

    "No, Captain. Commander Jhynes is still unresponsive."

    "I see. Thank you. Dismissed."




    "No, Captain Franid. Starfleet is not 'picking on you'. We do this to all ships whose captains have multiple citations for smuggling, and who show up with cargo bays masked with Thoron fields."

    Captain Sazev Bh'ypiv of the Excelsior-class Cruiser USS Rampart leaned back and tried to convince himself that a quick phaser volley wouldn't solve all his problems. Unfortunately, when he opened his eyes, the furiously gesticulating Yridian on the viewscreen was doing an admirable job of convincing him otherwise.

    "Away team to Rampart."

    "Go ahead"

    "We've got forty-seven containers full of Tholian spider-silk. That's not a restricted trade good, but his manifest lists them as farming equipment. Customs seals indicate that he's paid tax for high-volume, low-value goods."

    "And spider-silk is low-volume, hig-value. Got it. Wrap things up and slap Reinspect stickers on them. We'll fire a report off to the Commerce Commission to reexamine before our 'simple trader' here is allowed to offload cargo. Good Job Lieutenant."

    "Thank you sir."

    Communication over, Lieutenant D'Vak helpfully reconnected the audio to the freighter captain.

    "-friends in the Federation Council! I'll have your commission stripped for this! I'll-"

    "Thank you Captain Franid. We have completed our inspection and you are free to resume your trip. Enjoy your stay at Sol."

    Captain Bh'ypiv cut the channel. No need to expose myself to more of that than neccessary.

    "Ensign. Anything else on scanners? Or are we back to cartography?"

    The quiet Trill to whom he was speaking was frowning intently at his displays.

    "Actually Sir, we've got a request from Starfleet Security. Admiral Branflakes is departing Sol III in his yacht, and we've been asked to ensure that Grids 950 to 987 are free of traffic and debris."

    "Might as well go be good garbagemen. Lay in a course and engage."


    An hour later, the Rampart loped gracefully through space, sensors sweeping across an otherwise unremarkable empty grid, questing electronic eyes and ears alert for the slightest discrepancy.

    "Contact! We've got a faint duranium signature, ten thousand kilometers out. Whatever this is, it's doing it's damnedest to imitate a hole in space."

    "Yellow Alert, but keep the shields down for now. Helm, move us closer to the signature location. Standby to bring them up at the slightest status change."

    It didn't take long. As the starship prowled closer, the signature lit up in response.

    "ID confirmed. Breen Chel Grett class cruiser! They're powering weapons!"

    "Shields up! Red Alert!"

    A Chel Grett was a formidable ship in it's own right. The last time they had been seen in Sol was during the Breen attack on Starfleet Headquarters in 2375. Nothing good could come of one lying quietly in the outer reaches of the Sol system, practically right along the flight path of the Admiral's warp yacht.

    "Target their weapons systems and stand by to fire phasers."

    "Breen Cruiser is hailing us."

    "On Screen"

    The universal translator took a moment to kick in, changing the buzzing, faintly electronic sound into something more understandable.

    "You are honored. To be adressed by Thot Gel."

    "Thot Gel. What brings the Breen Confederacy to the Sol System?"

    "You insult Thot Gel. We go where we please. We do not act for the Betrayers. You will leave now."

    "Thot. You have entered Federation Space and are in breach of the Treaty of Cardassia. I insist on knowing why you are here."

    "We will complete. The job the Betrayers failed. To accomplish."

    The communication cut out, and the Breen crusier began moving away, further insystem towards Sol.

    "As the expression goes, about as clear as mud. Tala. lock onto their engines. We might have to give them a warning shot. Ensign, see what you can dig up from the intelligence files about those 'Betrayers' he mentioned."

    "Captain! They're firing!"

    Sazev turned back to the screen to see a brilliant white ball of light impact, sending a massive concussion through the ship and blinding the bridge crew.

    *****

    "Report!"

    "Communications are offline. Sensors are operating in passive mode only. Active systems appear to have been burnt out."

    "Nova flare". Commander Tala was engrossed in her console. "We saw them at the end of the Dominion War. Pretty effective starship 'stun-bombs', but the big weakness is that they're omni-directional. We're blind and dumb, so this would be about the time a Breen combat group would sweep in. That we're not under attack now suggests that one isn't coming"

    "How long until we get sensors back?"

    "An hour at least, Captain. It doesn't make a lot of sense though. We were too close to Thot Gel's ship. A Nova Flare at this range would have blinded him too."

    "Captain, the Breen's actions do have logic to them."

    "Lieutenant?"

    "At his current course and speed, Admiral Branflakes will be passing through this grid in thirty minutes and sixteen seconds. With active systems running, he will make a significant target on passives. Thot Gel will not need his fire control sensors to obtain a target lock. Additionally, the flare will blind us from finding him before he fires. Disabling his own active systems is not as big a disadvantage for him as it is for us, Sir. He can see both us and the Admiral, and we do not possess any additional intelligence as to his location."

    "And with comms down, we can't warn the Admiral off. Damn. Commander Tala, I want you to concentrate on finding that cruiser. Lieutenant, see if you can't get the subspace array back online."

    Ten tense minutes passed.

    "Captain? I've got some information on the 'Betrayers" the Breen mentioned. Information about the Confederacy is scarce, but from what I got from Starfleet Intelligence before we lost comms, it appears the 'Betrayers' is a slang term for a political unit within the Confederacy. They signed the treaty with the Federation after the Dominion War - and in the process "betrayed" the faction of Thot Pran, who was the senior Breen officer at Cardassia."

    "Of course. And Admiral Branflakes negotiated that treaty. Thot Gel is here to assassinate the Admiral. To 'complete' what the 'Betrayers' failed to do."

    Another tense few minutes passed. Sazev sat in the captains chair, fingers steepled and brow furrowed in thought. Commander Tala broke the silence.

    "Captain. I think I've got something. The active sensors are still down, but I was running a passive track on some cometary material. Watch."

    The animation played across the screen, showing slight but noticeable alterations in the surrounding debris field. Estimation equations churned away at the side, using the scant data to construct a theoretical mass profile.

    Slowly, the wireframe double-crescent of a Breen warship resolved, traced by the gentle fingers of gravity.

    "Hah. Got you now. Where's the Admiral's ship?"

    "Half a million kilometers out."

    Tala ran the figures swiftly. "With his current course and speed, Admiral Branflakes will be in range of the Breen in eight minutes."

    "Lets end this then. Commander, lock torpedoes, passive targeting only."

    "Locked. Torpedoes loaded. Phaser arrays- " there was a negative beep from her console. "-phasers reporting charging errors. Damage Control crews are on it."

    "Torpedoes only then, Commander. Open fire."

    A coruscating red globe spat forth out of the Rampart's forward torpedo launcher, followed swiftly by two more. The deadly trio scorched across the vacuum, electronic brains fixated on a point in space that to all appearances was completely empty.

    Then it wasn't. Shattered duranium plating exploded outwards as something very solid took two direct hits. The Breen ship lurched under the sudden impacts, shields still down as they lay quietly in wait.
    That didn't last long as the engines flares to life, and the wounded ship attempted to come about for a warp jump. The warp field was still stabilizing when the Rampart sent a volley of phaser blasts into the engineering section.

    Thot Gel and the cruiser vanished in the annihilation of a breached warp core.

    ********

    "Admiral Branflakes to Captain Bh'ypiv. Hows the patrol going all the way out here?"

    "Nothing too unusual, Admiral. Some smugglers, assassins and a lot of rocks. How's the ship handling?"

    "Like a charm. I'll send you a postcard from wherever I end up."

    "Gods Speed to you, Admiral. See you on the far side of the nebula."

    "And to you, Captain. Admiral Branflakes, out."
  • destroyer831642destroyer831642 Member Posts: 58 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    Part 2

    The time was 1000 hours, Admiral Branflakes had just arrived, and all eyes were on him. Des was focusing on his speech, and everyone else was waiting in anticipation for the speech. Lorix detected nothing. Wisel was making patrols down with Janna, a Romulan who had joined the Calico Jack while they were assisting New Romulus. They had entered a turbolift to head toward the power core, to secure that area. Jemma then spoke out, “I don’t see what Admiral Roberts was so worked up about.” She told Wisel, who at least to her, seemed to almost be her own personal counselor.

    “About the speech?” Wisel asked.

    “No…”

    “About the Undine?”

    “No…it’s about that mission with the Ba’ku.”

    “Oh…THAT mission…” Wisel said in his typical monotone.

    “I don’t see why Vice Admiral Roberts was so worked up about that mission.”

    “He told me once, here’s how he sees it, the Ba’ku are a hypocritical race, using the same machinery they claim to despise, Starfleet’s blatant disregard for the Prime directive, and then letting them stay when that same radiation could save TRILLIONS in the midst of the Dominion war.”

    “But the Ba’ku are a peaceful race and only wanted to stay on their planet.”

    “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. If they had used that radiation to help cure people instead of letting the Ba’ku stay, then the casualties of the Dominion war, and indeed, of all subsequent wars, would have been far fewer.”

    “Yes, but…”

    “We’re here.”Wisel cut off the conversation there, as he knew that there was no more point to it. They emerged to patrol the lower levels of the station, including the power core and shield generator. They saw the people who worked down in the depths of the station, and began to make their patrols.

    Unfortunately, all the tactical officers were at the speech. So, the last two members of the senior staff, Michala and Nelen were tasked with securing the hangars, making sure there were no Undine here, or that if there were any, they couldn’t escape. So far, so good, the hangars were vacant, except for the shuttles parked within.

    The time was 1130 hours. Everything remained quiet. In the hangar, Nelen and Michala were patrolling around, making sure there was nothing amiss…then, Nelen noticed something odd,

    “What’s that smell?”

    “I don’t smell anything.” Michala replied.

    “I wouldn’t expect you too, Voth naturally have a superior sense of smell compared to humans.”

    Michala thought to herself, “Doesn’t everyone have something on humans nowadays?”

    Nelen followed the odor, until it led to one of the shuttles... then Michala could smell it too,

    “Ugh! It smells like… oh no… NELEN! OPEN THE SHUTTLE!”

    Nelen opened the shuttle with all speed, the stench was horrible, but they couldn’t see anything. Michala and Nelen both used their noses to find the source of the stench, until Michala saw something. A Small stream of green liquid streaming from one of the compartments…Michala opened it up…and recoiled in terror… A Vulcan, butchered, dismembered, and stuffed into one of the compartments, fit to burst… Michala reached for her combadge to radio to Lorix, “Lorix, we just found a…dismembered Vulcan down here… Unknown how many more are down here.”

    “Keep looking, I will mentally scan the Vulcan delegation…”

    “Are you sure they will like that? Just being mentally scanned out of the blue?”

    “I will try to keep it as non-interferential as possible, the fewer that know, the better.”

    The time was 1130 hours, everyone was assembling in the stateroom, the others were frantic to try and find the infiltrators. Then, suddenly, Wisel heard a turbolift opening. He took cover behind one of the supports, as he looked out. 5 beings came out of the turbolift. A Klingon, a Cardassian, a Deferi, a Romulan, and…a Vulcan… Wisel tapped his commbadge, “Michala…did the Vulcan you found have a scar stretching from his right eye to the tip of his nose?”
    Thinking back on what she found sent shivers down her spine, “Yes…”

    "I think we've found him."

    "On our way, Wisel.”

    Suddenly the beings pulled phasers and started opening up on the base personnel, cutting them down with haste. Wisel and Janna took cover from the phasers. Then, before their very eyes, the beings transformed into Undine. The turbolift went back up, presumably to get more, Lorix tapped his commbadge, saying he was on his way as well, and they would have to hold out until he, Michala, and Nelen got there to assist. Wisel looked at the Undine, they seemed to be placing a device next to the core. “A bomb?” Wisel thought to himself, suddenly a powerful force entered his mind. In the background, Des began his speech. Wisel recoiled from the force of the incursion, and, as more Undine entered through the turbolift, the Undine that were there converged on Wisel’s position, they fired wrist guns at Wisel, although his personal shield was able to withstand it for some time. Wisel dove for cover, and Janna dove after him. Wisel recoiled back in preparation to open up with his Elachi Crescent Assault weapon, he set it for a crescent wave blast, it ripped across the Undine, slicing through flesh unimpeded, slicing one of them in half completely. The remaining Undine, while battered, returned fire, even more Undine joining them. It was at this time Janna also began firing with her Split-beam rifle, though Wisel remained the main target. Wisel and Janna had taken out two more Undine, but one more turbolift-full of Undine had arrived, Janna and Wisel were maintaining fire, waiting for the others to get there, then one of the reinforcing Undine out-flanked Wisel and Janna, and stabbed Wisel in the back with a wrist blade, and he fell to the ground. Janna immediately turned to give the Undine that had stabbed Wisel a face-full of disruptor. Janna turned to her fallen comrade, jostling him, trying to get him up. Wisel groaned, letting her know he was alive. She was not a medical expert, as a matter of fact, Wisel actually temporarily replaced Kengla as Chief Medical Officer for a time, while Kengla was pregnant. Janna quickly tapped her combadge before returning to fighting off the Undine, “Janna to Lorix, Wisel is down! I repeat, Wisel is Injured, and I am surrounded by Undine! Help if you can!”

    Suddenly, the turbolift opened, and a Reman emerged, his cloak flowing in the wind of battle, then, from his large weapon, a green flame spewed forth, searing everything in its way. Behind him, a Voth had his full battle armor on, protons streaming from his weapon, taking down Undine left and right. Along with him, a human female, scarred from battle, fired a cone of death from her full-auto rifle.

    The sight of these allies inspired Janna to keep fighting, and within minutes, with the pressure from both sides, the infiltrators were dealt with in minutes. Lorix yelled to Janna, “Janna! Do you think you can disarm the bomb?”

    “I have some experience, I’ll see what I can do!”

    “Michala, take care of Wisel!”

    “Aye, sir!” She rushed to Wisel’s side, straining, as she took his giant metal body over her shoulder, Michala tapped her combadge, “Calico Jack! Two to beam straight to station infirmary!” With a high pitched noise, she and Wisel were transported straight to the station medbay.

    Janna was working hard to disarm the bomb, Nelen, though unfamiliar with this technology, tried to help in whatever way he could… Janna was sweating…the glowing yellow wire, or…the glowing yellow wire? She snipped…and no one died… Janna breathed a sigh of relief. “Phew, Janna to Calico Jack, beam this device to the science lab for further analysis.”
    Lorix, Janna, and Nelen returned to the turbolift, and rushed toward the medical bay, while they were in the turbolift, Lorix heard something on his communicator, “Lorix, this is Michala, we made it to the medbay, and they were able to stabilize him, but…”

    “What is it, Michala?”

    “He’s currently…paralyzed…”

    Lorix, Nelix and Janna exited the turbolift and walked toward the infirmary, there, they saw Wisel, completely asleep, dosed by a powerful sedative, given his Borg physiology. Lorix asked a Saurian nurse in a black uniform, “What’s the problem?”

    “That wrist blade he took to the back completely severed his spinal cord.”

    “Well, that should be a simple, if not risky surgery.”

    “That’s the easy part.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “When the wrist blade came into contact with him, Wisel came into contact with some of the Undine’s cells, they…they are consuming him from the inside out.”

    “How long does he have?”

    “Hours, maybe a day at most.”

    “What do we have to do?”

    “You are going to do nothing. We are going to have to do this in two surgeries. First, we must remove the infected part of his spinal cord, thankfully, it’s largely localized, as of this moment. Also, thanks to the Borg, his spinal cord is largely technological instead of biological, so all we…”

    Then, suddenly, Lorix heard something on his communicator, “Des to Lorix, come in Lorix.”

    “We got ‘em captain, but Wisel is hurt, badly, we already had him transported to the station’s medbay, he is stable as of this moment.”

    “Thank you, Lorix, we’ll meet you there.”

    They rushed to the infirmary, and within a half-hour, they were there. Des was, as usual, the first to enter, “What’s the situation?”

    Nurse Rassa addressed Admiral Roberts with a look of urgency on her face as the other doctors were preparing for surgery, “He’s stable right now, but he came into contact with Undine cells and they are literally eating him from the inside-out, they are localized right now, but if we don’t act soon, they will spread to his biological systems, then they will consume much more rapidly as they enter his bloodstream. We have almost an hour before that happens. Now, if you don’t mind, the rest of your crew is in the waiting room, I suggest you follow.”

    Des tried to soak up what she just said, and he and the rest of the officers proceeded to the waiting room…

    The Doctors proceeded with swift precision, though the spinal cord itself was rather tough to break through, the Chief Medical Officer even complimented the fine craftsmanship, they were able to remove the fractured part of the Cybernetic Spinal column. They checked the cavity, and were unable to find any remaining Undine Cells. Unfortunately, the suddenness of the surgery was such, that they couldn’t replicate the spinal cord. They took a picture of the old spinal cord before disintegrating it, to remove any remaining Undine Cells from eating the infirmary. The Chief Medical Officer came back after the surgery, letting the senior crew of the Calico Jack in to visit their crippled comrade. Janna came in first,

    “How are you, Wisel?”

    Wisel grimaced from pain as he responded, but with a genuine tone in his voice, “I…take it…we won?”

    “Yes, yes we did! The station is saved, the speech was amazing, everything is all right… How are you feeling?”

    “I am…largely in pain…especially in my back…and I…can’t move my legs...” This last fact came as a shock to Wisel, “Captain, I am afraid my usefulness to you has been greatly reduced.”

    “Don’t worry, Wisel. They had to remove part of your lower spinal cord because it was infected with Undine Cells.”

    The Chief Medical officer added, “We are working with Engineering to make a new section of spinal cord for you.”

    “I will join you.” Janna said.

    “Thank you, Janna.” Wisel responded to the comment.

    “We will have to perform a second surgery soon, after we can safely implant the new section of Spinal Cord. We will try to get it done as soon as possible.”

    “Thank you, Doctor.”

    “A pleasure to know my work is doing good.”
    In about three weeks, and after some rigorous simulations, they were able to successfully construct a working replacement, and it was implanted and attached to the existing spinal cord with little difficulty.

    Soon after the surgery, Admiral Roberts was waiting in his ready room when he got a call from an unknown source, he took the call, and it turned out to be BranFlakes! “Admiral! Good to see you, why the unexpected call?”

    “Aww, you don’t have to call me that, Roberts. I’m retired, remember?”

    “Eh, old habits die hard, eh?”

    “No, I guess they don’t do they? But as to the reason I called, I heard there was a little incident during the ceremony, something having to do with Undine Infiltrators, as I recall?”

    “Yes, my men performed admirably in carrying out of their mission.”

    “Ahh, yes, just like I read about you, always the consummate professional. Do you have a family, Admiral?”

    “I seem to be getting asked that question a lot, recently, but the answer is yes, they are with me on the Calico Jack.”

    “Heh, lucky man, with your family on board ship. I wish I had thought of that.”

    “It is a rather risky proposition, though. If we go down…they die…”

    “Understandable, a starship is no place for a new family.”

    “But I can’t be in two places at once…If Kengla and I could clone ourselves and let our clones command the Calico Jack, I’m sure we would both be more than happy to do so.”

    “Ahh, wouldn’t we all?”

    “Yeah…well…I guess we’ll never know, will we?”

    “Maybe, maybe not. Who knows? Anyway, that’s all I really had to say. Thank you and your people for your service and your sacrifice, Admiral Roberts.”

    “It was an honor, sir.” Des replied. The screen shut off, as Des recalled the last words that BranFlakes said to him, “Thank you and your people for your service and your sacrifice.” Des thought on those words. “That’s really all it comes down to, isn’t it? That’s what a life in Starfleet is. It’s about service. Service to your family, your friends, the Federation, other species…heck, the Galaxy at large… And sacrifice… We’ve seen far too many unnecessary sacrifices as we have explored the galaxy and defended the Federation. But… Wisel…Kengla…we have all had to make sacrifices in our lives to get here, and yet, none of us would be where, would be WHO we are without those sacrifices, good or bad. I only hope I can instill the same virtues in Des and Jemma…” Des sighed, “Computer, what’s Wisel’s condition? Is he capable of going back on duty?"

    The computer beeped a few times before answering, “Subject: Wisel, is currently in the holodeck 2.”

    Des got up from his chair and headed toward the ship’s holodeck, to see Wisel exercising with his new legs, he was running around a track, the most logical way to go about testing his proficiency, now that he had the capability to move his legs again.

    “I see your legs seem to be doing fine.”

    “They are responding 1.258346 milliseconds faster than before, it has taken me some time to get used to the faster response time, but I should be available for combat duty whenever you need me, sir.”

    “Thank you, Wisel. Thank you for being a valued member of this crew.”

    Des almost thought he saw Wisel crack a smile, “I would rather be nowhere else, sir.”

    "Glad to hear it, my friend."

    fin
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  • danquellerdanqueller Member Posts: 484 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    ___


    The image in the mirror stared back at him, and he gave that other man another close inspection, looking for anything out of place. It would not be the first time he attended a diplomatic function, though there was always a slight possibility it would be his last and he wanted to make sure to project the proper image for either event.

    Straightening the dress tunic again, he tried not to be too surprised at the slight hint of grey that seemed to touch the edges of his sideburns. Few would guess the number of times he had faced situations that had given other men more serious conditions, and a little loss of color in so vain an item was a small price to pay for the experience gained. Even so, it was a sign he didn't like to dwell on that he'd been doing this job for too long, and it didn't look like that would change anytime in the forseeable future.

    The future. he though, giving another long look at the man in the mirror. That's one thing that never waits for your convenience. Now it's upon us.

    A pair of arms slid around his waist from behind, and his mood lifted slightly as he heard her say "You shouldn't think so much after you've committed to a thing. It will work out."

    Not turning around, he shook his head sadly. "It could all go wrong. We're on the edge here, and there's no way to tell how they will react. If it goes sour, we'll be in a very bad situation with few options. None of them good."

    "And if we don't do this? Will that be better?" she asked as he felt her put her head against his back. "We need to face them, or they'll turn on us anyway. Their fear will make real what we want to avoid."

    Sighing, he grudgingly accepted what she said. They had shared too much, seen too many of the horrors of the past together for him to do otherwise. This would be just one more terrible footmark in history he would have to live with if it befell them.

    The small light of the wall comm blinked three times, and he knew there was no more avoiding the situation.

    "It's time."



    ______



    The main field at Starfleet Academy normally hosted an array of sporting events and the occasional Midshipman's Orientation to Formation Drill, but this day it had been configured into a very unique starport. Spectators seated on the long rows of tiered seats watched and held conversations under the fluttering banners of a hundred worlds, while on the field itself, senior officers of Starfleet mingled with their counterparts from the Klingon Empire, Romulan Republic, and half a dozen Independent fleets in groups spaced about the long playing area.

    At the center of the field, a raised dais had been erected and a podium set up. Four of Starfleet's highest ranking Admirals sat behind and to one side of the podium, quietly exchanging comments about the day as two Klingon Generals and a Republic Wing Admiral sat in seats on the other side of the dais and watched the activity around them with dignified sternness.

    Behind the dais, two rows of Cadets formed an honor guard and sidebeing detail beside a single wide path that lead to the boarding hatch of a Cochrane Dynamics Leapstar-class transwarp pinnace, the first of her line to be put into civilian service. While the small noseart depicting a box of morning rations wrapped in an archaic Starfleet uniform was a unique feature of this particular ship, the exact circumstances of its appearance on the ship the night before remained a mystery none of those present had been able to solve before the event.

    Outside the field complex, Starfleet officers, cadets, and civilian media crews formed a disciplined but random collection of groups as they waited for the ceremonies to begin. Some traded stories while they waited, while others simply used the occasion to catch quick meetings between old friends. The sky was clear of clouds, and the light of old Sol shown down on everyone in what could only be described at a perfect day.




    Within that mass of uniformed and civilian beings, one group moved towards the field in measured steps, the white dress uniform of a Starfleet Admiral clearing a path before them as they walked. The wearer of that uniform watched everyone with a small smile and an occasional wave to someone familiar, his manner that of someone aware that he had someplace to be but determined to be there only when he was good and ready.

    "Exactly how late are we again?", Admiral Brandon "BranFlakes" Felczer said quietly as he gave another wave and continued to walk briskly.

    "Ten minutes, four seconds Admiral." the Vulcan beside him answered immediately, his own uniform showing the bars of a Captain. "I must point out that you would have avoided having to ask this every thirty-seven point six seconds had you heeded my notice earlier."

    "They can't court-martial me at my own retirement ceremony, and I was not about to leave that last hand. I had to beat O'hara at least once at Poker before I left the ship." the Admiral said as he picked up the pace a little. "That was the promise I made when I reported aboard, wasn't it?"

    "Quite correct, sir." the Vulcan gave the crowd ahead of them an evaluating gaze as he followed. "However, I doubt the assembled leaders of the Federation, Klingon Empire, and Romulan Republic will be appreciative of your decision to avoid doing so until the day of your departure from Starfleet."

    "Very funny, Mr. Syroq." BranFlakes said as they pushed past another group. "Next time I need an XO to run herd on a bunch of Starfleet Midshipmen on that old Constitution Class up there, I'll make sure your name is at the top of the list."

    Syroq raised one eyebrow. "Unlikely, since the entire purpose of our last cruise was to ensure Starfleet never considers recalling you...."

    "SHHHH!!!!", The Admiral made quick patting motions with his hand as he looked around to see if anyone had overheard. "I wish you Vulcans weren't so gorram literal! That was a..."



    The Admiral slowed suddenly and came to a stop as the crowd ahead began to part, but not for them. Instead, he saw two humans walking towards him, and the conversations around them seemed to still as they drew closer.

    It was a few moments before BranFlakes saw them clearly. The man wore the uniform of a Starfleet Admiral, but it was one from over two hundred years ago. A shoulder strap crossed over one shoulder fitting under a pair of shoulder rank bars that shown golden in the daylight, and the cut of the man's hair clearly marked him as military in any century. It was the eyes, though, that held his own, intent and with clear purpose as they came closer.

    The woman also wore a similar uniform, though this one lacked a shoulder strap and was cut provocatively across the abdomen to reveal more than any regulation clothing in Starfleet ever had. Her asian features and the determined way she walked beside the man told him who this had to be, though he had not met either in person before this. Had he not also seen the rank bars of a Lt. Commander on her shoulders, he probably could still have picked her from a crowd as an officer.


    Most of all, the symbol of the Terran Empire displayed on their arm sleeves left no doubt who these were.




    Stopping two paces from BranFlakes, the man and woman raised their arms in a crisp salute that left him momentarily unsure how to respond. Then he lifted his own and tried to execute the unfamiliar courtesy in return, succeeding with the natural talent for quick adaption that had served him throughout his career. When they dropped their arms, he did so as well, noting that several of the surrounding crowd were speaking into communicators as he did so. All humor now gone from him, BranFlakes spoke in the tones of a senior officer expecting answers.


    "Why are you here, Admiral Verne?"


    The other Admiral replied in a voice calm and confident. "We are here to render our respects, of course. And to deliver a gift."

    Syroq stepped up beside BranFlakes, his own voice as close to anger as the Admiral had heard from a Vulcan. "It is odd you speak of respect, when you have betrayed the respect and trust Starfleet extended to yourself and your crews. I find it illogical you would believe we would accept accolades from your hands given the actions you have taken."

    Verne nodded, his face only slightly betraying the pain Syroc's words inflicted on him. "I understand your feelings of betrayal. You granted us safe haven and even let us join Starfleet after we arrived in this universe. But we were under orders not to reveal our true allegience or our mission here until the situation required us to do so. That time has come."




    Looking to one side, BranFlakes could see several Security personnel pushing through the crowds towards them, and casually kept his hand over the emergency beam-out stud hidden at his side as he turned back to the two Terran officers. "And that mission? I think your allegience is pretty obvious."

    "No. I don't think it is." Verne said as he tilted his head slightly to one side. "But before we get into that, let's make sure everyone knows the stakes here."



    A sudden breeze kicked up around them, causing BranFlakes to hold up one hand to shield his face from dust kicked up by it. Around him, he could see others looking around and reacting similarly before a sound from above him made him glace skyward.

    Fading into view and blocking the noonday sun, a massive shape he recognized as the primary hull of a Galaxy-class starship suddenly decloaked directly above them. It filled the sky at this distance, barely fifty meters above the top of the seating stands, its bulk hanging motionless as whatever it was using to remain aloft continued to swirl the air around them.



    Looking back to Verne, he saw the Security Officers had arrived just behind the Admiral and his officer, and were as momentarily stunned by the sight above them as everyone else. Glancing at Verne and seeing the other man nod in confirmation at what he suspected, BranFlakes gave the Officers a holding gesture. Clearly, even the entire Security detachment at the Academy would not be enough if the ship above them employed its weapons, and just as clearly, Verne had engineered the situation to ensure that might happen if he were threatened.

    "Okay. You've got our attention." BranFlakes said. "Speak your piece."



    "You see our actions as a betrayal. They are not." Verne stated, his hand moving slowly and removing a small box from one of his pockets as the Security Officers leveled their phasers at him. Keeping his actions slow and obvious, he extended the box to BranFlakes. "But in order to understand that, I must first present our gift to you."

    Before BranFlakes could do more than consider his responce, Syroq stepped in front of him and produced a tricorder he had obviously been handed while BranFlakes was busy watching the others. After a quick scan, the Vulcan considered a moment before nodding to the Admiral and stepping back. "There appears to be no danger from the contents or the box."

    BranFlakes reached out and took it from Verne. It seemed light, and upon closer inspection, he could see it was latched from the front. Flicking off the tiny catch, he opened the top to see three combadge insignias seated upon a silk backing...all of them of the Terran Empire.

    "I don't understand." BranFlakes said "Why would I need or want combadges from the Terran Empire, and how does this excuse anything you've done?"

    "Look closer." Verne said enigmatically.



    BranFlakes did so, and for a moment could not understand what he was supposed to see. Then he noticed each was different from the others. On one, the continents displayed on the globe of Earth had shifted to display one continent, on another, the sword splitting the sphere was wrapped in a banner. On the third, the sword bisected the planet from below.

    Looking back up, he said "Three different combadges. Three different Terran Empires?"

    Verne nodded. "There is not only one 'mirror' universe, but many. Only a few are reachable from this one, but the fact remains that you are not dealing with a single Empire, but different ones. Not all of them are what you think.

    "Our Empire is not the barbaric place the others are. We are not savages. Our Empire exists because we had no other choice, but that doesn't mean we gave up our humanity." Verne looked around at the buildings surrounding them. "You see yourselves as explorers first and foremost, and that is a noble ideal. Our Starfleet is more of a true military, as it had to be. Our history has not been as kind as yours has been to you. Our first encounter with life beyond our world was an abduction, not a meeting of equals, and the enemies we have had to face forced the Empire to be the place it had to be."




    BranFlakes shook his head. "I don't see how that changes anything. You still took an oath to Starfleet. This Starfleet. How can you say you didn't betray that by hiding your loyalty to...whichever Empire you are part of?"

    "Because our orders are to support and defend your Federation and your Starfleet until the day you formally request to join our Empire."

    The Admiral blinked, going back over in his mind what he had just heard. When he was certain, he shook his head. "Join your Empire? That's absurd! Why would you think the Federation would even consider such a thing?"

    Verne looked up, but BranFlakes could tell he was not looking at the hovering ship above them but much, much farther away. "You don't know what you've unleashed out there. We do. My crew and I. We've....lived it, long ago."

    The woman, Lt. Commander Takashi if he remembered the file correctly, touched Verne's arm, and BranFlakes saw it was not the careful manipulation he had expected from a Terran female officer, but a real touch of support and...something else?

    Takashi turned to BranFlakes "When you took two Dyson Spheres from their control, you upset centuries of planning and became an actual threat to the Iconians. They are done with patience. Now, they are coming for everyone. A new war, unlike anything you've ever faced, is coming. One the Federation cannot withstand alone."

    "Yes, we want to add your Federation to our Empire, but we won't do so until you ask it of us. And you will." Verne said, adding regretfully "Once the Iconians and those they have drawn to their side begin their assault, you will see that our way is the only way to survive."

    BranFlakes stared at the other man, thinking through all the implications and remembering reports he had seen coming in from across the Alpha Quadrant. He didn't want to believe it, but Verne's words were all too possible. The recent battle had proven that the Iconians were real, and that they were intent on some purpose against that of the Federation. But....

    "Survival isn't enough." BranFlakes said, "If we abandon the ideals upon which the Federation is founded, then we abandon what makes us who we are. It doesn't matter if we live or die, if we no longer have ourselves. I don't see how we could join any 'Empire' and not betray those principles."

    Verne nodded, as though this was not unexpected. "Nevertheless, the Emperor believed you will. Until that day, we are ordered to stand by your side, assist you, and protect the Federation with our lives. And so we have. And so we will. The Empire has no desire to govern a burnt-out wasteland."




    "And what if we reach a settlement with the Iconians?" BranFlakes asked. "What if we can co-exist in peace? What of your orders then?"

    Verne gave him a shake of his head. "You don't understand the Iconians. Your 'co-existence' would be slavery of a kind that would leave the Federation even more dead than any existence within the Empire."

    "Even so. What would your orders be then?"

    "My orders would not change." Verne said, a note of sadness in his voice. "The Emperor was killed attempting to come to this universe to make a formal offer of assistance against the enemy. As our orders came directly from him, they stand until he, personally, changes them. No matter what the outcome of your negotiations, all Terran ships under my command and those in this universe commanded by others under the same orders are committed to the mission we have been given."

    BranFlakes searched the other's face a moment. "And when a new Emperor is established?"

    Lt. Commander Takashi shook her head. "Even the worst Emperor who could take the seat would know that after the Iconians are finished with you, they will come for us. Our ships have already opposed them in this war, and the Iconians do not forgive. At worst, better to seal the gateway and sacrifice the ships here for the good of the Empire."

    "Then you and your crews..."

    "Are here permanently, yes." Verne glanced up at the ship. "And now, I think it's time we left. Starfleet may not be very good at spotting phase cloaks, but they are very good at reacting to them."




    "Wait a moment." BranFlakes said, holding up a hand to forestall Verne from activating his own emergency transport. "I want to know one thing. When you and your crew came to this universe, you claimed you were running from the Empire. That you'd destroyed an Imperial dreadnaught and needed a place to settle the refugees from that planet you saved. Was that all a lie?"

    Verne looked at BranFlakes, then shook his head. "It was all true. But I didn't learn until recently that the ship I destroyed wasn't from our own universe. It seems our own mirrors were infiltrating us just as yours has been attempting to do so here. When we were contacted by the Emperor a year ago, he told us of this and also asked us to return to service with the orders I have described to you. By that time, we were already in Starfleet here, and I had seen enough about the Undine infiltration of the Alpha Quadrant to know that we dare not openly declare our true cause. However, if we did not agree to what the Emperor asked of us, the Federation would not have the help it would need. To serve Starfleet, we had to secretly also serve the Empire.

    "My crews and I are trapped between two universes, Admiral, trying to save both. We didn't betray you, but we can no longer call ourselves part of the Federation."



    For a long moment, BranFlakes regarded the other Admiral in the blowing wind. Then he gave a loud sigh. "I can't say I think you'll find many in the Federation who won't consider you as bad as the Romulans, but I think Starfleet will be willing to hear your side of the story and consider working with you as allies. From what you've said, we're going to need all we can get."

    For the first time, Verne let the ghost of a smile pass over his face. "I hope so. I'd hate to have to go join the Republic to keep my ships operational. That ale of theirs is the last thing I need my crews to have easy access to."

    Then Verne raised his arm in salute to BranFlakes. "You've done great things for the Federation, and thanks to you, we have gotten this far. Now, it's time for others to take up the mantle. I wish you fair winds and following stars. May you find in retirement whatever it is you seek out there."





    The whine of a transporter cut off BranFlakes before he could reply, and both of the Terran officers vanished in the blue coronas of transport before anyone thought to stop them. Then the beams vanished, and the huge ship above them began to climb into the sky.

    Syroq also watched as the big vessel dwindled quickly, an oval hole in the sky shrinking with distance. Before it disappeared entirely, he turned back to BranFlakes and said matter of factly "You are now eighteen minutes and fifty two seconds behind schedule. I advise we do not stop to talk to any more individuals, as it is clear this produces unacceptable delays."

    Giving the vanished ship a last look, Admiral BranFlakes shook his head and spun on his heels towards the sport field entrance. "Come on, Syroq. I've got a ship waiting and alot of talking to do before I get to use it."

    As they passed into the crowd, the people realizing he had arrived, BranFlakes gave another shake of his head as the calls proclaiming that he had once again saved the day began to run through the crowd. Stepping out into the open area, he was greeted by ragged cheers and obvious attempts by the organizers to get spectators and Starfleet personnel alike into some form of order. With an inward sigh, he walked towards the dais and those upon it rose to lead the entire crowd in applause.

    As he reached the dais, he reflected on what he had just heard and eyed the pinnace just visible a distance behind it.



    Let's see how long I get to stay retired for.




    ____

  • ambassadormolariambassadormolari Member Posts: 709 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    "Admiral, wait!"

    Admiral Brandon "Branflakes" Felczer was only a few steps away from Docking Bay Three, and from retirement, when the voice called to him. With a weary sigh, he stopped and turned around, and for some reason didn't feel that surprised when he saw the officer in the ochre Engineering uniform running after him, a hastily-bundled package clutched under one arm.

    "Captain Nair," he said flatly, recognizing the Korda officer almost immediately. He recognized all of his subordinates, of course, but for some reason Arkos Nair had a knack for being hopelessly late. "I'm sure you realize that this is NOT a good time."

    Arkos didn't reply at first as he stopped in front of the Admiral and took a few seconds to catch his breath. "I'm...fffffh...sorry...sir..." he managed to gasp out, before quickly standing to attention.

    Felczer resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "At ease, Nair," he said. For the next few minutes, at least, he still outranked Arkos. "I'm going to take an educated guess here. You didn't make it to my retirement party, and so you're trying to catch me at the last minute with a goodbye and a parting gift?"

    Arkos' cerulean features turned a slight shade of aquamarine. Felczer guessed that this was a sign of embarassment. "Yes, sir."

    "Despite the fact," Felczer went on, "that the news of my retirement party had been circulating for a week beforehand?"

    Nair straightened up. "Yes, about that, sir," he stumbled. "You see, there was a thing at Deep Space Nine, and...somehow, I was in the infirmary there for a while, and then there were all these Bajoran monks pestering me, and..." He stopped when he noticed the hard look Felczer gave him. "And no, Admiral, I did NOT say or do anything to insult the Bajoran faith and cause a diplomatic incident. Believe me, I've learned a lot since the Kappa Cygnus incident. The point is, I was delayed by things beyond my control."

    Felczer raised an eyebrow. "And now you're here, catching me a few minutes before I have to board my transport." He sighed. At least, he admitted to himself, Arkos had made the effort to arrive at all, and he knew that the Korda would give him that hurt, puppyish look of his if he turned him down now. "Alright, Captain Nair, say what you've come here to say."

    Arkos nodded eagerly. "Well, sir. I..." He paused, and gave a nervous gulp. "Well, I just wanted to thank you, sir, that's all. I know you're the one who approved my command of the Da Vinci, and later of the Archimedes, and that it was you who recommended me to the Dyson Task Force. That's what I'd like to thank you for personally, sir. I owe you a lot for what you did for my career in Starfleet."

    He fidgeted a little. "As for everything else, sir...well, Starfleet just won't be the same without you. Pardon the engineering term, but you've been an essential component that's kept the drive running for the longest time."

    That last part hadn't been an overstatement: while "Branflakes" Felczer had earned a long a list of military accolades as commander of the First Fleet, his real value to Starfleet had been an administrative and diplomatic one. It was he who had approved the rotation of officers like Nair into command ranks after the Vega incident, and it was his administrative oversight that had helped keep Starfleet operations running efficiently and smoothly for almost a decade. Most recently, his diplomatic efforts with the Klingons had been crucial in easing shattered relations between the two powers. It was his initiative that had had set up the Nukara, Omega and Dyson Task Forces, had organized the relief efforts on New Romulus, and had ultimately brought the Federation and the Klingons one step closer toward ending their costly war.

    Felczer allowed himself to smile a little. "Well, not TOO essential, I hope," he replied. "Like it or not, the Starfleet brass are all going to have to get along without me. Besides, once McNesby settles in, I'm sure it will be like I never left.""

    Arkos gave the Human a curious look. "Yes, about McNesby, sir...why'd you pick him? He doesn't exactly have the same credentials as you did when you took the office."

    Felczer raised a quizzical eye at Arkos. "And what credentials would those be, Captain Nair? I realize that a lot of people were expecting me to pick someone like LaRoca, or Shohl, or even Valot, but my office needs an effective administrator, not a frontline commander. McNesby has enough organizational experience to keep our task forces running, which is the only thing keeping the Klingons and Romulans sweet right now." He relaxed a little, and smiled again. "I realize that a lot of captains are uncertain about him, just because he's an unfamiliar face, but I'm sure they'll come to like him in time."

    "If you say so, sir." Straightening up, Arkos extended the package to Felczer. "By the way, I, um, as I'm sure you noticed, I got you something, sir. My way of saying goodbye."

    Felczer eyed the package carefully. He already had an entire roomful of going away presents that he needed to open. The ones he had gotten so far had been of...varying quality, and he was still a little scared to open Nemesis Unit Three's present. Still, he figured, it was the thought that counted. Arkos had travelled several light years to give him this present, so he wasn't about to say no.

    "That was very thoughtful of you, Nair." Felczer took the gift and began to unwrap it. Bit by bit, the packaging fell away, until Felczer found himself holding a full, cardboard box of Cheerios.

    For a few seconds, he could only stared perplexed at the cereal in his hand. Arkos was practically beaming. "It's not replicated, sir," he said. "Apparently, there's still a company on Earth that makes these...breakfast cereal...things. I thought it would be a nice gift, given your nickname and everything. Something for you stick on a desk or a bookshelf, and remember your Starfleet days by."

    Felczer slowly set the box down. "Um...about my nickname, Nair...these are Cheerios."

    Arkos kept beaming. "Yes sir." The significance seemed lost on him.

    Felczer waited for something, anything, to kick in on Arkos' end. "My nickname is Branflakes," he said.

    Arkos' smile began to waver a little as a confused look spread across his face. "I don't follow, sir." He gestured to the box. "Aren't these ring-shaped bran flakes?"

    "I..." Felczer cut himself short, then, when he realized that the differences between Human breakfast cereals was probably lost on the Korda. He looked back down to the box, shook his head, and sighed. "I...don't think I've gotten any going away present as thoughtful as this, Nair." He looked back up to the Korda and smiled. "Thank you. I'll keep this on hand. Whenever I look at it, I'll think back to you, and all the other fine officers I've had the privilege of serving with during my time here."

    The Korda officer's smile returned. "The privilege was all ours, Admiral, I assure you." He extended his hand to Felczer. "Goodbye, sir."

    Felczer gripped Arkos' hand in a firm shake. "Goodbye, Nair. Just promise me you'll keep the Archimedes in one piece, okay?"

    "You won't have to worry about that, sir." Arkos stepped back and flashed Felczer a salute. "Enjoy your retirement, sir."

    Felczer grinned and saluted back. "And you enjoy your career, Nair," he replied. "The best years of your life are ahead of you, so don't waste them. That's an order."

    And with that, Felczer turned and headed off towards the heavy doors of Docking Bay Three. As he went, he glanced back down at the box of Cheerios in his hand and gave a bemused chuckle. Still not bad, as far as goodbyes go, he thought to himself as he stepped through the airlock.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • cptgold172cptgold172 Member Posts: 11 Arc User
    edited April 2014
    All good things

    **January 19th, 2407**
    -Celes System-

    Lieutenant Commander James Throne stared at the view screen as disruptor beams were being fired from all directions. Ever since the war against the Klingons began, things have been worse than ever. "Sir, decks ten through twelve have taken direct hits! We have a hull breach on deck-nine. Emergency shields in place and holding." The voice came from the ships' First Officer, Commander Deva Roberts. "Incoming Heavy Plasma Torpedoes off the port bow!" Lieutenant Ross shouted. Captain Brandon Felczer ordered "All hands brace for impact! Throne activate attack pattern Delta-two!" "Aye sir!" The helm responded. Phasers started firing attempting to hit the torpedoes. They managed to take out three, before the remaining two hit the starboard nacelle.
    Sparks flew from the consoles as the torpedoes scored a direct hit. Three officers hit the deck hard, killing one of them. James held on has hard as he could. "Damage report!" Felczer shouted. "The starboard nacelle has taken a direct hit. We're venting plasma! " Commander T'leth replied. The Vulcan woman looked at her console while speaking. Her fingers moved across the console at quick speeds. "Arm quantum torpedoes, Tran get a lock on that warbird." Felczer said looking at the Polaris's Chief Engineer. "Torpedoes armed and locked sir." The Andorian replied as he turned to face the Captain. "Fire." Felczer ordered as he rose from the command chair. When Tran tapped a button on his console, a volley of blue torpedoes fired at rapid speeds towards the Tal'Shiar warbird.
    The warbid's shields flashed as the torpedoes hit. The bridge was silent as Captain Felczer sat back into the chair and said "T'leth, status report." T'leth turned to face him, "Their shields are down sir, we have a clear shot." "Lieutenant Commander Mason, send them to hell." Felczer ordered. Lieutenant Mason, the ships' navigations and weapons officer who sat to James's right replied, "Aye Aye sir." Her fingers danced across the console as she sent the warbird to its death. Phasers began pouring out of their banks as the Excelsior Class ship moved pass the warbird. The enemy vessel sat there for a moment, then was sucked into a hole as the singularity core erupted. The ship disappeared as the hole collapsed and a shockwave from the hole dispersed. "Miss Mason, set course for Starbase 39-Sierra." Felczer said. The woman responded, "Coordinates laid in Captain, ready when you are sir." she said. Felczer looked at the Lieutenant left of her, "Helm...Engage." James turned to face his console, "Aye aye Captain." The Polaris lurched forward, moving away from the asteroid belt and the ship disappeared into warp.

    ******
    -U.S.S. Polaris bridge-
    --Docked at Starbase 39-Sierra--
    *****

    James Throne sat at the helm controls as he ran a test. The rest of the crew was getting some well deserved R&R after some long and intense action against the Tal'Shiar. Starbase 39 isn't exactly the best area for shore leave but, it was the only 'safe' area in the system. James was just about to run the next stage when he heard a cheerful voice come up behind him. "There you are Jimmy! I've been looking all over for you." It was Lieutenant Commander Naomi Mason. 'Oh great she found me' James thought. She came up and hugged him from behind. "Someone must be in a cheerful mood." He said pulling her hands off him. Due to the fact they were alone, Naomi stopped using formal language. "Watcha doin' up here by your self?" She asked. "Running diagnostics on the helm controls." James replied. "What are you doing here? I thought the crew had orders for shore leave. He said. "I over heard Captain Felczer talking to Admiral T'nae in ops. He mentioned something about promotions, and your name. So I decided to come up here and give you the rumor." She let out a long sigh.
    James sat there and thought then said, "Well thanks for the info I guess." While the two were talking Captain Felczer, Commander Roberts, and Admiral T'nae walked on to the bridge. James noticed the three officers and snapped to attention. Naomi did the same. "Sir! I wasn't expecting you to be here..." James looked at the Vulcan next to him. "Admiral" James said nodding his head. The Captain looked at Naomi, "At ease Lieutenant." The woman clasped her hands behind her back. The Vulcan stepped up to face James. She looked him square in the eyes. "Lieutenant Commander James Throne serial number 879234CharlieEcho. As of stardate 74836.21 you are here by awarded the Star Cross for your distinguished actions of bravery." The admiral said it as if she has done this before. The Vulcan stepped back as Captain Felczer stepped up and pinned the medal on his chest. Then Commander Roberts handed Felczer another box. The man opened it and said, "Lieutenant Commander James Throne... you have sailed us through probably the roughest seas any ship has encountered. On my behalf, I am promoting you to the rank of Commander. The Captain took the pip and pinned it on James's neck. Brandon patted the new commander on his back. Naomi couldn't help the urge to hug James so she did it anyways, even though there were three superior officers standing in front of them. James unwillingly hugged her back. As he turned his head to face the three officers, Captain Brandon Felczer gave him a nod and the three officers departed leaving the bridge to Naomi and James. However, James Throne didn't realize that this was the last he was going to see the Captain...for a long time.

    **April 6th, 2414**
    --Stardate 91886.21--

    The Federation Starship Columbia's Gate flew through sector space faster than ever. A bright green glow surrounded the ship as it zoomed through the neutral zone. A large Mogai Class warbird was falling behind them. On the bridge, a tall bearded man sat in the middle chair. The man's skin was white along with his thin beard. He looked at a green haired woman who sat to his right. "How far are we to the closest Starbase?" The man asked. The woman looked at her console. "About twenty light years from Starbase 39 sir." The officer replied. The Vice Admiral leaned back in his chair. "Helm as soon as we pass the border drop to impulse. Elutt, if that bird is still on our tail, I want their weapons offline and target their warp core. " The Vulcan nodded, while the helm replied with an "aye sir".
    When the Star Cruiser dropped out of warp, the warbird followed in seconds behind. "Sir, the Tal'Shiar bird has dropped out of warp off our aft port." Commander Elutt reported. "Target acquired and locked. Standing by for orders Admiral." The Vice Admiral stood up and walked over to the Vulcan's station. He looked at the sensor readings then at the helm, and said "Mr. Bream attack pattern beta-3". James looked at a woman across from Elutt. "Uvar are their weapons offline?" He asked the ships' Chief Engineer. "Aye sir." She replied. "Good." James put his hand on Elutt's shoulder "Fire aft torpedoes." The Vulcan tapped a button. "Aft torpedoes launched sir." James walked back over to his chair and sat down. The bridge was silent until a console beeped. "Report." The Admiral said. "The warbird is destroyed admiral." Elutt noted.
    "Good work people, helm set course for Starbase 39 warp seven...engage." James ordered. The Columbia's Gate rocketed forward and disappeared with a flash of blue light behind it. "Slow to warp six Lieutenant." James ordered the conn officer. The lieutenant replied, "aye sir slowing to warp six." The officer behind James looked at him, "Captain I'm picking up a priority one hail from Starfleet Command... It's Admiral Quinn sir." James stood up, "Patch it through to my ready room. Number one you have the bridge." "Aye sir." The first officer replied, as James walked away.

    *****
    The Vice Admiral entered the ready room and walked over to the replicator. "Coffee, black..." The computer beeped in acknowledgement, and a white mug appeared. Then the human sat down and tapped a button on his personal computer. A man who looked extremely older than James appeared. His hair was thick and silver. The admiral looked restless. "Afternoon Admiral." James stated. "James it's been to long since we've last spoken. How's the family holding together?" The man asked. James raised an eyebrow. "Liza and I are doing well sir." He stated. "Glad to hear." Quinn paused. "Is something bothering you sir?" James asked. "One of starfleet's most decorated admirals is retiring, James. This one, if I can recall, you served under back when you were a Lieutenant Commander.
    James sat there and thought for a moment. "Brandon Felczer I believe. Heh he was one hell of a captain. I didn't know him that well. But I knew him well enough to pilot the Polaris." The trill curved a smile. "A damn good pilot you were too. Anyways, the retirement ceremony is being held at Earth Space Dock 0800 hours Tuesday morning. Delegates from several factions will be there. Including ambassador Worf of the KDF. See you there Vice Admiral. Quinn out." James sat back in his chair with his hands behind his head.
    "Brandon Felczer..." James said smiling.
    Liza sat in the command chair with her legs crossed. A woman wearing a solid blue flight suit like uniform sat in the first officer's seat. "The captain's been in there for over an hour. I wonder what he's up to." The woman asked. Liza responded "He may still be talking to Quinn. I'll go and check on him. You have the bridge." "Aye sir." The woman replied. Liza got up and approached the ready room. Liza pressed a button near the door. A calm voice came through the speaker, "Enter" and she walked in. James sat in the chair with his feet propped up on his desk. "Commander." He said greeting her formally. Liza walked behind his desk and sat on it. "So, how'd the conversation go?" She said as James leaned towards her. "Turns out a former CO of mine is retiring. Admiral Brandon Felczer. Ring a bell to you?" He said grabbing Liza's hands. The woman smiled, "Sure do, he's the man who assigned me to this wonderful ship of yours five years ago." James put his hand on her cheek.
    "Well I say we get ready for the ceremony, dinner at 1900?" He suggested. Liza leaned closer to him, "Sounds good dear." James put his forehead against hers and they kissed.

    ****
    -April 8th 2414-
    --U.S.S. Columbia's Gate Geosynchronized orbit above Earth--

    Five officers in white dress uniforms stood in the transporter room waiting. They were chatting amongst themselves when two other officers walked in. "Alright people, we've been invited to Admiral Brandon Felczer's retirement ceremony. Here's the plan, Commander Throne and I will meet you at the reception which takes place 1100 hours. If I believe this is correct, I have to give a farewell speech at 0840, which is after Fleet Admiral Quinn. Apparently I didn't have time to write it so I'll have to do this from the top." The couple stepped onto the transporter pad. James nodded at the transporter chief and said "Energize".

    *****
    -0825 hours-

    In the transporter room of ESD, two figures materialized. James was surprised to see the Chief Engineer of ESD wearing his formal uniform. "Welcome back to Earth Vice Admiral. Your just in time, Admiral Quinn should be finishing up in ten minutes." The chief reported. James nodded and headed out to the State Room with Liza at his side. On their way to the ceremony, James came to a stop in which Liza almost tripped. James grabbed her hand and pulled her in. "Easy there tiger!" She said. Throne looked into her eyes. "Mmmm this is gonna be one hell of a speech." He told her as he moved towards the door to the state room. Before James entered the room, he walked back over to Liza and hugged her. Their moment was interrupted when a badge chirped. James tapped his badge and said, "Throne here". A voice came through, "Sorry to interrupt you Admiral, but your on in two minutes." James let out a sigh. Liza straightened his tie and said, "You look...very heroic." James smiled at her and then walked through the door.
    When James entered he saw the announcer. 'Lets get this over with' He thought. "Ladies and gentlemen, delegates of the Federation, Romulan Republic, and the Klingon Empire. Please welcome, Vice Admiral James Throne of the Federation Starship Columbia's Gate." James straightened his coat and walked towards the podium. The announcer walked to a row of seats behind the podium and sat down next to Admiral Quinn. As he stepped up, James noticed his senior officers sitting in the front row along with his wife who sat next to Doctor Kall.

    -0840-

    "Long before I joined Starfleet, I was a young pilot for the moon shuttle Romero. During that time my father served as a Starfleet Captain during the dominion war. He fought alongside Benjamin Sisko and helped him retake Deep Space Nine. Several years later I learned about his death. My father's ship, the USS Pastero, an old Constitution Class vessel. The Pastero was patrolling the borders of the Gamma and Alpha Quadrants when they were attacked and boarded by the Jem'Hadar. My father stayed behind and defended his crew as they escaped in the shuttles.The Pastero was overwhelmed and eventually destroyed along with my father. The crew however, managed to get home. When I was told the news of his death, I decided to run. Run as far as I could. Some two years later after running all the way to find my self on a transport to Deep Space Nine. When we docked I went straight to Quarks bar. There I ran into Admiral Felczer. Although he was a captain at that time." James paused, he heard a couple laughs through out the crowd. He noticed Admiral Felczer smiled.
    "I challenged the man to a game of darts. Five rounds, who ever won had to order the next round of drinks for the crew. By the way I was only 17 at the time. Me being young and reckless, I managed to beat him. Soon after we sat down and he asked me why I someone like me was all the way out here. I told him about my father's career and how great of a captain he was. Until I got to the point of his death." James paused then took a deep breath and let it out. "Brandon looked at me and said that 'Exploration takes risk and war is always around the corner somewhere.' He then reminded me about the Captain's oath..Space, the final frontier...Those words stuck with me ever since. Four years later I found my self at the helm of the USS Polaris commanded by Felczer him self. After being on that ship for five years, I was promoted to Commander and got the chance to command my own ship. Ten years after exploring deep space and patrolling inside the Dyson Sphere, I stand here as a Vice Admiral saying good bye to an old friend. Admiral Brandon Felczer, without you and your inspiration. I wouldn't be standing here today. So on my behalf and the crew of the USS Columbia's Gate we wish you, good luck." James lifted his hand giving the traditional Vulcan sign." As the Vulcans always say, live long and prosper." James stepped down from the podium and walked to his seat. The room filled with cheers and clapping. The announcer stood up and said, "Up next we have ambassador Worf of the Klingon Empire..."

    Vice Admiral James Throne
    USS Columbia's Gate
    Task Force Whiskey 117
    Second in Command
  • zidanetribalzidanetribal Member Posts: 218 Arc User
    edited March 2016
    Literary Challenge #62: All Good Things...

    LC62: Part of a Balanced Breakfast
    Captain's Log, Stardate 87013.93. One of the most distinguished admirals in recent Starfleet history has announced his retirement. Admiral Brandon "Bran Flakes" Felczer has served with distinction in Starfleet since taking over as Starfleet Public Relations Manager from his predecessor at the start of the Bacco administration. I have offered the Lord English to assist in Earth Spacedock's preparations for his disembarkation; while the crew is dispersed throughout ESD working on various duty officer assignments, I will coordinate with the Starfleet Security liaison over securing the English in the crew's absence.

    Lieutenant Michael Harewood was not a particularly impressive member of Starfleet Security. He wasn't particularly accurate with his phaser, nor proficient in his close combat, nor diligent in his watch shifts, nor circumspect in his cybersecurity. His lackluster performance had his superiors continuously pass him off on other commanders so as not to deal with him themselves. His coworkers were less complimentary of him, as their favorite nickname for him was "Mickey the Idiot" due to all his blunderings. It was all right, though.

    "Computer, replicate a PADD with a copy of The History of Ferengi Love Songs, Volume II by Grimp and Termites of Loracus Prime by A.E. Hodgkin."

    The Lord English computer complied; instead of a PADD, it replicated a rather sinister looking weapon marked "TR-116C". As a secret operative of Section 31, Michael Harewood knew things that regular Starfleet officers didn't and was assigned to do things that regular Starfleet officers couldn't. His unimpressive presence with others made him practically invisible in a personnel sense, so it made him the perfect infiltrator. Attaching a micro-transporter to the barrel of his rifle, he pointed it out the window. Across from his quarters on the Lord English was the disembarkation ceremony of Admiral Felczer. It was protected by sheets of transparent aluminum, but the tritanium slug employed by the TR-116C could shatter them if it hit. This would send the entirety of the ceremony, including Admiral Felczer, into space, before anyone could rescue them. Harewood took aim and pulled the trigger.

    ---

    Two hours ago...

    ---

    Lieutenant Michael Harewood beamed onto the bridge of the USS Lord English, where he was met by the ship's CO, Vice Admiral Remus Lee.

    "Welcome aboard, Lieutenant Harewood," he greeted. "We are all quite honored to be assisting in the disembarkation ceremony for Admiral Felczer."
    "Starfleet Command thanks you for your work, Admiral," Harewood replied. "Not many captains would volunteer themselves and their crew to be service staff."
    "Well, ah, it's not often that a Starfleet officer gets disembarked with pomp and circumstance, no less one as storied as Admiral Felczer."

    Both men took the turbolift down to the forward lounge, where they would plan the enormous mechanics of assigning the twenty-five hundred crewmembers of the Lord English to flesh out ESD's already enormous work crew. Lee replicated some coffee for Harewood and sat down over PADDs.

    "Do you usually assign your crew to do things without input from your senior officers?" Harewood asked.
    "With a ship this large, it's easier for my senior officers to bring items to my attention so I can assign personnel to assignments based on required skills," Lee replied. "This isn't much different, except that the items are brought to my attention from ESD. Now our main task is to secure the Lord English while most of the crew is working. This is where you come in, lieutenant."

    Harewood looked over the schematics of the Lord English, including the parts where the English's adapted Borg technology interfaced with the ship.

    "I think we can secure the ship with only one hundred security officers. Coupled in with holographic defenses and the Borg enhancements, we should be able to repel anything short of a Borg Cube's worth of drones."

    Lee and Harewood continued to work on the plans for the Lord English. After a while, Harewood engaged Lee in idle banter.

    "So what do you think of Admiral Felczer's retirement?" he asked.
    "I can't say, definitively," Lee replied. "Don't know the man personally, only learned what I learned via osmosis. I've heard of his exploits, of course. Blunting the Klingon offensive, countering the Tal Shiar, striking at the True Way, rescuing people from the Borg and the Undine. Of course, the hardest part of being "Bran Flakes" was dealing with other Starfleet officers."
    "What do you mean?" Harewood inquired.
    "As the face of Starfleet public relations, Felczer was the person everyone looked at first when something went wrong," Lee explained. "Fleet grounded due to maintenance? Yell at Felczer. Weapons are being tweaked to provide equal footing for newer captains? It's Felczer handicapping veteran captains. Whatever goes wrong, people invariably blame Felczer for it."

    Lee took a swig of coffee.

    "All the same, Felczer did his duty, and did it well. I heard the reason he's called "Bran Flakes" was because he gave Starfleet officers easier to digest news. It was a great improvement over his predecessor, Alynna "All Nails" Nechayev."
    "I heard he gave himself the nickname "Bran Flakes"," Harewood replied.
    "Details, details," Lee said. "To be sure, there is some sadness which comes with Felczer's retirement. Nobody was as dedicated to keeping the Starfleet community running like a well-maintained starship as Felczer was. Even the Klingons and the Romulans gave Felczer their respect, which is the reason why we have Klingon and Romulan delegates here at Earth Spacedock. If ever there was a bloke who could keep Starfleet running, it was Felczer. I only hope that whoever replaces him is even half as good. Now, I've given you guest quarters on the port side of the ship, as you've requested..."

    ---

    The tritanitum slug hit home dead center on its target. The outer covering splintered and explosively decompressed, venting its contents into space. Within seconds, the deflector dish of the RRW Deihu, on the other side of Earth Spacedock from the Lord English, failed dramatically. This was Harewood's part in the Section 31 plot. With the Deihu stuck in Earth Spacedock while repairs were being effected into its dish, Section 31 agents Johnen and McNesby were free to infiltrate the ship and tamper with its databanks. Harewood looked on as Admiral Felczer's shuttle left Earth Spacedock for the last time.

    "Good luck, Admiral Felczer, you'll need it," he said softly to himself.

    He began recycling the TR-116C's parts in the replicator as he thought on Lee's words. Section 31 is making very sure whoever replaces "Bran Flakes" is as good as he was, Harewood mused. The new Federation-Klingon-Romulan alliance needed its own Public Relations manager, and Section 31 agents were now in place to accept the job, no matter who among the alliance was chosen. Harewood thought of Agent McNesby, a cunning agent who always smiled in an irritatingly self-satisfied and silly way. He wondered what McNesby would do if the alliance chose him as his mouthpiece, if he could be as good as Felczer. Those were thoughts for another day, however, and Harewood returned to securing the Lord English.

    ===
    Captain's Log, supplemental. Admiral Felczer's disembarkation was a rousing success, as emissaries from all over the quadrant have wished him well. The Lord English will help stay and clean up Earth Spacedock, especially since ESD will be keeping a damaged Romulan Warbird in dry-dock while repairs are being effected on its deflector. I've already heard from the grapevine that the Federation Alliance is choosing an alien named "Smirk" to manage community affairs. I have confidence that things will be all right.
    Post edited by zidanetribal on
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