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Literary Challenge #65: Myths & Lore

pwecaptainsmirkpwecaptainsmirk Member Posts: 1,167 Arc User
edited July 2014 in Ten Forward
Welcome to the second Edition of the New Month Long Writer's Challenge!

Today we start the one month run of the sixty-fifth Literary Challenge: Myths & Lore.

We will be running this event from the 6/17 to the 7/15.

You may enter 1 story for each the 3 topics below, and space them out as you please timewise.

This month, our first line up will be the following.

Challenge #1 - Myths & Lore
Facility 4028 has sent out a general distress call. Preliminary reports indicate that a group of possible augmented humans broke into the facility and ransacked the holding cells, but there have been no reports of missing inmates. Only a confirmed report that a crate has been removed from a maximum security clearance storage area in Facility 4028 that contained the deactivated remains of a Soong class Android known only as "Lore." The predecessor to the now MIA sentient Android known in Starfleet as Captain Data, of the USS Enterprise E. Lore is a dangerous criminal known to have collaborated with a group of liberated Borg drones, and the Crystalline Entity, both in an effort to destroy the Enterprise and kill his "brother." Your orders are to investigate Facility 4028 for any evidence of how these augments broke into the facility, and where they have taken Lore's remains. Find them, and stop them before they can reactivate this dangerous android.

Challenge #2 - Movie Night - thanks to the suggested moonshadowdark for this suggested topic!
You and your ship have been selected by the hottest film director in 2414 Hollywood to be the muse of his latest movie. He and his film crew have decided to shoot their entire film aboard your vessel and then premiere it on Earth. Is it a documentary? An action film? Romance? Does the entire shoot go smoothly or are there "unexpected cameos" by enemy Klingons or Borg? Write about the experience having someone film you and your crew or write a log about how the premiere went and if your Captain enjoyed the portrayal of themselves or the ship.

Challenge #3 - Episode ReWrite - VOY - Bride of Chaotica!" "
Introducing a New Challenge! Every month's 3rd challenge will be to test your skills re-writing a classic canon episode to see what you would have done differently. This is completely open ended, so have fun with it, and see what response you can get from your fellow writers! And yes, you may add your own characters to this story to interact with the original cast/crew.

VOY - Bride of Chaotica! - During an episode of The Adventures of Captain Proton on the holodeck, Ensign Tom Paris and Ens. Harry Kim are forced to leave the program running when spatial distortions trap the ship and disrupt their control over the computer. While the command staff of Voyager seek to discover a way to free the ship from the spatial distortions, extra-dimensional aliens who exist in a photonic state cross over from their own dimension through a distortion located in the holodeck. There, they are detected and attacked by Chaotica, who believes them to be from the fifth dimension, and whose holographic photonic weaponry - though harmless to humans - is deadly to the aliens.

This is the writer's thread -- only entries should be made here.

The Discussion Thread for all three topics can be found HERE.

We also have an Index of previous challenges HERE.

The Basic Rules:
  • Each Challenge will run for 4 weeks. You may enter at any time during this open period.
  • There are no right or wrong entries.
  • Please keep discussion about the entries in the appropriate Discussion Thread.

A few other important reminders:
  • Please obey the TOS rules and policies of our Forum with each entry.
    • Anything overtly sexual or "adult" will be deleted. You have been warned. This is not a slash forum.
  • Each poster can have one entry per topic. Feel free to edit your post to fix typos or add/ remove content as you see fit during the next month.
  • After four 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!!**

Have fun Captains!
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  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited June 2014
    Tal Shiar warning for sometimes-dark tone and references to bad guys doing really bad things.
    Vice Admiral D'trel Tomalak finally agreed to wear a miniature holocamera on a headband just to shut the filmmaker up.

    He was ecstatic.

    "Thank you, Commander! You won't regret this!"

    "You might," said D'trel. "I run into a lot of stuff that isn't exactly rated for children."

    Edwin Anderson, the portly Human filmmaker, waved that off with a chuckle and a smile.

    "Bah! I can always edit it if need be. This documentary will be the star of Sundance! An independent look into the Romulan Republic, and not just the media-savvy shined-shoes types they have on the flagship!"

    "Well, I like my boots clean and shined myself, but we're definitely not a media-savvy bunch. First Omek'ti'kallan! Signal Command that we're ready to leave! Zel, take us out. Set course for the Hveid-kustais system, warp 6, and engage the cloak. I want all unnecessary energy signatures turned off and absolutely no outgoing coms."

    "Uh, Commander?" asked Anderson, holding a camera pointed at D'trel as she took her seat. "What is your mission this week?"

    "Hveid-kustais--loosely translated, it means "backwoods". It's an out-of-the way system that we haven't actively patrolled since the Republic claimed that sector. RRW Tale'sedrin detected an encrypted comm coming out of it two days ago, so we got scrambled to investigate. Before you ask, Tale'sedrin's an old Dhael class that hasn't been retrofitted with modern tech yet. They're not up to a big fight, which is almost certain if encrypted coms are involved. It's probably a Tal Shiar base, so I want you and your crew to strap in to spare seats. It could be a bumpy ride."
    Tal Shiar base Athena. "Backwoods" System.

    Turak-ongb
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
    Baal%20prop%20pic%208_zpsqaptvpnu.png
  • masopwmasopw Member Posts: 157 Arc User
    edited June 2014
    Movie Night

    "Peace? Really? No more fighting Klingons? No more bad dreams of a bat'leth in my backside?"

    It was hard to gauge the age of some Caitians, but the kit that posed the question had a bit of a reputation for being immature. He liked inappropriate pranks, and laughed at politically incorrect jokes involving human bodily functions. But for once, he asked a pretty good question.

    The Vulcan who answered looked like she was in her late thirties, but her shipmates knew that the Ensign was the opposite of immature. Although she wore only a single gold pip on her collar, this was her third career, and she must have been over 100 years old. For some reason she kept the young Caitian in check...maybe something during Academy Survival Training let them bond over something.

    "Yes. How long though...that's the question."

    The other occupants at the table nodded solemnly. There had been way too many battles of late, too many casualties. Starfleet Academy was more of a factory than a refinery these days, pumping out warm bodies to occupy consoles. A look around the mess showed an equal distribution of junior officers, junior enlisted, and a lot of cadets.

    Maybe peace would allow the young to become old.

    The kit responded to a beep on his PADD, and after a brief read, he leapt on the bench, waving the PADD like a flag. "Wooo! Risa! WOOOO!!! We're going to RISA!" His tail jumped around as if charged with electricity, and the Bolian Lieutenant J.G. next to him glowered at the tuft of blue fur that landed on his dessert.

    The Vulcan held up her hand slightly to the Bolian, and was about to remind the kit about jumping on furniture when his tail swatted her nose.

    "Wooo! R! I! S! A! Wooo!"

    The Vulcan closed her eyes, bringing her left arm up to rub her temples. She wondered again just why she decided that Starfleet would be an interesting option after a career in medicine.

    The tail swatted her again.

    Hmm. Maybe with the new peace she should transfer off the Bonaventure. Maybe the Solaris was accepting applicants for diagnostic engineers.

    And the tail swatted her again.

    "Kitrel, sit down before I fabricate a retractable leash and a spray bottle for ice water."

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

    "Captain...I do not think this is a good idea."

    Sotek was in sync, and had read me correctly. He looked at the screen again to see if it was a joke of some kind, but glanced towards the ceiling, shaking his head. "I think the crew needs a proper debrief before we take on this assignment. They are wound too tight...the damage they will cause on unsupervised shore leave...well...it is *not* a good idea."

    I nodded at my friend. "Unfortunately, we don't have a say in the matter. Trust me...I tried. Doc even forwarded the logs from our last shore leave on Risa. Doesn't matter to the Commodore. She says that since we were at the vanguard of the peace process, we deserve to enjoy it first. And her definition means immediate shore leave for the crew."

    Sotek sighed, pondering his options. "Then I would like to detach the Rouge Valley for...."

    Holding up a hand, I broke in. "No can do. Look...I told her that the crew needs to be properly debriefed. That it is not a good idea to transit right from the war zone to a pleasure palace. With all due respect to the Commodore, the last command she had was one with a full counseling staff and working holodecks. Her crew worked out issues before being released on the unsuspecting public. Our crews...they're good. But there are a few who need a bit of supervision, a gradual return to a new normal." I leaned back in my chair and rubbed my eyes. "For crying out loud, we need to deal with what happened last week...to see if there are any more Bajorans who were in cahoots with the "Protectors of the Tears" or whatever they were calling themselves. Or any sympathizers. Or any..."

    Brr-deet!

    I straightened up, holding up my hand to pause the conversation. "Enter."

    "Oh Captain...are you addressing me in particular? On Cardassian vess-"

    "Yes, Gul Figler, I am addressing you, and know how one addresses others on Cardassian vessels. Please enter, and remember that you are not *on* a Cardassian vessel." Sotek suppressed a grin, and did not raise to greet the Gul.

    "Oh. Then. I...uh. Hmmm."

    "You must be here for the transfer order for Durak." I forced a smile. "Here, on this PADD. Done in triplicate. And once again...I am not invoking any right to press charges. If I went by Cardassian law, Durak would be flotsam right now. Just get him off my ship."

    The Gul seemed offended. Good, I thought. Subtleties work on this one.

    "Captain," Figler said. "I am only doing my job. I was asked to rendezvous here and pick up the science team. I don't know what transpired to create this highly irregular situation, but was assured that it was in the best interests of all parties."

    "Gul Figler, I'm afraid you've caught me in a bad mood. You've demanded a hard dock instead of beaming Durak off my ship-"

    "Which is standard operating procedures for any prisoners."

    I inhaled sharply. "He's not a prisoner."

    "If he did what he did on a Cardassian vessel-"

    I jumped up, taking a step towards the Gul. "For the last time, this is!--" I stopped myself, and took a deep breath. "This. Is. Not. A. Cardassian. Ship. Period. The next time you attempt to imply otherwise you can join Durak in the special guest quarters I've prepared."

    The Gul straightened, and it looked like a grin appeared on his face. "Special guest quarters. Yes...the damage you sustained apparently made the only place to put the science team was under the waste reclamation facility? The one that sustained damage and lost all environmental containment, sloshing waste all over the deck?"

    "Yes. Those quarters."

    Gul Figler did smile this time. "Captain...I'm afraid that I was asked to...what was the term, Captain Sotek? Push your buttons?"

    I swiveled to face Sotek, who was suppressing laughter. I shook my head, mentally swearing vengeance, and turned back to the Gul.

    Figler continued, "You really should see your face, Captain. Your expression...I would have done this for free! I know Durak...he is...well...let's just say that he won't be bothering the Federation any further." He handed me a PADD. "The hard dock...that wasn't my idea. My father always told me to maintain balance in life. So...I pick up a problem...Durak...and repay you by leaving you with a problem of mine."

    I tilted my head to the right, narrowing my gaze. "What kind of problem?"

    "Media types. What Durak did on your ship, these tried to pull on mine. And while I could have imposed Cardassian law, I was directed by the Castellan to ignore it in order to improve relations with the Federation." He sighed deeply. "The True Way has caused problems enough that we need to repair."

    I looked to Sotek, wondering if this was part of his little joke, but he looked as surprised as I did.

    "The hard dock...it was to avoid transporter file degradation of their holorecorders. Or some such nonsense. It wasn't worth the hassle of an argument, and your 'friend' said it would add to the 'button pushing'." Figler chuckled, saying, "I think I do end up getting the better part of the deal, Captain. These media types...they do not seem...reputable."

    My blood pressure was finally back to normal, so I asked, "How so?"

    "Their credentials are...odd. Independent producers. Given unrestricted access to document reactions to the new peace. But the manner in which they do so...it is....well....you'll see for yourself."

    "And they're transferred to my ship why?"

    "Special request from your Commodore. She said you're on the way to Risa, they may as well record your crew's reaction to peace. Apparently drinking 'fish juice' isn't exciting enough for these media types, so they requested a Federation vessel transport them to Risa."

    I glanced at Sotek, and he signaled that he knew nothing of what was going on.

    Figler looked at me in the eye, and said, "Captain, I do apologize for what happened with Durak, from one officer to another. For what it's worth."

    I held out my hand to shake the Gul's. "Thanks. I appreciate the sentiment."

    Figler grinned again. "Then I'll leave at this time, before you meet your new passengers. While we're both still smiling."

    I didn't like the sound of that.

    ****************************************
    Two days later...

    L'naa, Sotek, and Doc's jaws were all at floor level as the playback ended. For once, I managed to keep my mouth shut, only because I was so enraged at what I witnessed.

    "Y'see, cap, that's awesome footage! Wanna see it again?"

    The large 'director' had a rather unique hair style; the right side was shaved bald, and the left was braided into dreadlocks. The word, "Yeah!" was inked on the right side in about a dozen different languages. He wore a sheer brown shirt that would be more appropriate on somebody half his age, and a skirt that was short on one side but long on the other.

    "Seriously! Awesome! Wanna see it again!?"

    I looked back at the screen, now frozen, with a dozen of my crew in various states of undress. Each held a container of what obviously wasn't synthehol, and we had just witnessed actions that would give me the ability to court martial any of them for conduct unbecoming. Was that a Vulcan riding a Catian with a spray bottle?

    "Mr...uh...ick'lak'....I'm sorry, I can't pronounce your name correctly," I said. "I cannot allow these images to be transmitted."

    "Jes call me Icky, cap. And don't matter what you say...you can't do a thing about it!...people are jes gonna love "Kits Gone Wild IV! Whoo! You should stock some real booze on yer ship so'oze yer crew can learn to handle their likker! Great footage! Oh man!"

    I didn't like this civilian telling me what I could or couldn't do, particularly after having put up with Durak. "Mr....Icky. The Federation expects a certain level of decorum for members of Starfleet. What you've done is basically drug my crew and filmed the inappropriate actions of beings acting beyond their control."

    "Beyon' Der Control! Love the title! Might use it! But cap...check this letter...I can transmit, and will." He handed me a PADD that was encrypted with a high-level Starfleet HQ privacy lock. He tapped a button, and I read the letter.

    L'naa squinted at me, asking, "Well?"

    I breathed very deeply. "Authorization for any recreational filming of any personnel and subsequent transmission. Validated and verified authentic." I stared at Icky. "Bears the signature of the Commodore."

    Icky seemed pleased with himself. "I know what yer asking, cap. But yer not old enough to know." He pointed to Doc Irve. "But gramps might. Hit the image icon."

    Doc Irve scowled at him, but looked at the PADD. "Huh."

    I looked at him. "Huh?"

    Doc Irve nodded at me, "It's legit, Captain," then looked at Icky. "You best be getting back to your quarters now. We'll notify you when a window opens for your transmissions."

    Icky bounced up, waving away the PADD. "Thought you'd know what it was, gramps! Maybe call it Kits Beyond Control! They'll love it!" He swayed out of the room, dancing to some tune only he heard.

    Sotek raised an eyebrow at the Doc. "Is there something you wish to share with us, Doctor?"

    Doc Irve chuckled to himself, then motioned towards the PADD. "Recognize the third girl to the left?" he asked, pointing to a topless girl half-wearing a midshipman's uniform.

    L'naa stared carefully, then looked away in disgust. "That explains his presence on the ship and the blank check the Commodore cut him."

    I looked, but looked away quickly. Some images don't leave your mind, ever. "But that's gotta be...how old?"

    Doc Irve snorted. "Icky is the fifth or sixth generation that peddles that junk. And...as you can see...it's not hard to get young Starfleet types to do stupid things for some free booze and cheap beaded necklaces." He shook his head. "Sometimes the brass has skeletons they've hidden well...and sometimes the wrong person unearths them." He slowly stood up, laughing to himself. "I better go get the sickbays ready for Risa shore leave. Hopefully we'll have better luck this time."

    I glanced at the PADD again despite myself, and asked Sotek, "Can you do something with the transmissions? Hack them just enough to take out any Federation or Starfleet insignia?"

    "Can do. We have been through enough anomalies to explain it to his company. The recordings will not be traceable back to our personnel."

    "Fine," I said, resigning myself to reality. "Plausible deniability is the best we can do now. Make it so."

    I got up to leave, and called out to Doc Irve. "One second...how did you know that the image was legitimate that quickly?"

    He smiled broadly. "Youngun, I'm smart enough to know that when the cameras start to roll to not be in front of them!"
  • ryan218ryan218 Member Posts: 33,411 Arc User
    edited June 2014
    Facility 4028, Stardate 52132.3.

    There is a large gathering of security personnel in the Main Shuttlebay of Facility 4028 as a Danube-Class Runabout lands inside. The security officers are all carrying Type 3 Phaser Rifles - and with good reason. Even dismantled, their latest prisoner is extremely dangerous.

    The hatch of the runabout opens as Andorian Warden Ja'kel Kran steps forward to meet the now-embarking Captain Bruce Maddox. The Andorian gives the Captain a curt nod, which Maddox returns, before gesturing to the sealed duridium canister in Maddox's hand.

    "Is that him?" There's more than a hint of apprehension in his voice.

    "Yes, Warden," Maddox replies in his usual professional tone. The Dominion War has done some to moderate his overconfidence, as he hands the canister over, finishing with a brief but sufficiently clear introduction, "Lore."

    Earth, McKinley Station. Stardate: 87186.6.

    Within the arms of Earth's unique drydock structure, famous for servicing iconic mid-24th Century vessels such as the Ambassador-Class and the Galaxy-Class, as well as being the place of construction for the U.S.S. Enterprise-C.

    Now, there was a familiar site to the more veteran members of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers - a vessel they'd decommissioned in the 2380s; The Ambassador-Class U.S.S. Victorious, now recommissioned as NCC-97038.

    Following the incident in the Delta Volanus Cluster, the Exeter-Class U.S.S. Victorious has been scrapped in favour of using the materials for the newer Tempest-, Dyson- and Hood-Class Starships. However, with the Klingon-Federation War still raging and the tensions along the Romulan Border, Starfleet has opted to recommission several older vessels and retrofit them, as many of the Dominion-War era Starships are still viable - the U.S.S. Victorious had been fitted with state-of-the-art tactical systems when it was retired in the 2380s.

    The Victorious has been under retrofit to bring it up to modern standard for 6 months, designated only by its original registry number.

    It is now upgraded with Grade VI Tactical Systems and fitted with a new warp drive capable of Warp 9.3. It is also fitted with Emission-Seeking torpedo modules, a Photonic Displacement System, a Point Defence module and a Red Matter Capacitor, as well as other systems.

    And it's all his.

    Ryan looks out the cockpit window of the Starfleet Yellowstone-Class Runabout, with Alpha sitting in the seat to his left. Ryan had actually worked on the U.S.S. Republic during its refit on his Sophomore Year at Starfleet Academy. He'd originally wanted to serve in the SCE, but changed to Starfleet Command after the destruction of the U.S.S. Horizon several years ago. He enjoyed his time working on the Republic's Warp Engines, and he can't wait to get his hands on the Victorious.

    The name holds sentimental value to him - and not just because of his last two ships. One of his ancestors had served on the Royal Navy's HMS Victorious (R-38) during Earth's Cold War, and it was something of a badge of family pride to command its namesake.

    Unfortunately, he won't get time to take her out for a shakedown cruise. Starfleet Command has issued him with orders to head for Facility 4028 following an attack, with further information upon arrival. He hates being kept in the dark - the Facility itself is barely at his clearance level. He can't even get records on the prisoners held there - they're all classified.

    "Okay, go over our orders again, Alpha."

    "We are to proceed at best warp factor for Facility 4028, to receive further instruction upon arrival."

    "Is that it?"

    "Yes, sir."

    Ryan lets out a sigh as he catches a sight of the third gold pip on his uniform. He's also been given a promotion for his actions in the Delta Volanus affair. Alpha is wearing a similar uniform, but with gold trim instead of red, and two gold pips followed by a black pip to signify his rank as Lieutenant Commander.

    Ryan's also been given his choice of an extra 2 Bridge Officers - a First Officer and a Security or Tactical Officer. He values Alpha at Ops more than in the XO's chair, which is the only reason he wasn't being given the position. As for Tala - Ryan feels she lacks the experience, and, again, he values her judgement at the tactical and security stations.

    But, he has to choose someone to replace Alpha as his First Officer, and he has to pick a dedicated Tactical Officer, instead of splitting Tala between tactical and security.

    "Now on final approach, Captain." Alpha announces next to him as the Runabout lines up for approach to the Victorious' Main Shuttlebay.

    "Thank you, Alpha." Ryan opens a comm channel to the Victorious, "U.S.S. Victorious, this is U.S.S. Orwell, requesting landing clearance."

    "Clearance granted, Orwell. You may land at your discretion." Ryan smiles as he recognises the voice from the Victorious' Flight Operations station, before closing the channel.

    "Sounds like Liz is getting settled in nicely."

    "Lieutenant Dannover does indeed seem to be making herself acquainted with the ship, sir." Alpha replies in his usual monotone manner, invoking a grin from Ryan.

    "Take us in."

    The Runabout slowly lands in the rather cramped Main Shuttlebay, which is littered with Sphynx Workpods and Worker Bees, as well as cargo containers. As Ryan steps off the Orwell with Alpha, he looks around, letting out a frustrated sigh. "We're supposed to leave in 2 hours! Alpha, head to the bridge and get me the Station Quartermaster - we need to get this shuttlebay clear before we depart."

    "Aye, sir." Alpha then turns to him, a curious expression on his pale face. "Sir, is it not customary for new crew members to request the permission of a vessel's Commanding Officer before embarking?"

    "You're absolutely right, Alpha. That's very unprofessional of me." Ryan then looks around for anyone who may be considered the refit overseer, as Dannover walks over from Flight Control. She nods to the two senior officers before dispensing them a PADD.

    "I relieved the Refit Supervisor when I came on board, Commander." Dannover gives the two a small smirk. She might as well savour this moment while it's here.

    Ryan could clearly see the expectancy in Dannover's eyes, before respectfully obliging. "I see. Permission to come aboard, Lieutenant?"

    "Permission granted." Dannover puts her thumbprint on the PADD before handing it back to Ryan, who does the same. "Computer, transfer all command codes to Commander Ryan Allington."

    "Command Code transfer complete." The computer rings out from the speakers before Ryan hands the PADD back.

    "I relieve you, Lieutenant."

    "I stand relieved."

    The three start walking out of the shuttlebay and into the corridor, where work teams are still fitting systems to the ship via the corridor access panels. Ryan gestures to the series of messes the trio come across, before asking in an exasperated fashion, "What's going on, Dannover? We're due for departure in 2 hours."

    "With respect, sir," Dannover starts, "the Victorious is undergoing a retrofit so extensive they had to stop work on the U.S.S. Odyssey's refit to complete it. The amount of work we're doing right now should take another 2 weeks, let alone 2 hours!"

    "How much notice did Starfleet give you of our departure?"

    "I was told 6 hours ago, that I had to; get fuel from McKinley Station for the Fusion Reactors, perform a full safety check of the antimatter containment units, prepare the warp core for active service, complete re-installation of the Navigational Deflector Dish--"

    "I get the picture..." Ryan delicately interrupts her.

    "All while having to deal with the SCE and your new First Officer looking over my shoulder."

    "Wait a minute..." Ryan stops the group just outside the turbolift, before summoning it and continuing "I haven't chosen a First Officer yet."

    The turbolift arrives and the group step inside as the doors hiss closed. "Take it up with Commander Carter. Main Bridge."

    Upon arrival on the Bridge, which is in just as bad a state as the corridors, the trio step off the turbolift and walk over to the auxiliary stations.

    "Captain on the Bridge." Tala nods to the group as she spots them, and Ryan sees a Command-Branch Lieutenant Commander stand from the Command Chair, before snapping to attention.

    "Commander Allington." The Lieutenant Commander was clearly disciplined and respectful to authority.

    Ryan gestured has hand downwards in a calmly manner, "At ease, commander...?"

    "Lieutenant Commander Michael Carter, sir." Carter quickly loosens his posture, before climbing up the small step between the Command Area and the aft stations, walking over to Ryan and holding out a hand, which Ryan quickly accepts. "It's an honour to sere with you, sir."

    "The honour is mine, commander. But, if you'll forgive me for being blunt, I never submitted a request for a new First Officer. I'm still making my decision."

    "Yes, sir, I'm aware of that. However, Admiral Maddox at Starfleet Cybernetics... advised... that you should not leave without a FIrst Officer, and I had already been assigned as an advisor to the mission, so for the duration, I will be serving as First Officer."

    Ryan turns to Dannover, confused, "But you said you took command."

    Carter was quick to clarify, "I declined to relieve her, sir. My orders were to report to you and take my posting."

    "Very well. Commander, may I speak to you in my Ready Room?"

    Without waiting for a response, Ryan starts walking towards the Ready Room, with Carter following.

    The Ready Room is bigger than on the last Victorious, though most of the furniture hasn't been installed yet. There is, however, a desk with a portable computer terminal on top with a seat on either side. Ryan forgoes sitting at the desk, instead choosing to stand as he turns to Carter, waiting for the door to close behind them. "Firstly, I would have like to have been informed that you had been assigned here prior to my arrival."

    "I understand, sir. However, I was told Admiral Maddox would take care of it."

    "Of course you were...," Ryan sighs, gesturing to a chair for Carter to be seated, as he himself steps behind the desk and takes his seat, before continuing, "Well, you clearly know more about our mission than I do. What can you tell me?"

    "At 0300 hours this morning, Facility 4028 sent out a general distress call, saying they had been attacked." Carter takes his seat, clasping his hands together.

    "True Way? Klingons?"

    "I wasn't informed. However, Starfleet hasn't performed the same level of mass redeployment they usually do in such events."

    "Alright. What about Admiral Maddox? How does Starfleet Cybernetics fit into all this?"

    "The attackers stole one of the inmates."

    "Did I hear that right? They 'stole' an inmate?"

    "In this event, it's the correct verb. They seized the memory engrams of one of Dr Noonien Soong's original Androids - Lore."

    "I've heard of him. He collaborated with the Crystalline Entity in an effort to destroy the world on which he was created. He deactivated then-Lieutenant Commander Data and took his place aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise-D before he was stopped. He was also complicit in the death of Dr Soong and took charge of a splinter colony of Borg Drones. He was eventually permanently deactivated and his body was placed in storage at the Daystrom Institute."

    "All true. However, after the Breen attack on Starfleet Command during the Dominion War, Starfleet Security had Lore fully dismantled with his components being sent to different facilities across the Federation. His memory engrams were sent to Facility 4028 and placed in maximum confinement."

    "And now someone has stolen the engrams?"

    "Yes, sir."

    "Why?"

    "We don't know. That's part of the reason we're being bought in. To discover who is behind the theft and take them into custody, by any means necessary."

    Ryan looks up at that.

    "Lore is considered an extreme threat to Federation security - especially with the war with the Klingons."

    Captain's Log, Stardate: 87187.3. Commander Ryan Allington, U.S.S. Victorious, Ambassador-Class Support Cruiser.

    The U.S.S. Victorious is now underway, though hardly fully prepared, for Facility 4028. We're still not sure on who it is that has seized Lore's memory engrams, or what their intentions are. We're proceeding at Condition Yellow, and I have convened the Senior Staff to discuss the situation.

    End of Log.

    The senior staff are convened in the Observation Lounge situated behind the Main Bridge, the yellow lighting from the alert stripes along the wall adding to the professional atmosphere in the room, reiterating the threat their current situation poses.

    Carter is stood at the opposite end of the conference table, showing the list of incidents involving Lore throughout the 2360s as well as a profile on Dr Soong and a profile on the three original Soong-Type Androids; B4, Lore and Data. Carter has been talking for 5 minutes on Lore specifically, especially his profile.

    "Lore is known to be resentful of humanity due to his experience on the colony where he was created. He's considered mentally unstable, arrogant, and malevolent." Carter continues, "He's the single biggest mass murderer in the Federation's history."

    "He's also effectively lobotomised." Ryan retorts, pointing out the fact that he's not much of a threat without a body.

    "He's more dangerous than you think, Captain. The principle reason Lore was captured at all is because his use of an emotion chip designed for then-Lieutenant Commander Data resulted in an overload of his positronic net. Otherwise, it is very likely he would have escaped.

    "Now, there are many systems in Federation facilities and starships which use positronic technology, some of which can cripple a starship on a whim."

    "The exo-comps."

    Carter nods affirmatively, also gesturing to Alpha, "Or our Operations Officer.

    "Worse, Lore could be uploaded to the Computer Core at Memory Alpha or the U.S.S. Daystrom. Both are positronic and have access to a great deal of information relating to Starfleet Security and Intelligence."

    Alpha speaks up, "Starfleet Communications has also considered using a system of positronic transceivers and computer hubs to speed up information analysis and transmission from our surveillance networks, detection grids and listening posts."

    "Exactly, Alpha." Carter takes over, "If Lore's memory engrams fell into the hands of the Klingons, or the Romulans, it could dramatically reshape the balance of power - against the Federation."

    "So Starfleet wants the engrams found and secured." Ryan nods in understanding, before he continues, "Alright, how do we do that?"

    "First, we need to find out who stole the engrams, then try and figure out where they would take them. Starfleet has already ordered increased starship presence at the facilities where Lore's other components are being held, but we don't know for sure if the perpetrators are aiming to reassemble him or crack the secret to positronic networking, like we have."

    "Not precisely, Commander," Alpha speaks up again, "I was created on Stardate: 61685.7 by Captain Bruce Maddox and Captain Data at the Daystrom Institute, based on Captain Data's assistance."

    Ryan perks up again, looking at Carter, "Bruce Maddox? As in Admiral Maddox?"

    Carter nods, "He was the Starfleet Officer responsible for Lore's incarceration. He personally conducted the transfer of Lore's memory engrams to Facility 4028 40 years ago. He's also the Federation's leading expert in positronic cybernetics."

    Ryan dwells on this as the hum of the warp engines drop and the vessel slows to sub-light speeds, before a voice erupts over the comm. "Bridge to Captain Allington. We have arrived at Facility 4028."

    1 hour later, Facility 4028.

    Lieutenant Commander Marilla 'Daya' Saph is inside the Maximum Security Vault, where Lore's engrams were held, kneeling on the floor with a tricorder. The U.S.S. Darwin had been in the area when the distress call went out and was the first vessel on the scene. The room is mostly pristine, save for the doors being warped and sheared, as if something had ripped through them. The second she saw it - and the lack of alien DNA or any non-Federation warp signatures leaving the facility, she knew who was responsible.

    The small sample of epidermal cells she's scanning is just confirmation.

    "Gotcha..."

    "Got who?" Daya stands up quickly in surprise, seeing Ryan standing in the doorway, grinning at her mischievously, satisfied with his entrance.

    "Mature." Daya is being about as obviously sarcastic as you can get while still maintaining a remotely professional demeanour - not that she needs one around him.

    Ryan smiles at her before gesturing to the spot she'd been kneeling at, "So, what you got?"

    Daya smiles in courtesy before stepping over to him and showing him the tricorder readings. "Whoever attacked this place had a human's genetic code."

    Ryan looks at the warped blast doors in confusion, "Daya, a human could not have done that."

    "They could if...," she shows him an abnormality in the genetic code, which Ryan instantly recognises from the B'vat Affair, "They were augments."

    Ryan stays silent for a moment. The atrocities he'd seen in B'vat's lab had chilled him to the bone. What was worse was that it was a human who was responsible. A mentally unstable human, but a human nonetheless.

    "There's more," Daya says, "I don't think they left."

    Ryan looks at her, concerned, before remembering what Carter had said during the briefing. Alpha. The Victorious had docked with the facility because the transporters weren't fully online yet.

    Meanwhile, Docking Bay 2. A Photonic Security Guard is flickering in and out at the threshold to the Victorious' Airlock - the security systems were damaged in the attack. A team of Starfleet Maintenance Engineers walk over to the Airlock, showing the security officer a PADD with security authorisation. The damage means that the security officer cannot make a more secure verification, and the team is admitted on board.

    Within minutes, the team enters the Computer Core, with one of them tapping her combadge, "Computer Core Room to Commander Alpha."

    Alpha is quick to respond, "Alpha here."

    "Sir, we're having a series of malfunctions here. Could you come and check it out?"

    "I am en route. Alpha out."

    The engineer nods to her team, one of whom disconnects the internal sensors as the others pull out their phasers.

    "Hey, what are you--?!" The engineers on duty don't get a chance to react before phaser blasts pelt them in the chests.

    "Kaliver, take the door." The attackers' leader signals for the others to get the bodies out of sight.

    Within minutes, Alpha walks into the room, looking around curiously. "Where is the supervising officer?"

    The team leader smiles, gesturing for Alpha to move over to the interface console. "I don't know, sir." As Alpha stands beside her next to the console, a member of her team quickly seals the Core Room doors. "We've been getting intermittent memory faults."

    "I do not see any indications of such an anomaly." Alpha states, confused.

    "It's right...," the team leader reaches towards Alpha's side, "there!" She quickly pushes into the space where Alpha's ribs would be, triggering his manual shutdown as he falls to the deck, like a puppet with his strings cut. She then picks him up and pulls him into the seat. "Get the engrams."

    Meanwhile, Ryan and Daya are boarding the Victorious, being met by Carter in the corridor. "Welcome aboard, Captain."

    "Thank you, Carter. What's our status?"

    The Airlock suddenly seals behind them as the ship's red alert klaxon sounds. They feel the deck shake as the docking clamps disconnect.

    "What the hell?!" All three of them yell out in shock as the ship swings away from the station and to high warp.

    Meanwhile, in Engineering, Dannover is running around like a lunatic trying to restore helm control. "Delvientos, activate the antimatter cut-off!"

    "I've already tried!" A voice shouts down to her from the upper catwalk, "She's not responding! The computer's locked us out!"

    Dannover mutters a curse, before grabbing an engineering kit and shouting to a damage control team, "With me! Engineering to Bridge! Have a security team meet me at the Main Computer Core!"

    On the Bridge, Ryan, Daya and Carter step off the turbolift to see stars rapidly streaking by on the viewscreen. Ryan and Carter quickly move to take their respective seats, with Ryan quickly taking charge, "Report!"

    "We're at warp nine and accelerating, Captain!" There's a young ensign at the helm, with an auxiliary officer at Ops.

    "Where's Lieutenant Commander Alpha?"

    "He went to the Main Computer Core to handle a series of malfunctions they were reporting."

    "Great, just great! Computer, initiate warp core shutdown! Authorisation: Allington Alpha-Two-Four-Lima-Foxtrot!"

    "Unable to comply." The computer announces, "Command Functions are not authorised from your current location."

    "Explain!" There's a growing sense of impatience in Ryan's voice.

    "All command functions have been rerouted to the Main Computer Core."
  • ryan218ryan218 Member Posts: 33,411 Arc User
    edited June 2014
    Ryan narrows his eyes as he sees the ship continue to accelerate, Daya looking at him, seeing the frustration and helplessness in his eyes as he simply mutters, "They have my ship."

    Suddenly, the viewscreen switches to an image of the Main Computer Core room, with Alpha being the focus, his head looking down.

    Ryan's expression changes to confusion, "Alpha?"

    Alpha raises his head, his expression being dominated by a menacing smirk, his tone malevolent, "Hello, Captain. I am Lore."

    To be continued.
  • aten66aten66 Member Posts: 638 Arc User
    edited June 2014
    OPEN: The Adventures of Captain Proton!
    CHAPTER: Eighteen, The Bride of Chaotica!

    INTRO: Captain Proton and Buster Kincaid have gone, yet again, to rescue their ever trusty and faithful secretary Constance Goodheart from being a snack. As Captain Proton travels billions of miles to reach the dark and dangerous Planet X, Chaotica, the Lord of Evil, has been preparing to sacrifice Constance to his radiantly beautiful, beguiling, and dark, Queen Arachnia of the Spider People.

    Aware of Proton and Kincaid, Chaotica has used his fiendish death-ray against Proton's ship, causing it to burst into flames while entering Planet X's unusually large and expanded atmosphere.

    NOW: Captain Proton and Buster Kincaid stare in horror, plummeting to Planet X's surface, while being contacted by the gloating Chaotica, who taunts them with surrender. Will our heroes escape to save Constance, will they successfully infiltrate the Fortress of Doom, have Chaotica and Arachnia destroyed our heroes and conquered the Earth at last?

    [Inside the Holodeck]

    Tom and Harry, respectively playing Captain Proton and Buster Kincaid, continue in their newest saga, and for the moment explore planet X as they look for the entrance to the Fortress of Doom.

    *****
    [Sometime in 2375]
    [Outside the Holodeck]

    [Location: Delta Quadrant, Unknown.
    View: Looking at an Intrepid-Class ship,
    USS Voyager]
    [Stardate: Unknown]

    Voyager, unknowingly, is on a disastrous date with subspace. They escape later breaking free of the 'subspace sandbank' as it usually is called, and after leaving a disastrous first contact with an unknown photonic dimension, continue on their merry way, causing havoc and destruction where they go, or at least viewed in that light by one man.

    ****

    A tear in space occurs, stretching across the sky of a nearby planet and its moon, a rip in space, one across time.

    Hurtling through is a small orb of light, sent to do its masters bidding, interfering in the past of this, seemingly insignificant, week in history. It settles within the ships holodeck, the active program being played was Captain Proton, and it began to merge with the program itself, all while those within continued unaware, while a single program was altered.

    ****

    [The Future]

    The trickle down effect is felt immediately, yet only by a single man as he lays in his cot; his body restricted by the safety harness meant to keep him from injuring himself in his delusional state, though that didn't mean it restricted his face. It twisted in a Cheshire smile, his eyes twinkling as he views the world around him shift into something different, a coalescing effect occurs, before all returns to normal. The man was free of a straightjacket that no longer existed, he alone unaffected because of the time energy he has saturated over the decades, twisted along the same temporal vine of Voyager.

    The once-captain Braxton looked on in horror at the ashes of Earth, the pale sky was gray, the buildings crumbling to dust and warped metal shone in the glaring sun, skeletons of a past world, now dead. Something happened in Voyagers timeline, something that never should have, and Braxton was afraid, the very thing he tried to stop for years, had occurred once more.

    ****

    [Year: 2410]

    "Temporal shielding is up and running Captain, we're clear to enter the Azure Nebula, free of fear of temporal incursion," first officer Zinuzee relates to the captain, "Wait... something's just shown up on temporal scanners, it... oh no... it's a chronal wave...ripples in time." The rest of the bridge immediately silences, all eyes on the science station. "It...it appears to be rewriting history, in fact scanners show all life around us is gone, M-Class planets have been altered to H-Class all around us, sir, all life in Tau Dewa, except Mol'Rihan seems to be dead," she utters in horror, "Wait, another reading is coming in, some kind of temporal flux has opened off port, full of chronitons and tachyons, but it... bears resemblance to Tholian technology." At that a Tholian Tarantula tears through the rift, it's massive form towering next to the Odyssey-Class ship.

    "Weapons up, and prepare for a fight, set course back into the nebula," issued Gregs, "I want to be out of here and back home before that Tholian ship can entrap us!" The whole bridge crew immediately responded, tensing, all except for comms.

    "Wait, Captain, they're hailing us, stating some pact with the...'TIC'?" the comms officer said, "They wish for visual communication, shall I open the channel?" At that Gregs nods, sitting down at his chair, facing the view screen.

    A Tholian, tinted orange by the bridge lighting, appears on the screen, screeching in harsh clicks and clanks, before translation software fully engages. "We've been waiting for you Captain, for over thirty-five Terran standard years; be happy we have such patience," the Commander says, "Our compact with the TIC of your 28th century Federation is still valid with your existence; we have seen a dark future, and we fear it, we owe our history to your Federation, and so we now repay our debts." At that the Tarantula opens another rift, tractoring the Oregon with it as they go through the second temporal rift.

    ****

    [Sometime in 2375]

    The rift in time and space once more opened, the crack widening behind the same planet and its moon, before it spat out the Tholian ship and the Oregon.

    **

    Stumbling onto the floor, the bridge crew fell into various states of disarray and sickness, the temporal event causing stress to the ship and its occupants. Regaining his footing Gregs stood up, only to fall onto one of his knees. Suddenly the whirring of a transporter was heard, before a strange suited being, a humanoid, appeared on the deck in front of him. The being was dressed in a strangely thin, but machine based suit, reminiscent of an EV-Suit. Removing the second skin, the now human male, tubby by many standards but his face betraying days of hunger, smiled at the crew before him.

    "Oh joyous of days, I'm on an oxygen based ship now, with proper temperature and all!" he says with a hearty laugh, "May I ask who I have the pleasure of having as my host?" He looks at the various beings around the ship, recognizing many of the bridge crew were familiar to him, except for Gregs, who now sat on his knees looking up at the man.

    "Gregs, Captain Son'aire of the U.S.S. Oregon, and may I ask, who the hell are you?" he says to the fat man, "And why the hell are you in league with the Tholians?" The joyous face turned grim, as soon as he had heard the name he recognized the man before him.

    "I'm sure you don't know much about me, all hush, hush by the DTI I bet," he says, "But if you are familiar with the Voyager, then you may remember me, I am..." At that he is punched in the face by Gregs, and he stumbles back onto the floor; he wipes the blood from his broken nose.

    "Damn that hurt... Captain Braxton you better as well have a good damn reason for bringing us into who the hell knows where and when," he says in anger, "but let me tell you this, if I get back to the 25th century I swear I'll make sure they hear about this." At that Braxton laughs, he realizes who Gregs is speaking off, but stands up while accepting help, as Zinuzee grabs a device to heal the broken nose.

    "I need to tell you something Gregs, I'm glad you hit me, I've probably needed that for all I've ever done to the timeline," he says "But there's no damn time now for fighting me; be happy I even got help from the Tholians, if they hadn't been outside our timeline we may never have been able to get here to fix the damage!" He takes over the scientific console, and brings up a schematic detailing two very different timelines, one blue, one red. "Our timeline, the true one, is blue, but see here," he says pointing to where the red one branches off from the main, "This is today, spanning a week, it's the window where the timeline was altered by the Iconians, or at least another power of the old Temporal Cold War."

    He brings up schematics of a device, as well as schematics of the Intrepid-Class ship, focusing mainly on the area of the three holodecks. "Somehow the timeline was altered, and Voyager was destroyed by this subspace sandbar, it never completed its journey home," he says, "So the Federation never got anti-borg technology, they had no information on the Voth when the Solanae sphere was found, the Undine would eventually stop their attack on the Delta Quadrant only after eliminating a third of it, a majority of that space Borg, and as a final result the Alpha and Beta Quadrants fell to the Iconians." He points to Gregs, then to the screen. "I can't go over and repair the timeline, or else Voyager would recognize me immediately and it would cause a paradox," he says as he brings up pictures of the holodeck, "but if we can get you Gregs, over to that ship, disguising you with a device that would make you appear to be a hologram, we can restore the timeline and keep the Iconians from altering history too much already."

    Gregs was skeptical, but when the TIC agent had requested help from Tholians, abducted him, and his crew to what was supposed to be the 24th century, he began to believe it. "What do you need me to do?" he asks. Braxton hands him a watch with a holographic interface.

    "I need you to go in," he said grimly.

    ****

    [Onboard Voyager Holodeck]

    As Tom explained to Harry how expensive sets where in the past, as he also explained how the story was to progress, the Orb had begun its own mission choosing to take over a holomatrix, and then the ship shook.

    "I thought you said there was no volcano?" Harry asked. Tom looked at him stunned.

    "I did!" he replies, as both look around to see the cause.

    "Uhhh... Tom!" Harry says, as they both look at a colorful rip in space that had appeared in the holodeck.

    "Definitely not Chaotica," Tom says with a sigh, both men looking bleak.

    ****

    While both Harry and Tom were off looking for a manual override to the know on the fritz holodeck, Lonzak found himself face-to-face with a sphere of energy. "Halt in the name of Chaotica," the bumbling henchman shouts at the sphere, "Are you some trick by Proton, maybe he realized I escaped the den of crocodiles, and knows the only way I survived was clinging to the thought that I would one day..." He was interrupted by the sphere as it shot into him, merging with his holomatrix as it took over and separated itself from the program. "Well, this new sensation...it tingles," Lonzak says, "This primitive holographic technology is so easy to manipulate, my task will easily be accomplished, but the fact they program their technology to emulate organics... it's unnerving." With that Lonzak no longer being himself but the entity, he walked away not noticing as Tom and Harry are confronted by the two guards who followed Lonzak, while they are easily dispatched.

    "That's weird," said Tom as he looked around. Harry looks to Tom at confusion, then back to the two men at the ground.

    "What's so weird Tom," Harry asked. Tom brought out his Captain Proton scanning device, as if to search the area.

    "Lonzak...Lonzak should have been with these guards, at this moment, to stop our progression," Tom replies, "The program Harry, he's just a hologram, he shouldn't be able to go off script he was programmed with; something's wrong Harry, and we need to get out of here!" With that both friends scurry ever forward towards the manual override , unaware the war about to occur.

    ****

    [Oregon Transporter Room]

    Decked out in mob styled clothes: a crisp white and gray pinstripe tux, a gray vest underneath, with a gray and silver etched tie, and a white fedora to complete the ensemble. Braxton was patching a piece of tech that would convert him into a hologram, covering his bio signature, and replacing it with a photonic one, so no contamination of the timeline could occur. "Do you understand what you have to do?" asked Braxton as he points to the watch on his wrist, "This watch it will transform what your wearing into whaever you want, but it has three preset costumes, the one you're wearing now, one of Chaotica henchmen's clothes, and one as a servant of Queen Arachnia". Gregs nodded, he had heard it six times already, and he wanted to punch Braxton in the jaw again, just to shut him up, but kept his anger against the abusive time traveler at bay.

    He had a job to do, and it was to help Tom Paris- no Captain Proton- protect their home and stop a war between the photonic aliens and Chaotica, so the Starfleet in the real world could get the vital technology and information Voyager held.

    ****

    Lonzak had activated the second holodeck, extending the range of the malfunction, so that he could cause a secondary rift to occur, hastening the destruction of Voyager in subspace. He had rerouted Chaotica and his Fortress of Doom into this holodeck, so that not only would they have to chose which holodeck had Chaotica, but it would also make it easier to spark the war between the photonic aliens and Chaotica, in a second war zone if it were. Now though he was done with this bumbling baboon, the intelligence of it's current host was slight, more ogre than architect in a war, so the being decided to pick a new host, and he quite a handful to chose from.

    ****

    Materializing in the holodeck, on Planet X just outside Proton's Rocket, was Captain Son'aire, just Son'aire here, when he heard a scuffle coming from the other side of a rock archway. He peered around the pillar, to see Admiral- no Lieutenant Commander- Tuvok and Lt. Tom Paris, standing over what he assumed to be the dead body of a blond, one he recognized to be Constance Goodheart. "She's a good guy Tuvok, she isn't supposed to die, I mean, this is a 1930's science fiction serial, the good guys always win in those," Tom was saying to Tuvok, "This doesn't make any sense at all, first Lonzak wasn't in the right place, now my secretary is dead." Tuvok raises his brow in the typical act of Vulcan confusion, but got up from his kneeling position.

    "It's illogical for you to feel any sentiment for a Hologram, Lieutenant, but if your suspicions are correct, it would seem something is wrong," Tuvok replies, "Perhaps we should try to contact the aliens, so they may cease their attack, it would be a more logical choice." Tom mentions to Tuvok the onboard sensors of his rocket, that their might be some sort of sensor that would detect the holographic aliens.

    Moving behind the pillar in a swift, yet silent, motion Gregs scaled the behemoth rock to escape the glance of Tuvok or the expert eyes of Tom. Now they went into the rocket, where he watched them, when all of a sudden a person appeared out of thin air like some kind of transporter had brought them in, until I realized that it was one of the photonic aliens. He looked like a 1930's mobster, though minus the tommy gun. He had gone inside, but after a brief amount of shouting and a laser ray coming from out of the door, I had realized the entity had returned to its immaterial form and returned to its native dimension. Both Tuvok and Tom returned to Voyager, after calling for the arch, leaving unaware of Gregs. Leaping off the stone he landed in the dust, kicking it up into a cloud, and he coughed, even if it was really holographic.

    Suddenly, the photonic alien appeared next to him, standing a few inches shorter than Gregs, but with a menacing look. "You are not part of this world, your photonic signature is remarkably different, remarkably alien," it says, "Are you a part of this Chaotica's war against us, the one on the other side of this planetoid?" Gregs was confused for a second, before the alien gripped his shoulder, and in an instant he was transported to a new location. Of course when he checked his sensors, he realized it was holodeck two, but the location between the two rooms had changed, and now instead of being in the mountainous Planet X, they were in a large underground laboratory where Chaotica and his henchmen resided, the Fortress of Doom.

    A that moment he decided to switch to the guise of Chaotica's henchman, startling the photonic alien and it left, mostly from fear of their new enemy. Watching the henchmen work beyond where he hid, Gregs subtly slid in among their ranks, to spy on Chaotica's plan. "Satan's Robot was lost to the alien's, my liege," one henchman, a fat, old man with a grim face and odd clothing choice relayed to Chaotica, "and still Arachnia fails to reply sir, and our spies in her ranks report never even receiving your message, master." The fat man had begun to bow low, as if asking forgiveness from his master, Chaotica. Dr. Chaotica is steel faced, he neither moves, nor even acts as if he had heard Lonzak.

    "It's immaterial now Lonzak, I've just recieved word from our new ally that Proton intends to ally with the Invaders from the fifth dimension, they are probably planning to kill me and take my place as we speak," Chaotica says, with a solemn look, yet sad eyes, "Perhaps it doesn't matter anymore Lonzak, perhaps... my rule has ended." The dejected looking Chaotica sat in a plush and firm throne and was give a glass of wine to drink, and he began to sip at it. Chaotica knew...he had lost.

    "Not so fast Chaotica, I am Viceroy Sharvan under Queen Arachnia," another voice added to the conversation, "I've got word from my mistress the Queen." Gregs now stood out from he wall, in full royal garb reminiscent to a mix of Lonzak's clothing mixed with the webbing pattern of Arachnia's own dress. "Yes Dr. Chaotica, my Queen Arachnia sends you her word that soon she, and she alone, will arrive in preparation while her...spider ship armada awaits outside of range of these invaders sensors," he continues, forcing himself to bow to this despicable man. Chaotica looks down at the man, his grim face turning to one of sheer delight.

    "Well I'll have to take your word for that then, but... just in case, Lonzak!," he says, said man turning to attention, "Take and imprison this man for now, chain him within the confinement rings area; we'll use him as target practice later if he's an invader spy, but if he speaks the truth...well we'll see about his fate then." The man went from depression to childlike glee at this news, and his scheming mind turned as Lonzak shackled Gregs. This was going to be a bit of a conundrum in the end.

    ****

    Satan's Robot was with Tom and Harry, as they prepared the rocket's weapon to attack the Fortress of Doom, they awaited for Janeway to pose as Queen Arachnia, so they could end this war. Of course, one in their party didn't really want them to suceed, and he was shiny, metal, and had pincers...of Doom! If the entity had really thought the robot hologram would be it's host, he had underestimated the loyalty programmed into the character's holomatrix. It had begun to clash with his own mission, causing shorts in the robots body, as one mind tried to keep the war going, while the robot tried to end the threat to its creator. This was going to be a bit of conundrum in the end.


    ****

    TO BE CONTINUED:

    Fear not faithful viewers we will continue to run your favorite serial at a later date!

    ****

    NOW: Captain Gregs Son'aire, masquerading as Queen Arachnia's Viceroy while Tom and Harry work with Satan's Robot, in reality the Entity wanting to destroy Voyager, to stop the war going on between the Photonic Aliens and Chaotica.

    ****

    [Chaotica's Laboratory]

    "Sire. Three more of our space ships have been destroyed," Lonzak says to the room, directed towards Chaotica. Chaotica glares at Lonzak, his contempt at his henchmans news showing. "Argh! Full power to the Death Ray," he says while moving to his broadcast microphone, "Citiznes of the Fifth Dimension; your feeble attacks are nothing but pinpricks to me." He pauses for asecond, dramitic effect calling for it. "Surrender to me now and I will be merciful," he says, his grin showing that promise would be null.

    "We're receiving a transmission sire," Lonzak says, turning to Chaotica from the screen. Chaotica merely laughs at this news.

    "They are surrendering," Chaotica says smugly. He was sure that his brute show of force was enough to fool them into surrendering.

    "No, It's Queen Arachnia and She wishes to cross the drawbridge," Lonzak says bluntly, then looked back at Chaotica preparing himself for what string of insults were sure to come.

    "What are you waiting for?," he shouts at his incompetent henchman, "Show her in!" Flaring up his cape, he drapes it over his arm, while his body is in a slight bowing position.

    "I present her Royal Highness, Arachnia!" Lonzak shouts. He leads the Queen over towards Chaotica.

    "Ahh, at last, at last, My Queen," Chaotica says, "This is a historic occasion." he says grabbing her hand. "Kindred souls meet at last," he says, leaning to kiss her hand, but she withdraws it curtly.

    Queen Arachnia -in reality Captain Janeway- was dressed in her webbed clothing, robes and, gaudy jewelry that befit a Queen, and Chaotica was engrossed in it all. "Aracnia, you've finally found yourself fit to meet my summons" he says stiffly for a moment, before he opens his arms high in a welcoming gesture, as his voice then reflects his ecstatic attitude, "Your Viceroy, he has been telling us that you were coming, and that your armada of spider ships were awaiting your arrival here to help join our glorious battle against the Invaders from the Fifth Dimension." Chaotica kisses Janeways outstretched hand again, this time she allowed it, and leads her over to his imagizer, viewing the Fortress from afar, and the battlefield below.

    "It's an honour to be in your presence, Majesty," Janeway replies, looking at the raging battle, "I've always admired your clever fiendishness." She knew in reality the battle was occurring in Holodeck Two, for somehow the second holodeck was activated and the program expanded by itself, with Chaotica's laboratory remaining in Holodeck One. After exploring the Throne, Janeway had located the controls to the Death Ray, and after procuring the pheromones, set in motion a plan to trick Chaotica.

    Of course after flattering him hadn't worked, she turned her attention to something peculiar he had mentioned. "My Viceroy?" Janeway asks, "I do believe I hadn't realized I sent him here, may I see him?" Janeway was suspicious, Paris had told her all about her role as Queen Arachnia and her role, but Tom had forgot to mention a Viceroy to her. "Oh yes, I remember him now, I forgot he would make it here," she says, "I believed he wouldn't make it until tomorrow, it was a miracle I even made it through your battlefield today," she says, trying to exude confidence, " Your Majesty seems overly concerned with trivial matters when there's a battle to be won. That is why you asked me here."

    "Of course, my dear, Forgive me, it's just that the air itself seems to vibrate in your presence," Chaotica says, "This war has been taxing on me, it's been hard fought, and few allies could be trusted." He creeps closer to Arachnia.

    "We can't be slaves to our paranoia, not when your Empire is threatened," Janeway says, putting her hand to his cheek while subtly walking further away, "I have assembled my fleet of Spider ships, however, the Lightning Shield prevents them from approaching your fortress." She walks over to the controls of the Lightning Shield.

    "We'll send them directly into battle, alongside my space force!," Chaotica says, pointing to the battlefield on the imagizer.

    "My soldiers wish to pay homage to you," she says, trying to smooth over his bloodlust.

    "Gratifying," he says heartily," Of course, if I lower the shield my fortress will be defenceless...even an ally might choose such a moment to seize my throne."

    "You don't trust me," she says coyly, again putting her hand to his cheek, and the effect made him melt, until he roughly grabs her hand.

    "There is a way you could convince me of your loyalty," he says, motioning for Lonzak to approach.

    "Oh?" Janeway asks.

    "I'll lower my Lightning Shield but first, you must become my Queen!," he says then turns to Lonzak, "Gather my courtiers, prepare for the ceremony!"

    "And don't forget to deactivate the Lightning Shield so my subjects may witness the blessed event!" she mentions as Lonzak begins to walk away.

    "Very well," Chaotica replies dismissively, " Do as she says...once her guests have arrived" Lonzak merely scurries away to prepare, while Chaotica once more turns to Janeway. "So, my dear, the day you have always dreamed of has arrived," he says triumphantly, "The day you become, Bride of Chaotica!" To the unrestricted viewer, it was if a camera was slowly panning outward, to view a grinning Chaotica with his arms stretched out wide, with Janeway in the background. Janeway did all she could not to roll her eyes.

    ****

    Gregs was surprised at how quickly downhill it had gone, after Janeway had attempted to deactivate the shield by herself, she was quickly trapped by Chaotica's Confinement Rings, after she had also attempted to free Gregs, if only to use him to her advantage. Now he was free, but both of them were trapped behind the rings. They could only wait. Then Janeway had removed something from her cloak, uncorked it, and all of a sudden Lonzak was quickly distracted and both Janeway and Gregs escaped and confronted Chaotica, Gregs holding him at ray gun-point, while Janeway contacted Tom.


    ****

    Satan's Robot, the Entity inside still fighting for control, was bored while the organics talked among themselves, the robot actually helping on an automatic function, merely repeating what was being said. The ships photonic medic had came in three point two- now four point seven- seconds ago and was conversing with the organics, but he found the conversation boring, before he heard something of interest. Suddenly the EMH reported that the aliens were leaving, freaking the Entity out. HE had failed! But wait, maybe he could do one final attack, distract the aliens for another second, to take them out.

    Finding one single alien left in the first holodeck, the Entity took full control of Satan's Robot and fired at the alien presence. Then he felt, for that is the best word to describe it, pain in his body, looking down as best as he could in that body, to find a hole in his host, and turning around to look he saw one of the organics, Paris, with a ray gun in his hand, still smoking from the blast. Great, now he had to find a new host.

    **

    Leaving the robot, he searched both holodecks for useable holographic matrixes, finding an extremely advanced and easy to manipulate one, he set off to enter it. At first it couldn't feel anything, then suddenly it felt the tight circuits, the malleable energy conduits, and an empty space easily able to fit his being. Then he felt blackness, no light, no sound, and constricted like he had been packed into a cube. Then sound returned.

    "Well, well, well, if it isn't a member of species phi-9364709-654-099, your photonic based aren't you...weren't you also an Iconian Servitor race, before 2703?" said a voice, "Ahh of course, you were meant to stop Voyager weren't you, well we had to stop you?" Suddenly light and the feeling of constriction, was returned and removed, and he began to see himself in an nondescript and blurry holographic body, simple, but functional for a prisoner. "I've given you a basic holographic body to inhabit, while we attempt to contact TIC and discover when you came from," the voice was now given a face, and was revealed to be Braxton, sitting down in a chair next to the being he confused as a photonic, and now discovered was actually an organic, "Sit down and make yourself comfortable, you won't even remember this ever happening, once we have the Department change a few things." Inwardly groaning, the entity did what he was told, temporal paradox's and altering history wasn't his strong suit, but if he wasn't going to remember this, he might as well enjoy his remaining time.

    "Tell me how long do I have?" he asked. The human held up five fingers, meaning he had five minutes till the end. "Tell me, I've never really played it, but an android taught me how to play an earth game a few hundred years from now, I think it was called poker..." it says, "Do you think we have enough time to play a game?" Braxton looked to Gregs, and Gregs looked to Braxton, before he reached into his pocket, pulling out a deck of cards.

    "You know, five minutes is a long tiem, one might even say...forever," Gregs says with a bit of a smile, "Maybe we can see if we can stretch this game out for a bit, see if that android taught you how to play it right."

    ****

    [2410]

    "Now that TIC has altered the timeline, we're about to return you to your timeline," Captain Walker said, walking next to Gregs in the windowed corridor, showing nothing but stars and space, except for the Tholian Tarantula looming in the distance. Gregs was invited in, he had a few strings he could pull, and happening to remember an alternate timeline where Walker helped him last time, he was given some leniency.

    "What about Braxton," Gregs asks, "What's going to happen to him, I mean he did actually help us save Voyager, instead of letting it die like all the previous attempts he's tried." Walker nodded, then stopped, pivoted, and looked at the figure of the Tarantula in the distance.

    "Surprisingly the Tholians have given the man a gift, a special crystal lattice they implanted into his brain within a metal sphere, a bit of a personal temporal phase discriminator if you will," he replies, "Way beyond our current level of technology, but it will stabilize any temporal psychosis he ever had." He looks back at Gregs, and sighs wistfully. "Truthfully, I'm happy he's back to his good old self, me and him have been friends since the Academy," Walker says, "The Brass, they've decided to recomission Braxton's rank and status, he'll be a captain, not the Relativity of course, but of a good ship, you needn't worry about him Gregs." Nodding, Gregs and Walker continued to walk the halls, as they went on to the transporter room.

    ****

    [Year: 2410]

    The Odyssey-Class ship was preparing to test their new prototype temporal shielding, hopefully to rebuff the chaotic effects of the Azure Nebula, when a bit of a miff occurred in the inner workings of the mechanism. A certain part procured recently to repair a certain deflector dish component, was convienently forgotten, not intentionally of course, but the officer in deflector control was relieved of duty when his wife's child was born, not two minutes earlier this morning then it was projected for. Though a replacement was on his way from engineering, not soon after he was stopped for point six nine three milliseconds by the turbolift by a glitch in the system. Of course this left a five minute gap in security, allowing anyone, thief or innocent bystandard, to walk right in, pick up this part, and leave with little oversight or thought, no one the wiser.

    Of course, this was all speculation, but when the temporal shielding failed, instead of activating correctly, no one was the wiser. Now the ship, instead of continuing into the nebula, had to return to Romulan Republic space, before being rerouted to the Solanae sphere and the Undine front, to help the battle. Gregs, though, was leaving with a smirk, knowing exactly what had occurred, or more precisely not.

    FIN
  • grylakgrylak Member Posts: 1,572 Arc User
    edited June 2014
    Captain Tolbar sat in the command chair of the Typhon as they sped at high warp towards the Briar Patch. They had been the closest vessel when Facility 4028 sent out the distress call, but when they arrived, the attackers had already fled. They had only taken one item, a crate of parts that the Holographic guard had identified as containing the pieces to a Soong type android named Lore. Security footage showed a bunch of humans overpowering the guards using holographic dispersal grenades, essentially just walking in. Such was the problem having the entire base staffed by holograms. But at least they had been able to get the sensor data of the warp field, so the Typhon had jumped to warp as soon as they found it. And it seemed to be heading for the Briar Patch.


    "Report."

    Commander Cooper turned from his station and looked at the Captain, seating in a slightly elevated position in the centre of the bridge. "We're approaching the Patch now sir. No sign of the attackers, but the warp trail definately ends here."
    "Helm, drop to Impulse. Cooper, have a wing of Valkyries ready for launch. Maintain full sensor scans and ease us in, half Impulse."
    "Sir, sensors are picking up an Ion wake heading into the Patch. It starts from where the warp trail ends, it has to be the attackers."
    "Track that wake. Keep us away from Metreon Gas pockets and keep all sensors on full alert."


    The carrier ship moved into the Patch, cosmic clouds rolling off the hull. Like a shark hunting it's prey, the Typhon moved gracefully, trying to track the attackers. After a few minutes, the trail led to a ringed planet. Cooper confirmed the trail went into the atmosphere, but no return signal indicated they landed and are still there, but radiation interference prevented them from getting any sensor data on the surface. Tolbar ordered the launch of some Valkyrie wings to perform high altitude flybys with ground teams to beam down and search on foot.


    Something caught Cooper's attention. There was some kind of spatial disturbance in the planet's rings. He focused his scans on the area.



    On the Bridge of her ship, Commander D'Elon watched as the Starfleet vessel started sending fighters down towards the planet. Stood nearby, her guest, a Suliban, grew agitated. "Starfleet will find my ship, and they will find your cargo. And neither of us want that to happen." D'Elon remained calm, simply steepling her fingers and leaning back slightly in her chair. "No, Frillisk, we don't." Frillisk looked from the Romulan, to the viewscreen, and back. "Well? Aren't you going to do something? Shoot them down?"

    D'Elon kept staring at the viewscreen as she replied. "That is a Typhon class carrier command ship, with a full compliment of Valkyrie fighters. Starfleet doesn't have many of them, and if we were to engage in a straight fight, we would suffer heavy casualties. No. No I have no desire to see my ship and crew lost because some smuggler got scared."
    "You would do well to watch your tone."
    At that, D'Elon turned, piercing Frillisk with a stare that could cut steel. "You are a guest on board my ship. As such, shut up or spend the next part of your insignificant life rotting in a jail. That ship outmatches us in terms of sheer firepower. We'll have to use our brains to get out of this one. Tell your crew to prepare for transport. Ta'el, decloak and maintain standby status. Make no hostile moves."








    On the Typhon, the ship instantly went to yellow alert as a Romulan Warbird decloaked in the planets rings. The tactical officer reported they had not powered weapons or raised shields. In fact, they had made no hostile moves, but were hailing. Tolbar straightened in his chair, making sure to project the correct air of authority that Romulans always needed. "Romulan Commander. I am Captain Tolbar of the Federation Starship Typhon." On the viewscreen, D'Elon nodded, smiling gracefully. "Greeting Captain. I am Commander D'Elon, of the Imperial Warbird Tomalak. How can we be of assistance?"
    "You can tell me why you are cloaked so deep in Federation space."
    "We are simply on a scientific mission Captain. We are here to analyise the metagenic properties of this region, and determine if it would be feasable to establish a hospital here."
    "You are aware this is deep in Federation space?"
    "I am Captain. And are you aware this is not the days of old? Romulan and Federation ships freely traverse the space of each others, provided they stay away from major homeworlds, in the name of scientific research. If you wish, contact Romulan Command, or Starfleet Command, they will confirm our permission to be here."
    "That may be, but it still doesn't explain why you were cloaked."


    D'Elon kept her face perfectly genuine as she replied. "The answer is simple Captain. We detected a civillian ship approaching our position. They had no I.D. code and were heavily armed. They appeared to be pirates, and we have no interest in fighting so we cloaked until they passed. They entered the planet's atmosphere and we simply waited until it was safe to beam up our research teams. I assume you are in pursuit of that vessel?"
    "That's correct. You know where they are on the planet?"
    "Of course Captain. Our sensors have been modified to penetrate the radiation. We will transmit the coordinates to you. As this appears to be a Federation matter, we will transport up our research teams and withdraw from the Briar Patch."
    "I would like you to stick around until we can confirm your story."
    "Very well Captain. Tomalak out."



    As the comms were cut, D'Elon turned to Ta'el and Satra, her smile dropping. "Beam the Suliban onboard and engage cloak. Take us back to Empire space."

    As they departed the system, Fillisk blurted out. "What about that Starfleet ship? They'll find my vessel!" D'Elon didn't even look back to him, just kept staring at the passing gas clouds on the viewsceen. "Of course they will. We transmitted its position to them. But we also beamed up your entire crew and cargo. And by the time they can get a message to Starfleet to confirm we do not have authorisation to be here, we will be long gone. All they will be left with is some questions, and no proof of why we were here. After all, thanks to your shapeshifting abilities, they are searching for a group of augmented humans, not Suliban. And why would we give them the pirate ship if we were engaged in some transaction with them? Now, I believe you will find your payment and the rest of your crew in Cargo Bay 2."


    Though she didn't look back, she could tell Fillisk hadn't moved. She waved a hand dismissivley at him and Ta'el took the sign, escorting Fillisk to the cargo bay.



    After a few minutes, D'Elon stood up and went to the security console, bringing up an image of Cargo Bay 2. Ta'el was showing Filisk the components they were being paid with. While the rest of the Suliban checked their new aquisitions, Ta'el slipped out and locked the door. D'Elon pushed a few buttons as she commented sarcastically. "Oh dear. It looks like a force field has failed in Cargo Bay 2. We had better fix that." On the monitor, the force field cut out, exposing the room to space. The Suliban struggled to remain inside, but the pull was too strong and they tumbled out. D'Elon gave it a few seconds to ensure they had all been blown out, then reactivated the forcefield. "Satra, beam our cargo back onboard."



    D'Elon made her way towards Cargo Bay 1, where engineers were already unpacking the components of Lore. D'Elon approached a table near the crates recovered from the Tuffli a few weeks ago, where his head had been put and picked it up, running her fingers over his face. "We've gone to a lot of trouble to get you out. But some secrets are worth taking the gamble for. And once we've cracked your brain, all your secrets will belong to us." She set his head down and looked to the engineers. "Tell me when you've got his positronic network hooked up to the isolated system. I'm eager to find that colony."
    *******************************************

    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'
  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    edited June 2014
    San Francisco 10 July, 2012

    The Karrank}{ delegate, a species that resembled nothing so much as six-legged badgers, with dispositions to match, was crouched on the podium, growling, snarling and hissing into a translation device, which took a minute to process and project a translation.

    <...Let them be free, is that not the way of Infinite Diversity?> the translator took some of the passion from the creature’s words, but the growling and snarling and teeth-baring of it’s native speech came across. <The Earthers can not even give accurate and consistent descriptions of these supposed artifacts they supposedly stole-nobody has seen one, there is no proof it even exists, as to their separateness-they harm only slavers, reavers, and raiders-which is more than can Starfleet be saying of their own acts-this body approved the assault on Denali because of internal human politics. Is the Federation truly a humanoids-only club?>


    With a sigh, Admiral Kathryn Janeway reached out and paused the recording from the Federation Council's earlier session.

    "This perception of the Federation -- and by extension, Starfleet -- is completely unacceptable," she said, looking across her desk to Commander James Davis, the supervising officer of Wreath and Stars, Starfleet's official media release. "We need to clarify that this is not the case, Commander. Do you have any suggestions to tackle this misperception?"

    Davis shrugged. His dark hair was barely within regulation length, and with his moustache and goatee, Davis appeared to be what denizens of the twenty first century would have called 'a hipster'.

    "Well they do kind of have a point, Admiral," he said.

    Kathryn sighed.

    She wasn't sure which offended her the most, his slovenly appearance, or his lackadaisical attitude.

    "Yes, Commander, they do have a point," she conceded. "But not the only point. The Karrank}{ live to bicker and debate. By our standards, their delegate's comments are little more than spoiling for a fight, but by theirs, they are witty openings for discussion. But not everyone knows that. We need to show that Starfleet is an inclusory and adaptable organization. Do you have any proposals to facilitate that awareness?"

    "Perhaps a series of interviews, focussing on a ship with a varied crew complement," Davis suggested. "Perhaps I could speak to Admiral LaRoca, he has an extremely diverse crew -- a Deinon, Gorn, Bajorans, Cardassians, even a Ferasan and a Reman -- I understand he also has a Pentaxian exchange officer on his staff. Given the current situation between Moab and the Pentaxian Dynasty, maybe she will have some thoughts on serving aboard a Federation ship."

    Kathryn pursed her lips.

    "The Tiburon's current deployment in Cardassian space rather precludes you from interviewing the Admiral's crew," she said. "But if that's the kind of diversity you have in mind, then I know just the ship for you, and somewhat closer to home."
    ***

    In the conference lounge aboard the USS Vanguard, Captain Ael t'Kazanak leaned back in her chair, and regarded Davis calmly, ignoring the dronecam which hovered above the tabletop, targeting her with the unblinking stare of its optical sensors.

    "I received Admiral Janeway's briefing," she said. "What would you like to know, Commander?"

    "I'd like to ask you some questions about your life and experiences in Starfleet," Davis replied.

    "I see," Ael mused. "What do you know about me?"

    "You're thirty seven years old, and are the first Romulan to be given command of a Starfleet vessel," Davis replied. "Following your graduation from the Academy, you spent three years at West Point for advanced tactical training, graduating in 2399 with a lieutenant's commission, then served aboard the USS Kaitain, as chief of security. In 2404, you took command when the Kaitain was severely damaged by gravimetric sheer which resulted in the death of the captain and first officer, and got the ship back to Spacedock with a minimal loss of life. Following the repair and refit, you were subsequently promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander, and offered the command of the Kaitain, which you declined, choosing instead to serve as first officer aboard the Sovereign-Class USS Endeavour. How'm I doing so far?"

    Ael nodded.

    "All correct, Commander," she said. "What else would you like to know?"

    "Have you ever felt yourself to be persecuted or otherwise differently treated because of your heritage?" Davis asked. "Do you think that has had any impact upon your career?"

    Ael inclined her head slightly.

    "How would you categorise my promotion history, Commander?" she asked.

    The question caught the military journalist off-guard.

    "Uh... Five years as a lieutenant, another five as a lieutenant commander, then three as a commander, before being promoted to Captain," he recalled. "You certainly haven't been fast-tracked for command, like some recent Academy graduates, but earned your promotions and have mostly just been in the right place at the right time."

    "Hmmm," Ael murmured. "Hardly a career stalled by prejudiced review boards, would you not agree, Commander?"

    "Absolutely," Davis agreed. "You were born on Romulus..."

    "I was," Ael confirmed.

    "Do you consider yourself a fully integrated Federation citizen?"

    "Very much so," Ael agreed.

    "So it's not true that you have Imperial Romulan propaganda tattooed on your person?"

    "Not at all," Ael replied calmly.

    "Oh. My researchers told me otherwise," Davis admitted.

    Ael pushed the cuffs of her jacket sleeves midway up her forearms, then tapped the Rihan glyphs on her right forearm.

    "That is my mother's name," she said, before touching her left arm. "That is my father's name. I wasn't aware that the use of one's native language was considered propaganda..."

    "Oh, uh, well, it's not," the flustered journalist conceded hastily. "It's just that my researchers told me you had a tattoo which is also the slogan of some Romulan Supremacists who seek to return to the days of the Empire."

    Ael grinned wickedly, her eyes sparkling with amusement. "Let me assure you, Commander, my mnhei'sahe is very much tied to the United Federation of Planets. I am a Federation citizen, but I am the legacy of Romulus -- an example of what my people will do in order to survive."

    "Thank you for clarifying that, Captain, I apologise I may have caused you any offence," Davis said. "If we may continue, could you name any particular officers as being particularly influential in your career?"

    Ael pondered the question for a moment.

    "My ATT senior drill instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman," she said. "Although both Admiral Ross and Captain Atreides have also both been instrumental in my development as an officer, to varying degrees."

    Davis nodded.

    "I think that's about everything, Captain, who can I speak to next?"

    "I don't have a schedule drawn up," Ael replied. "I thought best to simply give you the freedom of the ship, and allow you to conduct your interviews organically, so long as they do not interfere with a crew-member's duties, of course."
    ***

    Cadet I'K'rR'h looked about the small room which had been for the past year, she had shared with Cadet Daniella Vorkuta, then looked down at her cylindrical duffel. Everything was packed, and time for them to return to the Academy for their final year. Picking up the duffel, she slung it across her shoulders, and made her way into the corridor.

    As she walked toward the transporter room, she encountered Lieutenant Commander Pok Raban, engaged in conversation with a Human commander, who was being followed by a dronecam.

    "Ah, Cadet, this is Commander Davis from Wreath and Stars, would you have a few minutes to speak with him?

    "Of course, Sir," I'K'rR'h replied, before facing Davis. "How can I help, Sir?"

    "I'm doing an article on the diversity of officers in Starfleet," Davis said. "Cadet...?"

    "I'K'rR'r, Sir. Cadet Second Class I'K'rR'h c'r'nai."

    "I had been hoping to speak with Commander Hamlin, for her thoughts on service aboard a Federation vessel, but your insights will be just as valuable. Ih... Ick... I'm sorry, could you repeat your name more slowly for me?"

    I'K'rR'h smiled, and nodded.

    "Of course, Sir," she replied accommodatingly, shifting her duffel strap across her chest. "Irh-Kar-Ruh."

    Davis nodded appreciatively.

    "Do you have any thoughts about the current situation between your people and the Moabite Confederacy?"

    "It's not really my place to say, Sir," I'K'rR'h replied. "Growing up on Mar'ni'Tell -- that's one of the off-world colonies -- we never really had much time for politics and such, more important things to do keeping the Ch'n'rR't fit and well, but I'm sure everything will work out in the end."

    "Ch'n'rR't?" Davis sounded as if he were sneezing and coughing at the same time as he tried to replicate the alien vowels.

    "Yes, Sir, food beasts. My father's a Ch'n'rR't rancher out on the TarP'n plateau, south of R'ayV'n. He used his profits to get the best Federation infozines available, so my elder brother and I could have a wider education. H'kT'r went into business, and I wanted to join Starfleet -- I thought I'd get to see more of the galaxy than just sitting on a patrol ship."

    "You're not the first of your people to come through the Academy though, are you," Davis said, and I'K'rR'h shook her head.

    "No Sir, that was Ambassador S'rR's. She was the first, but to be fair, Sir, no one's ever had anything bad to say to me, I've had a pretty easy time of things, and this last year's cruise, under Captain Palmer, then Captain t'Kazanak, well, it's been a real pleasure, I'll sure miss it going back to the classroom."

    "The ship had a change in command?"

    "Yes, Sir," I'K'rR'h replied. "Captain Palmer was the Vanguard's first commanding officer, but she was killed in a cave-in on New Romulus following the activation of the Iconian Gateway."

    Davis nodded.

    "How did the crew react to the change of command?" he enquired.

    I'K'rR'h shrugged, but quickly covered the movement by adjusting the strap of her duffel.

    "Very well, all things considered, Sir," she replied. "Captain t'Kazanak runs a tight ship. She's firm, but very fair."

    "As any good commanding officer should be," Davis agreed. "Well thank you for your time, Cadet. Don't let me keep you any longer."

    "Aye, Sir, thank you, Sir," I'K'rR'h said formally, before nodding to Raban. "Commander." she continued on her path to the transporter room.
    ***

    <Mellvor}{ is not displeased with his assignments in the crawlways, which are much more satisfactory than the corridors>

    Davis sat at the top of the ladder of an open Jeffries tube, while his dronecam focussed on the Karrank}{ engineer working away below.

    "So you don't have a issue with the tasks you are assigned?" he asked.

    <Mellvor}{ is given these assignments because he is Karrank}{. Commander Bowen makes best use of her staff's abilities, she assigns work to the crew best able to accomplish it>

    "Would you rather any other assignments?"

    <Such as what? Mellvor}{ is systems engineer, not warp specialist or plasma technician. Mellvor}{'s duties occur in the crawlways, not in the open spaces>

    Davis had to admit, he could not fault the badger-like alien's rationale, and for all their reputed disagreeability, the Karrank}{ was not bemoaning their lot.

    "Wouldn't you rather work with other crew members?" he enquired.

    <Mellvor}{ is sometimes joined by other officers who complain about the confinement of the crawlways, they are not suited to such spaces, unlike Mellvor}{. Mellvor}{ finds his solitude more productive>

    "So no complaints then..." Davis concluded.

    <Mellvor}{ has many complaints! The corridors are too bright, consoles are not at an optimal height. The mealworms served by chef are not fresh enough and the replicators cannot provide suitable alternatives!>

    Davis sighed. He had asked for that.

    "I meant that you have no complaints about your treatment by superior officers or the duties you are assigned..."

    <Then you should have said that! Mellvor}{ answers the questions he is asked! Mellvor}{ is an engineer, not a mindreader!>

    "You have no complaints about your treatment by superior officers or the duties you are assigned?"

    <Mellvor}{ is not displeased with his assignments>

    Davis shrugged.

    "Thank you for your time, Lieutenant," he said, tapping the recall command for the dronecam into his PADD and hauling himself to his feet.
    ***

    "Did you have successful visit, Commander?" Ael enquired, as she walked Davis to the transporter room.

    "I did, thank you," the journalist replied. "I'm sure Admiral Janeway will be most satisfied with the interviews your crew granted me.
    909d7cda93335d83bb43d3459b4dfcd5_zpsayiqcsfi.jpg
  • patrickngopatrickngo Member Posts: 9,344 Arc User
    edited June 2014
    Facility 4028, July 22, 2412...

    "Prisoner 70815, step forward." The holographic Warden ordered.

    Manuel Gonzales stepped forward with the practiced discipline of a long-term con.

    "It says here, you're a transfer from Wellington -rioting and accessory to the murder of another inmate." the Warden said, "Do you have anything to say about it?"

    Manuel shrugged, "The TRIBBLE deserved it." he said, and noted the hologram's reaction, "What? you thought I'd try to claim NOT to be in on that, seriously?"

    The Warden frowned, "What set you off?" he asked, "You've been a model prisoner-you were up for parole in only ten more years..."

    "TRIBBLE was a rapist, see? they were gonna let him out early." Manuel said, "I got a little sister, you know? dude ***** a cadet...can't let that slide man...you got my cell assignment?"

    "B wing." the Warden said, "Cell number matches your prisoner number."

    "You and Prisoner 70816 will be in facing cells matched to your numbers." the Warden told him, "because of your involvment in a conspiracy to riot, you'll be in wing B, follow the red line."

    Gonzales grinned and fell in with the holographic guards.

    "Seven Zero Eight One Seven...Anh Cu'ong, Terrorism suspect, considered dangerous...instigated the riot and actually did the killing." the Warden raised his eyebrows, "Not to mention a variety of additional charges."

    Anh shrugged, "I want my phone call." she said, "isn't that the running joke?"

    "I'm a hologram, I don't have a sense of humor."

    Something shook the facility floor as the Gonzales brothers waited for the doors on the lift down to B wing. Anh heard it too.

    "Warden?" she asked, an waved a hand in front of the hologram's face. "Oh ****." the guards blinked out.

    Anh looked at the Brothers, "I didn't set it up!" she said.

    "Didn't think you did, Bonita." Manuel said, "Luis, what do you think?"

    "I think we could run..but we'd only die tired, Manny, some ****'s goin'down. you know if we bust outa here, they'll pin it on Melinda-could **** up her career."

    The brothers looked at Anh again, "you sure your friends didn't set this up?"

    "we're a week early for that." Anh protested, "She's not here yet."

    "Which 'she'?" Manuel asked casually, shifting his weight and loosening his hands.

    "A physicist I'm supposed to meet." Anh said, "Bigtime egghead, I'm supposed to get info from her-but my escape wasn't set up until after the meet."

    "Well then somebody else is getting out." Luis said, "some of the guys in this place, they're not the kind we want out..." he was saying it, while he hunted for an electronics panel.

    Luis got the panel opened, and teased some wiring. "bingo...looks like they're breaching containment in cell block C...internals show six heat-sources, internal sensors show phasers and last year's disruptors."

    "what about the warden and the security systems?" Anh asked.

    "They're in reboot mode." Luis said, "Nice worm too-elegant, it keeps slicing off zeroes and ones so the code string doesn't resolve, looks like a refined Dwarf variant..."

    "Can you slice it little bro?" Manuel asked.

    "I can...but...hello intrusion detector. Our visitors know we're messing with their code. I got three coming up the shaft."

    "Keep working, Luis." Manuel said, "You ready to repeat your performance, chica?"

    Anh nodded, and ducked beside the turbolift exit.

    The fight didn't last long, but then, fighting armed augments with bare hands-even very, very skilled bare hands, rarely lasts long.


    Ten hours later, secure sickbay, Facility 4028...

    "...wasn't me." Anh stated, "It wasn't my government, either." she was restrained in the biobed, with IV's pumping fluids and high as a kite on painkillers.

    "We know. The surviving Gonzales brother has already testified, and we've got the analog record of the fight in reception." The Starfleet Captain handling the interview was an Andorian, one of their male types. "What I want to know, is why the three of you didn't try to escape, Luis Gonzales got the Warden back up in time to save your life."

    "What about Manuel?" Anh asked.

    "He didn't make it." The Warden's hologram flickered, "We tried to save him, but he was too badly injured."

    "Who'd they break out?" Anh asked.

    "Not who-what. They stole the Lore prototype."

    "The...'lore'?" Anh asked.

    "one of Noonien Soong's androids, this one went bad, killed a colony of people." the Andorian told her.

    "They stole a ****ing robot?" Anh gasped.

    "careful, you're going to take a while healing, Prisoner." the holographic doctor told her, as the Andorian continued, "Now, I am intent on verifying that you really didn't have anything to do with this, Miss Cu'ong." he said, "but to do that, I need your permission to have my assistant here telepathically verify your testimony."

    "Oh **** no." Anh said, "If I still have rights, one of them is the right to the privacy of my own thoughts-and there are thoughts I really do not want in the hands of the Prosecution-you want to waste time scanning me, you need a court-order, and I need my legal counsel present-If it were one of OUR operations, I'd be on my way home right now, and you'd be standing there with your pants unbuckled and a dumb look on your face-and nobody would've had to reboot the Warden, and Manny Gonzales would still be alive."
    KDF: Not supported by Cryptic, because according to them, we're not 'Real' Star Trek fans.

    Well, TRIBBLE them, I'll play KDF anyway.

    "We are the Federation. Resistance is futile, we will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own."-Cryptic Studios

    Advocacy
    simple logic process:

    The body is filled with so much blood...It's always more than you think!! -Dr. Dinosaur

  • hawku001xhawku001x Member Posts: 9,989 Arc User
    edited June 2014
    Captain Seifer and three of his crew rematerialized onto the transporter pad aboard the Prometheus-class U.S.S. Phoenix-X. The transporter operator, Belm, quickly put his Ktarian headset away.

    "So, how was your trip into the Mirror Universe?" he asked. "Wrought with horror, I imagine?"

    Seifer stepped off the pad, "Actually, great. We beamed into the mirror Rura Penthe, a tropical resort planet that is brimming with smokers-- but they were bio-neural gel cigarettes, so it was okay."

    "Should I even ask about that?" Belm pointed to Seifer's goatee.

    The Trill Captain hesitantly brought his hand up to his chin and confirmed his worst fears, "Ah!" He looked over to his other male crewmember, Doctor Lox, who also had a goatee; the two women, were hair-free. "Dammit," Seifer replied as he walked over to a nearby reflective panel, "I forgot about the Mirror Universe's innate, unexplained ability to make goatee's grow on men."

    "It's strange how selective the growing is," Lox said, feeling his own.

    Suddenly, Tactical officer Lieutenant Commander Armond entered the transporter room, stopping in his tracks at the sight of Seifer and the others. "Oh, I didn't know you were back yet-- I was, uh, just going to check on the Heisenburg compensators," he commented, caught off-guard. "They're like the subatomic version of those puzzles you find on the Orient Express."

    "What the guramba?" Seifer knew exactly what was going on, "Are you taking missions while I'm on vacation??"

    Unable to lie under pressure, Armond rubbed the back of his neck and avoided eye-contact, "Well, anyway, I have Kimtones tickets I meant to replicate a lighter for, so I'd better get going---"

    "Stop," Seifer ordered as Armond was in mid-turn, "Where the hell are we? And don't say Risa, because it's the Lohlunat Festival right now, and you know how creeped out I get every time I'm hit on at that Dancing Stage."

    Armond cleared his throat, "No, sir; we're at Facility 4028," he explained, "There was a mysterious break-in in its storage area and Commander Achebe sent us to investigate."

    "Ugh. That place is so confusing. First, you follow the blue lines, then the red, then you're attacked by Beta Jem'Hadar. If they were the Jem'Hadar from the Wormhole, shouldn't they be called mid-War Gamma Jem'Hadar?" Lieutenant Kayl asked.

    Seifer shook his head, "That name is just too long and unnecessary. Belm, beam us down to Facility 4028 where they sometimes contain members of Species 8472."

    ---

    Minutes later, Seifer, Armond, Kayl and Lox beamed down to the secret prison. They met the holographic Warden at a maximum security storage area where the entrance had been blown open.

    "Hm. Perhaps we should take this opportunity to clean out the unnecessaries in here; we still have ten crates of Quark's confiscated yamak sauce," the Warden spoke to one of his holographic officers just before he noticed Seifer and his crew-- "Oh! Wait. You people? I requested the Enterprise-F! Your ship just doesn't make any sense?" He turned to them, "How can you be on the -X postfix already? That shouldn't happen until the 29th century!"

    Seifer pondered for a moment, "Would you believe our ships kept exploding?"

    "Warden," the holographic guard started, "That was a miscommunication by our computer systems. It seems the Primary ISIS core and Secondary ISIS core are arguing with each other again."

    The Warden put his holographic finger to his holographic forehead, "Those cores will be the decompilation of me."

    "Captain, according to my biospectral analysis of the blood smear against this torn door-edge, these intruders had highly advanced platelet blood cells," Lox closed his medical tricorder.

    Kayl's jaw dropped, "Do you know what this means? We can cure death!"

    "Let's........ let's just leave that for some other crazy timeline," Seifer replied, "But I think this more importantly means we're dealing with Augments. We should speak to Amar Singh immediately."

    Suddenly, another holographic guard approached with an escaped prisoner, "I'm right here," the apprehended prisoner, Amar Singh interrupted, impatiently.

    "Our break-and-enter 'friends' were kind enough to leave this one behind," explained the holographic guard holding him.

    Seifer looked at the guard disapprovingly, "You didn't just pull out the 'friend' card, did you? That is the laziest holoprogramming ever."

    "After they broke me out we had a difference of opinion on what fiscal direction to take the Children of Khan in," Singh started, "They wanted to invest in Mudd Industries, and I wanted to stick to our original Son'a face stretching boutiques---"

    Seifer interrupted, "Just tell us where they went-- and you better not say one of the Cold Stations! Those facilities never contain their diseases and I already have the nehret."

    "I refuse to help you because you Federation fools will never support Augment life, thinking that you're morally superior to us with your natural hippie-Darwin genes," Singh shook his fist at them.

    Kayl raised her hand, "Oh! They're at the Klingon Research Facility in the Briar Patch!"

    "What?? You have a Human that is also a telepath??" Singh pointed at Kayl in shock-confusion.

    Kayl shrugged, "I was genetically altered by Srivani a while back."

    "Hypocrites!!! Here you are touting your ethically perfect lifestyle when you are in fact Augments yourselves!" Singh yelled as the guard started pulling him away. "I wish I had a Gorn and a Klingon right now. You know what I can do with them!"

    Seifer crossed his arms as Singh was on his way passed earshot, "Yeah, well, at least our grandparents don't randomly know who Chekov is."

    ---

    Later, the Phoenix-X dropped warp at the Briar Patch and struggled its way through its orangey-haze to the donut-shaped asteroid. An away team of Seifer, Armond and Kayl beamed into the thought-abandoned secret research base.

    "Ugggh. That was far too annoying to fly through," complained Seifer. "No wonder Riker used the forbidden joy stick."

    Before them, in the large metallic room, was a group of three augmented Humans, trying to assemble pieces of what looked like a Soong-type android.

    "Okay, so are we sure there's not a spinning bed that we can just put him in? I thought that was how they did it on Exo III?" Ruko, one of the Augments rotated an arm, trying to study the connecting point.

    But, Tavar, another one of the Augments pointed at Seifer and his away team, "The Federation!"

    "By the ridgeless foreheads of skinny Klingons! I thought you were going to take care of the proximity sensors??" Ruko snapped at the other Augment.

    Tavar shrugged, "As usual, antagonistic behaviour produces dysfunctional work flow. If you think about it, it's kind of a pre-destination trope."

    "What in the name of awkward Kirk-movements is going on here?" Seifer blurted, stunned, "You have the android Data??"

    Armond shook his head, "No. Data's working at Oxford University as a professor now. It was his next move after a horrific trip into Fluidic space."

    "Seems like he'd be more of a Cambridge kind of guy," Kayl mused.

    Suddenly, a familiar voice broke through the confusion, "Wrong on both accounts," the savvy Soong-type android spoke.

    "Lore?? But you already came back to life in one of our unique starship's many previous adventures," Seifer explained, "We re-captured you when your leg got stuck in a Malon tanker pipe?"

    The android, missing one arm and one leg, hobbled his-sitting-self around to face the Captain, "Your past episodes don't matter and should be comprehensively dismissed!"

    "Yeah..... but... you were...... and things...." Seifer drifted, confused.

    Lore picked up his other arm and threw it at Captain Seifer, "Shut up! You see, my father's ancestor, Arik Soong, was a devote 22nd century geneticist and bred himself a passionate torn-clothed, rock and roll following. This group endured and now they want a similar Soong-type-genius to help in their ambitions of societal amalgamation in much the same way a Galaxy-class saucer section may attempt to attach itself to a Constitution-class-refit body," he paused to shudder at the thought of it, "Ugghh."

    "My first idea was politics. Like, maybe we could run for a counsel somewhere? Perhaps the Nyberrite Alliance? I know a guy with a replicator who is good with branding," Ruko offered, "It's just one idea, though. I have more; much more."

    Seifer dropped his phaser aim, "Damn that Facility 4028 and its inventory-reporting glitches," he then turned to the Augments, "Also, your plan may be sound. In fact, I could see you conquering the entire Galaxy through the dreary just-elect-anyone-so-I-can-go-home mentality of politics, except for one thing: this android. --Lore, tell them what your ultimate goal is!"

    "Kill all organics," he admitted fluently, unsure at how it could possibly relate to the situation at hand.

    Tavar dropped Lore's unattached leg, "What the year-of-hell?? Augments are organics! You mean to kill us as well!?" He paused, feeling as though he needed to explain himself, "If you're wondering about my powers of logic, I once dated a Vulcan."

    "Not at all," Lore replied, "I plan to Borgify you in the way one does with tubules and bendable piping. I admit it's not the most effective form of cybernetics, but it's kind of become my signature. It'd be a disservice to myself not to."

    Tavar picked up the leg and swung it around in horror, knocking Lore's head off his body and into the far wall. It took a second for him to calm himself down, "Sorry, I'm prone to bouts of enhanced rage. It's quite endearing from a genetically dispositional point of view."

    "Ruko to the ship," the other Augment picked up a hand-held communicator, "It appears we've inanely come to an unremarkable avenue for our remarkable kind. Three to beam out! No time for the beaming sound-effect!"

    The disembodied head of Lore watched as the Augments dematerialized in a rush.

    "Phoenix-X to Captain Seifer," Ensign Dan's voice operated over the comms, "It looks like the Augments transported onto a cloaked vessel somewhere."

    "You're relieved!"

    Ensign Dan sputtered for a moment, "Well, that was an over-reaction."

    Seifer then gave up and followed Armond and Kayl to Lore's decapitated body.

    "Are the Augments going to become one of those over-used enemies that lose their teeth with every encounter and that we eventually get tired of?" Armond asked.

    The Captain nodded, "Yeah."

    "They were the ultimate bronze and they almost had the ultimate brains; I wonder if perhaps I could utilize my own abilities more effectively?" Kayl postulated.

    Seifer crossed his arms in thought, "Perhaps we all could. To survive is not enough. To simply exist is not enough," he quoted, "Roga Danar, Angosia III."

    "Sir, formally request we go to Risa," Armond turned, inspired and changing the subject, "We almost have enough Lohlunat Favors for a powerboard or floater."

    The Captain turned as well, "You do realize I'm the only one that ever beams down?"

    "Yes, but we're all watching on screen, in much the same way Kirk's crew did during his Gorn adventures," Armond replied.

    Seifer sighed, "Fine. But if I'm talking to a girl, I want that screen off, pronto. I'll contact you when I'm done."

    His crew nodded in agreement, and they collected the Soong-parts and left.
    uss_ragnarok4.jpg
  • aten66aten66 Member Posts: 638 Arc User
    edited June 2014
    Fair warning, it gets a little dark.
    Beware the implied details.
    *************
    [From the Desk of J.R. Hamra]

    [To Captain Gregs Sharvan Son'aire, and crew aboard the Oregon]

    Well, I've heard a lot about you mister Son'aire, I'm too far away for normal subspace communication, I mean you are in the Delta Quadrant after all, but I've sent my courier and this message for you. After being approved by Admiral Janeway, Director of Starfleet Intelligence Admiral Chakotay, and Admiral Jorell Quinn, we of Hollywood Hologram Studios and Productions, have been allowed to produce both a digital movie and holodeck program, feature the day in the life of Captain Son'aire and your crew.

    It was an extensive and grueling process after considering Romulan Republic, KDF ships, as well as other Federation ships in the candidate pool, we've been cleared to start filming as soon as you hit orbit at New Romulus. We've sent this message actually from Mol'Rihan, and have prepped our equipment for transfer to your ship. Hope to see you in a few hours, or within a day cycle.

    Sincerely yours,

    The Desk of J.R. Hamra, and H.H.S.P.
    ***

    Sitting at the table, looking at the message on his others P.A.D.D., he began cursing under his breath at the stupidity and weakness of bringing civilians, let alone cameramen, professional spies in any universe, onto his ship, potentially messing up his personal agenda in this 'mirror universe'. Of course they didn't know of his plans, nor did the crew realize their precious captain was actually replaced yet, but he had kept them all from finding out for a couple of days, a week now, he just had to keep the act going with these people watching his every move.

    Well this was going to put a kink in his plans for now. 'I hope my Captain is having luck interrogating useful information from my double,' he thinks, 'Lets hope these fools don't figure out, what the crew is oblivious to.'


    ******

    [Mirror Universe]

    He was huddled on the floor, his hair matted with dry blood from their previous attempts at 'interrogation', but it was also slick with the sweat from the current temperature levels of the room. They had made him remove everything but his underclothes, before they turned it into a sauna, minus the steam. His eyes were bloodshot from lack of sleep, his mind felt like it could snap at any moment from the torture they had put him through, both psychological and physical for the past week.

    His skin was suddenly cooled as the room turned back into a habitable temperature, he hadn't heard the footfalls, but he could see the flickering visage of a blond teen as she approached him. She looked like a younger version of Chassidy, when he had met her in the Academy, but the flickering showed she was actually a hologram programmed so eerily like her. "Hello Captain Son'aire, it's a pleasure to see you still function within acceptable parameters," she says, "I apologize, whether you believe it or not, for the way that you've been treated, and want to tell you what you see now is not what is factual, but mere fantasy for one." She lowers a black cased P.A.D.D., embellished with a Terran Empire logo, underscored by an Omega symbol, at his feet, as well as a flask of liquid he assumed was water.

    As she left the room, and making sure that the temperature wasn't changed, he picked up the flask and drank greedily of it, gulping a third of it down, before turning his eyes to the P.A.D.D. on the floor. He gingerly picks it up warily, acting like it was a venomous snake, but as he looks at the screen he can't help but admire the craftsmanship of the devices nonstandard casing. It was made of an indestructible, but light material, a metal of some kind, polished to a gleaming, obsidian-black, shine, and etched with the Terran insignia, overlaid on the Greek letter for Omega.


    ***


    I.S.S. Oregon Files: Gregs Sharvan Son'aire

    [Locating Recent Files...]

    [Current Mission: Infiltrate 'Prime' Universe to replace with key operative and double, total loyalty to the Imperial Starfleet.]

    [Locating Personal Files...]
    {Located File: Terran_Delta_1442.52}

    [Interrogator Mark, Notes on Subject Delta]

    Name: Gregs Sharvan Son'aire

    Species: Ocampa/Unknown Vulcanoid; Hybrid
    Origin: Delta Quadrant Planet.

    The I.S.S. Homer retrieved a ship adrift among the stars, brought to us by our Vulcan agents within the Romulan Star Empire, though a second subject was left behind, compiled data was retrieved about the second subject. The first subject was found to actually be a hybrid between an Ocampa, a native of the Delta Quadrant, and a proto Vulcan most similar to a Mintakan in biology. Surprisingly it has physical characteristics reminiscent of a Romulan, it's biology seems to be used to a more humid and wet climate, though subject two's data reveals it is more adapted to a desert climate, like a Vulcan. Perhaps we can use this being as a test bed for anti-Romulan, I will report more on this when we return to Terra.
    [End File]
    ***

    [Intercepted Communiqu
  • masopwmasopw Member Posts: 157 Arc User
    edited June 2014
    USS Theseus, Somewhere in the Kassae Sector

    "And that's pretty much the whole story, Tracy."

    The young ensign leaned back on the couch, mouth agape. She absentmindedly brushed a stray red hair from her face, then crossed her arms.

    "Remarkable, Skipper. I can't believe that's how you figured it out."

    Zh'rissa uncrossed her legs and briefly stretched them out before standing up. "Come on, Tracy. Can't believe?" She walked over to the replicator, calling up two orders of tiramisu from the preset menu. "Your simulator scores in the Petara mission tell me that you'd think up the solution within an hour. Milk or cream?"

    Tracy jumped up, smoothing her skirt as she walked over to join her commanding officer. "Cream, please. And double sweet." She took the two plates of dessert and walked over to the table where the remains of their dinner, a sampling of garlic shrimp and lightly seasoned mahi mahi, still sat. Setting down the plates, she gathered the dirty dishes up and brought them back to the replicator for reclamation.

    "Thanks," Zh'rissa said. She took the two cups of coffee to the table and sat down, a sad look on her face.

    Tracy noted this as she walked back to the table. "What's the matter, Skipper?"

    Zh'rissa smiled. "Nothing. You just remind me so much of her."

    "Your sister?"

    "Yes." She took a sip of the coffee, wincing at the heat, and placed it back down to cool off. "You wear your hair similar to hers."

    Tracy smiled back. "My mother liked this style on me, so I keep on doing the same thing. Tried to dye it black once. My mother didn't speak to me for a week." She blew on her coffee first, taking a long sip.

    The deck shuddered, just as a land vehicle would when going over rumble strips. The forks rattled against the dishes, and ripples appeared in their cups.

    Zh'rissa frowned, looking towards the viewport. "Odd. Third time this evening that's happened." She looked upwards, calling out towards the overhead, "Zh'rissa to Engineering...is everything ok?"

    A static hissed before the voice of the Theseus' temporary Chief Engineer came through. "Skipper, it's the port impulse secondary relay again. I've replaced the replacement...twice! I have no idea what's causing it to continue."

    "Is it something we need to return to spacedock for?"

    "No, Ma'am. If it remains intermittent, we should be good."

    Zh'rissa stood up and walked towards her desk. "Fine. Keep me in the loop."

    "You've got it, Skipper."

    Tracy looked up. "Ma'am...I still don't get why you insist on Skipper. You're the Captain, after all."

    "That's my position, not my rank. I'll explain it someday. But until I have four pips, if I'm in command of something, I'm the Skipper, not the Captain."

    "I don't understand..."

    "Understanding is not required...only obedience."

    Tracy's face scrunched up. "Ss-sss--Sorry. I---I---I didn't mea.."

    Zh'rissa chucked. "Come on, Tracy. It's a line from that show we watched yesterday?"

    Shaking her head, Tracy smirked. "Is the correct response D'oh?"

    Zh'rissa smiled broadly, saying, "I'll make you the sector champ of Earth Trivia one way or the other!"

    A hiss came through the overhead, followed by a deep voice from the speaker. "Skipper...sorry to disturb you. We are receiving a distress call."

    Zh'rissa started walking towards the bridge, and Tracy rose to follow. The doors were slow, and the zhen bumped her arm on the edge, scowling. "On screen."

    The hologram of a older, balding human male turned to face her from the center seat. "Audio only."

    Waving her arm up, she answered the command hologram that she left in charge while she and her XO had their evening meal. "Let's hear it."

    More static, followed by squeals, as if the sensors and computers were having trouble receiving and deciphering the data. "....tronic carrier....out of....ax...ter. Cleared from corridor 8188...struck stray ore barge...Mayday, Mayd---"

    Zh'rissa pursed her lips. "That the best you can do?"

    The hologram smirked. "I'm a hologram, not a spatial receiver. But yes, Ma'am...that is the best I can do."

    "Triangulate the origin."

    "Somewhere in the Ayala system. But there are no shiplanes in that area."

    The deck shuddered under their feet once more, a bit more intensely.

    Zh'rissa walked over to her seat, but the hologram didn't rise until she gave him a withering look. The hologram rolled his eyes and stood, giving Tracy a shrug. The hologram visually stuttered a couple of times, then winked out.

    Tracy filed it away for another repair when she could find the time. Ever since they got pushed out of the repair yard early, things weren't functioning properly. The holograms...the replicators...that weird smell on deck 3...and the misfiring impulse engines.

    It was as if the Theseus was sick.

    Zh'rissa motioned to her right side, inviting Tracy to sit. "Number One, put the hologram on your 'to-do' list, if you haven't already."

    "Yes Ma'am. I heard something at spacedock about holograms being all glitchy."

    "Yet another rumour. Take it with a grain of salt."

    "Yes, Skipper."

    "Set course for the Ayala system, best possible speed. And check with Starfleet to see if anybody's closer. I've got a bad feeling that we're going to need some help."

    "Aye, Skipper. Course laid in."

    "Engage."

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

    The mess hall on deck 3 was empty at this time. The Saber-class ship's complement was running on the lean side, and everybody had eaten.

    Or tried to.

    All the food came out of the replicators tasting sour tonight. Or salty. Either way, it was unpalatable.

    A plaque that the repair crew put in the starboard alcove was near the overhead, aft of bulkhead seven. The lettering once affixed to the side had somehow fallen off, and a crewman absently swept it up as trash during the last shift.

    All that was left on it was a black crystal within a polymer case.

    And it started to glow a sickly green, pulsing three times over and over...

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

    Somewhere in the Alaya System...

    "Helm, bring us in closer."

    "Aye, Ma'am. Closing to 50 kilometers. Want me to keep the rock between us and the facility?"

    Zh'rissa brought her hand up to rub her forehead. The Theseus was running at Yellow Alert, and came in from the vector set out for emergencies. Per the code given in the Mayday, 8188, she expected to find the holograms offline, one unknown threat vessel, and that she needed to adjust her shields to a particular frequency to keep the automated sensors from betraying her presence. Jackie was doing a good job threading the invisible corridor, what with the engineering problems the Theseus was continually throwing at her crew.

    What's wrong, girl?, Zh'rissa thought. Why are you acting up when we just fixed you?

    Tracy looked to her Captain, a look of concern in her eyes. Zh'rissa had been distant since retreating to her quarters for the journey to Facility 4208, something Tracy had never heard of until a few hours ago. She didn't like the fact that Starfleet maintained secret facilities. It reminded her too much of...well....bad times.

    "Skipper?"

    Zh'rissa blinked, then straightened up in her seat. "Yes, Jackie, keep us on the underside until we get a clearer scan of the ship."

    Tracy tapped her console, thought a moment, then chirped up. "Skipper, we're not going to get a clearer scan. It's a Koloth-class Bird of Prey, but definitely not stock. Not and IKS vessel, either. Transponder is faked, but she's showing as the Merchant Vessel Broken Wing, home ported at Chulan. Does that mean anything?"

    "Hmm." Zh'rissa's antenna folded downwards. "Chulan?"

    "Yes Ma'am."

    Zh'rissa picked up a PADD, entered some calculations, then sent it to her Tactical Officer, who was pulling extra duties flying the ship. "Jackie, bring us up until you've got a straight line of sight to these coordinates." She turned to her XO. "Tracy, once the Away Team is down, raise shields and wait. Don't drop them until I send a no-duress code." She stood up, straightening her tunic. "Keep an eye on the Koloth; it's not to leave under any circumstances. Got it?"

    Tracy stood up and took a step towards her Captain. "Skipper," she said quietly, "a word, please?"

    "No time."

    "Please?"

    Zh'rissa sighed. "Walk with me," she said softly, taking a step towards the turbolift. She raised her voice, and continued, "Jackie, you have the Conn."

    Tracy joined her in the lift, and once the doors hissed shut, reached out and grabbed a manual override to halt the lift before it could start it's short journey to the transporter room. "Skipper," Tracy said, "do I need to say that you shouldn't be going down there? Do I need to put on the XO's hat and quote regulations?"

    "No, you'd just mess up your hair." The smile Zh'rissa said that with disappeared quickly, and she squinted at Tracy. "You have no idea on what is down there, and there's no time to brief you even if you had the clearance."

    It was Tracy's turn to squint. "I have some idea of what goes on at black facilities," she said darkly. "Enough to know that you shouldn't go down in your state of mind."

    Zh'rissa scowled at her. "Excuse me?"

    "You've been keeping to yourself ever since we got that distress call. What is there that you don't want to talk about?"

    "Let it go, Ensign."

    "You taught me to not let things go."

    "And I also taught you to know when it's time to follow your gut and when it's time to shut up and follow orders."

    Tracy didn't back down. "I know when to shut up and follow legal orders."

    "You're pushing your luck."

    "No I'm not," Tracy cried out, her voice an octave higher than before. "I've been keeping quiet ever since spacedock, when you insisted that we were good to head out before repairs were completed." Tracy crossed her arms, and lowered her voice. "And I kept quiet when you didn't report we never got our replacement crew, and that half our engineers are holograms."

    Zh'rissa's lips pursed, and an edge crept into her voice. "I have my reasons." She inhaled sharply, and crossed her own arms. "And I don't need to explain them."

    "If this is about Ann-"

    "How DARE you!" Zh'rissa spat out. She reached out to grab a handrail to keep her from lashing out. "Don't you ever....EVER....insinuate that my actions are related...to...."

    An awkward silence fell over the turbolift, and Tracy pressed the override once more, starting the journey to the main transporter room.

    "Sorry," Tracy said a few moments later.

    "Don't....we will discuss this later." The doors opened with a shudder, the port side not retracting fully into it's space. Zh'rissa turned sideways and stalked out, hissing, "You have your orders."

    Tracy shook her head slowly, sadly whispering, "Aye, Aye, Ma'am."

    **********************
    Aboard Facility 4028

    The blue sparkles from the transporter seemed to linger a long time, not a surprise given that they needed to deploy pattern enhancers. The Petty Officers weren't smooth as they swept their phaser rifles around the chamber. Not a shock, thought Zh'rissa. Betty was from Astrometrics, and Myra was a Botanist. Denise, the acting Chief Engineer, never scored in the top percentile on tactical simulations, and it was all she could do to keep from dropping the tricorder while covering her sector.

    But when they're the best you have, you make do.

    Denise slung her rifle without permission, and walked over to the blown out terminal on the starboard bulkhead. "Ma'am," she whispered, "I'm getting all sorts of weird readings. Nothing makes sense."

    Zh'rissa holstered her pistol, then opened her own tricorder. "Same thing here. Seems you haven't gotten the kinks out of *any* of the sensors, Chief."

    Denise blushed, lowering her gaze. "I told you, Skipper, I've never seen these kind of problems before. We got jinxed at spacedock."

    "Belay that talk. I don't believe in jinxes."

    "But Ma'am...we were fine...well...as fine as we could have been after Vega. None of the problems we're having can be tracked back to the damage we took. Ann--"

    Zh'rissa spun on her heel, but Denise went silent before she could continue her train of thought. Regardless, she raised a single finger in warning, then stepped over to the console that was still intact. "Take my tricorder...see if the errors are the same, or if you can compile enough good readings to sort though the garbage."

    Denise slowly took her Captain's tricorder, then linked it to her own. She pulled out a transfer cable, and plugged into the console in front of her. She frowned, then reached over to an access panel, opening it with a bang that caused Myra to spin around, emitting a panicked squeak.

    The engineer tried to sound cheerful as she chirped, "Whoops!", in an attempt to calm down her friend.

    Zh'rissa scowled at them both, muttering, "Have you ladies forgotten why we're here?"

    Chastened, Denise quieted down. "No, Ma'am. Sorry." She held up the tricorders, trying to hide her face behind them. "But I've got a recording from the secondary core."

    "Play it."

    The small display on Denise's tricorder sparked a couple of times, then went black. A wisp of black smoke came out of the vent on the rear, and an acrid smell filled the air.

    Zh'rissa grabbed at the other tricorder, pulling the transfer cable out of the wall. She held out her hand to Betty, who wordlessly pulled her tricorder from its sheath and gave it to Zh'rissa. What's wrong with me?, Zh'rissa thought. I'm not acting like myself. The nightmares she experienced ever since pulling into spacedock had been bad, and now it was affecting how she was treating her crew.

    She didn't like it one bit.

    Taking a few deep breaths, she activated Betty's tricorder, putting up a firewall before accessing the same information Denise found. The screen shone brightly, as if somebody was pointing a visible laser into the lens. A gruff voice came out of the speaker, male, and grumpy. "I dunno why we here. I no see it." An equally grumpy voice muttered something unintelligible in the background, and Zh'rissa tried to clear up the signal.

    Myra slowly walked over, whispering, "Maybe if we use my tricorder too--"

    A blast of green light and a thunderous shockwave interrupted her words, and Betty slumped to the ground, horrible burns on the right side of her body. A line of smoke ran from her body to a jagged hole in the bulkhead.

    "Now *that's* a blast! Drop em, Starfleet," a huge Orion male grunted. He was shirtless, and any spot on his body where he didn't wear piercings was covered in obscene tattoos. "Don't make me ask twice, blue, or another of yer crew gets toast." A second Orion walked out of the jagged hole, a huge disruptor cannon the size of a targ in his scrawny arms. He pointed it menacingly at Denise, and Myra dropped her rifle as the brute glared at her. A third Orion jumped through the hole, running with impressive speed towards Zh'rissa and Denise. He was sized somewhere between the first and second, and roughly grabbed Zh'rissa's pistol from its holster while cutting Denise's rifle's sling with a wicked looking knife.

    "Why?" Zh'rissa asked.

    The first Orion tilted his head back and forth. "Don't know why he does what he does," he said, pointing to the scrawny one. "Maybe the voices in his head tell him to toast girlies."

    "You didn't nee--"

    The second Orion waved the disruptor around, then fired again, striking Myra.

    "Nooo!" Denise screamed, and the Orion shot her too.

    Zh'rissa's hands leapt up in surrender. "Don't...."

    "Save it." This came from an even darker sounding voice, whose owner strode out of the smoke and into the center of the chamber. "They really don't care. Ever since getting the repairs from your spacedock, they don't listen all that well."

    Zh'rissa was confused, and blinked madly at the smoke burning her eyes. "What repairs?" she asked, nearly frantic.

    "Allow me to introduce myself. Name's Trever. My ship's the Cordon's Fire. Yeah...fake transponder on her now...but you Starfleet types don't exactly hold out the welcome wagon on your stations for pirates." He held up a Klingon PADD, bringing up the schematics of a Koloth-class ship. "But privateers? We're more than welcome."

    Zh'rissa's eyes bored holes through the man, who was incredibly fit. He looked to be in his mid-thirties, and wore his red hair cut short to the scalp, a thin scar running up from beside his nose. Zh'rissa was panting, both from the smoke, and from the rage she felt at watching her crew cut down in front of her.

    The man stalked towards her, a curt motion of his hand dismissing the Orions. They gave him an evil look, but retreated through the hole, the first Orion winking at Zh'rissa as he departed.

    "As I was saying," Trever continued, "Privateers don't get a second glance. Expensive to forge the permits. But worth it." He snatched the tricorder away from the console, admiring it for a moment. "You have better gear than the Klingons. Not as nice as the Romulans, but any port in a storm." He arrogantly placed his hands on his hips, and started to circle Zh'rissa.

    "I bet you're wondering just why I'm here."

    "The thought did cross my mind," Zh'rissa hissed.

    "Honestly...I don't know. I was sleeping while they put a new induction coil on the 'Fire'...well, they put a new coil on the 'Broken Wing', but you get the point. I kept having the oddest dreams. About how I could be rich beyond belief if I just went and destroyed some Tellarite and Andorian ships." He pulled out a small dagger, sticking the point onto his finger. "I didn't understand it...but it made sense. Somehow. And my crew seemed to be up for it. So I made a few calls, and asked around on who knows the best way to bring upon genocide." He pointed the dagger at a point beyond the hole. "Come take a look."

    Zh'rissa slowly walked towards the hole, conscious that the dagger was now playing across her left side. The three Orions weren't in the adjacent room, but there was a scraggly-faced Lethean crouched over a crate. The lid was carelessly tossed to the side, and an intricate tool kit was open on the ground. Seven other crates of different size were broken open, but empty. The Lethean squinted at Trever, motioning with a delicate probe. "You didn't tell me it was positronic. We'll need a different interface if you want to upload the memories."

    "Tut, tut," Trever said. "We have all the ones we'll need on that ship that's come to take us away." He smiled sarcastically at Zh'rissa. "Isn't that right, Captain?"

    "I'll never help you," Zh'rissa said.

    In reply, Trever jerked the knife up and sliced her left antenna open.

    "What was that, Captain?" he growled. "I didn't quite hear that."

    "Go to hell--"

    Slice.

    The pain was too great, and Zh'rissa fell to the ground. She heard laughter, and looked over to see the Lethean smirking as it placed a head on a body of an android that it was assembling. She thought she could recognize it, but Trever kicked her in the ribs, ripping the breath from her lungs.

    "Captain, captain....the pain? I can make it go away." He shook his head, confused. "But I don't want to." He shook his head again. "But I can be reasonable. Just whisper the duress code in my ear, and I promise, I won't make it last too much longer."

    Zh'rissa could barely think, and struggled to open her eyes. "No..." she breathed out.

    And white hot fire ripped into her thigh.

    The Lethean chuckled again.

    Trever wasn't so amused. "Now, Captain," he said, the edge in his voice as sharp as his dagger.

    Her voice was barely audible. "No." Zh'rissa shut her eyes against the pain, hoping that her crew would somehow survive.

    "Hey," the voice of the Orion shouted. "We got incoming."

    Zh'rissa heard Trever rise, but not before he stabbed her in her other thigh. "What?!?" he shrieked, composure leaving his confident voice.

    "Odyssey class, coming at maximum warp. Doesn't give a damn who knows he's coming." Odd tones signalled that a Klingon PADD was being used. "Jaard says it's the Bonaventure."

    Trever's voice went back to an oily tone. "We ever deal with them?"

    "No." Zh'rissa felt a kick in her ribs, not as had as the first one. "But I bet she has."

    Zh'rissa felt warm breath against her face. "What about it, sweetheart? You know the Bonaventure?"

    First the notes of a Federation transporter chimed, and then a body thudded on the floor next to Zh'rissa after a phaser whined. She thought she heard the Lethean start to say something, but he was cut off as she heard the sound of a neck snapping. "I don't think she does know, Brother. But I do."

    Zh'rissa struggled to place the voice, but then the phaser whined again.

    And that was the last thing Zh'rissa ever heard.

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

    To be concluded in a future tale...
  • shevetshevet Member Posts: 1,633 Arc User
    edited June 2014
    Personal record: Shalo of the house of Sinoom, commanding officer, IKS Garaka

    "I live to serve, Chancellor," I say. "But your command is... unexpected."

    J'mpok regards me inscrutably with his heavy-lidded eyes. "It is my judgment that you are the best choice. A Klingon crew, of course, was the first thought that came to my mind... but then, I thought again."

    "One's first thought," I say, "would have been the flagship, and Captain Koren."

    "Very true." J'mpok chuckles. "Captain Koren has many virtues. But she lacks some qualities... she is neither diplomatic, nor photogenic. This assignment calls for both those things. And it will do the Federation good to see that the KDF is not wholly Klingon - that Orions, for example, such as yourself, command respect and obedience."

    He settles himself behind his desk. He is in a talkative mood, it seems. I remain in an attitude of respectful attention and let him talk.

    "The Federation has finally seen the error of its ways, with regard to our mutual enemies. So far as it goes, this is good. But this armistice, this new cooperation, is a fragile thing. We must fight to preserve it, with weapons other than guns...."

    "I believe I understand, Chancellor," I venture to say. "The battle for hearts and minds must be waged with... more subtle weapons."

    "Quite so. Captain Koren finds it difficult to be subtle." His eyes are still inscrutable. "You do not. So, when this Federation purveyor of entertainments came to us, wishing to present a picture of the KDF at work... I thought of you."

    "I am gratified, Chancellor." Actually, "gratified" is not... an entirely accurate... description of my feelings.

    J'mpok nods, slowly and thoughtfully. "Go, then. Help this image-maker present his picture. It is my wish that you should show the KDF as a friend to be trusted... and an enemy to be feared."

    I give a formal salute. "I will not fail you, Chancellor."

    ---

    "Of final approach, confirmation there is," Commander Foojoy reports. "To shuttlebay four, the shuttlecraft of Federation is assigned."

    "Excellent," I say. "Have an honour guard detachment there to escort this Director Marklance to the bridge. So, then. Time to make a final decision on which assignment we will take. The planetary survey in the T'Ong Nebula? Or the patrol in Khedaris Sector? I will entertain suggestions."

    Suggestions are not forthcoming. I have never seen so many unhappy faces on the bridge, not even when we were facing an Undine planet-killer. I heave an exasperated sigh. "I know you were hoping for the tribute enforcement mission at Sarkan Minor. It is not practical, not with a Federation film crew aboard. Not if we wish to give a positive impression of the KDF at work. There will be other chances for booty, I assure you. But this time, we must put on a good show."

    "Sir," Sano speaks up from the science console, her eyes wary in her dark green face. "I do not question your orders, but you should be aware of something. When I investigated the mission parameters for Sarkan Minor, a name came up. A name on your personal interest list."

    They will not give up on this. "What name?" I demand.

    "Satyusin Muhrl," Sano replies.

    My whole body tenses. There is a long pause. I find I cannot speak... and no one else dares to.

    "Muhrl," I whisper, finally. "In what context?"

    "He is one of the approved brokerage agents in that sector," Sano replies. "Based on Presaucus III."

    "Satyusin Muhrl," I say aloud. "Well."

    K'Gan, my first officer, frowns in puzzlement. "Does that... change things?"

    "It... might," I say, slowly. Ideas are forming in my mind. "Yes. It might well. This will be difficult, it will require careful management. But these things are always a matter of presentation. Raas." The Gorn at the comms console looks up. "Signal Command that we accept the Sarkan Minor assignment."

    ---

    "Director Marklance," I say. "Welcome to my quarters."

    "Oh," he says, "I don't have a title. Just plain Mr Marklance." He smiles. He is a tall, heavy-built, dark-skinned human, with a ready smile. Affable, that is the word for him. Affable. "Or Ryall, even better, that's my first name."

    "Ryall." I smile back. "And I am Shalo, as no doubt you know. Please, be seated. Do you desire refreshment?"

    He sinks, gingerly, down onto a pile of cushions. I sit cross-legged opposite him. My quarters are decorated in opulent Orion style - for the moment. Usually, I prefer plainer surroundings. But I think it is important to show that I have other than Klingon cultural values, for the present. "I guess I'd better keep a clear head," he says.

    "Some Kryla flower nectar, perhaps? It has no intoxicating effects." He does not demur as I pour out two glasses of the sweet-scented golden liquid, but he sips it cautiously. "Nice," he says. "Very Orion." He gestures at the silk wall hangings. "Like this... but you're not dressed in the Orion style, are you, General?"

    "I am a KDF officer, first and foremost." I am wearing my usual cold-weather version of KDF standard uniform, white leather and furs. "If I wish to be reminded of my Orion heritage... it is a taste I indulge in private."

    "Well," Marklance says, "I guess the KDF would have picked one of their most... strait-laced... officers for this job, right? So let's talk about why I'm here."

    "You are here to make a... documentary holo... about the modern KDF," I say.

    "Right. Right. I mean, I'm saying this myself, but I'm one of the best-known - not to mention the best - documentary film makers in the Federation. You've probably seen my film about the behind-the-scenes secrets of the Deltan tantric therapy workshops?"

    "Federation cultural material has not been common in the Empire, during the war. I know the Deltans believe themselves to be skilled in such things... it lies somewhat outside the military sphere, though."

    "Yeah, I suppose not. Anyway. What I want to do now is give the Federation a real view of the workings of the KDF. You've been the enemy so long - demonized in our propaganda - so now we need a good, clear, unbiased look at how you guys work. That's what I'm here for. And I'm here because I'm the best."

    No false modesty, I see. "The Chancellor's orders are... to present the KDF in a positive light. But it is essential, I think, that your documentary should be realistic. A tawdry recruiting film for the KDF would convince no one."

    "Quite." He laughs. "So I'm going to make sure that's not what we get! I'm going to warn you now, I get involved on both sides of the camera when I make a film." And how the Deltans must have enjoyed that, I carefully refrain from saying. "So I'm going to be right there when you do your stuff, and I'm going to be adversarial."

    I smile a tight little thin-lipped smile. "The KDF," I say, "has always welcomed a valiant adversary."

    ---

    "Coming out of warp," K'Gan announces. The air of anticipation on the bridge is electric.

    "Before we go on," Ryall Marklance says, "can you give me a run down on what exactly we're doing here?"

    "Steer three eight zero mark two. Launch frigates as we reach range two thousand. All warriors to battle stations." I turn to Marklance. "We are here on a tribute enforcement mission. The government of Sarkan Minor has reneged on its commitments to the Empire... we are here to remind them that such behaviour is not acceptable."

    "What's the difference between this, though, and a smash-and-grab pirate raid?"

    "Official approval," I say with a smile. "Besides, does the Federation not enforce its treaty stipulations, from time to time?"

    "Not with warships," Marklance says. "Well, not often...."

    "Situations like this rarely occur in Klingon space," I say. "But, when they do, the Empire acts with appropriate severity."

    "But you get to keep some of the - the loot, don't you?"

    "Naturally. As an incentive for us to perform our duties well. And the additional expense is an added disincentive for the Sarkans to neglect their obligations in future."

    Marklance shakes his head. "You people and your outmoded economic system," he murmurs.

    "Of movement, around the trading post, I report," Foojoy breaks in. Marklance jumps. Foojoy, with his high pointed head, the warrior markings on his grey skin, and his extravagant facial hair, always seems to startle Marklance. "Ships, foregathering at mark three niner by four seven, six in number, there are."

    "Classification?"

    "Birds of Prey." The Sarkan asteroid trading post has deployed a picket force. That is to be expected - and that will change, as soon as their sensors get a positive lock on us. At present, they are merely wary. Soon, they will be terrified.

    "Frigates one and two away," Sano reports. "Three and four prepping for launch."

    "Those are... Fer'jai frigates?" asks Marklance.

    I nod. "Originally, we carried S'kul fighters, but I consider those too fragile for most applications. The Fek'lhri waste lives needlessly... we spend them only as we need."

    He glances around the cavernous bridge. "I keep forgetting this is a Fek designed ship," he says.

    "The interior fittings are mostly Klingon. Fek quarters lack... certain amenities." I decide to seize an opportunity. "The Fer'jai frigates are closer to the original designs. If you wish a view of their interiors, I can arrange for exercises to be carried out - shall we say, tomorrow?"

    "If you have any frigates by tomorrow."

    "The Sarkans' Birds of Prey are old war surplus. Antiquated designs. They will present no significant challenge."

    "Ships decloaking," Sano interrupts. "Six more Birds of Prey, and... one SuQob raptor."

    "How's that for a significant challenge?" Marklance asks.

    It is, I think, the full fighting force available to the trading station - that, and its own disruptor emplacements. "Time to effective range?"

    "Thirty seconds," Sano answers.

    "Can you take this?" Marklance asks. "Can we take this? Your frigates are outnumbered three to one!"

    "So they are. Do you believe the Sarkans, now, to be innocent parties in their dispute with the Empire? I have reason to suspect - well, we shall find out, later, what I suspect. Forward batteries, fire as you bear." Marklance is perspiring freely. I suppose the Deltan tantric therapists did not prepare him for a situation like this.

    "Incoming torpedoes," K'Gan reports.

    I count down, silently, in my head as the torpedo salvo approaches. "And... phase," I order.

    The light seems to shift on the bridge, the constant gonging note from the engines changes in pitch... and the Garaka becomes insubstantial for a moment or two, long enough for the photon torpedoes to pass harmlessly through us and waste themselves on empty space. Quietly, I tap out commands on my console.

    "In range," snarls K'Gan. "Engaging."

    Even here, deep inside the ship, we can hear the scream of the antiproton arrays discharging, feel the thumps as the tricobalt torpedoes launch. The Fer'jais are closing on the Birds of Prey, now, their own antiproton arrays slicing the night with threads of scarlet. Green disruptor light flashes back at us.

    "Incoming fire. Forward shields holding at seventy-eight per cent."

    The trading station is firing, too, though we are at extreme range for its fixed-mount disruptors. But, of course, these people are desperate - they see the Kar'fi carrier, the frigates, the antiproton beams and tricobalt explosions, they believe themselves under attack by the Fek'lhri. Normally, a glance at the Garaka's transponder ID code would disabuse them of that notion....

    "Concentrate fire on lead raider group. Rotate shield frequencies. Ready a torpedo spread, but hold fire until I give the word."

    Scarlet light from our forward arrays slashes open the hull of one enemy Bird of Prey, spilling air and warp plasma and burning bodies into the void. My frigates target another, fire as one, obliterating it in a single brilliant flash. But another trio of enemy ships is coming about.

    "Incoming fire on starboard flank!"

    Garaka rocks. Damage warning lights sparkle on my console, and there is the flash-bang of a transient EPS overload on one of the bridge consoles. Marklance gives a high-pitched yelp. I smile tolerantly at him. "Such things are to be expected," I say sweetly.

    "That was an explosion! On the bridge!"

    "Incoming enemy fire is absorbed and dissipated in the EPS grid," I say absent-mindedly, as I sketch out the next attack pattern on the tactical console. "Occasionally, there is a transient overload, or some impurities in the grid tubing are burned off by a passing surge... the alternative, though, would be to let the enemy fire take out a chunk of our hull. A minor distraction like this, believe me, is to be preferred." We are ready. "Fire torpedo spread!"

    The multiple warheads shriek from our launchers. One Bird of Prey, out of position and already damaged, vanishes in a blast of flame - but the majority of the salvo is aimed at the base, and it strikes home, disabling shields and disruptor emplacements in a series of massive explosions. My beam arrays are swatting down the surviving Birds of Prey....

    "Raptor is changing heading," Sano reports. "Coming about - activating a subspace jump -"

    The enemy raptor vanishes from the screen. Sadly - for them - this was an obvious ploy on their part, and I have had ample time to take precautions. The raptor emerges from its subspace rift, a little under two kellicams behind us. An ideal spot for me to deploy a pair of tricobalt mines... I wonder if its captain had time to realize his error, before the detonations tore his ship apart.

    The last few Birds of Prey are fleeing, in flames, from my frigates. The station itself is defenceless, its firepower wrecked by my torpedoes. Damage to the Garaka barely qualifies as cosmetic. I turn to my communications console, and press two buttons. One of them opens a standard Imperial hailing frequency. The other... turns the Garaka's ID transponder back on.

    "Sarkan station," I announce. "This is Lieutenant General Shalo aboard the Imperial carrier Garaka. You are directed to surrender... and to meet your obligations to the Empire."

    ---

    Marklance's voice sounds thin and tinny. "I'm going to take the opportunity. Of course she's up to something, but we haven't had a chance to get inside a Fer'jai frigate before...."

    "We'll miss the prisoner transfer." The other voice is that of Marklance's "production associate". I have forgotten his name; I think of him just as the man from Starfleet Intelligence. "That might not matter, of course...."

    "Yeah," says Marklance, "yeah. I'll give 'em credit, the Klinks haven't mistreated any prisoners - that I've seen. Hell, the poor guys seemed relieved, even." Well, of course they would - they expected to be eaten by the Fek'lhri, Imperial custody must seem preferable to that. "We can get the second camera unit to record the transfer anyway... if there are any, well, irregularities, they should pick up on them." Dream on, I think to myself. Faint noises sound, and then Marklance says, "Are you sure this room isn't bugged?"

    "Swept it for surveillance devices myself," the Intelligence man replies. "It's clean." And he is perfectly right. But if you stand in the right place, two decks above their quarters, and next to the right ventilation shaft, you find that voices can carry. It helps, of course, that I know my ship. Intimately.

    "We need an angle," Marklance says. "We need something... I don't care what it is. Something to show the KDF either in a bad light, or a good one. I don't wanna be neutral. Neutral is blah. Neutral is bad."

    "Safe bet she'd prefer good," says the other, "but bad ought to be easier to do."

    "Yeah," says Marklance, "they're Klinks, after all.... I'll find it. One way or another, I'll get my angle."

    I step away from the ventilation shaft. Poor man. He is working so hard, trying to think of his angle. It would positively be an act of charity to find one for him.

    ---

    It is late the next day when I see Marklance again. He strolls into my ready room, all smiles and affability. His camera team is not with him; so, this is to be a private conversation. I smile at him, and wave him to a chair. "You enjoyed your flight, then?"

    "I got some good material. Those Fer'jai frigates are... weird. Gothic, maybe. I see what you mean about Fek interior design."

    I nod in an abstracted manner. "You missed the transfer of the adult prisoners... an Imperial courier arrives tomorrow, if you need footage of ships docking and undocking. The children - there is a separate protocol, necessarily, for the care and repatriation of minors." The ship arriving tomorrow is an Imperial courier, and not - as today - an Orion slaving vessel. I do not deal in child slaves... the business is lucrative, but it is fraught with uncertainties. People become unreasonable where children are involved.

    "It'd be good to show that. I guess." Marklance is trying to read my datapad upside down. He is not subtle about it; I sigh, spin it around, and show it to him. "What's all this about?"

    "Choosing a brokerage agency to process the tribute from the station. You will understand that these things must be carefully accounted for... a select list of financial agents is kept by the Imperial authorities. People of impeccable financial probity."

    Marklance purses his lips. "Accountancy."

    "Dull, perhaps, but essential. The nearest large brokerage houses are on Presaucus III... I am trying to decide which to employ." I am frowning faintly, now, hoping to convey the impression that the choice is difficult.

    "What's your thinking?" Marklance asks.

    "I need an agency of sufficient size.... And there is one that I will not use."

    He perks up at that. "Why not?"

    I look at him steadily for a moment or two before I reply. "It is owned by a man... who was a trusted retainer of the House of Sinoom. My House. He betrayed his trust, turned his coat, sold our assets and our secrets to those who supported Melani D'ian and the war...."

    "I thought you said these guys had to be of - what was it? Impeccable financial probity?"

    "The brokerage was his reward. Your people have a saying, I recall - 'if it prosper, none dare call it treason'. The militarist faction prospered, and Satyusin Muhrl prospered with them. No doubt he deals honestly, now, with the Empire."

    Marklance's eyes are gleaming with interest. "So you can't work with him? A matter of - family honour? But you're Orion, not Klingon... I always thought Orions were pragmatists."

    "I find I am not sufficiently pragmatic to work with Satyusin Muhrl," I snap, with perfectly genuine anger.

    "Really?" says Marklance. "That tells me something, doesn't it? About old grievances, and old memories, and just how deep grudges run in your culture...."

    "It is not the same. Federation and Empire now face a common foe. My feelings about a man who violated my House's trust - they have nothing to do with -"

    "Can you work with him?" Marklance is agog. He has found his angle, or so he thinks.

    "It is irrelevant," I say with decision. "He will never work with me, for the most obvious reasons."

    "If he could be persuaded... would you work with him?"

    "To prove a point? To you?"

    "If you like, yes."

    "I am a warrior of the Empire. I will do my duty - however difficult, however unpleasant. Explain to me how this would fall within my duty."

    "I'm guessing," Marklance says, "that your orders are to show the KDF in a good light, right? So, how about showing me that the KDF can put aside old animosities, can work with the people it used to despise, for the common good?" He is grinning. "A challenge, General Shalo. From me to you. Are you up to it?"

    "It is academic. Muhrl has no duty to the KDF, and he has a high regard for his own skin. You will never persuade him to work with me."

    He chuckles. "Want to bet? I can be mighty persuasive, General."

    So, indeed, I hope.

    ---

    The face on the holo-display is that of a small, bald man, with pinched features, greyish-green skin and long dangling earlobes. The jewelry he wears - nose studs, earrings, a glittering headband, several necklaces - looks incongruous on him. "Satyusin Murhl," I say to Foojoy and Sano. "An Orion-Gretebian half-breed, with some customs retained from both cultures... the one that interest me is Gretebian. You note the jewels?"

    "Gaudy," says Sano.

    "Display. Gretebians display their wealth, and they like to wear trophies. This being the case, some ideas sprang to my mind."

    "A possibility there is -" Foojoy begins.

    "Yes," I say. "That is why I need you to make... the requisite preparations. And you," I turn to Sano, "need to use our contacts on Presaucus III to the fullest. I need someone over whom Muhrl will be glad to triumph."

    "We have less than thirty hours before we reach Presaucus orbit," Sano says doubtfully.

    "You will need to work fast. But men like Muhrl make enemies as easily as they breathe. And he has one other quality that I think will prove useful to us." I stare intently at the face of my enemy. "Bravado."

    ---

    K'Gan meets me at the transporter room, and his eyes widen at the sight of me. Well, that is good.

    "Liberty parties are preparing to beam down, sir," he reports.

    "Excellent. Pass the word amongst them, though, that we are still under the eyes of the Federation."

    "They have been made aware of this, sir, but I will reiterate the message."

    I nod. "A certain amount of... horseplay... is expected. Bar brawls, honour duels and the like. The Feds will expect it of us, and there is no reason to disappoint them. But we should stop short of significant property damage, or injury to passers-by. Or, especially, non-consensual... encounters. The Feds are very sensitive about such matters. Make our liberty parties aware that there is room in my trophy cabinet for the genitals of anyone who contravenes my orders in this respect."

    K'Gan salutes. "It shall be so, sir."

    "Good. The advance party?"

    "Planetside and ready, sir."

    "Good." I step onto the transporter pad. "Energize."

    Red light encloses me and takes me away from the ship, into the hustle and bustle of the spaceport below.

    The place is crowded, busy; I step off the pad and am swallowed at once in a swarm of aliens of a hundred different species, all hurrying on errands among low, domed buildings beneath a grey stormy sky. In the distance, starships tower along the horizon, freighters and frigates of numerous designs. I look about and spot Sano. She does not recognize me until I am quite close to her - it says something, perhaps, that an Orion costume of silks and jewels now works as a reasonably effective disguise. She smiles, and remembers not to salute.

    "We have the one you need," she says. She looks a little careworn, almost hollow-eyed. It appears she has worked hard to achieve this success. I let her lead me down many winding alleys, into one geodesic dome building that looks much like any of the others.

    The Gorns, Raas and Thraak, are standing over the wretched figure seated in one corner of the dingy bar. The few remaining customers are elaborately not paying attention to us. I sit down across the table from our captive, and take the datapad Sano offers me.

    "Ekkdosin sh'Durn," I read. The captive looks up, trembling. I don't recognize his species - something small, bald and warty, with reddish-brown skin. "A figure, here, for the amount you owe to the Golden Raptor Loans and Brokerage Company... another figure, for your estimated assets. Dear me. There appears to be quite a disparity."

    "Did Muhrl send you?" His voice is high-pitched and cracked. "How did you find me?"

    "Sh'Durn is notoriously elusive," Sano says. "The Golden Raptor Company is by no means his only creditor."

    "But it is the only one that need concern us now," I say. I smile at the cringing alien. "Good fortune attends you today, sh'Durn. Your debt to the Golden Raptor Company is about to be repaid. You will repay it. In full, and with interest."

    "I don't have the money," sh'Durn whines. "You know I don't have the money...."

    "Then we must make an arrangement," I say, giving him my sweetest smile. "I will buy your debt, sh'Durn. I will cover your bills to this company, and even add a little something to sweeten the pot. You should give thanks to whatever deities you worship, sh'Durn. Your luck has changed."

    "It has?" He sounds doubtful.

    "Of course," I add, "I am not a charitable institution. I am buying your debt, and I will receive value for money." I let my smile gain a little feral edge. "Let us discuss the arrangements...."

    ---

    Ryall Marklance's smile is broad enough to span a star sector, as he ushers the small grey-green figure into my ready room. "Lieutenant General Shalo," he declaims, "let me introduce you to the president of the Golden Raptor Loans and Brokerage Company - Satyusin Muhrl."

    I rise slowly to my feet. "Muhrl." He is smaller than I remember him, and his jewels are more gaudy and more numerous. I have to look hard... and then I have to restrain myself, to keep my face carefully composed, as I see that it worked.

    "General." Muhrl looks at me, nervous and defiant. Of course, his innate bravado would tempt him to accept this assignment, to beard me in my lair - with, I suppose, a substantial monetary sweetener from Marklance.

    "I hope you two can work together," says Marklance. "Bury those old animosities, hey?"

    "I bear the General no ill will," says Muhrl.

    "I see it is academic, in any case," I say. Marklance looks baffled; Muhrl looks wary. "You are wearing a Gral Temm assassin jewel, Muhrl. Whoever gave it to you will doubtless engage the trigger soon enough."

    Murhl smiles. "This thing?" He points to the red gleaming gem at his throat. "It is a recent trophy, a payment for a debt - I have had it scanned for toxins, it is safe."

    A trophy from a "notoriously elusive" debtor - in the form of a deadly weapon - could not fail to excite Muhrl's passion for display. "Are you sure?" I ask, sweetly. "The House of Torg, before its fall, created several interesting new toxins, specifically designed to pass undetected by standard scans. Perhaps you should check it with my science teams. Though I am sure you also obtained the release key for the jewel - even you would not dare to wear it, otherwise."

    "Gral Temm assassin jewel?" Marklance asks. It is hard to tell if Muhrl's complexion has become even more unhealthy... but I rather think it has.

    "My aide Commander Foojoy is of the Gral Temm people," I say. "You should ask him about the jewels - though he is, of course, of the Gral Temm warrior caste, not the assassin caste." The distinction between a Gral Temm warrior and an assassin is mainly one of spelling, but no need to trouble Marklance with this information. "Anyway. On the assumption that Muhrl will live, let us discuss the matter of the tribute."

    ---

    It does not take long for Marklance to lose interest in the bookkeeping details, and leave. And then Muhrl makes an excuse, and departs for a little while... and, when he returns, there is no doubt about his complexion.

    "The key is a fake," he hisses at me.

    I hold up a tiny shining sliver of metal, and smile. "I know. Do you need that scan from my science team?" He does not answer. "You should avoid my transporter room," I tell him. "Who knows? The random pattern of bleeps and chirps from the circuitry might, coincidentally, match the pattern for the sonic trigger...."

    His expression is half hate, half terror. I savour it.

    "What do you want?" he asks, at last.

    "What does anyone want? Wealth, power, pleasure... and revenge."

    "You cannot afford to harm me in front of the Federation -"

    "Can I not? My orders were to show the KDF as a friend to be trusted, or an enemy to be feared. Your death from the gamma-pyroxycene compound in that jewel... that would be fearsome, Muhrl." I hold the tiny key up again, toying with it, watching the light gleam on it....

    "You might try removing the jewel, of course. The Gral Temm folk hero, Yeemus the Miraculous, once took off an assassin jewel without the key. That was one reason they called him the Miraculous. Do you feel miraculous, Muhrl?"

    "What do you want?"

    "I have told you. What you want -" I hold the key out towards him. "Now, let me tell you how you can earn it."

    ---

    "That's... incredible," says Marklance. His gaze is rivetted on the display screen.

    "It is not conclusive," I say, "merely... somewhat suggestive."

    "The Sarkan traders were in league with the Elachi?"

    "We cannot confirm that." Muhrl's voice is high-pitched and strained, and he is sweating profusely. Marklance does not appear to notice. His eyes dance as he reads the data on the screen. Much of it, in fact, is perfectly genuine. I have, with Muhrl's cooperation, added a few details....

    "It would explain a lot," says Marklance. "Like, for instance, why the Sarkans seemed so darn relieved when you took them prisoner. If they were slated for use as Elachi experimental subjects...." He gives vent to a low whistle. "I think anything would be better than that."

    "I repeat, we do not have definite proof. But these technology transfers, and these cargoes here -" I point to a section of the data "- would indicate trade with the remnants of the Star Empire, and onwards from there." It is usually possible to make some transactions from any trade hub look suspicious. "It just goes to show, though... our real enemies have a frighteningly long reach."

    "Yeah," says Marklance, "yeah.... Look, this stuff ties in with, well, some other details I happen to know about." He lumbers to his feet. "I'm going to go talk to my production associate, maybe get transport to, umm, somewhere else...." He departs, muttering to himself, his eyes aglow with possibilities.

    I turn to Muhrl. "You should take some medication to control your perspiration."

    "I am wearing death at my throat! You cannot expect me not to be nervous!"

    "There are worse things than death, Muhrl. Fail me, and I shall acquaint you with some of them."

    ---

    "Of much wealth, offering, this one is," says Foojoy, "transportation, to the planet, to obtain."

    "Muhrl is offering bribes, now?" Foojoy nods, his long face sombre. "Well," I say, "you act honourably in reporting the matter to me."

    "My duty, it is."

    "But, Commander, you must also think of yourself," I add. "Let me make a suggestion. When next Muhrl makes an offer, this is what you should do...."

    ---

    I am in a twisting tunnel of blackened metal, lined with ridges and ribs, like the entrails of some vast beast. I lean casually against one rib, and wait. I do not wait long. Red light illuminates the place with a hellish glare for a moment, and then the light fades, and Muhrl is there.

    "I hope Foojoy made you pay through the nose for this," I remark. He whirls around.

    "A trap!" he screams.

    "Well," I say, "naturally."

    "So what now? You have ruined me, do you now intend to kill me? What is this place?"

    "I have hardly ruined you. Do not exaggerate. You may, possibly, have liquidated the assets from Sarkan Minor at a favourable price to me... and, of course, I am glad that your brokerage house has waived its own commission, there... but you have taken a loss, you have not been ruined. As to this place... we are still aboard the Garaka. This section retains the original Fek'lhri design, that is all." I sniff. "I would call it a design aesthetic, but the Feks do not really do aesthetic."

    "So is this where you kill me?" He sounds almost resigned to it.

    "Kill you? I pay my debts, Muhrl." I reach out and touch a stud. An arched doorway in the side of the corridor begins to glow with ruddy light. "In that alcove, you will find the key to the assassin jewel. Take it, and free yourself."

    He scurries to the doorway, then stops at the threshold. "This is... some trick, isn't it?"

    I examine the fingernails of my right hand. With my left, I draw out a small, silvery device - Muhrl will know it instantly as the trigger mechanism for the assassin jewel. "You must decide for yourself whether you trust me, Muhrl. But I do not intend to stay here indefinitely, and you would be unwise to test my patience too far."

    He scuttles through the doorway, into the alcove, and grovels on the floor, looking for the tiny key. I watch him with an air of detached amusement. It takes a while for him to find the key, and longer still for his shaking hands to insert it into the locking mechanism. I hear him sob with relief as the jewel comes away from his neck. I give him a moment or two to relax and feel safe.

    Then I switch on the agony booth.

    ---

    "Of departing, confirmation there is," says Foojoy. On the main viewer, we can see Ryall Marklance's shuttle pulling away.

    I relax in my command chair. "All in all," I say, "that was most satisfactory. Qapla', my crew."

    "I confirm that the body has been sent to a defective transporter pad," Sano says. "The signal degradation is... quite irrecoverable."

    "Excellent. Though the authorities may well suspect some enemy of Satyusin Muhrl's...."

    "They will. They will suspect the notoriously elusive Ekkdosin sh'Durn," says Sano with a broad grin. "But sh'Durn will continue to evade the authorities - I have personally attended to the matter. I have made him," she adds, "hard to catch."

    "Yes," I say, "I do not see how this could reasonably have gone better. We are enriched, the honour of my House is satisfied... the Feds have their documentary film, and a fresh red herring to chase.... I suppose we might have extracted a few more darseks from Muhrl, or he might have lasted a little longer in the booth." Made slack and flabby from years of soft living, Satyusin Muhrl survived barely four hours in the agony booth. I snap my fingers. "The booth. That reminds me - K'Gan, do we have any defaulters at present?"

    "Only one on the list, sir. Warrior T'rmek, reported for duty in an unfit condition due to over-use of intoxicants." K'Gan's hawkish face frowns at me. "Sir, the booth is a stern punishment for a minor infraction -"

    "It needs cleaning, K'Gan, that is all. Although... you need not mention that to T'rmek, when you tell him to report there."

    K'Gan's face clears, and he laughs. He appreciates the jest.

    These things are all a matter of presentation.
    8b6YIel.png?1
  • icerose20icerose20 Member Posts: 17,002 Arc User
    edited July 2014
    (AI name change, some minor changes.)

    Facility 4028


    “This is the storage unit that they broke into, Captain.” said the Warden.

    “And none of your guards have ever been in there?” asked Rose as Kira scanned the area. The door was blown open, but now a opaque forcefield was in the doorway.

    “Never, we never had clearance. Way above my paygrade. However, once a month like clockwork, a couple of organics would come into this room for a couple of hours, and leave. They weren't impolite, but they weren't interested in anything other then getting in, and getting out. Been like that since the Founder was released and we moved things around after the assault.” said the Warden.

    “I'm not getting anything from the scans, sir. But you already knew that.” said Kira in her light combat armor, with her Omega Force AP SMG slung over her shoulder. Rose was in the same armor set up, with her SMG hanging around her neck.

    “Well, about to find out what in this room? “ as Rose walked up to the door terminal and put her hands on it. The computer acknowledge her presence and asked for the pass code. Rose then with her other arms waved her bracelet over another scanner. The forcefield lowered, amazing Kira.

    “What the hell? How did you do that?” asked the Lieutenant.

    “A present form a previous life, one that I want to get away from, but can't” as Rose and Kira walked into the room. Rose motioned the Warden to wait outside, suspecting that the room was setup so no emitter would work in the room. Both Kira and Rose did an initial visual search of the room, looking for traps and other surprises that the assailants might have kept around. Thankfully, they didn't find any. This was a quick extraction, and they knew what they were looking for. This wasn't looking good. There were lots of stage containers of various sizes and shapes, with some of them on shelves. Nothing that wouldn't be in here that would suggest other then personal effects for the prisoners. Well, nothing except none of the containers had names on them, only alphanumeric numbers, meaning somewhere there was a list of what box belong where. Then Rose looked on one the shelves and found a clipboard with a paper pages with handwritten notes and corresponding numbers. The names weren’t making any sense to her, till she came across one.

    “Captain, seems like this is the area they were looking at, this is the one that isn’t setup like the others. The numbers aren’t in sequence as the others are.” offered Kira.

    “Got it, Kira” as Rose walked towards the doorway, where outside the Warden and a couple of security guards stood. “Warden, have you ever seen a Edward Nygma, or a Tony Stark as guests of your care?”

    “No, Captain.”

    She smiled at that answer. “Do you have any idea why someone would make a room where photonics can't function in here?”

    “To keep us out”

    “And also to keep others in here.” offered Rose. “This is where they put AIs, photonics and other synthetic lifeforms ..Oh ****, No.”

    “What, Captain?” asked Kira as Rose

    “Max Silverhand?” asked Rose as she walked over to another shelf, on the third shelf after a couple of seconds, she sees a box that small, small enough to carry a datachip. “Why are you here, old friend?” She looks at it, then cracks it open, showing its contents a very familiar looking datachip.

    “Nothing, Kira. Just remembering some of the good times of my old life. Where is this problem you see?” as Rose walked over to Kira's location

    “Here, Kira, see if you can figure out which box is missing. I'll take a Captain Cook at the shelf.” offered Rose.

    “Don't you starting talking like ChEng, Cap. Hmm, it seems we are missing the box to Edward Nygma. Rather interesting name, Cap. Why does it sound familiar?”

    “We got a big problem if that box isn't here, Kira. As for why that name is familiar, it is the actual name of the Riddler, one of the many enemies of Batman.” answered Rose, with a very serious look in her eyes.

    “Ah, the one that tired to defeat Batman many times, but offers him chances to save the city with riddles, many of them based on history and lore, Right?”

    “Yep, and that's why this is bad.” as she motions Kira to leave the room.

    “Warden, if you can, if anyone else enters that room, let me know when possible.” asked Rose.

    “Captain, mind explaining what is going on?”asked Kira as they were about to teleported out.

    “Only after I receive new instructions, you, Rehara, Tyra, and Reigun will get my debriefing, you have my promise, however, until that time, you will not discussed what you saw with anyone, whether in person or on device, not matter the reason otherwise.”

    “Got it, Cap. Kira to RKT, 2 to beam up. Energize” as the two female humans get teleported out of Facility 4028.

    Few moments later, as Ice is walking to her quarters, she spots Rehara, blocking the door to her quarters, with the look of 'We are going to talk, now or else'. Rose did not want this right now, but sometimes, even duty comes before friendship.

    “Not now, Rehara”

    “Not till you tell me whats going on?”

    “Get out of the way.”

    “No”

    “NOW”

    “NO”

    “So help me Gawd, get out of my way, or you will be spending the night in the brig, Rehara” said a very irate Rose.

    “You wouldn't dare”

    Rose was about to touch her comm badge, when Rehara got out of the way.

    “Don't let the door hit you on the way in, Captain.” replied the extremely mad Rehara.

    'I will make it up to you, R. Just let me do my duty, then I can put the cards on the table' as Rose got in her quarters.

    She got into her office and sat down looking at the datachip in her hand. “Complete disconnect of all data streams into data terminal 2 on my desk, even physical streams. Accept no commands from said station till further notice from me, and me alone, Code Breaker Tree, Able Two, Easy Niner. Acknowledge.”

    “Acknowledge”

    “Now get a comm channel open, code Eta Alpha, use jumping encryption Alpha, with triple security locks, and let me know when its acknowledge.”

    “Understood. Opening channel now”

    Rose sat in her chair waiting for Drake to get to where he could respond to her signal. While waiting she slouched in her chair looking at the datachip that was next to one of the her data terminals, on with a small holo device.

    “OK, O'Connell, whats the sitrep?” asked Drake over the comm channel, voice only.

    “Hate to ask this, but are you secure where you are at?” asked Rose.

    “Yes, I’m in Yellowstone National Park. Situation Alpha.” said Drake.

    “Well, did you know that you were storing AIs, photonics and androids in that room? And that room was being visited once a month to check on it?” asked Rose.

    “Any clue who visited the room?” asked Drake.

    “Nada, Warden said they had security clearance way above his paygrade, so you can guess what that means.” said Rose.

    “Any idea what was taken?” asked Drake.

    “Ever heard of Edward Nygma, Drake?” asked Rose.

    “Nope, not ring a bell.”

    “Well, whoever the person is that leaked the info on this place is the one you need to look for about the break in, for he knows about 20th and 21st century pop culture references. Edward Nygma was the actual name of the Riddler, an antagonist of Batman, who would use riddles based of history and lore to try to confound him.” said Rose smugly.

    “Lore? Lore is in there? Please tell me Lore wasn't taken?” asked somewhat shocked Drake.

    “Lore was taken, they knew what they were looking for and how to find it, Drake. You got a mole in Section 31.” Rose smiled as she sat up.

    “We are so screwed. Bad enough we got a mole in Section 31, but that Lore is was taken. Ok, I will work on my end to see if I can get you more on what to do. I know what you are thinking, and yes, we deserve this, but keep this to yourself, got it. Drake out.” as the channel broke.

    Outside Rose's quarters

    Rehara was standing there pacing back and forth, waiting. Not long, the CMO of the RKT, Tyrahini Zor, the purple haired Betazed came up to her.

    “About time you got up here. I need to get in there, and Rose locked me out.” said Rehara.

    “And you want me to use my CMO codes to override the door. Why?” asked Tyra.

    “She's shutting us out, after what happened at Bajor, I think she's losing it. Please, Tyra.” pleaded the Andorian.

    “You really need to tell her your feeling for her, Rehara. It's hurting you too much.” as Tyra reached over and placed an hand on Rehara's shoulder. “She is oblivious to it as she is oblivious to her own care.”

    “Are you gonna do this, or am I gonna have to bring Reigun in on this?” asked Rehara.

    Tyra smiled weakly at her friend. She then tapped her commbadge. “Computer, open the door to the Captain's quarters, Medical Emergency. Tyrahini Zor, Code Able, Able, Easy, Zero, One Able, Open, Open, Open.”

    Rose immediately stood out of her chair as heard her door open. Running out of her office into the main room of her quarters, she saw Tyra and Rehara looking at her.

    “R, you better have an airtight reason for this, or you will be spend..” as Tyrahini walked up to the red-haired Captain.
    “She's worried about you, and so am I. You usually are very good about letting us know things, bypassing orders or leaving hints for us to find.” said Tyra as a calm smile and her hands of to her side palm out, signifying they were not threat.

    “Something you aren't telling me, Tyra” said a slightly less irate Rose.

    “Hey, what the hell? Where am I? Hey, Rose, don't do this to your lover boy?” said a voice from her office

    “Damn it.” She looked at her two friends, who bewildered at this, motioned to to stay out of the doorway of her office. She walked over to it, and leaned against the doorway. “About time you rebooted yourself, Karter.”

    “What? How? Wha? Why are you out of uniform on base? You know the last time that happened Col. Stick-up-his-behind had us peeling potatoes. That was boring, I tell you that.” said a 6 inch hologram of a slight build male human.

    “Because I am no longer in 53rd Special Operations Group, not even in the Army anymore, I am a Captain in Starfleet, and it has been 10 years since I last saw you.” said Rose. Now she walked over to her desk and looked at the hologram.

    “10 years? You got to be crazy. Here I was talking to you about enjoying a moonrise on Risa, then I am here in this room. It doesn't make sense.” said the hologram.

    “You might want to check you battery and uptime logs, you will find that I am correct, Karter.” she said as she crossed her arms.

    “Ok, Ok, I'm doing that. Just checking to prove you are wrong, oh Icey.........And score one for, damn it, damn it. I hate it when you are right. Wait, my uptime log says it's been 8 ½ years since I was activated, but how can that be?” said a somewhat more worried AI.

    “Well, what ever it is, it would explain why I found you in a storage room used by Section 31.” said Rose.

    “Yeah, Yeah, I get it, something went wrong and they erased part of my memory, but didn't destroy me. Typical of this slimy, no good, space monkeys.” said Karter as started to fidget.

    “Karter”

    “Yes?” as the holo looked as if it was trying to process what had happened to it. “I am trying to access the mission data, but I ain't getting anywhere. Do you know how irritating it is for an AI to not access relevant data?”

    “You're welcome.” said Rose.

    “What? Oh, you are right. I am sorry, let me make it up to you, let's go to Risa and I can quote poetry in your ears.” said the holo.

    “No. Ok, you two, you can come in now.” said Rose.

    Carter looked at the door way as two angels came through it. A female Andorian who was rocking the half top and extremely short mini, and a purple haired Betazed that was wearing a far more conservative outfit, but had a face that cause men to kill each other for. The only thing he could say was “Hello, Nurse.”

    “Who and what is this, Captain?” asked Rehara.

    “Let me answer that, oh blue angel of hotness. I am Karter, spelled with a K, AI# 3146 from the Federation Synthetic Intelligence Institute based at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the preeminent AI university anywhere in the galaxy, despite what that Soong guy says. After all, they create me, and I am the best AI. In Fact, I am so great, stopped using my progenitor's likeness after they made me.”

    “Really? You got teamed up with this leach?” asked Rehara.

    “Hey now, It is all true.”

    “Except for being the greatest AI part, and why they stopped using your progenitor's likeness part.” said Rose. She looked at her friends, “This is Karter, the AI was teamed with for 6 years as a SpecOps Operator, before I returned to Starfleet. Despite his lack of decorum, we did a lot of things together to save the Federation. When I left the 53rd, he was supposed to be teamed with another SpecOps team, but something went wrong and I found him in the same location as other decommissioned synthetics, including Lore.”

    “What?

    “Really?”

    “I was in the same cell with that loser. Awe man, I need a shower.”

    “Anyways.” as the Rose was interrupted by the red alert klaxon of the ship.

    “Kira to Captain” said Kira through her commbadge.

    “Go ahead, Lieutenant.”

    “We got a priority message from Starfleet. Sol system is being attacked by the Undine. We got orders to Vulcan and be part of the rapid reaction force being assembled there.”

    “Ok, Kira, get us going in that direction. Me and Rehara will be up there soon. Rose out” Rose let out a sigh. “When it rains..”

    “It lightnings, lots of thunder, and very large hailstones dropping on your head, too” said Karter.

    Rose started laughing at this rather abruptly, with a snort lodged in for effect.

    “See, She loves me.” looking at Rehara. “and if you get to know me, blue angel of hotness, you will, too.

    Tyra put her hand on Rehara's shoulder, trying to keep her from shutting off the AI, asked Rose a question. “Why was Lore taken?”

    Rose's laughing stop very abruptly as she explained the situation. “We got a comm chatter from Starfleet command channels, but it wasn't from Starfleet. It was from Section 31.”

    “Not them” said Rehara.

    “Yep, even better Drake.” this caused an eyeroll from Rehara, a more surprised look from Tyra, and a “not that weasel again” from Karter. “Anyways, he stated that he got the alarm from there and after showing me a security footage of the break-in, ordered me to into it. The reason why I was asked was the assailants in the video was using powered armor close to MACO style, but different. We both deduced it was the Praetorian Guard of the Romulan Empire that was involved.”

    “The is no Praetorian Guard for the Romulan Empire.” offered Tyra.

    “Not in this dimension, oh purple-haired goddess of healing” answered Karter.

    “Another dimension, the Eugenics war on Earth had a slightly different outcome. The Romulan Empire intervened in it on behalf of the augments. This also caused the Vulcans and Andorians to intervene too. Instead of them leaving on a sublight transport, they were exiled and accepted into Romulan space, when the Eugenics/Romulan War ended. As a token of appreciation for their help, the augments decided to make several units to help the Romulans in their fight for dominance with the hated Federation, including forming the Praetorian Guard, a formation of the best fighters and warriors the augments have. A version of the Varangian Guard used by the Byzantines, made up of families of exiled nobles looking for payback to their current situation.” offered Rose.

    “The Praetorian Guard keep on doing excursions into our dimension cause we design things very closely compared to their home dimension, and being Romulans, they do not like to upset the applecart before they are ready.” offered Karter. “So they raid our dimension and try to get our tech so they can study and change things on their side without their Federation knowing how they got it. They especially like Andorian tech, after all it is the Andorians who kicked their butts in the war, with a side of human inflicted TRIBBLE whooping.” explained Karter.

    “Damn it, I know where the Guard is heading next, and with the Undine attack.” as Rose got up.

    “Andoria?” asked Rehara while hoping it wasn't the correct answer.

    “A beautiful mind matching that beautiful body, you are correct.” said Karter.

    “Carter, don't cause any problems or so help me god, I am going to throw you into the waste incinerator. Rehara, Tyra, no word about what I said gets out, and nothing about me breaking Karter out.” ordered the pleading Rose. They both gave their ascent.

    As the trio got out of Rose's quarters, Rehara hit her comm badge. “Kira, Rehara here, change course to Andoria, best speed possible.”

    “Jump engines are offline, XO, so I changed our course to the Risa gate. From there, we can goto Andoria, Vulcan or anyplace that has a operating transwarp gate.” offered Kira.

    “Acknowledge, good thinking, Kira.” answered Rose. “You know how to train them, Rehara. “

    “Thank you, Captain.” as the two of them got into the turbolift.


    Later, as the RKT enters the Andorian planetary system.

    “Captain’s personal log, Stardate sometime. The universe had decided it's time to shake things up today. I sent the RKT here to Andoria on a educated guess. With the theft of Lore, one of the Soong androids and genocidal megalomaniac, from Facility 4028 by the Praetorian Guard, a formation of Augmented Humans in service to an Alternate Romulan Empire, I have been ordered to stop this incursion by Section 31's Franklin Drake by any means possible. This has also meant that I have disobeyed a direct order from Starfleet command to goto nearby Vulcan to be part of a Rapid Reaction Force being assembled there to counter the Undine assault on the Federation. As a good friend of mine says, when it rains, it throws lightning bolts, howling winds and hailstones in our way. End Log.”

    “Kira, sitrep?”

    “No active ships anywhere in the system, Captain. The only ships are at the Andorian shipyard. However, I am having a hard time getting up to date information from the shipyard.” answered D'artgean.

    “Get us close to the shipyard then do an scan of the ships, how many we got there still?” asked the red-haired Captain.

    “On it, Captain.”answered Nelen Exil, the renegade Voth manning the science station. “Looks like 6 ships of various classification, sir. 2 ships in the repair/maintenance area, and 2 ships in the production area, and 2 in what I would surmise is the refit area.”

    “Sir, what are we looking for?” asked Victoria at her engineering operations console.

    Rehara spoke up “Captain, if the idea is to take a working ship back, its only 4 ships then. Any of the ships are of Andorian design?”

    “2, one in the refit area, the IGV Kumari, and the next is in the maintenance area, the USS Bonhomme Richard.

    “Sir, we got a priority message form Andoria spacedock, there is a loss of control in their reactor, and they are asking all ships capable of getting underway to do so.”

    “Well, that's too damn convenient. Rehara, wasn't there already a Kumari in starfleet?” asked Rose to her XO.

    “A couple of years ago, Andoria got permission to make a battlecruiser version of the Kumari escorts they started producing. That is when they changed the name of the Kumari.” offered Nelen.

    “So that is an Andorian battlecruiser? I think we found the target.” Rehara said.

    “Who is moving?” asked Rose

    “Bonhomme Richard, Varyag, and the Kumari. It seems the Curzon Dax is having problems with the...” as Nelen was studying the scans.

    “Intercept the Kumari but keep an eye on the Richard” ordered Rose.

    “Captain, Spacedock Andoria is hailing us.”

    “Put it on screen but keep an eye on the Kumari.”

    “Richmond K Turner, we have a level 5 reactor overload, if you do not vacate the area, your sensors could be overloaded.”

    “Acknowledge, what is the complement of the Kumari?”

    “About 12 season shipyard workers, they can handle moving the Kumari to a safe zone. We always make sure we can move ship in her state of completion.” said the starbase comm officer.

    “How far complete is she?” asked Rose.

    “Basically complete, she still needs..”

    “Damn it, tell the Kumari to stand down, we have good evidence that someone is trying to steal her.” ordered Rose.

    “Sir, I do not have that authorization, I'll have to” as Rose shut off the comm channel

    “How close are we to getting a tractor beam on her?” asked Rehara.

    “about...”

    “Her Warp drives is powering up, Captian. She is going to warp.” as the Kumari slipped into warpspeed.

    “Follow her, Kira, best possible speed.” ordered Rose.

    Couple of seconds later “Warp 9, sir. We can overtake her, but if you want to stop her, then we got a problem. Her engines are more powerful then us by a factor of 3 if these scans are right. We got greater acceleration and a greater top speed, but we don't have the power to pull her out of warp using tractor beam.”

    “I got an idea. Can we beam a team over and shut her off her engines? I doubt they have more then a dozen of pirates on that ship, and most of them are on the bridge and computer core getting all info they can.”

    “That's suicide, Rose. No way any of our tactical teams would try that.” answered Rehara.

    “Captain, Commander, there is a way to do it.” answered Nelen. “I remember from historical records that the Columbia did a similar action with the Enterprise. They used a lifeline to do it, but I believe given that we know more about the ships equipment then the pirates, we could do something similar, and safe beam aboard a small team on board the ship.”

    “Do it Nelen, coordinate with Engineering and Victoria to get it done. Reigun, Tyra meet with me in the armory, time to break out my armor.” ordered Rose.

    “Sir?” asked Kira.

    “No way, Rose. You can't go over there with a team and.”

    “There will be no team, Rehara, just me. I know more about what we are dealing with then anyone, fought them for enough times, there is nothing that will surprise me. I am going in with my power armor. I need you here. “

    “Not this time, Rose. Kira, you will accompany the Captain on this mission.”

    “No”

    “then you are not going, Captain. Pursuant to Starfleet protocol..”

    “OK, fine. Kira, you are with me. Reigun, Tyra, mine and Kira's battle armor, Out. Is there anything else, Commander?” asked a very irate Rose.

    “Nothing at this time, Captain. Good Luck and both of you comeback in one piece.” said a tense Andorian.

    After Rose and Kira left the bridge, a thought came to Rehara's mind. “Damn, that will actually help” as she got up and hurried to the turbolift. “Victoria, you got the bridge. Rose forgot something that will help her immensely on this action.”

    “Yes, Commander.” as Rehara entered the turbolift. “Captain’s quarters.” as the door closed.

    “They aren't telling us everything again, Nelen?” offered Victoria.

    "They will tell us when they do, it's all we can do to help them when and where we can.” answered Nelen.

    “Voth philosophy?”

    “No, being an archaeologist. After all, the dead don't give up their secrets easily. Only when the winds blow, the rains happen, and time has happened in its way does the secrets of the past reveal themselves. “

    Main teleporter room, 20 minutes later.

    “and from here, it's a straight shot to the main engineering.” as Reigun was lecturing Rose and Kira when Rehara walked in.

    “Rehara, why aren't you on the bridge?”

    Rehara gave her something in her palm, Rose looked at it and smiled. “I knew there was a reason why I put up with you, Commander. Thank you.” as Rose put the datachip into a port in her back area.

    “It has the latest specs on the Kumari, and all the engineering manuals on its systems.” Rehara said as she tuned to leave the room. “You three, take care.”

    “Three?” both Kira and Reigun said.

    “Yes three, you two.” said the AI from Rose's Powered Armor. “I wanna say this boss, and I do this with all sincerity, but this is the most harebrained scheme you came up with, even more harebrained then doing the HALO jump over J7V.”

    Rose smiled at this. “Reigun, Kira. This is the AI I was paired up with when I was with the 53rd SpecOps Group. Karter, this is Lt. Kira D'artgean, formerly of the S.E.A.L. Team 13, and Commander, Reigun Kitamaka.”

    “I never got paired with an A.I.” offered Kira as she putting on her helmet.

    “I think you get paired with one after 4 years, and only after some very intrusive psyche evals.” answered Rose as she was putting her helmet on.

    Both Reigun and Tyra was now looking over various sensors form their PADDs telling every sensor in the 2 power armor, and both of their life signs making sure everything was checked out before the mission gets underway.

    “Ok, comm check, Rose, one, two three.”

    “Kira, one, two, three”

    “Karter, one, two, let get this going.”

    “is he in my suit?” said Kira sounding slightly disgusted.

    “No, he isn't. He is just talking over the comm channel, which he shouldn't. He is monitoring your vitals, and will provide relevant data when asked.” answered Rose

    “Or needed, after all, I know more about that ship then either you do. You are gonna need me if things go over the rapids, like it always does on these mission” offered Karter.

    “Shut up.” answered both Rose and Kira.

    “I guess there is no time like the present” Kira said.

    “Rose, to Rehara, Let's do this.” ordered Rose as both girls got on the teleport pad.

    On the bridge, Rehara gave the order to accelerate and get into position to come along side the upper starboard side of the Kumari.

    “Ok, our shields and our warpfield is now in synch with the Kumari.” offered Nelen.

    “Warp field contact in 5, 4, 3, 2 ,1 “ a slight shudder. “contact, our fields are merging, slowing to match in 3, 2, 1.”

    “Won't be long before both field go thru another synch change.” said Victoria.

    “Rehara to Transporter room, do it now.”

    “Energize.”

    On the bridge of the IGV Kumari.

    “Commander, the Turner has come alongside and merged warp fields with us.”

    “So they means to destabilize the warp field to slow us down. Interesting, they know they can't stop us with weapons without irreparably damaging this ship. So they are gonna destabilize the field and try to do it that way, still its as dangerous for the Turner as to us.” explaining the commander to no one.

    “Sir, they are falling back, and emerged from our warp field behind us.”

    “What was that all about?”

    “Our warp field still active, our speed was slowed down by .05% during the exercise.”

    “Sir, we got another 10 minutes of feed needed before we got everything.”

    “Good Job, Everyone. The Khan will be pleased with this operation success.”

    “Sir, with all due respect, why did we leave the work crew alive.”

    “We don't want to make more enemies then we already have. Killing them would have been a waste of firepower, could have alerted our presence, and would have caused a reason for this Federation to come for us. After all, we are here for their files, not their ships, not their personnel, and not their ire. Get everyone to the main teleport pad as soon as possible. “

    In the armory of the Kumari

    “Ok, Karter” as Rose took the AI chip out its place in the battlesuit and into a communication terminal as Kira was watching for any roving patrols. “Do what you do best, find out stuff that no one wants you to.”

    “Captain, I am surprised there is no guards down here.”

    “Probably a smaller team then I thought it was. Of course, with the pressure lowered in this area, and possibly the entire ship, only a few species could do anything more then fall asleep from asphyxiation.”

    “Augments could survive in this.” offered Kira.

    “Ever fight them, Kira?”

    “Yeah, a few times in the SEALs. Always far harder then it should be. Klingons, Breen, and Jem'Hadar know when the fight is over, and any further fighting is a waste of resources, time, and energy. Augments, I have never seen them back down.”

    “Got it, there is 4 two man teams on this ship, other then us, which I have made us invisible to the sensors, by the way.” spoke up Karter. “one in main engineering, one in main computer room, one on the bridge, and one in the main transporter room.”

    “Karter, usually there is a team or two on roving patrol, where are they?”

    “I can't spot them, so they aren't here”

    “That doesn't sound right.” said Kira.

    “Karter can't find them, and he can't find them, then it's the truth.” said Rose.

    “Of course its right, I'm telling you the truth, Icey. I would never lie to you.” said Karter

    “Of course” said Rose, even over the comm channel Kira could tell that it wasn't the truth.

    “Ok, they got a high band datastream to Starfleet command. They are siphoning off all the files they can. Technology advancements, diplomatic communiques, engineering schematics, they are trying to get as much information the Federation and this area of the galaxy as possible.”

    “So their mission isn't to take the ship, it was just a way to get into Starfleet communications and get everything about us they can.” offered Kira.

    “Seems like it, and getting Lore, is about the same thing. They don't want Lore, they want what made him. Ok, same basic plan, goto Engineering, stop the Kumari. Karter.” ordered Rose.

    “Yes, from engineering I can shut down communications, I can even put the ship onto emergency power, there by stopping them from using the teleport pad to get back home. But I need to be in the computer console from Engineering to do that.”

    “Got it, Kira, you got point.” as Rose ejected Karter's datachip from the comm station.

    “Cap, why couldn't we shut down the ship from there?” asked Kira as the moved up the passageway to a Jefferies tube.

    “We don't have the codes to do it from armory or anywhere else, other then engineering or bridge. I'm not the Captain of this ship.” as Rose watched Kira back while watching for any surprises in their rear.

    “For now, anyways.” said Karter.

    “She likes the RKT way too much, Karter, to leave her. The only way she's leaving that ship is in a body bag.” laughed Kira.

    “Hey, no dieing on me, Icerose. I don't think I want to exist without you around. The sensual curves that excite my electrons. The way you laugh at my jokes, they way you depend on me to save yourself from your own actions.” complained Harper.

    “I think I figured out why you found that AI in facility 4028, his other operators killed themselves instead of being stuck with him for another minute. OK, here's the tube to take to the deck of engineering.” as Kira opened up the Jefferies tube hatch..

    Engineering, IGV Kumari

    While one of the warriors was making sure they had connection and all the data was being stored, another of the warriors was watching the area.

    “No body except us are on board, Chief. You don't have to be so wired, we are almost done with this op.”

    “I am not shrinking from my duties, LT. Been told that the Commander would kill any of us if we did not do our jobs, and I do not want to face her in the ring like Johnson did.”

    “Johnson had it coming for a while, as long as you don't act like an TRIBBLE, the Commander won't kill you.”

    Just then one of the side doors blew inwards causing a big mess of that area. The two warriors looked from their respective areas at the destruction. A moment later, two armored humanoids teleported into the area. They threw two daggers at them, one of the daggers hit squarely in the visor of one, going up to the hilt, instantly killing the one overseeing the computer. The other guard got hit in the upper chest area with a dagger, impaling him in the heart. He didn't die at that moment, but he never got off a distress call as he passed away later.

    “Good one, Kira. I'll never play darts with you, that's for sure now.” said Rose as she got to the computer terminal and inserted the datachip into it.

    “So, what now?” asked Kira as she was watching the door and room while Rose was waiting for her AI to do the work of shutting down the ship.

    “As much as I would like to catch them all, it would take too much time. I think it's time to put the Guard on the defensive now.”

    “I could shut down everything, including every door on this ship.” said the twitchy AI. “After all, I am that good.”

    “No, Karter. Let us see if we can get them to show us the promised land. Like we said, shut down engineering, weapons, and communications. Can you keep a link to the ship systems if you are in the armor?”

    “Captain, there is no reason for us to let them go. They are gonna have a lot of secrets about us, that if they got out would damage the Federation badly, if not irreparably. We can't let them get away with this.”

    “On the contrary, I have taken the liberty to put some of Karter's own viruses and worms in their systems. Now once they leave and try to hook those machines up, they will get me getting my jiggy on, and believe me it will be awhile before they can stop looking at that masterpiece.” said Karter. “Ok, I am linked in the system, so now I can see, oh TRIBBLE, they are moving. Master transporter room.”

    “How the..Ok, that's how they did it. “ as Kira motioned to the area where one body was laying, now only a pool of red blood.

    “Damn it, I should have know. Karter, emergency teleport to that room now.”

    “No can do, boss. They seem to got a interference field up around it. I am shutting down power to that area of the ship now. Damn, they got a backup power to teleport pad. I knew this was going too good.” as Rose ejected Karter out of the computer station. Both Kira and Rose was running as fast as they could to a turbolift.

    “You know, boss. Rushing on them, when they are undoubtedly prepared for us coming down this turbolift is suicide.” said Karter.

    “They are trying to get off this ship before we can get to them. Nothing like running with guns blazing to make a girls heart race.” said Rose.

    “I can't get a hold of the RKT, Captain. They must have been caught off guard by the Kumari dropping out of warp.” said Kira as they entered the turbolift.

    “Ok, Kira. I'm upfront, I want to you to cover me with that rifle of yours....”

    “Whoa boss, you want at least 2 Guardsman shooting at you from the front, and a sniper shooting from behind you? Have you lost your freaking marbles? We got them cornered, and with the RKT coming back, we can get far more troops down here to help.”

    “We only have 4 more powered armor suits on the RKT, Karter.” said Kira as she was checking her gear. “and they have rudimentary training in them. They can handle themselves in a defensive situation, but assault, they would just get in the way.”

    “Follow my lead, Kira.” as the turbolift door opened. Rose then Kira rushed out, and about to light up the area, when no shots were bring fired at them.

    “Not what I expected” as Kira was walking now.

    “Oh that was unexpected, here I thought I was gonna to the Great Scrapheap as a virgin, but no dakka, dakka. I can deal with that.” said Karter on the comms.

    The two officers were slowly and cautious walking down the corridor, to the master teleport room, leapfrogging every so often till they got into the doorway to the teleport room. They took either side of the door and got a couple of grenades ready. They counted to three, opened the door, and threw in the two grenades. The door closed, and they could tell the grenades went off. They both jumped into the room, rolling to the right and left into a crouch, one looking over the teleport pad, and one looking over the teleport station.

    “Clear.”

    “Clear.”

    “I guess they left, but it seems they left some stuff here.” said Kira as she moved over and looked the the cargo containers. Lots of weapons, datapads, and other assorted stuff they were taking with them to the other side.”

    Rose went over the teleport station and looked over the logs. “Looks like only 5 Guardsman switched over, Kira.” just as Kira was taken by surprised by a cloaked figure.

    “Both of you, put your weapons down, Now.”said the Guardsman hold a dagger to the neck of Kira. Both of them complied, throwing their rifles, and then their sidearms.

    “Your force daggers, too.” said the Guardsman.

    Rose dropped her two force daggers, onto the floor. Kira dropped one, and then to proceed to use the other one in the Guardsman face, impaling it in the Guradsman's visor, killing it.

    “Why does that hurt so bad?” as Kira was now on the ground holding her left arm with her right.

    “Looks like she broke her clavicle on that, Boss.” said Karter over the comms.

    “Kira, that was the most stupid thing I have ever seen” said her Captain as she making sure the Guardsman was dead.

    “And coming from Icey, that is saying something.” said Karter “Ah boss, that Guardsman is getting up.”

    “Not exactly up to my father's specifications, but this will suffice. For Now” as the Power armor hit a few buttons on the left wrist. “Tell my brother, I will return.” as the powersuit beamed out.

    “Damn it, how did he get into that suit? Karter, get the life support systems up to normal, then see if we can get a hold of the RKT.”

    “RKT to boarding team, come in?” Victoria over the comm channel.

    “It's about time you got over here RKT, we got one injured here, but the Kumari is secured. No more hostiles aboard.” answered Rose.

    “Sorry about that, Captain. Going at warp 9.89, it takes a while to turnaround while trying to not to overtax all the systems.”

    “Acknowledge, RKT. two ready to teleport.”

    Later that day, Great Hall on Qo'NoS.

    “Hey, this is my kind of party. Come on Icey, just one dance for me, please.”

    “No.”

    “But”

    “No”

    “Rehara, you wont leave a handsome young AI like me”

    “No”

    “But”

    “No”

    Captain Va'Kel walked up to Rose and Rehara and greeted them, trying to shake hands without spilling the mug of bloodwine on either of them.

    “Captain O'Connell, Commander Ch'Andyra. It has been sometime since we last saw each other.” spoke the captain of the USS Enterprise.

    “Hello, Captain. It seems the party is dying down.”

    “I think it's more everyone is getting their second wind. You won't miss the ceremony where this damned war will be put to the end.”

    “I'll drink to that.” said Rehara. “Me and Shon has got some catching up to do, Rose. I really do think you need to talk to Quinn before those lasers from his eyes roast you alive.”

    Rose offered her apologies for leaving, but Rehara was right. She to talk to Quinn, and quickly. After all, her Starfleet Career was probably at stake.

    Quinn was able to get away from some of the Klingon dignitaries that wanted to relate the battle importance, and met Rose of the side.

    “You better have a damn good explanation for you refusing a direct order, Captain.” said Quinn in a very level voice.

    She offered a datapad on it “This will explain why I did that. I wouldn't have done that if I didn't think it was necessary. After about 5 minutes of looking over the reports, Quinn shook his head in disbelief.

    “It's all true, sir.”

    “I know, this is too weird to be fiction. With your AI being in this pad, it seems we can't get rid of your involvement with Section 31, either. They are going to want him back.”

    “With all due respect, to hell with that. Karter maybe a pain in my neck, literally, but he is a sentient and what they did to him is against the ideals of the Federation. We all know that the galaxy isn't great place to be idealistic, but damn it Admiral, He is my friend, and left him to be ***** by them. I will not allow that to happen again.” answered Rose. “With all due respect, Sir” as she smiled weakly at that.

    “You are putting me in a very awkward position, Captain.

    “Of course, but you know I am right.” said Rose.

    “I know. However, you own me a big favor now. And you too, Karter.” as he handed the PADD back to Rose. “After the ceremony and festivities are done here I am going to get debriefed by you and your crew again, on the way back to Earth. Understood?” ordered Adm. Quinn.

    “Aye, aye, Sir.” answered Rose. Just then a chirp from her comm unit was heard. “Rose here.”

    “Rose. It is Tyra. I finally got the work up done on the three people killed on the Kumari from your assault. I found a result, troubling.”

    “Go ahead, Tyra. Only me, Quinn, and Karter can hear you over this crowd.” answered Rose with a shrug to Adm. Quinn.

    “All three assailants were human, but I can't get a real answer to whether they were Augmented or not. 2 of them were male, and one was female. However, the female one was identified on our database.”

    “Quinn here, Doctor. Who did it identify?”

    “Capt. Rose O'Connell.”

    “WHAT?”

    “Geez, boss. Keep it down, some people might think the the Admiral here just hit on you. No offense, Admiral.”

    “Quinn here again, Doctor. Can we tell if it is an alternate version of the Captain, or a clone?”

    “Not with the equipment I have at my disposal, Admiral. I will need a major starbase, or medical facility for that detailed analysis, and the closest one to Qo'Nos is on Betazed.” answered Tyra.

    “Well, considering the RKT is taking me back to Earth, we can give that sample to Starfleet Medical.” offered Quinn.

    “What about Section 31, sir?”

    “I'll deal with Drake when he comes. Well, time for me to act like a warrior half my age.” as a starfleet lieutenant and a Klingon warrior came to the two. “Oh by the way, Karter, you are officlally part of Starfleet, as a Petty Officer Second Class. You are assigned to the RKT as a Mission Specialist. Best I can do on short notice, but it should keep Drake's hand off you two.” Quinn smiled. “Time to show these Klingons who is the boss around here.”


    Two days later, in orbit around Andoria.
    Alongside the IGV Valg'taht

    Rose running down the passageway to the transporter room. She had a medium sized present in her possession as she was trying her best to get there without causing too many people injures.

    “You know, Boss. You could keep her from taking command of the Valg'taht by asking her to stay. She'd would say yes.” Karter said from her wristunit. “I bet if you got on your hands and knees, it would bring greater effect.”

    “Shut up, Karter. She made her decision and I have no right to ask her to stop her career or her life for me. She will make a great Captain, a great Admiral even. Far better then I will ever be.” said Rose as she turned the corner and saw the transporter room. Then she saw Rehara enter said room.

    Rehara was looking around, taking in the last sight of her home for the last three years of her life. She had a couple of bags with her, but the rest of her belongings were on the Valg'taht. Just then a swish of the door, and ran in Rose, looking a little winded from her ordeal. Rehara could see that she was carrying a package with her.

    “Chief Kholdan, I'll handle it from here, take a break.” said Rose to the senior enlisted manning the station.

    “You got it, Cap'n. I was wanting to get a cup of coffee.”

    When the Chief left, Rose faced Rehara. She smiled weakly. “You weren't trying to sneak off the ship without me saying goodbye, R, were you?”

    “No, but you need to be more on time. Your new XO will not be so forgiving.” answered Rehara.

    “Why don't you show Rehara the gift you got her, before anymore awkward silence happens?” teased Karter.

    “Oh, right. Here you go. Some stuff to help those days of being in command to go by.” as she gave the gift to Rehara.

    “What is it?”

    “Oh, nothing.”

    “Bull****. When she got word about your transfer, she had me scour the internet to find 4 bottle of 2400 Zhevra vintage Andorian brandy. And then she teleports all over Earth to get these 4 bottles, that by the way , are not in the same continent or even the same hemisphere. And then has me track down this recording of some old comedy troop from 2100's Andoria, that is an original by the way, that she said you liked, and then..” complained the AI.

    “You shouldn't have you two.” beamed Rehara.

    “Ok, I can deal with the problems with that smile.” said Karter.

    “Karter.”

    “Shutting up.”

    “Well, you better get up on that...”

    Just then, Rehara grabbed a hold of Rose's face, and put a very passionate kiss on her friend, and former Captain. Rose was totally shocked by this and didn't respond. Rehara then released her, causing Rose to fall flat on her behind. Rehara then went over the the station, hit some buttons, went to the pad. “If you ever want be me back, just call, I'll be there, but don't take to long. Captain.”

    After a few moments, the Chief came back in and saw Rose still on the floor, looking shocked. “What happened here, Cap'n?” as the Chief helped Rose up. Rose finally got her senses about her, and waved off the Chief, stating she tripped over her own feet. He didn't push the issue and let the somewhat dazed Captain walk out of the room.

    “Boss?”

    “Yes, Karter”

    “I never get tired of seeing two girls kiss” said the AI mischievously.
    Ancient Griffon insult

    That one is so stupid, he lost a Rock/Paper/Scissors game to a Pony.
  • starswordcstarswordc Member Posts: 10,480 Arc User
    edited July 2014
    USS Bajor NCC-97238 Department of Security, Case #2401, Classified Lambda-5 RAZOR BRIGHT GEPPETTO
    File Reference RAZOR BRIGHT GEPPETTO DC-4: Investigating Officer’s Personal Log


    I am Dul’krah, son of Var’takh, Home-Clan Korekh, Blood-Clan Rustra, Ship-Clan Bajor.

    My people have a saying. Tuivakh ver eshalakh. The truth is mighty. It is this saying that gives the name to the service that keeps the peace among the Clans. The Ver Eshalakh are a Clan unto themselves. It was my pleasure to serve them actively for nineteen standard years, and though I am part of the Federation Starfleet now, I still serve them in a passive role. Once part of a Clan, you leave only by doing dishonor to the Clan’s name.

    My people have no name for themselves as a whole. Even the name by which the greater galaxy knows us, “Pe’khdar”, was given to us through a misunderstanding. The Ferengi who rescued us from our ruined homeworld asked us who we were, and we replied, “The last Clans.” This in our tongue is ‘pe’khdar’, and so were we named. It suffices. The Federation calls our state the Pe’khdar Nation for Council representation purposes, but we ourselves hold allegiance to only the Clans with which we are affiliated. It is the Assembly of Clans that gives the Federation allegiance, not individual members of our people.

    At present the most relevant of my affiliations is my Ship-Clan, where I am the elder in charge of ship’s security. It also means I am responsible for all criminal investigations undertaken in the purview of the USS Bajor. On occasion we are tasked to investigate outside the ship. One such occasion is today.

    I am in my quarters, researching chord conversions for my latest effort on the vodchakh. I am told by Great Elder Kanril the instrument resembles a small seven-stringed lute that one plays like a violin. The description is apt: I am familiar with both instruments and once successfully translated for the vodchakh a short violin piece by a human named Lindsey Stirling. Such conversions are a hobby of mine and my project of the moment is a tlngDagh piece by Korbak, son of J’mpok. I hear that the twelve-times-damned war criminal’s only son is somewhat of an embarrassment to his father for having no interest in becoming a warrior or politician, either of which would be a waste of a great talent in my opinion.

    I raise the vodchakh to my chin and bring up the bow, intent on attempting the first movement, when I am interrupted by the chime of the ship’s intercom, indicating I have a page waiting. Annoyed, I strike the key with the bow. “This is Lieutenant Korekh,” I answer in Federation Standard English.

    “Dul’krah, it’s Eleya. I’ve got a job for you. Report to my ready room ASAP, please.”

    “I am en route.” I lay aside the instrument and mutter a short prayer to Vo’tak, the night god who watches what must be set aside, before opening my door and stepping into the corridor. I step around two Bajoran crewmen traveling in the direction of the shrine Kanril had installed in compartment 0847 on this deck, and continue to the bridge turbolift. “Bridge.”

    Elder Phohl is there to greet me. “Lieutenant.”

    “Sir.” I duck under the doorframe, as usual—the Galaxy-class interior designers did not have beings of my people’s typical height in mind—and follow the Andorian to the starboard door, taking a glance at the viewscreen. Our course must have changed while I was off-duty: The plot shows us headed for the Ayala system.

    The door slides open and I come to attention for Kanril Eleya, Great Elder of Ship-Clan Bajor, who is talking to someone over subspace. When I received my assignment to the Bajor before her launch, I considered it odd to serve under one so much younger than I. My people tend to favor leaders with greater length of experience. But she has proven her worth abundantly in my opinion: her decisions are practical and she is fiercely loyal to the Clan. “Commander Desdin, with all due respect to the PR department, Nicodemo Basurto’s holodramas are pointless, asinine exercises in navel-gazing, and I am not disrupting the lives of my crew so he can make a couple million credits at some self-indulgent film festival nobody off Earth has ever heard of! Go find some other TRIBBLE!” She hammers the disconnect key and turns in her chair to face me, shaking her head in annoyance. “At ease, Dul’krah.” Elder Ehrob, in charge of engineering, steps away from the wall.

    “Captain. Commander. If I may ask, what was all that about?”

    “Some nonsense about using the Bajor as the set for a holodrama, and unless I get a direct order from Starfleet Command it’s not happening so ignore it.”

    “Very well. I note we are headed for the Ayala system. What has transpired to require our diversion from Jouret?”

    “How’s your security clearance?”

    Odd question. “Sigma-9 all, Chi-4 by code word.”

    “Good. As you saw, we’ve been diverted to Facility 4028. They’ve had a break-in.”
    For a supposedly utterly secure prison, 4028 has had remarkable difficulties of late. First there was the incident with Kar’ukan and the female Founder last year, and then a group of rogue Starfleet officers with a Section 31 obsession broke in to retrieve an ally. “What details can you share, Captain?”

    “I don’t know much right now; they weren’t sure the channel was secure. But we’ll be there in four hours. There weren’t any escapes this time, though, if that’s what you’re wondering.”

    “That, among other things. Casualties?”

    “ISIS’ main core is offline and one of their live staffers was badly injured,” Ehrob answers. “She’s been medevac’d to the USS Brisbane

    “Danger of further escapes?”

    “Minimal, if the report we’ve got is any indication,” Phohl replies. “Fortunately the Brisbane was in the area, but they’re not set up for the kind of investigation this calls for, so Commander Chennapragada deployed her security forces to hold the fort and called for backup.”

    “That’s us,” Kanril finishes. “Nearest available big ship.”

    “Do we know anything else, Captain?” She shakes her head. “Then if you will excuse me. I need to inform my team. Commander Ehrob, I will likely require the services of Master Chief Kinlo again.”

    The bearded Andorian male nods. “I’ll let her know.”

    “Thank you, sir. Captain.”

    Kanril nods. “Right, you’re dismissed, Lieutenant. I’ll get the relevant files cleared and sent to your office. ETA, three hours, twenty minutes.”

    I stop by my quarters before proceeding to my office and light the brazier. Or rather what I am allowed to use in place of a brazier on a starship, a bowl with an electrical heating element at the bottom. I retrieve a small canvas pouch from my desk drawers, remove a pinch of dried fashkh leaf, and drop it into the brazier. It is an offering to Chul’teth, goddess of the sun, she whose fire illuminates all mysteries. I stay there for a full five minutes, surrounded by the fragrant incense, meditating.

    My religious obligations met, I proceed to my office, located on deck 5 adjacent to the main brig, distribute the files to Lieutenants McMillan and K’lak and Senior Chief Darrod, and bury myself in them until the Bajor comes out of warp. I glance over the dossier on the USS Brisbane NCC-26240, Lieutenant Commander Sumati Chennapragada commanding, a 130-year-old Miranda-class somehow still in one piece, before moving on to the file on one Commander Imara Stadi, the staffer injured during the attack, a file which proves far more intriguing. Stadi is a specialist in xenopsychology who assists with some of the more … exotic inmates, and an author or co-author of over two dozen highly regarded papers in the field, including one on my people. She is also a MACO, though not a currently active one, and earned two Purple Hearts for combat injuries and the Karagite Order of Heroism for service against Nausicaan pirates during the Klingon-Gorn War. A MACO-trained psychologist, and a Betazoid at that, is a novel prospect for questioning, but what interests me most is how whomever undertook the attack overcame one with such abilities.


    “They were augments, that’s how,” Stadi answers. She lies in the Brisbane’s sickbay with one arm in a sling and the other with an IV. She is in her mid-thirties, has red-gold hair cropped military-short, and a face that I understand most near-humans would consider classically beautiful is marred by a jagged scar that runs from the corner of her left eye across her lips, and ends underneath her chin.

    “‘Augments’, sir?”

    “Genetic augments.”

    “And?”

    “And what?” She gives me a confused look.

    “I do not see the issue, sir.”

    “For starters, they were stronger and faster than me, and that’s saying something—I’m a heavyworlder.”

    “How heavy?”

    “1.65 gravities and I work to keep it.” Impressive. That’s even heavier than my people’s homeworld Dar Klatus. I ask her to continue. “Other thing is, I got a brush with their minds. They knew they had a strength advantage over me.”

    She coughs a bit and I hand her the bottle of water on the desk next to her. She sips some and continues. “They beamed in firing, and when I didn’t go down from the phaser blast and tried to take them hand-to-hand they broke my arm in two places and then smashed my foot for good measure. Then they took off towards Isolation Zone A. All I saw.”

    “Wait, they attempted to stun you and it failed?”

    She shrugs her good shoulder. “Some sort of weird virus I picked up in my commando days. Aftereffects left me basically immune to low-power phaser fire. They didn’t have the gun set high enough.”

    “Curious. That suggests they were trying not to leave a trail of bodies behind.” She gives a noncommittal murmur in response. “Describe them for me, please.”

    “Didn’t get a particularly good look; happened too fast. Two meters or less in height. One was Cardassian, female, the other a human or Betazoid male. The human had … dark blond or brown hair, about shoulder-length, and dark eyes.”

    “Anything else?”

    “Just emotional impressions, Lieutenant, nothing really clear. I did get a sense that they were after something in particular.”

    “Or someone?” I suggest.

    “No, definitely a ‘thing’, I got that much.”

    My combadge chirps. “Lieutenant, this is Chief Kinlo. I know how they got in and I’ve got a pretty good idea who they were, too. Meet me in the Primary ISIS Core when you get a chance, please.”

    “I am on my way.” I look back to the commander. “Unless you can tell me anything else?” She shakes her head. “Very well. Be well, sir.”


    I beam down to the airless planetoid into which the prison is built and follow the indicators towards the core. I stride past a group of orange-jumpsuited inmates standing against a wall, guarded by a pair of Starfleet Security officers from the Brisbane in full riot gear, and make a right turn. Kinlo is standing at the console, typing furiously. Elder Phohl is there, too, and I snap to attention. “Sir.”

    “As you were. Chief, tell him what you told me.”

    “La Famiglia Motta, sir,” the Klingon answers without preamble.

    “I beg your pardon?” I ask.

    “You familiar at all with Earth-based organized crime, Dul’krah?” Phohl asks.

    “Somewhat,” I say in a non-committal tone. The answer depends greatly on exactly which group one asks me about. The Ver Eshalakh have had … encounters with le Milieu, which did not end in their favor, but my people tend to keep to themselves.

    “Well, some of the old Sicilian mafia families that managed to survive the humans’ World War III branched out into space after Earth went warp-capable, set up shop on the fringeworlds. The Mottas were particularly successful, made alliances with the Orion Syndicate among others. On occasion they’ve even had the balls to go up against Starfleet directly. Remember that clusterfrak at Torgo VII a few years back?”

    “Master Chief, how do you know they are responsible?”

    “The attackers used a Trojan to knock ISIS offline so they could board. I recognized some of the code when I decompiled it. Classic piece by the Mottas’ pet cracker Ron Harper. Goes by Erasmus Omega on the extranet.”

    “Commander Stadi believes the two who attacked her were genetic augments.”

    “That tracks with what I know of the Mottas,” Phohl agrees. “They’ve been known to have their enforcers augged on some of the independent planets like Adigeon Prime.”

    “Are they also known to specifically avoid killing people, even if it leaves witnesses behind?” Phohl gives me a confused look. “Stadi has a physiological oddity that renders her immune to low-power phaser fire. They overpowered her hand-to-hand only after she failed to fall unconscious.”

    “No, you’ve got me on that one. Maybe they were in a hurry to get in and out before the Brisbane arrived.”

    “Sir,” Kinlo says, “I just got the Warden online.”

    A hologram of a riot-armored white-haired human with a somewhat large nose materializes next to us. “That hurt,” he says. Then he looks down. “There seems to be a problem here.” I hear Phohl stifle a bout of laughter, and Kinlo quickly hammers out a few lines of code and the Warden’s lower half rotates 180 degrees. “Ah, much better.”

    “Warden,” I order, “Starfleet Security override, authorization Mike-Foxtrot-34844-Theta-3. Perform self-diagnostic and report status of all facility regions.”

    The Warden freezes in place and flickers for a moment, then resumes in a distorted monotone. “Reading severe security breach in Secure Storage Four.”

    “What is stored there?”

    The Warden returns to his normal voice, with a worried look on his face. “Not what, sir, whom. I need confirmation of all of your security clearance levels before I continue.” Phohl asks for the code word. “Material is classified Lambda-5, code word ICARIAN BRIGHT GEPPETTO.”

    After glancing at Kinlo and I to see if we leave, Phohl says, “Confirm security clearance through Lambda-5, ICARIAN BRIGHT GEPPETTO.”

    “The head of Lore is missing.”

    We stare at the Warden blankly. Finally Kinlo asks, “Who in the name of qeylIS batlh is Lore, and why would anyone want his head?”
    END OF PART ONE


    Author's Notes: Doing something slightly different this time by putting Eleya in the backseat and the POV into the head of the Bajor's security chief, an aliengen.

    The Lindsey Stirling Dul'krah refers to is a real life indie artist I like, a hip-hop violinist who also does the odd cover of soundtrack tunes such as "Dragonborn". Look her up on YouTube if you get a chance.

    The reference to J'mpok as a war criminal refers to the attack on Korvat in 2405, which meets the definition of ethnic cleansing and is therefore a war crime, and yet another reason I wish Cryptic would just have Worf chop his damn fool warmongering head off already.

    The "rogue Starfleet officers with a Section 31 obsession" refers to the Foundry mission series Star Trek: Allegiance, one which I highly recommend. Sumati Chennapragada, the CO of the Brisbane, refers to a rather good piece of Star Trek fan erotica I read once called "A Bad Day for Shore Leave".

    There is a reason why Dul'krah says he doesn't see a problem with Augments. All I'll say right now is that it ties into my annoyance with Star Trek humans' tendency to project their historical and cultural baggage onto everyone else.

    As far as I know there is no actual Motta family among la Cosa Nostra.
    "Two ways to view the world, so similar at times / Two ways to rule the world, to justify their crimes / By Kings and Queens young men are sent to die in war / Their propaganda speaks those words been heard before"
    — Sabaton, "A Lifetime of War"
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    (Still in development)
  • worffan101worffan101 Member Posts: 9,518 Arc User
    edited July 2014
    Warning: This story is extremely silly and may contain moments that make you spit up orange juice, in addition to some Janeway- and Voyager-bashing. You have been warned. :P

    This was originally going to be longer, but I got bored and figured it’d be funnier if I just made the entire holodeck shenanigans thing into a giant Noodle Incident.
    ***
    “C’mon,” said Science Bekk, his tail twitching mischievously. “It’ll be fun! And there’ll be fighting!”

    “I am a Jem’Hadar,” said First Omek’ti’kallan. “I do not “take vacations”. And I have heard…rumors about this “Captain Proton” holoprogram.”

    “Don’t worry; I bought this one from Jak’s cousin Krugg. Completely free of bugs, he swears! Fresh from the Federation! Besides, I’ll let you fight Satan’s Robot!”

    “Yeah,” said Zel through xir environmental suit. “You should do it, Omek. I’ll mind the bridge, beam the Admiral up when she’s done talking with D’tan.”

    First Omek’ti’kallan sighed in resignation. He suspected that this was one of those “interpersonal relationship” things that Glorious Odo’Ital had talked about.

    “As you wish. Third Zel, you have the bridge. Science Bekk, lead on. We shall crush this “Dr. Chaotica” in the name of Glorious Odo’Ital!”

    Zel shook xir indeterminately-gendered head as the Ferasan and the Jem’Hadar trooped out.

    “He never does get it, does he…”
    ***
    “OK,” said Science Bekk, adjusting his Buster Kincaid costume over his tail and checking his little fangs in a mirror. “Remember, you’ve got to say something witty BEFORE you attack the minions, or they won’t switch to attack mode. Daysnur says that he’s going to show up later to play Queen Arachnia, so we should be fine there…”

    “Let us begin,” said First Omek’ti’kallan.

    “Yessir,” said Science Bekk. “Computer, begin program!”

    The color faded out, and the opening narration began.

    “The heroic CAPTAIN PROTON, and his trusty sidekick, BUSTER KINCAID, have gone, yet again, to rescue their ever-trusty and -faithful secretary CONSTANCE GOODHEART from becoming food for the dreaded Spider-People! As Captain Proton travels billions of miles to reach the dark and dangerous Planet X, the dreaded, diabolical DOCTOR CHAOTICA, the Malevolent Master of All Evil, has been preparing to sacrifice Constance to his radiantly beautiful, beguiling, and dark Queen, the dreaded LADY ARACHNIA of the Spider People!!! Our heroes swoop to the rescue in Proton’s heroic and high-tech SPACE ROCKET!!!

    “However! Aware of Proton and Kincaid, the dastardly, devilish Doctor Chaotica has used his fiendish death-ray against Proton's ship, causing it to burst into flames while entering Planet X's unusually thick atmosphere.

    “Now, Captain Proton and Buster Kincaid stare in horror, plummeting to Planet X's surface, while being contacted by the gloating Chaotica, who taunts them with maniacal glee! Will our heroes escape to save Constance? Will they successfully infiltrate the Fortress of Doom? Or have Chaotica and Arachnia destroyed our heroes and conquered the Earth at last?”

    First Omek’ti’kallan looked down at his ridiculous outfit, and knew with absolute certainty that Odo’Ital would break out laughing if He saw Omek now.

    Better get this over with.

    “Buster!” shouted First Omek’ti’kallan, reading his lines off of the cheat-sheet on his mini-PADD, which was currently strapped to the inside of his arm. “We need to level off before we crash onto the deadly deserts of the mysterious Planet X!”

    “I’m trying, Captain Proton!” shouted Science Bekk, wrestling with the humorously outmoded controls. “The unusually thick, expanded atmosphere of the dark and dangerous Planet X is interfering with the engines!”

    “Ah,” said First Omek’ti’kallan, in the painfully precise tone of one who does not know his lines. “We had better vent the ballast! The reduced weight should help ease our dramatic descent!”

    “Golly, Captain Proton! You’re a genius!” Science Bekk pushed a big red button marked “Drop Ballast”, and Omek wondered vaguely what the Criminal One a starship was doing with ballast, and how dropping all of the ballast would help level off such a starship.

    There was a dramatic, thundering crash, and the vague rumbling of the Space Rocket stopped.

    “We’ve landed safely, Captain Proton!”

    “Outstanding. Now, to infiltrate the dreaded, diabolical Fortress of Doom, and rescue the lovely Constance Goodheart from the fiendish clutches of the despicable Doctor Chaotica.”
    ***
    “How are they?” asked Jak.

    “Science Bekk’s having a good time, but Omek’s just going through the motions,” said Zel. “I win. Pay up.”

    “Program’s not over yet,” said the Nausicaan man. “I still have a chance to make you owe me those twenty strips.”

    Zel grunted through xir helmet. “Fine. Damn, we really should’ve started him with the first chapter.”

    “What, Captain Proton versus Ning the Uncompassionate?”

    “Yeah.”

    “I think that Omek would’ve enjoyed that one a bit more. Maybe. Ning’s kind of a bigger idiot than the most arrogant Tal Shiar thug, though.”

    “Point, that,” said the Breen. “I’m sure it’d be better than Bride of Chaotica, though.”

    “Yeah. Daysnur’s all set for it, though. He’s putting on fishnet stockings and other crazy stuff.”

    Zel snickered. “A Lethean playing Queen Arachnia—now THAT I must get a recording of…”

    Jak’s combadge chirped.

    “Jak here.”

    “Subcommander,” said Admiral D’trel’s voice. “Are the sensors running?”

    “No, sir. Zel, boot up the sensors.”

    “Orbital control picked up a strange spatial disturbance in your area. Go check it out.”

    “Yessir,” said Jak. “Receiving coordinates now.”

    Vengeance’s sensor arrays powered up as the warbird slid for a sort of…ripple in space.

    “What the spam is that?” wondered Jak.
    ***
    First Omek’ti’kallan was in the middle of turning a holographic Human inside out (in his defense, he was bored out of his skull at this point) when the program fuzzed momentarily, causing the hologram-man to vanish and reappear in the default “killed” setting on the ground.

    Well. Holodeck malfunction. Wouldn’t be the first time, not by the Criminal One’s longest odds…

    Then Omek turned to check on Science Bekk, and saw two Humans--live ones, by the heat signatures--looking at him and the Ferasan with identical confused expressions.
    ***
    “What’ve we got?” asked Jak urgently as Zel swore and hammered at xir smoking console.

    “Something’s messing with our systems! There’s a spatiotemporal vortex opening on Holodeck One!”

    “…where Omek and Science Bekk are playing bad sci-fi programs. Wonderful. Daysnur! Get to Holodeck One, and see if you can get Omek’ti’kallan and Science Bekk out of there without losing them through the spatiotemporal vortex!”

    “Now? But I just got into my Queen Arachnia outfit, honey!”

    As much as Jak wanted to see his boyfriend in fishnets, duty to the crew came first.

    “Sorry, now. There’s some kind of spatiotemporal thingamajig open down there; we’re holding position but it could do any number of bad things if we don’t fix it.”

    “On my way,” said the Lethean with a sigh.
    ***
    The dark-haired Human fainted dead away. The other screamed and wet his pants.

    “Um…” said Science Bekk.

    First Omek’ti’kallan muttered a quick prayer to Odo’Ital and approached, hands in the air in a peace gesture. The light-haired Human, still squealing, stumbled backwards and tripped, falling onto his butt.

    “Have no fear, Human! I am First Omek’ti’kallan, and by the commands of Glorious Odo’Ital I serve the Romulan Republic…”

    The Human pulled out a phaser and shot wildly at Omek. The blast fuzzed against the Jem’Hadar’s personal shields.

    “Why the Ferenginar do I always have to deal with the crazy ones? Science Bekk, I will restrain this Human. Check the other and see if we can contact their superiors.”

    Omek grabbed the squealing Human by the collar and head-butted him judiciously. The man slumped, unconscious.

    “I’ve got a combadge!” said Science Bekk. “Hello, this is Science Bekk, KDF serial number 1398703, stationed as an exchange officer aboard IRW Vengeance. Um. Can anybody hear me? We’re sorry for scaring and knocking out your officers, but the one guy DID attack First Omek’ti’kallan…”

    “Computer, end program!” said Omek, trying to stop the insanity. Nothing happened.

    “Science Bekk, we have a problem.”
    ***
    Subcommander Daysnur, wearing about six square inches of actual clothing and about twenty additional square inches of sheer netting, in addition to a few pounds of makeup, entered Holodeck One and immediately noticed two things.

    First, the holoprogram was not running any more. The new safeguards (automatic end-program in the event of a malfunction) were working.

    And second, there was a shimmering disturbance in the air, pulsating in the middle of the room.

    “Oh, wonderful.”

    He nodded to his backup, Sublieutenant T’pai and Uhlan Tarash, who proceeded to attach a braided monofilament rope around his waist as a safety measure. The two Romulans braced themselves and nodded their readiness. Daysnur took a deep breath and entered the shimmering anomaly…

    There was a brief flickering sensation, and suddenly he was in the middle of a running Captain Proton holoprogram, with Omek and Science Bekk immediately ahead of him, holding their hands in the air as a stern-looking Vulcan and a couple of hulking Human thugs pointed phaser rifles at them.

    The Humans lowered their weapons and gaped in shock as Daysnur appeared. The Vulcan’s only expression was a raised eyebrow.

    “Um…” said Daysnur. “I take it that you’re not going to need me to play Queen Arachnia?”
    ***
    Three hours later.

    Tuvok walked them to the anomaly.

    “It was…pleasant to work with you, Subcommander.”

    “The pleasure was mine, Admiral—I mean, Commander Tuvok.” Daysnur’s makeup was smeared, his wig was askew, and his fishnets were in tatters. Doctor Chaotica had not been seduced. At least, not easily.

    “Indeed. Let us never speak of this again.”

    “Especially not the bit with the shark-lizard. Agreed.”

    Tuvok actually winced at the mention of the shark-lizard.

    “Agreed.”

    Several feet back, Omek and Science Bekk were waving goodbye to the holographic Doctor, who was finishing setting up a device to close the anomaly.

    “Science Bekk, what is your name? It is tiresome to call you Science Bekk all of the time.”

    Science Bekk’s ears twitched at Omek’s question as the Doctor double-checked the makeshift flow capacitor.

    “I have no name, First. I am merely “Science Bekk” until I do a deed worthy of attention.”

    “Well, that will not do. I would definitely say that helping the Doctor here come up with a solution to the wormhole problem, and rewiring Doctor Chaotica’s death ray after Captain Janeway broke the off-switch, are deeds worthy of praise. From now on, you are Science Bekk Min’tak’allan. Praise Odo’Ital!”

    Science Bekk Min’tak’allan made a curious motion that Omek interpreted as a bashful shrug. “Thank you, First!”

    Before Omek could respond, the holographic doctor interrupted.

    “And that should do it. Head on home; I can handle the situation from here.”

    Omek’ti’kallan gave the man a salute and a bow. “Excellent. May you be victorious, Doctor.”

    Ahead, Daysnur and Tuvok shook hands.

    “Always nice to work with a fellow telepath,” said the Lethean. “I’ll be sure to say hello to the future you when Admiral D’trel meets him next.”

    “It would be illogical of me to not state that working with a trained mindhound was an enjoyable experience. Your skills are pleasantly refined.”

    “And you’re a sight for a sore mind. I swear, sessions with a borderline-psychotic Romulan once every two weeks? It really gets to you after a while. See you in the future. Live long, and prosper!”

    “Peace and long life.”

    The Lethean walked through the shimmer, followed by the Ferasan and the Jem’Hadar. The EMH pressed a button, and the rift disappeared with a flash of light.
    ***
    First Omek’ti’kallan sat on his too-comfortable chair on the familiar bridge of the Vengeance, and sighed.

    “How was it?” asked Zel, Jak picking his mandibles to xir right.

    “I had a generally pleasant experience,” said Omek. “Science Bekk Min’tak’allan and the hologram who calls himself the Doctor said that I am never to discuss the incident with the mountain and the Destructo-Beam ever again. Second Daysnur and the younger counterpart of Admiral Tuvok seem to have enjoyed stopping Doctor Chaotica while we disabled the Death Ray.”

    “So you had fun?” asked the Breen.

    “I would say so, yes,” said Omek.

    Zel swore, pulling a few strips of latinum out of a pocket in xir suit. Jak snickered and stuck out a hand.

    First Omek’ti’kallan would probably never understand some things about his friends. Gambling was one of those things.
    Founder and Grand Vizier of the Glorious Regime of Sovereign Ba'al. Hail Ba'al!
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  • aten66aten66 Member Posts: 638 Arc User
    edited July 2014
    Facility 4028...
    ...
    Sometime in 2414...
    ...
    ISIS Core Room
    ...

    The Photonic officers went constantly around the whole entirety of the Facility, programmed to be stoic guards, unable to be anything else, all except the Warden. While the others were programmed to be security guards, sentient and capable of making basic, if albeit limited, decisions in an instant, they were nothing more than that, security. The Warden, for instance, went beyond the basic holoprograming of a security officer, he was, metaphorically of course, meant to be a judge, jury, and executioner over the whole facility, and the security officers his tools to carry sentence out.

    Some were needing to be closely monitored, like Inmate 72604, Alevant, with Protocol Zeta-Eight, or Inmate 51099, K'staa, when he is out of his cell, needing to wear bite restraints so as not to harm other inmates.

    Of course, not every inmate is strictly sentient, or even alive, and not all are held in cell blocks. Like inmate 01100, or at least a part of him, is one such inmate. The only way to gain access to the 'subbasement', as it is called by the creators of Facility 4028, is to gain access from I.S.I.S, the computer A.I. program running the automated facility. The Warden was an exception, but of course being a 'by-the-rules' kind of guy, he tends to still forward his request to the computer still.

    **

    His program was then transferred to an artificial storage facility, stored within an asteroid that was mined out previously by the Federation, and that was placed in an artificial orbit with the facility.

    He looked around at the various odds and ends: A giant box with intricate carvings made of ancient stone that fell through a crack in time, a Preserver obelisk, the partially melted head of a once cybernetic creature preserved within a transparent aluminum box, a Thalaron Drone used by a Romulan Captain, now an inmate himself, even half of an Iconian Gateway salvaged from Iconia itself. The asteroid held hundreds of various and dangerous devices and tools from throughout the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, spanning various years throughout history, starting with Admiral Archer and Pike, from Kirk to Picard, even various items Captain Sisko confiscated in the Gamma Quadrant, to a database of cultural knowledge and strange alien technology removed from Voyager and copies transferred here by Admiral Kathryn Janeway herself.

    The prize he was looking for though, was in a separated area removed from all technology. He walked up to the pedestal, removed from Omicron Theta, and was it holding the head of Lore. The Soong-type android was dismembered long ago, parts of him scattered across the whole Federation, locked away in secret vaults on other worlds. The memory engrams within the head were copied and removed before the head was shipped out here, and stored in the Daystrom Institute library. Of course, the Warden was given a copy of the engrams from Data himself in 2403, and given explicit instructions to reactivate Lore for an hour every year, so that he could learn what has occurred over the years. The Warden did what he was ordered, though the last time he did so Lore was intensely angered at the photonic man, because of the missing condition of his brother, Data.

    Now though, the time came for the yearly reactivation, and the Warden was ready to do this, after their last fiasco when Mehra, Taris, and others escaped the facility during a riot in 2409, he wanted to make sure no one, not even a prison transport, was around so nothing could go wrong. Opening the panel located at the back of the head, the Warden pushed the complex series of buttons needed to reactivate the android. The android's eyes flashed to life, and the head began to move, eyes blinking, mouth moving in a silent scream, and finally Lore became conscious.

    Blinking in an irregular matter, a weird twitch on the left side of his face coming back, Lore tested his motor functions, optical sensors, and finally realized the Photonic Warden in the room. "Oh, great, it's you..." he mutters sarcastically, rolling his eyes in the process, "I thought last time would be the final time I would awaken; appears I was wrong and you've favored me for another turn, what to try to change my morally corrupt view again?"

    The warden's simulated eyes rolled in response, and he goes to shut the guy up, when ISIS contacts him, saying a ship was bound for the asteroid. Decidedly he leaves the robotic head, and activates the transfer system, attempting to bring the holographic defensive system online, as well as activate weapons platform, when he freezes. Behind him Lore laughs at the now frozen program, before it quickly turns to fear when an explosion occurs. The asteroid was being fired upon.

    *****

    Gregs had been called upon by Starfleet to investigate the two hour silence that had occurred between Facility 4028 and the nearest star base, and the Oregon was dispatched. What they found was a chunk of debris around a, now covered by force field, hole leading into a hollowed out asteroid. Crew had reestablished an atmosphere within the complex, and had debugged the holographic generator after finding an Elachi skittering saboteur drone, refitted to disrupt the photonic generator in the facility. Somehow the drone was brought in, out of phase thru Elachi subspace technology, and was used by a prisoner to disrupt the facility while they were raided.

    The strange part was who the prisoner was. Instead of being a typical Tal Shiar operative it was actually a known Child of Khan agent, an Augmented human, who used the stolen drone to shutdown the facility. Finding that the video cameras were still working they found footage of James Fadi Mehra, or Princep Khan as he was better known as, beaming down to the asteroid, before the asteroid was blasted open, and retrieving the head of Lore before beaming out of the ship, and the attempted destruction of the asteroid.

    "There was a reason it was built into an asteroid, even a hollowed out one," the Warden says, "the metal walls are built of the strongest and durable stuff, updated every year if newer and stronger materials are found, so it could last the heat of a fleet of Klingons if necessary." The Warden walks over to the stool where the head was kept, and looks around it. "Ah, the tracker is still on him," he says while turning back to Gregs, "We placed a tracker, a photonic flea we altered, on him so we could track him if we ever needed to." He retrieves a PADD from a wall socket, and then returns to hand it to Gregs.

    "This, this is what you'll need to track him; we've known some of Lore's other parts have been close to being stolen at great cost by various groups," he says, "the Orion Syndicate mainly, though rogue Klingons and even Tal Shiar had attempted to steal them; this is probably the piece the Children of Khan need more than anything else." Gregs takes it, and looks at the location, and is puzzled when he recognizes the name.

    "Well, who knew they would go there," Gregs says tapping his combadge, "Oregon, time to beam up." The transporter beam activated, leaving the Warden with his mess.

    "Well, that's the gratitude I get for helping you," he says dismissively, "not even a shuttle ride or transporter back to the Facility; that's what I get?" The Warden goes to fix the holographic relays alone.

    ***

    Amar Singh sat comfortably in the photonic chair in the cell. He had been given a cup of coffee to enjoy, a rare commodity as it was the real stuff shipped in from a local farming colony. He had heard the commotion, and saw the chaos in the Facility when the photonics stopped working and froze in place, he knew more than likely the storage facility holding Lore would have been attacked. He had met the augment prisoner who was taken in recently, and he had learned of why they were after Lore.

    He smiled to himself though, because he knew what they were truly after. The chip that Arik Soong had hidden so long ago, said to hold the eugenics research he had made copies of after he had given up his eugenics, when he had changed his profession to artificial life he had made the chip so that when eugenics were finally acceptable, they could use his research to help fix a genome defect in Augmented humans. Of course, he knew because he himself would do this, the new Khan wanted to further augment his followers, make them even stronger and more durable warriors, and to bring a new era for eugenics.

    How sad the information in the chip was currently in box XX-WE-39657 of Facility 4028, marked as part of his belongings. The other chip, the second one left behind by Arik Soong, well, it wouldn't be useful to Khan in the way he would think, at least not without the knowledge stored within the first ship. But that doesn't mean there wasn't as anything equally useful within the second chip.

    Amar laughed at Khans foolishness; well maybe if he wasn't left behind he wouldn't have cared, but of course he wasn't the one about to make the mistake of activating an android who only wanted to exterminate biological life. He pondered something for a second, actually realizing another path this could take. He smiled, realizing finally what they were wanting to do, and at how different the outcome would occur if they used the second chip.

    He sipped at his coffee, when the photonics had finally been reactivated, and as they checked on each and every prisoner, while restraining those who had gotten loose, no one else noticed the smile on Amar's face as he dreamed of Khans face when, or if, the second chip was put into Lore.

    ***

    Trialas IV

    The decrepit building that had been abandoned for almost two hundred years, was no longer alone, and it hadn't been for more than a few years. The planet had a Federation research center years ago, but recent geological instability and threat of volcanic activity had made it necessary for them to all but retreat from the planet, though migrating colonists had taken root. Structures in remote areas were built, signifying the more stable areas and livable places, filled with colonists going on their daily routine. The colonists were not in fear of the instability as of yet, but the Federation was keeping an eye on the planet before terminal ecological destruction of the biosphere.

    The decrepit building had been there since the early 22nd century, when Arik Soong had first set foot on the soil with his augments. Now, though Arik's augments were long gone, a new generation of the children of Khan had set foot on the planet, led by James Fadi Mehra. Now they had gotten what they had wanted, the head of Lore, the final piece to the great puzzle. On a slab in the middle of the room was the reassembled body of a Soong-Type android, though it was by no means the original. The body was scavenged from Omicron Theta, and made from various scrapped parts found in Soong's workshop, from many of his previously failed prototypes, and they had found enough working parts to build a body.

    Lore had been deactivated by Princep Khan when he retrieved him, and now he had his android specialist reattach the head to the body. They had found the chip in the old building used to house Arik's Children, and when he was told what it could be, that it could hold the key to total perfection, he chose to begin a campaign to find and reassemble Lore, the only Soong-type android who could process this type of chip. They had acquired Mudd-type androids before this point, and tried it on a total of 46 different classes but each had failed to read the chip, it was to alien for them to use, the chip needed a positronic brain.

    Now the eyes activated, his face began to twitch on its left side, as Lore finally finished the activation process he turned to see his audience. "Well, this is quite a surprise," he said, than changes his voice to a higher pitch, "May I ask, why would a group of humans rescue little old me?" He looks toward Mehra, and recognizes both him and the signs in the others, that they were augments. "Or, may I ask, why would augments like yourselves," he says, "want me for?" At that Mehra smiled, and waved a hand to a box holding a small chip, comparable to the emotions chip, on a velvet cushion. To say the least, Lore was intrigued.

    *****

    Outside Trialas Solar System

    The Oregon had met with the Tempis Fugit while in transit to Trialas VI, the two ships had a brief exchange, and after the Tempis had transferred their captain, who was an expert on human augments, they had continued on their own mission.

    Hazel Singh found herself on the turbolift heading towards the bridge of the Oregon. When she heard about a new lead on Mehra, she jumped at the chance to join Gregs in pursuit. Ever since 2409 when Facility 4028 was raided by the Jem'Hadar, many of the inmates like Mehra had escaped through unknown means. Going off the books, and out of Federation jurisdiction, the Tempis Fugit was being backed by Starfleet Intelligence and Section 31 in certain operations against enemies like Mehra. She still took occasional side jobs within the Federation, but mainly hunted rogue and terrorists like the Children of Khan down.

    Gregs was sitting in the Captains chair, Zinuzee to his right, when Hazel arrived to meet them on the bridge. Having said their pleasantries they continued course towards the planet.

    **

    The landing party beamed a quarter mile out from where the ship had scanned the augments, choosing to be far enough from the psychopathic men and women. Hazel and Gregs took the lead, while Khor, Chassidy, and Zinuzee took the rear. Suddenly a shot was heard, before the revving of an engine was heard, and an older model of a Delta Flyer class shuttle left orbit, and the clouds parted as the mammoth figure of an Elachi S'Golth ship entered the upper atmosphere. "Gregs to Oregon, tell me your out of sensor range when you spotted the Elachi ship on scanners?" Gregs says over his combadge. It took a few seconds for a response, but the familiar chirping came back.

    "Yes sir, we cleared sensor range when long range picked up the Elachi energy signature," a voice says over the link, "We're going to stay out of range for now, do you want us to come pick you up when their ship leaves our sensors?" Gregs looks to where the shuttle had taken off, then back to the group.

    "Negative, we'll search the area, they had some kind of base on the planet," he reported, "We're going to search it for clues as to where they went next, or what got them to leave." He closed the comm and then they headed towards a run down building that had shown signs of an attempt to rebuild it.

    Finally finding the access door into the building, they found it locked form the inside. Pulling a device from her pocket Hazel looks at the door, and notices a slight bulge, nearly imperceptible to the normal human eye, but to an augment it was like a puzzle with a piece that didn't fit. Putting the device to the panel, she clicks some parts into alignment and the door slides in. "Don't leave home without your micro-servo," she says, smiling to herself.

    Walking into the building, they find a curious sight. Lore, looking serenely calm and happy, was pouring a cup of tea for himself, a replicator being the source of the odd commodity. Of course he was sitting on a chair, but his legs rested on the slumped form of an augment.

    "Well, Starfleet finally bothered to show up?" Lore says, "To bad you're to late." The left side of his face twitched and he dropped the china cup to the floor, shattering it to pieces, and Lore's face turned into an angry scowl as he jumps from the chair. "Get out of my head you flesh bag," he yells to a far corner of the room, before his face twitches again, "Oh there is nothing you can really do about that Lore, we're both stuck like this without the other chip." Twitching again the scowl changes to a yell of frustration. "Damn you," he says, "You had to leave your faulty circuitry where any human could find it." At that the face changes back to a pleasant one, and Lore laughs.

    "Well, I did hand it to my son on my deathbed, he must have copied the circuits and used it to continue my work," he says, "and he probably left it here knowing nobody would look for it here, but I don't think it would turn into a legend." Again realizing he isn't exactly alone in the room, Lore turns back to the landing party, and smiles. "Ah, Captain, or should I say Captains?" he says noticing Hazel's rank, "I'm sure your wondering why I seem to be... a little spilt on decisions since my reactivation?" He sits down on the chair once more, again propping his feet on the still unconscious augment. "Well I'm sure you know of Lore, but I'm not so sure you'd remember me," he says, stretching his hands before settling them behind his head, "Tell me, have you ever heard of Lore's great-grandfather, well that's me, or at least a part of the great Arik Soong!" Hazel pulled a weapon on the clearly crazed android and fired, while Gregs went outside to recall the ship into transporter range.

    While the other three grabbed Lore, Gregs and Hazel both grabbed the augmented man, and dragged him out as well. "Oregon seven to beam up," Gregs reports, "Leave me and Hazel and our other guest for last, beam the first group up now." The familiar hum of a transporter occurred, and a few seconds later Gregs found himself on the transporter pad.

    *****

    [Brig]

    The Augment on one side, and the android in an adjacent cell, Gregs and Hazel both stood in front of the two cells, though both cells were silenced. Lore was twiddling his thumbs, while the augment was banging his hands, cuffed so he couldn't do anything else but throw them against the wall, to try and bust his way out. They had gotten some information out of the augment, though they had gotten more useful information out of Lore. The augments had won the S'Golth escort from the Tal Shiar and Elachi for removing a few enemies to their plans, plans that had later failed anyways with Republic interference, though the Children of Khan had come away with a free ship. Having eluded Federation and Klingon ships in the neutral zone, they were little more than pirates for a few months, before establishing a base near the original base of Arik Soong.

    Eventually someone was smart enough to look inside the old decrepit building, and stumbled upon the chip holding Arik's consciousness, told Princep Khan of their finding, leading to this whole mess of events. Now though Khan and his followers had to go after the second chip, they had gotten an energy signature from their chip, and would be able to track wherever the other chip had been taken. "Facility 4028," Lore had said, "That's where they were heading when they left their steroid packed goon to baby sit me, of course they forget that they aren't the only superior being in existence." Now the Oregon had again set course to the facility, hoping to disable the augment ship before they had gotten hold of Soong's augment research.

    ****

    [Facility 4028]
    [Outside Amar Singh's holding cell]

    The facility once again had been attacked, swarmed by a few Elachi skitterers and Elachi drones of the offensive and defensive kind. The few dozen droens were enough to go against the photonic guards, and once they had swayed a couple of the prisoners to help, they had begun to fight their way towards Amar Singh's cell, the only other geneticist who would covet Soong's research and track the chip down for its research.

    Amar was standing in his cell, knowing exactly what was about to transpire, and he was grinning when he saw Mehra looking angered by his own smug face. "James, so nice of you to come and form a rescue party for me," he says nonchalantly, picking at his fingernails before turning to face the augment, "Your a couple of years late though." The augmented man merely laughs at the comment before destroying the console next to the cell, deactivating the force field in the process, and then grabs the geneticist by his throat.

    "My name Amar, is KHAN, my title is Princep," he says, while lifting Amar up from the ground, "and you will treat your superior with respect, I could have anyone of my men or some of these more vengeful prisoners, kill you on a whim, if needed." He tosses the man back against his cell wall, and when Amar gets up, he wipes a little blood from the corner of his mouth. Amar then begins to chuckle, then outright laugh as he stands up to face Princep Khan defiantly.

    "You are the pauper trying to fit the role of a prince, James, you don't deserve that title," Amar says, "My ancestor he was KHAN, Khan Noonien Singh, you're no more an augment than a man because you have been enhanced, no he was born an augment, while you were merely fixed." Khan was nearly about to punch the Amar in the face, when a commotion behind him made him realize the holographic guards may be winning out against the drones, and it wouldn't be long before even the prisoners turned on the augments. Frustrated Khan turns around for a second to regain his composure, then returns his gaze to Amar Singh,

    "That's true, but I'm the closest thing between you and death right now Amar, tell me what I want to know," he says, "Where is the chip containing the research of Arik Soong?" Amar blanches, calculating the risks the augment brought out, then looks at Mehra, and smiles realizing they had reactivated Lore.

    "Well, why didn't you says so?" he says in a creepily calm voice, "It's in box XX-WE-39657, in the claims facility."

    ******

    The Oregon had beamed Gregs, Hazel, and a squadron of M.A.C.O's into the prison, while two squads of engineers and security groups beamed into both ISIS computer hubs to repair and retake the facility. The ship had disabled weapons and shielding of the augments ship as soon as they had entered the system, using the temporary battle cloak the Romulan Republic had allowed installed into the previous version of the Oregon. Now they just had to retake the station.

    **

    [Under Levels, Storage Facility]
    [Row XX, Subsection W.E., Box# 39657]

    Princep Khan stood in front of the small box, a three by three by three inch box, which inside held a chip compatible with nearly every single type of computer processing equipment, from old microchips to isolinear circuitry, even to neural gel packs if necessary to transfer the information. The chip though was meant for conjoint use with the one holding a copy of Arik Soong's personality and the positronic brain of a Soong Type android, but the information inside could be transferred through almost any medium available, even through assimilation by the Borg.

    Now James Fadi Mehra had the ability and knowledge to create the most perfect augmented humans ever, warriors loyal only to him, and able to rise up against the oppressive Federation and it's standards. Taking the delicate chip in his hand, he held it up to the artificial lighting in the room, enjoying the view of the piece of technology as its metal glistened in the light. Suddenly the hum of a transporter was heard, as Lore and Gregs appeared near him.

    ***

    [Ten Minutes Earlier]

    "Captain, sensors show that James Fadi Mehra has visited Amar Singh," Chassidy said over the comm, "We've been told by Lore that Amar may know where the second chip is, sir." Gregs considers this, while trying to break free from the Gorn attempting to chew his face off at the moment. Using a telekenetic burst, he started to toss the Gorn off of him, while pulling a spare phaser out from his belt, and set it to near max to knock the Gorn out.

    "Let security know we need Lore down here know, and when I contact you again I want you to transport me to the ship, and then have Lore ready," Gregs says, "Then we'll transport both of us to wherever Mehra is." Gregs then is attacked by a skitterer, which he promptly throws to the other side of the room before it could explode and release its noxious payload and cause bodily harm. He looks at the rest of the room and sees that the majority of this section was already taken down, how he hoped the engineering teams would get the rest of the ISIS cores back online at full capacity, then just the few security holograms who had mobile emitters before the facility was attacked again. It had been a third of the station, true, but it was just barely enough to retake the prison, even with the M.A.C.O's and security teams he had brought. Hopefully this wouldn't be a battle they would lose.

    ***

    Lore/Arik had grabbed the Princep's wrist, twisting, trying to immobilize the augment. Fortunately both Lore and Arik didn't want this augment to get the chip, Lore because he was betrayed, Arik because even he didn't want another eugenics war, one that would end in even more prejudice and hatred against the best intentioned eugenics and the life saving treatments scientists like he had created. The chip was tossed from both beings grasp, and it was retrieved by Gregs as it had slid near his feet. "Chassidy, I'm wanting you to lock onto my combadge and engage the transporter in ten seconds," he yells into his combadge. At that he rips it form his chest and connects it to the chip by tying a piece of fabric around it, and sets it on the floor as he joins the fight against Princep Khan.

    ***

    Hazari rushes through the rows and rows, she had been told by Zinuzee where the Oregon had last picked up signature, praying she wasn't to late to do anything. Running through the rows she finally found a scene, but she stopped and covered her mouth when she saw a pair of legs sticking out of an aisle, lying in a small pool of blood that was unmistakably Gregs' own. She let go of the breath she held when she heard moaning coming from that direction. Turning the corner she finds Gregs, lying against an aisle, his nose broken, a wicked gash from a broken right leg, and a limp left arm as he cradled his left shoulder.

    "Man, who knew Khan could throw a punch like that," he says, before slumping to the ground. Hazel checks his pulse, and sighs in relief for he had merely fell unconscious, hopefully from just a combination of a concussion and slight blood loss. She looks around for Lore, and finds the android slumped against the wall of a different aisle, missing half his right arm, torn from it's hinges, but a smile on his dazed face.

    "Hey sweet cheeks, mind helping a fellow find his way out of the joint?" he jokes, before a look of pain comes over him, "Damn it father, you had to give me a faulty emotions program, cause all I'm feeling is pain right now." The android moves its stumpy arm, as he attempts to get on his two feet, as Hazel helps him up, and the two walk over to Gregs' position.

    "Oregon, three to beam up, one to sickbay, one to engineering," she says over her own combadge, "Energize." The transporter beams the three up, out of the depths of Facility 4028.

    *****

    [Sickbay]

    "A civilian frigate warped in, we didn't realize it until we picked up its warp trail a few minutes ago, but it was outfitted with advanced technology," Zinuzee says, "by the time we could track it, it somehow created a subspace fold and entered it, we can't tell how far or where it ended up, but Princep Khan had transported over there during all the chaos." This time the Oregon had stayed around and helped quell the prisoner riot while they were still fixing the ISIS cores. Now the Warden had control again, and gratitude for helping expedite repairs, while back up had arrived by form of Hazel's ship, and another galaxy-class ship. Now though, Gregs sat in a medical bed, Ten and the rest of the medical staff had done a good job in repairing his injuries, and he merely was woozy from the blood loss, but there were no serious injuries.

    "And what about Lore, or Arik, or whoever," he says, "Have you gotten around to fixing his arm?" Zinuzee nods, motioning around the corner as Lore comes around, his arm replaced with one of the prototype components picked up before they had left Trialas.

    "And it's as good as new now Gregs, we've been given a lot to contemplate," Lore says, "we even convinced your chief engineer to help install the new chip, but I've left a copy of all the information in both yours and Hazari's databanks." Lore looks happy, more than he has at any time before, then he turns to the other guest surrounding Gregs' bed. "Could I possibly talk to the captain alone?" he asks. The others shuffle out, and back to their own duties around the ship, and Lore turns back to the Captain.

    "I'd...well I'd like to thank you Gregs, we...I am a new person now because of this experience," he says, a look of deep thought crossing his face, before e smiles again, "There was a real reason too for downloading the second chip, it's changed me Gregs, I'm not Lore anymore, nor am I Arik Soong." He says this then turns his back to the captain, clasping his hands behind his back, and he looks slightly to his right side. "Arik Soong died over two centuries ago in his bed, Lore, the true Lore is still alive within his memory engrams at the Daystrom Institute," he says, "Me, I'm made from Lore's head and the cannibalized parts of my grandsons...creator's previous attempts." He turns back to Gregs' a smile on his face. "But me, me I'm also a new man with a new mind, Lore he couldn't adapt to humanity, he fostered resentment and hatred towards humanity because the Omicron Theta colony rejected him," he says pausing before resuming, "but Arik Soong was human all his life before copying his memories to a chip, one he never really imagined would be a prototype to the emotions chip Noonian Soong used to intergrate human emotions with an android, and now, now I'm no longer either Arik Soong or Lore but an amalgamation of the two."

    He walks towards the Captain, and grabs his hand. "Because of you Gregs' I'm changed, I've even adopted a new name, Lore Soong, to reflect the new man who's neither man or machine anymore," he says, "You know Gregs, if you don't mind I'd like to take that old Delta Flyer the augments used, maybe search for my brother Data, I know he's MIA, maybe I can use the time searching for him to grasp on to what I am now, with your permission of course, maybe I could even take a few of those Mudd androids, the repairable ones, to help me?" His look was that of a pleading and honest man, not the angered and hateful Lore, or of that of Arik Soong.

    Gregs looks at Lore Soong, he looks and sees the genuine look in his eyes, and he nods.

    ******

    Captains Log: Gregs Sharvan Son'aire

    Stardate: Redacted

    It's been an interesting week, one I hope to never replay again. I had the Elachi S'Golth returned to my fleets starbase for repairs and upgrades, and I've even given the ship a nickname, the Servitor. Maybe I'll use this ship while the Oregon is in dry dock next time at Utopia Planitia.

    I even Granted Lore's request. The shuttle was ready, repairs and upgrades had been made, Lore Soong now a recognized citizen of the Federation, and a crew of other androids willing to work with him, a few days after the incident. The shuttle had taken off to parts unknown, to search for the missing Captain Data.

    Hazel too had gone off onto her next mission, parting two days prior, while the Oregon prepared to depart for planet Mudd to return the rest of the remaining androids.

    Hopefully with time I'll recover from the scars Princep Khan left me, the mental ones, but I have to say I've chalked up another enemy for another day. I wonder how the augments got their hand on Elachi technology, I mean I know it was given to them, but was it the Tal Shiar, or the Iconians, who actually gave up the technology? And where did the technology in the civilian ship come form, the Solanae? This event brought up so many questions, the majority of which I know will never be answered, but for now, for now I need to sleep.

    End Log
  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,134 Arc User
    edited July 2014
    The air was damp and the lighting was weak enough to cast shadows in many directions around the room. It was a decent-sized office and cluttered with artifacts from around the galaxy. All the extra items spread around the room had no discernible order. Layers of dust, or dirt, covered most of the items against the walls; those closer to the desk at the center of the room were obviously 'newer' to their owner. The desk was simple, yet large and metallic. A single desk lamp seemed to struggle staying active as it flickered with any bump against the desk. Several PADDs from multiple origins scattered across the desk top. The man sitting at the desk was slender and sweating profusely. The tattered suit he wore was grungy, as if he never bothered to change clothes. He licked the salty sweat from the top lip as he looked toward his visitor.

    "I know beauty when I see it." He expanded his arms as if to show off the wares within the room as his toothy grin was marred by missing teeth.

    Staza Murai crossed her legs, revealing more green-toned silky smooth bare legs than her short skirt already revealed. The warmth didn't seem to affect her and she smiled. "Your appreciation is renown, Mr. Berkati -"

    "Please, call me Mathis. It is not often I receive glamorous guests."

    "Ah, yes ... Mathis. No doubt my contacts informed you of what I was looking for?"

    Mathis inhaled deeply before standing and nodded as he walked around the desk to sit at one corner. His grin never faded. "About that, not only is it highly valuable -". He leaned in and stopped grinning, "- it's also very dangerous. Now what would an Orion entrepreneur want with this ... thing." Mathis looked behind Staza quickly before returning his gaze at her cleavage.

    A form shifted from the darkness, yet Staza did not take her eyes away from Mathis even though he wasn't looking at her, per se. "You don't need your guards with me. I have no secrets you couldn't get otherwise." She leaned in closer, which only made her cleavage deeper from the simple translucent shirt. His eyes widened slightly. "All you have to do is ask." She relaxed back into the chair. "And since you asked nicely, you know the Federation is hunting for that ... thing. Your reputation suggests you have to hide from legal authorities to prevent capture. So, the truth is I am really here to be your partner for a one-time transaction, one that will surely net you enough profit to get you out of the rare artifact business the rest of your long life. My connections within the Klingon hierarchy would make us both very wealthy, so wealthy you might even be able to buy a planet."

    At that, Mathis looked into Staza's eyes, inhaled deeply, and stood. He turned and stretched as he walked back toward his chair. Running a hand through his hair, he wiped it on his shirt before saying, "that's a lot of money."

    "Only if you agree to the terms." Staza stood, placed both hands on her hips and rested on one leg which angled her other leg out of the skirt.

    Mathis looked to the guard again, then crossed his fingers as he looked at a PADD directly in front of him. He nodded slightly then looked up. "You still have not answered my question. What do you want with this?" He kicked something thick and metallic under his desk.

    Staza turned and walked away slowly from the table. Looking toward the guard in the shadows she noticed it was a Breen, holding a short-barreled rifle. She couldn't tell what style the weapon was but it looked similar to a Tetryon rifle. Looking back to Mathis, she commented, "I've never seen a Breen up close." She walked toward the soldier swinging her hips as she walked. "Mathis, have you ever seen a female Breen before?"

    The dealer breathed audibly then kicked the case again. "I can't say I have, actually."

    Staza stood two meters away from the large Breen and looked him up and down. Then slowly turned toward Mathis. "Don't you think the rest of our ... negotiations, should be held in private. There are a lot of details to be worked out. I'd hate for you to lose an opportunity all because you feel the need to be protected. Besides, I speak with Syndicate interests in mind. As you know, they are not often willing to share their concerns with ... well ..."

    Mathis took another deep breath and smiled. "Yes, I see your point." He nodded toward the guard.

    The Breen simply turned away from Staza. The pathway to the door was a maze of small containers and artifacts he had to navigate, which brought him within arm's reach of the Orion.

    Staza lunged toward the Breen's left side and kicked the rifle from his hands. It spun in the air briefly and Staza's arms twisted to catch it. The Breen did not recover fast enough as she placed the rifle barrel under the left arm and pulled the trigger. A bright blue flash engulfed the torso of the Breen and his arm was severed. She fired into the gaping wound as the Breen fell, it's gravelly voice screaming until it collapsed. A third shot disintegrated the helmet.

    She spun on her heels to face Mathis. He had fallen back into his chair with both arms covering his head. Quickly, Staza grabbed the Breen's severed arm and threw it onto the desk. It clattered amongst the PADDs, scattering them and causing a lot of noise as they fell to the floor. Mathis yelped in fear and jumped into his chair.

    Moving toward the desk, she noticed the metal container, then tapped Mathis with the rifle. He cowered further into his chair. Staza could smell fresh urine.

    She tucked the PADD with her fake deal into the waistline of her skirt. "Come now, Mathis Berkati, surely you are tougher than a woman with a gun."

    Mathis seemed to recover any sense of bravery he owned. He jumped from the chair and backed a few steps away, his pants wet. "What's going on here?!"

    "I'm taking this crate, free of charge."

    "But ... you're with the Syndicate!'

    Staza looked at Mathis with derision. "Seriously? Did you really think the Syndicate would pay for this? I'm surprised you're even in the business thinking like that. Then again, I bet this was your first really big shake. Nice try, Mathis Berkati. Just let the big boys and girls play the game."

    Mathis seemed to sweat more. "What ... do you plan to do with me?"

    "First, tell me who got this crate out of Fed space."

    "I ... I don't know."

    Staza scooped up the Breen's arm with the rifle and flicked it toward Mathis. It slapped him across the face before he tumbled to the floor trying to dodge the lifeless appendage. "The Syndicate doesn't ask twice", she yelled as she pointed the rifle toward Mathis' groin.

    "Aiee! Okay, okay. All I know is that a small group of people bust into some storage facility, then shopped the crate using a narrow-band subspace signal. The carrier waves are not monitored by Starfleet."

    "Did you meet them?"

    "All I did was respond to their hails when they arrived in system three days ago. I met with ... Jortan ... or something. I think he was a ex-Fed MACO gear-head because he had on that armor, you know? He transported the crate directly to this room."

    She lowered the rifle and tried to push the crate with one leg. It didn't budge but she wasn't really trying. "What was exchanged?"

    Mathis tried to stand until Staza raised the rifle. "All he wanted was civilian shipping information from Qo'noS to the Dyson Sphere. It was too good a deal to pass up!"

    Staza squatted near the crate without looking away from Mathis. She reached into her blouse and pulled a small device from her bra, then snapped it onto the crate. It shimmered and hummed, then disappeared. She smiled, "that was a little uncomfortable to wear so I appreciate your brevity."

    Mathis rolled his eyes in shame.

    "So to answer your question: I'm not going to do anything, but I will let my contacts with the Klingons know about our meeting. Good luck, Mathis Berkati." She threw the rifle onto the desk, then was washed in a familiar blue shower before disappearing.

    +++

    On board Solaris ...

    Staza Murai coalesced on the transporter pad and looked toward the other person in the room.

    Captain Kathryn Beringer stood away from the console. "Welcome back. The crate is secured in the Brig."

    "Thank you, Captain. That was rather unpleasant."

    Kathryn waved toward the door and Staza exited the room first. They took a few steps in the hallway before Kathryn said, "I hope it was worth it. Lore is simply too dangerous to be let loose in clumsy hands."

    Staza nodded. "I see."

    They stopped at a turbolift and Kathryn turned to Staza. "I appreciate you burning a few contacts within the Syndicate for this. It won't happen again."

    Staza looked down and the doors opened. "I agree, but it was worth it." She walked into the turbolift and turned to face Kathryn still in the hallway. "No more favors ... Scarlet Scorpion."

    Kathryn nodded sullenly and the doors swished as they closed.
  • ryan218ryan218 Member Posts: 33,411 Arc User
    edited July 2014
    Previously on Star Trek: Victorious: (Part One)

    And now the conclusion.


    Ryan stares in disbelief at the pale, granite-white face on the viewscreen, as the owner of that face; Alpha-- Lore, continues to smirk menacingly, "Surprised, Captain?" The malevolent tone's still there, as Ryan regains his composure.

    "What have you done to my Officer, Lore?" His tone is adamant, even confrontational.

    But Lore just smirks even more, sending a chill down Ryan's spine, "He's right here..." He holds up a small cylindrical container - the same one his own memory engrams were stored inside. "Well... most of him, anyway. Certain portions of his memory engrams are proving... useful. For example, Captain, I know about a certain... tragedy... involving a Starfleet Medical ship."

    Ryan tries to keep his anger under control, letting out an aggressive tone in his response, "What do you want, Lore?"

    "I have everything I want from you, Captain. Just... sit back and enjoy the ride."

    "Lore--!" The channel is terminated, as Ryan looks around the bridge at the stunned crew, before turning to Carter directly. "Is there anyway we can reason with him?"

    Carter shakes his head, "Lore's a sociopathic megalomaniac. Once he sets his mind to a task, he can't be stopped peacefully."

    "There has to be a way."

    "Admiral Maddox might know, but contacting him without Lore hearing is going to be difficult."

    "Not necessarily..."

    Captain's Log, Stardate: 87187.5. Commander Ryan Allington, U.S.S. Victorious, Ambassador-Class Support Cruiser.

    They have my ship. The augments who attacked Facility 4028 have now taken control of the Victorious' Main Computer Core and captured my Operations Officer. Now, Lieutenant Commander Alpha has been hijacked by the memory and personality engrams of the Android Lore. I have few paths of action, which are growing fewer every passing minute. Without understanding what Lore is after, and with no obvious way to reason with him, my only option is to try and get a distress signal out undetected.

    End of Log

    ***

    Ryan walks into the Shuttlebay with Dannover, walking over to the Yellowstone-Class Runabout, U.S.S. Orwell, before entering.

    As the step into the cockpit, Ryan heads over to the Helm while Dannover pulls open a panel in the floor.

    "Are you sure you can keep Lore from picking us up?" Ryan starts preparing a channel to Starfleet Headquarters.

    "He won't have control over the runabouts' communications systems yet. If he's restricted to the Main Computer, he'll only know about a communication from the Victorious through the computer access." Dannover is using a hyperspanner on one of the Bio-neural gel packs.

    "But if he has control of the sensors, he could pick up the subspace carrier wave."

    "Not... any... more!" She yanks out a large cylindrical component as Ryan turns in the chair.

    "Is that...?"

    "The subspace interference filter? Yeah."

    "That's genius."

    "I'm not finished yet..." She turns back to the gel pack and takes out a data shunt. "For the record, I want a commendation for this..."

    "What are you doing?"

    "Well..." Dannover jabs a hypospray into her arm, "the signal won't be allowed to pass between the subspace relays without a filter, and we need to make sure Lore can't pick up the shuttle's filter harmonics, so...," she then plugs the shunt into her cortical interlink implant.

    "Are you sure? The last time you did something like this, it made it harder for you to keep the Collective out of your head."

    "Yeah... but the alternative is letting Lore keep the ship, and I somehow doubt he's going to let us live to see his plan." She pokes a small implement into a tiny slot in the implant, cringing as they both hear a high-pitched hum from the implant.

    Ryan turns back to the console, turning his head slightly to make sure she's okay, before opening a channel to Starfleet Headquarters, "This is U.S.S. Victorious calling Starfleet Command! Authorisation Code: Allington Alpha-Two-Four-Lima-Foxtrot! Please respond!"

    It doesn't take long, as a starfleet commander soon appears on the viewscreen, "We read you, Victorious. What's your situation?"

    "We've been hijacked by a group of augments, numbers unknown, led by the android Lore. All command functions have been rerouted to their location and we have no knowledge of his intentions. Requesting to speak with Admiral Bruce Maddox at Starfleet Cybernetics."

    "Stand by."

    Ryan waits for a minute before the screen changes to that of the ageing Admiral Bruce Maddox - the leading expert on the work of Dr Soong. The Admiral already has a grave look as he reads the report he just received from the Commander at Starfleet Communications. "Commander, I just read the report. Tell me what your situation is."

    Ryan nods before speaking, "Lore has fortified himself in the Main Computer Core with a group of augments. He transferred all the command functions to his location and locked us out of the computer. We're travelling at warp speed on a bearing of 232 mark 12.

    "Admiral, I was hoping you could help me to... reason with him."

    "I'm sorry, Commander, but there is no reasoning with Lore. Right now, Lore is in control of the situation - he feels like he has all the power, which means he expects you to play his game. You have one advantage; Lore is selfish and vain."

    "How does that help us?"

    "You mentioned the augments who assisted his escape. Do you think they realise how untrustworthy Lore is?"

    They suddenly hear a series of harsh tones from the console as Ryan turns to Dannover. "Lieutenant?"

    "He's breaking through..." Dannover's in clear pain as Ryan turns back to Maddox.

    "Sorry, Admiral, we're being interrupted! Request you send any assistance available!" He quickly cuts the channel before running to Dannover and pulling out the data shunt, grabbing her by the shoulders as she feints slightly. "Are you okay?"

    Dannover groans as she wipes a bang of hair out of her face. "Been better..."

    "Report to sickbay. That's an order."

    "Yes, sir..."

    Meanwhile, Main Computer Core.

    The leader of the augments walks over to Lore, who's sitting at one of the interface consoles. As she approaches, Lore speaks in a menacing, almost bored tone, "What do you want?"

    He doesn't even turn to face her. The augment takes a deep breath, before replying, "When will we arrive?"

    "I haven't decided yet." Lore finally turns to face her, giving her that malevolent, evil smile. "What do you want?"

    "I don't understand..."

    "You rescued me from that... prison... gave me back a body - a life... Do you expect me to believe this was out of the kindness of your heart?"

    "We're the same."

    Lore chuckles slightly at that. Even his laugh sent shivers down her spine. "How so?"

    "You were treated unfairly because you were different. They dismantled you simply because you were too human, and then when you were finally reactivated, they treated you like a criminal."

    "Life's cruel."

    "We're augments. We were engineered by our parents, or others, to be perfect. The Federation claims that augments aren't punished for our genetics, but that's a lie." A hint of bitterness creeps into her tone. "We're not allowed to hold public office. We can't join Starfleet. We have to agree to be monitored just so we can go out in public! And even then, we're segregated, treated as monsters!

    "They fear us because we look like them, think like them, act like them, but are not them."

    Lore smirks again, understanding, "Just... like... me."

    "Yes... just like you. You understand. We can help each other."

    "Please."

    "We want to show the Federation Council that we're tired of being treated as freaks - as criminals - just because of our DNA."

    "How?"

    "Cold Station 5. It has hundreds of augment embryos in storage. Once they're active, the Federation will have no choice but to give us equal rights.

    "When that happens, we'll help you escape Federation Space."

    "What did you say your name was?"

    "Heather..."

    Lore stands up and walks over to her, that menacing smirk still present as he holds a hand out to her. "A pleasure to meet you, Heather."

    Heather takes his hand, shaking it cautiously.

    Captain's Ready Room, 10 minutes later.

    "That's insane!" Daya is shouting at the top of her voice, both hands on Ryan's desk, as Carter and Tala sit on the sofa behind her, with Ryan sitting in his seat.

    "Daya, it's the only way I can think of to get close enough to the augments to figure out what they're after!"

    "That's stupid, and you know it!"

    As the two continue arguing, Carter nudges Tala's shoulder, whispering to her, "So, how long have they been married?"

    Tala smirks at the joke as Daya let's out one final argument, "They'll kill you!"

    Carter clears his throat, getting both their attention, "Captain, I have to agree with Commander Saph. It's too risky to send you into the Main Computer Core. Even if they don't kill you, you'll give them an extremely valuable hostage."

    "Carter, those augments are the only chance I see to get back control of this ship." Ryan is stubbornly standing his ground.

    "Captain--"

    "Now listen, all of you..." He stands up, looking at all of them. "If there was any other way, I would take it, but there isn't. Now, the decision is mine." He slowly walks around the desk into the middle of the room. "And it's made."

    ***

    Ten minutes later, Ryan is waiting outside the door to the Main Computer Core, tapping his combadge. "Commander Allington to Main Computer Core."

    He waits a few moments, before the menacing voice of Lore comes over the comm. "Hello, Captain. How can I help you today?"

    "I want to speak with me, face to face. I'm unarmed."

    "Are you now? How interesting. Tell me, Captain, is there also a team of highly trained security officers out there ready to shoot me the second I come out too?"

    "No. I'll come to you, in there."

    Another moment of silence passes.

    "Very well." Ryan hears the door unlock. "Oh, and Captain? Leave the combadge outside."

    Ryan sighs as he takes the combadge off, quickly weighing it in his hand before pinning it to the inside of the back of his collar. He then takes a deep breath before walking into the room, hearing the doors hiss shut and lock behind him. Before him, he can see Lore, getting ready to step forward when he feels a hand grab his arm, gripping it with incredible strength as one of the augments looks at him with a spiteful expression.

    "Ah, ah, ah, captain..." Lore starts walking towards him, the evil filling the room, "I wouldn't struggle if I were you. We wouldn't want anyone to get hurt now, would we?" Once Lore is close enough, he inspects Ryan, looking around his head on either side, before reaching around to the back of his neck and plucking the combadge from his collar, holding it in front of his face, inspecting it, "Tsk, tsk, tsk."

    Ryan keeps his face calm and collected as Lore crushes the badge like it was tin foil, before Lore nods to the guard and turns away. Suddenly, Ryan feels a fist in his face before everything goes dark.

    First Officer's Log, Supplemental. Lieutenant Commander Michael Carter, U.S.S. Victorious.

    It has been more than half an hour since Commander Allington entered the Main Computer Core, and we've still heard nothing from him or Lore. I've had Security Teams dispatched to the Core to monitor the situation, but in the meantime we continue to travel at high warp towards our destination, which we now know is Cold Station 5.

    End of Log

    Carter is pacing around the Bridge, feeling the tension in the room as they wait. "Why CS5? Why that target? What does he want?"

    "CS5 was one of the Stations commissioned to store augment embryos after Earth's Eugenics Wars." Tala speaks up from the security station. "Maybe he's trying to raise an army."

    "No, it doesn't fit his profile. This is too high-profile for him. He likes to pull the strings more discreetly than that."

    He looks out at the viewscreen as the stars streak past at Warp 9, completely helpless to bring the ship to a halt.

    ***

    Main Computer Core.

    Ryan slowly regains consciousness, his vision dark and blurry. He feels a cold band around his wrists, his face wet, with a light tingling on his eyebrow. He starts to hear again, the ringing in his ears dying down to reveal the hum of a dermal regenerator.

    He lets out a groan as he rolls his head to the side, the hum stopping before he feels a hand on his cheek, lifting his face to look at that of someone else as he hears a female voice, "Hey... Can you hear me? Can you see me?"

    He squints his eyes, blinking a couple of times to bring his blurry vision into focus, while Heather starts running the regenerator over the cut above his brow again.

    "What... what happened?" Ryan winces as his nervous system starts to kick back into gear. He's lucid enough now to guess that the liquid he can feel running over his face is blood.

    "I'm sorry. Carlos is... impulsive. We're not animals." Heather finishes healing the cut, handing Ryan a flask, taking the top off for him, as he looks at her suspiciously. "Drink it." Ryan raises an eyebrow, still suspicious of the flask in front of him. "Please?"

    Ryan eventually relents, allowing her to pour a little water into his mouth, before swallowing it and letting out a gasp. "Thank you."

    "I know you don't trust us, but we don't want to harm you."

    "Really? What about them?" Ryan nods his head towards the body of one of the maintenance engineers.

    "We didn't have a choice. You'd have done the same."

    "I'd have used the stun setting."

    "And then you'd have had to either keep stunning them or tie them up. We both know the trauma caused by multiple phaser stuns, and we only had enough cable to tie up one person."

    Ryan looks down at the bands of cable around either wrist, before turning his gaze back to her and saying sarcastically, "I'm honoured."

    Heather sighs before standing up and walking around him.

    "What do you want? What does he want?" Ryan stares at Lore, who's back at his console, working intently.

    "The same thing you want; freedom."

    "What are you talking about?"

    "When was the last time you saw an augment, or any subject of genetic engineering, wearing a Starfleet Uniform?"

    "There are reasons for--"

    "There were reasons for throwing Japanese-Americans in 'Internment Camps' during World War II. Does that make it right?"

    "The last time augments were treated as equal citizens, you grabbed power and devastated the entire planet!"

    "They did! Or are you going to blame every augment for the actions of the augments of the 20th Century?"

    Ryan stays silent for a moment.

    "I didn't think so. Your Federation takes comfort in the assumption that we are monsters, when all the majority of us want is to be treated just like everybody else."

    "It's not that simple."

    "Okay, think of it this way; Vulcans are emotionally unstable once every seven years and have 5 times the average strength of any other Federation citizen. Are they incarcerated or barred from service to protect others?"

    "Vulcans aren't humans."

    "And judging from how augments are treated, neither are we. That's my point. Either we are human, and thus have the same rights as every other human being, or we're a separate species, and so have the same rights to self-determination as the Vulcans, or the Andorians."

    "Alright, you've convinced me." Ryan looks at her, sincerity and understanding in his expression, but still that confident, determined look in his eyes. "But I can't help your people if you don't work with me. I promise, I'll take your case to the Federation Council."

    "You really get the feeling they'll listen?"

    "If they don't, then I'll take it to the United Earth Parliament. At the very least, you'll be eligible for Starfleet service. But, if you keep me hostage, my people will do everything in their power to free me. Martyring yourselves won't help anything. At most, it'll trigger violence on Earth. Is that what you want?"

    Heather stays silent for a moment, repeating Ryan's performance only a minute earlier, before replying with "It's not that simple."

    Ryan sighs. "Think about it. Do you really think you can trust Lore? He has his own motivations which are not in alignment with your own. Tell me where we're going."

    "Cold Station Five."

    Ryan looks at her in what can only be described as a determined fear, "You just gave him everything he needs. He's not going to threaten the Federation Council to help you, Heather. He's going to assassinate it and seize control for himself!"

    ***

    1 hour later, Main Bridge.

    Carter looks out the viewscreen as the ship drops out of warp, seeing the Space Station in view. The Station is embedded into a nearby asteroid, like many installations of the period. He's had Dannover get back in touch with Starfleet, and the Station has been evacuated ahead of them.

    It's ironic in a way; the station had been built in this particular asteroid to protect it, but now the asteroid was a hindrance to shields, making it possible to blow the base out from under it by destroying the asteroid itself.

    And that was exactly what they were about to do. Lore couldn't be allowed to raise an army with the Eugenics-Era augment embryos on the station, at any cost.

    Carter taps the comm panel on the arm of the Command Chair, "Bridge to Forward Torpedo Room. Status report."

    ***

    In the torpedo room, Dannover and Tala are modifying a photon torpedo so it can fire without computer command. Dannover looks up to respond to Carter, "We're almost ready down here, Commander. Just give us another minute."

    ***

    "Commander," the Ops Ensign turns from his station, "I'm picking up a fluctuation in the torpedo room's power conduits."

    "Torpedo Room?" Carter stands from his seat, walking towards the viewscreen.

    Dannover quickly comes over the comm again, "Lore just put up a forcefield around the torpedo tube. We can't launch."

    "Always one step ahead. He's always one step ahead of us!"

    "Sir?" The Ops ensign turns again, "All life signs from the Computer Core just beamed over to the station."

    "Lieutenant Tala, I want a security team ready in 15 minutes!"

    ***

    Cold Station 5, Storage Centre.

    Ryan is dragged along by one of the augments, with Heather walking alongside Lore. The room is cold, with each wall going on for about a mile, stacked with stasis capsules up to 15 meters from the ground. Each pod contains an augment embryo; a genetically engineered life form bred to be stronger, faster and smarter than any human, but with an unintended side effect; they were also more aggressive and mentally unstable. The result was a war that devastated Earth's Eastern Europe and Asia and directly led to World War III and the post-atomic horror.

    Ryan is feeling several different emotions right now; awe at the logistical efforts that had to have gone into getting these things off of Earth and scattering them across the Sirius Sector like this, fear at the knowledge of what these embryos could do if they were awakened, and disappointment that this place has become a symptom of a dark secret for the Federation - Earth especially.

    Heather feels much the same, only more fearful; if this goes wrong, it'll make things even worse for augments in Federation Space. Worse, what if Ryan is right, and that Lore is going to use this to get revenge on the Federation Council?

    Her fears are realised when Lore starts the incubation process of the embryos. "What are you doing? We're only supposed to use them as leverage on the Federation Council, not wake them up!"

    Lore walks away from the console towards the incubation chamber.

    "Lore!"

    "Would you be quiet?!" Lore snaps back as he pulls out a phaser, aiming it at her. Ryan looks before speaking up.

    "So, we see your true colours at last. You never planned to help them. This was always just a way to get revenge on the Federation for your incarceration."

    Lore smirks at him, that chilling look of malevolence still present, "Very good, Commander. You figured out what I thought was painfully obvious!" He starts backing up towards the bulkhead. "I don't intend on becoming a prisoner again!"

    "There's just one problem; this place is abandoned. Don't you think there's a reason? Starfleet knew you were coming."

    "Your point?"

    "My point, is that this station is specifically designed to stop these things from falling into the wrong hands. There's a system in place to sterilise those pods in case the station should be lost. And I'm betting the Victorious has already started that process."

    Suddenly, an alarm sounds as the backlighting of the pods changes to a red glow.

    "Like that."

    Lore looks around, seeing the life readings go nil on each and every pod, "What have you done?!" He lets out a roar of anger as he fires the phaser at Ryan, who ducks out of the way as the beam slams into the comm panel he'd been leaning on, just as Dannover sneaks up behind Lore and quickly hits the override.

    Ryan looks up as Lore falls to the deck.

    "This is Dannover, all clear here." Dannover taps her combadge to clear the channel as a security team comes in, aiming their weapons at the augments. The lighting goes back to normal.

    "Hold your fire. All of you." Ryan walks over to Dannover. "Nice timing, lieutenant."

    "It was easy once we figured out what Lore was up to. Killing the Federation Council to destabilise the Federation in revenge to everything that had been done to him - that's sorta clever in a crazy way."

    Heather looks at the embryo pods, then at Ryan, "You killed them."

    Ryan turns back, smiling. "No."

    "But--!"

    "You and Lore were so busy with each other, you didn't notice that I was able to reach a comm panel and hail the Victorious so they'd overhear what was happening. It was a simple matter of them manipulating the red alert lighting to make it seem like a sterilisation was actually taking place."

    "Why?"

    "Because I made it up. There is no sterilisation protocol - not on this scale. But, you and Lore didn't know that. Besides, I think enough people have died over this in 400 years. Why add to it?"

    Captain's Log, supplemental. Commander Ryan Allington, U.S.S. Victorious, Ambassador-Class Support Cruiser.

    Lore's memory engrams are being removed from Lieutenant Commander Alpha's body as we speak. The augment activists are currently confined to Guest Quarters on board and I have already received assurances from the Federation Council that their grievances shall be heard in full proceedings.

    I have to admit that I feel humbled by the situation; until now, I took in full confidence the belief that the Federation was infallible. But the last two days have shown me that I was wrong. As always, there is room for improvement, in some places much more than others. Now it's just a matter of time, I hope, until the augments receive the justice that 6 of my crewmen died to give them.

    End of Log

    Ryan is sitting in his Quarters on the sofa, with Daya sitting next to him. They're going over his report to Starfleet Command.

    "Everytime I try to put this down, I keep thinking about this passage." He points to the passage regarding the maintenance crew that was killed when the augments hijacked the ship. "Everytime, I feel like I should say more; like there's not enough."

    "It seems alright to me. There isn't much you can say, Ryan. You've always had a hard time losing members of your crew. Just say how proud you feel or what you feel these crewmen deserved. Save the rest for the condolence letters."

    Ryan nods, as the comm chirps. "Carter to Allington."

    "Go ahead, Commander." Ryan looks up to the ceiling, the source of the noise.

    "We've got a problem, captain."

    Ryan rolls his eyes, sighing in exasperation, "What is it this time?"

    "Lore's memory engrams are missing, and one of the cybernetics staff is gone as well."

    "Any idea where they went?"

    "Negative. A shuttle took off from CS5 a few minutes after we learned of the theft, but it's already gone to warp. We can't find them."

    Ryan looks at Daya. "Something tells me we haven't seen the last of Lore."

    To be Continued in 'Victorious': The epilogue.
  • icerose20icerose20 Member Posts: 17,002 Arc User
    edited July 2014
    RRW Antonina
    Leaving New Romulus System

    “So we have a Federation holovid crew on board the Antonina doing what exactly?” asked Subcommander Toven Khev.

    “They are documenting the exploits of our lives. They wish to record our recollections of Romulan Republic founding and our fight against the Star Empire and the Tal Shiar. It would seem they wanted our crew. They said they wanted to get the correct not the official story. They wanted a real crew not one of the crews tasked with more diplomatic crew.” answered Awnya ar-Virinat, Captain of the RRW Antonina.

    “Ha!. They should have been with us on the Osroene then. I still get migraines from all the work we did to keep that bucket of bolts operating.” said Hiven Teral.*

    Veril chimed in “Hey, that ship got us through a lot of fights. I rather have that ship then this clean federation ship. I knew every system of the Roe, here I am still trying to read the manual. “

    “You'll get used to her, just like the Roe, Veril” said D'Vex. “At least with the Antonina, we don’t have to worry about scrounging for parts for a 40 year old ship.”

    “But it isn't a Romulan vessel, D'Vex.” said Toven.

    “It is as Romulan as the Scimitar family of dreadnaughts Obisek is pumping out of the Vault “

    “D'Vex, Toven, let us not replow the fields again with that argument. Admiral Kerenak insisted that we put a good face for the Republic with this crew, so I expect full cooperation with this holocrew. We still have some more testing and qualifications before we are certified for combat, so while this holocrew is on board we still have a job to do. Any questions?” said Awnya.

    “Yeah, When do we get shore leave?” said Hiven.*

    “When we get through certification of the Antonina, and not a moment before.” said the Captain. “Any pertinent questions?” giving a death stare to Hiven, who was trying to slide in his chair away from his Captains stare.

    “Good, dismissed”

    Three Days later

    “Ah, Commander, thank you for you and your crews time. They have been very helpful with my project. This has been very insightful.” said the documentrist.

    “You have been a change of pace from our work on combat certification of the Antonina and her new systems.”

    “I hope we have not caused too many problems with our inquires.”

    “Nothing that we can not handle, sir. In fact, my chief engineer said you helped him with a problem yesterday. High praise coming from D'Vex.”

    “Well, I'm certain that D'vex or Veril would have figured out soon enough. Are we ready for the interview?”

    “I am as ready as I will every be.”

    “Good. Roll. Please state you name, rank and position?”

    “Commander Lillel Awnya ar-Virinat. Captain of the RRW Antonina, a Dyson retrofitted Defiant class vessel commissioned by the Romulan Republic.”

    “You didn't tell me your family name, Awnya. Why is that?

    “I am an orphan. With the destruction of the homeworlds and the chaos on Virinat afterwords, I lost my parents and was left alone. I was 3 at the time I lost my family and taken from Virinat.”

    “What happened afterwords?”

    “Everything other then losing my mother and father and leaving Virinat is hazy till about my 7th year. By then I was on Rator III, in service to some high ranking Romulans there. In our old society, if you did not have a family, you had no past. With no past, there was no way to find out what was your path in the glorious society of the Empire. You also had no one to protect you from those that would exploit you for their own ends.”

    the interview was broken up by the red alert klaxons, and a call for Awnya to show up to the bridge.

    As Awnya was entering the bridge from the turbolift. “Toven, we still under cloak?”

    “Affirmative, sir. We got a Dheal class warbird, the IRW V'Dredith, being attacked by a D'Deridrex, IRW Tanith. The V'Dredith is using all emergency frequencies at call for help, even Republic vessels. They say that they have important information on the current Tal Shiar movements and are trying to defect.”

    “Sir, It could be trap.:” offered Hiven.

    “Noted, still they are not going to back down if we just uncloak and say we are here. Power up the weapons, we are about to see what this Dyson tech does against the usual suspect. Hiven, get us behind the Tanith, Toven, target weapons and shields if you can.”

    “Sir? Why are we doing that?”

    “We got civilians on board, Toven. They didn't sign up for this fight, and maybe that Tal Shair will back down.” said a very calm Awnya.

    The Antonina decloaked behind the Tal Shiar battlecruiser and pummeled the rear upper shielding of the massive warbird. This obviously caught the attention of the targeted warbird as it tried its best to turn portside toward the more agile ship, hoping to get its broadside in play. Hiven saw this and immediately turned starboard, then turned high and around keeping some distance between the battlecruiser and the Antonina while staying on the stern firing the dual heavy protonic poleran cannons and proton beam to continue to pummel the aft shielding. Right then a volley of very large green balls emerged from the aft end of the battlecruiser as it continued its turn to the port and down.

    “Volley of torpedoes dead ahead, PDS engaging.” as the point defense turrets engaged the oncoming green balls of death. Just before the Antonia met them, the disintegrated from the massive amount of energy hurled there way by the PDS and forward firing cannons. However, they did their job as the battlecruiser was able to get her broadside on the Antonina.

    “Sir, shields are holding for the moment, but holding our fire to disable them isn’t working as intend. Time to use the gravimetric torpedoes.” said Toven.

    “Ok, fire at your discretion, Toven. Hiven, divebomb that ship.” ordered Awnya.

    “Putting emergency power into forward shields, we are going to need it if we want to drop the payload on them.” said Veril from her station on the bridge.

    The Antonina turned downward to buzz the battlecruiser, firing all of her forward energy weapons to crack the shielding, hoping to launch the grav torp in its hull. As it did the battlecruiser was firing all of its disruptors at the tiny ship, trying to break the shielding and forcing the Antonina to turn as not to get hit on the weakened siding. However, Hiven and Toven has done this so many times to other ships, they knew that it will be over quick, and the Battlecruiser will being dealing not only with a volley of grav torpedoes but also the large number of transphasic mines about to be dropped as the went by.

    “Target shields are down.”*

    “Our shields are down” exclaimed Veril.

    “Firing Torp. Droping mines”

    “Evasive maneuvers, Hiven. Get us the hell out of here.” As the Antonina was passing within 200m of the battlecruiser's starboard side. As it did this and gained a burst of speed, the battlecruiser's own PDS was trying to save the ship from its inevitable doom, but it just didn't have the time on target as the torpedo hit right smack in the middle of the upper hull. The impact punched a large hole in the hull, that was exasperated by the gravimetric distortion of the detonation. The battlecruiser might have survived this, but 12 of the 16 transphasic mines got through the hail of energy bolts from the PDS system also. This was the final insult to the battlecruiser, as its singularity containment unit was breached. As the Antonina accelerated away, the battlecruiser shrunk and then exploded in a large amount of energy that even punctured the aft shielding the Antonina.

    “Aft Shields are down, but no hull breaches. Looks like we dodged that one.” said Veril.

    “Yes.”

    “I love this ship” as Toven kissed the targeting console of his station.

    Then clapping was heard from behind everyone. This caused everyone to turn, and see the holo crew on their bridge. They both were clapping.

    “I must say, Commander. That was better then I hoped when I was asked to do this. I doubt the famed crew of the Enterprise could have done that on their second voyage of an experimental design.”

    Awnya looked pissed but kept her voice calm “How much was recorded?”

    The other holocrew man looked over his PADD. “Then entire fight, Captain.”

    “Sir, the V'Dredith is wallowing out there. Her engines are offline, numerous hull breaches. They want to talk to us.” said Hiven.

    “Put it on screen.” stated Awnya, as she finally stopped trying to roast the holocrew.*

    “RRW Antonina, thank the elements you showed up when you did.”

    “What is your status, V'Dredith?”

    “Impulse Engines are offline, numerous injuries and hull fractures. However, as long as no more Tal Shiar shows up, we should be able to handle these situation. However, we need to get the package back to New Romulus.” said the officer on the V'Dredith.

    “Sir, I just contacted New Romulus, and they do confirm they are waiting for the V'Dredith to show up there. They are sending Reman T'varo squadron from the Vault backed up by the RRW Antalya here, but they want us to pick up the package and head to New Romulus immediately.” said Toven.

    “Alright, V'Dredith. We got confirmation from New Romulus, beam over what needs to go to New Romulus. There is 4 Reman T'Varo's and the RRW Antalya being sent here to help. They should be here in the hour.”

    “Understood.” as the feed got broken.

    “Transporter room has said that 14 people were transported over. 12 to sickbay with various serious injuries. Also 2 others, I got security keeping them there for safekeeping till Toven goes down there.” said Veril.

    “With your permission, Commander.” as Toven got up form his seat and rushed for the turbolift. Awnya got up from her command chair and walked to the holocrew.

    “Hiven, you got the conn. Get us to New Romulus as fast as possible. I'll be talking to the holocrew in my ready room.” said the Captain while she motioned the holocrew into her ready room. They entered the room, the crew sat down in front of her desk as she went to a minifidge and pulled out a brown bottle.

    “Care for a drink?” she asked.*

    “What is in there?”

    “Some glacial water from New Romulus. Some cold raktinjino.”

    “what are you having?”

    “A summerwheat beer from Alpha Centauri.” she said as she popped the top of her bottle.

    “No Romulan Ale?”

    “From my time on Rator III, I grew to hate its taste. There is a small bottle in here, but that is for D'Vex. I do not think that he will take kindly to giving anyone a sip of that bottle.” said Awnya.

    “Water” said the cameraman.

    “I’ll take the beer. I am surprised that you didn't use the replicator. You keep a supply of various real foods and drink, why?” asked the producer while thanking Awnya for the drink.

    “On Virinat, we didn't have a lot of energy to use. The shipyard was taking a lot of it up repairing various ship that came through. I find that this reminds me of Virinat, just being there, just trying to heal, to be by myself, and not worry about if I displease anyone for any slight real or imagined that would get me locked in a dark room.”

    “So you invited us in here to talk about the Tal Shiar traitor/spy you picked up. We do know the implications of what just happened and if they get out, so while I will not give the recordings up, you have my word that at this time that part of the tape will not be released.”

    “You do have bosses, and they may not like you keeping this out. They might call this censorship.”

    “They also sit back in Hollywood behind cedar desk, able to go home to their wives and kids every night and not have to worry about being sent into a firefight that they may not be able to come back from. There will be a time and a place for this to come out, commander, but not this time.”

    “Good. I will hold you to my word. For if you don't, D'Tan displeasure will be the least of your worries.”

    “Understood. Now we still have a few more questions to ask, Commander.”

    12 hours later*
    New Romulus Command Center.
    D'Tan's Office

    The door opened to the office. Awnya, Satra, Hiven, Veril, and Toven entered the office room. Sitting in there was Obisek, Admiral Kerenak, and Commander Tal'Mera, with D'Tan walking towards the group, his hand out. He shakes the hand of each of the officers. “Thank you again, Commander Awnya, Subcommanders Satra, Veril, Toven, and Hiven. You have again proven why you are the best crew in the militia. Please have a seat. We have much to discuss and not a lot of time.”

    As the crew of the Antonina sat down, Awnya spoke up” Proconsul. Why are we here? You could have just called up to congratulate the crew.”

    “Commander, while I could do that, I felt that we all here owe you and your crew more then just a piece of paper with a commendation for everything that you have done for us, our new homeworld, our new nation.”

    “He also wants to not deal with diplomats, sycophants and other people that just want curry favor with him, and not tell him the truth.” said Obisek. “i keep on telling him that a few well placed shots, and that will be all over.”

    “While it is tempting to do that, Obisek, that is how the old way is done.”

    “Excuse me, proconsul. But things are moving way too fast to get into a philosophical arguments you two have.” said Tal'Mera.

    “You are correct, Commander. Proceed.”

    “The newest information is that the Tal Shiar was decided to try to take over the Empire without a proxy. It seems they can't find Sela, and all the other contenders to the throne aren't as malleable as they want them to be.”

    “So none of them are powerful enough to threaten their hold, but not worth trying to make it puppets for them. Got it.” said Kerenak.

    “So who is the new....”

    Then the communication system turned on D'Tan's room, showing the crest of the Romulan Star Empire.*

    “Well, I guess we are about to find out” said D'Tan as Tal'Mera and Kerenak was furiously trying to get in touch with various people to figure out what is going on.

    Then the picture of a bald headed Romulan sporting a manicured goatee and two eyes appear.

    “To the Children of those who marched under the Raptor's Wing, I am Colonel Hakeev, now Emperor Hakeev the First. I have been imprisoned by members of the former ruling establishment for a number years, while an imposter with my name sowed the seeds of the destruction of our great people, of our great nation. These people have been dealt with, as others who have benefited from this disunity. The purge of those that have worked with the Iconians and their minions is almost complete. However, this leaves one other thing to deal with, the war between our people. While it pains me to see so many of our sisters and brothers leave the care of the Star Empire to seek out a new life, I do see that they do have a grievance to be heard. The Republic has powerful allies, as do we, and if we continue with this fratricidal conflict, the entire Romulan species is at risk of extinction, like our forebearers on Vulcans were before the Sundering. I will not be the leader of the extinction of the Romulan people, the last leader do the Star Empire as a great power in out galaxy. So it is with the following actions I take to ensure that that does not happen within our lifetimes. First, Romulan Star Empire will recognize the Government of New Romulus as a legitimate government for those areas that it actively controls. In doing so, I will also halt all actions to secure areas in those area controlled by the New Romulus. I will also stop all offensive operations against the Reman Resistance. The careless loss of lives that has happened lately shall not continue. Secondly, I would like to propose a ceasefire dialogue with the said Republic and her allies in the Klingon Empire and Federation, to further cement this ceasefire. At this conference we will discuss any and all problems that have arisen during this conflict, and deescalate it from the genocidal conflict it has become. As a token of my leadership, I will allow all who wish to emigrate from the worlds controlled by the Star Empire to the Republic. I will not stop those who feel that the Star Empire has wronged them from leaving and finding a new home. After all, did we not leave our home on Vulcan because we believed the establishment there wronged us, and we did not want to kill our cousins. I hope these words and the actions taken in the days and weeks to come will show all of you that a new page in our history has been turned, and that peace will once again reign free for those of the Raptor's Wings. May the Elements watch over you.”*

    “Yes. We Won..” exclaimed Veril. She turned around as saw the rest of the room crestfallen from the announcement.

    “Didn't we?”*

    “I’m sorry, Veril, but we didn't win. Hakeev just changed the rules of the fight now.”

    “I need to contact all of our organization, if there is a mass exodus, there will try to put sleeper agents in the flood.” as Tamera got up.

    “We need to contact every available ship, and get them ready to move the refugees to more controlled locations once they start showing up.” said Kerenak as he left the office.

    “You shot him in the face, Commander. I was there.” said a shocked Obisek.

    “It doesn't matter, Obisek. You need to get your ships to pickup any of the surviving Reman resistance cells as possible. He may say that he will let them go, but we can't let that go to chance.” said D'Tan.

    “But, But, He is reconsigning us, he letting those who want to come here.” pleading Veril. “Are we so suspicious of his actions that we will not help those that want to be here.”

    “Where do we put the refugees, Veril? How do we cloth them? How do we assimilate them into our existing colonies? You weren't here in the colonies in the immediate aftermath of the Destruction of our homeworlds. There is going to be a lot of scared and angry people coming to here. They will not want to wait to be helped.” said Satra.

    “And it wont come to that. We will be calling in all of our favors from both the Klingons and the Federation to help with the refugee crisis. However, we are not the same as we were 20 years ago when the colonial governments collapsed. We know what we did wrong, we know how to do it right. We are a changed people. We will be stronger for this, and the Empire will be weaker. It is going to be hard at times, but it will come to pass that we will overcome the Empire and her machinations. Of this I have no doubt. However, that means that you and your crew will be working twice as hard as before, keeping the good will of the Federation and the Klingons while we work out our problems. This is a great burden, but I can think of no other crew that can handle it. After all, you have done before.” said D'Tan as he clenched his fist in defiance. “RRW Antonina, go out and be the heroes we need you to be.”
    Ancient Griffon insult

    That one is so stupid, he lost a Rock/Paper/Scissors game to a Pony.
  • proteusrexproteusrex Member Posts: 62 Arc User
    edited July 2014
    Captain's Log 92071.92 - Captain Dennis Merrik, USS Explorer NCC-92001-E

    The Explorer has arrived at Facility 4028 in response to a general distress call. Though communication with the facility has been sparse, we've been ordered to help investigate a theft from the facility. The thieves have apparently absconded with some very dangerous materials. I've asked Dr. N'Orlock to assist in the investigation. Despite his history with the facility, his skill set may make him the best man for the job.


    ----

    Merrik and N'Orlock followed the nameless holographic sentry through the empty corridors of Facility 4028, making sure not to stray from the blue line on the floor. Bypassing the cell blocks, they were directed to the maximum security storage level and passed through a seemingly endless series of security checkpoints. Each one made Merrik wonder how thieves could have gotten this far without alerting the myriad of defences built into the facility. Finally, they stopped outside of a secure door marked only by a bar code. The holographic sentry motioned for them to wait and then disappeared.

    "Here." N'Orlock said, handing Merrik a pair of dark glasses.

    "What are these?" Merrik said, examining them. They looked like a pair of sunglasses, but the button on the side brought a small HUD to life.

    "Forensic interfaces." the Reman explained, slipping a pair over his face. "They're used by a lot of civilian law enforcement agencies. They tie into the Tricorder and present a live HUD of sensor data from a crime scene. Aids in crime scene investigation."

    "Neat." Merrik said. He was about to slip them on his face when the door slid open and the sentry gestured for them to enter. He clipped the glasses to his belt.

    "You may enter." it announced before flickering away again.

    Inside the dimly lit chamber stood three figures. The first was the grey haired Holographic Warden that Merrik had encountered on a prisoner transfer mission some time ago. The Warden was the primary interface for the Facility's I.S.I.S intelligence. The other figures were a bit less expected. Identical to the ones they followed, they were a pair of holographic sentries, or at least parts of them. Pixelated and distorted, the sentries flickered uncomfortably. Both holograms had huge chunks missing from their bodies, leaving distorted digital pixels around the edges. The first sentry was standing in a salute position, it's hand held upright in a salute. Unfortunately, it was missing it's head, making the salute almost comical. The other held it's weapon ready, staring down the scope of the rifle, a large circular hole blown through it's chest. Scattered around the floor were small flickering chunks, three dimensional holographic chunks.

    Laying on the ground in front of the sentry was a body. The unmistakable scars of a weapons discharge had burned a hole through his nondescript unarmoured clothing, leaving burned and cauterized flesh in his chest. He was physically impressive human with short black hair and a thin black beard. Tall and laced with muscles, Merrik could only think of a handful of humans that were even close to the same size.

    "Captain." the Warden approached them, he gave Merrik a respectful nod, before turning to N'Orlock. His eyes narrowed and he eyed the Reman suspiciously.

    "Prisioner NR3871."

    "It's Doctor." N'Orlock said, a bitter tone in his voice. "I've served my time."

    "For now." The hologram nodded.

    His words hung coldly in the air. N'Orlock leaned over the body, and pulled out his tricorder. He began reviewing the data through his glasses.

    "What happened here?" Merrik said firmly, uncomfortable in the tension.

    "A group of unknown assailants implanted a computer virus into the facility. It allowed them to bypass all of the automated security systems and doors. There only opposition was our holographic sentry systems. As you can see, they used another weapon to incapacitate them. Though our surveillance is down from the time of the theft, it appears that Sentry 371 was able to shoot and kill this man before being partially decompiled."

    "It's a photonic disruptor." Merrik stepped around the Warden to examine the sentry bodies. "It generates a disruption field that decompiles a hologram's matrix, makes it impossible to recompile. I've read some papers about them, but never seen one in use. Don't reboot their system just yet, my Chief Engineer might be able to do something for them."

    "What did they take?" N'Orlock asked, not looking up from the body. He pulled a small set of tools from his outfit and began poking and began to prod it.

    "Components from a Soong-type Android designated Lore."

    Merrik paused, "Captain Data has a sibling?"

    "Predecessor actually." The Warden nodded, "The Lore unit preceded Data. His history is classified, but needless to say, he is dangerous and quite unstable."

    "Soong..." N'Orlock looked up, "The 22nd century geneticist, Arik Soong?"

    "No..." Merrik's eye's narrowed. "Noonian Soong, the Cyberneticist, creator of Captain Data."

    N'Orlock and Merrik exchanged glances.

    "So we have Noonian Soong's Android stolen by some Augmented humans." Merrik began.

    "Who were famously experimented on by Arik Soong." N'Orlock concluded.

    "Famously?" Merrik asked quizzically.

    "In certain circles..." N'Orlock replied, glancing at Merrik's blank expression.

    "Geneticist circles." N'Orlock added. A trickle of excitement crept into his voice. "His work was very impressive. If this guy here is based on his work, I can't wait to take a look."

    "Need I remind you of the Federation ban on genetic engineering." The Warden scolded.

    "I'm expressing a professional appreciation, you photonic doorman." N'Orlock growled, "I'm not going to breed an army of supermen."

    The Warden grunted angrily and scowled back at him.

    "Ok guys. We're on the same side here." Merrik replied. "Let's transfer the body to my ship, get us your security feeds and hologram diagnostics. Let's see if we can figure out..."

    He pulled up the sunglasses, and slid them onto his nose.

    "...why these guys fell to pieces."


    "YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!"



    Merrik's hands shot to his head and he doubled over. N'Orlock was less effected but similarly caught off guard. The Warden just looked at them blankly.

    "What the hell was that?" Merrik groaned, straightening up again.

    "Telepathic assault," N'Orlock replied. He shot an angry glance at the Warden. "Got any free-range telepaths running around?"

    "Our telepathic dampeners may have been damaged by the computer virus." The Warden replied, staring off into space as he accessed invisible data. "I have rebooted their system and triggered the necessary diagnostics, my apologies."

    "Get me a list of those telepaths." Merrik nodded, "Maybe they picked something up from the thieves."

    "Very well." The Warden nodded, "Though it may take some time to get you clearance."

    Merrik nodded and rubbed his temple making a note to see the doctors about his new headache.


    ---


    Several hours later, Merrik stepped into N'Orlock's lab on Deck 15.

    The dimly lit room was colder than the rest of the ship and designed to be more comfortable to N'Orlock's Reman physiology. Lit primarily with dark blues and purples, the room was unlike any other part of the ship, looking more like Dr. Frankenstein's disco rather than a starship lab. N'Orlock filled it with an impressive collection of scavenged equipment that he had acquired through his years. A lot of the equipment was unknown to Merrik, though his former chief science officer called much it 'of questionable legality'. As an envoy from the Romulan Republic, N'Orlock was able to operate outside of the bounds of the Starfleet guidelines, which certainly benefited the mission Starfleet Medical had recruited him for. Unfortunately, it meant that Merrik had to work very hard to keep the good doctor from crossing those unspeakable ethical barriers.

    In the center of the room, N'Orlock hovered over a medical bed and the body. Beside the body was a series of stasis jars and containers containing various red organic masses. In one of them Merrik spotted a pair of eyes.

    "You called." Merrik announced as he approached the body.

    "Ah, Dennis." N'Orlock looked up smiling a big jagged smile. His hands were deep inside the augment's torso. "That was quick."

    With the look of a child on Christmas morning, N'Orlock pulled his hands out of the body clutching an organ that Merrik didn't recognize.

    "Look at this spleen." N'Orlock said proudly waving it in front of Merrik, "beautiful specimen."

    Merrik grimaced and gestured for him to take it away.

    "Doc!" N'Orlock announced, "weigh and measure this for me."

    Out of thin air, an ageing EMH MK 1 appeared. Looking old and haggard, it took the spleen from N'Orlock and moved over to a lab table.

    "Of course," It grumbled, "Make the walking repository of the universe's medical knowledge weigh a spleen... " he grumbled, "I'm not a kitchen scale, you oaf."

    "Howdy Doc." Merrik smiled. The Doc was an old EMH that N'Orlock had acquired decades ago. TRIBBLE and spliced by sources unknown, the hologram bore only a passing resemblance to the original EMH design. Free of much of the social programming and ethical limitations, it was an arrogant and angry old man that served as N'Orlock's assistant and constant foil.

    "Yeah yeah." The Hologram complained, waving his hand dismissively.

    "Ok." Merrik turned back to N'Orlock, "what do you have?"

    "He's an augment all right and a beautiful one at that." N'Orlock finished wiping his hands off on a towel, then pointed to the body. "I'm still examining the parts, but he's about the best example of humanity I've ever seen. Seriously Dennis, I don't know why your species banned this research, these guys would have made your species a powerhouse."

    "Obviously you've never read about the Eugenics wars." Merrik replied.

    "Growning pains." N'Orlock waved his hands dismissively.

    "Any idea where he came from?" Merrik said uncomfortably changing the topic.

    "I'd say he spent some time in stasis. There's evidence of cryogenic freezing in the cells. My preliminary findings suggest this could be one of Arik Soong's original augments."

    "I meant, where did he come from recently?"

    "Oh, yeah. Hard to say. There isn't anything in his lungs that I can use to track down his last port of call. Hey Doc! anything in the stomach?"

    "Yes." The Doc turned around, carrying the spleen in a stasis jar. He set the jar down, and brought up a holographic display. "The stomach contents seem to suggest Klingon food sources, nothing out of the ordinary there. Though take a look at this."

    "Hrmmmm... That's not right." N'Orlock studied the holographs. "What analyser did we use?"

    "Starfleet."

    "We still have that old Denoublan model?"

    "Somewhere." The hologram gestured around the cluttered lab.

    "Run it again with that one."

    "What's going on?" Merrik asked, feeling left out.

    "Not sure." The Reman replied as he pulled an old device off of a shelf. "Something's weird in the tests. Could be an flaw. The Starfleet model is good, but it's designed for a more broad range of tests, this old model has some personal customizations I can use to improve the resolution of the test. Should give me a more specific result."

    "What does the test say?" Merrik asked.

    "The food in his stomach isn't right." Doc answered. "It suggests that his last meal was in the 22nd century, before entering stasis."

    "They thawed him out just for this theft?"

    "Possibly." N'Orlock replied, "don't quote me on that. Let me re-run these tests first."

    "Ok." Merrik replied, rubbing his temple. "Run your test, and keep me informed."

    ---

    "The Sons of Soong?" Merrik asked as he stepped in stride with Commander Shran.

    "Such a dumb name." Takerra Shran scoffed. "I've checked with Starfleet Intelligence and a handful of civilian and privates sources, and they say the Sons of Soong are a small group of militaristic scientists who believe the Soong bloodline represents the pinnacle of knowledge in the universe. They hold Noonian's poisitronic brain and Arik's Augment research as evidence of technological and biological superiority. Supposedly, they're already claiming responsibility for the theft in some of the darker corners of the galactic communications network."

    "You don't sound convinced?" Merrik studied the Andorian closely.

    "I'm not." Takerra's antenna twisted in concentration. "They would certainly have the know how and maybe even the connections to pull off such a heist. But they're such an obscure group. Supposedly, they've been around for hundreds of years and haven't made a peep about anything. Why do this now?"

    "Maybe they've got something planned." Merrik suggested, "some big master plan finally coming to fruition."

    "This isn't a holonovel Dennis." The Andorian shot Merrik a sceptical glance. "There are no megalomaniac super-villians."

    "I have dozens of classified reports about the Iconians that beg to differ."

    -

    They stepped inside the Holodeck, Commander Roclak and Lt. Irina 'Two' Sarani stood in the center of grey holochamber, next to the two damaged holographic sentries, and a large holographic console.

    He approached the former Borg Operations officer.
    "What do you have?"

    "They accessed the facility through an exploit in the facility's long range sensors." Two reported, her mechanical voice echoing through the holodeck. "Though the sensors recorded their approach, their ship was invisible to the I.S.I.S. AI. It allowed them to approach the station without being spotted."

    "That's quite the bug." Merrik nodded,

    "Widespread too, most of the ships in the fleet suffer from it, though it would be more useful on a ships with an AI. Regardless, I suspect Starfleet Security will issue a fleet wide patch fairly soon."

    She tapped the console, bringing a large holographic representation of the facility to life. Flashing on the lower portion of the structure was a tiny red blip. "They accessed an old workbee communications port on the exterior of the facility. It was left over from the facility's construction. It gave them direct access to the computer core. They inserted their virus which bypassed all the security protocols on the station without alerting the holographic crew."

    The holographic image spun around, focusing in on a tiny airlock.

    "They came aboard on the cargo level through this airlock, also sealed up since construction."

    "Sensor exploits, Workbee ports, old cargo airlocks." Merrik stroked his chin. "They knew an awful lot about the facility."

    "Yes." Two nodded. "Quite a lot for a supposedly secret facility."

    "Surveillance?"

    "Nothing for about an hour before until three hours after the theft. Virus took it out. However, forensic evidence identified five individuals and an anti-grav sled."

    "and a hologram." Roclak added.

    "A hologram?" Merrik added.

    "Yeah" The Klingon grunted. "There are traces of another hologram in the emitters. I tried reconstructing it, but the virus scrubbed it. Would have disappeared completely had the Warden had rebooted the sentry system."

    "What about the sentries?"

    "You were right." Roclak nodded, "Photonic disruptor. Based on some of the designs encountered by the USS Voyager in the Delta quadrant. The device caused a feedback pulse in the emitter network, the result locked up the programs in the storage unit. Before you ask, there is nothing I can do for them. They'll need to be restored from the backups,"

    "So we'll lose any information they may have." Merrik sighed. "We're still pretty much in the dark."

    Takerra was stepping around the second sentry, she rapped her fingers off the hologram's rifle.
    "These riles have optical scopes." she pointed out.

    "Yes, but they don't store information..." Roclak grunted, his eyebrows raising. "Unless you're a holographic rifle and your program freezes in the middle of it all. Hang on."

    He tapped away at the console, a moment later the rifle disappeared from the sentry and reappeared floating in the air beside him.

    The rifle dissolved, and a small two-dimensional image appeared, it expanded and grew until it was almost life size. It flickered a few times and the resolution improved slightly, but it was still too fuzzy and blurry to make out features.

    "Best I can do." Roclak grunted.

    Merrik looked at the image, he could make out six figures standing around an anti-grav sled. Standing in the forefront, there appeared to be three men and two woman clad in heavy black outfits, possibly body armor. The Augment followed behind them pushing the anti-grav sled. On the sled there was a large grey mass, about the size of a person.

    "This isn't right." Takerra nodded, examining the image. "The Augment is not standing in the front, he's following behind the rest of them. Why would the sentry shoot him first?"

    "and why is everyone else wearing battle armour?"

    "The time-stamp indicates this was before the Lore unit's containers were moved." Two pointed out. "So what's on the sled?"

    "What would you bring to a heist?" Merrik walked around the image, somehow hoping the change in perspective would answer the flood of questions that had just come up.

    There was a flicker of light and the Doc appeared.

    "There you are." He grunted. "We re-ran the tests several times, and our results are conclusive. Your Augment died shortly before he entered stasis."

    "How is that possible?" Merrik muttered.

    "It is easy to put a body in stasis Captain." The hologram snipped. "The question you should be asking 'why his body turned up in the middle of a crime scene 200 years'."

    "Thanks." Merrik muttered sarcastically, trying to fend off his headache "Good work."

    He looked back at the image and his collected crew.
    "I guess that makes this guy the hologram." he jerked his thumb to the Augment in the image. "Unless you know a way to animate a body?"

    "There are some Borg technologies...." Two began.

    "It's more likely the body came in on the sled." Roclak cut her off. "There's no sign of Borg technology in the forensics."

    Merrik stepped back, and rubbed his forehead. There were just too many new puzzle pieces on the board.

    ---

    Merrik and Takerra didn't say a word as they came up to the cell. His head was still throbbing. So far the best thing he could come up with was that this was an elaborate frame, a ruse to throw the investigation away from the true culprits. And so far it worked, he didn't have a clue where Lore may have been taken or by whom.

    After receiving the proper clearances, the Warden handed over a list of telepaths currently incarcerated on Facility 4028. Running the list against the facility diagnostics identified six telepathic dampeners had gone offline during the theft. Takerra had interviewed the rest, leaving them with one more.

    "This is Ren Nikael." Takerra began, gesturing to the cell block. "Refused to talk to anyone but you."

    "What do you know about him?" Merrik asked.

    "He lived a quiet life before the war. During the Dominion occupation of Betazed he joined up with the freedom fighters and was instrumental in some key offensives during the war. After the war, they discovered what kind of monster he has always been. He is a complete nut-job who has a penchant for slow telepathic torture and metal scalpels. He's got the sickest record of atrocities I've ever seen." Takerra shivered uncomfortably. "The things he did to his victims."

    Merrik nodded and gestured to the sentry, who tapped the control panel on the cell.
    The cell's lights flickered on and the intercom activated.

    There was a light chuckle as the figure at the back of the cell stood up from his cot.

    "Dennis." Ren announced as if spotting an old friend. "My apologies for my earlier intrusion. It is not very often I get to connect to other minds these days, and I was overjoyed to find yours. How's the headache?"

    Stepping forward from the back of cell, Ren stood in front of the field, arms crossed behind his back. His beady black eyes peered from behind a pair of thin glasses, and tight lipped smile formed on his pasty white face.

    "Ahhh, Ms. Shran. " he glanced at the Andorian, his eyes twinkling with delight. "Two visits today, you are a delight."

    "Flinch and I will end you." she snarled, vile dripping from her words.

    "Such a lust for life." Ren said, his body shivering, darkness flashed across his face and his voice turned icy cold. "If we had met in my youth..."

    Merrik's stomach did a quiet flip at the energy in his words. He quickly glanced at Takerra, and for a fraction of a second her face seemed to go pale. Which was no small feat given her personality.

    "Mr. Nikael," Merrik said. "Two days ago, there was some unexpected activity here. I'd like to ask you some questions."

    "No," Ren smiled, politely shaking his head.

    "What do you want?"

    "I don't want for much Captain, as you can see, I'm a simple man of simple means." he gestured around. "What I do value is a good conversation with my friends."

    "All right," Merrik smiled. "let's be friends."

    "I was hoping you'd say that." Ren clasped his hands together delightedly. "When I first touched your mind, I knew we would be friends."

    "Where are my manners, would you like some tea?" He looked around his cell quickly. "I always think friends should talk over tea. Of course, I find myself a bit lacking right now."

    He turned to Takerra. "Be a dear and get us a cup. Earl grey please."

    "No tea." Merrik replied, "but if you comply I can see about getting you some."

    "Really Captain... Comply..." Ren mimicked a stern voice and frowned. "That's not something a friend would say is it?"

    Merrik flinched and smiled uncomfortably. "I have this excellent tea from Rigel IV. Very fruity, hints of berries. I should get you some."

    "Oh! That would be great." Ren smiled, rubbing his hands together.

    "I'll see what I can do." Merrik replied, already debating how he was going to get that request past the Warden.

    "How is Mr. N'Orlock doing?" Ren smiled, "He was most unimpressed with me."

    "He's fine."

    "I don't like him Dennis." Ren replied, "A vile creature, lives in the dark and takes too much pleasure in his cold sciences. He's not like us. No respect for life."

    "I wouldn't know about that." Merrik replied uncomfortably. There was something in Ren's voice, some underlying charm, that made him want to agree with him. For a moment, Merrik wondered if the telepathic dampeners were still disabled.

    "He's a butcher Dennis, you'd do best to leave him here when you go." Ren glanced at the holographic sentry. "I'm sure the Warden would take him back."

    "Not going to happen." Merrik nodded, he crossed his arms uncomfortably.

    "Fair enough, I trust your judgement." Ren replied. "Let's talk about better things. How is that beautiful girlfriend of yours?"

    "She's fine." Merrik nodded, how much did he pry around in his head? "She's off ship at the moment, but she has some leave coming up soon."

    "Wonderful, you should go to Risa, the lohlunat festival is delightful... tedious sometimes, but delightful."

    "We'll see." Merrik said, resisting the urge to tell Ren all about their vacation plans.

    "My second wife was Orion. Beautiful, smart, just like Layla." Ren paused, "Of course, in time she saw the true me."

    "Poor girl couldn't live with that." he smiled, recalling a fond memory, "neither could our son."

    The dark shadow flickered across his face for a second before becoming sunny and cheery again. Suddenly looking tired, Ren nodded to the Sentry.

    "I must say Dennis." Ren smiled, "this has been a delightful visit, much better than my last guests."

    "Oh yeah?" Merrik forcing a smile again. "Not a friendly bunch?"

    "Oh they were friendly charming people. But just not interested in catching up." Ren sneered. "Too focused on their job."

    "Some people." Merrik said sarcastically, "They're in the neighbourhood, and they don't even stop in to say 'Hi'."

    "I know!" Ren replied. "It was all Android this, and holograms that. Honestly Dennis, what does Roger Korby have that I don't?"

    -

    As they followed the sentry away from the Ren's cell, Merrik turned to Takerra.

    "Get me everything you can on Roger Korby." Merrik nodded, rubbing his forehead. "I need to find a telepath who can scrub him out of my brain."

    ----

    Captain's Log 92082.02 - Classified by Starfleet Intelligence - Captain Dennis Merrik, USS Explorer NCC-92001-E

    As our investigation on Facility 4028 hits a strange dead end, we're working on a clue given to us by one of the facility's inmates. After burning several favours with Starfleet Intelligence, we've arrived in orbit of Exo III, a planet listed as an unimportant Class P planet in Federation history books. In truth, the history of Exo III has been classified well beyond my clearance levels. A hundred and some years ago, the planet was the site of an archaeological dig by a man named Dr. Roger Korby. The dig uncovered an extinct society that created sophisticated android technology. Using this technology Dr. Korby planned to create an android Federation by replacing their members with android duplicates. Needless to say, Korby's dreams of a superior android civilization were thwarted and and the planet's secrets classified. Preliminary reconnaissance of the planet's surface has identified that there is significant activity within the ancient ruins. Starfleet Intelligence has verified that there are no sanctioned activities underway, and we have received orders to seize the ruins and capture the group currently violating Federation laws. Takerra has coordinated several strike teams to seize the facility quickly with minimal casualties.


    ----

    An explosion reverberated through the walls deep in the heart of Exo III, the ancient door frame crumbled stirring up a cloud of dust. Immediately, the strike team poured their weapons fire through the blast hole. In return, phaser beams lanced out through the mist, causing the strike team to scramble. A blast struck a stalactite in the ceiling causing it to crash down to the floor.

    Takerra rolled a stun grenade down the corridor, it clinked and skipped across the ground before rolling through the blast hole. It erupted in a violent flash, and the opposing phaser blasts ceased.

    Waving her hands in a gesture to her team, they plunged into the dust cloud.

    "All clear." her voice echoed back through the dirt a few minutes later.

    Stowing his weapon on his back, Merrik stepped up from behind his stony cover. Stepping carefully through the dust, he stepped through the blast hole into the accompanying chamber. On the other side of the door a large atrium, with several doors. Despite the smoke and noise from the assault, his head was feeling a lot better. A meeting with the ship's councillor revealed a nagging telepathic suggestion planted in his head by Ren. What was that thought? and why would he do such a thing? Merrik assumed it was to make him more amenable to their conversation.

    As the dust settled, he joined Takerra. Despite a trio of scorch marks on her body armour, her eyes twinkled jubilantly. She lived for this stuff. She tapped her ear-piece, listening to feeds from the other assault teams.

    "We've secured the landing area, their living quarters and few small lab areas." She reported. "They're on the run. My teams are pushing deeper into the ruins to flush them out."

    Merrik nodded, then gestured to a group of unconscious humans laying in a heap of body armour. Merrik prodded one with his foot, he groaned uncomfortably. The stun effects of the grenade was holding.

    "Who are 'they'?" Merrik asked, "The Son's of Soong?"

    "I don't know." Takerra shrugged, "They didn't exactly scream their allegiance when we shot them."

    Merrik shot her an annoyed glance. "Get the medical teams in here, secure them, help them and stuff them in the brig."

    She nodded.

    "T'Char to Captain Merrik." his combadge chirped. "You should see this."

    "On my way."

    ---

    Merrik walked deeper into the ruins, eventually he came across a small chamber. Stepping through the irregular shaped door, he entered an ancient lab. Ancient technology lined the walls of the room, spliced together with at least two generations of Starfleet technology. T'Char stood in front of a console, sitting atop the console was Lore's head.

    "It is the Android's head." T'Char announced, turning as he entered the room. "It is deactivated. It appears as if they are attempting to use his positronic matrix to stabilize the ancient android fabricator."

    "The records state that there was an Android caretaker of the place." Merrik said, recalling the classified reports. "Perhaps, it had a more important role in the operation of the equipment."

    "Perhaps," T'Char nodded "it does not appear that they've completed their installation."

    "Good."

    Merrik looked up over the console. in the center of the room, there was a large circular platform with an empty human shaped groove. He walked around the console. On the other side of the platform, there was another humanoid shaped groove. This one held a woman in black body armour, a large blade sticking out of her chest. Blood had pooled in the bottom of the groove.

    "Morgan." he murmured, recognizing her immediately.

    T'Char came up beside him. "Do you know her?"

    "We've met." Merrik nodded."Though I doubt that's her true name."

    "Section 31." Merrik groaned as he looked at the body. "Of course it's Section 31."
    All the rest of the pieces fell into place, that is to say, they fell by the wayside. Each one, was a carefully placed misdirection pointing to the Sons of Soong, a group likely created by Section 31 to keep Starfleet off their trail. Thankfully, Merrik had a good crew who saw through the deception, and luckily a mad Betazoid just happened to be listening.

    "Okay." Merrik rubbed his head. "Get a team in her disassemble this and secure it."
    He looked over the shoulder at the android's head, staring back at him. "And get that thing in a box."



    Epilogue

    The Section 31 officer known as Reid sat quietly at the Replimat on Deep Space 9. Sitting at a table in the back, he casually sipped at a cup of coffee while scrolling through the newsfeeds. Across the replimat, Reid watched as a balding man with beady black eyes slipped seamlessly into a group of young Bajoran women in the middle of an excited, animated conversation. The older man smiled and laughed like he was one of the girls, despite being a complete stranger to them.

    As he watched the exchange across the way, his attention slipped and he barely noticed a woman slip into the chair across from him.

    He looked up and for a brief moment his face betrayed his shock. He did not expect her to be alive.

    "Morgan." He whispered quietly. "The reports said you died."

    "No." she said matter of factly. "Starfleet Intelligence is trying to deceive you."

    Morgan looked at him, her face betraying no more emotion than he was, though there was something seething under the surface.

    "The Exo III project was a failure." She said. "I barely escaped after Merrik's siege."

    "The Lore unit?" He asked.

    "Recovered and returned to Facility 4028. We won't get access to it again."

    "I'm sorry to hear that." Reid nodded solemnly. The theft of the Lore unit was not his idea, but he knew all about it. Morgan's misguided vision for the androids of Exo III was destined to fail. It simply needed a push, and if that push could benefit him, well, it was no coincidence that some telepathic dampeners went down during the theft.

    "I'm sure you are." Morgan's eyebrow raised slightly, a cold angry trace in her voice. Reid looked at her angry eyes, she knew.

    "At least you got what you wanted." Morgan turned her head to the table of Reid was watching.

    Reid glanced at the table of young women, The waitress brought over a tray of bright orange drinks and a cup of tea in a delicate porcelain cup.

    "You know he's a monster right?" Morgan asked, as Ren Nikael led a pair of women away from the table.

    "Yes," Reid replied coldly, his brain already working on how to cover up what was about to happen.

    "But now he's my monster."
  • grylakgrylak Member Posts: 1,572 Arc User
    edited July 2014
    The image flickered on, showing a bunk. The camera was clearly resting on a table as Jenna crouched into view, her blonde bangs framing her young face as she smiled into the camera, resting her chin on her hands. "Hello camera. Ensign Jenna Jones here, on board the Federation Starship Viper. We've been lost in this galaxy for three weeks now, and I've decided to make a video of daily life on this ship, as a testament to the crew." There was a pause. "No, that's not right. I'm making it as a.... tribute? Yes, tribute to the crew of this ship." She reached for the camera, the image trying to stabilise as she picked it up and turned it around. It swung sideways to look in a mirror, showing Jenna with the camera mounted over her head on a band. She smiled and shook herself quickly. "Seems steady. Ok. Let's go!"



    The scene shifted to a corridor. "First port of call is the mess hall. This is a Defiant class ship, so we're a bit sparse on amenities. No holodecks. No arboretums. Nothing except this room." The door opened to show the small mess hall. Most of the tables were taken by crew members in uniforms. "You'll notice most of the crew are in uniforms. That's because we were meant to be on short term assignment between putting into dock, so most people haven't packed alot of clothes. Needless to say, after three weeks, people are starting to notice." The camera moved through the mess hall. Claire Dotson was at one of the tables, her voice becoming audiable. "I'm just saying, it's a shame we didn't stay in that region of space where thoughts became reality. We could have just thought up a wormhole home." The young man in the blue science division uniform shook his head. "No, we tried that, remember. The wormhole just dumped the probe out in the void between universes." Claire sat up straighter. "Really? Don't forget, I was cooped up in Engineering for most of that time."
    "Yeah. T'Fon said something about reality not being powerful enough to get us across two galaxies, or some such rubbish."
    "Well, I suppose if a Vulcan said it, it must be true." Claire leaned forward closer to her friend. "Here, you work with T'Fon. Has he ever explained his name?"
    "Nope. And I didn't want to ask. I figure it's something personal."



    Both stopped talking and looked at the camera. Claire frowned. "Something I can help you with Ensign?"
    "I'm recording the daily life on board the Viper. For prosperity."
    "Well don't film me. I know how films can be edited to make people look bad."
    "Don't worry, I'm not going to edit anything."
    "Well, I suppose it's something to do when you're off duty. Carry on."


    Before Jenna could reply, the ship went to Red Alert. Claire grumbled as she kicked the chair from under her and filed out of the room with everyone else. The camera shook violently as Jenna ran towards the Bridge. Technically she wasn't on duty, but she thought she may as well report since she was awake.



    The door to the lift opened as the ship shook. Ttorkkinn was standing at the weapons console, wearing some new armour Jenna hadn't seen before. Talaina sat in her chair issuing orders. Another shake erupted an explosion from helm. Talaina shouted for someone to get on helm. The camera surged forward as Jenna shouted "On it!" The view sat at the console, showing the readouts. There was an alien vessel attacking them and a second craft, much smaller, drifting nearby. The camera's view remained fixed on the console, but the voices of others could still be heard. Talaina ordered weapons trained on the saucer and Strike Pattern Alpha Three. Jenna's fingers were seen dancing over the console, the readouts showing the Viper looping lazily around the saucer ship before pulling a sharp upwards bank and corckscrewing in towards the target. The whine of the phaser cannons cried out through the bridge. Viper quickly banked sharply down to the left and out of weapons range of the ship, completing the attack pattern. Ttrokkinn's voice stated the ship had taken heavy damage and was withdrawing. Talaina ordered the ship to pull alongside the transport pod. Identifying the drifting ship as said pod, Jenna moved the ship alongside and stopped. Talaina's voice spoke louder. "This is Captain Kazzur of the Viper. We have responded to your distress call. Can we be of further assistance?" The camera shifted upwards to show a blue woman with yellow mottling across her skin on the viewscreen. She spoke very calmly. "Thank the Goddess you came. Our pod is badly damaged. My friend and I request to come aboard."

    "Stand by. We'll transport you over."
    "Thank you."


    The comm was cut. The camera swung backwards, Jenna obviously turning in her chair, to show Talaina speaking with Xui Li, but the camera couldn't pick up what was said. Xui Li nodded and left the Bridge. Talaina then came over to the camera. "Good work Jenna. We can handle it here if you want to go get some rest."
    "Thank you Sir." The camera moved again as Jenna stood up and left the Bridge.



    In the corridor, Jenna started narrating again. "So, it looks like we are going to have two new guests on board. I certainly picked a good day to start this project. Maybe I'll even get to see them. That would be sweet." The camera turned a corner and stopped. Ahead stood the bald blue woman and a male who looked human, but half of his face was covered by a metal mask. It seemed a very plain mask, except it was strapped to his head securely. The camera was picking up a faint haze around both aliens. "Oooh. Our first non hostile contact since we got here. This is exciting." Xui Li lead them through a door that closed behind them. "Well, looks like that's all the excitement for today. This is the trouble on such a small ship. Nothing actually happens on board. Excitement has to come to us. Maybe something good will happen tomorrow." The camera shut off.









    The camera turned back on. Once again, it showed the bunk with Jenna crouched in front of the table. "Well, here we are on Day Two of Jenna's Viper Diary. No, that's a terrible name. I guess I'll just call it a video log. Oh! A Vlog! That sounds like a good name. Day Two of Jenna's Vlog. Let's go see what's happening in the ship." She picked up the camera and put it on her head again, then made her way into the corridor. "The most important part starting any day is breakfast. You have to have a good hearty breakfast to get going. Of course, Replicator rations means we can't have big meals, but a nice glass of orange juice and some warm porridge always gets me ready." The door to the mess opened to a very busy room. Officers were stood around, along with the two guests from yesterday. The camera still showed an aura around them. Jenna approached T'Fon. "Good morning Sir." T'Fon turned and gave the traditional Vulcan salute. "Good morning to you Ensign."
    "Sir, if I may ask, what are the two guests still doing on board? I thought we would have repaired their ship by now."
    "A malfunction in their engine caused their transport pod to explode. The Captain has offered to grant them safe passage back to their homeworlds in the hope of making an ally."
    "Huh. I'll go say hello."
    "Be careful Ensign. The male is somewhat.... unbalanced."


    The camera moved closer to the two guests. The female turned and smiled warmly, her yellow eyes seeming to invite instant trust. She stood straight, moving gracefully and with purpose. Her robes were a mixture of translucant colours, mostly a mix of blues, greens and yellows. But the man was a completely different story. He was slightly hunched, his hands constantly moving in spasms. His clothes were more earthy coloured, a very worn jacket hinted it had been worn far too long. His one eye was wide and crazed. The woman spoke first. "Greetings child. I am Pa'U Naahz. And this is my friend Trarsk. You're Captain was kind enough to give us safe passage on your vessel."
    "Welcome aboard. I'm Jenna." As the two women exchanged pleasantries, Trarsk kept glancing off screen at something, clearly quite agitated and quietly muttering about evil deception, lies and masks. The battery life on the camera started flashing before the picture cut out.






    The picture came back showing Jenna's bunk. She was crouched in front of the camera again. "Well that was embarrassing. I forgot to charge up the battery. And I didn't even realise until the end of the day. Well, you didn't miss much. Though...." Jenna's face slowly dropped, her tone becoming softer. "We did find Naahz and Trarsk's homeworld. Or what was left of it. The entire planet was a destroyed husk. They say they didn't take sides in the war, but something clearly changed while they were away. Sensors showed it happened in the past couple of weeks. But.... there was nothing left. Trarsk was saying when he beamed down that he could hear the screams of the dying. He could feel them passing on. I... I don't know if he could, or if he was just insane. But Naahz seemed to believe him. They said there was over nine billion when they left. A lush world full of wonder and beauty. But now, it was just molten rock and an atmosphere that was forever burning." Jenna wiped a tear away from her cheek. "They had no colonies. No where else to go. Unless there were some others offworld at the time, they are the last of their species. It...." Jenna put her head down on the desk and wiped another tear away. "It's times like that.... it makes you wonder who could be capable of such horrible acts. What sort of galaxy is this, where entire worlds can be destroyed in a matter of days. We've seen ships from both sides of this war during our time here, but we have never learnt anything about it. The Captain thinks Naahz and Trarsk can help fill in some of the details, but they're distracted. Understandable. I didn't grow up on a planet. Well, I did sorta. For about eleven years. But it wasn't a good time. Certainly not enough to give an emotional attachment to. I wish I knew what they were feeling. I wish there was a way I could help them. But... I.... I just don't know how to. The Captain has offered them a place with us on the ship, at least until they figure out what they want to do. Space is a bit cramped, but we'll manage." She frowned as she thought about something. "Funny thing, when I went over what I'd recorded, there was a strange haze around both of them on the camera, but no one can see one. I should probably report that to Ttorkkinn. Probably nothing, but just in case."


    Jenna sighed. "Maybe this Vlogging is a bad idea. But then it's not like there's anything else to do to pass the time. I don't know. At the least, it's worth it to get some things off my chest. We'll see if I do any more." She reached for the camera and the video shut off.
    *******************************************

    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'
  • hawku001xhawku001x Member Posts: 9,989 Arc User
    edited October 2015
    Out in the incomprehensibly immeasurable vastness of deep space, the Prometheus-class U.S.S. Phoenix-X rendezvoused with the Sydney-class transport vessel U.S.S. Oberon.

    After beaming four civilians onto the Phoenix-X, the Oberon turned in space and warped out of there. Captain Seifer exited his Ready Room to the Bridge where he met the group who all wore head-mounted holo-recorders.

    "Oh, I'm so happy you allowed us to record you and your crew in their most dramatically, vulnerable, candid states!" the lead civilian, Jeffrey clasped his hands together, excitedly.

    The rest of the crew stopped what they were doing and turned, shocked, to face the intrusive visitors. "Uh," Kugo started, "What the unfinished-Kolinahr is going on here??"

    "This is Jeffrey, the hottest film director in 2414 Hollywood and he has decided we are to be the muses of his latest movie!" Seifer nudged and winked at Armond, similarly excited.

    Armond looked at Seifer, "Please don't do that."

    "Wait. What the hell is a movie?" Kayl interrupted, "I thought those went extinct in the 21st century from the over-clichéd super human-- or hero, if you will-- features rebooted, rehashed and prequeled over and over again until audiences revolted and destroyed all known film studios??"

    Kugo nodded, "You are right. But, by then, it was too late: The movie industry had funded real world genetics in an overly passionate, irrational attempt at converting fantasy into reality, which lead them to be responsible for the Eugenics Wars."

    "Well now I'm bringing movies back, baby! Think about this-- A new story about how your ship got the -X postfix, rewritten by a one-dimensional, inarticulate madman's alternate reality plot-hole incursion. Plus, you're all younger, with completely different facial features and bone structures!"

    The Captain crossed his arms, hesitantly, "Well, let's talk about that one. Could, say, Spock still recognize me?"

    "Also, since when do we need third-party entertainment?" Armond asked. "We have holodecks now, which are in fact the only venue anyone ever constructs a story-line for anything-- and even then it's contrived, considering the vast off-the-cuff, randomized complex programming a holodeck simulation is capable of. Remember the Moriarty Wars in the 2390s?"

    Kayl nodded, "Oh, indeed. Those were so embarrassing they weren't even mentioned in that overly complicated The Path 2409 reference book Starfleet published to get everyone on the same page, history-wise, again."

    "Well, I bring to the table something those holodecks-- Is that what you call them? I've never heard of them-- never have," Jeffrey offered, "And that thing is feature film dialogue! No one wants long television-grade well thought-out sentences or artfully composed scene writing? The average viewer is dumb and brain-dead, and we shove that belief of ours in their faces with clichéd short sentences, and name yelling tropes amidst non-stop, overly-stimulating, shark-jumped, uber-starship, hallway-running action sequences!"

    Seifer turned to him, "Really? You need that many adjectives?" Then, suddenly concerned, "And you never said anything about forced-liveliness?"

    Ensign Dan turned in his seat, "Also, the year is 2410? How is it that Jeffrey is the hottest anything from the year 2414?"

    "You're relieved!" Seifer snapped.

    Kugo crossed her arms, "The Ensign is right. Jeffrey would have to be some kind of a time traveler and--" she suddenly stopped herself in realization-- "By a sehlat's uncooked hide! I do know him! You're Jeffrey Jacob, a known ex-Temporal Agent from the 31st century, who was exiled from the organization for taking over someone-named-Annorax's temporal rewriting calculations in an attempt to recreate the Vorgon species!"

    "And I would've gotten away with it too if it weren't for that meddling Janeway," Jeffrey cursed. "Temporal Investigations literally gets her involved in every time travel thing."

    Seifer stepped forward, "Okay, everyone, stop. If Jeffrey was on the run, he'd have been arrested by now, right?"

    "In fact, I did serve my time and am now a free man. I decided I would bring back something called movies, and, to start, I illegally traveled back in time to rewrite Starfleet's most irreparable crew! Yours! You see, I devised the perfect modification to these headset holo-imagers and just had to find you to implement them-- the modification being LEN'S FLARES!"

    The Captain was suddenly taken aback and almost lost his footing, "Oh, ugh! --Uggh! No!? No, this can't be??"

    Armond quickly got up and held a phaser to Jeffrey and his team. Jeffrey looked around as Kugo and Kayl were aiming phasers as well.

    "I'm sorry," Captain Seifer reestablished his stance, "But we cannot allow you to go on in any fashion under those parameters any more. The line must be drawn here; this far, no further."

    ---

    Minutes later, Jeffrey and his team were back on the pad in the Transporter room, but this time, were being fitted with environmental suits.

    "Captain, is this really necessary?" Jeffrey asked.

    Seifer explained, "Like the Omega molecule, Starfleet Captain's are required to take strict actions in situations like these. Somewhere, in some other time, the repercussions of similar acts like yours are still being felt to this day." The crew finished with the fittings, "Fortunately, this is a high traffic transport zone, so you won't be completely in the company of death," Seifer did the so-so hand gesture, "per se."

    He then nodded to the transporter operator, who beamed Jeffrey and his group out into cold space: the very same space where the Phoenix-X turned and jumped to warp.
    Post edited by hawku001x on
    uss_ragnarok4.jpg
  • starswordcstarswordc Member Posts: 10,480 Arc User
    edited July 2014
    Part II
    <begin file>

    FILE CLASSIFIED LAMBDA-5 ICARIAN BRIGHT GEPPETTO ----EYES ONLY----

    FILE REFERENCE ICARIAN BRIGHT GEPPETTO A-1. REQUEST CLEARANCE TO LIEUTENANT DUL’KRAH, CLAN KOREKH, FEDERATION STARFLEET c/o SECURITY DEPARTMENT, USS BAJOR NCC-97238

    ----CLEARANCE GRANTED----

    Lore: Second prototype, Soong-type android, male personality. Direct predecessor to Data, Captain (retired), Federation Starfleet. First encountered by crew of USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D, stardate 41242.4. Deactivated by crew of USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D, stardate 47026.2. Subject disassembled after deactivation. Cranial unit transported to Facility 4028 secure storage by USS Repulse NCC-2544, stardate 47131.6.

    Subject classified as clinical psychopath and considered extremely dangerous to anyone he encounters. Subject gained full access to Starfleet computer systems aboard USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D during initial encounter and acquired large quantity of sensitive information. Full extent of compromised security remains unknown.

    Do not reactivate, under penalty of ten years’ incarceration.

    <end file>

    I set the PADD to securely erase the file and hand it to Master Chief Kinlo as the device overwrites the dossier irretrievably with a random hash of ones and zeroes. “Do we have any idea why a Sicilian mafia family would be interested in the disembodied head of an android?”

    The Warden answers, “I am not programmed to be a particularly deep thinker, Lieutenant. However, that file understates the scale of the security breach Lore represents. He got a full data dump off the Enterprise, including a large amount of highly classified information.”

    “Ah. That would be immensely valuable on the black market, even forty or more years out-of-date. Warden, are any high-ranking officers of la Famiglia Motta incarcerated at this facility?”

    The hologram rattles off, “Columba Ungaretti, inmate #72734, female, human/Orion genetic hybrid. Convicted on one count of premeditated murder, twelve counts of conspiracy to commit murder, six counts of conspiracy to commit piracy, and seven counts of miscellaneous racketeering, all in the capacity of caporegime for the Motta crime syndicate. Sentenced to life plus 150 years. Transferred to Facility 4028 from Tantalus Penal Colony to prevent incipient formation of Motta-affiliated prison gang under her control.”

    “An impressive record. Have her transferred to an interrogation room.”

    “Sir, are you sure that’s a good idea?” Kinlo asks. “She’s part Orion.”

    “What is the expression Dr. Wirrpanda used once? ‘This is not my first rodeo.’”

    “What’s a rodeo?” Elder Phohl asks, her left antenna quirking.

    “I do not know, but this is not my first.”


    Despite Kinlo’s misgivings I proceed with the interrogation. Holographic guards bring in an amber-haired woman with pale green skin, wearing an orange jumpsuit that seems to have been customized somewhat by its wearer, and shackled arm and leg. They wordlessly attach her shackles to the table and leave. “Columba Ungaretti?” I ask.

    “What the hell are you supposed to be?” she asks.

    “I am Dul’krah, Clan Korekh.”

    “Oh, really? What the hell does that mean? That your name or your species?”

    “Did you know there was a break-in at this facility earlier today?”

    “Is that what all the noise was? Woke me up out of a sound sleep.”

    “And that it was done at the behest of your own syndicate?”

    “What?”

    “It seems there is, as the humans say, no honor among thieves.”

    “You’re lying.”

    “My cyberwarfare consultant positively identified the work of Ronald ‘Erasmus Omega’ Harper in the virus attack against this installation’s computer system.”

    She shrugs and leans back in her seat. “If it was, I got no grudge. Not like Facility 4028 publishes its prisoner lists; they wouldn’t’ve known I was here.”

    I notice her subtly emphasizing her TRIBBLE as she leans back, and I detect a scent in the air reminiscent of elharu spice. Orion pheromones. I lean forward and place my arms on the table. “Your sexual trickery will not avail you, Signorina Ungaretti.”

    “Oh, really? Is that so?”

    “Before beginning this session, I had the chief medical officer of my starship inject me with anziothane-40.”

    “Anza-what?”

    “It is a chemical antagonist,” I respond in a conversational tone. “It binds to the same receptors as your pheromones, but does not activate them, thus blocking your biochemical abilities from taking effect. And without that, your form does not attract me: you have too few horns. Now, as to the reason for this visit, you are going to tell me where the Motta syndicate would take a trove of highly classified Starfleet data.”

    “Let’s say I don’t. What do you do? Oh, that’s right, you’re Starfleet. You can’t do anything.” I wordlessly reach into the pocket of my jacket and retrieve the knife within. “What are you doing?” she says in a slightly worried tone.

    I do not respond, instead drawing the knife and leaning back to pick at the ends of my talons, all the while staring at her. Here my semi-reptilian physiology works in my favor: my people have nictitating membranes in addition to eyelids, and being stared at by two seemingly lidless vertical slit pupils has a discomfiting effect on most mammals. I am also very clearly much larger and stronger than her, and the presence of the knife is yet another tool: violence perceived is violence achieved. Now it becomes a waiting game. Stripped of her physiological bonuses and with no hope of escape shackled to the table, she will break.

    To Ungaretti’s credit, she lasts thirty-eight minutes and sets a new record for mammals’ endurance under my gaze, but in the end I learn what I wish to know. Dr. Wirrpanda is waiting on the other side of the door to give me the antidote, and scolds me for testing my luck with such a dangerous toxin as anziothane-40. I will likely regret it in the morning, but only slightly.


    “Captain,” Master Chief Wiggin announces, “I’m picking up a warp signature ahead. They’re doing warp seven, and on the right vector.”

    “Time to overhaul?” Great Elder Kanril asks.

    “Ten minutes, thirty seconds.”

    “Conn, true up our course to get us onto their tail. Let’s climb right up his tailpipe.”

    “Aye, Captain,” Lieutenant Park confirms.

    “Tess, battle stations.”

    The Bajor has now been underway for 39 hours along the course given us by Columba Ungaretti. Being a much more capable vessel than the ancient Brisbane, we were given the task of pursuing the thieves.

    I reach for the intercom at the console I have been seated at. I do not usually stay on the bridge, but I requested it this time. “This is Lieutenant Korekh. Boarding party, report to the armory.” I am already armed, and armored as well: my old Ver Eshalakh uniform contains armorweave capable of defeating most energy pistols, and can stop a knife.

    “I’m going with you.”

    “That is not necessary, Captain.”

    “Yes, it is,” and she gets up from her chair and looks over at me. “You know my style, Dul’krah.”

    I do, very well. Kanril is the sort of great elder who refuses to order her crew to do anything she herself is unwilling to attempt. I am told it is why she took the MACO training course early last year, before she was given the Bajor. “It is, of course, up to you, Captain.”
    We wait. Presently I speak up. “Captain, I have a question.”

    “Go ahead.”

    “When I interviewed Commander Stadi I detected a peculiar note of … disdain in her voice when she spoke of the augments.”

    “Non-therapeutic genetic alterations are illegal in Federation space.”

    “That is not what I asked.”

    Kanril sighs. “The humans, and a couple other species but mainly the humans, have issues with augments. Something about genetically altered dictators causing problems on Earth back in the 1990s. They’re terrified that if they let that kind of enhancement happen, they’ll end up with another Acahuana Huamán or Khan Singh.”

    “And so they automatically ascribe the worst possible intent to anyone with genetic augmentation?”

    “Oh, it’s worse,” Elder Phohl chimes in. “Getting augs is illegal, having someone augged is illegal, and anyone who gets augged anyway is barred from Starfleet and public office. No wonder a lot of them turn criminal—folks like the Mottas actually appreciate them.”

    “In that case, I should clearly not be here.” At a confused look from Kanril and Phohl, I explain. “All of my people are genetically augmented. Our immune systems and DNA and cellular repair functions are vastly more effective than yours, we are resistant to most toxins, and we can subsist on materials that most would not even consider edible.”

    “When did this happen?”

    “According to our histories it dates back to the aftermath of the Great Clan War. It was the only way the few remaining clans were able to survive the plagues, famine, and radiation that permeated Dar Klatus. Most of us still died.”

    “I’m no lawyer, but I think that falls under the exception for therapeutic gene-mods,” Elder Riyannis points out.

    “That is entirely beside the point, sir. It is nothing less than legislative discrimination, and therefore it is not only morally abhorrent under all Federation principles that I am aware of, but also unconstitutional under the discrimination clauses of the Articles of Federation.”

    Kanril adds, “And on the purely practical side, augmentation’s about the only way for the physically weaker species like humans and Bajorans to compete with, say, a Vulcan or a Klingon. Never mind lightworlders like the Elaysians. Unfortunately because of how much influence the humans have in the Federation political climate, I don’t think anybody’s ever had the guts to try for a legal challenge, not even the few openly augmented Starfleet officers like Captain Bashir. It’s stupid, it’s militarily counterproductive, and, yes, it’s unconstitutional, but them’s the rules. Master Chief, how far out are we?”

    “Five minutes left, ma’am.”

    At overhaul minus two minutes, Wiggin calls out, “Captain, we’re close enough to identify, and you’re not going to believe this. The target’s a Constitution-class heavy cruiser, Enterprise-class Mark III spec.”

    “What?”

    “Oh, it gets better. It’s the tactical command cruiser sub-variant.”

    “That’s impossible: there was only one of those built,” Elder Riyannis points out, then her eyes widen.

    “Sher hahr kosst,” Kanril breathes. “It’s the Enterprise-A.”

    “That ship was supposed to have been scrapped in 2293,” Elder Reshek says.

    “The Motta syndicate has been active in this region since the 2230s,” I note. “They may have altered the breaker yard records. Now we know how they can stand up to Starfleet’s patrol vessels. They have one of our capital ships.”

    Kanril gets a look on her face I do not recognize. “No, they don’t. They’ve got a hundred-twenty-five-year-old museum piece with some newer tech bolted on. Ensign Esplin, open a hailing channel.”

    “Channel open.”

    “USS Enterprise, or whatever you’re calling yourself these days, this is USS Bajor. Drop to sublight immediately and heave to. Repeat, you are ordered to release control of your helm and prepare to be boarded.”

    “Sir, they’re accelerating! Now at warp 7.5, 8, 8.5—”

    “Conn, take us to warp 9.95 and get us within a hundred klicks. Match velocities as you close.”

    The power of intimidation is a tool we in the Ver Eshalakh prize very highly. I used it two days ago in interrogating Columba Ungaretti, and decades ago when I was crew on a patrol cutter, we used it against smugglers and pirates who thought the Dar Klatus system could be their safe haven. And for a starship captain, there are few things more frightening than the sight we must now present to the Mottas’ captain: a vastly more powerful ship, more than twice the former Starfleet flagship’s size and seven times her mass, effortlessly charging up their wake as if they are standing still. “We’re in range, sir,” Park announces. “Target’s delta-v is dropping. Warp 9.2 and holding. I think they’ve topped out their SIF.”

    “Tess,” Kanril orders, “fire a pair of quantum torpedoes across his bow, set for detonation thirty klicks ahead of him.”

    “Ready, ma’am.”

    “Fire.” On the tactical plot taking up the viewscreen, two torpedoes scream out of the forward torpedo tube, past the Enterprise on either side, and detonate in a pair of flashes. “Bajor to Enterprise, consider that your final warning. Next time we fire for effect.”

    “No response, ma’am,” Esplin says.

    Wiggin says, “I’m reading some serious strain to their warp drive. The Connie was never meant to go this fast.” He pauses, then shouts, “I’m reading an energy buildup! They’re shooting back at us, Captain!”

    Twin blue beams lance out of the Constitution-class starship’s aft phaser emitters and crash into the forward lobe of our warp field in a spectacular display of exotic particles. What remains is so weakened by the passage that Elder Phohl does not bother calling out how little damage it did to our shields. “I don’t think they’re taking the hint, Captain,” she remarks dryly.

    “Yeah, and if they keep this up they’re going to spread themselves across half a light-year even if we don’t do anything. Tess, take the gloves off and target their warp drive. You may fire at will.”

    “I have a lock. Firing.”

    A searing orange lance erupts from the dorsal phaser array and slams into the Enterprise’s aft shields. The first shot is deflected, but two more from above and below our saucer quickly follow. The enemy shield glitters and collapses and another spear of particles smashes into the starboard nacelle and pierces through it. A second rakes across the saucer and a shield projector vanishes in a secondary explosion, while a third transects the engineering hull, and yet a fourth rips through the port nacelle pylon. The target goes into a flat spin and its warp field collapses with a thunderstorm of released energy as the Bajor blows past. “Crash translate, now!” Kanril orders Park, and with an even more spectacular starburst on the viewscreen we emerge onto a severely blue-shifted starfield. “Conn, come about!”

    “Coming about! Range to target, four light-minutes!”

    “Are they mobile at all?” Phohl checks.

    “No, sir,” Wiggin replies. “They’re dead in the water. Good shooting, Commander.”

    “Lieutenant,” Kanril orders the helmsman, “take us in. Lock on target and microjump us into phaser range.”

    “Conn, aye. Warp 3 in five, four, three, two, one, mark!” The Bajor bolts past the speed of light for six seconds and emerges less than a hundred kilometers from the vessel lying helpless in the void between stars.

    “Relative stop. Hail them again, Ensign.”

    “Channel open.”

    “USS Enterprise, this is USS Bajor. You’re done. Last chance to surrender before we board and add ‘resisting arrest’ to your fast-growing rap sheet.”

    Still the enemy crew says nothing. “Master Chief Wiggin,” I ask, “could something be wrong with their communications?”

    “That’s not the problem, sir. There’s just nobody over there to answer the hail. I’ve got no life signs at all.”

    “That’s not possible,” Kanril says in disbelief. “I studied the Connie for my Kobayashi Maru. You can’t run it unmanned. You can only barely run it with just the command staff.”

    “Sir,” Wiggin answers in a grave tone, “I didn’t say ‘no life forms’, I said ‘no life signs’.”

    “Everyone’s dead?”

    “I didn’t think I hit it that hard,” Phohl remarks.

    “Let’s go over and take a look.”


    Kanril, Riyannis, an assault unit numbering fourteen, and myself materialize on the command deck, Kanril in her fully sealed MACO battle armor, the rest of us in vacsuits. The entire bridge is thinly covered in a reddish goo. I hear somebody mutter, “What the …”

    “Where the hell is the crew?” McMillan wonders aloud. “And what the hell is this sh*t?” she adds, prodding a lumpy section of the goo.

    I stoop down and pass a tricorder over it, as does one of the other humans in the boarding party. “L.T.,” he says, “this sh*t is the crew.”

    McMillan turns green and vomits all over the helm control console. “What did this?” K’lak asks as he kneels beside his mate.

    “Momentary power loss to the inertial dampeners,” I answer grimly. “I saw it once before. It was something I hoped to never see again.”

    “Battle damage?” Kanril asks.

    “Likely.”

    “On the bright side, they didn’t feel a thing,” Riyannis comments in a faux cheerful tone.

    Kanril glares at the Trill, then turns to the rest of us. “The ship’s too big for just us to search for Lore’s head without a map. Chief Kinlo, can you get into the computers?”

    Kinlo examines one of the consoles and taps in a few commands, then shakes her head. “Not with the gear I brought with me. Most of the functions are biometrically locked.”

    “Captain,” I ask, “where are the VIP quarters aboard a ship of this class?”

    The great elder thinks for a moment. “Deck 6, I think.” I hear a faint hiss in the background. “Do you hear something?”

    Then I see a white vapor begin to billow out from the life support ducts. “Gas!” I shout. “Seal your suits!” I lower my faceplate, then jerk McMillan to her feet and slam her faceplate closed.

    “Comm check,” Kanril’s voice comes through the speakers in my helmet.

    “Check,” I reply as the status display on the helmet HUD comes online.

    “Tricorder says it’s anesthizine,” Riyannis comments. “That’ll be the Enterprise’s crowd-control systems. Seriously outdated now that vacsuits are a thing.”

    Kanril starts to say, “Nobody’s alive. That’s—”

    “Impossible?” the Trill interrupts. “Ma’am, that’s the third time in the last fifteen minutes somebody’s said that and, uh, it’s been possible every time.”

    “The turbolifts are likely not safe,” K’lak says, hefting his phaser rifle. “We should take the Jefferies tubes to deck 6.”

    A six-story climb later we emerge on the deck in question. The lights are out and anesthizine gas billows throughout the corridor, a malevolent fog illuminated only by the lamps on our helmets and the flashlights on our rifles’ optics. Kanril takes point, leading the way down the sternward corridor, and Senior Chief Athezra brings up the rear.

    We reach a door labeled “VIP Quarters 1” and begin palming access panels. Door number four refuses to open and Kanril and I slice a torso-sized hole in it with sustained beams from our rifles. I eject the partially drained power cell and insert another, then we step through the hole.

    “Oh, they didn’t,” Kanril complains. Lore’s head is connected to a console.

    “QIp petaQpu’!” Master Chief Kinlo snarls. “How could they be so stupid as to give a Soong-type android access to their computer core? Lore’s in control of the Enterprise. He may even have turned off the inertial dampeners, thinking he could command the ship himself!”

    “Well, he won’t be commanding her for very long,” Kanril says, before raising her rifle and putting a burst into the console. The head has just enough time to say something uncomplimentary before she steps in, flicks its power switch, and unplugs the cables. “Well, this is a fine mess. Kanril to Bajor, package recovered. Beam us back and inform Starfleet Command that we’ve also recovered the Enterprise-A. They can do whatever they like with it, once they’ve swabbed the decks.”


    Back on the bridge, Kanril orders the Enterprise tractored for a warp tow. “Command’s arguing about whether to turn her into a museum ship or a training vessel for the Academy. We’ve been ordered to take her to the yards at 40 Eri ASAP for repairs in the meantime.”

    “I do not think you need me for that, Captain.”

    “No, I don’t. I need you and whomever you need to take Lore back to Facility 4028. Actually, I need you to toss him into a star. Command wants him at 4028.”

    “I will require a ship.”

    “The Brisbane’s on an intercept course. We’ll drop you off with them in the Glyrhond and you’ll take the runabout to meet us at Vulcan.”

    “That is acceptable. If I may be excused, I must begin packing.”

    “Dismissed, Dul’krah. And good work.”
    THE END


    Author's Notes: See that? That's what's supposed to happen when you send a 23rd century ship up against a 25th century ship. Kiss my pretty Bajoran backside, T5 Connie crowd.

    The fight scene in this chapter is based heavily on the USS Vengeance's attack on the Enterprise in Star Trek: Into Darkness, with Eleya and the Bajor standing in for Admiral Marcus. That shot of the Vengeance barreling up behind the fleeing Enterprise is one of the things that stuck with me from the JJverse. Say what you will about the writing and scale issues, but he's got the imagery cold.

    And that's also what's supposed to happen if the inertial dampers on a ship fail under high-delta-v conditions. No Star Trek shake, no crewmen calling out damage reports. Instead, as David Weber loves to remind us in the Honor Harrington novels, everybody on the ship is instantly turned into something resembling chunky salsa. Minor structural damage.
    "Two ways to view the world, so similar at times / Two ways to rule the world, to justify their crimes / By Kings and Queens young men are sent to die in war / Their propaganda speaks those words been heard before"
    — Sabaton, "A Lifetime of War"
    9MUythl.png
    (Still in development)
  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 8,033 Arc User
    edited July 2014
    Facility 4028, Top Secret Storage Area Gamma-17
    October 17, 2409


    Another explosion shook the facility as two tribes of Jem'Hadar warred in the corridors over the honor of "rescuing" a Founder from the high-security Federation prison. A small team of Starfleet operatives fought on one side, as well.

    In a small storage room, code-locked to the DNA of precisely three people in the entire universe, an isolinear circuit card fell from one padded box into another, making contact with the access port for a positronic matrix. A power line had ruptured earlier in the battle; the completed circuit took in the ambient power, and a small light began to glow, as a hidden transmitter sent out a signal through subspace...

    Captain's Quarters, USS Bedford NCC-92570
    Regulus Sector
    April 4, 2410


    Grunt looked up in annoyance from his family's financial reports as the comm screen on his desk beeped, then energized without his authorization. Given that, the face on the screen wasn't a total surprise - a Human male, scarred, of indeterminate age.

    "Franklin Drake, as I live and breathe," Grunt said, baring his fangs in what a Human might take for a smile. "To what do I owe the notable lack of pleasure?"

    "Now Captain, there's no need for that attitude. What have I done to merit such hostility?"

    "Well, let's see now. You sent us through time with a holographic Klingon disguise, when we could have appeared as any number of neutral vessels. On top of that, you gave us the markings of a House that B'vat was at war with, and I'm pretty sure you knew Drozana was in his patrol corridor in the 23rd century. And you planted Borg technology in my ship, which granted got us home faster, but you know why I'm kind of sensitive about Borg tech. You tried to have a group of scientists build you your own private Guardian of Forever, while lying to them about who you were, and left them defenseless against a True Way attack. You faked a series of distress calls in order to kidnap my entire command crew into a holodeck simulation, so you could run what you probably thought of as a 'loyalty check' - like we were Tal'Shiar or something. And you claimed we failed it, when we were able to see through your ruse and refused to cooperate with you in the end. And after chatting with a Klingon at DS9, I suspect you're often in collusion with your opposite number in the Empire. Is that enough, or should I go on?"

    "Admittedly, we may have gotten off on the wrong foot, Captain, but you must admit that everything I've done has been in the best interests of the Federation as a whole."

    "That's entirely a matter of viewpoint, Drake. Are you 'saving' the Federation when you're acting in ways that contradict everything it stands for?"

    "Now, Captain, I -- ah, but while debating philosophy and ethics with you would be a fascinating way to pass my evening, that's not at all why I called. You recall the classified Federation Facility 4028? Earlier today, there was a distress call from that facility. And while you aren't the only captain whose discretion I can trust, you are the only one in a position to respond to the call with anything like alacrity."

    "A distress call? Any details?"

    "They say a group of what appeared to be augmented Humans attacked the facility, ransacked the secure areas, and absconded with the contents of one of the storage rooms."

    "And that called for a distress signal? What, did someone steal the last of their toilet paper?"

    "Something even more significant and dangerous than that, Captain."

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

    "Kahlesste kaase," Roclak whispered when Grunt briefed his officers on the call. "They stole Lore??"

    "I'm afraid I don't understand the significance," Zoex said. "What's a 'Lore', and why was it stored there?"

    "Lore was one of the very earliest of the Soong-model androids," the Klingon explained, "and the first where the AI worked correctly. Well, for certain values of 'correctly' - Lore was programmed with a full set of emotions, but without the experiences necessary to help control them. Apparently Dr. Soong expected his android to be able to master its own mind due to its intelligence. His error cost the lives of everyone at the Omicron Theta colony, and very nearly the Enterprise-D. Lore and the M-5 computer are two of the standard topics in the Academy seminar on the dangers of artificial intelligence."

    "Lore grew impatient with the Humans of Omicron Theta," Lt. Turing, the android Ops officer, expanded, "and became convinced they hated and feared him for his supposed superiority. His psychosis expanded to the point that he declared war upon the concept of organic life. His creator deactivated him, but not before he was able to contact the Crystalline Entity and summon it to destroy all organic compounds at the colony. Later, he allied with a group of disaffected Borg which had been infected with the notion of individuality, and convinced them to follow him. He was deactivated by the successor model, Professor Data - Commander Data then. Should he be reactivated and repaired, he could constitute a danger to everyone in the galaxy."

    "Particularly given the invention since then of thalaron weaponry," Shelana noted grimly. "Captain, I take it we're en route?"

    "Should be there shortly--" Grunt was interrupted by the whistle of the companel. He touched its surface. "Grunt here."

    "We are approaching Facility 4028, Captain," Gydap's voice replied. "Clearing visual screening in three, two --- Snow and Sun!! Ah, Captain, you'll want to see this."

    Grunt charged through the door of the ready room onto the bridge, barely ahead of his security chief. He stared at the main viewscreen.

    There was the asteroid thicket, of course - one of the Facility's defenses, as it was nearly impossible to navigate that dense stony field except on the prescribed approach vector. From the largest asteroid, Facility 4028 jutted - or parts of it did, anyway. Large areas of the superstructure were glowing with residual heat and radiation, while others were simply gone.

    "That was tritanium crystalloy!" Vovonek exclaimed from his station at the bridge's rear. "The only weapon I know that could do that is on a Planet Killer!"

    Roclak checked his scanners grimly. "No sign of Undine weapons fire or engine exhaust," he reported. "Besides, a Planet Killer would never fit through the thicket. And the damage is too precise - note that life support and containment fields are still functioning, while all weapons and deflectors have been disabled or destroyed."

    "Okay," Grunt said, "let's get in there and figure out what it was, now that we know what it wasn't."

    The graceful bulk of the Bedford slid up to the ruined prison station.

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

    Grunt and Shelana made their way toward the Warden's "office", while three decks below Vovonek led a repair team toward the ISIS core. As they approached the Warden's door, they were startled as two photonic security officers flicked into existence, leveled phaser rifles, and abruptly disappeared again. A moment later, the officers reappeared, weapons at parade rest. As they started to bring the weapons up, they vanished again.

    "Grunt, authorization seven-alpha-chi-thirty-brown-gryphon-omega!" the Ferengi shouted, hoping that some system somewhere was listening. He was in luck - when next the officers appeared, they lowered their weapons before vanishing.

    The Andorian security chief made her way to the door. "Hmmm. Looks like it's in automatic lockdown mode, Captain. I'll have it open in a moment." She popped a panel next to the door, and began working with the circuitry. There was a brief spaak! and the smell of ionized air, and the door slowly slid open. The pair entered the barren office.

    Grunt tapped his commbadge. "Grunt to Vovonek. Any progress on that computer?"

    "More than I really expected, sir. Remember the system I cobbled together for the Hephaestus? Guess where it wound up? Should have everything back online in a -- ah, there we are." As the Pakled finished speaking, the air in the room wavered, and the Warden appeared.

    "ISIS System version seven point three point zero four, subsystem Warden version three point five, rebooting," the hologram said flatly. "One moment. Starfleet Corps of Engineers apologizes for this delay. Systems check in progress." The Warden stood still, as unseen speakers began playing Beethoven, or possibly the Beatles - Grunt wasn't really an expert on Earth classical music. After a few moments, the Warden blinked. "Ah, Captain Grunt. A pleasure. It would seem my AI has been offline - I am updating my internal clock now."

    "Can you tell us what happened?" Grunt asked.

    "Clock updated. Approximately three hours ago, the station was attacked by a starship of unknown but probably Federation design, using a powerful weapon of unknown provenance. After our outer defenses were overwhelmed, the attackers stormed the station. I had assumed they were here in an attempt to free one of our guests - Amar Singh, perhaps, or the creature that had posed as Captain T'Vix. However, they completely avoided the cells, and instead moved into the secure storage facilities. After acquiring the head of the android Lore, two of their number broke into the primary ISIS core and disabled our systems. I would assume they then escaped. I must say, I am gratified by how quickly your team arrived and effected repairs - we should be able to resume routine care for the inmates shortly."

    "Do you have any idea who it was that attacked you?"

    "We do have a holo record of the invasion, Captain." The Warden touched his desk, and an image sprang into existence over it. "As you can see, the attackers are remarkably strong - observe this one forcing a secure door open with his hands - and rather homogenous in appearance."

    "Yes, that is true. We were told the attackers seemed to be augmented Humans, but the similarity of appearance argues against, doesn't it?"

    "I hadn't considered that, Captain. One moment, please - I'll run a comparison. Interesting. Their facial features are similar, to three decimals. They bear an equal resemblance to Lore. This is - disquieting."

    "Disquieting. Yes. Would you mind transferring this holo to the Bedford?"

    "Normally there would be security concerns, Captain, but under the circumstances I believe this falls into my area of choice. The file is being transferred now. Ah, and I am informed that a repair crew from the Corps of Engineers will be here in less than two hours, to complete the process of bringing our facility back to full operational status. My thanks, however, for bringing my staff online."

    "Our pleasure, Warden." Grunt bowed. "Now, if you wouldn't mind, we really should be in pursuit of the thieves."

    "Oh, yes, please, by all means, Captain. And if you're in the area again, do stop in. There's usually one prisoner or another demanding to speak to a Starfleet representative, and apparently a hologram simply will not do."


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

    "...and we proceeded to bring the computer back online," Grunt finished. "The holorecording from the internal security cams is attached to this transmission - Mycroft has examined the kinesics of the invaders, and tells me that they are a near-match for Soong-type androids, although of less sophistication than, say, Lt. Turing."

    "I see. This is bad. This is very bad." On the screen, Drake shook his head.

    "What do you mean? Mostly, we've confirmed what you already knew."

    "Oh, you've done more than that, Captain. You've brought my attention to a new issue, as well. The ship used in the attack - it was designed by the Starfleet Advanced Projects Agency, although it was never built. The Council wouldn't appropriate enough for its actual construction. It would appear, however, that someone, possibly a rogue operator from our own department, has gone ahead with the building of the Conqueror. Its central feature, the part that made it so expensive, was a design based on the Spinal Phaser Lance used in some of our most advanced combat craft - except that it uses antiproton technology acquired from the Solonae Sphere."

    "Profit and loss," Grunt breathed. "An antiproton lance. Whoever stole Lore's head also owns a pocket-size Planet Killer."

    "Exactly. And they wanted the positronic matrix of a creature inimical to Human life, and probably everyone else as well. Captain, I'm afraid I'm going to have to impose on you once again. Your craft is the only one currently in a position to pursue the Conqueror, as well as the only one informed of its true nature. We need you to intercept, disable, and if necessary destroy that ship. At any cost, Captain."

    "Including the Bedford and everyone aboard."

    "Any cost, Captain. That ship, and those who have it now, are an active threat to the entire Federation, and its allies."

    "Dammit, you're right. I hate that fact with every fiber of my being, but you're right." Grunt sighed. "We'll be underway as soon as Roclak and Gydap can isolate a warp trail for us to follow."

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

    "I believe we have their signal, Captain," Manalang called from the comm station.

    "Thank you, Commander. Gydap, take us to within twenty klicks, then drop out of slipstream. Maintain a pursuit course until we can make them stop. Zoex, the moment you can get a target lock, disable their drive systems. Their weapons, too, if you can. Gydap, if Zoex can't take out their weapons, be prepared to execute evasive maneuvers as soon as you see any energy buildup in their systems."

    "Aye, Captain," the Andorian helmsman replied. "Dropping slipstream and engaging warp drive in three, two, one..."

    The view on the main screen changed from the silvery tube of quantum slipstream to the moving "starfield" of warp drive. Ahead, silhoutted against the Briar Patch nebula, Grunt could make out an odd starship - its design cues obviously straight from the Starfleet design manuals, but of no configuration they had ever seen before.

    "I have a lock, sir," the Ferengi tactical officer reported. "Firing." The glare of a spread of quantum torpedoes moved out from the front of the Bedford, moving slowly in relation to the starship still under warp drive.

    "They're trying to raise shields, Captain," Roclak said from the science station. "There appears to be interference from their warp field, but they are not slowing. Maintaining warp 9.7 - we are closing at warp 9.8."

    Ahead, the torpedoes glided slowly toward their target - and the otherspace of warp was lit by the brilliance of a coordinated detonation. The starfield dopplered back down to sublight velocities.

    "Their warp drive is disabled, sir," Gydap said. "We have dropped from warp to engage."

    "Raising shields," Zoex chimed in.

    "Thank you, lieutenant. Fire at will. Try very hard to knock out their weapons - we do not want to face an antiproton lance, even with a covariant shield generator."

    "Captain, we are being hailed," Manalang reported.

    "Belay that fire order, Zoex. Stand by. On screen, if you please, Ruben."

    The main screen lit with a familiar visage. "The redoubtable Captain Grunt, I assume," Lore said with a sneer. "And his gallant crew as well. Honestly, the best my brother could find to oppose me was a Ferengi?"

    "Your brother? Professor Data? He's a bit busy at the university to worry about you," Grunt replied with a smile. "We just happened to run across you during regular Starfleet operations. Now, if you'd be so kind as to surrender and prepare for boarding, we can bring this whole mess to a close."

    "Oh, I don't think so, captain."

    "Really? Well, I suppose we ought to get on with the shooting, then. Although if you wouldn't mind answering a question, where did you find your rescuers?"

    "Hah! You people really did think I was as useless as that milksop brother of mine. You thought I would try something as bold as liberating the Borg from their captivity, without building an automated factory to create backup copies? My siblings aren't as advanced as I am, of course - no point in creating my own rivals - but they're easily more than a match for the likes of you. Now, captain, you're beginning to bore me. This conversation is over." The android hammered a control on his seat, and the transmission cut off.

    "Energy buildup detected!" Gydap shouted. "Engaging evasive!"

    As the Bedford began to move, a brilliant red line lanced forward from the bow of Lore's ship, striking a glancing blow on the cruiser's flank. The shields sizzled, then flickered and died. Standard phaser beams shot from the Conqueror, burning into the Bedford's engineering hull.

    "Damage report!" Grunt called.

    "Shields are down! Covariant generator is offline, as are warp and slipstream drives! Hull breaches on decks fifteen through seventeen!" Roclak replied.

    "Returning fire!" Zoex said, as orange and green beams flared from the Bedford's emitters. "Captain, I don't know how long we can keep this up - they've disabled the weapon systems in the engineering hull. All I have left is what's on the saucer."

    "Fortunately," Gydap added, "that weapon used up a lot of their power. They're going to have to recharge it for another shot, which gives us a few minutes, anyway."

    "There's one weapon left in that hull, Zoex. Rock, move all personnel to the saucer immediately, and prepare for emergency saucer separation. Turing, you're with me. We're headed to the battle bridge. Grunt to engineering."

    "Vovonek here."

    "Vov, pump as much antimatter into the containment field as she'll hold, then evacuate to the saucer. We're gonna hit that ship like it's never been hit before."

    "While what, you put on a pressure suit and hope for the best?" the Pakled demanded.

    Grunt chuckled. "No, I'm not really the self-sacrificing sort, not when there's an option. Transporter room one, await my signal, then beam me back aboard."

    "Aye, sir."

    "Zoex, keep shooting. If I don't have to use this thing, I'd rather not."

    "Aye aye, Captain."

    "Mr. Turing, if you'd be so kind?" The Ferengi and the android proceeded to the turbolift.

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

    As Grunt and Turing entered the battle bridge, the ship shook with another hit.

    "Grunt to bridge. How's it going up there, Mr. Zoex?"

    "Not that well, sir. If you'd like to use your little trick, now's the time."

    "Confirmed, Mr. Zoex. Rock, execute immediate emergency saucer separation. Turing, prepare a full-power EM discharge through the main deflector - let's see if we can't weaken her shields a little before punching her." Grunt felt the shift as the saucer fell away from the engineering section.

    "Charge prepared, Captain," the android replied. "Firing. Conqueror's shields now at twenty percent, and falling. Targeting the weakened section. Course is set, sir."

    "Thank you, Mr. Turing. Computer, set automatic navigation along current heading. Collision authorized."

    "Unable to comply."

    "Why not?" Grunt demanded.

    "Autonavigation circuits have been damaged. Manual navigation is required."

    "Meaning someone has to ride this thing all the way in. Well, I never really expected to see retirement anyway. Mr. Turing, beam back to the saucer - I'll try to follow before the drive blows."

    "With all due respect, sir," Turing replied, "you are far more valuable to the ship than I am. Also, my reaction time is much more rapid than yours. Accordingly, it would be logical for you to return, while I pilot."

    "This is a direct order, Lieutenant! Return to the saucer immediately!"

    "Sir, I must resign my commission, effective immediately." The android reached out before Grunt could protest, touching a nerve bundle in his neck. The Ferengi collapsed, unconscious. Turing bent down, tapped the commbadge, and said in a perfect imitation of the captain's voice, "Grunt to transporter room one. Beam me back. Turing will follow in a moment."

    The captain vanished in an azure swirl. The android's hands danced over the controls, locking a shield around the compartment he occupied. He sat at the helm console, guiding the ship toward its ultimate destination.

    Less than a minute later, Roclak's voice came on the comm. "Lieutenant Turing, you are ordered to return immediately, and turn yourself over to security. You are under arrest."

    "My apologies, Commander, but I have resigned my commission. I cannot allow another sentient to sacrifice itself in my stead - that runs counter to my programming. As well, I cannot allow Captain Grunt in particular to undertake this mission. I estimate my chances of survival at less than one in forty-seven million, twelve thousand seventeen. The captain's odds were considerably lower. And his presence is far more vital to the continued function of both ship and crew than my own."

    The Klingon cursed. "Come back immediately, Turing, or we'll bring you back!"

    "Unlikely, sir. I have isolated this chamber with a class-three field. It will not survive the antimatter detonation of the warp core, of course, but it will easily resist penetration by a transporter beam. Now, sir, if you would not mind, I would prefer that my last effort not be wasted, and this ship requires a great deal of attention to pilot with the degree of precision required. Mr. Zoex, kindly do not refrain from continuing fire, and if possible concentrate on the section of shielding I am currently heading toward."

    On the screen, Turing could see the rain of fire from the Bedford's saucer section redoubling, orange and green energy beams joined by the detonation of silver quantum torpedoes and a purple Hargh'peng torpedo from the seldom-used secondary launcher. The residual radiation from the Hargh'peng weapon was too much for the beleagured shield generator, and the path before the Bedford's engineering section lay open.

    "My thanks, Mr. Zoex," Turing said. He touched another control, and the impulse drive flared as the craft accelerated. Almost gracefully, the stubby lower half of the Celestial-class exploration cruiser impacted the hull of the larger ship. The hull of the Conqueror exploded outward, venting flaming gases, plasma, and android crew, as the Bedford burrowed inward. Gravity fields and inertial dampers failed, and Turing was hurled forward, to impact with the main viewscreen of the battle bridge. His optical sensors were interrupted for a moment, but only a moment.

    Three decks down and slightly aft, over four hundred kilograms of antihydrogen drifted lazily through the space where its containment field had been. It struck the normal-matter containment vessel, particles and antiparticles reacting in an orgy of mutual annihilation. The massive explosion raced through the ship, into its entangled foe. As it struck the engineering section of the Conqueror, the enemy ship's own core cut loose as well.

    Aboard the saucer section of the Bedford, Commander Roclak called out, "Brace for impact!" Seat belts deployed across all seats in the bridge, as the impossibly bright flare of the explosion washed across their recently-restored shields. The screen automatically polarized, blocking the glare; when it returned to normal, all that remained to be seen was a glowing gaseous cloud, and a few scattered remains of red-hot metallic alloys. The debris wasn't even identifiable as a ship any more.

    "Gydap, scan that for - ah - survivors," Roclak ordered.

    "Scanning. That's - that's negative, sir. No sign of Lore. Or Turing."

    "Ghuy'cha! Bridge to sickbay. Doctor, what is the Captain's status?"

    "He's stable. Should be awake momentarily. I didn't know anyone but a Vulcan could even do a nerve pinch."

    "Thank you, Doctor. Bridge out." Roclak stood. "I shall inform the Captain of what happened personally. Gydap, you have the conn."

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

    Two weeks later...

    The battered, battle-scarred saucer section of the former USS Bedford glided into Earth Spacedock, towed by the advanced escort USS Pournelle. On board, Captain Grunt sat glumly in his command chair.

    "Pournelle signals release, Captain," Gydap said. "Dock has us."

    "My compliments to Admiral Sajak, and thank him for the rescue," Grunt replied.

    "Aye, sir. Oh, and I have two messages on your PADD, sir."

    "Thank you, Gydap." Grunt stood. "I'll take them in my ready room - while I still have one." He walked through the doors and into the ready room, sat behind his desk - for the last time?, he wondered - and picked up the PADD, which he expected to contain the results of the board of inquiry.

    The first message was rather a surprise, as the image of Franklin Drake coalesced on the screen. "Captain Grunt," the recording began, "Section 31 would like to thank you once again for a job well done. Rest assured, we've buried the antiproton lance research deep - while I think we'd use the weapon wisely, I'm not sure I can say the same about the Klingons or Romulans. As well, we've managed to swing a few rewards for you. For one, your recommendation for a posthumous Pike Award for conspicuous gallantry for Lt. Turing - Lieutenant Commander, I suppose I should say - has been approved. This, I would note, is the highest honor yet awarded a synthetic life form in Starfleet service, aside from the famed Data. For another - well, I suppose the Starfleet orders will follow this in short order. Just don't worry about the Board, and let no one say Section 31 is without gratitude. Or a sense of humor." A smile creased the scarred Human's face for the first time in Grunt's acquaintance with him.

    The second message was headed by the Starfleet Command logo and authorization codes. "ATTENTION TO ORDERS," it began. "Captain GRUNT, Starfleet serial number 77564789-Alpha-Epsilon-125, is hereby ordered to report to Fleet Admiral JOREL QUINN, Starfleet Command, Earth Spacedock, for promotion to the rank of REAR ADMIRAL, LOWER HALF, in recognition of service rendered to Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets.

    "GRUNT is also being assigned command of the following craft..."

    Grunt read his next assignment. Then, for the first time in two weeks, he burst out laughing.

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

    "All sections, report readiness for departure."

    "Engineering standing by."

    "Astrometrics standing by."

    "Helm and navigation standing by."

    "Communications standing by."

    "Medical standing by."

    Grunt smiled and leaned back in his command seat, touching the Admiral's braid on his sleeve. "Very well, Mr. Gydap, take us out."

    The massive doors of Earth Spacedock slid open, and the saucer shape of the Nebula-refit-class starship USS Ferenginar, NCC-93552, glided ponderously out into the universe.
    "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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  • knightraider6knightraider6 Member Posts: 368 Arc User
    edited July 2014
    (After reading Patrickngo's LC entry, I had an idea. Picking up the ball after Lore is broken out, and running with it. hope ya enjoy :D )

    USS Nighthawk, July 23, 2412


    It was still easy to get lost in the ship, far bigger than his last command, especially with being in the center chair for just over two weeks now. It was a big change from the Reuben James but then, Captain M’Karret had gone through a lot of big changes recently. Marriage, fatherhood, just the thought of the two most important people in his life now almost made him start to purr as he tried to surreptitiously look at the PADD in his hand to get his bearings. Nothing like letting the crew know you were lost.

    Especially when some of the crew were upset over the circumstances of their last captain leaving. Melissa Travis was rather popular with her people, yes she pushed them hard, but no harder than she did herself, and the Nighthawk had a good record - until the Denali incident last year. Now Travis was on the Vikrant, not in starfleet anymore but still working with them at least, with a mostly Denali and Andorian crew. Add in the fact that he lost his last command, betrayed over Denali by Terran Empire infiltrators, and there were more than a few who weren't happy with Starfleet’s choice of their new CO.

    Fortunately, Travis was happy with the choice, and in fact had recommended him for the position, which took some of the fight out of the loudest critics. He just wished he could have talked Rhonda into taking the CMO job, yes with the new regs they couldn’t have their son with them, but at least they’d be together. But she had her command on the Heinlein, and was out now trying to keep the Moab/Pentaxian war from expanding with Commodore Huntington. Probably just as well they weren’t tasked for that as well, half the crew were close to hating the Commodore, due to some engagement in Eta Eridani a couple years ago - though he hadn't found out just why yet. Something else to look into - when his combadge chirped. “Bridge to Captain M’Karret”

    “M’Karret here,” he replied, glad for the interruption - there was a lift at the end of the corridor, he could just take that back to the bridge, and go back to getting lost in the depths of deck 21 later.

    ”Captain, you’ve got a priority Alpha message from Admiral Stern.”

    “On the way” he replied, breaking into a run. At least on a ship this big the lifts were fast, in under a minute he was walking onto the bridge.

    Commander T’Beni stood up as he entered the bridge, the vulcan first officer now having purple hair this week for some reason, he supposed there was a logical reason for that somewhere. “As you were,” he said. “What's the classification on it?”

    “Alpha six Sir.”

    “I’ll take it here, then,” he said, no one on the bridge wasn’t cleared for that, as he sat down, a tired looking Admiral Moira Stern appeared on the screen. “Captain M’karret here, sorry for the delay Sir.”

    ”Na’ probl’m Captain, I’ll be brief. Six ‘ours ago there was an attack on Facility 4028 by a group o’unknown, poss’bly augmented humans.”

    There were several looks around the bridge, the Denali Science officer Lt Commander Ramona Patel being the recipient of many of them. M’karret as well picked up on the undercurrent and decided to nip that in the bud. “Augments - is Starfleet insinuating the Denali had something to do with this? That would be completely out of character for them.”

    ”There were some tha’ nearly injured themselves in attemptin’ to jump t’tha’ c’nclusion, aye,” the Welsh admiral said with a scowl. ”Along wi’ blamin’ the Moab Confederacy, as their former ambassador was injured fighting them when she was being inprocessed. Fortunately both the forensic data as well as th’ security footage shot down both of those theories.” Footage that appeared on the screen, the attackers were known to Starfleet intelligence as being creations of Amar Singh.

    “Well that rules that out at least. Who did they break out?”

    ”What, not who. A Soong-type android known as ‘Lore’. Files on ‘im are bein’ sent t’the Nighthawk. Command needs you t’track down and re-apprehend these people, especially th’ android. He is extremely dang’rous, and ‘as caused th’ deaths o’thousands o’beings on Omnicron Theta - not t’mention what th’ augment bast’rds o’Singh’s ‘ave done. Find ‘em, an’ end it one way or anoth’r, Captain. We can’na let them get away wi’ this. Stern out. “

    He felt the eyes of the bridge crew on him, this was their first mission since his taking command. looking over the data that was sent, they at least had a possible place to get started. “Helm, set course-” he looked over the transmitted data. “231 mark 241…” There wasn’t much out in that direction except - oh TRIBBLE.


    Temporary offices, House of Commons, Coitquam Denali



    “What do you mean you’re coming here?” Rasnur Singh (MP, Safety through Strength Party) muttered into the encrypted com. The government had spent a good fortune in setting up relay satellites between Denali and the rest of the galaxy in order to speed communications - money that he’d have rather had spent on defenses and weapons. No sense in talking to one’s genetic inferiors, they’d already demonstrated that strength is the only thing they respected.

    Still, he did have to credit the advantage the system gave in preventing surprises, much like the unfortunate one he’d just received. “You were supposed to lay low once you got him out, not come straight here! I don’t have enough support yet in the Commons or the Senate-”

    ”There is no time for that,” a new voice said on the com - golden skinned, Soong type android. ”My... rescuers, were ambushed and instead of a clean getaway, they were nearly stopped by a trio of mere humans.”

    “So what is it you wish of me?” Singh asked, half expecting the answer.

    ”I need you to have your ‘associates’ move up their time table. No doubt Starfleet will be sending someone after us, the vessel we have acquired is not the fastest. Your associates have slipstream drives, we don’t.”

    “That will be difficult - my associates, well, despite their climatological similarity to our world, there are still regrettably many here that do not care for their treatment of inferior races.”

    ”Slavery is all inferiors are good for - but know this. If you do NOT stand with us in this, well, does the phrase ‘singing like a canary’ hold any meaning for you, should the Federation re-capture us?”

    He and his brethren were in no way ready yet to take that step. “Completely, I will make the contact but i can make no promises on their response.”

    After the contact was ended, he raged in his office. That... machine, lecturing and threatening HIM! Still, it was necessary for the ultimate plan. Lore was able to communicate with one of the deadliest life forms known to the galaxy. His people would be in danger, until their genetic inferiors learned their true place in the food chain. Having him on board, machine or no, was key for this.

    He sat back down at his desk, pondering. His party had just barely a third of the Commons, and even less in the Senate - even despite the horrific losses inflicted by the humans last year. And most of them were..well they believed, but not like he did. Still, the ancient American Revolution against the English Crown was accomplished with less than that. And a revolution it would have to be. Too long they had meekly followed the guilty conscience of Doctor Kaur, in her foolish desire for peace. The time had come to embrace their destiny, to be proud, to rule. But they couldn’t do it alone. Sighing, he tapped in another message on his encrypted comset.






    Sarr Theln class warship Skidor, Moose Jaw Nebula

    “What does he want of us?”

    Thot Bejo was annoyed at being woken up from his nap. The Vel’sh tactician however wouldn’t have interrupted him if it had not been considered important. “The human augments have bungled the retrieval of the assets from the Starfleeters. They are on the run in a slow ship, and are expecting pursuit.”

    “Did they at least get any of my people out of there?” The Thot grumbled as he got to his feet.

    “No - just the mechanical being, I am told.”

    Damnation. “We should have done it ourselves,” he cursed. “Augments or not, they’re just humans

    “That would have drawn attention towards the Confederacy, they already disavow our operations my Thot.”

    “Better to have it out in the open, in my opinion.” If his species was capable of sighing, he would have. “Set a rendezvous course, we will pick up this machine and its incompetent rescuers. At least once we have him, we can use crystalline entities to destroy the Federations home worlds, and this operation will not be a total loss.”





    USS Nighthawk, July 24

    Well, so much for that hope. “I have the ion trail confirmed Captain,” Ramona said from the sciences station. “they’re headed out of the galaxy, estimate they’ll hit the near edges of the Moose Jaw nebula in five hours at their speed.”

    “I didn’t think we were that close to Denali space yet?” T’Beni remarked with surprise.

    “We’re not, still several weeks out - but the nebula is more a vast dark cloud between Denali and the rest of the galaxy- with no stars to light it up…”

    “I see, damn, once they get in there tracking them will be next to impossible. ETA on intercept?”

    “Two hours, sixteen minutes, seven seconds,” T’Beni replied from the first officers chair. “Fortunately that old Ferengi shuttle that they were in leaks an ion trail that a blind Sehlat could follow.”

    “Contact - I’ve got something on long range sensors Sir,” Lt Jeffers exclaimed from tactical. ”-wait... that’s not right.”

    “What's not right?” M’Karret sat up in his chair, as the human weapons officer enhanced the scan. “It’s the Ferengi shuttle we were tracking... but it’s dead in space.”

    “He’s right sir, And I’m not picking up any life forms either” Ramona replied from Sciences, the Denali woman’s ears flicking back. “I am however picking up about forty biological traces nearby, as well as a high level of tachyon emissions.”

    “What type of biological traces Lt Commander?”

    “Bodies, Captain.”


    Three hours later, bridge

    “Forty seven individuals, mixed Orion, Klingon, a couple gorn. All listed as renegade by the KDF,” Doctor Kreen-Ar said, though the droop of the Aurelian’s wings displayed her emotion. Autopsies always bothered the healer. “All deceased, some from vacuum exposure, the majority though from either weapons fire or blunt force trauma - some of them were almost ripped apart.”

    M’Karret sighed. “Which matches the late unfortunate Mr Gonzales back on 4028. Prisoner or not, he deserved to be protected. Best guess, XO?”

    “Pirates thinking they’d found easy prey I’d say.”

    “Agreed. And now they’re in a faster, armed and cloak-capable ship.”


    Former IKS qIj 'etlh

    “Confirmed, federation Starship, Sovereign class. It’s back by where we left the shuttle.”

    Ordan was not happy about this entire, well, fiasco. They had lost two breaking the machine out of storage, and another when the would be pirates had attempted to board their shuttle. At least things were improving now - if it hadn’t been for the fact that the ship’s prior owners hadn’t kept up on some of the maintenance. It was possible such a leaky navigational deflector could be used to trace them - but at least they had heard from their rendezvous point - which was en route to meet them. in fact, between the two of them... “what is our weapons status?”

    “We have disruptors available, there are only a dozen torpedoes. However, we will be meeting up with the Skidor...are you pondering what I am pondering?”

    “Probably, and faster than you can,” the android replied snarkily. “Either we destroy the ones chasing us - or they’ll catch us, they’re making better speed than this pile of junk.”

    “Difficult, but not impossible. Do we have communication with our allies?” the augment barked at his underlings.

    “Yes Lord, just establishing encryption - now.”



    USS Nighthawk

    “Still picking up Tachyon traces, it’s definitely a Bird of Prey out here somewhere, in not too good a condition Captain.”

    M’karret frowned, leaning forward in his chair, tip of his tail twitching from side to side as he hunted. “They know we’re here... if they just shut their engines and drifted they wouldn't be leaving a trail.”

    “They are trying to escape Captain, staying moving is logical.”

    “Lt Commander Patel, i need a detailed long range scan, along their probable course.”

    The Denali officer leaned over the console as she readjusted the sensors “Nothing but the leading edges of the nebula - wait. I’ve got something, might be a ghost echo, but a definite object Captain, along with...” she enhanced the return signal. “Definite power plant emissions, looks like possible em leakage from Polaron charge units.”

    Ignoring one’s ‘gut’ was often at one’s peril. “Like someone with charged weapons, other systems powered down, attempting an ambush? Red alert, raise shields, and set an intercept course on the possible.”

    The lights shifted red on the ship as crewmen scurried to their battle stations, the big Sovereign class warship accelerating towards the unknown contact.


    Skidor

    “We have been detected.”

    “With all due respect Thot, their sensors are not that precise - the ambush can-”

    “Fail.” Thot Bejo grumbled, hasty laid plans often went awry. Fortunately he’d fought that class of ship before both in the war, and in more, profitable ventures. “Engage all systems, raise shields and prepare for battle.”


    USS Nighthawk

    “You were right Captain, Breen Sarr Theln class cruiser was sitting with systems down except for weapons.” Lt Aystytix muttered from where she was at the weapons station, the red skinned alien checking their status “Phasers standing by, torpedoes ready.”

    “They could be here for peaceful reasons, Captain,” T’Beni stated “there had been rumors of Breen meeting with the denali government on trade issues.”

    “That may be - but traders don’t sit in wait with charged weapons,” M’karret said, getting nods from the rest of the bridge crew.

    “Agreed sir, while it is possible, I do have to admit the unlikeliness of it.” The purple haired Vulcan checked ship’s status. “All departments are in condition one Captain.”

    “Hail the Breen ship. This is technically international space... but they’re not exactly acting friendly at the moment.”

    Skidor

    “We are being hailed. Our ‘associates’ are ready Thot.”

    There was no reason to reply to the Starfleeter’s hail other than in a blaze of weapons. “Engage the target, concentrate fire on their weapons systems, and fire torpedoes when in range.” The cruiser shuddered as it burst from it’s hiding spot, purple beams erupting from the forward Polaron arrays arching out towards the Federation warship. His gunners were good, and he felt satisfaction on seeing the flare of the Starfleeter ship’s shields, his scientists activating an energy siphon as well, targeting the enemy’s weapons.


    Nighthawk

    “Well they’re definitely not friendly, Captain - shields at sixty percent.”

    M’Karret fought the urge to grin at the comment. “Well if that is their way of saying hello, reply to them in their language.” Phasers fired back at the Breen ship, causing their shields to sparkle. “Minimal damage to the enemy Captain,” Lt Aystytix frowned as she checked the settings again. “Weapon power is down forty percent-”

    “They’re using one of their energy syphons on us,” the Captain growled. “Patel, can you counter?”

    “Already on it Sir!” the Denali replied, her hands flying over her station, kicking in power from auxiliary as well as batteries, as she configured a Subnucleonic beam back towards the Breen ship.

    The Nighthawks weapons weren’t too badly affected by the Breen device, though for good measure Lt Commander Jaselt kicked in the primary battery for the phasers “Shields are holding at sixty three percent, target’s starboard shield is losing power.”

    “Standby torpedoes, soon as that flickers fire. And keep an eye out for that Bird of Prey”

    Bird of Prey

    “Should we help them?”

    The android was busy going over the ships schematics “why yes, I believe we should. I for one really don’t care to be disassembled again.”

    “But that is a cruiser, and we are a small ship! It’s tearing our ‘allies’ apart!” Which was true, the Breen ship was taking a beating, while the Nighthawk’s damage was far less severe.

    “Starfleet always did tend to have better engineers to keep their barges running” Lore turned, with an almost feral grin “but this ship’s cloak is a bit better than the average Klingon scow…”

    Sitting down in the Commander's chair, the android grinned. “wait for the Federation ships shields to flicker, then fire.”


    USS Nighthawk

    They had the upper hand-while the Chel Gret was more manuverable-the Nighthawk had full weapons loadout, as well as replicators to replenish torpedoes. M’Karret kept a wary eye for the bird of prey as they continued to wear the Breen ship down, though the enemy was giving as well.

    “we’re losing aft shielding, re compensating for -Sir! we’ve got weapons launch from a cloaked ship!”

    Damnit. of course they would have one of the enhanced cloaks, at least they could only fire torpedoes cloaked but still “Polarize the hull and-” The ship shook as the torpedoes impacted the secondary hull, power and for a moment even gravity flickering. Fortunaetly nothing exploded on the bridge, the consoles having long been replaced by more stable units, the number of red indicators on them however..”Damage report!”

    “Shields down, aft phasers off line, we’ve still got-no, torpedo’s off line as well. Warp is off line, I can give you impulse Captain”

    Skidor

    It was about time they contributed. “Get those fires out and prepare transporters! We will board the ship and”

    “Thot! New Contac-” The tactician's report was cut off, as the bridge was filled with fire, antiproton cannon fire from the new ship raking through the Breen warship.

    USS Nighthawk

    The sight of the third ship decloaking made M’karret’s fur stand on end-he knew that ship. He’d followed it from Earth out to Denali, then was betrayed by it. The ISS Karl Donitz. The silhouette was the same, the ship moved the same...but the new paint scheme, and the red and blue stylized wolfs head that replaced the Terran Empire globe and dagger heralded the ships new owner, as the did the name on the hull as it came up through the Z axis, SDF Vancouver

    on the screen the Avenger class ship fired from the aft torpedoes at the now crippled breen ship, the quantum torpedoes turning the Skidor into an expanding cloud of fire and debris, another burst catching the bird of prey about to fire again, the cloak dropping as one of the wings of the Klingon made ship went flying.

    “Captain, we’re being hailed. Also, shields are back on line.”

    “Onscreen.” He wasn’t sure what to expect, but definetly wasn’t expecting who was sitting in the center seat of the Vancouver.

    “Двоюродный брат! It is good to see you again.” Except for being about a foot taller, and the accent, the commander of the Denali warship was almost identical to his cousin Schrodi. Which technically, she was, if from another timeline.

    “Miska? I thought you were teaching advanced physics?”

    “Da, however, they were in need of someone with my experience in ship command, from my days in the Soviet 17th Guards Science Fleet. Denali is my home now, so defending it is something more important. Can always teach later

    He wasn’t sure to be worried or not-of all his cousins ‘sisters’, the one from the Soviet Starfleet was the most, well, not bloodthirsty. Pragmatic would be a better term. But under the circumstances…”you’re abit out from home though.”

    “Long range shakedown cruise. It was good test of weapons systems, running into you like this. Speaking of which…”

    “Sir, the Vancouver is transporting something from the Bird of Prey.”

    The Captain’s ears went up “What exactly did they transport, and where is it?”



    Five Kilometers aft of SDF Vancouver

    Oh no, not again the Android thought as he materialized in deep space. He didn’t care for the first time he was marooned like this...wait what is that light coming from the-


    SDF Vancouver

    “Target destroyed, Colonel.” Major Daron reported, the Klingon first officer brushing her hair out of her eyes. She really needed to get that trimmed one of these days.

    “Excellent work Comrade Major.” Miska replied, her tail tip twitching.

    on the viewscreen, her cousin looked baffled “Why did you destroy the android?”

    “Because, some things are too dangerous to be left loose. My sister prefers to throw dangerous artifacts, gate keys, objects of madness and the like into black holes. Sadly there is not one near by, so I had to improvise.”

    “Makes sense I suppose.M’karett nodded. “What of the augments?”

    ”We Claim Asylum! We are like you, we-” Ordon’s audio was cut off, as the feline captain growled.

    “You are Преступников, We have seen your records. You have murdered innocents, committed atrocities. The Federation will simply incarcerate you, while I will incinerate you.” she turned to her tactical officer “Lock weapons on the bird of prey. I would advise that you Choose quickly.”

    The augments on the bridge of the crippled bird of prey looked at each other, then the two images on the screen “We surrender to the Federation.”

    On the Nighthawk, M’karret fought the urge to laugh “Very well, we accept your surrender. Transport them to the brig.”

    “Do you need any assistance in repairs?”

    He looked over his shoulder at his engineer “I think we’re good, we’ve got shields again, will have warp back in a bit, and can fix the rest enroute,” he said, finally relaxing some “Thank you again for the assist.”

    “It is no problem, you are family, and the Federation are our allies. Well then, we have more tests to finish up, it is good to see the cloaking device worked perfectly as well. Hopefully I will see you again soon. До свидания!”


    USS Nighthawk

    They watched the Avenger turn back towards the nebula, the assault cruiser shimmering as it re engaged cloak. “We could have taken both the Breen and the Bird of Prey sir, just so you know Sir.” Lt Jeffers muttered from the weapons console.

    “First rule Lt, never turn down help in a fight. Yes we would have-but we got through this without any major injuries. I’ll take a win like that any day.”

    “Most Logical,” the XO replied. “we have warp back online, your orders Captain?”

    He leaned back in the chair “lets get out of here-set course for home.”

    Coitquam Denali

    Rasnur cursed under his breath as he read the report. Damnation. So close...Fortunately his ‘allies’ were dead, and the Federation tended to keep augment prisoners in stasis when not at heavy security facilities. So he had time. Still, if the revolution was going to happen, he was going to have to move the timetable up. Sad, but one did not change the world, without breaking a few eggs. There was more he needed though, much more.

    His ears flicked at the sound from the other room, it seems his guest had finished with her bathing. Picking up his drink, he didn’t bother with knocking , her people thought nudity taboos were as silly custom anyway. “I just got the news, the Federation has the Augments, and the Android is destroyed.”

    “it is of little matter” the Orion woman replied as her ‘servants’ dried her “A worthy cause such as yours, well, a simple lack of manpower-this is something that I can fix.” Matron B'renna Djohkar smiled at her host, despite the fur, he was quite a handsome specimen “Why don’t we retire and talk about this further…”
    "It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier." R.A.Heinlein

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



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