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Literary Challenge #60 : Redux 3.0

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  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited February 2015
    Stardate 90473.5
    TO: Takashi Kurita, Admiral, Starfleet Operations, Internal Division
    FROM: Kathryn Beringer, Captain, USS Solaris
    RE: Facility 4028

    Admiral,

    As requested, what follows is a security assessment for Facility 4028, located in the Ayala System, Regulus Sector Block, Beta Quadrant.

    In review: Facility 4028 is a maximum security detainment outpost built into a large asteroid orbiting Ayala IV. Constructed within the years 2340 and 2370, the facility was originally manned by standard security personnel from Starfleet Operations. All live personnel were replaced by I.S.I.S. (Inmate Security and Information System) in 2380. Simply put, Facility 4028 is manned by photonic personnel entirely.

    On Stardate 90389.2, USS Solaris was sent to Facility 4028 to transfer a Female Changling from holding to assist negotiations with a Dominion faction. During the transfer process, the facility was attacked by Dominion forces. An Away Team, including myself, repelled the assault, and discovered the I.S.I.S. computer core was compromised from without, allowing the Dominion forces to filtrate the facility. This also allowed several inmates to be freed from incarceration. The Away Team was able to secure the freed prisoners and bring I.S.I.S. back online.

    Based on first-hand experience, I.S.I.S. has been a capable program for the task of maintaining order within the facility. However, exclusive use of photonic personnel proved to be a liability to the Federation. It is not recorded (or unavailable) if similar incidents have occurred previously, but this singular event is evidence its eventuality is possible in the future.

    Recommendations:
    Facility 4028 be functioned, maintained, and serviced by non-photonic lifeforms, yet using photonic lifeforms as either a needed alternative or by choice (in accordance with the Photonic Lifeform Realization Act of 2399).

    Secondary entrance/exit barrier to the holding cells in the form of a physical door, in addition to the prolific shield instance.

    Defense patrol outside the facility in the form of either rotating naval defense ship or automated satellite(s).

    Admittedly, the above suggestions may be 'simplistic' in nature. Yet, are the most obvious recommendations considering the current state of the Facility in relation to relative success of the Dominion attack before it was thwarted from completion.

    Kathryn nodded as she sent the report.
  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited March 2015
    First and Fail

    She placed both arms on the rests of 'the Chair'. Kathryn smelled the faint odors of fresh paint, new carpet, and that slight burn from fabricated duriplast. She wiped clean a small console on the armrest of smudge marks from the tips of her fingers before realizing it would never stay clean. She smiled at the idea of her wiping the surface clean every few minutes with the cuff of her uniform and that action becoming the defining moment of her career with Solaris.

    It was a good ship with a reasonable history for his age. Being the last Excelsior class constructed in the twenty-fourth century was its own status, being the most recent in the class to receive a refit was another one. Now Kathryn Beringer was the newest Captain for this class of starship. Looking around at the bridge crew, she was proud to have almost 90 percent of the surviving crew from the Galatea follow her; most from their own request and several from her own recommendations. But Solaris was a larger ship, so she had to spend a lot of time getting acquainted with new crew during the refit process.

    She smiled as she absorbed the feeling of the ship and crew around her and imagined faceless crewpersons completing various tasks around the ship. Ian McKinnon's voice broke her chain of thought. "We are cleared from Space Dock local, switching to impulse."

    Kathryn sat straighter in her command seat. "Helm, ahead one-half impulse speed. Take us to LaGrange point beta in Neptune's orbit, then hold station."

    Ian looked back with raised eyebrows. When she returned his glance, he turned back around quickly. "Aye, Captain."

    Kathryn nodded to herself. It was her second order for the new ship, behind clearing Earth Space Dock. Ian was the newest of her bridge crew for alpha-shift. He was confident and hot-headed on occasion, but his dossier showed him to be a highly skilled starship pilot. Ian was also attractive in that 'jock' sort of way.

    She shook her head from thinking about him further and turned to her Andorian Chief Engineer. Thel Ythysi stood next to the chair at the console with a hand to his chin, clearly deep in thought. Kathryn could tell he was troubled, so she stood to meet him. "A smile for your thoughts?"

    Thel looked quickly from the console to Kathryn and back. "You would think, after all these decades, someone at S.C.E. would have made the Transwarp engines fool-proof."

    Kathryn rolled her eyes and sighed. "Surely, you don't think the rumors are true?"

    "Oh, I'm very sure they are not rumors, sir. 'First and fail', so they say. And my name is Thel."

    She feigned surprise. "Is that a joke?"

    The Andorian's antennae twitched. "Don't tell anyone."

    Kathryn smiled.

    Ian interrupted the activity on the bridge with his announcement. "Holding station at LaGrange point Beta, Captain."

    "Let's see if the rumors are true. Helm, plot a course for Deep Space Eight and engage Transwarp Drive."

    "Plot laid in, Transwarp Drive engaged in 5 ..."

    An audible hum slowly filled the room.

    "4 ..."

    Kathryn could feel the floor vibrate slightly.

    "3 ..."

    She darted to her chair and switched the main veiwscreen –

    "2 ..."

    -to a rear view camera. The nacelles started to glow.

    "1 ..."

    Kathryn clenched the arm rest pads with anticipation.

    "Warp."

    A small grinding sound like a bag of wrenches thrown into a spinning mixing machine underground was heard and the glow from the nacelles dimmed.

    Thel slapped his forehead and his console started to light up from damage reports.

    Kathryn nodded. "Huh. So I guess the rumors are true."

    ---

    Author's Note: This was an entry meant for ULC 4, which I already contributed to. The Prompt was also similar to LC 2 Taking Command which also has an entry from me. Yet, I couldn't let this story sit in limbo :)
  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited March 2015
    Chaos In Time

    Kathryn was running. Although running through corridors on a starship is also not recommended, even by Starfleet regulations, sometimes it was necessary depending on extreme situations. Now was one of those moments.

    Entering Shuttlebay One on the secondary hull, she literally skidded to a halt just past the main doors. The room was illuminated by a swirling vortex of impossibility. Wind howled from the center of the maelstrom and filled the cavernous shuttlebay, but only strong enough to force people to cover their eyes out of fear from random objects striking the face. Blue in color, the miasma tortured an area the size of a Type-15 Shuttlepod. Kathryn could tell the shuttlebay doors were open and saw a Type-8 shuttle moving away from the ship. It had not cleared the long tail of the Excelsior-class ship’s lower hull, but it was the reason for Kathryn's presence.

    Then she saw the Section 31 agent, looking at the shrinking shuttlecraft with a wicked-looking weapon in his hand. When she recognized him, she gasped. "You!"

    The agent quickly turned and recognized Kathryn quickly. "Captian, when is it?"

    The question was unexpected but she responded quickly. "92806.02!"

    He rushed to her. "You have to stop that shuttle!"

    "But -"

    A female voice yelled from within the churning chaos. "Kathryn, do it!"

    Looking, Kathryn's eyes widened as she could see herself within the tendrils of the storm. The Kathryn on the other side was surrounded by a darkened alleyway and cupping her hands to yell through the portal.

    Kathryn tapped her combadge. "Bridge, tractor the shuttle that left S-B-One."

    "Acknowledged", replied S’Rel. Within seconds, the aft tractor beam emitters activated surrounding the escaping shuttle in a blue beam that fixed it in place. The agent looked toward the shuttle as if to verify the command.

    Kathryn then ordered, "now bring it back to the shuttlebay."

    The agent turned back to Kathryn. "Captain, you must destroy that shuttle."

    "Excuse me?"

    "Kyle Retarius is on board that shuttle and cannot be allowed to live."

    Kathryn was incredulous. "I'm not killing someone just because you demand it."

    The agent stepped closer to the portal. "I understand what you think you know. But you've experienced his timeline before. You know he dies in New York, where you are then." He pointed toward the portal where the Kathryn on the other side stood dispassionate.

    "Then how is Kyle -"

    "Alternate timelines," the agent interrupted. "In this one, Kyle jumped into the portal, but the timelines have gotten crossed." He stepped closer to the portal. "Captain, Kyle Retarius is in the wrong timeline. The only way to untangle this mess is to destroy that shuttle."

    Kathryn stood defiant. "And if I refuse? What about this timeline?"

    The Kathryn within the temporal window spoke before the agent could respond. "Kathryn, you've been here before, you saw Kyle die. That is what is supposed to happen. That is what must happen now."

    Kathryn looked to the other few crewpersons nearby who may have heard the conversation. Her thoughts swirled like the storm in front of her. She thought of Margaret Retarius in the astrometrics lab. She thought about ordering the shuttle to be set free, of pushing Kyle back through the portal.

    "I -"

    She looked back to Kathryn on the other side of the portal who simply nodded. She knew herself. Those were her own words; she would say them if she had to. Closing her eyes, Kathryn tapped her combadge.

    "Captain to Bridge. Anthi, lock weapons onto the shuttle, fire at will."

    A bright orange beam lanced to the shuttle. It's shielding collapsed instantly and the beam destroyed the small ship just as quick.

    The agent turned to Kathryn. "Thank you Captain. I assure you that action will have temporal ripples, just as his death did previously."

    Kathryn looked up. "Get off my ship and go to hell."
  • zidanetribalzidanetribal Member Posts: 218 Arc User
    edited March 2016
    Literary Challenge #2: Taking Command

    LC02: Department Head-aches
    Captain's Log, Stardate 85281.14. The Odyssey Star Cruiser is a massive vessel unlike any ever fielded before by Starfleet. To crew this vessel requires 2500 people to manage its impressive array of systems, and to manage the 2500 crewmembers requires an impressive array of skilled officers. My crew and I remain at Earth Spacedock to facilitate the transfer of our new senior officers.
    ===

    From the outside, the USS Lord English cut an imposing figure against the backdrop of the planet Earth. One thousand meters of Federation valor and technological progress, the Odyssey-class star cruiser inspired awe and admiration among the dock workers and Starfleet personnel who gazed upon it. Inside, however...

    "Extreme caution. The USS Lord English is a quarantined vessel by order of Starfleet Command. Do not board."

    The assistant chief medical officer of Earth Spacedock stood over the collapsed and convulsing form of Vice Admiral Remus Lee, commanding officer of USS Lord English. With him was the ship's first officer, Commander Kay Taylor. The medical officer turned to Commander Taylor.

    "Symptoms of dyspepsia and diarrhea, some internal hemorrhaging, some cutaneous edema. The cause is unknown, but the sickness is spreading rapidly."
    "We have 470 people who have fallen ill," Taylor replied. "Ever since our doctor resigned, our medical staff has been reshuffled multiple times, so we have not been able to keep ahead of this epidemic."

    The medical officer scanned Lee over with his tricorder.

    "He is still alive, but unconscious. We will need to change him out of his uniform. Do you know when these symptoms first started appearing?"
    "About this morning, around 0800 hours," Taylor noted. "Admiral Lee had scheduled our new senior officers to meet with him before the rest of the new crew arrived so they could get a head start on the crew transfers."

    The medical officer turned his eyepiece to Taylor.

    "Starfleet officers are supposed to be given a thorough medical examination before transfer. However, it may be possible that one of the new senior officers is the source of the contagion."

    The medical officer began cutting away at Lee's uniform.

    "Commander Taylor, it falls to you to find the source and contain it before the rest of the ship falls ill. I will continue to monitor the admiral's condition and will contact you if there is any change."

    So saying, the medical officer resumed his duties and left Taylor to her own duties.

    ---

    Commander Taylor and Chief Engineer T'Shaanat met in the ready room of the Lord English, where Taylor briefed T'Shaanat on the situation.

    "The assistant chief medical officer's assessment is correct," T'Shaanat noted. "As the new senior officers are the only people who have boarded this vessel in the past twelve hours, they are the most logical culprits."
    "I don't want to falsely accuse anyone, especially a Starfleet officer that I would serve with aboard the Lord English," Taylor replied. "That said, it's important that we find out just what's causing this epidemic."
    "We should take the precaution of confining the new arrivals to quarters, if indeed one of the officers is a carrier of an unknown pathogen," T'Shaanat suggested.

    Taylor scratched her head in a concerned manner.

    "We are trying to make our department heads feel welcome," she noted. "I don't want their first impression of the Lord English to be a cage."
    "As Starfleet officers, their personal opinions should not be shaped by unseen events," T'Shaanat mused. "However, it would be wise to prevent tensions aboard ship from rising. May I suggest we meet with the department heads personally to inform them of the situation?"

    Taylor nodded in agreement.

    "I think this would work. It would also allow us to get to know the department heads."

    Having decided on a course of action, Taylor and T'Shaanat left to find the first of the new senior officers.

    ---

    "Ensign Kira? May we have a word with you?"

    Chief Science Officer Kira was found by Taylor and T'Shaanat on Holodeck 3 training in Klingon calisthenics. After a few moments of finishing off opponents, she turned to the two commanders.

    "Do you need something?"
    "Are you Kira, daughter of Korvis, serial number MS-373-601?" T'Shaanat inquired.
    "I think if I wasn't, you two wouldn't be here. Who are you?"
    "This is Chief Engineer T'Shaanat and I am First Officer Taylor of the Lord English," Taylor stated. "I'm sure they teach you etiquette at the Academy, Ensign."

    Ensign Kira dropped her combat glove and apologetically came over to the two officers.

    "Sorry, commanders, I had not expected you to meet me personally," she said. "What can I do for you, sirs?"
    "We are attempting to find the origins of an unknown pathogen which is currently spreading throughout the crew," T'Shaanat stated. "As the new department heads are the only people to have boarded the ship in the past twenty-four hours, we are making inquiries to determine all the actions you've taken before boarding the ship."

    Ensign Kira scratched her head in reminiscence.

    "I can't say anything really specific, but I haven't left Earth at all since I graduated from the Academy this year. I spent all my time between Club 602, Paris, London, and Seoul while waiting for a posting, so when one opened up on the Lord English, I jumped."

    Taylor's jaw dropped two millimeters at the admission of Kira's ambition.

    "You're fresh out of the Academy and you're already a department head?"
    "I ranked consistently in the top 5% in the Sciences track at the Academy and graduated summa TRIBBLE laude," Ensign Kira explained. "I had a choice between five Science officer positions on ships and stations from Deep Space 9 to the USS Hood, but when I heard that Vice Admiral Lee was looking for a Chief Science Officer, I applied immediately, was accepted, and came onto the Lord English right away."
    "What made you choose the Lord English as your posting, ensign?" T'Shaanat inquired.
    "I've heard of the acclaimed heroics of Admiral Lee and his stalwart officers on the Klingon, Romulan, and Cardassian fronts, and I've always wanted to meet them in person," Ensign Kira replied. "Now that I've met you two esteemed commanders, I can see that the stories of his deeds are true. May I meet him now?"

    T'Shaanat's expression did not change, although Taylor blushed a little.

    "Unfortunately, Admiral Lee is currently unavailable due to the medical emergency," Taylor stated. "We would suggest that you voluntarily confine yourself to your quarters until we can find a solution to the situation."

    Ensign Kira nodded in agreement.

    "I will do that, Commanders. Thank you for informing me, and I hope Admiral Lee gets better."

    ---

    "Excuse me, are you Ensign Vubenolli?"

    Chief Medical Officer Vubenolli was located in the ship's lounge hall. She was violently devouring a cheesecake when Taylor and T'Shaanat came up to her. After polishing off another slice, she looked up at the two commanders.

    "You are commanders," Ensign Vubenolli stated. "I am Vubenolli. I am Pakled."
    "Nurse Vubenolli, there is an unknown pathogen spreading around the ship," Taylor said. "We are investigating all the senior officers that transported onto the ship in the past twenty-four hours. Can you tell us what you were doing before you came aboard ship?"

    Ensign Vubenolli gestured to some pie plates.

    "Eating."
    "Were you eating pies at your previous postings?" T'Shaanat asked.
    "Yes," Ensign Vubenolli affirmed. "Pies are good for eating. Eating happens when I am not working. The doctor from Spacedock will not allow me into sickbay."

    T'Shaanat looked over the rest of the pie dishes. Most came from the Lord English, but some came from other planets. She picked up a pie plate with markings from Argelius Prime.

    "Why are you collecting plates from your previous postings?"

    Vubenolli rolled her eyes back in her head in reminiscence.

    "Starfleet sends me to many places to help people. It is hard to remember where I go. I keep plates from places with good pies. When can I enter sickbay? I want to work."
    "The sickbay is currently off-limits while the Medical officer from Earth Spacedock is working on the epidemic," Taylor stated. "Do you think you can confine yourself to quarters until the situation passes?"

    The look on Ensign Vubenolli's face told the two commanders that this was the wrong question to ask of her.

    "Starfleet allows Pakleds to join. Starfleet does not allow Pakleds to work. Pakleds are good workers. Do not make fun of Pakleds."

    So saying, Ensign Vubenolli returned to her pies in a huff.

    ---

    "Well, madams, what can I do for you?"

    Chief of Security Drevis Indoril Nethri was found by the two commanders lying supine in the arboretum. As they came closer to him, he sat up and straightened his uniform.

    "Lieutenant JG Nethri, we are investigating an unknown pathogen which has infiltrated our ship through a method currently to be determined," T'Shaanat informed. "Where were you before you boarded the Lord English?"
    "I was on the USS Indianapolis as a security officer," Lieutenant Nethri replied. "After the dust-up in the Orias system, I was put on the inactive list by a broken back. Starfleet Command gave me the opportunity to choose my next assignment once I recovered. When I heard about the opening on the Lord English, I remembered how Admiral Lee handled that tough situation at Treasure Trading Station and decided to serve under him as his new Security Chief."

    T'Shaanat looked over his medical records next.

    "Your species is not listed in the Federation medical databanks. Due to the nature of the current situation, we would prefer if you confined yourself to quarters for the duration of the quarantine. We will be willing to accommodate you."

    Lieutenant Nethri stretched out on the arboretum again.

    "Just give me a few more minutes?" he asked. "I don't know when the next time I'll be able to be in a natural setting. I haven't seen one this verdant since I left my home planet."
    "Where do you come from, Lieutenant Nethri?" Taylor asked with curiosity.
    "My home planet is far from Federation space," he ruminated. "so far that I would die of old age before getting back. My people aren't spacefarers, but I was caught in some sort of unnatural phenomenon that deposited me on a desolate world near Mantilles. If I wasn't rescued by a passing freighter, I would have died on that planet."

    Lieutenant Nethri closed his eyes and began to drowse.

    "I probably would still be part of that freighter's crew if Admiral Lee didn't visit Treasure Trading Station that day. Looking at him then, I knew right there that joining Starfleet would have been the best career move for me. Once we get clear off this crisis, I will have to thank him personally... Zzz..."

    The two commanders thought it best to leave Lieutenant Nethri to sleep.

    ---

    "Whoever you are, I need you to watch your step."

    Chief of Operations Kovat Vystan was working in Engineering on a giant piece of equipment when he was found by Commanders Taylor and T'Shaanat.

    "Lieutenant JG Vystan, is that correct?" Taylor asked.
    "You must be Executive Office Taylor and Chief Engineer T'Shaanat," Lieutenant Vystan replied. "I hear you're checking up on that nasty bug that has been going around the ship. Be careful as you enter."

    Taylor and T'Shaanat stepped gingerly over the exposed wires extruding from the machine in the middle of Engineering as they moved closer to Lieutenant Vystan.

    "That is a correct assessment, Lieutenant Vystan," T'Shaanat answered. "Where were you before you came aboard ship?"
    "Nowhere important," he replied. "There's a reason there aren't many Cardassians in Starfleet, and it all boils down to our bad history with the Federation. I've been overhauling Earth Spacedock's computer systems for over a year now because Starfleet captains still don't trust Cardassians much. I should be glad that Admiral Lee accepted my application, but this pathogen's probably going to make my tour a short one."

    Changing the topic, Taylor pointed at the giant machine.

    "What are you working on, Lieutenant?" she asked placatingly.

    Lieutenant Vystan stared at her through his optical sensor.

    "It's a chronometric computer core, using a temporal processor and chroniton-enhanced memory. I made it myself using a standard Type 4 computer and some of the chronometric equipment from the science lab."

    T'Shaanat looked the core over.

    "The function seems sound, but I don't recall you getting permission to install any experimental devices."

    Lieutenant Vystan brushed off the comment.

    "Most of the operations staff is ill. Since I won't be able to handle all the ship's processes alone, I had to cobble together an assistant that will keep all the processes running while I put everything in their paces. It's set one second in the future so that anything I do that causes a major failure can be corrected before it happens."
    "Would this affect the health of the crew in any way?" Taylor asked.
    "It's not the cause of the illness, commanders," Lieutenant Vystan replied. "I only put it together after my operations teams called in sick. Now I have to do all their work."
    "With all due respect," T'Shaanat warned, "changes to ship's operations must be cleared with the chief engineer before being implemented. Now due to the current situation, I would prefer that you confine yourself to quarters."

    Lieutenant Vystan's gaze turned to T'Shaanat.

    "With all due respect, Commander, I would prefer not to. Whether or not we will be able to leave Earth in this ship, it would be efficient to at least get it ready to leave. I am here to make that happen, and I know that you will not order me to stay in quarters."

    Having called their bluff, Lieutenant Vystan returned to his work, leaving the commanders speechless.

    ---

    Commander Taylor had spent the greater part of the day with Commander T'Shaanat searching for the cause of the illness without result. The senior officer had all checked out in terms of being patient zero. She hoped that she would resolve the crisis soon before the whole crew fell ill. It would definitely be the worst way for a ship to have a maiden voyage. For now though she would need to eat. She had forgone all her meals tracking and questioning all the department heads. She made her way to the lounge where Ensign Vubenolli was still face-deep in cheesecake. Might as well join the club, she thought to herself.

    "One slice New York Cheesecake."

    The replicator created a slice of cheesecake which Taylor took to Ensign Vubenolli's table. She attempted to strike up friendly conversation with the Chief Medical Officer.

    "So, Ensign, how is the cheesecake?"

    Ensign Vubenolli did not respond from her stack of collected plates.

    She must still be angry, Taylor thought as she raised her fork. As she was about to bite down, however, she noticed that the head of her fork was discolored in relation to the handle. On closer inspection, Taylor noticed that the head was made of a different material than that of standard starship utensils. Taylor raised Vubenolli out of her cheesecake.

    "Ensign, what do you make of the head of this fork?"

    The Pakled chief medical officer stared severely at the utensil. After moments, she pulled out a similar material pie plate from her collection. Taylor's eyes widened in disbelief.

    "Where did you get that plate, ensign?"

    The Pakled struggled to form her words. After a while, she spit out two words.

    "'aucdet IX."

    She followed up by spitting up three teeth and projectile vomiting before collapsing back onto her cheesecake.

    ===
    First Officer's Log, supplemental. We were able to trace the cause of the illness to an exotic parasite that had recently been stored at the 'aucdet IX medical facility. It seems that some hibernatory forms of the parasite had evaded containment by hiding in the station's replicator system, and a contaminated plate was then recycled into the Lord English's replicators, spreading into the ship's food. Chief Medical Officer Vubenolli was the last victim of the parasite; she will have to recover at Earth Spacedock due to an excessive number of parasites in her system, but ESD's infirmary staff informs me that she, like Vice Admiral Lee and the rest of the crew, will fully recover.

    ---

    Solve one problem and another takes its place, Commander Taylor thought to herself. With the quarantine lifted, the Lord English prepared for its maiden voyage, but its assigned Chief Medical Officer would not make the journey with her as she was placed on mandatory sick leave. She ruminated over the situation as the bridge crew underwent final checks, As the ship began leaving spacedock, however, the ship began receiving a hail.

    "On screen," Lee ordered.

    The gaunt face of Earth Spacedock's assistant chief medical officer appeared on the screen.

    "Admiral, are you responding well to the treatment?" he asked.
    "Why yes, thank you," Lee replied. "Your... unorthodox treatments were highly effective on me and the other affected crew."
    "It is the best possible outcome to have occurred. Admiral, it has come to my attention that your ship is currently without a chief medical officer. I am currently forwarding an application to the position to your first officer."

    This unexpected news pleased Lee and Taylor.

    "My I ask why you wish to become Lord English's chief medical officer?" Taylor asked.
    "It was Admiral Lee and his officers which had freed me from the Collective during the temporal incursion in the Quadra Sigma system. I owe him my freedom and my second chance at life."
    "You are welcome, friend," Lee noted, "but I didn't catch your name. What is it?"
    "Before my assimilation at Wolf 359, I was known as Edmund Tadakatsu Honda. I now go by my Borg designation of Four of Thirteen."
    "Well then, doctor, come aboard my ship," Lee invited. "I'll leave the final decision up to my first officer, but I'm sure you'd make a good fit. I hope especially your skill with traditional medicine matches that of your skill in immunotherapy nanoprobes."
    Post edited by zidanetribal on
  • zidanetribalzidanetribal Member Posts: 218 Arc User
    edited March 2016
    Literary Challenge #3: My Haven

    LC03: Natural 20
    Captain's Log, Stardate 85359.7. Our rescue mission to Donatu V has fortunately been cut short when the reported 300-strong Klingon invasion force turned into the 300-strong defecting force of disgraced Colonel J'Kor and the members of his discommended house. Diplomats have been dispatched to help resettle J'Kor's followers; meanwhile, the Lord English has been ordered to stand by at Donatu until further notice. This has given the crew some unexpected downtime with which to pursue personal interests.

    ===

    As the caravan approached the arrow-riddled bodies of the scouts' two horses, four goblins appeared from the brush and attacked.

    "Battle stations!" the caravan's leader cried as he readied his greataxe. His three companions joined the fight, and soon three goblins were dead and the fourth was routing.

    "Take that one alive," the leader ordered. "He may have important information!"
    "Aye, Admiral! Disabling target!" one of his companions shouted as she sent an arrow into the goblin's left knee.
    "It's still getting away, Admiral!" the rearguard companion shouted. "Take it down!"

    The leader extended his greataxe to catch the goblin's right leg. Yanking the axe backwards, the leader critically tripped the goblin, who went down in howls of pain. The other companions caught up with the leader.

    "Great job, Admiral!" the archer smiled. "You got him."
    "Got him nothing! You folded his leg in half the other way, Admiral!" the rearguard shouted.
    "People, people!" The leader exclaimed. "I may be an admiral on the bridge, but in Holodeck 4, just call me Steiner, the noble fighter."

    ---

    Vice Admiral Remus Lee (fighter) led his party, consisting of Commander Kay Taylor (ranger), Chief of Operations Kovat Vystan (rogue), and Chief Science Officer Kira (wizard), deeper into the goblin's hideout in search of the missing scouts. The party voiced their concerns about their situation.

    "Can we trust the information we got from the captive?" Kovat questioned. "He was not in the best of shape when we questioned him."
    "In the program's lore, goblins are cowardly and selfish but not very intelligent," Lee replied. "A goblin in the situation like we encounter would have come clean in an attempt to save his own skin instead of staying loyal to some boss or other. His intel is most likely good."
    "But he's dead now, isn't he?" Kovat smirked as his gaze turned to Kira. The Klingon took umbrage.
    "Pardon me for attempting to use first aid in a tricorder-less fantasy world. How was I supposed to know he would have a fatal allergic reaction?"

    Further discussion on goblin physiology was cut short by Commander Taylor returning from her reconnaissance mission with a warg in tow.

    "Adm- I mean Steiner, K-CROSS reporting for duty," Taylor reported. "I've found the room where the goblin leader and his guards are hiding. I've also found three wargs and befriended them. Isn't that right, Ciel?"

    She petted the warg on the head, eliciting a happy pant from the warg in the face of the disbelief of the two non-Humans. Lee drew their collective attention back to him.

    "Now that we know where the big boss is, we can rescue the scouts and get back to the caravan in no time."

    Kira raised her hand to get Lee's attention.

    "Speaking of the caravan: if we are all in here, who's guarding the caravan?"

    ---

    The four officers found themselves in quite a dilemma. A particularly beefy goblin had taken command of the goblin horde upon the death of the leader and threatened to toss a hostage to his death unless promised one hundred gold coins and safe passage out. The officers deliberated amongst themselves.

    "We cannot allow this cretin to extort us this way," Kira complained. "Starfleet policy prohibits negotiations with terrorists, and these goblin things are clearly up to no good."
    "Besides," Kovat noted. "There is no guarantee that Beefgoblin here will hold up his end of the bargain. We did drive his leader into the jaws of our wargs."
    "Don't forget the two goblins that died to allergic reactions," Taylor jibed to Kira, who bristled.
    "It's not my fault whoever programmed this scenario made goblins allergic to standard analgesics," she pouted.

    Lee waved off everyone's concerns.

    "Regardless of whatever missteps we've taken," Lee noted, "our priority is the safety of the hostage. Now, K-CROSS, you're sure that the room has no exits from which Beefgoblin here can escape from?"

    Taylor pulled out a surprisingly well-drawn map.

    "The only other exit from the room is a ledge which you collapsed when we first entered the cave because you tried climbing on it."

    Kira and Kovat snickered upon recalling the event.

    "If he can't escape, then we can deal with him once we rescue the hostage," Lee said. "Now, Kira, take this bag of gold to Beefgoblin. Once you get close enough, throw it in his face."

    Just then, Commander T'Shaanat's voice came on the comm system.

    "Admiral, the USS Ark Royal is hailing us saying they have taken Colonel J'Kor and his followers aboard. They request we escort them back to Sol."

    Lee leaned on his axe in resignation.

    "Acknowledged, T'Shaanat. Tell Ark Royal that we'll be ready to go in fifteen minutes. Lee out. Computer, save and exit."

    The goblin cave dissipated into free photons and was replaced by holodeck emitters. Lee took off the heavier parts of his armor while the other officers discarded their weapons.

    "Well, what do you think? Would you come back with me to Holodeck 4 next time we get some downtime?"

    Taylor nodded appreciatively while the other two officers were less committed.

    "I'm a bit curious as to why you'd engage in such a violent program," Kovat noted, "although the scheming you do could rival a Cardassian's plans. It's a rather... Klingon program for a Federation officer. No offense, Commander Kira."
    "None taken," Kira replied. "I just hope next time you'll let me take the axe rather than be the team's healer."
    "I for one appreciate a good fantasy setting," Taylor quipped. "Next time you take some time off in Holodeck 4, count me in, adm- Steiner!"

    The four officers left Holodeck 4 garrulously.

    ===
    Captain's log, supplemental. The defection of Colonel J'Kor has been a great windfall in our stalemate in Eta Eridani, as the Colonel has brought with him enough Klingon war materiel to supply an entire fleet, without which the Klingons would not be able to make any major offensives for some time. The Lord English will be busy assisting J'Kor's house to resettle away from the war.
    Post edited by zidanetribal on
  • zidanetribalzidanetribal Member Posts: 218 Arc User
    edited October 2015
    Literary Challenge #4: Passing Grades

    LC04: Testing Positive
    Captain's Log, Stardate 85357.86. The fighting on the Klingon front is on the wane, allowing our forces in Eta Eridani to catch their breath. Starfleet Command is taking this opportunity to rotate out our wearied front-line personnel and send in fresh officers. The nature of the war means they will quickly lose that new officer smell, but for now the Lord English will savor their naive optimism as we take them to Starbase K-7.

    ===

    From their table at K-7, Vice Admiral Lee and Commander Taylor watched the flow of academy graduates as they scurried to their next assignment. Though some of the newly minted ensigns were fearful about being sent to the Klingon Front, most of them exuded a barely contained optimism about going into space. Lee and Taylor watched a particularly ebullient Grazerite ensign using vigorous gestures to communicate her high spirits.

    "It's good to see such young and vibrant new officers ready to dash off into the new frontier," Lee noted, causing Taylor to flick a crumb of white bread in response.
    "You and I aren't much older than most of these ensigns," she noted. "There, but for the grace of God, go we."

    The pair continued to watch the Grazerite as she engaged an Edosian ensign and a Saurian ensign in gesticulating conversation.

    "My first assignment, and it's to the USS Kirk!" she said with glee. "That's frontline duty, right there!"
    "I thought Grazerites were supposed to be pacifists," the Saurian bemoaned. "They assigned me to Starbase 24. Did you know the Klingons attacked there three times in the past five days? I heard it got so bad there that they stopped repairing the station and live out of runabouts and shuttles!"
    "That's fish feed," the Edosian contended. "Starbase 24 is too crucial to the defense of the Sirius Sector Block to abandon. They probably just use the shuttles to swap out damaged parts of the base with prefabricated parts."
    "It's a no-win situation for me, that's what it is," the Saurian lamented.
    "What do you know about no-win situations?" the Grazerite challenged. "You completed your Kobayashi Maru by relieving yourself of command on health issues and taking a shuttle away from the ship. Too bad the Dominion chased your shuttle down."

    The Edosian held the Saurian and the Grazerite apart before they came to blows.

    "Let it go, chief, we can't all die heroically in battle. Now, let's go get some Aldebaran whiskey because we're now officers."

    The Edosian led the Saurian away, although the Saurian threw in a parting jibe.

    "Yeah, I bet your psych test was you growing old and dying in bed!" he threw at the Grazerite as he retreated into the distance.

    ---

    Lee turned to see Taylor resting her head on the table with a coy look in her eyes.

    "Are you getting memories of your cadet life floating around in your head, admiral?"
    "What do you mean by that, Kay?" Lee asked.
    "Come on, Remus," Taylor said, flicking another crumb at his moustache. "You heard those ensigns talking about their Kobayashi Maru and their psych test and your face made that look you always do when you have a story to tell."

    Caught in the act, Lee decided to come clean to Taylor.

    "Alright then, what would you like to hear about? My Kobayashi Maru?"
    "I'm more interested in your psych test. Kobayashi is about how you deal with a no-win scenario, but I'm more interested in how you dealt with your greatest fear."
    "Ah, a TRIBBLE, hm? Alright, let me set the mood. Picture Philadelphia in the spring..."

    ---

    Some time before the present...

    ---

    "Ugh, that was a slog."

    When Starfleet Academy applicant Remus Lee expected to take the psych test, he did not think he would have to be strapped to a giant brainwave reading machine for three hours answering questions about vague psychological concepts. It was physically and mentally exhausting and TAC Officer T'Shanik had told him only that it would take quite some time before he would receive news about his total scores and whether it would be good enough for the Academy. Lee also wondered what the psych test determined was his greatest fear as he stepped out the door.

    "Look out, kid!"

    Remus felt someone shove him forward as he stepped on a tube. Flying forward onto the sidewalk, he could hear the clattering of construction materials falling to the ground. He got up and looked back to see a Starfleet officer pinned under a big slab of durasteel.

    "Oh God!" the officer cried. "Somebody help me! Hell, it hurts! Kid, pull me out quickly! I can't feel my legs! I need somebody! Anybody!"

    Lee attempted to lift the durasteel off the officer but lacked the strength to do so. He then tried to pull the officer out of the rubble. This did not go well, as the officer's exposed arm came off with a sickening tear. Blood began flowing freely as the officer went into death spasms. Remus looked around the empty street for assistance.

    "Help! Somebody! There's a man down! Medical teams! Anybody! What should I do?"

    Lee dropped the arm and vomited. As he tried to steady himself, TAC officer T'Shanik proffered a hand to help him up.

    "TAC Officer T'Shanik!" Remus yelled. "We've got to get help! The officer, and the crushing, and the blood, and, good gravy I killed somebody!"
    "Control your emotions, Mr. Lee," said TAC Officer T'Shanik. "The situation is under control."
    "But, but, the collapse, and the arm, and the spasms and the screaming!"
    "Mr. Lee, this is all part of your psych test.

    Remus did a double take.

    "Wait, what?" he said, startled.
    "Our psychographic profile of you determined that your greatest fear was to be personally responsible for the death of another person," T'Shanik explained. "We fabricated a false psych test apparatus for you while we set up the real assessment outside the building so as to expose you to such a situation without being aware of it."
    "You're telling me that the accident and the shoving and the metal slabs were all part of the test?" Remus said with disbelief.
    "That is correct, Mr. Lee. Based on preliminary observations, your combined scores qualify you to attend Starfleet Academy."

    The construction debris dematerialized back into photonic material as the crushed officer stood back up and dusted himself off with his good arm. He picked up the other arm off the ground and held out its hand to Remus.

    "I lost the real one during the Dominion War at AR-558," the officer explained. "The name's Commander J. W. Weatherman, and I'm glad to see an eager young man like you pass your entrance exam. Put 'er there."

    Remus gingerly shook Commander Weatherman's artificial hand.

    ---

    "Wow, that was intense," Taylor gaped. "I thought I had it rough when I was trapped on a holodeck for ninety minutes because my profile determined I was afraid of abandonment."
    "That's the psych test for you," Lee replied. "Forcing you to confront your fears is how they break you in as Starfleet officers."
    "Maybe I should asked the other senior officers what their tests were like," Taylor mused. "It would bring us closer together."

    Just then, alarms sounded as the voice of Starbase K-7's Commander Wildman came on the comm system.

    "Attention all hands! A Klingon battle group has been sighted approaching the Aldebaran system! All available ships are to depart within the half-hour! Wildman out."

    Lee and Taylor got up from their seats.

    "Looks like trouble's back," Lee stated as he tapped his combadge. "You'll have to ask them later. Lord English, two to beam up."

    ===
    Captain's log, supplemental. The Lord English and four other ships have engaged a similarly-sized Klingon battle group on the outskirts of the Aldebaran system. Neither side has any discernable advantage, and the battle has quickly devolved into ships chasing each other through the system. This is not the type of combat I would have first exposed our own new ensigns to, but sometimes it cannot be helped.
    Post edited by zidanetribal on
  • azniadeetazniadeet Member Posts: 1,863 Arc User
    edited September 2015
    LC: Freestyle.

    Perpendicular. (pt1)

    "What do we know about the Cormai?" Aznia asked the question openly to her senior staff in the Federalist's briefing room.

    "The Cormai are an advanced civilization, but have apparently shown no interest in space faring technology." Lt. Atom informed the Captain, "The Romulans and Zakdorn have both visited their planet, but we will be the first Federation ship to make contact with them. Reports suggest that the Cormai believe they share their planet with another species called the Ketallians, but no evidence suggests that they actually exist."

    Quallo chimed in, "According to what I've heard, the Cormai will have conversations with people who aren't there. They will leave vacant places at meeting tables for the Ketallian to join them. They have an obsessive devotion toward these invisible counterparts, yet no physical evidence has even been presented that suggests there is anyone actually there. It's as if they have an entire society of imaginary friends."

    "Fascinating." Aznia responded, "Perhaps we can be the first to make contact with the Ketallian people as well."

    "Captain," Span interjected, "We have no evidence that such a race exists. Perhaps a more skeptical approach is warranted."

    "Skepticism is always healthy, Mr. Span," Aznia reassured the Vulcan doctor, "but if the Cormai insist that there is somebody there, I'm going to try to take their word for it. Our mission is to seek out new life, and this sounds like a fantastic opportunity. For the time being, I'd like us to operate with respect and open-mindedness toward the claims of the Cormai, however outlandish they may seem. Is that understood?"

    The crew nodded.

    "Alright." Aznia smiled, "A first contact mission is a nice change of pace for us. This is why we're all out here. Let's savor the opportunity and do everything we can to make a new friend. Dismissed."

    ---

    The Federalist arrived in orbit of the Cormai home world, "A hail is coming in from the surface." Quallo reported.

    "On screen." Deet stood from her chair.

    "Greetings," a tall, slim, grey skinned man stood in the left half of the view screen; his equally grey hair draped long and free from his head down past his shoulders. His appearance was quite humanoid, if devoid of any color. "I am Coadjunct Ooralin, Leader of the Cormai People." he gestured to the empty right half of the view screen, "This is Coadjunct Leatur, Leader of the Ketallian People." he smiled, toward the vacant area beside him, as if listening to someone speak."

    Aznia watched the Cormai leader carefully for an indication that he was waiting for a response. She did not want to appear to interrupt the Ketallian if they were issuing a greeting.

    "Well, Captain?" Ooralin suddenly cut in from the silence.

    "I'm sorry, Coadjunct..." she paused, rethinking her presentation. She turned to the vacant area of the screen. "I am sorry to say that we can not see or hear you, Coadjunct Leatur." she turned back to Ooralin, "Could you please repeat your counterpart's question so that I may answer?"

    Ooralin sighed, "This is most frustrating, Captain. Every visitor we get insists that there is nobody here when they are clearly standing right before us!"

    "I apologize if I've offended you, but I certainly don't wish to insist that nobody is there; only that I can not see them." Aznia reiterated, turning to the vacant side of screen. "I would like to learn more about the Ketallians, and to see if contact can be established between us."

    Ooralin nodded. "I appreciate that, Captain. Perhaps you would join us here. We'd love to have you and your crew as guests."

    "I look forward to it." Aznia happily responded.

    The grey man on screen simply nodded his head as the viewscreen cut out.

    Aznia turned to her science officer, "Atom, what do you make of it."

    "I am conducting scans of the planet surface, and the city centers seem to be populated uniformly with Cormai life signs. There are no indications of another sentient species." The Android reported.

    Aznia stepped behind the Android's station, peering over his shoulder at the console. "Atom, I want you to continue scanning this planet. Don't confine your scans to lifeforms. Look for anything unusual. I'd like a report of your findings by the time we get back."

    "Understood." The android confidently replied to the order.

    "Span, Quallo, I'd like you to accompany me to the planet's surface. Bring a class three medical tricorder. Let's see if we can get some close range scans." Aznia turned to her first officer, "Elsie, you have the bridge."

    ---

    The officers transported to the planet's surface and were greeted by Coadjunct Ooralin.

    "Thank you for joining us, Captain." He gestured to an empty space next to him, "Of course, no introduction is needed for Coadjunct Leatur..."

    Aznia gazed toward the empty space, doing her best to address the nothingness she perceived, "Hello. We look forward to learning more about your people as we visit. We hope this can be the beginning of a strong partnership... I hate to intrude, but would you permit us to conduct some scans of you, so that we can try to learn a bit more about why we can not perceive you?"

    Ooralin nodded, "Of course. You may proceed."

    Span removed his tricorder, "Please stand directly in front of me." he said to thin air. About 30 seconds of intensive scanning passed before Span closed the tricorder. "I detect nothing, Captain." he reported.

    The Coadjunct simply shook his head, "You're scanning for our kind of matter. The Ketallians exist in a different realm."

    "How do you interact with them?" Aznia inquired.

    "We see them almost as clearly as we see you. Frankly, I don't understand why outsiders can not perceive them."

    "Can you touch them?" Span asked.

    Ooralin shook his head from side to side, "No. Our matter passes right through them, just as their matter passes right through us. We have our own cities, our own buildings, our own things... but we share this planet. We communicate and share information. They are as much a part of our culture as we are a part of theirs."

    Span raised an eyebrow, intrigued.

    "Would you hold up your hand." Ooralin asked Span.

    Span obliged.

    "Five digits... interesting." The Coadjunct was momentarily fascinated by Span's Vulcan hand, holding his own four fingered hand up beside it. Returning to his train of thought, he continued, "Hold your hand behind your back so that I can not see it. Leatur will stand behind you, and will tell me how many of your digits you hold up."

    Span nodded, he held up one finger behind his back.

    "One." The Coadjunct correctly reported.

    Aznia raised and eyebrow toward Span, somewhat impressed. "I'm suspecting that wasn't just a lucky guess."

    The tour of the Cormai capitol continued, as they were surprised by the architectural style. It was as if pieces of structures were intentionally missing, as if another building would stand in a vacant space between two busy structures. Roads would end abruptly in places with seemingly no logical terminus. It was as if half of this society just didn't exist. As curious as it seemed, the inhabitants that they encountered were friendly, and seemed to appreciate the Starfleet officers' open mindedness.

    "Why hasn't your culture reached out into space?" Aznia asked the Ooralin.

    "The Ketallians have engaged in some space travel, but they have found very little of interest, we assumed there was very little intelligent life out there. Aside from mining expiditions, they've found little of interest. Of course, the Cormai can not travel in Ketallian ships, as we do not interact with their matter. We were actually very surprised when visitors began to arrive at our planet, as we assumed we were the only species in our region of space."

    "Would you like to visit our ship, Coadjunct?" Aznia offered.

    "It would be a great honor, Captain."

    Aznia tapped her commbadge. "Deet to Federalist, four to beam up."

    Aznia led the Coadjunct on a tour of the ship, they stopped at a crew lounge to appreciate the view of the planet below.

    "It's an amazing perspective to see one's home from above. I am so grateful for this opportunity." he stated in awe.

    "Perhaps you'd like to see..." Aznia was interrupted by a klaxon mid sentence.

    "Walesa to Deet, we're getting a distress call from a Romulan Science Ship on the outer edge of this solar system.

    "What are the Romulans doing here?" Aznia turned to Ooralin.

    Ooralin shrugged, "I know nothing about this."

    "Coadjunct, we'll return you to the planet before we leave to..."

    Ooralin interrupted, "I think this may be important business to my people. I'd like to accompany you."

    "Very well." Aznia tapped her commbadge "Walesa, lay in a course. I'll be right there..."

    ---

    The Federalist arrived at the scene of distress, a Romulan science vessel was being thrown asunder by a spacial distortion.

    Atom chimed in, "The Romulan vessel's singularity core appears to be destabilizing. The space around the vessel is being pulled out of phase."

    "Hail the Romulan ship." Aznia ordered.

    "Starfleet!" a Romulan Subcommander pleaded, "We've been drawn into a gravemetric distortion. We seem to be anchored here by a cross-focal point in the rift. We're losing structural integrity!"

    Aznia ordered, "Quallo, ready a tractor beam. See if we can pull them out of there."

    "I can't get a lock captain, the space around the ship is too distorted." Quallo responded.

    "How about transporters?" Aznia inquired.

    "We can't drop our shields! It's all that's keeping our ship together!" The Romulan subcommander interjected, "But if you fire a photon torpedo at the focal point of the rift, I think we can survive the blast and break whatever is tethering us here."

    "It should work, Captain." Atom answered.

    Aznia turned back to Tactical, "Quallo, prepare a torpedo!"

    "Wait, no!" Ooralin interrupted. "There are Ketallian mining ships in this area! If you start firing weapons, people could be killed."

    "Coadjunct, we need some way to detect those ships... quickly." Aznia insisted.

    "Let me access a communications array? I'll contact traffic control on our homeworld and have the position of their ships patched through to your sensors."

    "Dewoh, help him with that." Aznia nodded to the bridges rear security station.

    Span stepped up beside the Captain, lowering his voice. "Captain, we still don't even know that these people exist. It is illogical to endanger the Romulan ship by prolonging this."

    "Span, you saw the effect these people have. They did the 'number behind the back' trick for you. How much evidence do you need?" Aznia scoffed.

    "Many species have telepathic abilities. And some species have powerful imaginations that may allow the to collectively believe a delusion like this. There are many explanations for what we've seen. We need to work with the confirmed evidence we have. And we have no solid evidence to suggest that the Ketallian species exists." The Vulcan insisted.

    "We're patching through the Cormai transponder signals now Captain." Dewoh interrupted from the back of the bridge. "This is... not what we want to see."

    An overlay appeared on the viewscreen. One signal marker appeared directly within the phenomenon that was anchoring the Romulan ship.

    "The Romulans are tethered to a Ketallian ship?!" Ooralin exclaimed. "You can't open fire on them! There are 75 workers on that ship!!"

    "Captain, our shields are failing!!" The Romulan hailed, "Fire now!!"

    Aznia hesitated, briefly looking back at Span and shaking her head. She turned back to the Romulan mournfully. "We can't open fire, Subcommander. We believe there is another ship on the other side of that rift. Have your crew evacuate to transporter pads and cargo bays, so we can get a lock as quickly as possible when your shields fail."

    The Subcommander nodded to another officer, "This is unacceptable, Captain!!" the viewscreen cut out.

    A moment passed by, "Their shields have collapsed!!" Quallo shouted.

    "Beam them out! NOW!!" Aznia yelled just as the Romulan ship exploded.

    Everyone waited in silence for an eternal moment.

    First of Eight was finally broke the report, "We saved 94. But that ship had an expected compliment of 150."

    "The Cormai homeworld is reporting that the Ketallian mining vessel is adrift, but suffered no casualties." Dewoh signaled.

    The Cormai Coadjunct stepped up beside Aznia, "Captain, you've done everything you could've done. This is a sad day."

    "Span, I'll accompany you to sick bay. I'm sure the Romulan survivors will have wounded." Aznia lamented, stepping into the turbolift.

    Before the doors closed, Atom rushed into the lift. "Captain, I believe I know what is happening." the doors closed as the three officers discussed the situation.

    "Turbolift, hold." Aznia wanted an uninterrupted explanation.

    "I believe the Ketallian people exist... in a perpendicular universe." Atom explained.

    "Perpendicular? This sounds like something from a bad science fiction story." Aznia mocked. She rested her face in her hand a quick moment, "I'm sorry Atom, go ahead."

    "We assume that alternate realities travel parallel to our own. This is not always the case. Realities exist across multiple dimensions- beyond our own perception. Normally, two intersecting realities would not interact in any perceivable way, as they are fundamentally out of phase from one and other. But in this case, there is a link through space time."

    "What do you mean?" Aznia raised an eyebrow.

    Atom explained, "My scans of the planet turned up unusual gravemetric readings. The planet's mass could not account for the entirety of its gravity field. I believe at the core of their homeworld, there is a microscopic but stable black hole."

    "Wouldn't it consume the planet?" Aznia inquired, somewhat ignorantly.

    "Not necessarily." Atom continued, "If the black hole is linked in equilibrium to another black hole in the corresponding universe- two black holes occupying the same space and the same time in two different universes- we could see nothing more than a stable gravity field as an outsider. Anything beyond the surface of the microsingularity would be impossible to detect."

    "Fascinating. Then why are the Cormai able to see the Ketallians?" Aznia inquired.

    Atom shrugged, "I can not be sure without further study. It may be a result of evolving in such proximity to these unusual conditions. It may cause effects we can not truly predict."

    "Turbolift, continue." Aznia ordered. She turned back to her officers, "This is all fascinating, but I'm sure the Romulans will not accept this explanation."

    The turbolift arrived at deck four. As the officers stepped into the corridor toward sick bay, they were surprised to hear commotion ringing through the hallway. The Romulan survivors had suddenly turned on their Starfleet rescuers, and a firefight had broken out just moments before they stepped out.

    "Security to deck 4, the Romulans have decided to make this difficult!"

    Aznia accessed several phasers from a nearby weapons locker and backed up a security team that was fighting a group of Romulans near sickbay.

    "A ship for a ship, captain!" one of the Romulans screamed out, recognizing the senior officer. "You stood idly by while our ship was destroyed! For that we will take yours!"

    Aznia ducked behind a bulkhead for cover, "There's more to the story that you don't know! Stand down and we can work this out!"

    The disrupter fire continued, Atom took down two Romulans with precise shooting, but they were pinned back, outnumbered.

    "We need to hold them until security gets to this section." Aznia plotted, "Atom, can you evade their fire long enough to get into Science Lab 1?"

    "I believe so," the agile Android answered.

    "OK." she tapped a control panel on the wall. "I'm flooding Science Lab 1 with anethsizine. Lure as many of them in there as you can. Span and I will stay behind and cover you."

    Atom darted off down the corridor, diving out of the way of disrupter fire. Span picked off another Romulan. Once Atom disappeared through the Science Lab doors, two Romulans confidently chased in behind him. Four additional Romulans advanced on Aznia and Span.

    Aznia dove out into the corridor firing, knocking out another Romulan, but exposing herself in the process. Two Romulans drew a bead on the Captain. Just before they were able to fire, Atom reemerged from the Science Lab and stunned them both. "Nice shooting," Aznia breathed a sigh of relief. "Computer, status report!"

    "Weapons fire ceased on deck 4. Additional weapons fire detected on decks 7, 9, and 10."

    "Captain to all hands!" Aznia paged the entire crew, "Abandon the Delta section of the ship! Repeat, abandon the Delta section!"

    "Captain, is that wise?" Span warned.

    "We separate the Delta section, trapping a majority of the Romulans there in the process." Aznia explained. "I can lock out the command interface remotely. They'll be a sitting duck."

    Atom monitored from a wall console for a moment. He nodded to the Captain, "Delta section is clear of all Federation personnel."

    "Aznia to bridge, detach the Delta Section. Lock out all command functions for that section except life support!"

    The bulkheads whirred and the computer engaged a klaxon as several kilotons of tritanium broke away from the main mass of the ship.

    "Atom, can you detect how many Romulans remain aboard."

    The android tapped a query into the panel, "Fifteen. Three conscious and twelve unconscious."

    "Good. Dispatch security teams to clean up." Aznia lamented. "Take the Delta section in tow, let's get Coadjunct Ooralin back home."
  • azniadeetazniadeet Member Posts: 1,863 Arc User
    Perpendicular. (pt2)


    The Federalist returned to the Cormai home world with the Delta section in tow, Aznia met with the Coadjunct in the transporter room before he was returned to the planet's surface.

    "Do you have any idea how the Ketallian ship may have become tethered to the Romulan ship?"

    "Captain, I'm not a scientist. I'm sorry, but I'll have to refer you to our best people. I promise to have them overview everything that's gone on here, and we'll get back to you immediately. I can assure you, we are in your debt today."

    "Thank you, Coadjunct." Aznia watched as he was returned home.

    Aznia walked back to the bridge to handle the issue of the Romulan's held captive in the Delta section. "Hail them." she ordered.

    "To all Romulans aboard the Federalist Delta Section, you are under arrest for assault on a Federation starship under code 6, provision 14 of the Treaty of Bassen. You have the right to request arbitration, to withhold comment, and to speak to a representative from your government as soon as one becomes available. Do you wish to make a statement?"

    A Romulan Subcommander responded to the hail, "You are interfering with a Tal Shiar operation. We do not recognize the treaties signed by the Romulan Republic, as they do not represent our true Empire. As we speak, a Tal Shiar battleship is en route to liberate us and to continue our mission. Release the command codes for this section, and we will forego the execution of your crew."

    "Even if I feared your threat, there's not a chance that would happen." Aznia mocked, "So why don't you tell us what you were doing here?"

    "This area of space is full of microsingularities that exist on the other side of a spacial divide," The Romulan arrogantly confessed, "We hoped to tether one of our singularity cores to the countering microsingularities, in order to perform a controlled pull- one of our ships into the alternate universe. From there we can travel to another point, completely undetected, and set up stations to reemerge at will. This technology will make cloaking devices look like cloth camouflage."

    Aznia turned to Atom for verification of the theory.

    The Android nodded. "I understand what they are proposing, Captain. With such technology they would become invisible to every method of detection..."

    "These microsingularities... what are they." Aznia asked.

    Atom answered, "I would deduce that they are actually the power cores of the Ketallian ships. The Romulans would only need to prey upon one of them in order to establish their own network of singularity beacons."

    Aznia understood, "So the microsingularities... They're trying to artificially bridge the gap the same way that the Cormai homeworld did naturally."

    "Captain, we've got company!" Quallo warned.

    A D'deridex class Warbird emerged from behind a cloak.

    "Red Alert, Shields Up. All hands to battlestations." Aznia responded with surprising calm. "Hail them."

    Tal Shiar Admiral Sirol appeared on the viewscreen, "Captain our scans indicate you are responsible for the destruction of the I.R.W. T'Ken, and that you are holding several of her crew captive. We demand you release them and surrender to stand trial!"

    "We are not responsible! They were preying on an innocent alien ship, and were caught up in their own anomaly. We saved several members of their crew, who in turn attacked us. They will need to stand trial under the Treaty of Bassen!" Aznia obstinately insisted.

    "So they've divulged their mission?" Sirol scoffed, "Traitors." He tapped a control on his panel, firing disrupters and plasma torpedoes on the unshielded Delta Section, destroying it in a single volley.

    "It's gone captain, all hands lost." Quallo reported in shock.

    "You didn't have to do that Sirol!" Aznia shouted across the monitor. "Enough blood has been shed today!"

    Sirol shook his head, "You don't understand, do you? This empire has been handed one loss, one tragedy after another! This technology will restore us to prominence, we will again be the raptor of this galaxy... and I will not allow you to stand in its way!!"

    The viewscreen cut out as the Warbird maneuvered into an attack posture. They unloaded a barrage of disrupter fire on the Federalist.

    "Shields down to 74%, Captain." Quallo informed.

    Aznia focused her senses on the battle, "Come about 17 degrees. Target their maneuvering thrusters with plasma cannons. I want to be sure they can't pursue."

    The Federalist opened fire on the Romulan thrusters, "That's not going to do it. We'll need another pass!" En'thaas spoke from the Helm.

    "Come about, lets get aggressive with them! Get in close, another volley, fire at will!" She ordered.

    "They're venting warp plasma, we don't want to fly into that!" First of Eight informed.

    "Back us off! Do we have torpedoes ready?" Aznia inquired.

    Quallo responded. "I can give you at least one high yield torpedo right away."

    "Hold off just a second, focus cannons on their shield emitters. Let's get everything we can out of that big shot."

    "Captain, something is happening to the Romulan singularity core." Atom informed.

    Aznia shifted her attention to the science display, "The Ketallians! They've ensnared the Warbird! The Romulan power levels are dropping rapidly!"

    "Captain, the Ketallians won't survive if a Romulan Warbird loses singularity containment in close proximity," Atom explained.

    "They aren't going to make it." Dewoh mournfully stated.

    "Yes they will." Aznia insisted. She turned to her First Officer, "Elsie. Evacuate the crew to the Alpha Section. I'm taking the Beta Section into the distortion!"

    "What is that going to do!?" Walesa argued.

    "I'm going to push the Alpha section through to the other universe and beam the Ketallian crew aboard." Aznia explained the crazy last ditch plan, "It's their only chance."

    "Captain... you're going to get yourself killed." Elsie pleaded.

    Aznia nodded, "They were willing to do the same for us. I'll be damned if I'm going to withhold their only chance!"

    Everyone hesitated in silence for a moment.

    "GO! That's an order!" Aznia demanded.

    The crew snapped to their rapid evacuation plan.

    The Alpha Section retreated from battle, as Aznia manually piloted the Beta Section into the distortion. She manually adjusted for gravemetric variances as the ship passed out of phase between the two tethered artificial singularities. As the Federalist's Beta Section passed near the Warbird, the Romulan ship fired a disruptor with its dying breaths, taking out the starboard nacelle.

    "I guess that's it." Aznia thought as the Federalist veered out of control, and death seemed certain. "Ketallian vessel, if you hear this..."

    Aznia felt her skin tingle as a transporter beam locked onto her in the last moment before the Beta Section lost containment and exploded. She materialized aboard a strange small ship, that violently shoot beneath her feet as the shockwave impacted.

    "Captain! Welcome aboard!" The colorful pilot cheerfully exclaimed. "Two seconds... kinda busy here! The only way out is... THROUGH!" the pilot screamed as the small craft rode the shockwave of the Federalist's core breach through the singularity, and back into Aznia's universe. "I guess that's that."

    As the ship emerged from turbulent space, the crippled Romulan Warbird was released from the anomaly powerless and adrift. "Excuse me, you are..." Aznia asked.

    A golden skinned woman stood up from the single pilot controls of the ship, "Leatur." she extended her hand, her short multicolored hair disheveled after the intense battle. "I'll be honest captain, I didn't expect to make it out of that..."

    "Neither did I." Aznia chuckled before turning serious, "...but I'm not sure we can send you home."

    "New adventures, Captain. You saved 75 of my people today. The least I could do is sacrifice myself to save your crew. And it turns out I didn't even need to do that. I'm smiling if you're smiling."

    ---

    The Alpha Section of the Federalist came about, collecting the small Ketallian craft. Aznia shed a proverbial tear to see that the saucer was all that was left of her beloved Federalist.

    "They'll build you a new one." the gregarious Ketallian empathetically interjected. "And I do have a request about that."

    "Anything." Aznia nodded.

    "I'd like asylum... with this whole new universe to explore. Did you know that in our universe we're the only intelligent life in the vicinity? A whole galaxy with nothing happening. This place seems exciting!"

    Aznia smiled, "Of course. We'll be happy to give you every opportunity to succeed here, and you can always return to the Cormai whenever you like."

    "Oh, stars, no!" she lamented, "I was chosen as Coadjunct when I was only a kid! And Ooralin... talk about a wind bag... Nice man, well meaning, but you try working with him every day for most of your life! Getting out here... away from the bureaucracy, away from the life I had... this is a blessing!"

    Aznia grinned widely, her own struggles came to mind. Just a year earlier, her dream of joining the JAG corps seemed shattered. Today she found herself embracing new frontiers, and unexpected challenges. "You know what? You're right. It's a better life out here. But I am going to miss this ship."

    Span stepped into the shuttlebay to meet Aznia and the Ketallian Coadjunct.

    Leatur held up one finger in front of the Vulcan's face grinning widely, nearly chuckling.

    Span nodded coldly, but graciously at the friendly taunt. He turned to the Captain, "Starfleet has been filled in, Captain. We are ordered to report to the 40Eridani-A shipyards for decommissioning. Admiral Park would like a word with you immediately."

    Aznia stepped toward a console in the shuttlebay, Park appeared looking stern. Aznia attempted to explain, "Admiral, I..." but she was cut off...

    "There will be a lot of people talking about what went on today." Park stated authoritatively, "It's a stigma to lose a ship under your command... it haunts a career. But let's be very clear here, you're still standing aboard the Federalist. There may not be much left of her: a mast, a tattered sail; but you didn't lose that ship. I'm going to see to it that you don't... Effective upon the decommission of your Federalist, I'm issuing special dispensation for the fleet's newest escort, the U.S.S. Hestia, to be renamed the U.S.S. Federalist; and for you to take command as soon as she's through her shake down paces."

    "Admiral... I..." Aznia was speechless.

    Park cut her off again, "You've become a real leader, Aznia. Edinger would be proud. And so am I. You deserve the best. Park out." The screen cut abruptly to a Starfleet command logo.

    "You know what," Aznia turned to Leatur, "You're right... This place is exciting."
  • zidanetribalzidanetribal Member Posts: 218 Arc User
    edited March 2016
    Literary Challenge #6: Not THAT guy...

    LC06: The Sound of Cats
    Captain's Log, Stardate 85446.8. The Lord English has recently acquired a passenger from the Mirror Universe during some shenanigans with my mirror counterpart. We have diverted to Earth Spacedock so that this Aranea can be transferred into the hands of Starfleet Intelligence. Afterwards, if she is willing, I will offer her a position on my ship. In the meantime, Earth Spacedock has ordered us to stand by.

    ===

    "'cause suicide is painless, it brings on many changes, and I can take or leave it if I please~"

    Vice Admiral Remus Lee, having absolutely nothing productive to do with his time, sang alone in his quarters into a small figurine of Fullmetal Alchemist character Riza Hawkeye when Commander Taylor contacted him over the internal comms.

    "Admiral, Starfleet Command wants me to inform you that Ambassador Leijon of Cait has requested a tour of the Lord English since it is the only Odyssey-class vessel currently at Earth."

    Lee quickly hid his collectables away.

    "Do you know when he will arrive?" Lee asked.

    Taylor's reply was cut short by the sound of turbolifts and discreet conversations.

    "Looks like he's already here, Admiral! You better get here quick!"

    ---

    Commander Taylor normally liked cats. She once adopted a cat she found while hiking in the woods of her home province of Ontario, Canada. However, Ambassador Leijon took the worst traits of her cat, bundled it into humanoid form, and insist that she pay her respects on account of diplomacy. Ambassador Leijon swaggered casually around the bridge like an apex predator, with two close aides following at a safe distance. Presently, he stopped in front of the captain's chair. He put one foot on it.

    "Executive officer, where is the commanding officer?" he asked.
    "He was off shift when you arrived, Ambassador," she replied. "He should be coming to the bridge now."

    Leijon did a backflip off the chair as a sign of disrespect.

    "Not good enough, commander! We are in a state of war! Your commanding officer must be ready at all times to take command of his ship! I've known many captains whose ships were lost to enemy action because they were unable to react quickly enough to threats!"

    Leijon sat in Lee's chair and began working on the armrest console. Taylor said nothing, but seethed inwardly. Soon, the schematics of the Lord English appeared on the viewscreen.

    "What cheek! An auxiliary craft instead of hanger bays? I defended Caitian space from the Jem'Hadar using two carrier groups, and they still don't take my advice! At the battle of Quebec Station XXIII, I..."

    Ambassador Leijon rambled on about his tenure as Grand Commander of the Caitian Home Guard during the Dominion War. Taylor could only take solace in the fact that the aides were also unhappy with the ambassador as their eyes glazed over.

    ---

    One does not normally see a Caitian wearing a sun bonnet and sundress, I reckon, Lee thought to himself as he noticed the young Caitian female looking timidly around Intersection F-3. He sidled up to her.

    "Excu-"

    Lee was unable to finish his greeting as the Caitian girl squealed in great panic, sending her bonnet and the contents of her handbag flying through the air and across the intersection. Hurriedly, she attempted to gather her belongings and put them back in her bag. Lee knelt down to try to help her.

    "Whoa! Calm yourself, miss! What's your name?"

    The Caitian girl seemed genuinely shocked at Lee's presence. For a while, Lee thought the girl was mewing much like a distressed kitten before realizing she was stuttering her name.

    "Meu... Meu... Meu... Meulin."

    She punctuated her response with deep blushing. Lee gathered her scattered belongings and put them back in her handbag.

    "Well then, Miss Meulin, do you need any help?" he asked her. It took some time before she responded.
    "I... I lost my papa..."
    "What's his name, little lady? Would he happen to be an ambassador?"

    Meulin continued to vacillate in her answers. Rather than involve security and expose her to more strangers, Lee decided to personally attend to the situation.

    "Hey there, Miss Meulin, let's find your papa together, okey-dokey?" Lee said as he offered his hand to her. "Let's see if he's on the bridge."

    With some trepidation, Meulin took Lee's hand.

    ---

    "Your weapons systems consoles need to offer more customization options and loadout settings."

    Taylor could only stand by and nod as Ambassador Leijon reprogrammed the tactical consoles that she had spent so long perfecting. Inwardly, she fumed, but held her tongue in the interests of interstellar goodwill. Leijon walked around the armory, swiping at phasers and munitions with his tail to knock them to the floor.

    "You must put more effort in securing your weapons, commander! A misplaced phaser is the difference between life and death in a split-second situation! Plan out your armory to increase security without compromising accessibility! When Nausicaan raiders attacked my flagship in the aftermath of Hobus, I..."

    The ambassador waxed on and on about his service as the grand commander of the Caitian Home Guard and his exploits of command. Taylor wondered if it would cause a diplomatic incident if she sprayed the ambassador with a water bottle.

    Meanwhile...

    Lee continued to take Meulin to various places around the ship in hopes of catching the ambassador. However, the ambassador was too impatient to stay in one place; furthermore, Meulin dallied in each location, transfixed by the wonders of the Odyssey-class vessel. Lee decided not to contact the ambassador as Meulin gazed at the projection of the Caitian homeworld in the astrometrics lab.

    "What do you think? It's a real-time holo-image of Cait."
    "It's pretty..." Meulin let slip. She quickly realized her outburst and blushed. Lee attempted to engage Meulin in further conversation.
    "I've heard the current Caitian ambassador to the Federation was commander of Cait's defense forces during the Dominion War. He managed to preserve the integrity of Caitian space without great loss. Have you heard of him?"

    Meulin continued to fidget, but Lee could tell from her body language that the ambassador was someone very close to her.

    "Do you want to contact the ambassador on the comm system?" Lee asked.

    Meulin vacillated some more, but after a while she spoke up.

    "I... I don't mind looking at more of the ship."

    Lee shrugged to himself and offered his hand again.

    "Alright then, Miss Meulin, let's go to the next stop on the list. Computer, what is the last known location of the Caitian ambassador?"

    ---

    Taylor's will to live continued to drain as Ambassador Leijon found fault with every function of the ship, from engineering to deflector control to the lounge to the Aquarius auxiliary craft. The ambassador toured twenty-three different sections of the ship before returning to the bridge.

    "I'm disappointed, commander," Leijon snarled as he and his aides stepped onto the Lord English's bridge transporter. "This state-of-the-art flagship class starship is built for an idealized galaxy, not for the current realities of war. Tell your commanding officer I am sorry I cannot break the bad news to him personally, but I must meet with Starfleet Command at once on a matter of Federation security. Earth Spacedock, four to beam up."

    At this moment, one of the ambassador's aides noticed the missing member of the diplomatic party and whispered something into Leijon's ear.

    "WHAT?" he shouted. "How could you have lost track of my daughter? Commander Taylor, summon every security officer on your ship to the bridge at once! We must form search parties to search this ship top to bottom!"

    Taylor was befuddled at the ambassador's change in demeanor.

    "Ambassador, may I ask what is the problem?"
    "There's no time! Put your ship on red alert! Who knows if she fell down a shaft or got stuck in a turbolift or found herself in an airlock!? We must track her down before something terrible happens!"

    Taylor's patience wore even thinner.

    "Who is this 'she' you're talking about? If you can give me more information, we might stand a chance of actually finding her!"

    At that moment the 'she' in question walked onto the bridge in Admiral Lee's company. The ambassador leapt off the transporter pad.

    "My daughter! Child of my late beloved!" Leijon roared.
    "Papa!" Meulin squealed in return. The two Caitians began embracing ferociously.
    "Child of mine!" Leijon purred. "Where have you been? I was overwhelmed with worry when I saw you were not by my side. Thank goodness you are safe!"

    As an aside, one of the Caitian aides nudged Commander Taylor.

    "He smothers the daughter too much, but then rushes on ahead and leaves her behind. If he'd slow down and shut up, he wouldn't lose his daughter so often."

    Meulin pointed at Lee.

    "A nice Human found me when I was lost in the ship. He took me to visit all the different places, papa."

    Lee offered a hand to the ambassador.

    "Vice Admiral Lee, CO of Lord English at your service."

    Leijon shook Lee's hand with fervor.

    "Dear admiral, I am in your debt. I will never forget this great deed you have done me! Would you like your own Caitian Atrox Carrier? I was actually going to meet with Starfleet Command on the issue of selling Cait's surplus carriers to support the war effort."

    Lee finished shaking Leijon's hand and attempted to rub some feeling back into it.

    "Maybe later, Ambassador. I hope my executive officer was a good host in my absence."

    Leijon and Meulin stepped on to the transporter pad and beamed out. Lee and Taylor could see Meulin blushing and waving goodbye before being transported off the ship.

    "Well, that was an interesting turn of events!" Lee said with pride. "I certainly enjoyed my time with my Caitian delegate, even if she took a while to warm up to me. What did you think about Ambassador Leijon? Was he tight-lipped as well?"

    Taylor wondered if hitting her commanding officer with a paper fan was a court-martial offense.

    ===
    Captain's log, supplemental. Starfleet Command has struck a deal with the Caitian Home Guard to buy some of its surplus supercarriers to join the Klingon War effort. Also joining the effort is our Mirror Universe Orion, who has been cleared by Starfleet Intelligence to serve in Starfleet. Once she finishes her crash course at the Academy, I will be more than willing to welcome her aboard the Lord English.
    Post edited by zidanetribal on
  • zidanetribalzidanetribal Member Posts: 218 Arc User
    edited October 2015
    Literary Challenge #8: Unknown Anomalies

    LC08: A Prize in Deep Space
    Captain's Log, Stardate 85801.35. The war with the Klingons has reignited the ambitions of the Federation's less friendly neighbors, many of which have flocked to the Imperial banner for the chance to avenge past slights and grow rich on Federation plunder. A recent coup on the homeworld of one of these neighbors has resulted in the expulsion of Federation-mandated weapons inspectors and the formation of a new government which has immediately declared its allegiance to the Klingon Empire. The Lord English is being sent to Corinth IV to meet with members of the deposed government to sound out the situation and recommend a course of action.

    ===

    "The new government has censored the old name of the species as being a construct of the old Patriarchy. They now insist that we call them 'Ferasans'."

    Vice Admiral Remus Lee sat at his ready room desk talking about the current Ferasan situation with the commander of Corinth IV's Starbase, Commander Josefina Dominguez. Lee was quickly learning a lot about the Ferasans.

    "Starfleet Intelligence believes Klingon agents fomented the coup by inciting the oppressed groups like females and telepaths into open revolt and using the chaos to install a pro-Klingon puppet government," Dominguez noted. "The Ferasans have adopted a Klingon-style political system which has rallied support from the general populace. The only groups that are still oppressed are vegetarians and pacifists."

    Lee tented his fingers as he leaned back in his chair.

    "I understand the need to deny the Klingons every advantage in this war, but the old Patriarchy was just as hostile to us in addition to being a cruel dictatorship. Are we really thinking of returning them to power and consigning the Ferasans to continued tyranny?"

    Dominguez shrugged.

    "It's a sticky situation, but the Caitian government has insisted that we entertain the notion. At least the old Patriarchy was controllable. These new Ferasans may be bold enough with Klingon support to attack Federation and especially Caitian targets. I don't have to tell you of the bad blood between the species."

    At that moment, Chief of Operations Kovat Vystan hailed Lee over comms.

    "Admiral, we've detected an unknown anomaly about 33 parsecs off our starboard bow. Just so you know, if we investigate it, it will add a considerable delay to our journey."
    "Admiral," Dominguez cut in. "Any delay in your transit here may greatly offend the Patriarchs. They are already unruly enough. If they have to wait long, they may break off the negotiations."

    Lee weighed his duties as a diplomat against his explorative desires. Can he allow his curiosity to remain unsated just to attend what he expected to be a diplomatic no-win scenario? Then he remembered a key feature of the Odyssey starship's tactical refit.

    "Lee to Bridge, prepare the auxiliary craft for launch."

    ---

    The B'rel Bird-of-Prey Claw of Ferasa (ex-IKS Wo') scouted Federation space under cloak for a soft target of opportunity to be Ferasa's first conquest in the Federation War. On board, Klingon military advisor M'kota watched the Ferasan crew effortlessly work the bird-of-prey's controls. Ferasan Captain Rrikker ordered the operations officer to put their recent scan of the sector on the main viewer.

    "Captain," Ops replied. "we've detected two Federation ships on long-range scanners. They are in close proximity to each other but based on their current trajectories, they will be out of each other's combat range in 15 minutes."
    "Close to four kellicams distance of both ships," Rrikker ordered. "Once they break off, we will be able to attack at our leisure."

    M'kota was pleased at how readily the Ferasans adopted a Klingon mindset. For most of their history the Ferasans were an enthralled species. The governing Patriarchy enforced a strict caste system that denied rights to all but the strongest Ferasans, yet the Patriarchs were in turn enthralled by the Federation, which had forcibly disarmed Ferasans after a series of lopsided wars. As a result the common Ferasan was a creature twice oppressed by the villainous Patriarchs and the unconcerned Federation. It was a situation ripe for Klingon Intelligence to exploit.

    "Captain! We have visuals on the Federation vessels! It is an Odyssey-class dreadnought and its Aquarius mission pod. What are your orders?"
    "Steady as she goes, bekk!" Rrikker ordered. "We can't fight off both ships, but we still have the element of surprise so we must wait for the moment to strike!"

    M'kota stared at Rrikker with a teacher's pride. When M'kota first found her, she was penned up in a cage owned by a minor Patriarch's retainer, a result of being both female and a telepath. She had purchased Rrikker from her master and spirited her away to train in the Klingon style on Qo'noS. When Rrikker returned to Ferasa, it was with a legion of likeminded Klingon-trained and Klingon-armed Ferasans, which quickly incited revolt and overthrew the Patriarchy. Now Qo'noS and Ferasa were bound by blood; Qo'noS would supply the arms and Ferasa would supply the army. A mutually beneficial relationship never before seen in Klingon history to be sure.

    "The dreadnought is now out of support range from the mission pod. Your orders, captain?"
    "Power weapons and close on the mission pod! Fire when you see the name on their ship!"

    The Claw of Ferasa quickly closed in on the unsuspecting mission pod, malice and confidence in the minds of each Ferasan crew member.

    ===
    Captain's log, supplemental. My diplomatic mission has been thwarted when my auxiliary craft was set upon by an opportunistic Klingon raider. Although we were able to drive it off, we were forced to eject our warp core as it began to breach. As a result, we were unable to make it to Corinth IV to meet with the Patriarchs, who left the station in a huff. To make matters worse, the anomaly that I sent to Lord English to investigate turned out only to be a block of methane ice around a long-discarded leaky gas tank that some litterbug freighter crew tossed. Starfleet Command will not be pleased that I sacrificed my mission in favor of passed gas.
    Post edited by zidanetribal on
  • zidanetribalzidanetribal Member Posts: 218 Arc User
    edited March 2016
    Literary Challenge #9: Shore Leave

    LC09: Super Cruise Ship Level Detective
    Captain's Log, Stardate 85831.35. The Lord English has returned from an exhaustive botanical survey in the Arucanis Arm. Casualties were high, as a full 40% of my crew had to be hospitalized due to exhaustion during our discovery of over three hundred new plant species. Starfleet Medical has declared a minor medical emergency for our ship and has mandated a week's shore leave for the entire crew. I will use this time off to catch up on my sleep... zzz...

    ===

    Commander Drevis Indoril Nethri's vacation started off poorly. His baggage with his vacation clothes went missing between the Lord English and the Zibalian pleasure ship Queen Tomobiki, leaving him only with his Starfleet officer's uniform. This drew a lot of unwanted attention from other passengers. Members of the Stacius Trade Guild kept throwing shade in his direction for being a Federation toady. The New Essentialists that saw him hurled hellfire and brimstone and lectured him on proper morality. A Nausicaan Marauder named Kazzgur tried to pick a fight with him and succeeded mainly in spilling bloodwine on his uniform. At the dinner hour, Drevis stumbled into the Jovis Lounge in need of a stiff drink and ready to turn in and put the Starfleet-bathers behind him. The Draylaxian bartender gave him a Tranya Screwdriver, which Drevis nursed pitifully as he watched the Orion lounge singer belt out a soulful tune.
    Remember my name
    I'm gonna live forever
    I feel it coming together
    People will see me and cry

    I'm gonna make it to heaven
    Light up the skies like a flame
    I'm gonna live forever
    Baby, remember my name


    After plenty of drinks, Drevis stopped feeling sorry enough for himself to drag himself out of the Jovis lounge and back to his quarters at room 938. When he got there, however, he encountered the same Orion singer that he watched from the Jovis lounge bar.

    "Well, hello there, Mr. Sad Face! What's a Starfleet officer doing aboard a den of hedonism like the Queen Tomobiki?"

    Drevis, soused and desperate for a friendly face, struck up a conversation with this mysterious stranger.

    "I used to run with the Stacius Trade Guild before joining Starfleet. My ship often did business with Zibalian cruise liners, and I've heard the rumors about how they're even more debauched than even Risian vessels."
    "Well, you don't seem too pleased with the ship," the Orion cooed as she slipped an arm around Drevis' waist.
    "My first day on board was pretty awful, truthfully," Drevis admitted.
    "Aw, my poor abused officer," the Orion said as she stroked his chest with her hand. "Why don't you come over to my room for a raktajino?"

    Drevis, intoxicated by alcohol and Orion pheromones, was unable to resist being drawn into her quarters. Soon both Drevis and the Orion had divested themselves of their clothes.

    "Why don't know we find out just how much more debauched a Zibalian cruise liner can really be," the Orion whispered as she began <REDACTED> his <REDACTED> with her <REDACTED>. Returning the favor, Drevis vigorously <REDACTED> her <REDACTED>, and soon they progressed to <REDACTED> he put it in <REDACTED> which was not its intended use, but <REDACTED> into the replicator <REDACTED> into the early morning, at which point <REDACTED>. When Drevis woke up, he found himself alone in her bed, no trace of her except for her <REDACTED> around his <REDACTED>.

    Probably at the lounge, maybe I can catch her there, he thought as he gathered up his uniform. Rather than impose on her further, Drevis decided to take a shower back at his room. He slipped quietly across the corridor back to his room and was surprised to see his Orion lover lying on his bed, her body dripping wet and as naked as their night of passion. A steak knife protruded from her chest as her blood stained the sheets...

    ---

    Commander Aranea Serket was alarmed when she learned her first mission as Security Chief of the Lord English was to investigate the involvement of the ship's tactical officer and former security chief in a murder on a Zibalian pleasure ship. Upon her arrival she was hustled into the office of Gejic Vysu, Zibalian Chief of Security aboard Queen Tomobiki. One of her security officers had placed a holographic camera on her desk, and she turned it on to show the crime scene.

    "Welcome, Commander. As you know, your Starfleet officer has been accused of a crime against an employee of the Queen Tomobiki, an Orion singer named Miree. Our captain has ordered him jailed as the primary suspect in the murder, and in four hours, we will reach Theta Zibal II and your Commander Nethri will be tried in a Zibalian court. Unfortunately for your investigation, the Captain has deemed it necessary to suppress any information about a murder on his ship and has ordered the crime scene cleaned up."

    The news struck Aranea full in the chest; this was an egregious breach of protocol.

    "What kind of captain would destroy the scene of a crime and jail a man who might still be innocent? Can you vouch that the captain is innocent in all this?"
    "Zibalian law dictates that during the operation of a pleasure ship, the captain has absolute authority over all shipboard situations. Our captain has decided that the good name of the ship is worth the freedom of a Starfleet officer. As to his involvement, he has been on the bridge between the time Miree was seen alive last and when her body was discovered. The entire bridge crew will vouch for that."

    Chief Vysu handed Aranea the holographic camera.

    "I've been able to reserve an entire holosuite for you to aid in your investigation. In this camera is a complete physical recreation of the crime scene, accurate to the last millimeter. I have also allowed you access to the deceased's belongings and the use of my entire security staff. Unfortunately, the captain will not allow you to question anybody or leave the security office except to go to the holosuite, so as not to alarm the passengers. You have my sincerest apologies, Commander, but this is the best I can do under Zibalian law."

    Aranea was quite put off with this stonewalling by the Zibalian ship captain, but she knew that she could not waste time arguing about something she couldn't change. She took the camera and headed out the door.

    "Even if Commander Nethri was guilty, this obstruction of justice is totally unacceptable, Chief Vysu. You can expect a complaint from the Federation Council."
    "I sympathize with you, Commander Serket. I would like nothing more than to find the real culprit, and I wish you all the luck that you will find him or her."

    ---
    Victim: Miree, Orion singer, Jovis Lounge. Age 20. Several stab wounds to chest and abdomen, defensive wounds on arms, cause of death: exsanguination.

    Aranea was unimpressed with the amount of data the Zibalian computer had on the murder victim. If she had a more detailed report, one with some forensic analyses, she might be able to wrap up the investigation faster. As it was, Zibalian pleasure ships did not have much in the way of crime scene investigation. She examined the body of the dead Orion.

    Miree had died on her back, facing the entrance. Her empty gaze stared into the ceiling. Her right hand was empty, facing palm up. Curiously, her left hand had drawn the number '938' into the bedsheet. As '938' was Drevis' room number, the Queen Tomobiki's captain took this as proof of Drevis' guilt and imprisoned him. The steak knife was a standard Zibalian knife, easily replicated. Aranea's eyes turned to the holographic slug steak on the far end table next to the bed. It was untouched; the murderer had obviously replicated it for the sole purpose of obtaining the knife that killed Miree.

    As for forensic evidence, Aranea was stymied by the fact there was none. Blood and DNA was all purely holographic and had no data to mine. The knife lacked fingerprints because they were too fine for the holocamera to scan. Even the replicator had no data to offer, although that was because the Zibalians didn't save voice patterns for privacy's sake. It was going to be an uphill battle, Aranea thought to herself, but if life was easy, she wouldn't have joined Starfleet. She began systematically looking at each item in the simulation in the hopes that one of them would provide a clue.

    Two hours later...

    Aranea's determined efforts to find a clue had finally paid off. The slug steak was the key; Aranea noticed that it was on the far side of the room, but if Miree was between it and the killer, the killer could not have grabbed the knife from there. She examined the slug steak carefully, and, lo and behold, she found a clue, a small metallic number '8'. She didn't know what it meant, but she had an idea.

    "Chief Vysu, can you go to Room 938? I want you to check the numbers to the door."

    A few minutes passed before Chief Vysu replied.

    "I'm at room 938, but for some reason the number on the door is '937'. I don't know why we didn't notice it before, but I just used the map on my PADD to get here, so..."
    "Chief, can you check to see if Miree's room has a '7'?"

    A pause while Chief Vysu checked.

    "There's no '7' on it. What do you think this means, Commander?"
    "It means whoever switched the numbers wanted someone to think that Commander Nethri's room was Miree's room. Come back to the security office, I want to look at something with you."

    ---

    Aranea and Chief Vysu spread all of Miree's worldly belonging on the evidence table. They were mostly skimpy clothes, makeup, and perfumes, but some other items were also found. Aranea pointed out the microadhesive applier.

    "Correct me if I'm wrong, but that looks like a generic microadhesive applier used by many of the species in the sector."

    Chief Vysu took the applier in her hands.

    "It has been used recently," she said as she felt its weight in her hands. "It isn't impossible to say that she could have used it to switch the numbers around. Now take a look at this."

    Chief Vysu pointed out a ship's manifest PADD. Room 938 had been selected on the PADD, displaying Drevis' name and picture.

    "It seems our Orion singer knew that Commander Nethri was in the room across from hers. This encounter looks less random and more premeditated, but why would Miree want to switch the numbers around?"

    Aranea rummaged around the evidence pile and found an isolinear chip.

    "This might explain it. Let's see what's on the chip."

    She put the chip inside a different PADD. Stored on the chip were a series of lurid messages between Miree and an unidentified recipient. They had started off erotically enough, with much visual evidence of Miree, but later messages became more confrontational and heated with death threats. The last message, dated last evening, stated:
    I can't live like this anymore. Come to Room 937 so we can put an end to this.

    Aranea began piecing the evidence together in her head and suggested a theory to Chief Vysu.

    "It seems to me that Miree seems to have had a falling out with somebody, and may have even wanted to kill that person. She might have wanted to lure that somebody to Drevis' room so that she could kill him and frame Drevis for the murder, but she was killed instead."
    "If that is the case, then who do you think is the real culprit? We won't be able to ask any of the passengers if they knew Miree, and we certainly won't be able to arrest the suspect without any proof."

    Aranea thought long and hard about the situation, but then she had an epiphany.

    "I think I might have an idea who the killer is, but I need to look at that passenger manifest again. We may have known all along who it was."

    ---

    The Queen Tomobiki was a flurry of activity as the ship got ready to dock at Theta Zibal II. A swarthy and well-dressed Human was headed towards the disembarkation deck with his two aides carrying his luggage when the three were stopped by Chief Vysu and Aranea.

    "Excuse me, sir," Aranea asked. "Do you have a moment? I would like to ask you some questions."
    "I have no time for Orions or Zibalians," he replied brusquely. "I am late for a lecture at the Federation Embassy on Theta Zibal II."

    He tried to shoulder his way through, but could not get pass. Aranea grabbed his arm, forcing him to wince acutely.

    "Get your hands off me! Don't you know who I am? I am Samir Beghilos, leader of the New Essentialists! I will not be detained by anyone, especially an Orion Starfleet officer."
    "Then allow me, as ship's security, to make my own inquiries," Chief Vysu said as she pulled up the sleeves of Beghilos' robe. Various defensive wounds were found on his arms.
    "Those look pretty nasty, Mr. Beghilos," Aranea noted. "How did you get them?"
    "I am a Federation citizen, and I have rights!" he retorted. "I will make a complaint to Starfleet and the Zibalian government about the rough treatment I am currently getting! I will have your jobs!"
    "If that's the way you're playing, then we'll cut to the chase," Aranea replied. "Are you acquainted with an Orion singer named Miree?"
    "I don't consort with Orions," he seethed. "You lot corrupt the Federation's moral standing with your own hedonistic tendencies. Now let me go!"
    "Then I wonder who Miree sent that last message to," Aranea said as she nonchalantly pulled out the PADD with Miree's chip on it. "Let's find out, shall we? Forward to last recipient and send!"

    Aranea sent Miree's last message back to its intended recipient. The song "Fame" began playing from Beghilos' front pocket as it began to vibrate. Beghilos tried not to pay attention to it, but one of his aides fished in Beghilos' front pocket and took out a PADD which he handed to Aranea. Miree's last message was displayed prominently on the front.

    "Can you explain this, Mr. Beghilos?" Chief Vysu asked.

    The two aides stepped back from Beghilos. Beghilos knew that his association with Miree tainted him in their eyes, and recognized that he was now tainted in the eyes of the other New Essentialists. He decided to come clean.

    "It was an accident. She had invited me over to her room to kill me! It was a kill or be killed situation, so when I fought back, I didn't think of anything except my survival. I didn't know I was killing her until it was too late! I didn't intend to kill her, I loved her! You must believe me when I say that!"
    "That is for the magistrate to decide," Chief Vysu proclaimed as she clasped him in restraints. "Samir Beghilos, you are now being taken into custody under Zibalian law for the murder of a Zibalian pleasure ship employee. Take him away."

    Beghilos was led off the ship by Zibalian security. Chief Vysu turned to Aranea.

    "We would not have solved this case if it wasn't for you, Commander. I will arrange for the immediate release of your officer."

    ===
    Captain's Log, supplemental. Our new Security Chief has successfully returned from her first mission with our Chief Tactical Officer. Once I have debriefed them, we will proceed to Theta Zibal II to tend to the diplomatic turmoil that has erupted in the wake of the arraignment of New Essentialist leader Samir Beghilos. As for our Chief Tactical Officer, the captain of the Queen Tomobiki has refused to offer an apology to him.

    ---

    "So how did you figure out it was Beghilos?"

    Commanders Drevis Nethri and Aranea Serket were in the turbolift after debriefing with Vice Admiral Lee. Drevis had many questions to ask her as he was stuck in a windowless room the whole time of his affair.

    "When I found out that Miree had set up the whole room switch to frame you for someone else's murder, I realized that she did not expect to die in your room, but once she knew she was dying, she decided to try to out the killer. The '938' in the sheets was actually the letters 'BEG' for Beghilos. It was just that she wrote them in a different perspective from us. From there it was just a matter of finding the only 'BEG' on board the ship."
    "Good glory, I don't ever want to set foot on a Zibalian cruise liner again," Drevis bemoaned. "That was the worst time of my life."
    "You didn't enjoy any of your trip?" Aranea asked as she leaned playfully in.
    "Well, that night with Miree was unforgettable, Azura rest her soul, but to think she did that all to try to frame me..."

    Aranea began stroking Drevis' chest in a seductive manner.

    "Miree may have had an ulterior motive for spending the night with you, but she cared enough about you to make sure you wouldn't be convicted of her death. Orions have a strange way of showing loyalties to people they care about."

    Aranea broke away from Drevis as the turbolift reached her floor.

    "If you ever need me for anything, you know where my quarters are, Commander Nethri. My doors are always open for anything. And I mean anything."

    She left Drevis, feeling flustered yet intrigued, in the turbolift.
    Post edited by zidanetribal on
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