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Unofficial Literary Challenge #25: Agents of Yesterday

moonshadowdarkmoonshadowdark Member Posts: 1,899 Arc User
edited June 2016 in Ten Forward
Welcome to the twenty-fifth edition of the Unofficial Literary Challenge: "Agents of Yesterday"! This ULC focuses on the upcoming Agents of Yesterday expansion, the Quarter life of the ULC and the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek!


"Agents of Yesterday"

"Temporal agents have delivered you a very important mission. An unknown captain of a 23rd century ship has been pulled forward through time to the 25th century. Your mission is to meet with them and acclimate them to your timeline. But the task is easier given than executed. With the captain's limited knowledge of threats like the Borg, the Dominion and the Iconians, they may be in more danger than they realize. Find them, bring them back safely and try to avoid any paradoxes if you can."

"Homecoming"

"When Spock tried to save Romulus with red matter to create an artificial black hole, the black hole swallowed both him and the Romulan known as Nero, seemingly killing them both. But Temporal Investigations claims that they actually traveled back in time and created a splinter timeline called the Kelvin Timeline. There, things are still somewhat the same, yet slightly different. Since it's creation, Temporal Investigations has tried to keep both timelines separate. But they have discovered that Spock, the Prime Spock, is still alive for now. But his health is failing and time is running out. You have been tasked to bring Spock home or, if the worst has come, bring back his remains."

"Nexus"

"2410. The year when everything changes. The Nexus has reopened and your Captain has disappeared within. Your crew has followed into the Nexus and discovered that, while only moments passed outside, your captain has spent one hundred years in the Nexus in their own paradise. Write a log about how your captain spent that century in the Nexus. What was their paradise like? Who was there? Does your captain even want to leave?"




As usual, no NSFW content.

The discussion thread is here.

The LC Submission thread is here

Index of previous ULCs:
  1. The Kobayashi Maru
  2. Time After Time
  3. The Next Generation of Tribbles with Darkest Moments
  4. The Return of the Revenge of the Unofficial LC of DOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!!
  5. Back from the Dead?
  6. Gods of Lower Decks in Wintry Timelines
  7. Skippy's List: Starfleet Edition
  8. Revisit to a Weird Game, One of One
  9. In Memory of Spock
  10. Redux 1
  11. Delta Recruit
  12. Someone to Remember Them By
  13. In A.D. 2410, War Was Beginning
  14. The Sound of Q-sic
  15. Stand for the Crew
  16. A Future That Many Will Never See
  17. STO Thanksgiving
  18. Winter Wonderland Celebrations II
  19. Once In A Lifetime
  20. Coming Around Again
  21. In the Darkness
  22. The Company You Keep
  23. Battle Scars
  24. Mirror Wars
"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP"

-Leonard Nimoy, RIP

Comments

  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    Author's Note: This scene was written as part of my recent story, Shades of Madness, but it was inspired by the write ups which others made of Agents of Yesterday, so I'm reposting it here as an initial entry, as it's too fitting not to...

    Main Promenade, Starbase One…

    "Commander t'Kazanak, how may I help you today?" Ghemik Telur enquired as Ael walked into Requisitions. "You're looking uncharacteristically out of uniform..."

    Ael smiled as the Cardassian tailor approached her, "I'm on assignment and having some replicator issues," she said. "I need a type two Sierra uniform."

    The Cardassian nodded, "I still have your measurements on file, Commander," he assured her. "Make yourself comfortable, and I'll see what I can find."

    As he headed back into a storage area, Ael glanced idly about, nodding to a Bajoran lieutenant in a facsimile of nonchalance. After a moment, Ghemik returned carrying a pile of neatly folded garments, an expression of confusion on his face.

    "There seems to be a glitch with your replicator access," he observed curiously. "Fortunately, I also had these standard sized items in stock, which I can adjust while you wait."

    "That, is very much appreciated," Ael replied with a smile, declining to acknowledge the Cardassian's mention of the replicator issue. Of course there was an issue with her replicator access account. As far as Starfleet computers were concerned, she was aboard the Endeavour in the Hiromi Cluster, and would be logging any such requests as unauthorised attempts to access a Starfleet uniform. Reaching out, she took the pile of clothes, "I'll go put these on..." she said, and walked through to the changing room.

    In the changing room, Ael quickly stripped off the clothes she had been given aboard Hope's End, substituting them for the synthleather jacket and pants of the new uniform. She had retained her original uniform boots, and having no intention in suffering the blisters and rubs from breaking in the new pair Ghemik had provided, she slipped them back on again.

    The garments fit adequately, but definitely needed adjusting. To accommodate her long legs, Ael had to wear pants a size larger to provide the necessary length, and she knew the waistband of the pants would need to be taken in. Equally so with the jacket, which would need fitting at the waist.

    Feeling like a little girl playing dress-up in her mother's clothes, she walked out into the greeting area, and with a sheepish expression, shrugged. Ghemik smiled reassuringly as he walked over, seam-ripper at the ready.

    "Jacket off please, Commander," he encouraged. "We'll start from the bottom up."

    "Hmmm, I've heard that before," Ael remarked wryly with a sly grin.

    "Oh Commander, you are scandalous," Ghemik chuckled, as he ran the seam-ripper up the side of Ael's hips, up the seat of her pants and through the waistband. With a deft technique, the Cardassian began folding, tucking and trimming the excess material from the panels, pulling the material snug across Ael's hips, then switched the seam-ripper to its opposite setting, swiftly and securely bonding the new seams.

    "How is the fit now?" he asked, casting a critical eye over his workmanship.

    "Perfect, thank you," Ael replied.

    Ghemik cast his interrogative gaze over Ael's exposed arms, "I don't remember seeing those at your last fitting," he noted, gesturing with his seam-ripper to the tattoos on the outer edges of her forearms.

    "Oh, these? Very recently done," Ael replied as she slipped on her jacket, trying to recall precisely when she did have her parents' names tattooed. "They only cost me a bottle of kheh'irho and a rather enjoyable date with the artist."

    Ghemik eyed her reproachfully, "If you want my advice, Commander: Marry a tailor," he informed Ael as she sealed the jacket’s front seam and he moved behind her to check the darting above her kidneys. "You'll always be bedecked in the finest materials and the most flattering outfits... After-all, who else knows better how to dress someone to appear their best? Dermal artists? Pffft... Uncouth tracers without a scrap of talent, and egos of glass..."

    Ael smiled. She always appreciated Ghemik's advice.

    "If you can point me in the direction of any eligible Romulan tailors who appreciate a woman's charms, rather than the company of men, please, give me a name," she challenged lightly, "If everything goes well, I'll have you make my wedding outfit."

    "You don't ask for much, do you Commander," Ghemik chuckled as he began to adjust the seams, "Let me see... There is Nalon tr'Viaen," he said after a moment's thought. "More a purveyor of fabrics than a tailor, I admit, but a good man. Good family, and I know how important that is to Romulans. Not quite of Kazanak stature, of course, but certainly not a street haggler from the souks in the Krocton Segment either... That was no place for a young lady, although you were probably too young to have visited there very much..."

    "I've heard stories of the bordellos from my uncle," she admitted, making mental note to indeed track down this Nalon tr’Viaen. "Sometimes the most rewarding things're found in the darkest places."

    "So they say, Commander," Ghemik agreed as he sealed the final seam at the top of the waistband. "So they say. Now, about your account -- I'm afraid I don't take alcohol or sexual favors in payment ...At least, not from a lady."

    "I'll sign for them," she said, and the Cardassian produced a PADD. Affixing her thumbscan, Ael scrawled 'T'Kaz' across the touchscreen. An alias she used which would pacify the system into axknowledging that her presence was due to covert assignment. "I'll see you soon, Ghemik, take care."


    909d7cda93335d83bb43d3459b4dfcd5_zpsayiqcsfi.jpg
  • aten66aten66 Member Posts: 638 Arc User
    edited August 2016
    Part 1/2

    The Nexus, USS Olivine

    The Guardian-Class ship streaked through the sky, a safe distance from the Nexus' gravitational forces. The Federation Science Council had deemed this ship as one of the few to study the massive force of cosmological nature, as it passed through the Beta Quadrant. Tekhav, son of Sern and Vulcan Captain of the Olivine, was quite, dare he say, happy that he was allowed to watch such a fascinating energy ribbon from the safety of his bridge. Now that they had ways to track the massive ribbons course, and create relay stations where designated ships, like his, were waiting to follow the Ribbon after their stretch was done, tracking the thing and taking readings were essential for science.

    "Captain, I'm picking up strange readings two light years out, on long range sensors- sir and Iconain gate just formed within the path of the Energy Ribbon!" Lieutenant Michaels at the ships science console said, "Estimated time for the Ribbon to cross it- six minutes- sir, if we don't get that gateway closed, who knows what havoc the two forces could cause if they interact." Nodding, Tekhav takes his seat at his chair.

    "Helm, please increase speed, we must figure out what is causing the Gateway to remain open," he orders, "Could T'Ket have known something about the Nexus, could she be planning to divert the-"

    "Sir, ship detected exiting the Gateway, Aelahl-Class warbird, Romulan Republic prefix- RRW Paehhos?" the Andorian security officer at the security station responds, "Sir, it's Nali's ship, they are supposed to be in the Delta Quadrant-" Whatever they were saying next, was lost to Tekhav's ears, as his mask breaks for even a second, emotions threatening to run rampant.

    "Helm, can you get a tractor lock on them and get them out of the Energy Ribbon's path?" Tekhav says, "We don't want another 'Kirk' incident occurring..." Nodding, Michaels activates the ships tractor lock, attempting to pull the Paehhos from out of the path of the Nexus. The Paehhos is dragged slowly out of the Nexus' gravimetric field by its tail, before an energy beam strikes the front of the Romulan ship, as the Nexus finally catches up with the Warbird's location.

    "Sir, gravimetric pressure is strong enough that the ship will be dragged behind the ribbon, if we continue trying to pull them out though," the science officer says, "We may end up splitting their ship in half, or even just lose whatever section is stuck within the Nexus' gravity field."

    "No! Break Tractor beam," Tekhav shouts, "Someone, get me contact with that ship, follow after that energy Ribbon before their ship gets blown to pieces, or we loose their crew." Complying, the ship engages warp to match the trailing ribbon.

    Not now, Tekhav couldn't lose her again, not after he had finally gotten to see her after all these years. Not after the hell he went through.


    \\\\\ 872 Trianguli star system, 2264 \\\\\

    'You know Delon, there was once a story I knew from my home planet, a tale of a Shrine Maiden, a God, and of a Prince and Princess,' T'Preth says to her Romulan guardian, 'They call it... The Maiden of Lies; it's not a common story told in any old Vulcan library, of course.' At that the Romulan Uhlan chuckles from his post at the prison door.

    'I did not think so, as I have never heard of such a tale,' Delon, the Romulan Guard overseeing the woman's prison housing, replies, 'But please regale me with the tale, I always love a good story to pass the cold night.'

    'Yes, but please come into the courtyard, let me call the other women, and let them help me tell the tale,' she says, 'Let me bring a little bit of happiness to their lives, let me tell a tale of old.'

    'A Vulcan happy?' he replies, 'Are not you Vulcan's repressors of emotion, having to follow Surak's Laws, or some such nonsense...' Se grimaces for a moment, but then goes back to the smiling mask.

    'That does not mean we do not enjoy feeling as you do, or take in... pleasures as you,' she rebuts, 'But you have not afforded my sisters kindness, your people have taken what we would not give freely, and twisted them into cruel experiments or for your pleasures.' Chuckling, he motions for her to go, and he waits for her to gather them all together, before biting back his emotions as he stoically resumes his post, while another guard passes by.

    'Please, commander, come let us regale you with our tale, if you do not sit what pleasure could we have?' she says, directing him to sit at a log closest to the door. Sitting down, Delon merely waits as the Vulcan women lounge around a small fire, barely kept lit by little wood and dying embers.

    'Fine, but make it quick, we only have an hour,' Delon replies, 'By then a more nasty guard than I may come and find me, and you would no longer have a guardsmen who has your sympathy.'

    'Yes, yes, but this is a unique story, very few Vulcan's hear it now as it predates the Time of Awakening, before your Sundering, during the Age of Gods,' she says, 'Once there were two countries, beyond the continental island of Xir'tan,...'


    \\\\\ Narrating: T'Preth \\\\\

    Two island nations had formed far away from any Vulcan contact, and were descended from many shipwrecks during Vulcan's early attempt at seafaring voyages, each ship saved by the Goddess that lived on a tiny island between the two. Each had arisen on the two twin islands, separated all but one week, every six years time when a natural bridge was dried out from the seawater, and the Goddess' Island was reachable. Each island had a hierarchy, the southern island was home to the Matriarchy of Ex'cr, the northern home to the Kingdom of V'Rion.

    The southern island was a farmer's paradise, ripe for agricultural use, but lacking good soil after many centuries of use and little defense against the islands natural predators; vicious island monsters which stalked the mountainous highlands. The northern island suffered the most, it hardened the survivors of this island who caught fish and hunted prey which thrived in the volcanic side, as the island monster's despised the heat and sandy domain. Once every six years, the islands were united, and gifts were exchanged: a bounty of fruits and veggies brought in exchange for a hunter's party which sought out the viscous predators, in an effort to lower their numbers.

    And each year, on the first and last day, a gift was left at the Goddesses' island shrine, the shrine maiden, the sole occupant of the island, given a bounty of dried fruits and fish to supplement her diet on the first, as well as fishing tools to use and seeds to replenish her own garden crop, on the last. Between that day each side was allowed freely to visit and pay homage to the island god, who watched them from afar, within her hidden home somewhere on the miniature island.

    War, as all things do, came to this island one year, when the foolish son of a farmer met the youngest daughter of a hunter, and neither wished to give up their heir to the other side.

    "Why should my daughter go to your island, she is our greatest prodigy, a hunter of the greatest caliber?" the Mother of the hunter had said, "Why should she leave us and go where she cannot put her skill to use?"

    "Oh? Well my son is the greatest healer on this side of the island, he can produce the greatest poultice from the rarest island herbs, which only he knows where to find," the Farmer's father says, "He is invaluable when our people get the Hy'ron Fever."

    "Your daughter is odd, with her golden eyes to hunt by night,' the Mother of the son says, "Perhaps, if she is such a great a hunter as you say, she can hunt the monsters that prowl our highlands.".

    "Why, when it takes three men to take even one monster down," the hunter-girl's Father replies, "Oh? And what good would a farmers son do if our soil is ash and earth, when we have a bounty of prey to feast to our liking; he would merely get fat off our meat, and hinder my huntsmen."

    "Fine, I will take this to the Matriarch," the Father of the Farmer says, "Let her tell us where my son should go!" The Hunter's look outraged.

    "Bah, your matriarch's word means nothing to us," the Hunter's Father says, "Let our King decide your puny son's fate..." The Farmer's are incensed.

    "Enough!" the son's parents say, "Our Son will have nothing to do with your daughter, keep her away for the rest of the week, and we will keep our son for us, no matter what you think." They turn their backs to the Hunters.

    "Fine, who needs a scrawny weakling like your kin," the Hunter's retaliate, "He would muddle our genes and make us as weak as you; we don't need your pitiful fruits or vegetables, when we can grow fat on our succulent prey and let you die from the beasts that plague your island!" The Hunters go to return to their island.

    "Your daughter would be lucky to get our son, with as many sicknesses you must get on that pathetically sparse island," they respond, turning back for a mere second, "Let this mean war between your family and ours, no longer will I stand for our people to unite like this, in six years time, we will be at war!"

    \\\\\ Twelve Years Later \\\\\

    A young man sits at the edge of the great sea separating the sister island, where the land bridge should form in the next few days. He sees the signs, the land beginning to show above the water, slowly, before it becomes stable for the single week of safe travel. He gets up and returns to the house nearby, the summer home of the Matriarch, where he had begun to treat the woman for her grievous illness. Her illness was unlike any he had seen before, and he was afraid the only cure could possibly lay within the volcanic wastelands on the other island, in the form of a rare cave moss, or more hopefully, his answer lay within the Goddess' Shrine.

    Unbeknownst to him, on the opposite island, a young women kneels toward the Goddess' shrine, knowing the sacred week would be soon upon them, and she could visit the shrine to end a war, before it ever began. She could only hope the shrine maiden could be convinced to show her where the Goddess lay in secret, she would be the only one who could convince the people to turn away from their foolish err. Quickly rising, she returns her cloak over her body, and makes her way back to the decrepit kingdom, which had begun to rot. Now that the foolish and violent King and Queen had taken control, since the old King died childless, her very presence in the kingdom was despised. Soon they would start a war they couldn't finish, and if necessary, she was going to die trying to prevent it from happening.

    Kelrin, a son of Ex'cr, and Sivir, a daughter of V'Rion, each headed for the Goddess' shrine, each for their own reasons. One to save a dying matriarch, the other to prevent a war, and their two destinies were now intertwined by a single island...

    \\\\\\\

    \\\\ The Prison Camp \\\\\

    The Uhlan barely has time to register the hand to his forehead, having just closed his eyes for a second, to enjoy the story in his mind's eye, before he hears the woman chant in an ancient Vulcan dialect, and his eyes grow dim.



    \\\ 2409, Daise System \\\

    The Pioneer-Class ship, Tourmaline, flew through the darkness, as it reaches its destination, a pinging beacon where they were ordered to rendezvous with an allied ship. Suddenly a Dhelan-Class vessel decloaks. Before the Tourmaline can activate its weapon systems, the ship is hailed. Tekhav nods to allow the channel to be open, and a Romulan man appears on screen. "I am T'Erav, this is the RRW Albedo, requesting that we send you the clearance codes given to us to verify our identity," the Romulan man says, as the ship receives the codes, "I apologize our Captain is- requesting sick leave, for the remainder of this journey, it appears she has been pulled out of active duty by our Chief Medical Officer, a chronic illness of some sort."

    "That is quite fine, I am Tekhav of Vulcan, son of Sern, and commander of this ship, I was told your Captain was supposed to help me learn the-" Tekhav trails off as he hears something, a dull scream in his ear. He begins to shake a few moments, until he controls himself and straightens up, to the concern of his crew. "I apologize, I believe my adjustment to this time frame is going to take a bit-" he stops, turning his head as he hears it again, this time louder, "-I think, Mr. T'Erav, if it is alright with you, I believe my First Officer will be more than capable of dealing with you, Number One, I believe I may have to excuse myself..." Walking towards the ships turbolift, he steadies himself just outside the door, getting dizzy and with a growing ringing in his ears.

    Stumbling into the turbolift, and holding on for dear life, he doesn't know if it even moves, or if the falling sensation is just in his head, as he falls unconscious.

    When he wakes up in his ships Sick Bay, he can't help but feel something is wrong, when the Doctor is scanning him with her tricorder. She smiles when she sees he is awake, and chuckles at his blank stare. "Nice to see you to, ya' big lug, it was a good thing Big Ben was the next one in that Turbolift," she says, "I don't think anyone else could carry you besides the security chief his'self" Looking at her scans, she purses her lips. "Tell me big guy, do ya' think- I mean, I know it's about 139 years later, but- uh, how do I ask this?" Becky the CMO says, "Have you come into contact with any Vulcan's suffering from Pon Farr?" Tekhav's eyes widen, a soft green blush would tip his nose, but he coughs it off and straightens his face.

    "No, Doctor, I can assure you I have remained away from my own species, ever since we came here, besides the few security ensigns and an engineer, all too young, or who have already had theirs," he responds, "I can assure you, my own experience should be yet another year away..."

    "Should be Boss, unless you don't account the time dilation, and the specific month you originally experienced it, and the fast forward that messed that up-" she stops and blushes, "I mean to say, you may be experiencing an early onset of it, triggered by someone, not necessarily on this ship, who you've come into contact with before..."

    "Doctor, are you trying to suggest their is someone I am unaware of, who came into contact with me during their Pon Farr?" he replies, "I can assure you doctor, as I already logically stated, I have not come into contact-" He stops as he hears the cry again, this time clearer and more distinct, as if his senses had begun to acclimate.

    "There, as I suspected Boss," Becky states from her position at a nearby terminal, "I thought you were getting a call, and I was right... perhaps we weren't just the only ones thrown through time..." Swiveling his head to see what she was pointing at, he notices the scan of his brain, just taken as he heard the cry. "I believe I need to 'ave a chat with the good doctor of their ship," Becky says, "Maybe someone over there is a transfer, maybe they didn't even know they had it... but someone on the Albedo is currently undergoing Pon Farr, and they are calling out to you." Tekhav merely sits there for a moment, before tapping his combadge.

    "Richards, get me clearance to transfer over to the Albedo, I believe I am needed as a consultant to a medical case..." he says, ending the call and tuning to Becky, "And Doctor Morris, please, don't disclose anything you took of me to anyone, not the V'Shar, not the 'Others', and certainly not Starfleet or the Romulan's Medical Officer, I believe I have a- sad idea of what is going on..." Nodding, Becky merely purses her lips, as her captain walks out of sickbay.

    \\\ The Albedo, Captain's Quarters \\\

    "I just had another dream, no need to be alarmed doctor," Nali says from her pillow on the bed, "I just will need some sleep to accompany my week of meditation..." At that the Reman harrumphs, knowing full well that the woman before him needs more than rest.

    "If you just gave my suggestion a thought, you could get this all well and over with, no questions asked by anyone," the Reman continues, "You may not see it, but people are beginning to wonder about you, two days locked in your room, nothing but water and some vitamin's to tide you over, to build up your blood count..."

    "I know what you are asking me to do, Cranvik, but I can not in good conscience share my life with just anyone, and you know why!" she retorts, "I let very few people know the real me, heck I was considered the 'neighborhood hermit' on my last homeworld, because I don't want anyone else to know this pain I am feeling..." The Reman rolls his eyes and returns his view to the Federation ship outside the window.

    "If you won't let one of our own help you, no matter how many single officers there are on this ship, perhaps you should get help from a Vulcan on their-" At that he barely feels the sting of her nails scratching his face, long and thin and lithe as her, before he recoils in shock at her violent outburst.

    "You dare suggest I open such a- such a private matter to strangers from a strange ship?" she yells at him, "To suggest such a thing- they may be my true people, but even today such talk is still taboo, if not just as uncomfortable to talk about, let alone ASK for help... and then what, reveal my secret next?" She sees the blood on her fingernails and uncompassionately studies it for a moment, letting it drip, until she gets a hold of her senses. "W-what, oh, Cranvik, I-I'm so sorry-" she begins, before turning shamefully away and covering herself with her blankets and crying into a pillow, "This is why- why I must suffer, I am a threat, I-I can survive this, it will just take a week-"

    "A week of more questions?" Cranvik replies, "A week where someone looks just a little too deep, where they study your records and find you don't exist in it besides an approximation of your blood type and heritage you faked for years, and maybe the odd Tal Shiar file?" The Reman stands and begins to walk to the door, preparing to unlock it. "Perhaps the Republic is open to refugees, perhaps they wouldn't think twice having you around," he says, "But what will it mean when they see who, no, what you really are underneath that skin of yours? What will the Tal Shiar do?" Opening the door, the Reman merely gasps in shock, as suddenly a man falls on top of him, surprising them both as they tumble to the ground.

    "Mmh-minou," the man moans, before the Reman shoves him off, and sets the man down. The Reman stares in surprise at the Vulcan before him, before he takes readings from his tricorder, recognizing signs that something was wrong with the Vulcan man.

    "Why is he asking for a Cat? Let alone, why is he on my ship while he was sick?" the Reman asks himself, tapping into the ships communication network, "Sickbay, this is Doctor Vam'Krat, I don't know who let this man aboard my ship, but-" Suddenly the man opens his eyes and shoots to his feet, a crazed look in his eyes. Smoothing out his coat, then looking thee Reman in the eye, he quickly pushes the man outside the door, Cranvik merely swearing as the Vulcan man merely smiles, before the doors close and seemingly lock a few seconds later. Still swearing, Cranvik turns to go down the corridor, before seeing the a pair of Romulan security officers, one facedown and apparent bruising on his left eye, the other slumped to the floor and lying against a wall. Swearing, he calls for a nurse, and looks back to the closed door. "Damn Vulcan's and their mating habits," the Reman says, "They wonder why the rihannsu took the need out of their genepool...."

    \\\ The Next Day \\\

    "He will not speak about us?" he asks from the bed, putting the freshly replicated undershirt on, before pulling the jacket snug over his form, "I-I had lost hope of ever seeing you-"

    "I know, k'diwa, I have much to explain in the coming months, but- I still have much yet to do, places I must go, where you cannot," she says from the bathroom doorway, coming out, before seeing the tesseract device in his hand, Tekhav staring humorously at the device, "I can explain-" He merely chuckles in response.

    "No need, my love, I believe we both may be seeing each other again, soon even," Tekhav replies, "But, I must return to my ship and crew, as you must yours, but- perhaps we can make it so we don't have to miss seven years between our meetings..." He believe he sees a tear in her eye, but the notion is gone, as she steels herself and turns back to readying herself.

    "Y-yes, seven years... for you..." T'Aminu replies, "But for me... an eternity." Suddenly she finds herself engulfed in strong arms, hot breath on her neck.

    "Do not think I did not miss you, I had thought you dead even then," Tekhav replies to her, "When the Tal Shiar- when they took our children, shamed me and sent me to face trial- I accepted my fate, until the Federation came and saved me, but I could not stop believing you dead, our child brainwashed to become a servant to a ruthless tyrant, perhaps the most dangerous combination of emotion and no control-" She feels his tears as he felt hers, both choosing to hold the embrace a little bit longer.

    "I-I know, they thought I was dead too, they had burned our home and plundered our savings," she whispers hoarsely, "I had lost hope of ever seeing my only child- I-I found our grandchild, at the very least- so angry, so brash, just like we feared, but honorable and bound by duty to the Star Empire, or at least he was..." She grabs something, a PADD from her desk, before flipping it on. "This is what he looked like, before he died, he lived as an honorable lawkeeper, before he was chased off and ended up on a backwater planet called Virinat where he met his wife," she says, "I lost track for a bit, but then I heard he had a son, and-"

    "He is well?" Tekhav asks, "I know that child, I saw him in the meld, I know who he is, as well as what he is currently doing." Tekhav merely smiles, as the picture switches to a newer one taken on the Flotilla, of a Romulan decked out in a mix of clothes distinctly Klingon made, yet Romulan in design, a blend of cultures no doubt. "If he is half as honorable as you believe him to be, then he is already twice as good in my eyes," he replies, "Hopefully the war ends soon, because I would love to meet him, if you and I ever have time to get together on neutral ground-" She smiles and kisses the man, as she finishes pulling on her own jacket over her undershirt.

    "One day, we'll all come together under a place we could call home, and spend the night sharing our stories and reconnecting, as a whole family, extended and blood," she replies to him, "I never had hope, when I thought all was gone, that my future was pain and loss- a prisoner of my own body, and yet here you are, we are together again, if even only a little bit, and I have hope rekindled..." Removing herself from her grasp, she wipes away her tears before straightening up his collar, which had rumpled. "I have hope," she says, "And I will die before I ever lose you again..."
    Post edited by aten66 on
  • aten66aten66 Member Posts: 638 Arc User
    edited July 2016
    [Part 2/2, split due to length]

    \\\ 2410, Pursuing The Nexus \\\

    'Yes you would have to-' Tekhav thinks to himself, 'Except they all believe Nali is- not T'Lie, or T'Preth, or even T'Aminu my wife... and I cannot grieve while there is still hope.' Tekhav merely sits and stares as the view screen shows a stray bolt strike the bridge, and the ship makes a desperate attempt to escape. The Paehhos successfully escaped the gravimetric shear, worse for wear, but missing most of it's bridge crew in the blast, totaling only ten men and women lost to the Nexus, and another twenty dead or wounded from the decks behind and below. 'Yes, there is still hope,' Tekhav says, 'And I will follow you through hell and back to find you...'

    \\\ 2264 \\\

    She can't see anything beyond the ocean and the desert, the bright sun uncomfortable upon her paling skin, which had not seen such a sun for many years. She could see a city in the distance, a sprawling metropolis off of a sea she had not seen for centuries, a sea from Vulcan itself. 'Raal' she thought to herself, 'How long it has been since I walked your sea and sand... but how did I get here?'

    Walking as far as she could into the city, she finds it almost deserted, the hot sun having drained her of her energy. Looking down, she can't help but feel the heat, until a shadow overtakes her. Looking up, she sees the shadow of a Vulcan man, young and exuberant, and offering a hand to hers. "Welcome, daughter of Vulcan, to the city of Raal, or at least as I remember it last," the Vulcan man says, "I know you must be confused, but let me assure you, this is no trick, I am real, I am Vulcan as you are." She is blinded for a second, as she sees a patch of unfamiliar metal pinned to his coat. She looks to see his face clearer, it was fuzzy and undetermined as far as she could tell, until he grabs for his face and pulls off a mask of empty skin, revealing his true face beneath.

    "You should know, master telepath, that one's mind should be trained against telepathic attacks, though I never thought my training would be needed against you," he says, "Worry not, as an agent of the V'Shar I am experienced in misdirection, and trained to control the meld, at least one as forced as yours." He smiles that smile again, and T'Aminu is dazzled by the younger man, and for the first time in a long time, she begins to feel something she hasn't for a while-

    Hope
  • starswordcstarswordc Member Posts: 10,478 Arc User
    edited July 2016
    A Changed World
    (Woo)
    Yes, sir
    Pharoahe Monch, Black Violin
    Although the lyrics are transparent, I am not invisible
    Let's go
    I’m not invisible
    I'm not invisible
    I’m not invisible it’s not my fault you don’t understand
    You can pretend not to care
    That won’t make me disappear
    As I rise it's clear
    Here I stand
    Here I am

    I am not invisible
    We are at the precipice of a point that is pivotal
    A criminal society of sick individuals
    That murder is part of a ritual
    Unconventional analog man in the digital world
    Where there’s no one to listen to
    Where they kill us and show us the visuals
    Images so unforgettable
    Infidels give us the minimal amount while they’re feeding us poisonous chemicals
    We are not identical (No)
    But I am not invisible (No)
    You want me to vanish it’s pitiful
    And I don’t understand your subliminal messages
    Separatist, sentinels, criminals, I’m not invisible

    I’m not invisible
    I’m not invisible
    I’m not invisible it’s not my fault you don't understand
    You can pretend not to care
    That won't make me disappear
    As I rise it’s clear
    Here I stand
    Here I am

    I’m not invisible
    I’m not invisible
    I’m not invisible it’s not my fault you don't understand
    You can pretend not to care
    That won’t make me disappear
    As I rise it’s clear
    Here I stand
    Here I am

    — “Invisible” by Black Violin feat. Pharoahe Monch

    I suckle absently on a jumja stick as stars and particles whip past on the viewscreen. Another day, another load of relief supplies for the refugee camp on Mariah IV.

    Peace. A month on from Operation Mockingbird and it’s still hard to believe the war is finally over.

    Not sure how I feel about that: a good command-track Starfleet officer is supposed to be a scientist and a diplomat, not just a soldier, but my field of expertise was always violence, killing, no matter how much I hated it. But there’s been no sign of any enemy activity since Iconia and most of the other powers from this galaxy are still talking to us.

    Peace. I don’t have a clue what I’ll do with myself.

    I look over at Gaarra, sitting at the ops station. A small spot of dull yellow stands out in the center of the chain on his earring.

    I reach up and touch my own, knowing one of the brass links is now silver.

    He sneaks a look over his shoulder and I smile at him.

    At least I don’t have to figure it out alone.

    A male voice intrudes on my thoughts. “Captain?” I glance over at Master Chief Wiggin and grunt in acknowledgement, still sucking the jumja stick. “I’m picking up a signal on the radio telescope. ELF range, extremely weak.”

    “ELF?”

    “‘Extremely Low Frequency’, ma’am,” Ensign Esplin helpfully supplies from the station to Wiggin’s right. “They used to use it to send radio messages underwater.”

    “Magnetars sometimes put them out, too,” Biri adds, coming over to look at the data. The little brown Trill leans over Wiggin’s shoulder. “Where’s it coming from?”

    Wiggin throws a plot on the main viewscreen. “NGC-21997, black hole four light-years off our port bow.”

    “Wait, wait, wait,” I interrupt. “A black hole? I mean, I only remember about a third of my Astronomy classes at the Academy but don’t they usually put out stuff a lot higher-frequency than that?”

    Biri grins at me. “Good guess. The accretion disk usually emits in the X-ray range.”

    I think for a minute. If it’s not the accretion disk, then something else is producing the signal. It’s gotta be outside the event horizon or else we wouldn’t get it at all, but what could make something that weak?

    Wait, maybe… “Wiggin, how long were we receiving the signal before Astrometrics flagged it for you?” He gives me a questioning look. “Just a hunch.”

    He shrugs and checks. “About twenty minutes.”

    “All right. Esplin, I want you to get the whole signal from Astro and increase the frequency to compensate for the gravitational redshift from the black hole.”

    “Oh, I see where you’re going with this, Captain.”

    The Saurian quickly types out a series of commands as her boss gives me a surprised glance. I shrug. “Told you, I remembered some of my astronomy classes, Biri.”

    “Let’s see, 37 solar masses produces redshift in the degree of…” She leans back. “You were right, ma’am.”

    “It’s a ship?”

    “Sending a distress signal, very badly distorted by the gravity well.”

    “Red alert! Park!” The black-haired man at Conn quickly steers us onto new heading as I turn to Esplin. “Ensign, text message to Starfleet Command and attach our data. ‘USS Bajor NCC-97238, responding to mayday from possible vessel trapped at NGC-21997. Requesting backup.’”

    “Captain, something funny about the message though,” Esplin interrupts me. I shove back the flash of annoyance at being interrupted and hand-signal her to go on. “The language, it’s… Well, the universal translator has it grouped as an unencountered dialect of Bajoran.”

    Park points at the plot. “Closest Bajoran colony to here is—”

    I quickly nod. “Dreon VII, I know; next closest is Volnar.” Militia Space Arm made us memorize the locations of all Bajoran territorial possessions in Occupational Specialty School. “Send the message and let me hear the signal in original language mode.”

    Esplin nods and presses a couple keys. A female voice crackles through the interference. “Ilyata kerim al wan bo tava! Mata ke kerim Shad’rakil Yima kossta fasa Bajor’sal Verda sora yal ire ta bo akarr ankaya! Ilyata kerim al wan—

    The Saurian cuts it off. “Message just repeats from there, ma’am.”

    “... ‘ire ta bo akarr ankaya’,” I murmur. “Weird, it’s Bajor’ara, Old High Bajoran,” I add for the others’ benefit. “She’s saying she’s Colonel Shad Yima of the Militia scoutship Verda. They were attacked by… ‘foreigners’, I think, and their warp drive is out.”

    “Old High Bajoran, I don’t know that one.” Esplin sounds confused. “Where do they speak that on Bajor?”

    “They don’t,” Gaarra answers. “Nobody uses it, ‘cept the priests.”

    “Yeah, I only learned it because I went to temple school,” I add. “Our main language Bajor’la comes from a simplified version the Bajora created to communicate with their conquests back in the 10th century Earth Standard.”

    “Wait, what? I thought you were all Bajoran.”

    “Not ‘Bajoran’, ‘Bajora’,” Gaarra corrects Tess. “Neither of us is Bajora: Captain’s Kendran, I’m half-Dahkuri. It’s like… Well, like Lieutenant Park here being Korean.”

    “Oh, I see. So, why is it so weird for them to be speaking an old Bajoran dialect?”

    “Well, as the Captain said,” Esplin points out, “I’d expect a ship to send in Cardassian or Fed Standard around here, Ferengi even. Not everybody’s translation gear is as good as ours.”

    “Right,” I finish, “so why are they sending in a language that went out of use on our planet before the Occupation?”
    * * *

    I’m beginning to have second thoughts about this. “We’re safe out here, right?”

    Gaarra answers me, “Our structural integrity field can handle the gravity and the warp engines will keep our timeline clear of most of the time dilation effects. We won’t lose more than a few hours relative as long as we don’t stay too long.”

    “So we’re safe, right?”

    “It’s a black hole, El,” Biri simply says. “No guarantees, but I think the risk is acceptable.” I stare at her and she bats her eyelashes at me. “Hey, if I’m wrong we’ll never feel a thing.”

    Tess snorts. “If you’re wrong I’ll see you in Hell.”

    “Whatever. Conn, let’s go.” Park sets us on a course for what he’s pinpointed as the source of the distress signal, still invisible on our sensors against the black spot the size of a small moon surrounded by a glowing blue disk.

    My brain rebels at the sight. You look at a black hole and all your nerves scream at you that this is wrong. Space is supposed to be studded with stars, it’s never completely and utterly black. It’s wrong, it’s a thing that shouldn’t exist, that can’t exist, and yet it does.

    Bajor’s hull groans around us as the gravitational stress increases but the SIF holds. The absolute blackness grows to encompass the whole screen and Wiggin switches to a false-color view from a different set of sensors, probably infrared, then drops a reticle on a speck faint reddish tinge amid a blaze of white from the accretion disk as we turn to starboard. “There it is,” he announces. “The Verda. Making out seven life signs. I can try and simulate a visual.”

    The human superimposes a heavily pixellated image onto the screen. The outline is a delta-wing design with a big engine block astern and wingtip-mounted nacelles. Something’s off about the image, but I’m not sure where I saw it before. It’s definitely not a current Militia craft though: those wings are completely wrong for a Verdanis-class logistical transport, the only Surface Arm ship big enough.

    “Now what? They’re awfully close to the event horizon, Eleya,” Gaarra notes. “No way in hell can we beam them off in all this radiation.”

    “Tractor beam?” Tess suggests.

    He pinches his chin in concentration. “Maybe. If we increase the power and can come alongside, extend our warp field…” He does some quick calculations. “No, that won’t work, but—” He snaps his fingers. “You know what? Extend the warp field and shields around them, I can maybe get a transporter lock after all.”

    “Tess?”

    “Whew. Ask no small favors, eh, Captain?” She types a couple commands. “Ready on my end. Park?”

    “I’ll have them in two minutes; this field stress is not doing us any favors.”

    “Esplin, open a channel to the Verda if you can.”

    “We’re sending but I couldn’t begin to tell you if they’re receiving.”

    I switch to Bajor’la. “Colonel Shad, this is Colonel Kanril Eleya of the Federation Spacecraft Bajor. We’re going to attempt to rescue you from your ship by matter transporter. Out.”

    “I’ll be ready in thirty seconds, El,” Gaarra says.

    I nod and press my intercom key. “Lieutenant Gantumur, Lieutenant Connor to the command deck transporter room, please.” I grab my gun belt from behind my chair and put it on, then jog to the back door to head for the transporter room.

    “Ready for transport,” Transporter Officer Wohtan Korbuhlo tells me as I walk in with the two blonde humans.


    “Energize!”

    A flash of blue light erupts from the transporter pad and seven humanoid outlines start to fade in, but then there’s an electronic screech and Korbuhlo frantically scrambles across his console. “What’s the f*ck is happening!?” Connor yells at him.

    “I’m losing the signal in the field flux, trying to compensate!” One of the humanoid outlines suddenly loses coherence and collapses to the deck as a pile of pinkish goo, but the others begin to solidify amid the showers of blue-white sparklies. “I lost one!”

    “Damn it,” Gantumur mutters.

    The sparks finally start to fade. The first thing to become clearly visible on the leader is the red uniform of a senior unrestricted line officer, then a dark brown bob cut on a face that clearly hasn’t seen any sun in a long while. “Transport completed, ma’am.”

    “What is this?” the woman in the lead, probably Colonel Shad from the full-orb on her collar, demands. “Who are you? Ahel Bajor’eta!

    “Colonel Shad Yima?”

    Her expression goes from astonished to indignant. “You will address me with the proper respect, Ke’lora!” she snarls.

    “Hey!” Connor snaps. “Back off, bi—”

    “Lieutenant! Stand down!” I order in Fed Standard, holding up a hand at her without taking my eyes off of Shad. I take a breath and introduce myself in Bajor’la. “Colonel Shad, I’m Colonel Kanril Eleya of the Federation Starfleet.”

    “The Federation? Godless…”

    “Clearly she hasn’t met my mother,” Gantumur whispers, sparking a snort from Connor.

    “Per the Alphecca Convention on Conduct of Interstellar Travel we responded to your distress call and did what we could to mount a rescue. I’m sorry about your—”

    “Never mind that, you claim the rank of colonel of a spacecraft as Ke’lora. Kendra shak’tet,” she spits.

    She’s not even listening. Prophets, casteist and racist, what fun. “Colonel Shad, this is going to sound like a strange question but what year do you think this is?”

    “‘Think this is’?” Now she gives me an apprehensive look. “It’s Seventh Era 815, the Year of Venomous Scribes.”

    I squeeze my eyes shut. Worse than I thought. “Actually it’s 956, the Year of Distant Travails.”

    “… What?”
    END OF PART ONE
    Post edited by starswordc on
    "Two ways to view the world, so similar at times / Two ways to rule the world, to justify their crimes / By Kings and Queens young men are sent to die in war / Their propaganda speaks those words been heard before"
    — Sabaton, "A Lifetime of War"
    9MUythl.png
    (Still in development)
  • patrickngopatrickngo Member Posts: 9,334 Arc User
    well, not quite the prompt exactly, and believe it or not, this ties to my LC24 submission...

    LC25: Prompt 1 "Agents of Yesterday"/ "Dead and Gone?" (tie in to Betrayed Ideals, the LC24 "Civil Strife" entry)

    Somewhen else, somewhere else…

    “...timeline? Are you f*cking kidding me?” Commander Justine Parsons stepped forward, and grabbed at Daniels’ uniform, “preserve the [email protected] timeline?? You manipulative TRIBBLE, you’ve been using me, and god only knows who else-to create the timeline you want!!”

    For the first time, the man looked alarmed-because Justine had him-away from his devices and his get out of jail free card-there was nowhere to retreat to, they were on his ship.

    “You set it up.” she continued, “Arranged it, even…” She drew her fist back, and let fly, striking him in the gut and using his uniform to keep him in the locus of the strike. “You set us all up! I read your files, Daniels, you’re a TRIBBLE war criminal in a war you started on purpose.”

    “You’re..you’re wrong-it had to-”

    “F*CK THAT.” she snapped, “First of all, your past is still my future, I can still make choices you self-righteous sack of @ssholes-YOU prompted me to set up the Na’Kuhl for a retaliation by the Tholians, you conned me into letting the crew of the defiant DIE-you did these things...you monster, i can’t find the words-” she punched him again, and again, alternating with a stomp to his right foot-shattering the arch, Daniels screamed in pain as she drove him into the wall. “To guarantee a ‘future’ that is made of some temporal cold war you began? To put the Federation and the Klingons both under romulan control so that a group of self-styled ‘time lords’ can decide what history should look like?

    He was prone, bleeding on the deck.

    “Well, guess what?” she stood over him, “I don’t buy into the whole destiny BS, and obviously it’s not true-because you have opponents-if destiny were real, nobody would bother to travel through time.” she reached behind her back, drew her phaser, and levelled it at him, “You’re from one possible future, from my perspective, and if that future holds that genocide is a-okay because it ‘preserves the timeline’, I want no part of it. I’ll take my chances with a chaotic future where our choices actually matter, and where our morals aren’t constrained by the rulings of self-styled bureaucrats jealously manipulating reality to make their version of history happen.”

    “You don’t know what you’re doing-!” he got out in gasps.

    Justine set the phaser to maximum, and fired. “I don’t have to. We’re explorers, you chekist worm.”

    Then, she turned to the consoles, and typed in a series of commands to activate the Temporal transporter on a timer.

    [Destination?]

    She inserted a random dialing program, then, initiated the self-destruct on the timeship.

    “Anywhere but here.” she ordered, “ANywhen, but now.”

    She did, however, stop to take a duotronic tape copy of the ship’s Temporal database. “Let’s see about throwing sand in their gears…”

    The transporter hummed…

    somewhen/somewhere? (the Q continuum)

    “Interesting.” the strutting man in Apocalypse robes said, “very interesting. Why did you do that?”

    “Who are you?” she asked, putting her phaser away, “I mean, obviously you’re cosplaying a holocaust judge...but I don’t believe it.”

    “Skeptical too. Of course I’m only dressing the part-I am Q.”

    “Pleased to meet you, Q, I’m Commander Justine Parsons, Federation Starfleet.” she said, “SO, you’re another faction in this ‘temporal cold war’ TRIBBLE?”

    “No, but you clearly are-murdering your handler and everything.”

    “I’m off the reservation, yeah.” she nodded, “I decided to refuse to play the game their way.”

    “You do have some concept of what you’ve done, don’t you?” Q asked.

    “I rejected someone else’s version of my future.” Justine told the Q, “Which is-”

    “Something you have done before.” Q nodded, “clawing your way up to command of a Starship from a broken family-”

    “Spare me, I know my history.” She told him, “it’s irrelevant to the future-a future that should be made by the people in the present, not by masters from a farther future…” She shook her head, “Rise or fall, it isn’t their right to make that decision.”

    “There are a lot of things you wanted in the future Daniels was crafting.” Q noted.

    “Yeah, but it’s cheating.” Justine told the Q, “I had some time-he thought it was cute that I was interested in preparing for my big assignment...so he didn’t pay attention when I looked around more than he wanted-he didn’t even notice when I used the same codes he used, and got the files opened.” she shook her head, “Idiot thought he had me gulled.”

    “What clued you in?” Q asked, “Just...wondering?”

    “The Defiant.” Justine told him, “The prompting he gave me, that, and Deep Space Thirteen-those maybe were supposed to happen, but they were both preventable-when I looked up the entry on the Na’kuhl, the pieces fell into place, I confirmed it with a check on just who was involved in ‘losing’ the Thox Uhtat… he used me to prime the Tholians into revenge mode, then made sure they got the weapon to use, to kill the Na’kuhl home-star, so that the Na’kuhl would go back in time to attack the Tholians and create the incident.”

    “So you murdered him.” Q noted.

    “Changing his mind seemed unlikely.” Justine told the Q, “Besides, regardless of what happens now, at least the people involved are involved, they at least have the ability to choose their future...free of, at least, his manipulations.”

    “But you murdered a man who was helping in cold blood.” Q said grimly.

    “Mister Q…”

    “Just Q.”

    “Q...I watched soldiers kill my parents for hoarding food under Kodos.” she stated, “I can rationally understand why he did it-and why they did it...what Daniels was doing I can rationally understand-but like those soldiers, I can also reject being a part of it, or letting it continue-there will be consequences, but if we’re really worthy of that bright future, we’ll deal with them ourselves.”

    Q mused, “Where would you like to be, Commander Justine Parsons?”

    “Where I belong.” she said, “I don’t know where that is, but somewhere...somewhen...that I belong.”

    Q smiled, and snapped his fingers.

    Drozana station looked nothing like it should, but it was still somewhat recognizable-nearly two hundred years after she’d last seen it as a port of call.

    A one-armed Klingon was losing at a game of chance, scowling and angry.

    But handsome. And when he spoke, his voice was cultured and strong.

    She walked up to him, laid a hand on his shoulder, and said, “buy a girl a drink, sailor?”
    KDF: Not supported by Cryptic, because according to them, we're not 'Real' Star Trek fans.

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

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

    Advocacy
    simple logic process:

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

  • starswordcstarswordc Member Posts: 10,478 Arc User
    edited February 2017
    A Changed World, Part 2 (revised version)

    Warragul stands beside Colonel Shad, running the hand probe of a medical tricorder over a 162 centimeter frame stripped to her undershirt. “What can a human possibly know about Bajoran health?” she mutters under her breath.

    “Respectfully, ma’am,” he answers, “I wouldn’t be much good as chief medical officer on a ship named after your home planet if I didn’t. There are one hundred forty-seven Bajorans aboard, and the only major physiological differences between you and a female of my species are some uterine quirks. Now Bolians,” he adds in a thoughtful tone, “those are a real challenge.”

    “Hmph. And are you a godly man, Doctor Wirrpanda?”

    “Godly? Well, I’m no Julian Bashir but I like to think I’m a gun surgeon.”

    I can’t quite tell from the observation area but it looks like Colonel Shad is confused by him deliberately misunderstanding her question. And probably his slang as well: I make a mental note to have Esplin adjust the idiom filters because “gun surgeon” isn’t even one I know.

    “What was all that nonsense about ‘clora’ she was shouting, Captain?” Tess asks me. “I was listening on the intercom.”

    “‘Ke’lora’,” I correct her pronunciation. “Bajor used to have a caste system, the D’jarra. My family, actually most of the town where I grew up, are supposed to be laborers and tradesmen,” and I drop air-quotes on the ‘supposed to be’ part. I nod in Shad’s direction as Warragul draws some blood from her arm. “She’s I think Va’telo, the spacers and sailors, next rung up the ladder.”

    “More stuff from temple school?”

    “Ship’s library.” Off her look, “What? It’s twenty years since I studied any of this, and phekk, now I feel old. Thanks, Tess!”

    She laughs. “You’re welcome, ma’am. Warragul wants us.” I open the door and step into the room.

    “Feeling better?” Shad glares at me. “Look, whatever you think you know about me, forget it. A lot has happened.”

    “Yes, I’m told Bajor has actually joined the Federation.”

    “We’ve joined the Federation but we haven’t given up our identity, ma’am,” Corpsman Anaala Pudos tells her from a lab console.

    Shad’s nose wrinkles. “You say that, Ke’lora, and yet you serve under one who defied her ordained station in life.”

    “Hey.” I grab the front of her tunic and get in her face. “Your beef is with me, Colonel; leave my crew out of it.”

    “You afraid I might convince them?”

    “No, I’m afraid one of them might break a foot off in your TRIBBLE, rank or no rank.”

    I hold her stare until she looks away and tries to change the subject. “That’s quite a scar. Work accident?”

    “Battle wound,” Tess answers. “Captain’s a mustang, transferred from the Militia Space Arm. Got that in a boarding action.”

    “Perhaps it was Their way of telling you—”

    “I think the Prophets know better than you do what my station in life is, Colonel,” I snap. “The Cardassians were using the D’jarra to control us during the Occupation. Kai Opaka abolished it in the Year of Nine Sorrows so we’d fight them instead. And, oh by the way, that’s all in the Ohalu Prophecies: ‘the D’jarra will end with the coming of the grey warriors’, Ohalu 57:12.” I normally find it annoying when people quote scripture at me but let’s just say this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this load of bull.

    “But you’re not under occupation now.”

    I snort, remembering the protests against the anti-Undine raids in March; there’s still an active civil rights case in sector court. “Some of us might argue with that. Just because I wear their uniform doesn’t mean I agree with everything Earth does, not by a long shot.”

    She makes a noncommittal grunt and hops down from the hospital bed. “Where are the rest of my people?”

    “Corpsman Watkins is finishing with Gunnery Sergeant Inalo through there,” Warragul answers, pointing at the next room over. “We took the rest up to Ten Forward for some chow.”
    * * *

    “So how is it we didn’t have to explain the Federation to them?” Tess asks me as we watch the six survivors of the Verda. They’re huddled sullenly around a table eating replicated hasperat and deka tea, glaring at their Andorian minder from Security and the ten or so Bajorans from my own crew in service blacks or greys elsewhere in the lounge.

    I swallow my own bite of hasperat and wash it down with a swig of Romulan ale as Biri explains. “The date she gave, 815 of the Seventh Era, that’s 2271 according to the computer. About a year after USS Enterprise ran across a convoy headed to the colony on Pillagra.”

    “Kirk again? Really?” Gaarra chuckles. “Guy really got around.”

    “Mmm, in more ways than one.” I hide a smile behind my glass of ale.

    “What are you saying, ma’am?” Lieutenant Gantumur asks from next to us at the bar.

    “Well, let’s say Dr. McCoy’s the reason there’s a cure for banta fever.” Gaarra sprays a mouthful of cola out his nose and nearly falls over laughing.

    Thanks, Commander!” Nalak Lang grumbles at him, picking up a rag and throwing it at him.

    “I’m… missing something funny,” Biri says, looking from him to me. “Wait, is banta fever—”

    “An TRIBBLE? Yes, it is.”

    My combadge chirps as Biri valiantly fails to stifle her giggles. “Kanril.”

    It’s Tess. Master Chief Wiggin and I have found something; we need you on the bridge.

    “Be there in two. Lang, sober pill.” The old Cardassian tosses me a foil packet, and I give Gaarra a quick peck on the lips as I go by; he brushes my cheek scar with his hand.

    As I reach the door I glance back at the Militiamens’ table. Colonel Shad’s executive officer is staring at me with an interesting shade of purple on his face.

    Oh yeah. Gaarra’s technically Mi’tino, higher caste than either of us. How ‘bout that?
    * * *

    “Whatcha got?”

    Wiggin points at an image of the Verda, higher resolution than the last time. “This is just a simulation, Captain; the ship’s structural integrity field gave out fifteen minutes ago. The Verda was a Karaya-class patrol cruiser. Nothing fancy: capable of warp 4.3, basic nav deflector, but she carried a pair of five-kilo coilguns fore and aft.”

    “Right, I know; we bought energy weapons tech from the Ferengi later. So?”

    “So I managed to get a good composite scan and piece together enough data. She was hit hard by a far more capable ship; my guess is they fled into the black hole’s gravity well to escape pursuit and couldn’t climb back out.”

    “That jibes with what Colonel Shad said when I interviewed her,” Tess agrees.

    “Yes, and what she said in her distress signal. So?”

    “So, this.” He highlights two sections of the scan and blows them up on splitscreen. “One, whoever hit them was using class-3 disruptors.”

    I may not be a scientist, but I know weapons. That means Breen, Klingon, or Romulan, in that order given our location in the Alpha Quadrant. “What else?”

    “It looks like they were able to return fire: there’s at least four rounds missing from the chase magazine.”

    “Okay, so… Oh.” I slap my combadge. “Kanril to Lieutenant Gantumur.”

    Ma’am?

    “Put Colonel Shad on for me.”

    Wait one.

    This is Colonel Shad.

    “Colonel Shad, you were attacked by an alien ship, right?” Because of course we use the same word for “foreigner” as for “not biologically Bajoran”.

    Unprovoked,” she confirms. “They refused our offer to surrender, called us ‘honorless cowards’, and pursued us into the anomaly.

    “Do you think you hit them at all?”

    There’s a muffled exchange back and forth in Bajor’ara between her and another of the women. “Gunny Inalo believes she landed a solid hit on their starboard nacelle; that’s why we were able to get away long enough to lose them.

    “Get up here. Please,” I add after a moment. “Lieutenant Park, hard about and take us back to the black hole. Tess, sound battle stations, just in case the Klingons are still in a bad mood.”

    “Klingons, ma’am?” she queries as she hits the combat alert siren.

    “You know anybody else who talks like that?” I point out. “Even Romulans will accept a surrender even if they don’t usually ask for it.” Tess grunts noncommittally. “Ensign, apprise Starfleet Command of our intentions, and cee-cee the Klingon embassy and Temporal Investigations.”

    “Comms, aye,” Esplin confirms.

    Gaarra, Shad, and Security Officer th’Shraak join us on the bridge as the black hole comes into view. That feeling of wrongness comes back as the accretion disc looms over us. “Master Chief, prepare an antiproton sweep.”

    “No need, Captain. I have a D-7D Akif-class battlecruiser off our starboard bow low, quarter a light-minute and closing. Looks like they were lying doggo in the accretion disk. I have a visual, compensating for redshift.”

    The cruiser’s a little further in the accretion disk, its hull sparkling as the SIF strains under the gravitational well. Colonel Shad hisses. “That’s the alien warship. I’d know it anywhere.”

    I nod at that. “I figured as much. Esplin, open a hailing channel.”

    “Just let me counter for the redshift…” The screen goes white for a moment, then shows a grainy picture of a Klingon warship’s bridge—old-fashioned, with a more open design than the more recent raptors and birds-of-prey. The captain is a youngish man with a crisp goatee and more forehead corrugations than a tin roof.

    “Klingon warship, this is Captain Kanril Eleya of the Federation Starship Bajor. I am requesting that you power down your weapons and cease hostilities, in preparation for rescue.”

    The Klingon laughs roughly. “HA! Finally the Federation sends a fresh opponent! Let us hope that your women are better fighters than your feeble Captain Kirk, for THIS time, Krell, son of Mok’tar, shall show no mercy!”

    “Um, who are you?” Probably not the most diplomatic option, but I’m genuinely confused; I’ve never heard of this guy before, and he acts like I should know him.

    The man sneers. “You do not know of the mighty Krell, son of Mok’tar, Conqueror of Neural, warrior of the Klingon Empire? Then I will teach you!”

    I roll my eyes. “Bring it, targh puqloD. If you’ve got that much of a death wish.” He can’t possibly be that stupid, but maybe I can—

    Krell, son of Mok’tar, Conqueror of somewhere I really don’t care about, splutters with rage and turns to his gunner. “OPEN FIRE! Burn them into ashes!”

    Oh, he is that stupid.

    “Forward shields down one half of one percent and regenerating,” Gaarra reports in a bored tone a moment later, loud enough the Klingons can hear it.

    Krell’s sneer slowly melts into something more like impotent rage as he processes that we’re just sitting here unharmed. “You… Korlok! I said BURN THEM INTO ASHES, damn you!” Another Klingon protests something about maximum power and he can’t explain it.

    I look up from inspecting my nails and look behind him to the bridge crew, shifting into tlhIngan Hol. “Whichever of you is the first officer, your captain’s mindless bloodlust has gotten you all time-dilated almost a hundred forty years into your future. Your ship was the equal of the Constitution-class heavy cruiser; this ship was launched last year and fulfills the tactical role of the Federation-class dreadnought. There is no chance of you doing anything but waste my time. Was it not qeylIs ta’ himself who said, ‘Destroying an empire to win a war is no victory, and ending a battle to save an empire is no defeat’?”

    The alleged conqueror of some planet with a stupid name punches the console in front of him with rage, sending up a shower of sparks. “Damn you, Federation b*tch! How dare you steal the words of Kahless! I will cut your sister’s heart out with a baghneQ! I will spit upon the corpse of your father as I slit your mother’s throat over the graves of your ancestors!”

    OK, that’s it. Nobody threatens my family. “Tess?”

    “Steady, Captain,” she murmurs as the Klingons fire again and I start to bark the order that I’ve given so often for three years straight. The order I’ve always delivered decisively and with conviction.

    The order to kill.

    “You said it yourself, they’re no threat.”

    Kill.

    Kill.

    But the order won’t come.

    Wait. Phekk me, Krell’s from 140 years in the past. He doesn’t know who my family even is, probably barely even knows what my species is.

    So why in the Prophets’ unknowable names do I want him dead so bad?

    Duty, or bloodlust?

    I glance at Colonel Shad, looking worried as the Klingons pound ineffectually on the shields. They fly by and Park turns hard about.

    Sher hahr kosst. I’m as bad as she is. As bad as them.

    No. No. I refuse. I won’t be that person. “Tess, hold your fire.”

    “Holding fire.”

    “Esplin, give me the comms again.” She waves me on. “Captain Krell, this is Captain Kanril. Are you finished yet? Because if you keep that up you’re just going overstress your SIF and the black hole will do the rest.”

    Korlok! Divert engine power to disruptors! Wait, what are you—Get back to your station!

    “Captain,” Wiggin announces, “reading a shift in the enemy ship: they’re powering down weapons, maintaining course out of the gravity well.”

    A new voice comes in on the channel. “Krell, son of Mok’tar, as first officer I, Korlok, son of Yonko, stand for the crew, and I say that you are unfit to serve as captain. You have put this ship at foolish risk and gotten us all lost and forgotten, and I challenge you for command!

    “We’re gonna need popcorn,” Biri remarks. I turn to stare at her incredulously. “What?”

    I start to say something I’m sure was going to be deep and profound, but my combadge chirps before I can get the words out. “Kanril here.”

    Ma’am, this is Lieutenant Gantumur. I’m in the officers’ gym with Lieutenant Connor and Major Hano from the [/i]Verda. You said to tell you immediately if one of our guests stepped into the ring with Lieutenant Connor?

    Oh no. “What happened, Lieutenant?” I turn to Shad. “Major Hano’s your XO, right?” She nods.

    Major Hano said some disrespectful things about you after you and Gaarra left, Captain, and Connor took offense. Should I let it play or pull her out?

    “Stop them. Now. And tell Connor the order comes from me.” Having one of our guests turn up with a broken spine will mean way too many interesting questions.

    Assault Chief, aye.

    I turn to Tess, shaking my head. “It never goes smooth. Why doesn’t it ever go smooth?”

    She snorts. “Milk run, my blue behind.”

    “Well, I see that much at least hasn’t changed.” I glance at Shad. “Well, what was it that General Vasa Lakrem said? ‘No plan ever survives deployment.’”

    “We have a saying like that, on Earth, too, ma’am,” Lieutenant Park says as I crack up.
    * * *

    The running lights of Deep Space 9 glitter in the distance as we drop out of warp six days later, and Captain Kurland greets us over comm as we enter the holding pattern. “An agent from the Department of Temporal Investigations will be meeting you dockside, Colonel Shad, and we have a team ready to assist you and your people any way you need.”

    “How about a time machine so I can go back to when the world made sense,” she mutters next to me.

    “Sorry, Colonel, I didn’t catch that; you have to look at the screen when you’re talking.”

    “It’s all right, Captain Kurland,” I tell him, “it wasn’t important. If you’re free, you want to grab dinner at the Klingon restaurant later?”

    “Bring Commander Reshek along, we’ll make it a double-date with my girlfriend.”

    I stare at him. “Prophets, does the whole damn service know about us?”

    He laughs. “We’ll have an opening for you to dock in an hour five.”

    “I’ll see you there. Bajor out.” The image winks out, leaving the spokes of the station visible in the background. Colonel Shad turns to look at me questioningly. “Yes?”

    “I don’t get you, Colonel Kanril. The Klingons threaten you, your crew, your family, and you rescue them and go out and eat at a Klingon restaurant?”

    “They’re not all like that. Kaga, the owner? Overgrown hara kitten, the sweetest guy you’ll ever meet.”

    “I guess all Ke’lora aren’t the same, either. You handle your ship like a born Va’telo.”

    From her, I guess that passes for a compliment. “Listen, Shad? If life under the Cardassians taught us anything, it’s that we each have a role in protecting our freedom, and you can’t begin to guess it by what you’re born to. It’s a new world, a new galaxy, and the Prophets will find you a place in it.”

    “That’s easy for you to say,” she mutters bitterly. I raise an eyebrow. “Kanril, I am over a century out of my time. I had a husband, two sons and a daughter; my whole family is dead!”

    “Actually, that’s not quite correct.” I pick up a PADD and pass it to her. “I took the liberty of having my security chief Lieutenant Korekh check your genetics against our databases. You have at least 37 living descendants, including three heroes of the Resistance, and a very important great-great-grandson: Shad Ona, Militia Surface Arm Field Colonel, retired, First Minister of Bajor from 2388 to 2392, and now Federation Secretary of the Exterior.” I fight back a grin as her mouth gapes open. “And there’s always going to be a call for starship crew. Just let me give you some advice?”

    “Yes?”

    “You ever use the phrase ‘Kendra shak’tet’ again and I’ll throw you out the airlock.”

    She actually laughs. “Fair enough.”

    I reach for my PADD. “Did you catch all that, Captain Korlok?” We’ve got his D-7 under tow; he didn’t trust us enough to send over a repair crew but he did let us send the medics.

    “I did, qanrIl HoD. It will be a pleasure to see the First City again; this voyage has been long enough.”

    I look at his face on the image on my PADD. Krell did a number on him before Korlok took him out; Warragul grew him a new eyeball but he insisted on keeping the scars.

    Funny, one of them goes right across his left cheek.
    Post edited by starswordc on
    "Two ways to view the world, so similar at times / Two ways to rule the world, to justify their crimes / By Kings and Queens young men are sent to die in war / Their propaganda speaks those words been heard before"
    — Sabaton, "A Lifetime of War"
    9MUythl.png
    (Still in development)
  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    edited August 2016
    ULC#25: Prompt#3: Nexus:
    Author's Note:The following events take place approximately four months before the destruction of the Enterprise-D at Veridian III...


    Don't think
    Sorry's
    Easily said
    Don't try
    Turnin' tables instead
    You've taken lots of chances before
    But I ain't gonna give any more
    Don't ask me
    That's how it goes
    'Cause part of me knows
    What you're thinkin'

    Don't say
    Words you're gonna regret
    Don't let
    The fire rush to your head
    I've heard the accusation before
    And I ain't gonna take any more
    Believe me
    The sun in your eyes
    Made some of the lies
    Worth believing

    I
    Am
    The
    Eye in the sky
    Looking at you
    I can read your mind
    I
    Am
    The
    Maker of rules
    Dealing with fools
    I can cheat you blind
    And I don't need to see any more
    To know that
    I can read your mind

    (Lookin' at you)
    I can read your mind
    (Lookin' at you)
    I can read your mind
    (Lookin' at you)
    I can read your mind

    Don't leave
    False illusion behind
    Don't cry
    I ain't changin' my mind
    So find another fool like before
    'Cause I ain't gonna live anymore believing
    Some of the lies
    While all of the signs are deceiving

    I
    Am
    The
    Eye in the sky
    Looking at you
    I can read your mind
    I
    Am
    The
    Maker of rules
    Dealing with fools
    I can cheat you blind
    And I don't need to see any more
    To know that
    I can read your mind

    (Lookin' at you)
    I can read your mind
    (Lookin' at you)
    I can read your mind
    (Lookin' at you)
    I can read your mind

    I
    Am
    The
    Eye in the sky
    Looking at you
    I can read your mind
    I
    Am
    The
    Maker of rules
    Dealing with fools
    I can cheat you blind
    And I don't need to see any more
    To know that
    I can read your mind

    (Lookin' at you)
    I can read your mind
    (Lookin' at you)
    I can read your mind
    (Lookin' at you)
    I can read your mind

    [Instrumental]



    Words and Music by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson - The Alan Parsons Project - "Eye in the Sky"


    B E A C H . O F . D R E A M S


    Burgess Subspace Observatory, Arucanis Arm, 14 April, 2371...

    Jeran Tial sat at her customary table in the observatory's mess hall, the remains of a quick lunch strewn around her, and a glass of icoberry juice in her hand. On the table before her, her PADD leant on its stand, the screen filled with the desk-up view of her friend, Captain Marcus Kane.

    "I like your new uniform, handsome," Jeran observed. "The rolled sleeves look good..."

    "They're being phased in across the fleet," he replied. "Not just starbase duty posts anymore."

    "It looks good," Jeran assured her friend, before raising her glass to her lips.

    "If you are quite finished with your intergalactic courtship ritual, we have other matters to attend," V'Len stated primly from where she stood in the mess hall's entry.

    Jeran looked up from her PADD to the statuesque Vulcan, who wore the figure-hugging brown and grey uniform of a master scientist, and nodded in acknowledgement. "I'll be along momentarily, Doctor," she assured her. With a perfunctory nod, V'Len continued down the corridor, and returning her attention to her PADD, Jeran gave Marcus a regretful look.

    "Looks like lunch time's over, handsome," she said. "I have duties to attend to, but speak soon, and take care."

    "You too -- speak soon," Marcus replied, before severing the connection.

    As she made her way into the observatory's small operations center, Jeran found herself walking into the middle of a debate.

    "...would be illogical to evacuate," V'Len stated. "Preparations have been made to allow the observatory to indeed observe, a unique and time-sensitive phenomenon."

    "And my logic tells me, that it would be safest to evacuate the observatory until the phenomenon has passed," Nikolai Alexeivich Remisoff retorted. "If the deflector modifications hold, then we'll be able to return and resume our work. But if they don't... I fail to see the logic in unnecessarily endangering our lives just to parse sensor data."

    "The modifications have been made as per recommendation, Doctor," V'Len stated. "The simulations are sound, and there is no grounds to second-guess either those projections, or Ozka's work in making said modifications."

    "I've done the best I can," Ozka Nel, the Bolian engineer, assured the team. "I believe in the quality of my work, but I understand what Niko's saying too... If we can get off-station till this ribbon passes, then come back and pick up where we left off, I'm all for that."

    "I can contact Starbase one one four," Ensign Paul Willenson, the Starfleet liaison, assured the civilian group. "There're currently..." the young officer glanced down at his PADD. "...a dozen ships currently in dock, any one of them could be here before the ribbon arrives to effect a temporary evacuation."

    Nevena Beren smiled gently. Paul reminded her of her son Ekard: His utter unshakable belief in his convictions, and his ability to right all wrongs, "If you think that's best, Ensign," she said placatingly.

    "I do not," V'Len interjected sternly. "As stated, this is a conflux of subspace energy which travels through the galaxy every thirty nine point one years. It is logical to make as accurate an observation of the phenomenon as possible. We have taken all possible measures to ensure our safety and the continuation of our research."

    Irritated that V'Len had interrupted her conversation with Marcus for this, Jeran took a deep breath, and beginning to call up her afternoon schedule, she noticed a blinking icon which notified her of an incoming hail.

    Accepting the communique, Jeran saw her console's screen fill with the weathered features of Doctor Tolian Soran.

    "Have I caught you at a bad time, Doctor?" he enquired.

    "Not at all, Doctor Soran," Jeran assured him. "Are you ready for our update?"

    "Ready and waiting," Tolian replied. "Have you detected any change in the ribbon's course following the collapse of Tansis, as predicted?"

    "Yes, you were absolutely correct," Jeran replied. "The loss of the stars' gravitational field caused a significant change in the course of the ribbon, putting it on a direct course toward us here at Burgess, and then loosely toward yourself at Amargosa. There's been some -- debate -- as to if we should evacuate the observatory..." she cast a rueful eye across the rest of the group.

    "Oh I don't think that will be at all necessary," Tolian assured her. "The modifications to your shield emitters and deflector array should more than withstand the forces of the ribbon."

    "Are you sure?" Jeran found herself asking, before closing her eyes and holding up a hand. "I'm sorry, Doctor Soran, I don't mean to question your judgement but..."

    "But you have concerns and you want to be sure," Tolian replied understandingly. "Concerns are only natural. Don't worry, Jeran, I have the utmost faith in my team's calculations, and the simulation results, are more than promising."

    Jeran nodded, "I know... It's just hard to not worry when the archives state that every ship which has ever approached the ribbon has either been destroyed, or severely damaged..."

    "Ships have warp fields and move," Tolian pointed out. "Observatories do not. You can't compare one with the other. The subspace interactions -- and that is where I believe the significant energetic contacts makes place -- really are quite different..."

    Jeran sighed and nodded again, "Thank you, Doctor," she replied. "I'm sending you our test results and sensor findings now..."

    "Thank you, Jeran," Tolian replied, after momentarily glancing away to a secondary screen. "I can't tell you how much your findings will mean to my research. Soran out."

    * * *

    Undulating, coruscating, oscilating, the multi-hued ribbon raced towards the observatory like a lightning storm in space.

    "Sensors're picking up elevations in neutrino levels, and massive gravimetric distortion," V'Len reported. "Contact in three... two... one..."

    The observatory lurched violently as the leading edge of the ribbon engulfed it.

    "We've been caught up in the gravitational eddy and being pulled from our position!" Nikolai shouted.

    "Adjust deflector output to compensate!" Nevena suggested, but the Russian scientist shook his head.

    "No effect!"

    "I'm activating our manoeuvring thrusters!" Jeran shouted. "If I can turn the observatory into the path of the ribbon, it might help it to pass over us..."

    "Observatory Burgess to starbase one one four!" Paul shouted into an unresponsive comm-screen. "We're experiencing massive subspace turbulence, request emergency assistance. To any ship in range, please assist!"

    Sparks flew and gasses hissed as conduits ruptured while the observatory tried to tear itself apart. The upper observation dome began to spider-web, soon followed by the shrill whistling and internal cyclone of a decompression.

    "All hands to the escape pods," V'Len shouted over the cacophony. "I repeat: all hands to the esca-" The Vulcan woman never finished her sentence, as a flying PADD collided her skull. Then angle her head canted over at as she hit the deck, made it clear she wouldn't be getting up again.

    Jeran did not have to be told twice, and clambering across the pit, using the consoles for leverage and support, she hauled herself into the corridor.

    Jamming her back against the corridor wall, she waited until Nikolai, Paul and Nevena had extricated themseves from ops, then she sealed the doors.

    As they ran down the corridor, the observatory lurched again, and a rending squeal could be heard as part of the observatory was torn away.

    "Integrity of observatory compromised," the computer's toneless voice announced, a spectre of calm in the eye of the storm. "Personnel unable to reach their designated pods should evacuate via airlock."

    "Is that safe?" Nevena gasped. "The ambient radiation and fluctuations in the gravimetric field..."

    "I..." Jeran saw Paul looking confused and on the verge of panic, but his training reasserted itself, and he nodded. "Aye, yes, Ma'am," he snapped, academy-crisp. "EVA suits can tolerate the conditions of Y-class planets for extended periods," he assured Nevena, confident in his training. "The ribbon is moving, and so should pass over us. The suits should protect us till we can be rescued..."

    The ten meters to the airlock was hampered as the corridor's grav-plating went offline, and with the observatory valiantly resisting the forces trying to tear it apart, the quartet fought for every inch of progress, until they reached the airlock.

    Inside, they hastily pulled on the EVA suits, stripping the safety checks and preparations to the bare minimum.

    Donning her helmet, Jeran tabbed the control on the command gauntlet of the suit, activating the magnetic couplings which would lock the helmet into place. As her HUD sprang to life, confirming power levels, rather than activating the maglocks of her boots, she turned to assist Paul into the upper section of his suit, while Nevena passed a helmet over to the freshly-graduated officer.

    As soon as the young man nodded his readiness, Nikolai reached over to the control-pad to open the external doors.

    Without active maglocks to keep her on the deck, the decompression of the airlock caused Jeran to be sent spinning into the scintillating plasma of the ribbon.

    * * *

    The shifting, spinning, swirling sensation gradually slowed, and Jeran felt herself dropping forward, her knees sinking into something soft beneath her. She opened her eyes and looked about. Rather than the searing colors of the ribbon, she saw that she was on a crowded beach, people bustling to and fro, laughing and talking.

    The HUD confirmed that she was indeed in a breathable atmosphere, and deactivating the magnetic clamps, she reached up to remove her helmet.

    Breathing in the salty, slightly citrusy air, Jeran immediately recognized her surroundings as the Ganses Peninsula.

    But she had been in space, lightyears from Trill, so how could she now be back on the planet of her birth, in the region where she had attended university, and spent so many afternoons at the Devritane museum?

    "You're probably wondering how you got here," a strangely familiar voice noted.

    Looking up, Jeran saw Tolian Soran approaching her from amongst the crowd.

    "I don't understand," Jeran admitted, standing. "I was aboard the observatory, well, blasted out the airlock, then... it felt like, I don't know, but then I was here... Wherever 'here' is..."

    "Vorta Vor, Shangri La, the Endless River," Tolian replied. "My people call it the nexus. The nexus responds to our dreams, to our deepest desires, and forms that as reality around us. Life here is whatever you want it to be. I don't recal knowing you, but we must know each other, for your mind to draw mine, to you."

    Jeran nodded, "We do, you're a scientist aboard a Federation observatory,"

    "How peculiar," Tolian noted. "I never really had much use for astronomy. Are you also a scientist?"

    "An engineer," Jeran clarified. "I'm also stationed aboard an observatory. We were corresponding remotely, assisting each other in our research."

    "Hmmm, perhaps a remnant from when part of me was torn away," Tolian mused, leading Jeran toward the gathering. "Come along, everyone here will want to speak with you."

    "Who are all these people?" Jeran asked, as she followed the El-Aurian across the sand.

    "Your friends and family," Tolian replied. "You could say, that you brought them in with you..."

    As they drew closer to the gathering, Jeran saw a young man sitting apart from the crowd, his back towards everyone else. Even without seeing his face, she recognized her brother Nichos. In life, he had been her senior by five years, until his failure to be accepted into the symbiosis commission caused him to collapse under the pressures he had always labored under, driving him to end his life. A decade since that time had passed, and Jeran was now the elder sibling.

    Crouching down, she said, "I've been looking for you," Afterall, what else could one say to a ghost? "How're things?"

    "I don't like it at home," Nichos muttered morosely. "But I can't bear it anywhere else."

    "One of your moods again?" Jeran asked cajolingly, trying to lighten her brother's mood.

    "Darker than the deepest sea," Nichos replied with a melancholy sigh. "I think I need to take a walk."

    Jeran recalled they were the last words he had said to her in life. Later that afternoon, Papa had told her Nichos had walked in front of an automated shuttle-train rather than push forwards with his life. But now, with the experiences and memories of five lifetimes to guide her, Jeran refused to pander to what she could now recognize as massively self-destructive, narcissistic self-absorption. "You do that," she told him, standing up. "I have other guests here who I need to see to..."

    Turning away from Nichos, Jeran and Tolian began to walk toward the bustling crowd.

    "I'm sorry for my brother's rudeness," she said apologetically, as they walked along the beach. Part of her yearned to look back, to see her brother one last time, but another part told her that that would only futile, and undermine her choice to accept that Nichos had died because he had wanted to do so, rather than being caught in a misguided cry for help.

    Nestled at the mouth of a path into the dunes, Jeran saw a slender, middle-aged man at an open grill, his long hair tucked beneath a hat while he prepared the food. "He always could be a bit aloof," she sighed. "Always with the weight of his own expectations upon himself, and even to the end, none of us seemed to know him very well."

    "We all have our demons," Tolian replied. "They say time is the fire in which we burn."

    The chef looked up as Jeran and Tolian drew closer to the hissing grill, and he gave a massive, uninhibited grin, "What can I get you?" he asked in his broad Mak'alan accent. For Jeran, the experience was akin to looking into a mirror and seeing one's reflection. This was, of course, not her reflection, but once, he had been. Jense Odom had been Tial's second host. "The steaks will be going on in a minute, but this round of links and burgers are just about done..."

    "Oh nothing for me, thank you," Tolian declined politely.

    "What's popular?" Jeran asked.

    Jense gave an expression of contemplation, "More links than burgers," he replied.

    "Then two links, please," Jeran agreed with a smile. "Do ...you know who I am?"

    "You do seem familiar," Jense admitted. "Did you come to Apphira's party last month?"

    "No, my name's Jeran, Jeran Sark," she replied. For some reason, it seemed wrong to use Tial's name whilst in the presence of a former-self.

    "Jense Tial," he returned, as he handed over a baguette-like chunk of bread, stuffed with chopped sausage meat and melted cheese. "There's condiments and hors d'oeuvres over there -- that is, if the flyboy and his boyfriend haven't eaten them all already..."

    "Thanks," Jeran replied, with a quizical expression, turning in the direction Jense indicated. There, wearing the grey-on-grey flightsuit of the Trill air force, she saw another reflection: Kela Fend. Tial's third host was standing by a laden picnic table, talking to Marcus. Rather than his red-on-black Starfleet uniform, the barefoot Human wore rolled khaki civilian pants, and the dark blue Bolian cotton shirt she had given him for his birthday, a comm-badge affixed to his chest.

    "He must be important to you to appear here," Tolian said, intuiting Jeran's surprize. From Kela's body-language, it was obvious that he was attracted to Marcus, and was clearly flirting with him while they spoke, in the hope of drawing reciprocation of his attentions.

    Jeran nodded and smiled enigmatically, "We are very good friends," she acknowledged as they approached.

    "...and so I was pulling negative five g!" Kela exclaimed, reaching up to brush his long bangs from his eyes.

    "No!" Marcus retorted sceptically, casually holding a bottle of beer, his fingers loosely wrapped round the neck.

    "On my mother's life, handsome," Kela promised, leaning forward conspiratorially and gripping Marcus' shoulder. "I couldn't make this up if I tried!"

    "It's true," Jeran interjected, recalling the flight Kela was referring to. Leaning over the table to reach for the Deltan mustard, she looked sideways to Marcus. "Glad you could make it."

    "Thanks for the invitation," Marcus replied. "I know how much you love to throw a good party."

    "Well you boys behave yourselves," Jeran insisted firmly, drizzling the mustard over her food, before looking up to meet Kela's slate-grey eyes. "Especially you, Kee... You're not Marc's type..."

    Disappointment washed across Kela's face, and Jeran actually felt sorry for the reflection, as he sighed, "Well there goes that fantasy... Oh well, at least I don't have to be desperate and make a fool of myself..."

    "No harm done," Marcus assured Kela, raising his bottle in friendly toast, and taking a draught of the contents, as Jeran moved away toward another group.

    "How is everyone?" she asked.

    Ardala Gerad, Tial's first host, turned away from Noelia Sune, who had been Tial's fourth, and nodded with a gentle smile, "Absolutely fine, sweetness," the nurse replied. "Noelia was just telling me about how she created an anti-venom from root-extract, after being bitten by Melvaran mud fleas. It's nice to meet someone else with a shared interest in natural remedies."

    Noelia flashed a friendly, yet slightly sinister toothy grin, "A girl has to make do with what she has," she replied modestly. "Captain Bates's reaction to the bites was even worse than mine... I got the anti-venom in before my isoboramine levels dropped too much -- although my spots itched like crazy for days -- but the captain... Well... His hands swelled up to three times their normal size, and his tongue went numb... You should have heard him trying to contact the Devonshire for extraction, Paloma could hardly understand what he was saying!"

    Ardala smirked at the mental image, and recalling the Cuban communications officer's difficulty, Jeran put her hand to her mouth to conceal her own identical expression.

    "I have to say, your friends are certainly very -- similar -- to you in behaviour," Tolian noted.

    "They are me, at least, they were me, or rather, I was them," Jeran replied. "I doubt another Trill has experienced a zhian'tara like this before..."

    "Zhian'tara?" Tolian queried, unfamiliar with the term.

    "The rite of closure,"Jeran explained. "During it, a joined Trill meets with the personalities and memories of the previous hosts of their symbiont, telepathically transferred from the host to the bodies of volunteers by a Guardian. During the rite, the former hosts' personalities assert themselves over the volunteer, and the new host can converse and interact with them."

    Tolian frowned quizically, "Whatever for?" he asked in bemusement.

    "It allows the new host to meet and interact with the actual hosts' personalities, who until then, have only been memories and emotions," Jeran explained. "The aim, is for the new host to understand more completely how the past hosts influence them. For example, since I was joined to Tial, I find myself cooking a lot more, and having the confidence to be more assertive in my relationships with others."

    Tolian made an expression of accepting understanding and nodded, "Hmmm, that makes sense," he conceded. "Although I have to admit, spending eternity talking to oneself might get a tad boring..."

    "Eternity?"

    "Hmmm, time has no meaning here," Tolian elaborated. "Although of course, you're free to leave any time you want, to any time you want. The question, is where would you go, and when?"

    Jeran considered, "I... Back to the observatory after the wave passed... If only I could think when that was..."

    "I don't mean to eavesdrop, but sometimes, I still have trouble with the technique of renormalization in quantum electrodynamics," interrupted Corin Irada. The dark-haired particle physicist who had been Tial's host before Jeran, shrugged with openness rather than embarrassment at his admission. "If you just focus on the problem, I find a solution tends to present itself..."

    * * *

    USS Carcharodon, Arucanis Arm, 14 April, 2371...

    "Approaching the location of the observatory now, Captain," Lieutenant Commander Abdul Malik reported from the ops console of the Miranda-Class cruiser. "Sensors are picking up debris consistent with a Type T observatory."

    Captain Raoul Vanois sighed as he gazed upon the glittering duranium cloud, "Are you detecting any lifesigns, Commander?" he dared to enquire.

    His executive officer bent his head to examine his console, and nodded, "Only one, Captain," he reported. "There's someone in an EVA suit amidst the debris."

    "Lock on transporters, and beam them directly to sickbay," Raoul insisted. "Perhaps this mission won't be a complete disaster after all."

    "Aye, Captain," Abdul acknowledged, skillfully operating his console to retrieve the lone soul from amidst the stars.
    Post edited by marcusdkane on
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  • antonine3258antonine3258 Member Posts: 2,376 Arc User
    edited July 2016
    Tangential Connections

    Chapter 1, Part 1

    By antonine3258

    Timeline: Set sometime ‘before’ the contacts for Future Proof, ‘after’ in the timeline of the mass recruiting of Temporal Agents. Also, as will be readilyapparent, after Admiral Revka’s meeting with her quantum duplicate in ‘The Road at Midnight’

    *

    First officer’s log, Commander Antonine Revka, stardate 87291.2: USS Wasp: Captain Matthews has been very patient with my progress with the crew and other officers in this Starfleet I now belong to. Transfers to existing bridge crews can cause a lot of uncertainty in any timeline it seems. Given my ‘twin’s’ success and Starfleet’s mad desperation for command officers, the scuttlebutt is that my appointment is temporary. Commander sh’Theln has a great deal of respect for his commanding officer, and is likely to return after his kidney transplant. And to be a captain so young is still amazing, an opportunity I can’t pass up.

    This Starfleet is still strange, full of too many young faces. The regulations are the same, but things are wilder, without the calmness of decades of experience. It seems things were even crazier last year, but the survivors have started to hone their craft. Being here, back on patrol, I get the feeling that the bones of this Federation match mine – the familiarization courses at the Academy had to emphasize the differences, and I fear gave them too much weight.

    Wasp itself is a well-found ship. The crew is young, but so am I, and getting Matthews’ experience on what worked and what didn’t on this, his third command in two years, is invaluable. I’m proud to be her exec, even for a little while, and I’ve graduated to commanding watches faster than I thought. But perhaps my species is more emotionally flexible than we usually give ourselves credit for, after our exposure to humanity, my parents have handled gaining a daughter with remarkable aplomb.

    Commander Antonine Revka – Starfleet, though of a service that may have never actually existed, grinned a little at that memory as she finished putting on a uniform. Her timeline was separated from this one by the presence of the Iconians, but eon-old energy beings and their manipulations had little effect on recently contacted planets, joining mainstream galactic affairs. Her parents were her parents, simple as that. It was almost disappointing.

    She changed the pattern on the bulkhead holoprojector from abstract to an exterior view, the rainbow-streaked stars of warp. The Arbiter class, one of the most advanced and technologically jam-packed ships in Starfleet, had actually meant a downgrade in quarters from being a senior-grade Lieutenant on a decade-old Exeter-class. Windows, even for officer quarters, were a rarity on the compact little battlecruiser.

    But the view of warp always helped her expand her mind beyond the quarters, and so breakfast was spent checking the ship’s log from her time asleep, and checking any urgent business forwarded by the captain. It looked like more drilling and patrol, with no mission updates from Starbase 39.

    There were a relative glut of mission specialists of the right time-in-grade, but that was only compared to the rare breed of command officers, and every ship in the fleet was being raided to fill out experienced cadres. Every captain was guarding experienced crew, and failing at it miserably for the hundreds of new ships anticipated to join the fleet this year needed their personnel.

    By wartime standards, Starfleet was hideously understrength; even by Antonine’s standards of a peacetime Starfleet, they didn’t have half the ships they needed, and the commitments were larger here, with huge sections of space opened up that had been closed in her version of the timeline. Wasp’s current mission was a perfect case in point.

    The Hobus sector was still ‘enemy’ territory to Starfleet after the Star Empire’s collapse and the end of the Iconian War, a section of space wracked by gravimetric disturbances and bizarre spacetime distortions caused by the death of a star before its time. But progress couldn’t be denied, and Republic and Federation interests were spreading into even a ‘haunted’ sector. Whether it had specters, it did have pirates, and Wasp was the backbone of efforts to sniff them out.

    That was a mission Commander Revka understood perfectly well. She casually dropped the dishes into the recycler, and made a few notes. Wasp was still struggling to come up to its efficiency reports from its last personnel rotation. And if Starfleet Command did decide it wanted to fast-track its spare Antonine, she was determined to send sh’Theln right back to the hospital with a heart attack from sheer shame over the zeal she had performed in his place.

    *

    “Helm, prep course for waypoint eight-one-beta in our mission database at warp two,” Antonine was saying a few hours later, as she ‘minded the store’ as Matthews insisted on calling it. That, apparently, was his usual expression, which had caused some concern at first. The captain was in his ready room, dealing with all the paperwork a XO simply couldn’t head off. “Operations, all remaining power to transceiver. Communications, prepare primary subspace transceiver for real-time connection Starbase-39 for update on secure channel.”

    The orders rang out, with their usual affirmations. A tightbeam through this sector took a lot of power, even for a ship as fresh from the shipyards as this one. The usual back-and-forth was electronic, however, the latest Starfleet tactical and intelligence packets in, and all their backed up sensor logs to add to the Federation’s body of knowledge – once it was declassified.

    “Commander – we’re receiving a priority in the upload – communication request from Admiral T’Nae’s office flagged to Captain Matthews and a distress call rebroadcast,” the tactical officer on communications reported.

    “Bridge to Captain Matthews,” Antonine said instantly, and she pulled the side console over to pull up the sector assessment.

    “Skipper here,” Matthews reported easily after only a moment.

    “Captain, we have a priority subspace call flagged for you from Admiral T’Nae’s office – they’ve also routed a distress call,” the XO said.

    “Let’s hear that first – bridge speakers and my office,” Matthews nodded. Antonine had no need to nod for confirmation, and the call came out after only a second

    “Starfleet! This is mining vessel Mad Venture out of Bolia past Iota Regulus! We have Na’kuhl decloaking off our side –we’ve attached our coordinates! Send help!” came a frantic message over the speakers, before starting to retreat.

    “Cut it,” Matthews ordered when it became obvious there was nothing new, “Helm, go to impulse, put through Admiral T’Nae to the ready room. Revka, work your magic and get me a workup.”

    “Aye, Captain,” Antonine said, as the connection closed. “Transfer coordinates to helm, contact astrometrics lab and arrange a least-time, lowest-risk, and a stealth course plotted to be available at captain’s discretion. Be aggressive on the last one – we had the Republic look over the cloak. Operations: level three diagnostics, all systems.” The helmswoman nodded and cracked her fingers.

    Antonine bent over her console as well, pulling what they had on the ship’s registry. And given the coordinates from there, she’d be able to provide a decent idea what they were up to when the distress call went up, which might help. Also, she needed to see where other ships were and have that if they needed to call a fleet in. Though since they were the top-flight ship in the sector, it was unlikely.

    She was sending the last-known crew list to sickbay when the call came out. “Senior officers to conference room in fifteen minutes for briefing.”

    *

    The conference room was like most of the vessel, Spartan and slightly cramped. Admiral T’Nae was readying some frigate groups and released some intelligence data – with mainly proved a negative: there wasn’t anything interesting in the systems up there. The Republic had cleared out the Tal Shiar nests and even Tholians were rare in the neighborhood.

    “It’s some tiny independent wildcat unit. They’re not some intelligence cover. What were they looking for out here?” the Captain asked at the head of the table. Outside, the stars streaked past, back at warp.

    “Well, based on their equipment, rhodium or iridium,” the chief engineer (so young) said. “High value, easy to detect, and common in later generation star systems post-supernova, and pretty easy to process with high-energy gear, if the radiation makes it a bit risky.”

    Antonine said, “I checked the ship’s recent logged traffic; their last trip was a rare earth vein strike near the Donatu system, but then I checked their last five trips – all of them were to that sector, but those trade lines are some of the biggest between the Federation and the Klingons; where the Na’kuhl have been concentrating their pirate raids on shipping.”

    Matthews blinked, then began to grin as big as a Klingon. “History would show the system those miners chose as unexplored at this time. And if you thought your history was good, and you wanted to hide something, such a perfect place.”

    Doctor Tellas added, “And if was something bigger – they may have actually kept the miners alive instead of the old ‘pump full of drugs and out the airlock routine’.” The Tellarite sniffed, “No consideration to actually bringing them around, of course, but I have to assume the smart Na’kuhl aren’t trying to alter time.”

    There was some brief staring. “What? An enemy you kill is a waste,” Doctor Tellas said. “You lose any chance to bring them to your view. It means they won.”

    “A useful perspective,” Matthews acknowledged. “These pirates are mad enough to destroy their future though.”

    “I didn’t say they weren’t foolish, just that it is foolish. Maybe they’ve enough reason we can save the hostages,” the Doctor said.

    Matthews said, “Hypothesis for what they have their?”

    “R&R station,” the Doctor said, “With extra sharp-knives.”

    “Building habitats for their relatives in this time,” the chief engineer suggested.

    “Repair station,” Antonine suggested.

    Science officer said, “Time travel relay back to their time for resupply and communications.” The Republic liaison, a dark Reman named Manas, always raised the hairs on the hindbrain with his predatory countenance, but now his words chilled the blood as well. He’d been on only a month longer than Antonine, but she was impressed with his confidence.

    The bridge officers looked at each other. Antonine decided to take initiative. “Captain, I’ve set the science labs to checking for tachyon concentrations as we close in,” Antonine said. “Na’kuhl time travel is apparently ‘hard’ to pick up but maybe we will get lucky. We have a good approximation of their ion trail for the Mad Venture from transwarp gate records, so we may be able to follow that at close-range.”

    “Good for now – prep your departments for emergency situations and probable combat,” Matthews said. “We’ll come out cloaked, but hard, so all hands braced on entry in case we come out too close. Dismissed, yellow alert in six hour, main crew on the bridge in ten for insystem transit.”

    *

    They were lucky as they threaded the irradiated asteroids and drifting gas clouds of the system, another random victim of Hobus. They didn’t drop out of subspace right on a patrol or a tachyon net, and the stocky ship drifted into potential invisibility. Unfortunately, Wasp was no sleek warbird, built for it with phased deflectors and modulated sensor arrays, or an Intrepid stocking dozens of science labs. They mainly had passive, and it was a mess of strange energies, an over-energized red dwarf blasting solar wind, and strange energies they could not analyze well enough to identify.

    Unfortunately, it’d been over twenty hours since the distress call came in. Finding anything would be fortunate, survivors a miracle.

    With the tormented star making an ion trail unlikely to find in open space, Matthews had simply pointed the ship at the largest collection of mass, figuring it was where miners would go first, keeping an eye out. When no one gutted them with plasma beams as they entered the mass, and their passive sensors a tortured mess, Matthews stood from the center chair.

    “Helm, you’re relieved – I’m taking control for the moment,” he said calmly. He flexed his fingers grinning, and with delicate bursts of thrusters, maneuvered the ship tight behind a cluster of rocks, in a permanent shadow from the sun, but obscured from deeper in the patch of asteroids.

    “No active scanning detected,” Antonine said after a few minutes. “Cloak stable.”

    “All right – all labs and science personnel, you’re up,” Matthews said with some satisfaction, standing up and letting the lieutenant back in place “Time to pick out the Venture’s trail out of the solar wind for the last day – or any debris.”

    *

    With Matthews manning the bridge and worrying over the cloak, Antonine followed Manas down to the few science labs the engineers had managed to cram in. With the cloak and the smear of gravimetric anomalies blotting out the subspace passives, the science team was reduced to checking through spectrometers and checking magnetic differentials.

    An hour’s labor later and even Manas’s stamina was flagging. “We have plenty of data, but no trend. Highly polarized ions scattered in places with matching energy levels, but not together and in some sort of line.”

    “A false trail?” Antonine asked. She’d been coordinating the lab’s energy requirements to try and maximize their view through the cloak. “You can do some tremendously bizarre things with impulse exhaust if you have time and don’t mind getting dirty rebuilding your manifolds. That’s Starfleet though – no worries about trying to dampen down the signature for a cloak, energy fields everywhere without worry, wide-band deflectors.”

    “There’s all sorts of chaos out there,” Manas said absently. “I’m not sure I like the look of these tachyon bursts, or the scale. Might be evidence of heavy travel, navigational deflectors can knock a lot around, and we’ve not gotten a real good look at an undamaged Na’kuhl long-range sensor array yet.”

    “Oh,” Antonine said, “Depends on your hull plating – we had a True Way ship that had off-angled its deflectors; I want to say it was to try and confuse the course, but the captain was convinced they were just idiots. We managed to find their base because some hull plating got knocked loose from micrometeorites, and we were able to figure where in the system the base had to be from it. Terrible way to treat a ship.”

    “Mass transit might explain the polarization,” Manas said, “Deflectors pushing things everywhere – though I would expect to see more obvious recent disturbances in the asteroid belt – if we had decent charts, it would be obvious, without you could hide a base without any real effort. All these point energy sources though – not the normal results of the cloak, but clearly energized particles hitting an area. Something is shrouded, many impulse drives in the area, but what? A fleet gathering, a shipyard? A squadron moving on?”

    Antonine frowned, and said, “Well, the captain certainly would want more information before heading against opposition without a fleet backing us up. He hates this many variables. Launch some tachyon probes, maybe?”

    “Yes, a liaison and an exec from Command are already almost more than he can bear,” Manas said with a ghastly grin. “But he hates failing missions even more. And we face unknown opposition – tachyon pulse can certainly give us the outline… but time is an issue, and the Na’kuhl have some of the technology of the Krenim in a more polished, less esoteric form. No, I prefer subtlety, but are you familiar with a man named Obisek?” Antonine nodded hesitantly. “Sometimes his ways are best.”

    Manas explained, and Antonine shook her head. “Well, once we find it, at least it’s useless as a hiding space. Commander Revka to Captain Matthews. Please report to the science lab at your convenience,” she said, tapping her commbadge, and began to explain.
    * end part 1
    Fate - protects fools, small children, and ships named Enterprise Will Riker

    Member Access Denied Armada!

    My forum single-issue of rage: Make the Proton Experimental Weapon go for subsystem targetting!
  • antonine3258antonine3258 Member Posts: 2,376 Arc User
    edited July 2016
    Tangential Connections

    Chapter 1 - Part 2

    *

    Matthews was certainly enthused at the suggestion of action, and had taken them to the bridge from the science lab immediately. “Tactical – prepare tricobalts, maximum yield in pattern being uploaded from lab one,” he ordered, and then added, “Resume red alert.”

    “Helm, drop the safeties on the maneuvering thrusters – plot least-time to warp-out point,” he continued. “We’ll see if there’s anything still in the area and if the Wasp can sting it.” He patted the armrest on his command chair affectionately. His voice hardened a bit, “Security teams to transporter rooms. Medical teams to transporter room one. Anti-radiation team to torpedo room. Pre-charge all phaser banks.” The affirmations went out. Antoine and Manas returned to their station.

    “Helm, get us away from the rocks – prepare to decloak and engage firing pattern,” Matthews said. The viewer shifted, showing the rock wall dropping away and showing the tortured, energized gases of local space, studded with rocks.

    “Torpedo room reports ready. All buffers in place and mass-drivers charged,” tactical said, frowning. Wasp carried tricobalt, and while it gave an impressive boom, it was slow and easier to spoof thanks to the radiation it threw out compared to photons in the standard casings. And that was carrying the safe load, maximum yield was simply a target by the speed of modern warfare.

    “Decloak and engage firing pattern,” Matthews ordered, now clutching the armrests.

    The lights flickered as the ship decloaked, targeting sensors coming on. A torpedo salvo didn’t gut them immediately, which was good in Antonine’s mind. “Fire, tactical,” Matthews said.

    As a tactical exercise at the Academy, this certainly wouldn’t get a passing grade. There were too many counters – but knowledge of opposition was just as useful. The ship thrummed as the pulse of its torpedo tubes passed through – and several seconds another, and another – a time on target detonation series.

    Flares of white roared out – and as they began to detonate, spreading a deadly glare across the rocks, several Na’kuhl patrol craft frantically decloaked, plasma beams stabbing at the remaining warheads.

    “Comm – wide band: Attention pirate craft, this is the Federation starship Wasp – you are suspected of crimes against Federation citizens. Drop your shields and warp power and prepare for a boarding by forensics teams under the Khitomer regulations,” Matthews said. Antonine sent the message – and slapped the macro for bringing the ship to full combat conditions, armored bulkheads sealing off vulnerabilities.

    The ship shuddered in lieu of a reply, plasma beams bright heat splashing against ready deflectors. Hull plating flashed, but only briefly – keeping any sympathetic detonations on the EPS system out. The attack was cursory, the Na’kuhl swinging away to pursue the remaining warheads. Space before them looked like a mirage, twisting more.

    “While they’re distracted, tactical,” Matthews said, “Attack pattern alpha-seven – corkscrew high. Full phaser spread. Disable if you can but it seems we’re in a hurry.” He leaned forward. Antonine worked her board, helping coordinate power flow to maximize the impact of each shot.

    She – and her other self, she’d found, always pictured this like something from the more exciting documentaries and holodramas. The lone ship charging, boldly outnumbered and with the odds against them, with stirring music in the background. Presumably, the rightness of their cause helped them. Admiral Revka had been in a fairly lurid retelling of parts of the Vaadwaur War, to her intense embarrassment, and it was just as bad as the rest.

    Reality was more subtle, and not so easily captured. They weren’t nearly so outnumbered as it appeared.

    The Na’kuhl, fanatics though they were, were simply enthusiastic amateurs against Starfleet’s tradition. But there were always exceptions, where a captain could have driven his or her ship to a higher pitch.. The tension on the bridge notable slackened as phasers washed back across unaligned deflectors, rapidly degrading them and filling their emitters to capacity. Exceptions there were, but they weren’t here today.

    Wasp had a good crew, and Matthews control filtered down as perfectionism. The bridge gave the orders, but the way they were carried out in efficiency and power weren’t obvious to a layperson until ships started exploding. Antonine would consider Wasp crack in her reality, but Matthews was merely excellent in the war-forged Starfleet.

    Space around the Na’kuhl frigates writhed, and then cleared under the insistent spears of orange light, shields collapsing and hulls crackling with energy as nadion streams tore matter into energy. One spewed antimatter frantically – coming to a relative halt, surrounded by steams of plasma, its EPS system collapsed. A second staggered, spewed a scant few escape pods, and became a new sun. The third stopped trying to tag warheads and dumped power to impulse, moving for an area of distressed space.

    “Deploy drones, chroniton mode, give me maneuvering plotting” Matthews said, “Give them a taste of their own medicine. Ready tractor beam.”

    “Reading wide-beam short-area distress calls and at least,” Manas said and stopped, surprise etched on his gargoyle face. “At least fifteen tight-beam messages. They are bouncing off the rocks around here with all the distortions, may be more.”

    “Relay their probable vectors to the reinforcement fleet and Starbase 39,” Matthews said. “What’s happening ahead?” The ship’s noise grew louder as power fed to impulse, trying to catch up with the smaller ship, which had a definite acceleration advantage. With a lurch, two heavy drones dropped from the shuttlebay, scattering short-ranged torpedo-mines as they raced towards the last patrol frigate.

    “Distortion is contracting,” Manas said, “Definitely reading chroniton and gravitational action along with a tachyon web. Frigate is within original period of anomaly – updating tactical plotting, several new asteroids appearing – asteroids doubling, now reading chronal quantum distortions consistent with Na’kuhl technology. Multiple small satellites appearing – showing signs of electrical overload.” Dots appeared on screen, technological and natural satellites – stars doubled, twisted, looking like warp effect.

    “Captain,” Antonine said, “Those probably extended a cloak around the distortion area, but they may be carrying weapons, or additional temporal technology.”

    “Right,” Matthews said, “Detailed scans if we can, time until drone impact.”

    “Four seconds mark,” Antonine replied. “Three, two,” the screen flared, a pulse of thin plasma needles – both drones exploded, as well as several of the replicated mines they’d dropped. “Taadari plasma barrage fired, drones destroyed.”

    The closet two mines oriented and launched. The frigate’s shields flared, the odd slow play of light from chroniton torpedoes, as it impacted the distortion. Space flared, a small galaxy birthing and dying, views of a thousand different realities, before dying away as silently as they emerged – revealing a dozen small stations, in the orange, finned organic flare of Na’kuhl designs – a small shipyard.

    Tactical cursed as his plot updated. Matthews turned and raised an eyebrow. “A proper status update, please,” he said coolly.

    “One Khaerops-class dreadnought present in gantries at largest station. It’s acquiring a lock but its firing arcs are currently obscured” Tactical said breathlessly. “At least four other clusters as independent stations. Not reading defensive weapons, navigational shields only.”

    Manas broke in, “No power readings originating in dreadnought – it looks like one warp nacelle is currently removed. Station power is increasing – they’re increasing power flow and the capital ship’s engines are in cold-restart. No sign of the Venture – still a lot of interference, I can get life-sign clusters but not distinguish them yet.”

    Captain Matthews leaned back, frowning, “Okay – clear the tubes of tricobalt against the dreadnought, and see if we get lucky. Plot escape course.”

    Antonine frowned, looking at the structures, and then took a deep breath. “Wait!” she said. All eyes turned to the breech in decorum, but she pressed on. “Captain – fins or no, a shipyard’s a shipyard – and they’re still using power conduits in the future – we target those it will leave it with limited stored power or even possibly feedback into both the station and the dreadnought.”

    Matthews turned to face her and they matched gazes for several seconds. “Belay firing order,” he said, “Target connection points. Phasers, take out that frigate if it circles around.” Antonine’s heart started beating again as the warheads went out. They exploded again in hideous light, radiation and the sheer energy of liberating tricobalt causing the conduits to briefly appear to flame as the insulation on them simply vaporized from the load – lightning played over the ship, the skeletons of the yards, and the station itself. Lights flickered and went out in whole series.

    Matthews nodded. Once. “Well spotted, Commander Revka,” he said, “Now, all channels – all languages, demand their surrender.”

    Manas said, “Captain, the frigate’s power levels are going critical, there’s…” he stopped, unable to describe. The frigate dove into the gantry holding the dreadnought, nacelles flaring even in the visual, before it seemed to suddenly recede, attenuating somehow, before suddenly snapping to firm reality, and then exploding. As the light from a warp-core overload cleared, the dreadnought was missing, though the gantry was intact, but scarred.

    “Tachyon traces detected – some sort of time travel,” Manas said after a minute.

    “Deploy probes, get everything,” Matthews said. “Signal the stations to demand surrender and get everything to Starbase 39. Ready security teams.” The bridge crew bent to comply when Manas interrupted

    “Temporal fracture detected!” Manas said excitedly, then looked up. “Wells­-class, U.S.S. Pastak.”

    “Maintain red alert, get me weapons lock,” Matthews said. “Who knows what the future’s like at this point…”

    “Captain Walker hailing us, Captain,” Antonine said. The face that appeared has been well-circulated to Starfleet. Walker had, so far, been only using time travel to react to others, and even Matthews relaxed a little.

    “Captain Matthews – we were dealing with a temporal incursion in the 26th century and back-traced it to here. Wanted to thank you for flushing a dreadnought and make sure you didn’t need a hand with any other loose end,” Walker said.

    “Well, if you want a share in prisoner processing, Wasp is willing to share. Commander Revka, head to the transporter room to liaise” Matthews said easily.

    *
    It went smoothly from there. The Na’kuhl method of time travel was hard to detect, but the version the dreadnought had used had fired alerts up and down the timeline. Hopefully, a whole strike group would be able to be snatched up as a result. The downside was their patrol as cut short – sh’Theln would be far enough in recovery and Matthews would have his preferred officer back in place.

    She was still unpacking in guest quarters on Starbase 39 when the door range. “Come in,” she said, having not bothered to change the temperature controls yet. A human entered the room – fairly nondescript and in civilian dress.

    “Commander Revka?” he said, “Agent Crey – Temporal Investigations.”

    “Hello,” she said uncertainly, “We had an appointment tomorrow at ten hundred. May I ask what this is about?”

    “This is less about recent events and more about your future, Commander,” Crey said, overly mysteriously in her opinion. “Commander Matthews gave a very favorable report on your initiative, and recommended you immediately for command.” He ignored the sharp intake of breath. “Starfleet would prefer more seasoning, given your history, and an understanding of Matthews. It helps the science officer also recommended you.”

    “I don’t think he was wrong, there,” Antonine said, assuming they had seen the bridge logs. “Just that it was a better target, future technology or no.”

    “Exactly – Temporal Investigations liked your ability to see past distractions and variances to the real issue, and would like you to volunteer for some special assignments with us,” Crey said. “Your record would be partially sealed, and the missions are potentially very dangerous, with some unusual equipment and situations.”

    “I understand Admiral Revka has some unusual resistance to the timeline thanks to her frequent travel,” Antonine said, “But I don’t know if I have the same.”

    “There’s no way anyone sane could test it,” Crey acknowledged, “But it gives you some useful observer distance. A lot of what Temporal Investigations does is helping people overcome the distance from the accidents and dangers that can result from Starfleet.” He looked distant for a moment. “I have my own experience there.”

    “And you say I’ll get my own ship?” she asked. Crey hid a smile.

    “And a fast-track promotion, but you’d be getting that from Starfleet anyway. It may irritate Matthew not to have drones, but they need command officers. But yes, a ship. We have some specialty ships assigned by Starfleet to our office with unique technology. You’ll have some flexibility with bridge officers, but the crew tends to be a little unique, as we’re looking for those with temporal incident experience. The new ships need some shakedowns, they’re from unusual yards,” Crey said.

    Antonine nodded, “It’s my duty to maintain the Federation charter, and it survived one timeline event from my perspective – I don’t want to risk another. I’m willing to sign up.”

    Crey nodded, and said, “There’s some paperwork and a debriefing, but I do have a simple assignment – a familiarization exercise to assist with – while your crew is assembled. I think you may find it helpful based on recent experience. Also, based on your talents, in some respects, this is also a coordination exercise.”

    Antonine simply nodded. The disassociation could be maddening, but Starfleet personnel were tough.

    Crey tapped a communicator – the button was on his wrist, oddly. “Bring him in,” he directed.

    The door whisked open, with a studiously nondescript brunette human male of indeterminate age in a dark jumpsuit with no insignia leading yet another human – blond with a thin well-groomed mustache, wearing tactical red and captain’s pins. Revka stood at attention.

    The captain strode forward and studied her.

    “Wow, the males of your species really have smoother skin, that’s one of the odder things I’ve seen yet!” he said cheerfully, speaking Standard with an odd lilt. “Captain Dead Foch, Starfleet – undead hero.”

    The older man with no name coughed slightly. “Commander Revka is not a Saurian, though I admit the coloration is similar.”

    The human looked her over again, and gave a low whistle, “How many species does the Federation have now? No, don’t answer that, please,” he said, holding up a hand. “But, come, let me at least bring you a dinner aboard my ship as an apology, and to see if we can repair our working relationship.”

    Antonine glanced at Crey, who shrugged, and the other man, who did nothing. “All right,” she said, “I packed light – let me get my tailor specs in and get a formal uniform done up.”

    “Such a lack of things in the future,” Dean remarked. “But I sympathize – I much prefer the old sand-color and the old workshirts to these two-pieces and red.” He brightened, “Though I understand for common use the regulations allow a great deal of latitude – wonderful thing, latitude, seems never to go out of style.”

    Before replicators? She thought.

    “Captain,” she said carefully out loud, “my history may be a bit shaky, where did you originate?’

    “2265,” he said, “Commander and shipmaster of a sweet little Pioneer, but they build them so big and fast these days, and the poor Conestoga was a wreck.”

    Crey coughed, “That was 150 years ago,” he said, chidingly. “Captain – you should be kinder to the Commander, she’s just as time-lost but laterally.” Turning to face her directly, Crey explained, “Captain Foch commanded the Conestoga in the Battle of Caleb IV.”

    That Foch?” she said. Foch grinned devishily. “I read Admiral Garret’s dissertation on tactical reactions to new technologies as part of my lieutenant certification.” She looked at him. “I have to say, it was very nice of Starfleet to give a dead man another chance.”

    Foch laughed at that, “Oh, good – I’m going to make mistakes, I don’t want you blinded by my heroic limelight. I like this one, I think we can work together.” Foch held out a hand and took it, eyes lit. Antonine giving it a firm grip.

    I suspect I may have had an easier time with the control freak, Antonine thought, but with a warm tone – this, at least, was certainly something the ‘her’ here had not done before.

    *

    End chapter 1

    Author’s note:
    Daniels of course, is making sure Foch doesn’t do anything too damaging until he can pass him off safely. Antonine’s alternate came about in ‘The Road At Midnight’, courtesy of Q’s intervention. It’s a lot to live up to, yourself.

    Dean is my AoY character, and he’ll really get introduced when I do a bit from his perspective as part 2.
    Fate - protects fools, small children, and ships named Enterprise Will Riker

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  • aten66aten66 Member Posts: 638 Arc User

    Due to the length, please enjoy Morpheus Strip here, as it will not fit forum length, and flows better this way.

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  • antonine3258antonine3258 Member Posts: 2,376 Arc User

    Tangential Connections

    Chapter 2 part1

    By antonine3258

    Note: Set about the same time as the first part of Ch. 1

    *

    Captain Dean Foch stood in his quarters, or at least an eerie facsimile of them. They were the same psychologically neutral color and construction as those on dear Conestoga, and even some of the furniture seemed to be the same – they’d saved his antique walkie-talkies, for instance, or created a truly credible replica.

    Unfortunately, what passed for luxurious privileges of rank in the days of Pioneer utility cruisers was too abhorrently small to be considered for a Captain of the Future. He kept falling out of bed trying to reach the communicator, and it was getting annoying. Everyone was being well-meaning about it. The whole future was well-meaning, if you could forget how many people had been making sport of Federation citizens the last few years.

    Well, he had a dozen problems, but space wasn’t one of them. Though filling that space was. His merry band of 150 survivors wasn’t enough to fill a whole watch on this larger Ranger. Or possibly a Paladin, there’d been documentation with both names. Politics, he supposed. All his crew had remained in this strange new world, though there had been outbursts, but he also had some serious departmental coverage gaps.

    But, and he cursed briefly as he barked his shin on the desk, now in the way from the sink in the head, as he carried shaving supplies to start the day.

    But – they weren’t in normal Starfleet even back in their originating time, tapped for discretion for dealing with strange incidents, in a war whose end could not be seen, and combatants remained murky. He was tapped for the same thing in the present, but when your mission is to try and keep out of history, it’s difficult to get crew the normal way, and poor Tarsi had not even the beginnings of a watch list.

    He stopped shaving, sighing. Poor Tarsi – the Andorian had a large family, huge by Andorian standards. But that close-knit clan had been scattered literally by time, and their operational cover had left her basically clanless. Getting a stiff Andorian to admit there was a problem was hard, but it was impossible not to notice she’d dyed her hair ocean green and cut large portions of it off. So far, she was coping – and she was taking advantage of the counselors Temporal Investigations had provided.

    So was he, for that matter, and he’d encouraged his crew to do the same. His family had not been large, but his branches of the Fochs were scattered by time and space. His heroic death had led to many joining colonial expeditions, and there’d been an Admiral Foch (good looking woman, bless those genes) in the 2330s.

    But still, they were alive – 80 people had not survived the battle long enough for Daniels to work whatever he had, pulling them forward. Lieutenant Theron had died of shrapnel wounds not twelve feet, and Lieutenant Skarvin’s valiant damage control parties had suffered badly. They’d been able to hold funerals, at least, on board this new ship. They’d let him name it, and he’d reached into his cultural history – the Roland, another brave soul who had held the line until other forces could regroup.

    But it was a ship in name only – they’d finished exhaustive briefings, yes, but engineering was critically undermanned, he still needed a new department head for science, and while Daniels had been able to tap some personnel to watch events proceed as they, apparently, should, that wasn’t really a Starfleet mission. But he couldn’t ask for personnel assignments exactly, when the requirements included ‘secret time travel’.

    So he was running a halfway house for the time-lost more than a ship. He just had to remind himself he was lucky they survived. He looked over himself, presentable – the old style tunics most of the staff were still wearing – bless those ‘just wear pants’ uniform regulations for detached officers in 2410. Everything neatly trimmed, orderly, a beacon of calm insanity.

    “Captain Foch?” a voice said behind him in his quarters. Spinning, he hit one of the small case of artifacts, his reflexes were all off in this space. But a blacksuited figure grabbed it before it could hit the ground. He stood a moment, letting his heart get under control.

    “Daniels,” he said neutrally as soon as he could manage. The man had saved their lives, but he’d not lifted such a figure for hundreds in other situations. Gratefulness would only buy you so far with that.

    Daniels didn’t answer, but carefully placed it back on its shelf. “What are these? Old computers?” he asked looking at the collection.

    “Old radios, pre-transistors, generally the handsets – the transceivers are too big to carry on a starship, and generally just thirdhand replicas anyways,” Foch answered. Actually, most of them were replicas, but at least replicas with good histories, museum copies and the like.

    “I had been wondering,” Daniels said, “Old technology fan?”

    “Just a reminder that new technology isn’t useful if you don’t understand it – and communication can be a lot more powerful than a new gun,” Foch said, wondering why the man was here. “That was a replica from a museum on the Maginot recovered after the post-atomic horrors, if they’d had enough of them and a few less cannon, World War 2 would have run a lot differently. It could have meant the difference for millions.”

    “It is hard to know in advance what technologies are useful,” Daniels agreed, “But a staffer in the right place is a useful asset. But I thought you’d like some good news.” He turned away from the shelf, and with a shimmer, reality faded to Daniels’ ready room.

    He gestured, selecting a hazy part of the timeline into focus. “The Na’kuhl timeline incursion recently moved events back in our favor – a Starfleet ship discovered a Na’kuhl repair dock, and events led to a complete and rapid power overload. Starfleet in this time is moving to take prisoners.”

    “That’s great news,” Foch said genuinely. There had to be more.

    “There’s more,” Daniels said, “The power overload was fast enough the computer core shut down without being able to be wiped, allowing a great deal of operational data to be uncovered. This greatly increases our available target list to counter Na’kuhl incursions without risking additional temporal chaos via paradox. It also provides some insight into their communications.”

    “Easier to stop it by having their plans for it instead of going back in time to stop time travelers,” Foch said. Daniels had been somewhat vague of the effects of trying to time travel to beat time travelers, but it seemed to risk further disruptions to the peace of the future. It certainly made Fochs head hurt less when causality was followed.

    “In a way,” Daniels said, “Also – the breadth of operations include documentation of Na’kuhl operatives involved in previous points. The Alliance will greatly increase breadth of operations in the present, which should help your personnel crisis.”

    “Thank you,” Foch said genuinely. Getting out of the bones of dock would help his people instead of drying up on the beach. Daniels made a gesture and several points were highlighted, then several more, then dozens at a time.

    “Unfortunately, the scope of effects and potential effects was larger than we anticipated,” Daniels admitted. “There may be other enemies moving as well, starting to reveal themselves. I’m working to get some of the Alliance’s best recruited for large-scale counter-incursions, while we still have time.”

    “Are we losing?” Foch asked.

    “I don’t know. Even with this change, we don’t have a good tracking method for Na’kuhl time travel yet. Trying to get numbers with the Na’kuhl association with the Federation in constant flux is affecting projections,” Daniel said, then stopped, stiffening. “I don’t know,” he said.

    “The Na’kuhl don’t care about preserving the future, from all the reading you’ve had me do,” Foch observed. “A location in the present could be known in their time. Where was the botch?”

    Daniels mouth pursed as he explained, “An officer of some note – twice over. Seems to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time, but her association with the timeline is somewhat vague. There’s some powerful extradimensional intelligences involved, and it makes tracking her movements difficult from different points in time. Their projections showed the facilities being lost at worst, not an intelligence coup.”

    “How terrible for her,” Foch said dryly. “But lucky for us, I suppose. Such a strange world, where the only value of things is time – and not even that, it seems.”

    “Accomplishments are still accomplishments,” Daniel protested. “The present is building plenty.”

    Foch waved off. “Is she science track, then, this officer of note? I still need one,” he asked, “To bring the department into the 25th century.”

    Daniels said, “No, operations, but I have someone else in mind for that. But her captain’s not a fan – he’s built his own team and it was sort of odd timing she was available.”

    “Luck can be a valuable commodity,” Foch said, “Get her a ship then, but all this miraculous data – you have a mission for me, I suppose?” he said with a theatrical sigh.

    “Yes,” Daniels said, “And with luck, an officer – if you’d like to try him out. He’s actually from a different universe, but has been working the Na’kuhl detection problem.”

    Dean nodded, “Good – and can you get the officer anyway?” he asked. “You’re clearly going to put her in temporal missions, or you wouldn’t bring it up – and she speaks 25th century beaurcratese. I need an interpreter!” Daniels merely smiled.

    *

    A busy month subjective, but a week later in the timeline – Dean had given up on coordinating when he skipped over a century – he found himself on what passed for Starbase 39 in the time. Gone was the long-ago cluster of repeating stations and antennae, keeping a bored watch on a still-somnolent Star Empire. Like most things here, it was huge. The collar on the new-model uniforms itched a bit too.

    The guest quarters he was standing in were palatial, and given over to a single midlevel lizard lady. Apparently not the Saurians that were becoming a force, but one of the hundreds of races that sent an occasional officer or crewman to join Starfleet while the majority tended their own affairs. There were always unique one-offs, regardless of species.

    Still, she had eyelids, so that was a plus. It couldn’t always be guaranteed when hominids evolved from the scalier parts of the animal kingdom. And her grip was warm and solid. Also, his sister had a snake growing up. Daniels had moved off, leaving them and Crey to plot.

    “We’ve arranged a prototype ship at Utopia Planitia – it’s still somewhat stripped in need of a refit,” Crey said. “Most of your crew will be pretty new, but at least you can train them into shape how you want.”

    Foch and Revka exchanged a look that transcended species. Crey had never been in command, to speak of building a crew from nothing so lightly. Revka said politely, “Well, I’ll need to look at their records, of course. And I’d love to look at your logs, Captain Foch, if you’ve been involved in that, I could use some tips. It sounds like Admiral Garret’s view on the Battle of Caleb IV was somewhat lacking.”

    “It’s nice someone remembers me, at all – I didn’t dare look at the after-action logs,” Foch admitted. “We can talk some on the diplomatic courier back to Mars,” he said. “Transwarp makes shuttle flights more comfortable, no?”

    “Your ship isn’t here?” Commander Revka said with some surprise.

    Foch winced, “My crew has qualified on modern equipment, but still needs experience. And we’re seriously understaffed – policy changes are going to change that but haven’t taken effect yet.”

    “I see,” the Commander said. “Let me repack, I guess,” she said, and her gaze lingered over some small ship models – old models, fusion rockets mainly. “And you can fill me in what we need to get Starfleet and this operation on the same timeline.”

    “Oh, I am going to like you,” Foch said.

    *

    The shuttle flight was an astonishing four hours – the transwarp network was a true miracle for bringing the Federation together. He hoped he would never take it for granted. They’d been able to cover some basics, and he’d invited her aboard to check over the situation – Crey was heading back to keep history from mutating, and apparently they’d thrown out all the time-in-grade rules since they were promoting the Commander to Captain, so he was having his office handle some paperwork.

    They beamed aboard the Roland to view the secure files. Commander nee Captain Revka looked around the transporter room in surprise, peering at some of the wall fittings. “I know they built these to an older model to utilize some smaller shipyards as the cover story, but isn’t this taking historical accuracy a little far?”

    Skarvin, Foch’s Tellarite engineer, scoffed. “So quick to doubt the height of human ergonomics of the 23rd century – we didn’t have your fancy environmental controls or holodecks. Starfleet could build to one species, and everyone else had to suffer – we wouldn’t have all this wasted ceiling space on a Tellarite vessel.”

    “Okay, so grey is in, fine – but I’ve been to the fleet museum – these are duotronic computer run pipes like the Yorktown had,” Revka said, pointing. “Isolinear runs don’t need that kind of shielding against stray electric signal – you can practically weave them into carpet. I can understand keeping the outside geometry, but there’s a time and place for aesthetics. How’d the architects sell this one to Starfleet?”

    “Oh, these old ships,” Foch said “It needed the extra spacing for the molecular configuration, they explained to me, when it does the rewiring.”

    “That’s not a term I’m familiar with,” Revka said politely.

    “Oh, don’t try and pull one over,” Skarvin said irritably, “The matter control functions – helps readjust the ship to changing conditions under computer control and keep personnel counts down. Makes replicators look simple.”

    “Show me,” Revka directed, and Foch nodded startled. There was some steel there that hadn’t been showing itself before. Startled, the Tellarite dropped his arguing to mere grumbles, and moved the pipe mountings from the wall, showing the constellation of sparkling lights that were masque by old duotronic labels.

    “Captain Foch,” she said after a few moments consulting a tricorder. “This ship is a double-blind – there is technology here beyond the Federation’s current understanding in engineering.”

    “But not, say, theoretical or lab-level work?” Foch asked, a little grim. Revka nodded, startled. “I thought Daniels was trying to keep his thumb on the balance without letting on – I wasn’t sure how.”

    Revka said, “If he was trying to keep this under the table, it may explain your personnel problems.” Her eyes glittered, “But then I guess things got worse if they’re letting people like me at them. I wonder what Crey’s position is in this?”

    Skarvin promised, “We’ll run down all the leads we can, Captain.”

    Foch nodded, “Wasn’t expecting anything less, Chief. As for Crey – I’ve met him a little, but his agency’s goal seems to be in line with Starfleet and the Federation; allow our citizens to achieve their goals without outside interference. I’m honestly not sure how many ‘Daniels’ we’re dealing with.”

    “The man with you wasn’t from the current time?” Revka asked. Foch nodded. “Hmm. Let’s check your comm links to Starfleet Command, then – there’s a few computer tricks we can try but we should still go in person. She started to pace, thinking.

    Foch nodded, and asked, “And can you check the statement of condition? Things may have changed, wording wise – that might explain it too.” He frowned, and brushed his mustache. “I’m starting to think we were left in some holding pattern with current Starfleet, while we ran ground missions.”

    “Well, dealing with bureaucracy on an interstellar scale would have anyone longing for a better future,” Revka cracked, but briefly. “Without the Iconians, it’d be even worse.”

    “Ah, back in the old days, where you just could send logs out in the ether and no one cared if they were received – just happy you showed up with your ship at the end of a tour,” Foch said, with some longing. “Of course, we only had a few ships – you can send anyone out with a pack of scientists and a mobile lab these days. Definitely would have made the slime devils easier to deal with.”

    “The wha?” Revka asked. Foch waved it off.

    “Yeah, though there’s no care in it,” Skarvin said. “Been trying to get high-quality components, the time of life on the standard stuff is terrible – we’re either going to be back in time and unable to get parts, or find ourselves without main sensors with torpedoes coming out of a Klingon attack squadron when a resonance chamber overloads.”

    “We are at peace with the Empire right now,” Revka said – flatly. She didn’t seem to quite buy it either. Skarvin scoffed.

    “We’re running an antique,” Foch said mildly, “Or one built like one. Still, with all the Na’kuhl stuff becoming more obvious, any chance of bringing us up to standard is worth seeing, if something like the impulse engines are in bad shape.” Maybe they’d leave dock sooner or later.

    Skarvin argued, “No, the main components are fine but all the subsidiary systems are pretty clearly low-grade gear, at least for this time. It’s built crude – kill to have it at Caleb, of course. Been trying to reacquisition some better wave aligners and high-tolerance degaussers – bet we could get five, maybe ten percent thrust for the amount of energy from the impulse system.”

    “Oh,” Revka said without worry, “If you can go to personnel and see about what ship I’m actually getting, and the personnel, I can see about your engines.” Skarvin scoffed again. “I spent three months making sure Wasp would be ready after its refit – just point me at an engineering lab.”

    “All right,” Foch said. “Skarvin – send me back out over and I’ll take a shuttle to Earth Spacedock, and I’ll see to make sure our messages are going through. Point my current favorite reptile towards the main engineering labs, and see what you can teach her.” That made the Tellarite chuckle, and Foch stepped back on the pad.

    “This is Earth, not the frontier!” Revka called as he faded out again. “It’s not what you know, it’s who. And right now, I know a whole ship of living heroes!”

    *

    That stuck in Foch’s mind as he rematerialized at the center cluster for the drydocks. They’d died well, or tried to anyway. Why here? Starfleet was rebuilding to peace, in spite of the Na’kuhl distraction, with a military orientation still in effect despite them moving slowly back to a peacetime structure. He had a unique perspective, but Daniels could have dropped in the 2350s when things were fairly calm as a thanks for a job well done. . Why bring an independently-minded old sailor here?

    And he was old, relatively. It was either ancient admirals, old scientists and security officers playing at captain, or the next generation, called up young. Not that he would call Admiral Quinn ‘reassuringly old’ to his face.

    A shuttle was easy to arrange, and he pulled rank for once to get to pilot it himself– with the other ships for Temporal Defense being built on old lines too, it would be like a Fleet Review to pass alongside. Easily twenty drydocks were filled with various old friends, variants of ships he’d dreamed of someday commanding. Actually, they did look ready for a review, just with a few access ports open for minor components.

    That was odd – a whole delivery from a bunch of shipyards out of Starfleet’s eye, and no one in the Corps of Engineers was even looking in the nacelles to make sure a warp coil wasn’t in backwards? He tapped the comm link. “Foch to Tarsi – pull the security guys together – look into all the data runs to the bridge. Be as suspicious as a Romulan at a Vulcan monastery.”

    The Andorian acknowledged, “Already started it as a drill – Skarvin passed along what you’d dug up on the transporter room – we’re running the specs against what’s state of the art. And I think we’ve bled past it.”

    “All right, let me check with what we have with Quinn on this,” Foch said, and felt an old ferocity settle in. Someone was messing with his ship, and his crew. Garrett, other members, and a tradition that extended from Archer past his time to now, said it was time to stop playing the fool, and make this time his own.
    Fate - protects fools, small children, and ships named Enterprise Will Riker

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  • antonine3258antonine3258 Member Posts: 2,376 Arc User
    Tangetinal Connections

    chapter 2, part 2

    by antonine3258

    *

    He didn’t quite make Quinn in the cavernous ESD – but did hit the operations commander. He was a little surprised Sulu had ended up a family man – the Conestoga’s crew had shared drinks after the Enterprise had saved them from a Klingon attack in neutral space, and it hadn’t been mentioned. Of course, when telling the story publicly, Garret had swooped in, him at the helm, Conestoga bravely driving the terrible Klingons from the famed ship.

    Sulu had well-practiced ease at keeping angry captains pacified while repairs were prioritized at the Earth section of Sol’s docks, but even he was impressed when he looked at Foch’s message logs. “Message packet routing changed – looks like a coerced repeater satellite checking specifically for ship names – subtle altering of numbers and figures to change readiness levels,” Sulu said. “And just looking at maintenance logs, two hours ago a power surge took out the repeater’s data banks.”

    “Random?” Foch asked.

    “As far as we can tell, though I’m tapping out orders to search for tachyon or chroniton residue… it’s a possibility – rare, but certainly, well, noteworthy,” Sulu said.

    “Historically, yes, I could see it being deep in a future databank,” Foch said grimly.

    “Absolutely,” Sulu said. “It could have easily been some future Federation operative as well. You probably could have left dock a few weeks ago, but instead the first of these temporal designs was in dock, and we’ve got a lot more targets to coordinate for Temporal Defense.”

    “The shipyard attack, yes,” Foch said. “That’s disturbing. Why didn’t they just ask?” Sulu could only shrug.

    “All right, so this should take care of the personnel drafts – as to the rest of the oddities,” Sulu said, “Everything’s at least referenced in scientific journals, but it’s not exactly field equipment. As long as there hasn’t been any control problems, Starfleet’s willing to continue. They’re built to time travel more gracefully and not look so out of place, and I really hope we don’t need them.”

    “We’re still having to rely on Daniels, especially, for temporal incursion monitoring,” Foch said, “Maybe a close read of history books will help in other cases, and we’re gradually unravelling the Na’kuhl attacks…”

    “Federation Diplomatic Corps still is working on stabilizing and normalizing relations – whatever timeline they came from, maybe the Na’kuhl we’re having to fight will have happy lives in the future,” Sulu said optimistically.

    I’ll let you know how that works out, Foch thought to himself.

    *

    Foch found Revka and his new science officer in the engineering lab, working on some conglomeration of equipment. He saluted briefly on entering, handing over a set of captain’s pins, which Revka took without comment, though she did return the salute.

    “Admiral Quinn’s aide said the paperwork came through – there’d be more of a ceremony, but,” Foch shrugged. “Congratulations, you’re now the Captain of the Fuso.”

    “Most of your crew is running duotronic/isolinear leads,” Revka said, “But 718 here was able to help – be careful, or I’m going to steal him. He was a great help getting these cascade initiators put together.” The bald human/cyborg (Foch just called him an android – it was more or less technically correct and less confusing.)

    Foch looked at the equipment, it was certainly shiny. A vast set of seeming focus lenses and crystals. “718 may fit in there,” he allowed, hoping they were going to give him a lead on what they were working on. Engineers. “He was intercepted from a transporter signal in an escape beamout from another timeline.”

    “Yes,” 718 said, “Destroyed thanks to the Temporal Wars raging, it is my goal to prevent them here as best I can. Even if people keep referring to me as a ‘Borg’. Captain Revka has some fascinating insights into the psychology of captains in the era, however.”

    Revka patted the equipment. “It’s not much here, and needs a lot of power boosters for full effect – but the way the crystal matrices precipitate out is pretty random, even if you have time to go for more than a standard initiator, and there’s always someone it seems working to utilize disruptors with the current equipment – even in my timeline.”

    “This is a disruptor system?” Foch said, the oversized parts going into perspective. “Field artillery?”

    “Ship based system, tied to Starfleet standard initiators,” Revka said, easily. This was familiar ground. “Completely different power system than the KDF, but it’s adaptable – this one’s not spectacular, has some high cohesion, but the shipyard said there’s some Klingon colonies rebuilding their defenses, and they’d take these off our hands in exchange for some high-containment fusion vessels.”

    “Which gets the upgraded engines our engineer was looking for,” 718 said.

    “Black market?” Foch said, amused.

    “No,” Revka said. And then thought about it. “Probably yes in other standards – but the most valuable item now days for any Federation is time – these took a lot of staff to precipitate out, these final adjustments are simpler but delicate, but it’s what we’ve been doing.”

    “And the effects of the lenses, at this density,” 0718 said, “Are almost entirely random for each batch.”

    “Okay,” Foch said, “I get it – you should have seen the race for customized shuttlecraft – that easy to build ships? I hadn’t seen it like this.”

    “It’s that easy to build and install subcomponents – the frames take some time, the basic coils, all the emitter arrays, the linear sensors, but you can tweak the performance with these big components that are simpler,” Revka said. She looked at it and shook her head. “In my timeline, there was a lot of competition for better tunneling microscopes and clean signal boosters instead of better graviton projectors. Ah well, but the miles and miles of wiring and conduit, takes some time.”

    “And high-end ships like battlecruisers take longer – given Starfleet training times and the draw-down in general forces to refocus on exploration, even with additional pirate raids,” 0718 said, “I estimate the capital ships provided to Temporal Investigations would allow a three percent increase in production on patrol and science craft that will minimize areas of Na’kuhl activity – the lessened time allows more high-end fabricators to dedicate to equipment, which should trickle down the fleet.”

    “Daniels keeps his thumb on the scales,” Foch summarized, approvingly. “And it’s a bit harder to spot with the cut-outs. I wonder what else he’s planning.”

    “Probably very little,” Revka said. “Oh, if the Prime Directive wasn’t bad enough, but a good idea.” Foch and 0718 stared. “History example,” Revka offered, “My planet had a social structure that offered very limited mobility, even as technology started to improve after changes to the climate. Then, plagues brought on by warmer weather limited the ability of the old barons to enforce order, and people were able to move. It certainly helped democracy, but would you explain a brighter future depending on, oh, fifteen percent of all adults dying, if you could avoid it?”

    “I can see why the future has apparently one man and local agents,” Foch said, “Even if you need to bring them to the right time period.”

    “He’s also gotten the Alliance’s time defense organizations to gather almost every temporally displaced individual, through multiple means, into a single point,” 0718 said. “At least, every individual emotionally capable of handling the burden of starship duty.”

    “Espirit de corps?” Foch said. “I can see it – who knows what he’s hoping to found out of this. Maybe all those Wells class in the Azure Nebula were going to a fleet reunion.”

    “Skarvin to Foch,” came over the comm. Foch went to the wall panel to answer. “Captain – if the lab monkeys are done prepping for weapon smuggling, we could use them up here on Deck 6 for a second opinion.”

    Foch looked at the two, who nodded. “With our compliments, Captain Revka, if you could join me on the computer deck.”

    * Skarvin, Tarsi, and a team of engineering officers and ratings were waiting, clustered between two junction boxes. Their familiar packaging was torn open, revealing a series of isolinear chips in alien configurations, darkly lit with green and yellow, instead of this era’s omnipresent blue.

    “We were checking everything,” Skarvin insisted when he saw Foch, “Captain – Captain,” he added, seeing Revka.

    Tarsi had her arms folded. This had evidently been going on a while. “We’ve agreed – finally – this is anomalous. Consider it without the captain’s order. It’s a new ship after all, they’d have said something in the engineering manuals.”

    “Okay, that I’ll concede,” Skarvin said. “If only because the behind-lines eggheads don’t want more trouble than they already have for thinking stuff is spec.”

    “Gentlemen,” Foch said with some amusement. “I take it this is more than the usual disagreement and we have a problem?”

    “A discrepancy,” Skarvin said with a glare at Tarsi. “We’re seeing a minor but consistent power leak between these junction boxes – their physical proximity does not explain the drop, and we cannot detect any leakage.”

    “What does this carry?” Foch asked.

    “Backups for a lot of systems – direct line communication relays, computer relay between the primary and secondary core, relay to the primary deflector from the emergency bridge, and two of the backup sensor buses,” Skarvin listed.

    “That much running through there, I’m betting someone miswired something,” Tarsi insisted.

    “How many of those problems have we had?” Foch said. “Two?” Tarsi nodded. “And those were on surface units the dockyard was installing.”

    Revka looked, “Captain, I don’t know how it was done exactly in the past, but there’s more separate redundancies here than I would be comfortable with.”

    “Well, Captain, what would explain it?” Foch said, starting to pace. This seemed to be a leadership opportunity. Wordlessly, he grabbed 0718’s tricorder, and thumbed through the programs the cyborg had set. “Some sort of processing node? Navigator? Communication?”

    Revka said, “I’d almost expect auxiliary control, but could be astrometrics or even impulse control.” Revka went over and leaned, but was unable to peer over his shoulder. “You think a listening post.”

    “I’m not sure…” Foch said, “Ah, here we go, let’s try this out, eh 0718?” He tabbed up the ‘anti-temporal probe’ set up 0718 had. Oh, it was a little more complicated than that, but… he pressed the button and off it went.

    And so did the ship. The space between the junction boxes writhed, shimmered – and suddenly a door was there where there had been nothing – and the sides of it seemed to be melting and reforming.

    “More molecular control technology?” Foch asked, handing back the tricorder. 0718 flipped the topped of it open and scanned.

    “Indeed, of a far more advanced level than we had previously seen.”

    “Amazing what has made it out of the labs in the next hundred years,” Revka said, slightly shocked.

    “Bridge watch to captain,” whistled one of the panels, and continued without acknowledgement as the alert lights flashed to amber. “Captain, our status repeaters are… growing, and the dockyard just launched fighters and is demanding a status update.”

    “Tell them the situation is under control,” Foch lied, as he walked into the area, followed by his crew and guests. Inside was a vast glass enclosure – green, holding… something, that writhed in the eyes.

    “High levels of tachyon and chroniton particles. Some sort of temporal emission device,” 0718 reported.

    As he’d somewhat expected when strangeness occurred, a hologram of Daniels appeared when he put his hand on the center control panel. “Hello Captain, if this is playing, you found the little secret we sent back in our ‘replica’ ships – that they’re not replicas. These aren’t what the future uses, but they’re close, if downgraded for your technology. We’re unlocking the rest of the computer core – I’m afraid you’ll need the help, but welcome to the Paladin class.”

    “Well, the name works even better now,” Foch said with elaborate casualness. “I suppose we should call the dockyard, let them know the Roland is still the Roland.

    *

    A few days later, a lot of the initial explanations were done, and the fleet was starting to take shape. Foch had come over to Revka’s new Fuso, now starting to approach having a crew, even if they took more training, with a bottle of Burgundy’s, well, not best, but adequate, to celebrate the joint Temporal Defense task force getting off the ground.

    “Ah, these, at least, are eternal and universal, the appreciation for a good drink,” he said happily as he produced two glasses and poured. “This isn’t the best I’ve seen, but it passed your toxicity screening – there was something about oak leaves.”

    He looked around as it breathed – Revka had apparently found the settings to have a more ‘modern’ ready room in the darker paneling and reflective desks of the current era. He hoped she hadn’t tweaked it too far – someone had tried to improve the mattress in their quarters and melted all the chairs on the ship.

    Revka noticed his looking around. “I tried to grow a conference room but they don’t seem to have them on bridge level in the future,” she said, “But the best I managed were some mounting brackets in here – anymore and you risk hull breaches. For shapeshifting future technology, it’s temperamental.”

    “Probably someone defaulted on the 23rd – we didn’t have hull space to put conference rooms on the same deck as command,” Foch said. “It’s all the little improvements that amaze me, the sheer space of these ships. Everything’s come so far, so many systems explored. Andoria to the Romulan border used to be a ways, now you can do it in a shuttle and a free hour.”

    “The more we travel, the less we know – we’ve just gained the possibility of exploring time, and its affects and relations to space,” Revka said. “Even with new, more powerful ships, it just gives us more options to go farther and explore even more than we could. And warp drive still is warp drive, no matter how big the coils.”

    “You’ve taken working to write the tactics manual with raw entropy well,” Foch said, eyes narrowing. “Did this happen in your time?”

    “What?” Revka said, and Foch read it – past the scales – as genuinely surprised by the question. He relaxed, but did his best not to show it. His guide to the time may have been picked by Daniels’, but wasn’t directly of his organization.

    “No,” Revka was continuing. “My timeline the Odyssey was years out still, undergoing debates – let alone all the other ships that came by. I managed to get future shock and didn’t even get to time travel.”

    “Well, then, a toast to the future,” Foch said, and then pulled out a third glass. “Since if I know his odd sense of timing…”

    “There’s evidence of temporal incursions in the 23rd century beyond the Romulan Neutral Zone among the Tal Shiar,” Daniel’s voice came from behind them. Foch winked at his fellow captain and began to pour.

    “Then pull up a chair, and give us what you can, and you can enjoy a drink. We’ll find some local expert on Romulan infilitration, and see what Temporal Defense can do for you,” Foch said with determination.

    *

    Author’s note: Took a little longer to write then I thought, but hey. Foch’s settling in as well as a time traveler can, and the lead-up to Ragnarok has begun.
    Fate - protects fools, small children, and ships named Enterprise Will Riker

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  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,134 Arc User
    edited October 2016
  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,134 Arc User
    Return of the Damocles - Prompt 1

    “And that’s it.” Kathryn pressed an icon on the wall display and the image of a Borg Complex blinked away to a black screen.

    Captain James Pennell raised his eyebrows and whistled as he rested back into the chair. At the table in front were a small stack of PADDs and he rubbed his eyes trying to remove the mental fatigue he felt. He still wore his 23rd Century-style red shirt. The Command delta on his chest and Captain rank stripes on the cuffs made him Kathryn’s equal in terms of Starfleet. But with their relative experience, James was like a child in comparison to her, even though they were the same age chronologically. Recovering, he reached for a PADD and tapped a few keys.

    “I know it’s a lot,” Kathryn said sympathetically.

    “You can say that again.” James ran fingers through short cut blond hair. He opened his bright eyes as a gesture he just heard more information than he could absorb.

    Kathryn smirked mischievously. “I know it’s a lot.”

    James looked to the other Captain with eyes only, a grin formed on his lips. Looking back to the PADD, he tapped a key and asked, “So, in your opinion, what is the greatest threat to the Federation now?”

    “Borg.” Her response was immediate.

    Looking confused, James started looking at other PADDs as Kathryn sat into a seat across from him. But, they do not have planet-killers like the Undine or – “

    “They are planet-killers, Captain,” Kathryn interrupted. “Each drone can do unspeakable damage on its own. If there is a literal virulent threat, it is the Borg.” Her words were crisp, clear and calm, her affect was stern. Resting her arms on the table, she laced her fingers and politely cleared her throat. Softening her voice, Kathryn continued. “In the grand scheme of things, the Borg is an old threat, relatively speaking. Yet, it’s their ability to quickly adapt that makes them so dangerous. You will form your own opinions from experience, no doubt.”

    James’ smile returned. “I take it your opinion is rare in Starfleet nowadays?”

    “Maybe,” Kathryn shrugged and returned the smile. “I’ve been involved in the more recent upheavals, from the increased Mirror Universe incursions to the Iconian War; serious events to be sure. Yet, there is something darkly sinister about the Borg I am not willing to brush aside just because Starfleet has formulated working strategies and tactics. What is new will become old eventually.”

    His smile was not diminished by Kathryn’s seriousness. “Has anyone told you the corners of your lips dip slightly when you talk about something you care deeply about?”

    Kathryn’s eyes widened and she blushed. “Oh. No, I don’t believe so.”

    Captain Pennell waved as if to push a gnat away. “Well, I’m getting hungry. Care for dinner?” He started to stand.

    Kathryn sat up a little straighter, surprised at the brisk invitation. “I … yes. Wait.” She opened her hands, palms outward wanting to stop time. “There is something more to convey about your crew.”

    James stopped and sat back down. “My crew?”

    “As you know, having the Damocles suddenly appear in the 25th century may cause temporal paradoxes that should be avoided.” Kathryn reached for a PADD that had rested at her hips through the briefing and activated the crew listing for Captain Pennell’s ship. She turned the PADD toward James, which he accepted. He reviewed the list as Kathryn spoke.

    “For the crew highlighted, they need to avoid contact with the persons or groups listed. Unfortunately, some are family members. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert. Suffice to say you and your crew’s timelines stopped back in the 23rd century, only to start again in the 25th century. Naturally, all relatives and associations continued to progress in their own courses and pathways.”

    James’ eyebrows met from concentration. “That sounds like a fancy way to say we’re not supposed to be here and now.”

    “From where I sit, you’re right.”

    “Thanks for being blunt.”

    Kathryn nodded solemnly. “Timelines will be rewritten in unknown ways if select members of your crew were to connect with certain entities. Not to labor the point; your timelines ended when the ship disappeared, but everyone else’s kept moving, branching out, interconnecting, and ending on their own natural paths. Now a new set of timelines suddenly appear and interrupting the natural courses of all the others. The knowledge and experience within this new set will disrupt extant timelines. Temporal Investigations have learned, the hard way, interruptions must be avoided as much as possible.”

    Captain Pennell whistled as he scrolled. “Got any tips?”

    “There are a few. Ultimately, the onus rests with you and your crew being very careful for the rest of your lives.”

    James put the PADD down and opened his arms over the whole pile, his smirk returned. “It looks like we’ll have a shorter life-span than Starfleet sold us back in the 23rd Century.”

    “Welcome to the 25th Century,” Kathryn replied with a smile.

    “So, dinner on your ship or mine?”
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