Literary Challenge #45 : Freestyle
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges! :cool:
Today we start the two-week run of the forty-fifth Literary Challenge: Freestyle
Writer's choice! Write a short story, Captain's Log entry, ETC., with a background story of your choice that is set in the Star Trek or STO universe.This is the writer's thread -- only entries should be made here.
The Discussion Thread can be found HERE.
We also have an Index of previous challenges HERE.
The rules may change from one challenge to another, but I'd like to remind everyone what the base rules are. These may grow as we move on, so also feel free to give feedback!
Open inquiry: Timeline and record of Marty McFly.
Background and current status are as follows:
Friday, September 6th: Martin Seamus "Marty" McFly is born in Hill Valley, California, he is the youngest of three children of George and Lorraine McFly. Dave being the eldest brother and Linda, his sister, is the middle child. Little is known about Marty's early life.
1985: Age 17
Marty gives slight impression that he was somewhat embarrassed by his family and therefore didn't spend much time at home, preferring to hang out with his best friend Dr. Emmett Lathrop "Doc" Brown, Jennifer or the guys in his musical band, The Pinheads.
Saturday, October 26th: Marty accidentally time travels to 1955 and almost jeopardized his very existence. Only with the help of his friend Doc and the knowledge of the future was he able to rectify this and in the process make his entire family's lives all the better upon his return to 1985.
Marty and Doc ended up time traveling on a few more occasions and it was thought that all the traveling would end with the destruction of the DeLorean, but the Doc was resourceful enough to make a time traveling machine out of a locomotive and eventually built another time machine out of another DeLorean, with this one having a spatial coordinate system along with the time circuits.
1993: Age 25
While attending Hill Valley College with his girlfriend Jennifer Jane Parker, he proposed to marry her, which she gladly accepts. The date was set for Saturday, June 27, 1994.
1994: Age 26
Saturday, June 27th: Marty and Jennifer get married at The Chapel of Love. Doc is the best man.
Sunday, June 28th: Marty and Jennifer have an argument during the honeymoon about the marriage taking place in The Chapel of Love. Jennifer kicks Marty out of the hotel room for the night, telling him to "think about our future".
In the very early hours of that morning, Marty seeks out Doc to assist him on making it up to Jennifer by getting a "galactic" gift from the past. Doc, still half asleep, agrees on this foolish adventure.
Marty sets the DeLorean's time/spatial coordinates to Ancient Greece. The duo decides to not to use the hover mode and use a remote highway in the Mojave Desert to achieve the 88 mph needed to time travel.
4:57 AM: Exactly at the same time that the DeLorean achieves 88 mph, the Landers Earthquake rumbles across the desert. This 7.3 earthquake is a right-lateral strike-slip event that ends up causing the time traveling DeLorean to split into two separate entities, unbeknownst to them. One DeLorean travels as expected to the correct time and space (so we are going to ignore that one), while the other travels to...
2404: Age 26
Stardate 81985.2: The DeLorean arrives on a Borg infested planet in the Delta Quadrant. The Borg takes immediate interest in this unorthodox method of time travel and assimilated Marty and Doc within moments of their arrival. Marty was re-designated as 19 of 85, Fourth Adjunct of Trimatrix 47. Doc's re-designation is unknown.
2406: Age 28
Stardate 83208.4: The Borg became aware of an unusual residue of Borg components located in Grid 562 within the Beta Quadrant and sends Scoutship 255 to investigate. Crew compliment: 19 of 85, Fourth Adjunct of Trimatrix 47 and 6 of 14, Fifth Adjunct of Trimatrix 63.
Stardate 83213.1: Scoutship 255 arrives at Grid 562. Sensors indicate remnants of Scoutship 174 in Sector 1428 on the planet. Scoutship 174 was lost in 2378 after the death of the Borg Queen during that time. Further investigation required.
Stardate 83213.2: 6 of 14 couples with an intact alcove of Scoutship 174 and downloads the data. Pathogen detected. Analyze. Pathogen confirmed. Neurolytic pathogen assimilated from Admiral Kathryn Janeway of the U.S.S. Voyager, NCC-74656. Protocol: Disengage from Hive. Data transmission ends.
With the link severed, 19 of 85 slowly began to become self-aware. To help speed up his memories he kept reminding himself, "Marty, you're name is Marty". As the days went by, he gained more of his former memories. With no signs of intelligent life on this planet, Marty used the subspace transmitter aboard Scoutship 255, he sent a general distress call on all frequencies. In the meantime, while surviving off of the local fauna and wildlife, he would remind himself of who he is and where he came from, knowing that he could never return to see his wife again, but vowed to find Doc and liberate him from the Borg as well.
Stardate 83229.7: The U.S.S. Hestia responds in short order and rescues Marty. This vessel, aptly named after the Greek virgin goddess, did indeed house him like a new born child to be received into the Starfleet family. Upon this vessel he befriended Chat, a quirky individual that reminded him of Doc.
2409: Age 31
Academy Year #3 Tactical Division:
Marty was an Ensign aboard the U.S.S. Monterey when the Borg invaded again. With Marty?s heroic actions saving the crew of the U.S.S Khitomer, Admiral Quinn promoted him to Lieutenant and gave him command of the Monterey since the bridge officers had been killed in combat with the Borg.
Within a small time frame Marty quickly rose in rank under various commands and is now a Rear Admiral on an extended classified mission and has multiple vessels under his command.
All further inquiries are to be directed to Admiral Quinn.
"Captain's Log, Stardate..Computer, what is the current stardate?"
"Stardate is 98704.57."
"Thank you, computer. The admiral of the fleet has granted me a special dispensary for a new command - a retrofitted Akira-class light carrier, registry NCC-93461-C. I have yet to choose a name for this ship,but the upcoming battles will surely enough give me some form of inspiration for the name. At present, her name is U.S.S. Highborn."
"Captain Aubrey, sir. You have been requested on the bridge; I believe that we have received an invitation to participate in a...war games exercise by Admiral Riker. It may be unwise to accept,considering that his personal flagship is--"
"Thank you, Four of Thirty...Helm, set a course to rendezvous with the Admiral's ship in the Briar Patch - let's just hope that he doesn't prepare the Riker Maneuver in anticipation."
"All senior staff, to the briefing room. We have a lot to discuss."
"Captain, we have received reports of..attacks on the Romulan Republic by Admiral Riker's ship - which is--"
"Plausible, sir. Although my people are unofficially aligned with the new-found Romulan Republic, we too have had our ships attacked by what at first appeared to be a Venture X-class dreadnought cruiser, which fits the description of Admiral Riker's ship. However, there have been reports of Tal Shiar drone ships in the area, most notably near the Azure Nebula."
"Thank you, Subcommander T'kek. Next time though, please allow my executive officer to finish speaking before you break-in."
"Yes, sir. My apologies, Commander Colclough. Afterwards Captain, I would go to Deflector Control - if you will allow it."
"Of course, Subcommader. What were you going to say, Commander?"
"Thank you, sir. I was saying that it is impossible for the admiral's ship to be in the space around the Azure Nebula - because the admiral's ship, the Titan, has been in spacedock for the past three months being refitted. It sustained heavy damage in it's recent incursion against the Klingon Empire."
"That is indeed troubling. Dismissed."
"I said, DISMISSED, Lt. Cmdr. Sebers. All of you, return to your stations."
0700 hours, the Azure Nebula, 13 days after the alleged attack on Romulan ships by the U.S.S.Titan.
A Dhelan-class destroyer regenerates after a battle that destroyed 90% of the Romulan Republic's armada, and left the destroyer with no crew or captain.
Vessel Eight of Fourteen, online. Regeneration systems, online. Weapons systems, active. Auxiliary systems, online. Selecting form. . .Vessel selected: U.S.S. Retribution, NCC-93461-B. Target acquired: U.S.S. Highborn, NCC-93461-C. Primary target for assimilation: Captain George Aubrey. Secondary target: Admiral William T. Riker.
Captain?s Personal Log, Stardate: 86472.57, Captain S?Talarus Tr?Khev USS PATHFINDER
It has been twenty-four hours since my posting to Captain of the Odyssey class tactical cruiser USS PATHFINDER, registry NCC-97010. The Borg boarding parties at Vega killed all of the senior crew, including Captain Taggert who was a dear friend of mine. He will be missed. The crew is quickly settling into the idea of such a young captain, but the transition has been much more difficult for me. Though I am already well acquainted with the people I have assigned to the bridge, I have doubts about my abilities. I am thankful for Kelsi Sarish. I hope her Prophets bless her, she does her best to bolster my confidence and I am grateful to have her beside me, both on the bridge and in life. The Pathfinder has been ordered to report to the Klingon Neutral Zone where we will be assigned to the 7th fleet 77th Taskforce, known as the Phoenix Corp, under the command of Admiral Raxatuza. I have not heard great things coming from the front, however I would rather face angry Klingons than deal with the Tal Shiar. I know I am still top on their list and Empress Sela would love nothing more than to have my head. I may be a traitor to the Empire, but I am still loyal to my people. These reports of a man named D?Tan sound promising and I look forward to the chance to meet with him and the newly formed Romulan Republic.
Captain's Log...Stardate...blast it.
Does it really matter?
No. not now. I will most likely feel differently later...but that what Supplemental Logs are for. Right now I don't care. I'll just try to convey what happened. To whomever is reviewing this, forgive the lapses in grammatical correctness, or established protocols. I'm still in shock.
I've just exited the Commandant's formal dining room at Starfleet Academy. It's not as I remembered it from graduation; the northeast quadrant of the room has been mirrored twice. The room has four doors, four replicators, four dining room tables.
And, for the last hour...four versions of me.
I couldn't prove they *were* me; some anomaly divided the room into the four parts, an anomaly that confounded all sensors... but one knows when it's them they're staring at in disbelief.
Version 2 of me appeared to be from the so called 'mirror universe', based on his uniform, and was about ten years younger. He was outraged at the appearance of my first officer, L'naa, throwing a dagger that bounced off the unseen barrier dividing the room. He was alone in the room, pacing back and forth like a wild beast. A fresh scar on his right arm was glowing crimson with infection.
Version 3 was older, with a terrible scar across his face. The distinctive edges of the scar...the way it didn't heal properly...well, I would guess that this version of me had a near fatal encounter with the Borg. I gasped when I saw his companion. R'nee...a classmate at the Academy who died in a shuttle accident. Tears began to fall from her eyes when she saw L'naa, and version 3 visibly sagged in his seat. Both were attired in what appeared to be Commodore's uniforms.
Version 4 was very old, and sat with an even older version of R'nee. He wore an Admiral's uniform, and she was in a summer dress...but...were those the markings of a Trill peeking through her long hair?
L'naa and I looked at each other. The shock of seeing R'nee was a punch to the soul. She was one of our closest friends at the Academy. Confusion? That doesn't begin to explain the state my mind was in. I was about to ask what was going on when a flash of light appeared in the center of the room.
Q smirked and said, "Ah...we're all finally present. Now how about you figure this out so I can go back to watching an absolutely fascinating nebula that's forming in the Gamma Quadrant?"
Version 4 stood up, straightened his jacket, and spoke quietly.
"No games, Q. Not again. I won't have them spend the next thirty years trying to figure this out. I'm going to make this brief." He turned to version 2, myself, and version 3 in turn, and explained.
"There was an event a number of years past...quite some time for me, not as much for you. Even the best at the DTI couldn't figure it out. Too many paradoxes. A reality where the Borg decimates the Alpha Quadrant. A reality where the Borg have been wiped out of existence. A reality where Vulcan has been destroyed. One where Romulus still exists, and is the center of a Pact that threatens the Federation. A reality where the Klingons and Federation are at war."
I think my jaw dropped further with each thought. A destroyed Vulcan? Romulus still intact? No Borg?
Version 4 continued. "A reality where some friends still live...and others where some friends have passed on."
Version 2 shouted, "Silence, old man!" He pointed to R'nee, screaming, "She is in a coma! And she," now pointing to L'naa, "ruined my life!"
Version 3 stood, trying to make peace. "Hold it...hold it. I know how you feel, son. I truly do."
Version 2 became even more outraged. "You know how I feel? How dare you claim to know how I feel?"
Version 3 looked away, sadly. He slid up a sleeve to show a faded scar on his right arm. "Sara and Arky's wedding."
The room became silent. It was on Sara and Arky's wedding day that the shuttle accident that claimed R'nee happened. And...I don't know...but I could kind of tell....in the other reality, that shuttle accident claimed L'naa instead of R'nee.
Version 4 motioned to the doorway...and an older version of L'naa entered. She spoke quietly. "I can imagine the pain you're feeling. In our reality we all survived the accident...but in each of your realities, you lost someone...and guilt or blame ate away like a cancer. You didn't, or couldn't move on. But it was nobody's fault. You must try to move on...before it's too late."
Version 2 shrieked, "It *IS* too late! My wife lies in sickbay in a coma! The wedding was last week! The accident was last week! It is too late!"
Version 4's R'nee spoke up. "What did you find at the accident, when you woke up. In your agonizer's pocket?"
Version 2 stalled in his rage. "A...a...small vial, with a red sphere inside."
Version 4's L'naa looked at me, and asked, "Find anything on an away mission last week?"
My jaw dropped even more. I found a similar vial containing a red sphere on Nukara Prime. I had tripped on a rock that appeared from out of nowhere.
Version 3 slumped down in his seat. He withdrew from a pocket a vial with a red sphere. "I...I...found this last week. In my garden." He smiled at his R'nee. "Our garden."
Version 4 smiled sadly, holding up a similar vial. "Under the pear tree. Right where I planted it."
Q smirked again. "Hmmph. Microscopic remnants of Red Matter. From Hobus? Or the Caeliar? Eh. Matters not. But what exactly do you intend to do with it? Your little experiment has done nothing but make a very interesting dining room."
Version 4 sat down. "Q, we've had our dealings over the years. I've figured out what Red Matter can do. That the event I spoke of earlier changed the rules of fixing paradoxes. I made sure that the four of us...the ones where changing the past could make a difference...each got a bit of Red Matter. And with all the paradoxes coexisting, it won't unravel the universe to go back and fix an accident, would it?"
It was Q's turn to sit down, thinking for a moment. "No. No, it won't. But there isn't enough Red Matter to fix all your problems. And no...I can't fix all your problems, either."
It was hard to find my voice. I was about to propose that Version 2 get it...after all, R'nee was his wife, and he had the longest to live. Well...if she didn't kill him first...it is the mirror universe, after all.
But Version 3 beat me to it. "Much as it hurts us...here." He tossed his vial to Q. "Give it to the pup. From my experiences with the mirror universe he won't appreciate the gesture...but I hate to see me in pain."
Version 4 likewise tossed his to Q. "Do it, Q. Save us the trouble for once, won't you?"
Q raised his eyebrow at me. L'naa grasped my hand, putting the vial of Red Matter into it. I didn't bother asking her why she was carrying it...I don't want to open yet another temporal can of worms. She held on to my hand...and I felt her telepathically letting go of the guilt she had about the day of the accident...and the sliver of blame she had put on me. Knowing that it was just an accident and not somebody's fault brought tears to my eyes, and I too felt blame and guilt start to slide away.
I tossed the vial to Q.
Version 2 was speechless as Q opened the vials. He bent over as if punched, then actually smiled. He stood straight, turned without a word and started to walk out of the room. As he did so, the scar on his arm disappeared. He paused at the doorway, turning around with a smirk that mimicked the one Q had, as if to say, "See you around, me."
Version 3 took R'nee's hand, got up, and silently walked out. I saw the pain in his eyes...my eyes....and hoped that he could find peace in his garden. Correction...their garden.
Version 4 stood at attention, and gave me a salute I didn't feel I deserved. He walked out his door with his L'naa & R'nee, who both gave warm smiles and a small wave goodbye. I couldn't figure out what they lost in their reality...but they weren't overjoyed at this resolution, so they too had to make a sacrifice...I just don't know what it was. Maybe it had something to do with the Symbiont Temporal Symposium that was proposed for funding after the war ended?
As they walked out, there was another flash of light. Q was nowhere to be seen.
The other sections of the room started to appear hazy...so I decided that it was a good time to leave. L'naa was still holding my hand, and we walked out together...hopefully to a future where we would find a way to let go the pain of the past.
I caught a reflection of myself in the replicator as we exited...and thought I saw yet another version of myself for a moment...one that looked worse than all the others, who looked like he lost everything in the universe.
I'm not sure, but I think I heard something like, "Don't go into the B'Tran Cluster..."
Commander's Log, Supplemental.
We come from a broken galaxy.
I am Terrana; half Romulan, half betazed. The old hatreds and racisms amongst the races of the Alpha and Beta Quadrant no longer exist. All of that changed when the Borg arrived. Thankfully when they came, my father was working underground with a Starfleet Intelligence mission. My Betazed father Jehm was working with a Tal Shiar operative named Talon, as well as my eventual mother T'ran; both Romulans. He received the distress call from when the Borg destroyed the Federation Fleet at Wolf 359; He was preparing to return when they got the last subspace transmission from Earth; The Enterprise had failed. Earth fell to the Borg.
The Federation was quickly swallowed, as what was left of Starfleet ran from the unstoppable force. The Borg quickly assimilated Utopia Planetia, and using material from the shattered fleet at Wolf 359 began constructing new vessels. With Starfleet's knowledge of the quadrant, they began their rampage. Nobody could stand to their force; the Star Empire, the Klingon Empire, the Cardassian Union, nobody. All that's left are a few small groups, here and there, trying their best to stay hidden from the might of the Borg. There are no longer Klingon groups, Romulans or Terrans, Vulcans or Andorians; it's all simply Non-Borg against Borg.
I was born a few years later in hiding; I suppose my parents wanted something to help them find even a bit of joy in this world. I am somewhat saddened, as I find this a pretty sad place for myself, and I had far from a "cheerful" childhood. But I digress, this is not the time to complain about the circumstances of my birth. Who knows, had this not all happened, I might not even have been created at all.
I find myself in a sad situation. My closest friend since childhood; a Reman named Avathgalad was assimilated. We managed to sever his connection to the Borg, but he's forever changed. He's still my friend; but he's but a shadow of his old self. And last week... Jehm and T'ran were killed when their ship got between the old Star Empire Bird of Prey I and Talon am on and the Borg Sphere chasing after us. Their sacrifice allowed my escape... but was it even worth it? Either of them is worth three of me.
The experiment is almost ready. Talon is eager to try it; but I feel pain whenever I think of going through with it. It was supposed to be the way all 5 of us could escape this blasted reality; now 2 and a half of us get to try. I suppose this is just life taking its toll on my mind. The plan is perfect... I just could not get it ready in time.
"Aren't you ready yet, Terrana?" Talon's voice echoed from the doorway, as Terrana pressed a button on the console to stop the log.
"As ready as we can be, Talon. Is the flux device ready?"
"Yep," Talon said as he stretched casually. "Attached to the singularity core. We activate it properly, and it should flux the singularity core sufficiently to open a quantum tear, one that if we fly the ship through, we?ll end up in another quantum reality. Just like the old Starfleet records of their Mirror Universe."
"Hopefully we'll find an existence not as... evil as that. That being said, I'll take that over this constant fear of the Borg," Terrana said with a sigh. "Will the ship make it?"
"That's the only worry, really. You and T'ran did your best to reinforce the plating of this old T'varo, but there's only so much we can prepare for. This has never been done, so the whole purpose may have been for nothing. We could get torn apart in the Rift," Talon said. "But, as you said, it's better than the alternative. That Sphere that's been trailing us this last week, we don't have the firepower to fight it."
"So possible death in the rift, or definite death... or worse... at the hands of the Borg. Very well," she said.
*On the Bridge*
Terrana, Talon, and Avathgalad sat upon the bridge. All ship functions had been re-routed to their stations; as they were the only ones on the ship. "Terrana," Avathgalad?s somewhat flat voice called out suddenly, "I'm detecting a Borg warp signature approaching. If we hurry, we should be able to get this done before they reach us."
"No sense waiting. Do it," Terrana said. Talon nodded, and hit the button.
The ship's singularity core began pulsing with an odd bluish light, as a beam shot out from the front of the ship. The rift began to appear, like a pulsing blue gravity well in space before them. "Take us through!" Terrana yelled, as Avathgalad hit the impulse engines to full. Reality began to bend around them as they passed through, as alarms went off across the ship as it was twisted by the energy coursing around it and through it.
Abruptly they were free, but the alarms continued to go off. "The core's about to blow," Talon said with a frown. "There's a planet close enough for us to beam down! We don't have time to debate, I'm beaming us down!" he called out, hands flying across the console.
They appeared on the surface just in time to see their ship explode in orbit in a green and blue explosion. "Well, there goes our wings..." Terrana said. "Where are we?" she asked, looking around.
Talon was looking at the plantlife. "It's not a Borg assimilated world, I know that much, and that's all part of me cares about." He was scanning with his tricorder. "According to this, I got a quick scan with the ship before we beamed down, this is a planet called Virinat. There's a Romulan population here, nothing big."
"Guess we try to pass off as refugees, eh?" Terrana said.
"At this point," Talon said, "Aside from Avathgalad, we certainly look ordinary enough. And hey; after what we've been through, I can use a rest."
Terrana smiled. "I suppose we could, couldn't we?"
And so Talon and Terrana, as well as their Liberated Borg Reman companion Avathgalad, were able to join the Virinat colony. Though glad the Borg didn?t own the galaxy in this reality, they were saddened to hear of the destruction of their home world. They made their lives as honest farmers and workers? until the Elachi and Tal Shiar came. And the rest is history.
The Choice by Fire.
Commander Gorvar of the IKS Dauntless
Stardate 98704.57, Qo'noS time is 1223
This might be my final log as Captain of the Dauntless.
We are currently en route to Qo'noS with our cargo bay filled to the burst with escape pods from a race we didn't know existed until 0600 this morning. The Romulan Republic has been warned and D'tan is sending several of their finest to help how we can free them.
I may have re-ignited a war which nearly destroyed our Empire a mere three decades ago. A war the Empire, the Federation and even the Romulans would've lost if it weren't for Captain Sisko and the Prophets. A war that will cost billions of lives in exchange for four hundred and fifty people who may or may not even wake up. Am I mad to have chosen this outcome? To have given the Dominion an excuse to invade the Alpha Quadrant once more?
I better start at the beginning. This morning at 0600, which seems a life time ago. We were patrolling close to the Bajor system, the Empire always has a few ships near the wormhole at all times to keep an eye on things. I was having my coffee, an beverage I was introduced to on Deep Space 9 during the war, when Thraask called in...
"Commander." The Gorn Science officer called." I'm picking up something on sensors."
Gorvar placed his mug down as he walked over to his friend. Gorvar and Thraask were of the same size, despite the fact both were from two different casts. Gorvar was born in the Warrior cast while Thraask was born in the worker cast. However Thraak was the offspring of a warrior male and a worker female, so in his own words he was the best of both worlds.
"What are you picking up, Thraask?" The Commander asked as he peered at the monitor.
"Weapon fire." He looked Gorvar in the eye. "Dominion signature."
Gorvar stared back at him before he glanced to his mate, the Klingon female who was her second in command. Krishna Of the House of Karlan. She was as a Klingon female should be. Strong, long black hair and a scar across the left side of her face and a small stump where a portion of her ear was bitten off by an drunken Gorn who had enough of her insults. The first of many mating scars she proudly wore. To make things fair she made quite a few scars herself across Gorvar's back that same night she lost her ear.
Like Gorvar she was a bit older than most of the crewmen on the bridge, but like her mate she also fought in the Dominion war and knew how dangerous one Jem'Hadar ship could be.
"K'Gar, can you cross reference that to our database?" Gorvar asked the Klingon male at tactical. K'Gar was the third and final member of the bridge crew who also served during the war although on different ships. He saw enough combat to know how Jem'Hadar weaponry looked like on his screen, even after three decades.
"I did, it's Jem'Hadar fire, Commander." K'Gar replied." They seem to be in combat."
"Federation?" Gorvar asked.
"No, the phaser frequency is different from a Federation vessel and it would be unwise to antagonize them this close to Bajor and DS9. The energy signature for defender's weapons are unknown to us." Krishna said. A sound went off."The defenders are sending a automated SoS signal. Running it through the universal translator." She frowned as she tried to read." We are Ikran, we flee from the Founders, we flee to be free. To those who love honour and freedom, help us." She looked at the Commander." Please, help us."
"That settles it. Helmsmen set a course to the battlefield. Full impulse." Gorvar took his place at his captain's chair in the middle of the bridge.
"Commander, isn't it best we leave this to the Federation? It is technically their space." One of the junior crewmen said. The Commander took a look at the bekk and smirked." There is a human proverb I like, the early bird catches the worm. And this worm my boy is large and juicy."
"Aye, Commander." The bekk said as he tried to hide the confusion on his face and continued his duties.
Krishna leaned in close to Gorvar." Stop confusing the pups with human sayings, this is a Klingon vessel."
"You prefer I quote Shakespeare then, my dear?" Gorvar chuckled quietly as his mate rolled her eyes and punched some keys on her console to hide her amusement.
The Dauntless sped toward the battle, cloaked of course, as it unfolded. Three Jem'Hadar vessels were engaged in a savage dogfight with several bizarre vessels. The defending ships were shaped like an X, using phasers which came from the outer points of each appendage. They were highly flexible despite them being the same size as their adversaries. However despite their agility, their phasers did not seem to penetrate through the Jem'Hadar' shields.
"Like a pack of Targs trying to nip at a giant's feet." K'Gar mused as the bridge saw the battle on the screen.
Thraask made a quick scan at the ships." Ah, this explains it. Those ships are unmanned. No organic mind could react fast enough or survive the constant pressure changes."
"Did those ships send the distress signal?" Gorvar asked.
"Not the ships, something else. Hold on Commander, let me show a little light." Thraask punched in a few keys as a small pod lit up red. The Gorn Science Officer took a quarter of the screen to zoom in on the pod so the battle could still be seen. The pod showed one life sign and after a quick scan, it came up as unknown.
"Unknown, commander." Thraask said." According to my scans It's been in stasis for a long, long time."
"Can we see it's face?" Gorvar asked.
Thraask nodded and showed the face of the alien on screen. It was an humanoid creature. Male. It had a red skin, white marks over his eyes and blue hair. Gorvar could not help but blink.
"Commander, isn't that-" The bekk tried to say but Gorvar already stood up and walked over to the screen.
"The same race as Captain Doutra we met on Khitomer?" Gorvar added." Yes it is."
"Captain, I'm detecting many more of these pods. Hundreds." Thraask said. He calculated. "Over Four hundred give or take."
"The Jem'Hadar are targeting these." K'Gar said." I detect debris of several pods and those drone ships."
"Those D'Blok!" Krishna cursed." There is no honour in fighting an enemy that does not fight back themselves."
Gorvar's mind went back to the same dark space he always went to when he saw escape pods. The small, dark room floating in the coldness of space. Plate as thick as a thumb which separate life from death. There are no shields, no weapons, no monitors. Death could arrive in the form of a phaser blast, or a meteor or a piece of debris. Worst of all the person inside cant see it coming. Do nothing to defend themselves. Why and how he survived as others on the same ship didn't Gorvar did not know. If it wasn't for the Bird of Prey that rescued him from the Hegemony vessel he would've been vaporized long ago. He swore that day on his honour he would protect those who could not protect themselves in that situation. But that was a promise easily made. If he would save these people, it meant fighting the Dominion. And if they were provoked, the entire Alpha quadrant would be once more soaked into war and with the Romulans and Cardassians severely crippled the chances of holding back let alone fend off a invasion. He did not owe these people anything, he could just warp away and ignored this happened. And yet...
"Can we beam these pods aboard?" Gorvar asked. The bridge crew fell silent until the Gorn turned around." Well?"
"We can, but it will take five minutes to-" Thraask tried to say but got interrupted by his Commander.
"Good, also try to send an message to those Ikrian ships that we are their allies and are beaming their people aboard. Our shields will be down for those five minutes and we need every second we can until we can raise them again. Krishna tell the pilots of the Scorpion fighters to suit up. It's time we test those Romulan fighters out. K'Gan I want weapons standing by."
"Commander, if we engage the Jem'Hadar we would break the Treaty." The Bekk pointed out.
Gorvar could not help but recall a line from Shakespeare." Cry Havoc and let loose, the dogs of war." He turned around to Krishna and gave her a nod, which she returned and relayed his orders without question.
The Dauntless decloaked as it started to transport the surviving escape pods inside it's cargo bay. The Jem'Hadar stopped firing as they regrouped, like a pack of wolves after a bear came to claim their prey. The few remaining X- ships rallied near the Dauntless as the Scorpion fighters lined up around the K't'inga-class battle cruiser.
"The Ikrian ships are lining up to defend us. Seems our message got through."
"We beamed all those surviving Ikrians aboard commander." Thraask said." Shields coming back up."
"Commander, we are being hailed." K'Gar said." Three guesses who."
"One will do. On screen." Gorvar said as the monitor switched on. A vorta stood unphased as she seemed to look the gorn down.
"I am Kaileen, spokeswoman of the Founders. Whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?" She asked.
"I am Commander Gorvar of the IKS Dauntless." He replied politely.
"An genuine pleasure to meet you, Commander. You do seem to be a long way from home."
"As are you." he retorted.
She gave a smile as sharp as any dagger." So we are. However I'm sadly going to have to ask you to hand over those escape pods to us at once. Those people are enemies of the Dominion."
" I have a hard time believing people in escape pods who cannot return fire are an enemy to anyone." Gorvar replied." I am sorry but the Ikrians are staying with us."
"Do not be so hasty, Commander Gorvar." Kaileen replied." You do not know how devilish these creatures are. The Ikrians nearly destroyed the Dominion after our little....scuffle we had thirty years ago weakened us greatly. We have to wipe them out before they can try again."
"That reaction cost you the war, Kaileen." He said as he walked around the bridge." And I met one before." Gorvar retorted." She helped save a lot of lives. Romulan, Human and Klingon. I owe her enough to save at least a few of her people from your brand of justice. The Ikrians are staying and unless you want to break the Treaty I suggest you leave, before I grow angry."
"We outnumber you two to one, Commander. What possible threat can you pose us?" the Vorta smirked." You have one minute to reconsider that I'm sadly forced to upon fire. Choose wisely Commander." With a smile she ended the call.
"Orders sir?" K'gan asked.
Gorvar walked back to his chair and sat down. Krishna noticed he was holding the ends of his chair hard.He glared at the six Jem'Hadar ships in front of him." baH!" he shouted. "Blow, wind. come, wrack! At least we'll die with harness on our back!"
"Fire all weapons!" Kirshna answered the captain's call." Show them our answer!"
The Dauntless' reply came in the form of an unleashed beast as phasers and torpedos came forth and pounded the Dominion vessels hard. The Scorpion fighters charged forward and engaged the enemy ships as they dodged their fire. The X-ships joined the fray with their new allies and this time seemed to be doing more damage to them. In the end, the Dauntless' ferocity and tenacity proved to be to much for the Dominion ships as the remaining three retreated. But the damage was also large on the Klingon side. The remaining X-ships were destroyed as well as half the Scorpion Squadron and many warriors on the Dauntless itself left on the barge to Sto'Vo'Kor. However this fuelled the surviving crew even more and chased the surviving ships down.
The former two managed to jump away to warp but the later got shot down for it's efforts by the Dauntless.
"Qapla!" the crew cheered at this victory and sang a victory song. Only one kept his reserve, the one who feared the consequences of his actions.
In total fourty-eight warriors died, but somehow I fear they are the first to journey to Sto'Vo'Kor because of my decision. Thraask tried to open a pod early but decided against it since opening it would've meant death for the Ikran. I contacted command who in turn contacted the Republic. Turns out Captain Doutra also found a pod a small while ago. She as well as several Romulan scientists are called in. Maybe now the pieces are coming together so we might finish this puzzle.
Regardless the chancellor did not seem pleased with my decision. The Federation, the Borg, the Breen and even the Tal Shiar are breathing down our necks. The last thing we need is the Dominion. Already spies report numerous ships are jumping through the wormhole from the Beta quadrant and are spotted throughout the Alpha quadrant.
I swore an oath to myself, to leave those people to die at the hands of the Jem'Hadar meant leaving my honour behind. I had to do it, there was no other choice. That is what I keep telling myself anyways.
Gorvar rubbed his eyes as he heard his room's door slide open. He recognized his mate's scent and heard her footsteps. She did not say anything. She did not call him a hero or a fool. She did not throw things against the wall or kissed him deeply. She just placed her hand on his shoulder and held him close. She was Krishna, his mate for the good times and the bad. His rock, his heart, his pillar of strength. And the only one on the ship whom could take away the mask and love him for who he was. Gorvar placed his hand on hers and wished this moment would last forever.
Risa, the hottest destination for all federation-aligned systems to go to, a literal vacation planet specially terra-formed for beachgoers to enjoy the perfect acclimated weather patterns, and have a restful vacation. This made it a perfect rest stop from the stress filled events that have occurred, with the Dominion occupation of DS9, the Borg Assimilating Species 8472, the recent temporal incursions, as well as 'Mirror Universe' incursions into the 'Prime Universe', this tropical paradise seemed to be the best place to take advantage of our precious, unused vacation time. This is what led to seeing a Jem'Hadar with a classic earth 'rubber ducky' class floatation device, a sulking Breen and his equally sulking Orion companion having an embarrassing mix-up with my young chief engineer, a young romulan flirting with the enemy, my curious Borg officer and his perfect sandcastle, and my being stuck with my lovely bridge officer Zinuzee while my doppelganger found himself a new love in Lexis. Let's just say it was an amazing week at the beach.
Gar'Atadar: Six Days till vacation
Gregs Son'aire had just finished drinking his morning cup of the delicious and rich earth drink known as Hot Chocolate, when he heard a popping sound coming from outside his sleeping quarters. He peeked outside and was surprised at what he saw. At first he was confused, then once taking a second look at his friend's perplexing predicament, tried his best not to laugh at Gar'Atadar, his poor Jem'Hadar security officer, who was feebly squirming out of his now ruined flotation device. "Having trouble there Gar," asked Gregs. The officer turned, shocked at seeing his superior officer a few feet from him, then turned away and continued to strip the once inflated, rubber duck floaty from around his waste. "Do you need help?" Gregs asked, unsure why his friend was not responding to him. The Jem'Hadar stood stoically for a moment, before turning to Gregs and sighing.
"Yes, sir, after multiple attempts at finding the proper rubber polymer to withstand my tough skin, I've failed twelve times now." he reported to me with a grimace. Really it was hard to tell his emotion, being very monotonous by his nature and experience, Gregs assumed it was grimace. "Do you know f any solutions to my predicament sir?" he asked me.
He pondered this, thinking over the available options, and with a snap of his fingers and a figurative light bulb moment, Gregs thought of a solution. "I have just what you need." he said, walking over to the replicator he began to type in a series of complex and intricate code The replicator chimed in her infamous voice, requesting a voice authorization. "Gregs Son'aire-Gamma-Sigma-Sixty-Six, command code override b" he stated to the replicator, "Access specialized rubber polymer J, fit to last twelve requests and synthesize." The result was a black rubber duck inner tube, one with an experimental rubber that was thought of for this very odd, but possible scenario. Gar tried it on and found that it stretched and did not pop.
"Thank you captain!" said Gar with a slight smile, and he went to turn around towards the holodecks.
"Gar, if I could be so bold...what made you want to make this inner tube?" he continued, "I mean we are six days away from Risa still?" The Jem'Hadar turned around, and looked down at his humongous feet.
"Well sir... I cannot swim, and Ms. Chassidy has offered to teach me to swim." he said in sighing in defeat, knowing he could not escape his persistent captain.
"You can't swim? Why not?" Gregs asked. The Jem'Hadar looked paler then normal, then sighed, deciding to confess the truth to his higher ranking officer and loyal friend.
"As Jem'Hadar I am not meant for battle in water...my previous incarnations have met with more then a few watery...deaths," he said uncomfortably before continuing, "I am unique in some sense among my kind, being able to remember echoes of my past lives, though I'd kept it a secret even during the wars, truthfully it is one such echo that led me to search your crew out." He had said something personal, and Gregs understood this, the feelings of embarrassment and unease rolling off of his friend.
"Thank you for sharing such a personal detail about yourself Gar, I appreciate it," he said, "And trust me, you'll get a hang of swimming no problem, I just know it!" He said this with complete confidence in his friend, greatly relieving the Jem'Hadar, before they parted their ways for their morning routines.
My Rommie's Biography.
Cal'Shiclar joined the Romulan Defense Forces to help further her schooling as a scientist and was about to be honorably discharged following the decommission of the aging warbird Jolan'Hu.
The destruction of Romulus changed these plans leaving her little choice but to stay on board as a member of the crew. When the Jolan'Hu was destroyed near the beta/delta quadrant border in a random encounter with a race calling themselves the Tak Tak, she was the only survivor.
To this day, for the most part she refuses to talk about those days and the events that led to her ship's destruction, but will say, to the bafflement of her comrades, that she will never put her hands on her hips again!
Faith of the Heart
USS Robert April
When I was 13 a Gorn bought my father's debts and sent him to die in what would later turn out to be one of the first border clashes between the Hegemony and the Klingon Empire. Big news in retrospect - at the time all I noticed was that I was alone for the first time. That wasn't easy. It's the motherless girls who get sold into slavery; scent glands cut, forcibly addicted to k-green and the other drugs that keep them happy and obedient. But I was lucky. My father had made sure I had enough education to go into technical training rather than being sold off as a, let's call it courtesan, and he had enough connections with other bully-boys in the Syndicate that I had no problem getting my first posting on a real starship.
I only met my mother once. Well, once after I was weaned, anyway. Yeah, she was old-fashioned that way. Most Orion women with money use artificial birthing chambers if they're going to have a kid when they're working, but my mother was something else. When I was eight, my dad was working security for this big, thick-necked Cardassian named Gulak. Gulak was an ex-glinn who had defected to the Syndicate when the Dominion had showed up; real smarmy type, you know the kind of Cardassian I mean. Paid Dad well, though, and let him have a room big enough for his daughter to grow up in. I hear Hassan the Undying personally gutted him when he took over his operation. But that's a different story.
Anyway, I was in my usual place when Dad was working - in our shared quarters in the hold of Gulak's landed ship, watching some old holo of the first Earth-Romulan War, when suddenly the curtain is pulled back and there's this lady looking at me - tall, green skin, green hair, and something familiar about her eyes. She was more dressed than most Orion women I'd seen, in this really nice red tunic covered in dust, and she offered her hand to me. "Hello, Jinni. My name is Kaldana. Will you come with me?"
I pulled my hand back and said hell no: my dad taught me better than that, especially on a planet like this one where we're way outside any borders and not even the Syndicate is that important, but a minute later Dad himself pops up. Sweating, looking nervous, but standing behind this woman like she belongs there. "It's okay, Jinni, she's just going to show you where she works." Dad was as vulnerable as any other Orion male to pheremones, but one thing he could never get swayed from was me. So I pulled my way out of my bunk and followed the two of them, heading out into what looks like this big crater.
Kaldana had a lot of questions for me as we went - what's the most efficient form of warp core? What languages do I speak? How is my education progressing? I did my best to answer, shooting a look at Dad when I thought she wasn't looking, but his eyes didn't tell me anything. I don't see Gulak; I find out later he's passed out in my mother's bedchamber, but I do start to see what's going on. The people on this planet are digging this hole! It's some kind of archeological thing, and from how people act around Kaldana she's in charge.
Eventually she leads us down into this big room, big as the engine room in Gulak's ship, a buried vault that's lined with gold and corroded copper. I was pretty sheltered back then but I knew the signs of looting when I saw it - vaults cracked open or smashed to pieces, marks on the walls where jewels were cut right out of the stone, you know the kind. It looks like it happened a long time ago. "Do you know who this is, Jinni?" She pointed and I look up and there's a statue there - a really creepy one!
It looks like an Orion woman but it's tall as a Gorn with red staring eyes and big teeth, and she's pulling a crown (you know the kind I mean, the big tall ones) out of some place that looks really damn uncomfortable to me and I hadn't even seen childbirth yet. In her other hand she's got this huge old sword, the kind I've seen in the collections of some very rich, very old Orions.
I stumbled at this point, and I saw Kaldana's eyes sharpen as she looked at me, and I fumbled through an explanation. "It's, uh, the Dark Mother-Queen?" I'd seen the pictures in some of my dad's automated school lessons - the Dark Mother-Queen, one of the ancient Orion gods. And I'm right, but it's not good enough for Kaldana. We stand there for at least an hour, my dad and I, as she lectures to us: the Dark Mother-Queen is the divine ruler and mistress of the gods, the destroyer and ruler who has the power to make life from her womb and thus must, and should, rule all. I can see her sweating as she talks, her pheremones in the air, and I can read it well enough to know how well she believes it.
And then it's done. My dad tells me to go back to the ship and that he'll see me soon, and I look back as I'm hiking up these high bronze steps just in time to see the two of them embrace. That didn't freak me out as much as it would some human kid; that's not really a _thing_ in our society. But something about Kaldana herself got me thinking, all the way back until my dad and I were in space again.
"Why don't we worship the Dark Mother-Queen anymore?" I asked him not long after we left Kaldana's planet, and he looks at me carefully before he puts down his security files.
"What do you mean, baby?"
"Well, she's pretty much the perfect Orion goddess, and she was supposed to be the creator of all our people. Why did we stop believing that?"
And then my dad sort of shrugs, and he tells me the truth. The old gods are gone because they didn't matter to us anymore. We didn't kill our gods like the Klingons or turn them into museum pieces like the humans. We didn't make our own code like the Ferengi did, either. The Orion people abandoned the old gods because believing in things was just slowing down our people's Great Game with the Ferengi, the Nausicaans, and the other hunting species of space. Belief is a cage; one that can't hold Orions down. That's why we'll do anything to survive.
That's why mothers can abandon their children. That's why we can buy and sell each other, force a whole galaxy into slavery, because having a reason not to do that would take too much time. Because we are what we are.
I never saw my mother again. I eventually found Kaldana's World on a map not long after I joined the Robert April's crew - turns out the Tholians bombed the hell out of the place not long afterwards, and nobody ever got any straight answers as to why. Mysteries and ghosts; ghosts and mysteries.
Maybe I don't have something to believe in. But I have a ship, and a crew, and friends who want to help save the galaxy and free my people from the chains we've wrapped around each other's necks in the name of protecting our own freedom.
That's enough. It will have to be.
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