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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 146
# 23
03-21-2013, 08:22 PM
Part 1 - Dishonoring the Dead
Based on LC 13, Facility 4208
February 2411

Hiding a classified research laboratory in the Badlands was a stupid idea. Hiding it in such an unstable region that only small science vessels with special shielding could access it was an invitation for a disaster. Today was that disaster.

Heather Eldredge and Yair Hillel were returning to the Odyssey from Facility 4208 when the Klingon vessel de-cloaked. Normally they wouldn't be much of a threat - Klingon technology hadn't kept the pace with the Federation for the last decade or so - but here, the smallest of weapons could be formidable. Odyssey was on the verge of falling apart due to the stresses caused by gravitic anomalies, so a lucky disruptor shot here or there could easily kill the entire crew.

Out of the three runabouts, Hathaway had the strongest shields. That made her the default choice for the trip to and from Facility 4208. Unfortunately, Odyssey's engineering staff was in the middle of upgrading the weapons when Eldredge and Hillel departed. The forward phaser array was still standard issue. A state-of-the-art chroniton mine launcher facing aft was the only noticeable improvement.

The Ki'tang Bird of Prey had started the fight with a few lucky shots. Odyssey's deflector array was a charred crater, and the underside of the saucer had several hull breaches. Eldredge knew that Hathaway's actions could significantly increase the chances of Odyssey limping back to Deep Space Nine. She pushed her brown hair behind her ear and faced Hillel. "Deploy mines and tractor them behind us. We need to manually evade their fire while we approach. Then we'll beam out and ram them with the runabout and the mines."

"That works for me. Mines deployed. Continuing to fire phasers."

Hathaway
shook violently. "How about starting to overload the warp core? Slowly, of course."

Hillel smiled. "Yes ma'am."

Plasma funnels mysteriously grew and arched towards Hathaway. One funnel spiked a mine, causing a detonation a little too close to the hull. The turns suddenly felt heavier as the cabin lights flickered. None of this caused Eldredge to lose focus.

Hillel's control panel stopped functioning. "Firing phasers under these circumstances probably isn't too wise. What do you recommend?"

Eldredge paused for a moment and turned to face Hillel. "Tell Emily that I enjoyed her fourth birthday party last week. Tell Isabella that she was always a great friend and confidante."

"What? You can't possibly..." Hillel's view of the runabout was quickly replaced with a view of Transporter Room 1 aboard Odyssey. He stepped off of the transporter pad and sat down on the steps. He had a terrible feeling about what Eldredge was going to do.

---

Eldredge found it easier to focus once she was alone. I should have said goodbye, she thought. Sensors indicated that the Klingons didn't have stable shielding. They were probably on a suicide mission. If her plan didn't work out, she'd end up on one too.

The mines were held by the shuttle's tractor beam. It would take about thirty seconds for her to reach the Klingon vessel. She debated between striking the bridge and main engineering. The bridge would be more symbolic, so she set her focus there.

"Hathaway, commence immediate record backup with Odyssey. First officer's log, supplemental. I am a few seconds away from immobilizing an attacking Klingon vessel. Mom, Dad and Arthur, I love you. I hope I have made you proud. End recording."

The transporter was set to beam her to Odyssey five seconds before impact or when the shield strength fell below twenty percent. Twenty, nineteen, eighteen...no! I hate these plasma funnels. Nine, eight...

---

Captain Everitt Carter couldn't believe his eyes. "She's going to ram them! Fire everything we have at the Klingons. Maybe she will break off if we can paralyze them first."

Kerna'tharan, the Jem'Hadar at the tactical station, responded. "We have been firing for seven minutes. It will take approximately two more minutes to destroy the Klingon vessel if we can survive their attack. But Commander Eldredge's actions may win the battle."

Carter stood up. "I can't believe she is doing this..." Hathaway impacted with the Klingon vessel, followed by the chroniton mines. The resulting explosion destroyed two-thirds of the vessel.

"Carter to Transporter Room 1. Do we have Eldredge?"

The reply was clearly hesitant. "She started transport but the pattern wasn't fully sent. Her power levels must be fluctuating wildly. I lost her for a moment there and am waiting to reacquire a signal."

"There is no need. She is dead."

Odyssey's brig was filled to capacity that night.

---

The next morning

The door chime interrupted Carter's thoughts. He quickly wiped his cheeks and told the guest to enter.

Second officer T'Panna entered the doorway and stopped two feet inside the ready room. "Lieutenant Commander T'Panna reporting as ordered, sir."

Carter rubbed his bald forehead and sat up straight. "I know who you are." He sighed. "Alright, that didn't come across well. Please have a seat."

She sat down. Her perfect posture made Carter want to scream.

"I am promoting you to Commander and making you the first officer. I wish that I didn't have to...what I mean to say is that I wish that Heather was still alive. But since she is not, you deserve her post. You can remain head science officer if you would like. There's no shame in giving that to someone else though."

"Thank you for the promotion Captain. Will that be all?"

Carter stood up. "Yes. Dismissed."

T'Panna reached the threshold of the door and then stopped. "I am one quarter human, and I am familiar with pain and loss. I am not a cold, stoic Vulcan like you assume that I am.

"You are clearly grieving. Why don't you take a day or two off? I believe that I can handle operations while we make repairs and berth at Deep Space Nine."

Carter was speechless. T'Panna's facial reaction almost hinted at emotions. It took a few seconds to process that information. "If you don't mind, I think I will do that. Thank you."

T'Panna left without another word.

---

Two days later

Carter dropped the padd on his desk. Then he pounded it with his fist. Oh how I loathe journalists! The admiralty would turn a blind eye to the ridiculous claims in this article, but would the public? Would his wife?
Odyssey Damaged in Badlands; Foul Play Suspected

By Anton Po, B'Hala Tribune

The luna-class U.S.S. Odyssey limped back to Deep Space Nine yesterday with eighteen freshly-replicated caskets carrying the remains of crew killed in unusual circumstances. Federation logs indicate that Odyssey entered the Badlands to test a new adaptive deflector array. Photographs taken upon Odyssey's return to Bajoran space show what appear to be craters from weapons impact where the prototype deflector should have been. A few other parts of the ship had new hull panels. Sources indicate that a Danube-class runabout was listed as damaged during the mission.

Bajoran and Cardassian officials deny any activity in the Badlands for the past eight days. One obvious question remains - who fired on Odyssey? A credible source hinted at the possibility of a disgruntled officer stealing the runabout and firing on Odyssey. When asked about this possibility, Captain Everitt Carter's reply was terse: "Go to hell." First officer Heather Eldredge was unavailable for comment.
Carter picked up the padd and sent the article to Counselor ch'Raul. He added a note: Sensational writing like this dishonors the dead.

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

Part 2 - A New Name
Loosely based on LC 26, Senior Officers
September 2411


Moving back to alpha shift certainly had its advantages for Amanda Carpenter. The obvious one was more time with her boyfriend, chief engineer Miguel Jarvis. The move also gave her more time to see some old friends, like Ensign Melinda Atkins. This morning Carpenter, Jarvis and Atkins were eating breakfast in the cafeteria, gossiping about the same thing on everyone's mind.

"Days like today make me feel like democracy is fundamentally flawed," Jarvis commented.

Carpenter's reply was instantaneous. "You don't feel the excitement in the air? What's wrong with you? Did you not get enough sleep last night?"

Jarvis saw Atkins squirm in her seat, so he decided against commenting on last night's activities. "I would think that after two rounds of voting, there would be at least one reasonable choice left. I might sit this one out."

"I am voting for Korto." Carptenter's smile faded, revealing a somber mood. The Bajoran city had been devastated by a terrorist attack days after Miles O'Brien's funeral. Preliminary intelligence placed the blame on the Breen. With Starfleet stretched so thin, it was unlikely that the Breen would pay for their crime.

---

Alistair Simeon and Glotz rarely saw eye to eye, but on this issue they were in complete agreement. "Kilimanjaro is the perfect name," Glotz agreed. "The name sounds Klingon, but I can live with that. The other choices are nonsense."

They reached the turbolift entrance and waited. "Hopefully my promotional video will swing enough votes to our side. If not, everyone onboard will have to go see ch'Raul for counseling. Who wants to live on a starship named after a city that got blown up? We get into fights more than a Luna class ship should, so we don't need to be reminded of death every single day."

---

Yair Hillel hadn't adjusted to working beta shift. Almost all of his friends were working when he was sitting in his quarters, trying to find something to do. His new position - acting captain for beta shift - didn't have nearly as many responsibilities as being head of security. But Captain Carter insisted that the change wasn't a demotion. That was an obvious lie.

Hillel felt punished for his recent behaviors. Who could blame him for feeling uncertain when the gods of an alien species accosted him with a vision? He was a bit absent-minded when the Borg fiasco occurred, but things worked out well...for most people. Lieutenant Thyssr's prosthetic arm and foot would be a permanent testament to Hillel's temporary lapse in judgment. Forget to tell one Andorian about safety protocols and you get demoted...

Thankfully today was the final round of voting. He was confident that his proposal would win. That would bring some much-needed luck to his life.

---

ch'Raul had a hard time restraining a laugh. Lieutenant Simeon probably didn't mean to be entertaining, but he most certainly was. "Starfleet Command may steal our ship's name from us, but we are still formidable. That's why Kilimanjaro is the perfect name for our beloved vessel. We may be number two in the eyes of the admiralty, but we are a force to be reckoned with. I almost lost two fingers to frostbite when I climbed that mountain, and its majesty has never left me. Now I want our vessel to have the mountain's name.

"Don't be a wimp. Give our ship a name that is worthy of a champion. Vote Kilimanjaro."

The video ended. Ch'Raul put the padd down and gave in to his laugh. There was no way that Simeon would be triumphant today - unless the crew wasted their vote because of his ridiculous survival gear and frozen mustache in the video. Rumor had it that the crusted ice covering Simeon's face was real.

---

Odyssey sent the results to Captain Carter's desk terminal within a second of the voting deadline. He wondered if he would come to regret this decision. Then he looked at the results and smiled.

T'Panna was standing behind him and rubbing his shoulders. "That is an inappropriate name for our vessel," she noted. "Will you stand behind your decision to let the crew rename the vessel?"

"Absolutely. Thanks for the massage but you should probably step off to the side. It's time to brief the crew on the results." He pressed a button to activate the shipwide comm and desk camera.

"All hands, this is Captain Carter. The results are in. Kilimanjaro, eighteen percent. Korto, thirty-three percent. Reaper, fifty-one percent. At 0800 hours tomorrow, this ship will be renamed the U.S.S. Reaper.

"I hope that you have enjoyed this exercise. It's a shame that the fleet is stealing this vessel's name, giving it to the largest ship ever created, and not offering to let us staff that vessel. But, we will continue to do our best. As captain of the Reaper, I thank you for your service. Enjoy your evening."

A few minutes later, Hillel came to relieve Carter and start beta shift. Carter shook Hillel's hand. "Congratulations on your campaign to name the vessel Reaper. I will leave her in your competent hands."

"Thank you Captain. I hope you find the name to your liking."

"It's fine with me. I hate to ask, but are you still disappointed about the personnel change?"

Hillel hesitated before replying. "Kerna'tharan makes an excellent security chief. I miss the job, but I can see why you moved me. I have to keep telling myself that you still trust me though."

"I trust you with the life of each and every crew member as soon as soon as I leave this deck. More importantly, I see plenty of potential for your future. This assignment is easier for you, but a lot of captains look for this kind of experience when they select first officers."

"Thank you sir."

"Now if you will excuse me, T'Panna and I have a dinner date scheduled. Enjoy your shift Yair."

"Yes sir. Enjoy your evening."

T'Panna smiled. "To do otherwise would be illogical."

Last edited by superhombre777; 03-22-2013 at 07:24 PM.