Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 148
# 31
08-08-2013, 09:01 AM
The Message

To: Eris Shalvon, R.R.W. Decius,

Please report to my office at your earliest convenience.

Signed: Kererek, admiral commanding Romulan Republic Forces.


Republic command, New Romulus

I had wanted a little extra time to recollect my thoughts about the message so I had beamed down to the great terrace that overlooked the sea.

With the Decius now in standard orbit of New Romulus after its transwarp jump from Risa, I felt I had a little time to reexamine everything that had happened. No matter how I looked at it, I didn't find anything I had done wrong. The updated intelligence packet that had been attached to the message didn't have anything particularly nasty nor worrying in it either so I figured it wouldn't be a special mission of any kind either. My fear and loathing of Risa was now a distant memory anyway.

A few fellow officers were in hushed debate about something or another. They moved away when they noticed me. What was this? There were a few others on the terrace that apparently also succeeded in finding another place they needed to be. What was going on here?

A glance at the chronometer showed me it was almost time. At a calm and relaxed but purposeful pace I headed for the office. On my way there I noticed it again. Staff officers and the like, staring at me. I could only wonder what the admiral had in store for me now.

The corridor that leads to the Admiral's office is empty.

When I reached the office edge, I knocked and came to rigid attention.

Kererek doesn't respond.

Instead his back is turned to me and he's staring out the window into the distance. On his desk I can see a holo display of a Scimitar Dreadnought.

I frown. Its not much to see visually, but somehow I know he spots it.

"Come on in, Eris." His tone wasn't all that jovial as usual, instead there was a certain 'command' type steel in there.

As I've taken 5 steps into the office I hear a hum. As I turn around I can see a force field has been erected near the office entry. That field has been set to an opaque quality, no one can see in now and, I'm pretty sure no one will be able to hear the conversation we're about to have either.

"Sit down!" His voice still had that command edge to it.

Obediently I sat down in one of the chairs in front of his desk. Again, the silence reigns supreme. I still wonder about what's going on. I've never seen the admiral like this. My eyes slowly drift towards the hologram of the Scimitar that's on his desk. Below it, I can see a name R.R.W. Sienov.

"If I could have your attention."

My eyes snap back to the admiral.

"I find myself in a difficult situation, Eris." he starts to explain.

"Difficult situation??" repeat, not quite understanding yet what's going on. I do however get the feeling that something happened while I was away. But what?

The admiral continued on in the meantime "In 47 days the first general election for a new senate and a representative body will be held."

I was literally slack jawed! Elections? Had we progressed that far with the help of both the Federation and the Klingons?

Admiral Kererek seemed to guess my thought. "Yes, we have indeed come so far. D'Tan feels elections would be signal to the galaxy at large that we're not the Romulans of the Empire, but that we're something...new."

I began to wonder why my presence had been requested and, what all the secrecy was about. Only now did I see the admiral seem to be troubled by what was asked of him and, what he was going to ask me to do.

"But not all of our people see it that way."

I managed to control my emotions like a Vulcan would. I did not move at all and I was pretty damn sure there was nothing visible on my face that would portray any kind of emotion. But I dreaded the idea of taking military action against the Republic and its inhabitants in such a fashion.

The admiral now handed me a padd, and on that padd was a picture.

"That's Havreek." the image changed to an assortment of personal data that revealed Havreek to be a trader. In turn the scheme and silhouette of a ship followed. I recognized the lines of a D'deridex but there were some interesting looking differences. " And that's his ship, the Hajellas. Some less then regular but invasive scanning has shown some rather interesting modifications to the design. Although this is not irregular perse, Havreek has also been campaigning rather forcefully at times. Also, there have been reports of Nausican mercenaries attacking two of the candidates that were in direct opposition to him."

Now I did frown visually "What happened to them?"

"One attack was successful, the other attack was moderately effective." Translation: one dead candidate, one retired candidate. A somewhat effective way of winning an election.

"Security forces managed to capture a couple of those mercenaries alive, and believe it or not, they talked. And what they told us raised concerns about a certain candidate not playing fair.

No kidding, I thought as the admiral gave me the rest of the mission briefing.

To counteract anything Havreek would come up with, I would receive command of one of the newest and most advanced ships of the fleet, a dreadnought, the R.R.W. Sienov. On election day I would have to be in synchronous orbit over the capital and watch for anything out of the ordinary, whatever that would be.

So basically the stage was set for the Romulan republic its first real triumph. Or, its biggest disaster. And I had 47 days to prepare for either.

After those 47 days I was ready along with the ship and her crew, and the intelligence was wrong, somewhat.

In the Capital, the elections went off without a hitch. Nothing out of the ordinary happened.

Space was another matter.

The election results were expected somewhere during the night. That's when the trouble began.

After the Elachi attack, security on and over New Romulus had been 'upgraded' to put it mildly. One of those upgrades was a simplified version of a tachyon detection grid. The grid had a few redundancies. One of which was the ability to report tampering.

The nerve shattering wail that alerted us to the fact that the tachyon grid was being tampered with was gone not 5 seconds later as I stepped on to the bridge from my ready room.

“Report!”

In concordance with the protocol, the ship had been brought to yellow alert while the staff on the bridge tried to figure out what was going on.

“Sir, the tachyon grid is broadcasting a tampering alert. As of yet we are unable to discern the origin.” Veril, Satra and Hiven were all hovering near the cyberwarfare terminal and didn't bother to look up. I didn't mind, they had bigger and better things to do.

I sat down in the command seat, called up a ship status display and waited. The ship was ready, but was it ready for what was out there?

“Got the bastard!” Hiven's cry forced any and all other troubled thoughts from my mind.

“ Sitrep!”

This time Satra did turn around. “ Sir, as of fifteen minutes ago, the tachyon detection grid that surrounds New Romulus has been tampered with. The grid has however not gone into fail safe as directed and responded by giving an approximate location of the source.”

“ Updating tactical now.” Tovan was on the ball.

“Tactical on the main screen.” I needed the bigger picture and, I needed to clear my thinking. If the intel was correct....

In the meantime, the tactical map was updated.

The hacker signal source was close enough to the planet its north pole to make going through that pole a viable escape option. However, I had plans for that.

“Tactical! target the area around the pole with tachyon buoys. Synch them with the grid. Firing patterns are Alpha 6, Beta 3 and Omega 6. Helm, once the probes have reached position put us way above the pole on the Z axis, looking down at the planet.”

The plan was simple. I would literally deploy a cloud of tachyon probes around the signal and thus create a web that wouldn't allow an unnoticed escape. With the next phase the homing torpedoes would be fired. After that...well... I didn't doubt the outcome.
About 3 minutes later we were in position.

That's when it began.

“Picking up multiple signals on Alpha 6.”

I didn't have to give the order at all. The situation appeared on the tactical screen. Two buoys on the opposite end of the first pattern, lit up like Christmas trees.

“Signal on Beta 3!”

Beta was the other pattern. Multiple signals at the same time as well. I knew what was going here a little too well. Were the roles reversed I would have done the same thing myself. But with us now looking down at the planet with an arsenal of weapons that could wreak untold havoc, I wanted, no, I needed to be sure.

“Launch the fighters, have them check out all the signals. They are not to engage, only to report contacts.”

With the ship at yellow alert it didn't take all that long for the fighters to launch. With the data we downloaded to them from the bridge, it took them even less time to get to the coordinates.

Less then thirty seconds later they had surrounded two shuttles at Alpha 6 that meekly surrendered almost immediately. I suspected as much.

A second flight, I chided myself a little bit for thinking in Earth terms, was now on course for the Beta 3 buoys. I held my breath in anticipation. If Beta 3 was what I think it was, I would probably be sacrificing those pilots, and for what?

No, that could have and would have been the old way, and that didn't apply here. This, had to be done differently, and it would be.

I looked at Tovan “ Have the fighters hold short of weapons range on Beta 3. And ready a spread of 4 homing torpedoes, low yield.”

I smiled as I noticed the fighters position on the tactical screen. They were holding position about halfway between the buoys and us. Apparently there was someone within the pilot ranks that felt the same way as I did.

“ Torpedoes ready.” Tovan soon reported.

“ Go to red alert.” The alert siren wailed briefly across the bridge. The only thing that changed here was the arrival of four armed centurions, meant to protect the bridge against boarders. The shields would be up soon, and power would flow to the weapons grid and then we would be really ready.

“ Incoming plasma torpedoes!” That's nice, a predictable reaction yet knowing that you waited to long at the same time.

“ Target the incoming torpedoes with cannons and turrets! Fire as she bears. Then fire those homing torpedoes at Beta 3!” If someone was outside to look, he or she would have noticed the front end of the ship was beginning to glow.

I got the first couple of surprises there and then. First in line, the accuracy of all the cannons and turrets that were fitted on the bow and stern of the Dreadnought. They demolished the three incoming plasma torpedoes within seconds. The other surprise was the agility of the ship. Although we hadn't exactly turned on a dime, we were soon accelerating away from our last position.

“ Impact!” Since my ship didn't shake I was pretty sure Tovan had meant there had been an impact near Beta 3.

“ Hard about!!! Target the explosion and fire as she bears. Hold off on torpedo fire though.” I wanted Havreek alive. I didn't care too much about his ship though.

In space, the ships bow and wings would light up again as a torrent of cannon and beam weapon fire would be unleashed. The streams and bolts of plasma would wing their way through space, impact on the D'deridex shields and wittle them away. Then, they would find their way through the hull, chewing up vital systems and spots and people perhaps too. All in all, the target of that barrage would be a big mess.

And she was.

The ship I had been briefed about was now no longer a ship but a listing wreck. One of the two nacelles was dark. The other was flashing intermittent, signaling power trouble. Parts had been shattered and were drifting away from her when we got closer I realized that some of those parts weren't metallurgic at all.

“ Comms, Hail them! Tell them to stand down and surrender.”

There was no response. I hadn't quite figured there would be. “ Tovan, boarding parties. I want Havreek alive. Everybody else that gets in your way is expendable.” Tovan nodded and left the bridge. Yet another waiting game began in this way.

But it ended a lot sooner then I expected. Although the Sienov boarding parties suffered injuries, the outcome of this battle was never in doubt. When Tovan and his troops reached the bridge on the modified D'Deridex they did indeed find Havreek alive, barely. An emergency beamout to the medbay was required.

After the entire D'Deridex had been checked out, it was deemed beyond salvage by an engineering team. Although we really couldn't afford to loose a ship like that, in the end it would have cost far more to repair. We were left with no choice.

New Romulus command called when the light of the explosion had died out. It was the admiral himself.

“I take it it's all over?”

“It's all over.” I confirmed. Then the admiral got some of the details of the short battle we had. I finished up with reporting that we had Havreek in our lifestation and as soon as he could be moved we would gladly transport him over. Until then, the admiral would just have to wait. He agreed, a little too reluctant too my liking.

As Kemerek signed off I wondered, was this the beginning of something, or an end.........

Last edited by rextorvan36; 08-16-2013 at 09:36 AM.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 996
# 32
08-08-2013, 03:50 PM
The Commander surveyed the bridge of the Mogai warbird and allowed himself a faint smile of satisfaction. Everything was in its place; the metal of the deck gleamed spotlessly, the crewmen were dutiful at their stations... it was all in order. His ship was a credit to the Empire. As it should be, he reflected, since his mission was of some importance.

"Sir!" A crewman spoke up, urgently, from a science station. "I have a contact - decloaking on our port quarter."

"One of ours?" The Commander frowned.

"An adapted battlecruiser, sir."

"Signal them that we do not require assistance." The Commander's frown deepened. What could bring one of those ships out here? Surely the Tal Shiar would not send one to monitor him - how could his loyalty be in question?

"I recommend caution, sir," a centurion spoke up. "The Republic is known to have captured some of the adapted vessels -"

The Commander directed a quelling glare at his subordinate. "You are not to refer to D'Tan's traitors as 'the Republic'," he ordered. "To do so imputes some spurious air of legitimacy to -"

"Sir!" someone shouted. "They're locking weapons!"

And at that moment, something hit the bridge - and the lights flickered, the artificial gravity wavered sickeningly, and the display screens scrambled and filled themselves with unintelligible mush.

From the forward tines of the adapted battlecruiser, ribbons of disruptor light reached out, tearing at the Mogai's screens, ripping into its port wing and drawing out scatterings of debris that flared and burned in the gusts of escaping atmosphere.

The Commander was still shouting orders when the first of the plasma torpedoes hit.

---

Subcommander Aitra turned away from the RRW Messalina's tactical console. "Target destroyed, sir," he reported.

T'laihhae nodded. "Very good. Follow their projected course. One-half impulse, and restore the cloak."

Not for the first time, Aitra wished he knew what was going on in his commanding officer's head. The massive, ominous form of the Messalina swung smoothly about, passed the cooling fragments of what had been an Imperial warship, and faded from view. On the bridge, the light took on that faintly disquieting, ethereal look that it had when the cloaking system engaged.

"If our information is correct," T'laihhae said, "and so far it has proven to be... then we will reach the Mogai's intended destination in some nine hours." Her dark eyes turned, first to Aitra, then to the other officers on the bridge. "Get some rest," she ordered them. "I fully intend to... we should be fresh, ready for whatever we find there." She stood, the dark folds of her command insignia falling behind her. Often, she dressed informally, as did most of the crew - today, though, she was in full Republic dress uniform, black with gold highlights, an almost excessively militaristic look. Aitra had no idea what that said about her mood.

He got up from the tac console, nodding to the Reman officer who took his place. He would rest, he thought to himself... later. For now, he needed to talk to someone.

---

He found Retar down in the bowels of the ship, working on one of the glowing conduits that snaked along the electroplasma system. Aitra decided not to distract her. If the supposedly tamed Borg-derived nanites in those conduits ever got loose... death might be the best thing to happen, then. So he waited, patiently, while the lanky engineer finished her work.

When she saw him, she smiled. Retar was tall, and thin, with cheekbones too broad and a chin too narrow for any conventional beauty... but her face was pleasant enough, for all that, and the smile made it light up. "Aitra! Good to see you." He felt himself smiling in response.

He squatted down on the deck beside her. "I was wondering if I could talk to you."

"Always." Retar brushed an errant lock of auburn hair away from her eyes. "What's up?"

Aitra sighed. "I'm just... I wish I knew more about what was going on. Retar, you've been with Admiral T'laihhae longer than I have - do you know how she thinks?"

"Ah." Retar's smile slipped. "I guess not, not really. I mean, yeah, I've been with her crew for a while, but I'm not one of her real 'in' group - I don't know her from Crateris or Virinat, say -"

"Yes," Aitra said, thoughtfully, "Tovan Khev, Satra, the others - they're sort of, well, a clique all to themselves, aren't they?"

"Oh, Tovan's not so bad," said Retar, "when you get a couple of ales down him, at least. But, to be honest, I'm not sure even they know everything about the Admiral. Tovan knows something bad happened to her, before she came to Virinat - but I don't think she talks about it, even to him. She's a very private sort of person." She looked away from him. "Of course, a lot of us have stuff we don't want to talk about -"

Aitra nodded. "I suppose so."

"You were at Hfihar, weren't you? Before you joined us?"

"I was." He shuddered. "You remember that Starfleet officer we had to ferry around a little while back? Shohl?"

"The scary Andorian? Yeah."

"She was at Hfihar, too. Sometimes you're glad to see a scary Andorian.... She was one of the Fed officers who helped when the salt vampires came. I don't think she'd remember -" He stopped, took a deep breath, went on. "I was hiding in one of the buildings, and I felt something - pulling at me. Inside my head. It was like being in a dream, looking at myself from the outside... seeing myself go to the door, watching my own hand reach out for the handle, and I could see the thing waiting outside for me, and I couldn't stop myself.... And then that scary Andorian came out of nowhere with a plasma gun in her hands, and all of a sudden I could smell the burning hair and hear the thing scream, and I could move again. So I hid, until they gave the all-clear and got us moving to the evacuation point."

He took another breath. "The things were boiling out of the ground, still, and the Feds and the Klingons, both, were fighting like demons, holding them off. I was so tired, so scared, I just wanted to lie down and die... but a big Klingon took a moment out of the fight, told me he wouldn't let me die without honour... and went back to killing the damn things. So I kept moving. I felt so damn helpless, though. I was determined, afterwards... never to be that helpless again." He became aware that Retar's hand was resting on his shoulder. "Sorry. I don't talk about this, much."

"Maybe you should." Her green eyes were kind, concerned.

"Well," he said. "Maybe there's something like that in the Admiral's past... and I wouldn't blame her for not wanting to talk about it. But with her being so - so guarded - all the time -"

"You don't know what she's going to do," Retar said, "and you don't like it, because it makes you feel helpless."

"Damn, you're good," he said, and she laughed.

"Come on," she said, and stood. "Let's get a bite to eat in the mess, and think about something more cheerful for a while."

He stood up too. "What about you, though?" he asked. "What don't you talk about?"

Her eyes clouded, briefly. "Story for another time, maybe."

---

In the Messalina's conference room, a hologram rotated slowly in the central display. "It's a converted satellite repair station," T'laihhae explained to the ring of officers grouped around the conference table.

"Converted to what?" Retar asked. T'laihhae favoured her with a brief flash of smile.

"We suspect it's being used as a drop-off point," she said. "Exchanges of smuggled technology. The Mogai was supposed to be picking up whatever... the Tal Shiar's contacts... had left for them. Now, we're going to take it instead."

"Do we know what it is?" asked the Reman science officer, Resluk.

"No," said T'laihhae. "But, whatever it is, if a single Mogai warbird could handle it, I'm sure we can. We will be careful when we go in, though. The station is powered down, and showing no life signs. Our guess is that the Mogai would have transmitted some sort of recognition signal to wake up its automated systems. In the absence of that recognition signal... well, we need to proceed carefully. We'll insert a small team from one of the Tiercel shuttles, while the Messalina remains nearby, under cloak."

"You'll need to send a team with a wide range of skills, then," Aitra said.

"Are you volunteering?" T'laihhae asked, dryly.

"If you need me," Aitra replied. "You need some tac officers, certainly."

"And you're one of the best I have," said T'laihhae. "So that's settled, then. Science: Satra, Resluk, your expertise should cover most things. Engineering... Retar, you can come and back me up, there."

You're going yourself? Aitra bit down on the question before asking it aloud. Of course she was. Whatever else she was, T'laihhae was always one to lead from the front.

"That will do for an initial reconnaissance, at least." T'laihhae stood. "Let's get moving."

---

The transporter room on the station was cold, and dark, only a few emergency lights showing.

"This must be like home for you," Retar joked to Resluk. The Reman grunted.

Aitra looked warily around, his plasma-disruptor rifle at the ready. The station wasn't Romulan-designed... he didn't recognize the architecture, in fact. Not Federation, not Klingon... simply alien. Bleak, functional, and very dark. He felt his tactical instincts awakening. Darkness, shadows, exposed structural members and conduits - all too many hiding places for a potential enemy.

No life signs, he reminded himself.

"Power outputs are minimal," Retar said, consulting her tricorder. "Just enough to maintain life support... but why?"

"Standard policy, for some cultures," T'laihhae commented. "A refuge - somewhere to make for, if your ship is in distress. A kind thought. And one often subverted, by smugglers and the like." She went to the door of the transporter room. It remained closed. "No automated systems...." On the wall, nearby, was a manual wheel. She used it to crank the door open. Behind it, the mouths of two stairways gaped, lightlessly. "Satra, with me; we go up. You three, go on down. If we find nothing, we regroup here in thirty minutes." Her smile flashed for a fraction of a second. "I don't need to tell you to be careful."

Please, Admiral, thought Aitra, take your own advice. He led the way down the stairway, gun ready, scanning the shadows for any threats. The gravity settings felt odd, light. He heard the clang of boots on the metal stairs, heard T'laihhae and Satra's footsteps fading in the distance. If anyone was nearby, they'd have heard them... but there were no life signs....

They reached the foot of the stairs, and stared down a corridor whose far end was lost in blackness. "See anything?" Retar asked Resluk.

"Not much," the Reman answered. "I think it opens up, about fifty, sixty metres further ahead."

Retar nodded. "Figures. I think it's a loading bay of some kind. I don't know who built this place, though - their idea of efficient design seems way off." She gave a short laugh. "Of course, when you look at our ship, I guess maybe we shouldn't judge!"

"Let's keep moving," Aitra said. "But watch out for booby traps... tripwires, deadfalls, the good old-fashioned stuff."

"Never goes out of style," Retar agreed. They started to advance down the corridor.

They got perhaps thirty metres further down when all the lights went out. Retar swore audibly. Aitra blinked. Darkness everywhere - even the status lights on his weapon were gone. He fumbled for his wrist, touched his communicator. Nothing.

"Damping field," Retar said. "We must have triggered something... or the others did. Damn."

"Resluk?" Aitra asked.

"Even Reman eyes need something to go on," the scientist said. For a moment, Aitra's imagination dwelt on the possibilities of being lost in the dark. "What about the artificial gravity?" he asked.

"Maybe whoever did this isolated the life support systems," Retar answered. There were sounds of fumbling coming from her direction, Aitra realized. Then, there was a sound like something small breaking -

- and, suddenly, there was light again; a faint yellow-green glow. "Ow!" said Resluk.

"Too bright?" Aitra could see Retar's grin by the light in her hand. "Chemical light pencil," she said, holding up the glowing rod. "I always carry a few, in case I need to work in dark spaces. Looks like they came in handy."

Resluk grunted. Aitra nodded approval - but the light seemed very small, and it made the darkness around them all the more oppressive. "What now?" he asked.

"Find the generator for the damping field," said Retar, "and turn it off."

"How do we do that?" asked Resluk. "We don't have any instruments, any tools -"

"Turn it off? The old-fashioned way - hit it till it stops working."

"Oh," said Aitra, "spoken like a true engineer."

Retar laughed. "As for finding it in the first place," she said, "let's see if I can't trace some power runs. There are conduits all around us - if I'm right, they should link to something in that open area ahead."

"If you're right," said Resluk.

"Do you have a better idea?"

"To be honest," said the Reman, "no. So let's move. And point that thing away from my eyes, will you?"

Aitra slung his useless gun on his shoulder. His right hand went to his left forearm, where he kept his knife sheathed.

---

Shadows danced and reeled as Retar set the glowing tube down on top of a dead console. Aitra glanced around, nervously. Stay calm, he told himself. If you hear anything, it can only be us. Or possibly Satra and the Admiral. Nothing to be afraid of.

The open area was large, and cluttered with machinery. In the middle of it stood ranks of dome-topped cylinders, somewhat larger than man-sized, ranked six across and - he couldn't see how many deep. They didn't look like they were part of the station; the markings on them looked vaguely familiar... but he couldn't make them out, without more light. And Retar needed the light, if she was to trace the circuits. The engineer had one panel of the console open, and was staring into it, frowning. Resluk hovered over her, his eyes narrowed. Nothing for me to do but keep watch, Aitra thought.

Then he saw the face.

Somewhere out in the dark, at the edge of the little circle of light cast by Retar's glow-tube... the face appeared. It was a woman's face, symmetrical, beautiful in a cold, austere way, but with something odd and dead about the eyes. In the instant Aitra saw it, it vanished.

He yelled, wordlessly. Because one word came to his mind, unbidden: aehallh. Monster-ghost. No life signs. Whatever it is... it isn't alive.

"What is it?" Resluk asked.

Aitra found his voice. "There's somebody out there!" Or something, he didn't add.

"No," said Retar, "can't be. No way anyone could transport in, not with this damping field running -"

But Resluk was turning around, scanning the area with his nocturnal eyes. "He's right," he said. "There's someone there, all right - looks like a woman -"

He moved, swiftly, towards the edge of the light. Aitra followed, drawing the knife from its forearm sheath.

The figure stepped out from behind a stanchion. It looked like a woman, clad in a form-fitting black body suit - no wonder, Aitra realized, he'd only caught sight of the face. It stepped towards Resluk, and it swung its right arm up, from the waist, the fingers of its right hand held taut and flat like a blade. The yellow-green light glinted on metal eyes.

There was a sickening squelching sound as the android drove its arm hard into Resluk's body. The Reman screamed, once. The android pulled its arm free with a wet ripping noise, and liquid spattered onto the deck. Resluk fell, and lay very still.

Aitra moved, fast. The android's arm came up for another killing blow, hand still green and dripping with Reman blood. Aitra's martial arts training took over; he twisted so that the blow glanced off his side, and at the same time lashed out with the knife. The android moved too fast; the blow, aimed at its throat, struck its forehead as it ducked away. False skin parted under the blade's edge, revealing metal and blinking diodes beneath. Aitra dodged the next lethal blow, struck out again - and found his hand caught in the thing's grip. The hand that held him looked slender, feminine, delicate... but its strength was that of a machine.

"Why do you resist?" The android's voice was a musical, breathy purr. "You must know I will destroy you."

Then its grip slackened, and it sagged and fell, limply, to the deck, and Retar was standing over it, breathing heavily.

After a moment, Aitra found his voice. "Thanks," he said, unsteadily. "How'd you switch it off?"

Retar held up her hand; there was a black, gleaming disc in it. "Figured it had to be wearing something that counteracted the damping field. This was on its neck, didn't look like it fitted... so I pulled it off."

Aitra swallowed hard. What if you'd been wrong? "Does that mean you can get some of your gear to work?"

Retar frowned. "Maybe, if I can figure this thing out. Resluk - might have helped -"

Aitra stooped over the Reman scientist. Beyond help now. He said a silent prayer to the Elements for Resluk's spirit.

Then he heard footsteps, and was instantly at the alert. Female faces - but this time he knew them: T'laihhae and Satra. T'laihhae looked down at Resluk, and Aitra heard her swear under her breath. "We heard the scream," she said.

"Do you know what's going on here?" Aitra asked.

"I'm beginning to think so." T'laihhae had a glow-tube in her hand, too - of course, she'd be prepared, Aitra thought. She walked over to the dome-topped cylinders. "We found the station's control room," she said, "and what looked like a message." She examined the markings on one cylinder, the markings Aitra had thought looked familiar.

"Yes," she said, after a moment. "Stolen Federation androids. Four dozen of them, the latest of their experimental HSM series. It stands for 'Hybrid Soong-Mudd'," she explained. "Two sources of Fed android technology."

"Androids?" Aitra stared at her blankly. "Why do the Tal Shiar want androids?"

"Oh, that makes perfect sense. The Tal Shiar are allied with the Elachi, and the Elachi's... assimilation programme... is biological in nature. So it won't work on androids." T'laihhae shook her head. "The Tal Shiar doesn't ally with anyone - unless they've worked out, in advance, some way to betray them."

"So what do we do? Destroy them?"

"Tempting." T'laihhae's gaze flickered towards the Reman's body. "But the Federation would be... happier... if they were returned. Even artificial beings have rights, in the Federation. And we need to keep our allies happy."

"Even this one?" Aitra kicked the inert shape of Resluk's killer.

"We'll have to see about that. First thing, though, must be to get this damping field down and make contact with the ship. Retar, are you tracing the power runs?"

Retar nodded. "I think I have something here."

"Good." T'laihhae looked around. She pointed towards what looked like a pile of metal strips beside one of the cylinders. "Android restraints. Get those onto - her - before we restore the power. They must have left one on guard duty while the others were powered down for delivery."

"One question," Aitra said. "Who are they? Who stole Federation androids, and how did we find out about this in time to stop it?"

But T'laihhae merely smiled and shook her head. Let me guess, Aitra thought, a story for another time.

---

Messalina sped across space at full transwarp speed, away from the burning remnants of the transfer station: Resluk's funeral pyre.

The door to the bridge hissed open. Retar's face was grim as she stepped inside. "I've got someone here with - something she wants to say," she said. She turned to the doorway. "Come on in."

The android stepped onto the bridge. Its feet were free, but its hands were still shackled by the metal bars Aitra had fitted. Someone had cut away the portion of its skin that he'd damaged, so that a segment of its forehead now showed as bright metal, bright as its eyes. "You are Vice Admiral T'laihhae i-Kanai tr'Aellih," it said. "I have a serial number, but I do not use it socially. My name is Ruby."

T'laihhae looked steadily at the android, and said nothing. Aitra's gaze flicked rapidly between the two of them.

"Your engineer will confirm," said the android, "that I was operating under the influence of a behavioural inhibitor during our recent encounter."

T'laihhae turned to Retar, one eyebrow raised in an interrogative arch. "I think it's telling the truth," Retar said. She held up the disc she'd taken from the android. "This thing contains a lot of equipment - not just countermeasures for the damping field. There's some sort of synthetic neural interface, and a memory package with a whole lot of programming information. I think it's compatible with her - its - internal systems -"

"It is," said the android. "Unfortunately." It stalked across the bridge to where Aitra sat at the tactical console. "I regret my attack on you," it said. "I regret - deeply regret - the death of your companion. I was not responsible for my own actions, but I was the instrument of his death, and for that I am sorry." Aitra could not read the expression on the mechanical face.

But, then, he thought, I can't read some Romulan faces, either.

"Federation androids don't, generally, act the way you did," T'laihhae said. The android turned to face her.

"We have free will. I would not have done... what I did... of my own free will. And I am disposed to be... displeased... with those who took my will away from me."

"Understandable," said T'laihhae.

"This being the case," the android went on, "I wish to offer you my services. They are not without value; I was constructed to a high specification. I offer you myself, to help defeat those who would have enslaved me... and in recompense for the life I took." She turned to look at Aitra. "I realize that, emotionally, some of you may find it difficult to accept this offer."

Aitra found his voice. "We all have our reasons for being here," he said. And both Retar and T'laihhae glanced at him sharply.

"Quite," said T'laihhae in dry tones. "Some of us... have done worse things. Very well. I accept your offer. Aitra, get those restraints off her."

Aitra rose. "What about the Federation?" he said. "Won't they be unhappy?"

"The Feds respect people's choices," said T'laihhae. "As do we." She took the inhibitor device from Retar, held it before the android's eyes. "We do not use methods like this. The Federation will be happy enough to have forty-seven of their androids returned to them."

Aitra turned his attention to the android's restraints. Well, welcome aboard, "Ruby", he thought to himself. But my guess is, if anyone asks you how you got here... you'll tell them it's a story for another time.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 4,210
# 33
08-08-2013, 05:07 PM
-Author's Note: This entry features Adult Scenarios. if you feel you would be offended by such things, please click away now...


RISIAN ECHOES

As she stepped into the chill of the night from the warmth of the Turkish bath, Captain Amanda Palmer involuntarily shivered.

"I guess I'm more used to a starship's environmental systems," she admitted, as the stunning brunette beside her slipped an arm round her, and briskly rubbed her upper arm.

"Don't worry, my hotel is just down the street," Renata said, before dropping her hand to rest on Palmer's hip, pulling her closer and kissing her passionately.

Pressing against the slender woman, Palmer wrapped her fingers through her wavy hair as their tongues twisted against each other, oblivious to the equally disinterested pedestrians who walked passed them, as they leaned against the plasticrete wall of the bathhouse, their hands gliding over the curves of each others bodies. Feeling Renata's hands squeezing her buttocks, Palmer moaned deep in her throat, unconsciously grinding her hips forward in response, before breaking the kiss.

"Maybe we should wait till we get inside," she gasped, breathing heavily.

Resting her forehead on Palmer's, Renata stared at her from beneath slender, arching eyebrows and smiled wickedly.

"I hope you're not shy... I think you'll like my -- collection," she said, before standing back and taking Palmer by the hand, guiding her along the street.

The lights and holographic signs of Nuvia created a neon twilight, but moments later, they entered a brightly lit foyer, which reminded Palmer of the palace of Versailles.

"Are there any messages?" Renata asked a handsome, dark-haired Human male who looked up from behind the reception desk.

"No, Miss Weyland," he replied. "Will there be anything else?"

"No, thank you, Louis," Renata said as she lead Palmer to an elevator. "Have a good evening."

"Thank you, Miss Weyland. You too," he replied, genuine sincerity in his voice, before returning his attention to a monitor beneath the counter, as the frosted glass doors of the elevator opened with a whisper.

"A very personal service," Palmer observed, as Renata tabbed a glossy black panel, holding her finger in place until a green icon surrounded it.

"I like my guests to feel welcome," she replied as the elevator began to rise, gentle chimes sounding every few seconds as they passed each floor.

"Your -- guests?"

Renata smiled.

"Yes, this is my hotel," she explained.

Palmer raised an eyebrow in surprise as the doors sighed open, revealing an austere, almost clinical penthouse.

"Oh..."

An illuminated floor of polished white plastex uplit a low white ceiling of the same glossy substance, a stark contrast to the angular black stone walls with diagonal striations. Silver-edged black furniture was spread around, and at the end of the room, a balcony with its own swimming pool, offered a stunning view of downtown Nuvia.

"The bedroom's this way," Renata said, reaching for Palmer's hand, and leading her from the elevator "Let's get to know each other a little better."

Palmer followed Renata down a narrow corridor with the same black rock walls, and white plastex ceiling and floor. A handleless white door opened at their approach, into a minimalistic bedroom, where moulded plastex walls displayed various ornaments and keepsakes, as recessed uplights created a sultry glow.

Pulling the Starfleet officer to her, Renata kissed her ravenously while her fingers peeled open her uniform jacket. Sliding it from her shoulders, she pulled off Palmer's singlet, before kissing her neck.

Palmer gasped as she felt Renata's slender fingers slipping beneath the back of her uniform pants, gliding over her buttocks, as they collapsed onto the massive bed. Hooking her fingers beneath the hem of Renata's summer dress, Palmer eased it over her head, her eyes drinking in her toned body, and she lowered her mouth to her breasts, as she shimmied out of her uniform pants. Laying against Renata, she slid a thigh between her legs, as their lips met again, and they hungrily pulled themselves against each other.

***

As they walked through the bustling crowd at the street race, Claire felt her hair ruffle and move. Looking down, she saw Lieutenant Todd Mitchell's hand was firmly in hers, and then she realised: That is what wind feels like...

"Are you okay?" Mitchell asked, raising his voice slightly to be heard over the roar of revving engines.

Claire nodded and smiled.

"I'm fine," she replied, glancing around at the various modified ground skimmers and speeder bikes. The glows from their anti-grav systems and engine strata illuminated the night as they sped past the vehicles parked on either side of the boulevard.

"Oh wow!" Mitchell exclaimed, suddenly pulling Claire to the left as he stared transfixed at a low-slung red ground-skimmer.

As he approached the Ferraudi, he nodded to the Human male standing next to it, who had raven hair, and wore what had to be a reproduction of a World War II RAF officer's greatcoat.

"Pretty tasty, huh?" said the dark-haired man.

"She's a beauty," Mitchell agreed approvingly, casting an eye over the engine-bay beneath the raised hood. "Looks like you've modified the field coils a fair bit."

"Gets another thirty kph out of the repulsers," the owner replied proudly. "I'm Jack."

"I'm Todd -- This is Claire," Mitchell said, stooping to peer into the skimmer's interior.

"Sounds like you know your stuff," Jack observed, as Mitchell straightened. "Do you race?"

Mitchell shook his head.

"Not in a long time," he replied, "Work kinda got in the way, although I try and make the pod-racing on Malastaire when I can."

"Pity," Jack admitted. "Would have been interesting to run a few miles, see how you handle yourself."

"Maybe another time," Mitchell replied lightly with a grin, feeling a pull on his arm, and allowing Claire to lead him away.

"I'm often about," Jack called after them. "Catch you later."

"What's wrong?" Mitchell asked when they were a distance away.

"Nothing, I just didn't want to be standing around like these other cruise bunnies while you go racing," Claire replied.

"You think I can't handle a skimmer?"

Claire wrapped both arms around Mitchell's and hugged against him.

"I've seen how you fly, Lieutenant," she said, resting her head on his shoulder as they continued to walk through the crowd. "Skimmers aren't equipped with ablative generators..."

***

T'Reya looked up from her PADD as the shuttle touched down with a light thump. Deactivating the device, she stowed it in her holdall, before rising to her feet, and heading toward the ramp a the rear of the shuttle.

Stepping onto the deck of the shuttle bay, she was met by a slender Human female with dark brown hair and eyes, and the mustard colored uniform of ships operations.

"Welcome aboard, Commander," she said. "My name is Claire, I'm an avatar of the ships' AI. Would you like me to escort you to your quarters?"

"No thank you, I wish to report directly to the Captain," T'Reya replied, heading towards the nearest turbolift.

"Ahh... That may prove -- problematic," Claire admitted as they crossed the shuttle bay. "Captain Palmer beamed down to the surface twenty hours ago, and has not been heard from since."

"I see," T'Reya replied as the turbolift doors opened. "Then that is where I shall begin my search: Transporter room," she snapped, as the turbolift doors closed.

***

Palmer woke to find herself alone in Renata's bed. Rolling over, she could feel the aching of her muscles, a heightened sensitivity of her skin, and she shuffled across the bed until she could put her feet on the floor. The absence of any windows or natural light may have disoriented some, but well accustomed to the artificial cycles aboard a starship, Palmer's experienced eye fell on an ornate antique clock, and she saw that it was nearly nine am. Ignoring the twinges of discomfort, she dressed swiftly in her uniform, and made her way into the main area of the penthouse, where she found Renata eating breakfast at a table which appeared to be made of transparent aluminum.

"You looked so peaceful, I didn't want to disturb you," the hotelier said, pouring a second cup of steaming black coffee. "Columbian blend, I hope that's okay? Would you like something for breakfast?"

"Thank you," Palmer said, taking a seat and picking up the cup with both hands before blowing gently on the surface. "But I really should be going, I shouldn't have stayed so long..."

Renata's lips quirked.

"So you're that kind of girl..." she sighed.

Palmer shrugged as she sipped her coffee.

"I did warn you last night, relationships really aren't a possibility in my line of work. Last night-"

"Was last night... I'm only teasing, Manda," Renata assured her. "I've only got one thing to say about it."

"Oh?"

"You've got an amazing tongue..."

Snorting mid-sip, Palmer nearly choked on her coffee, before seeing Renata's expression and giggling too.

"I'm glad you understand," she said, putting the cup down and wiping her chin with a napkin.

Renata began to butter a croissant and nodded.

"Absolutely. Neither of us are likely to change our careers any time soon," she said. "But any time you're passing by..."

"I'll be sure to let you know" Palmer promised, picking up her cup and draining the contents. "Before I go, would it be okay to use your replicator? I dread to think the list of things needing my attention."

Renata nodded,

"By all means, whatever you need," she said accommodatingly

Standing, Palmer moved toward the replicator recessed in one of the stone walls. As she passed Renata, she stopped and leant over, her hand cupping Renata's face as their lips met in a long kiss.

"You were just what I needed, thank you for an amazing time," she said, before moving to the replicator. "Computer, replicate a seven by ten inch Starfleet PADD running BlackICE. Override civilian restrictions, authorisation: Palmer four seven sigma, Starfleet serial number, Sierra Charlie four three four, three one seven."

With a discreet chirp, the device acknowledged her command and request, and in a swirl of light, a large PADD appeared. Picking it up, Palmer called up the system settings, and began to synch the PADD to the Vanguard. Immediately, a stream of information flooded the screen, and she sighed.

"Lots to catch up on?" Renata enquired.

"Lots to catch up on," the captain confirmed, making her way to the elevator.

***

Fifteen minutes later, Palmer lay on a woven bamboo recliner on the sun-deck of the Princess Bar. Draining her highball glass of Pepsi, she placed it on the frosted-glass table beside her, momentarily wincing at her aching muscles, before picking up the PADD and scrolling to the next item in her inbox.

Quote:

To: Captain Amanda Palmer
From: Lieutenant Kristen Laing
Re: Duty Station

Captain,
It is after much consideration, that I would like to request my duty assignment be transfered from the bridge, to Science Lab One. Although I am your science officer, I feel that my contributions to recent missions have been negligible, as I have been unable to provide analysis or details which were not provided by either Commander Mayer, or the Valkyrie and Vanguard's holographic interfaces, making my presence on the bridge a redundancy. I shall of course abide by your decision, and continue to fulfil my duties to the best of my abilities.


"Oh for f**k's sake..." Palmer muttered in frustration. How could she convince the reticent and hesitant science officer that she was a valued member of her bridge crew, when her statement of redundancy was true?

Palmer was about to compose a reply when a shadow fell across her.

She looked up, seeing a Vulcan female standing above her, wearing a medical/sciences uniform with commanders rank pips on her collarbone. She had rather heavy features, a somewhat wide nose, heavy bow-shaped lips, and eyes the color of melting chocolate, but there was a raw sensual beauty about her which could not be denied. She looked maddeningly familiar, yet Palmer was sure they had never met before.

"Can I help you?" she asked, lowering the PADD.

"Captain Amanda Palmer?" enquired the Vulcan.

"That's right, Commander..."

"T'Reya, Captain. I had been assigned to transfer aboard the Valkyrie at K-7 as your new ships counsellor, but following the ships' unanticipated departure for the Moab system, my transport did not arrive until after your departure, and I have spent the past week chasing you across the quadrant."

Immediately, Palmer connected the dots, and recalled reviewing T'Reya's personnel file upon arrival at K-7. The subsequent mission to the Moab system and the loss of the Valkyrie had rather swamped her thoughts: Fear of demotion or even potential imprisonment, had the board considered her to have endangered the lives of her crew, had occupied her attention, and all that she could recal, was that T'Reya had once been a priestess-initiate on Vulcan.

"Comman- Counsellor, could you not have reported to Commander Mayer aboard the Vanguard, or simply waited until I returned to the ship?" Palmer asked, causing the Vulcan woman to shake her head.

"Starfleet regulation six, paragraph two, states: An officer under transfer must report directly to their commanding officer within twelve hours of arrival at their posting," T'Reya replied calmly. "Having been informed that you had been planet side for nearly twenty four hours, it seemed unlikely that you would return before that deadline, and I have no desire to begin my tenure with you by breaching regulations."

Palmer sighed, inwardly amused at T'Reya's earnest commitment.

"In that case, Counsellor, let's get to work immediately," she said, and handed T'Reya the PADD. "What do you make of that?"

T'Reya lowered her gaze to the cerulean text, an eyebrow raising as she read.

"Classic inferiority complex with passive-aggressive tendencies," she replied. "I believe Miss Laing and I will have a lot to discuss..."

Last edited by marcusdkane; 08-11-2013 at 05:10 PM. Reason: Final tweaks to improve flow.
Commander
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 255
# 34
08-08-2013, 05:22 PM
47 years in the future.....
2440; (Unknown Pov)

I have seen what happened a thousand times. It burns in my mind every second of every minute, and I can?t shut it off. My timeline burns because of the Omega Molecule, and it was all my fault. I can change it now.

******
Fluidic Space
Stardate: 68266.94; April 8, 2393

My name is Drake, and I'm a scientist, an explorer, and a technological genius from a place called Paragon City, Rhode Island. I had access to multidimensional technologies and used it to further my scientific career. One day I had created a portal, one to a new universe with different quantum and natural laws, one my current organic nature could not survive. I downloaded a copy of my conscious into an android replica of my body, enhanced with fists that could produce energy, and expel it in blasts. This body was as close to human as possible, the brain allowing me experience thoughts and feelings like a normal human being. I also kept a copy of my genetic structure downloaded into memory so I could potentially clone my self into a new body if necessary. I transgressed into this new, fluidic universe where strange tripedal beings existed in symbiotic relationships with their surroundings. I didn't expect to find such a hostile welcome to my arrival. They were powerful psychic beings who took me down quickly, twisting my mind, making me see echoes of my fears. I fell quickly, and awoke to chains and bonds of an organic nature.

They led me to a portal, a window into another dimension, and I saw my own laboratory, my world, in it. One of the strange beings held a small orange sphere, an energy source I could not comprehend, and came close to the portal. The being pushed the sphere into the portal, and moved away, letting me see into the portal again. I saw destruction, fire, and a bright light. The compound reacting with my dimension caused a destructive reaction destroying my planet, solar system, and rippling out across my home universe. I cried, I knew my home was gone....and I wanted kill them all. And so I did.

******

(Sal'vin 'Ace' Chernok Pov)

Stardate: Sometime in 2394
Personal Log: Sal'vin Chernok

I've directed the shuttle away from the Virinat system, as what I can only assume is a class seven Ion storm, has appeared directly in front of my shuttles path, and I cannot continue towards Virinat. I have to risk going past the Carayya system, which is frequented by Tal Shiar forces...I'll just have to risk it.

End Log.....

*******
Personal Log: Captain D'Vren of the R.R.W. Nausc'lis Stardate: 2394

While searching for recruits among the colony worlds, we have stumbled upon the wreckage of a Romulan Shuttle, though weapons fire to the damaged shuttle shows that it was most likely Tal Shiar, a recorded playback was recovered.
***
...Beware the Tal Shiar....Elachi...all wrong...Gregs if you can hear me...'s all wrong....ion storm was false....knew I was coming....knew who I was...knew I was...hybrid....clone...I'm dead Gregs, I hope...reaches...time...only friend I have Gregs...oh no...*Scream*...*Static*
***
The shuttle seems to have been carrying a lone teenage Romulan/Reman, 2nd generation hybrid from my scientist's scans of some genetic material left on a jagged piece of debris. A scientist aboard the ship has determined that the original hybrid was therefore created around the same time as once Praetor Shinzon, and yet escaped the same fate Shinzon had in the dilithium mines. We can't tell what happened to the poor man, but we can only hope he fell in battle, and is not in the hands of the Tal Shiar.

End Log....

******

A Romulan Interrogator walked down the Tal Shiar battleships hallways, crossing scientists, Centurion's, Tal Shiar recruit's, Uhlan's, and others. He walked to a turbolift, pressed his face against an occular scanner, and then walked into the sealed medbay. In the sterile environment of the medbay, was a lone green pod, holding one single individual. He walked up to the pod and starred into the recently acquired prisoner. He smiled looking at the young teen in the pod.

"This is Hakeev to the bridge, set course for instillation 18, we have a new test subject for them" he ended the comm and walked back out of the medbay.

*******

(Gregs Son'aire Pov)

"I can here the screaming, it seems to be all that I can feel, the burning of the sky, the millions in pain....it hurts, ahghhhh" the young ensign Ocampa hybrid, fell to his knees screaming, "The energy is burning them...I can't breathe, the air is sizzling away...the sky is on fire...." The ensign fell down and blacked out.
*******

47 Years Later....
(No Pov)
Location: Elba II Asylum

Captain's Log
Stardate: 117454.27, 2440
Captain Zinuzee Zidire of the U.S.S. Oregon

En route to Earth Space Dock, the crew of the Oregon was sent to pick up Jeffery Carson, a defecting captain and mass murder and to take him to the Elba II Asylum for the criminally insane after attempted defection to the Tal Shiar from the U.S.S. Gea.

***
Captain Zinuzee walked down the sterile halls, accompanied by the marching feet of the security team escorting the ex-captain Carson to his holding cell. Eventually they found the empty cell, let the captain in, and activated the force field over the entrance. "Commander Gar'Atadar, please return to the ship, I just have to contact Asylum personnel to confirm he was properly put into his cell" she ordered. The Jem'Hadar nodded and beamed up with the rest of the security team to the ship. The Trill captain took the opportunity to walk down the path, memorized after all this time, to a cell near the med bay. Like all the others it was a sterile, white room, no noticeable doors or ledges, smooth with no corners. This room, though, was manned by two betazed guards, to keep the telepathic prisoner from causing havoc in the instillation, or from hurting the other inmates and himself.

"Admiral" said one guard, the other one merely holstered his gun and started to walk away from the scene, "We'll leave you two alone, ten minutes per orders." The guards knew that this inmate would not hurt her, even after all this time.

The man behind the force field had not aged for over fifty years, since a temporal accident lengthened his age to far surpass many humanoids, and he was dressed in the gray and white garb of the hospital patients. "Hello Captain, I've come to visit, I've got time before I must return to the ship," she said, "We've missed you terribly, none of us believe you're capable of doing what they said you did...you're not a killer." She sighed, not really expecting a response, not that she has form any of her other 30 some visits. She started to turn around before the being behind the force field spoke.

"Did you bring Z'Yrich with you?" he asked. To some, that may seem like nothing, but to Zinuzee it was a miracle that he responded at all, his favorite pet of all was his pet Sehlat he got on Vulcan. Over 20 years prior the captain had gone renegade for over ten years, skirting Federation law and killing over 6800 citizens of the Federation, Romulan Republic, the Klingon Empire, the Cardassian Union, Bajor, DS9, and even among the New Link.

Zinuzee smiled at her once captain, then beamed a command to the orbiting Odyssey-class ship, in response the beaming from transporter then signified the Sehlats arrival. The Sehlat sat down next to the Trill, as she then petted the strangely smallish, lean form of the cat, more comparable to a Earth Cheetah of long ago. Z'Yrich purred, and then leapt through the force field to be with her master once again. "What the!" Zinuzee was socked, actually stumbling back because the cat had done something that was physically impossible. Gregs Son'aire merely knelled and pet the great cat.

"Now, now Z, you of all people should know that I'm more than capable of bending space after coming into control of my powers...of wait...that was another lifetime..." he visibly drooped in his face, emotions shadowed by confusion. A flash occurred and he was dressed in his old garb, that of a 22nd century Terran Empire jacket in orange, gold cloth belt, and black cut-off pants, with a Starfleet comm. badge. He stepped through the force field and walked closer to his once first officer. She drew her phaser pistol in defense, and pointed it at the madman. "It's an illusion Z, I was never behind a force field, they never activated it, they only thought they did, now I need your help, but first I need you to put down your weapon." Zinuzee began to lower her weapon, before pointing it again at her Captain.

"I'm sorry captain, but mind games won't work on me, and I can't let you leave the facility" determination steeled her voice, as she stared Gregs down. He smiled at her, then waved his hand away, pulling the weapon from her hand and to the far side of the room.

"Good, your ready to know the truth then," he walked closer to her, cornering her and then drew his hand to her temple in a Vulcan style mind meld, "I learned this from a Vulcan telepath who studied this technique and was able to adapt it for me." A montage of images flashed in her head, ten years of going renegade hunting a shadowy figure, one he came across at DS9 after accidentally being framed by the murderer. Years of hunting him on Andor, Tellar, New Romulus, Earth, Cardassia, Qo'nos, Orion, and dozens of other worlds. Finally cracking after the tenth year of searching, and the end of almost 7000 other sentient beings. Ten years of gaining power in Elba II Asylum, knowing something was wrong in the timeline, something that had happened 47years earlier. Ten years of honing telepathic powers to ascend to a new level of power... to achieve temporal displacement to fix the problem. Ten years of waiting, 47 years of searching, and he had found what moment this had all occurred in. He ended the telepathic link, stepped back and waited. She slapped him across the cheek, his head being flung back, and then she embraced him in a hug, sobbing. "So will you help me?" he asked.

******
(1st Person, Unknown Pov)
Location: Somewhere in the Tau Dewa Sector aboard the I.R.W. Nausci'list

Personal Log: Subadmiral D'Tarnek
Stardate: 77613.70

I've found that after the recent attack on our dear leader Hakeev, that intimidation seems to be the best way to deal with the defecting Tal Shiar. Of course with more and more ships joining the Romulan Republic, pardoned for their crimes, the more and more the Tal Shiar is weakening in it's grip for power over the sectors. I'll just have to make examples out of the defectors.

Truthfully the Tal Shiar's biggest threat is Fleet Admiral Tovan Khev, whose example has been a dull and dark stain on the actions of the Tal Shiar; he's made fools of us.

If we were to capture him, we could easily show that the Republic is a mere farce, and that it's glory and power would not hold against the shining example that the Tal Shiar has set for saving our culture and heritage. Fear is the tool to order, and we are the users of this tool.

On a different note, I've been troubled lately, there seems to be passing fragments of memory, voices I can't remember...a man...the pain...and then I remember waking up in the medical bay of Instillation 18...something about how...how I was hit by a plasma bolt...they fixed me up but... my head hurt. Then I was transferred to the I.R.W. Khnial. I remember getting an assignment, doing things to people... killing a hologram of a civilian...Thalaron weaponry on a small furry creature, and then the Borg experiment....Borg...I shudder at the poor victim of that experience.

But we are Tal Shiar. We are feared, we do not fear....
***
Stardate: 117468.89

"Computer pause recording," he said. It beeped in response to the subadmiral's command. "What now" he said in a huff. He had been going through his old personal recordings he had made after his induction into the Tal Shiar, when he had stumbled into the one he made after his second day of leaving Instillation 18 to Hakeev's ship. He turned his chair to the computer console opposite to him. A flash on the computer screen signified a message was waiting for him to read. "Intriguing" he said with a raise of his brow, "Elba II asylum, what could we have of interest there....Son'aire, of course!" He chuckled to himself, intrigued by this turn of events. "Well old friend it seems I've found you again...maybe you'll need help you old outlaw, but why would you go there...well if you need help I can repay you for that old debt." The Tal Shiar officer turned his screen off, then walked to the bridge of his ship. "Ship correction, head to the Azure Nebula, I have a debt to pay to an old friend" he told to the conn officer. The officer nodded and made the course correction.

*****

(Drake Pov)

Near the Azure Nebula?

I?ve waited almost 47 years since I?ve came to be in this world, and I wait still for the final part of my plan to finally come into place. I remember the years I spent in fluidic space after killing my captors, trapped in that living, giant building, until I found a ship to take me away from there.
***

It had been a year since I had come to this world, a year spent translating their language, finding new technology, and finishing off the traps meant for escaped prisoners. I had so many failures cracking their systems, having to backtrack in any path I took. Then I learned of their cloning facilities, and after a few hundred attempts at integrating my D.N.A. into their triple helix patterns, I found a way to create a new body that could control ships that surrounded the giant coliseum. Using this new body I eventually learned of their escapades in another universe, slowly replacing people with their own in an attempt to destroy the balance of power in that world, leading to all out war. Then at the end of this pointless war they would send an armada of 'Undine', as they call themselves, to wipe out any survivors.

They used natural rifts in space to go between these two universes, and with this new knowledge I escaped from the fluidic universe. Using their advanced technological capabilities I fled Undine space using natural rifts in subspace, until I reached the first planet where I would find these Undine agents, a planet called Qo'nos.
***

After years of slowly moving from planet to planet killing these sleeper agents before they could attack, I was found out one day, on DS9 twenty years ago...
***
Twenty years ago...

I held the plasma pistol lowered at the Bajoran man before me in the Holosuite, but I was not fooled by his appearance, I could sense he was Undine from the energy signature that differed from other humanoids I've found. The door to the Holosuite swished open, to reveal a humanoid Starfleet officer, he had probably reserved this suite after the Bajoran man.

"Hey!" he said. He pulled a pistol from his side and pointed it at me. I just laughed.

"What do you expect Starfleet, he's Undine, I'm going to get rid of him before he can cause harm." I told him smirking. He looked disgusted by my actions, and while they were just actions, he didn't understand my point of view.

"If he's Undine we have ways of dealing with him, just let him go and put down the weapon," he said threateningly, "I have people that could question him, but if your wrong, then you're about to harm an innocent man."

He had a point, but I didn't care. Of course my pause was a mistake. The Undine shape shifter caught me with his claw as he transformed. The tripedal monster swung it's poisonous claws at me, but I dodged in time. The other man raised his pistol to the Undine and I did the same. "Truce?", he said. I nodded in agreement. "But afterwards you and I have to talk" he added. I chuckled but began firing at the Undine. We took him down easily after a few blasts, and then it was just us. He pointed his pistol at me while I swung mine at him.

"I walk away, and this never happened" I offered him. He charged his pistol and tried to shoot at me.

"You have to answer for bringing a weapon onto the station, as well as threatening an officer of the Federation, and for almost killing an innocent man." he offered me. I shook me head at him.

"He wasn't innocent, you know that, I've hunted his kind since they killed my home, and I've still got more places to go to and more of them to hunt" I replied. He looked at me in shock and disgust. "Well it's time for me to go" I said while activating my wrist transporter. The last thing I saw was the holosuite's doors opening and a security crew coming in.
***
Present time

Of course he was always able to track me down again and again, planet after planet, city after city, but when I went off the grid ten years ago, he finally gave up. Of course after a psychic attack that drove him insane, and maybe a mental suggestion to turn himself in, I had finally lost him.

That's when I learned of the Azure Nebula, a place where subspace corridors make it possible to access other dimensions, even other times. That was how I would end this torment. I have seen what happened a thousand times. It burns in my mind every second of every minute, and I can?t shut it off. My timeline burns because of the Omega Molecule, and it was all my fault. I can change it now, go back and time and stop them from putting the unstable molecule into my dimension.

After a raid on Tholian space, I had acquired temporal technology that when outfitted on the parts I had stolen through the years, from various galactic powers, could take me back in time, where I could stop them from destroying my universe.

It was time, after all these years, I could return home.
*****
(Gregs Pov)
Twenty years ago...

"Sir there was reports of weapons fire in here, is everyone okay?" asked one officer. Concern was on the two officer's faces when they saw the dead body on the floor, it no longer looked like Undine, but as the Bajoran man again.

"Captain Son'aire, did you...did you kill that man?" said the other security officer. He began to raise his weapon at the captain, but the other raised his hand to stop him.

"Sir, I ask you to give me your weapon and we will give you a fair trial." he stepped forward and raised his hand to take my weapon. I handed it to him.
***

I was on the shuttle to Earth to face my trial. I was in handcuffs, they were uncomfortable, but they incapacitated me, and because of my species telepathic abilities I had two Betazed guards to keep me from using my abilities.
All of a sudden both guards left their post, with no notice, and walked outside the brig. The door swished open and a new figure, I couldn't see from my position in the cell, came in. "Well, it seems you killed a fellow officer Son'aire, we didn't expect that from you," the voice who I identified as a man said, "Surprising since we're supposed to know every variable, and previous records never shed this view on you." I chuckled, and turned to face him. Of course it would be him, only he would have interest in me.

'Well Drake, you wouldn't come here without reason, not if you didn't believe my story" I replied. He chuckled in response.

"Always one straight to the point, eh Gregs?" he replied, "But you are right, I came to tell you my...associates have confirmed your story; that an Undine Nicor Cruiser did leave the Bajor System after your supposed assassin attack, but it makes no difference what we say... Bajor wants justice, even if it's on an innocent man." He sighed, actually looking sorry for me, but I knew my life didn't really matter in the bigger picture for him.

"I know this info wasn't free Franklin, so tell me what you're here for," I said. He smiled at that.

"Well, since you want to know, I'm actually here for you" he said this while kneeling on one knee, pulling a key from an unseen pocket, to unlock the cuffs from my wrist. I rubbed my wrist from the chaffing feeling the metal cuffs gave me. I straightened my clothes out evenly then turned to Franklin Drake. "You see Gregs, I came here to give you this" he said, then handed me a PADD. "This holds the current location of said Nicor Cruiser, and I would suggest you keep this PADD with you, as it is connected to a separate, classified system that will automatically update near any starbase or Federation ship with the known location of this specific ship," he said this then turned to leave, but looked back at me, "This mission is not to hunt down this criminal, it is not to go rogue, it is not to prove your innocence, and if captured you will not be saved by me, or any person in Starfleet, and you will be sentenced to life in the Elba II Asylum for your crazed hallucination of a non-existent killer, do I make myself clear." I nodded, he turned and continued out of the brig. "Oh and Gregs, the ships personnel have been transported off of this ship, and you have taken control with no restrictions, as well as a wealth of latinum and credits that were left here to be taken in for evidence against you," he continued, "You are now an enemy of the Federation, goodbye traitor."
***
(No Pov)
Six months later...
Romulan flotilla

"After him, the intruder is getting away!" the random security officer yelled, "He's probably Tal Shiar, come to kill D'Tan."

"Where did he come from?" another officer asked.

"He beamed on board in crew quarters!" the other replied.

The Romulan Flotilla was on red alert because of a man in black garb, a hood obscuring his face and a pair of miner's goggles obscuring his facial features to sensors and video, transported in a few seconds after warping in without authorization. He ran across the hallway, from the personnel quarter's, past the engineering room, taking a right towards another hallway, and after a sharp left ran down it past startled Romulans, some Remans, and even a few Suliban workers, he came upon the room he was looking for.

"D'tan...D'tan," the intruder called, "Asylum, asylum in the republic!" The figure he was addressing turned to face him from the window he was looking out at to the cloaked figure. Said figure was bending over catching his breath after dodging laser blasts and muscles. "Just...got...to...catch...breath first..." he said huffing trying to steady his breathing rate.

"What's this about," D'Tan asked the security officers that had just now came running in behind the intruder.

"This man transported into crew quarters without prior authorization, disturbed a citizen's privacy, and attempted to escape arrest." said the first officer. The other man turned to face the officer.

"Well, had the schematics for the flotilla ship been updated in my shuttle, I would have transported into the transporter room, instead of the woman's room while she was dressing, and besides I ran for the door before you even saw me," he added, "Besides I sent a communication to dock back when I was near the Khitomer system, I got no response so I warped in."

At this the security officer blanched, then blushed, as she tried to hide her embarassment. The other officer snickered at this earning a glare from the female officer. D'Tan was trying hard to not to smile, instead recovering by coughing into his hand to gain the attention of the three others. "Well, you two return to your posts," he then turned his attention to his visitor, "And I wish to hear you out." The two guards left, the second one snickering, earning himself a smack to the head by the female officer. "Why is it you request asylum here, and not the Federation, Klingons, or any other power?" he asked.

"I know it's late, but Jolan Tru , and the reason why," he said and pulled the goggles and hood away from his face, "I need your help looking for a deep cover Republic agent in the Tal Shiar." Gregs Son'aire, traitor to the Federation, stood before D'Tan, head of the Romulan Republic. "I need information, and you need help with the Tal Shiar" he said.
*****
Present Time...

The U.S.S. Oregon had been on a ten day journey to the Azure Nebula after Gregs Son'aire directed it to that area. The Bridge officers were wary of the man they had taken up from the asylum, unsure of his motives, but aware he was a friend of their captain. Gar'Atadar and Deiso the Orion were the only familiar bridge officers on duty at the time, so they recognized their old captain but put it away for now. "Zinuzee, I believe you should call the old crew back together, whoever is on the ship for the moment, so I can explain what is going on to the others," he said to his old friend.
***
(1st person, Gregs Son'aire)

The noise in the conference room was minimal, as those that were available at that hour were uncomfortable that their insane, rogue, and former captain was in the same room sitting near their new captain. Then Nar spoke up in his cold, metallically translated voice. "What is this man, this petaQ, doing here," he asked, "Is he not a traitor?" The Breen officer was enraged that I was here, and I knew I di not leave them in the best of times.

"It's fine Nar, just let him talk," Chassidy said to the enraged Breen. She turned to Gregs to let him talk.

"Thanks Cass," I turned to the screen behind me bringing up schematics of a small station from a PADD I held with me for years, " This is an Elachi subspace station in the NGC-863 Subspace anomaly, it was destroyed years ago by the Romulan Republic, but the technology fell into the hands of scavengers when the subspace tear leaked Elachi technology; one such man, Drake Storm, or Drastorm as I know him, has this technology, as well as Tholian, Terran Empire, even Iconian technology in his hands." I turned to the people at the table. "This man was the person I had chased for years when I supposedly went renegade, he contacted Tal Shiar forces over twelve years ago and acquired the Iconian and Elachi technology, before going rogue himself," I continued, "When I last encountered him in the Narendra sector, he tried to telepathically incapacitate me, but when it backfired and I read his mind and knew what he was planning, I let him think he won, and turned myself into Starfleet security when he tried to implant a thought into my mind." I sat down in my chair, ran my hand through my hair, and leaned back and sighed before continuing. "This man is lost, he is trying to open a temporal anomaly in the Azure Nebula to reach a specific point in time, where he will then change the timeline and accomplish his goals, to save his world," I told them, "We have to let him do this." At this everyone at the table broke out into a chorus of arguments. "Silence!" I yelled at them, silencing everyone at the table, except a sobbing Chassidy. I was confused at why she was sobbing, but she stopped when Lexis gave her a tissue. "Everyone is dismissed, Cass, come talk," I told to the already emptying conference room, "What's wrong?"

She turned to me, stifling a sob. "It's him, isn't it, the man your talking about, he has electrical powers...he's the same...I knew...knew he would find me again...but I lost hope...I...he's changed, more evil...that's why he killed them isn't it...the Undine agents they say you killed...you hunted him because he killed innocent men and women...I...I..." she began to break down again, so I ordered a box of tissue's from the replicator.

"Calm down, and slow down, I can't understand you..." I said trying to calm her down. She took some deep breath's then continued.

"I'm...from another universe....you know how I said I was a genius, well in my world that means temporal physics and alternate realities are like adding two and two to get four, I was able to cross realities and found myself lost here," she continued, "I was lost in this universe, but I had a scientific colleague back home on my earth, a genius like me, and his name was Drake Storm, the man you just mentioned....I think how he came to this universe was tracking my dimensional signature to find me...so he came here...or..." I stopped her there.

"Or maybe he's not your Drake Storm, but someone who happened upon this world all the same" I replied. She laughed, a harsh cynical laugh, that showed she had long since thought of that.

"Yeah, it wouldn't be far fetched with how my home universe works; all these crazy, impossible coincidences occur everyday..." she smiled, one that showed bitterness, "But I know how he works...he's a genius, not as smart as me, but temporal physics was something he enjoyed...he may try to be finding his way home through time travel, but our two universes have different timelines.... he could destroy this timelines future."

I thought about that for a moment, and then it dawned on me. "Iconian...he has Iconian gateway tech and Tholian technology, as well as Terran Empire tech...could he be studying the difference between the mirror and prime universe's and find a way with time travel to cross back to your home dimension," I continued, "I mean an Iconian gateway modified with Tholian Temporal technology, as well as another universe to compare it with...could he do it?"

She pondered it for a second, then her eyes bugged out. "If...if he is doing what you're thinking...it could mean the end of our timeline..." she replied, "The Azure Nebula is unstable, but temporal anomalies are possible, it could still destabalize at any point though if he tried to..." She stopped, and was speechless.

"Then we need to stop him, or at the very least end the loop, that would undo the damage right?" I asked. She did the calculations on the spot.

"If we could somehow stop him...or even inform an uptime agency from another universe we could stop this from occurring, however many times it has already occurred," she replied.

"Then we continue to the Azure Nebula and find him" I replied.

*****
(No Pov)

A subspace rift was forming outside a satellite nestled in a asteroid field that near a dwarf star. It was fueled by an Iconian gateway and directed by a Tholian computer, drawing in energy from the dwarf star. A dark clad figure looked outside the window from the chair he sat in. He was satisfied with what he had accomplished in this short time, over ten years ago he started this and now he had completed it. In a short time the Nicor cruiser he acquired would let him slip back into the past Undine universe and change his future.

Of course had he not used Franklin Drake, joining Section 31 and furthering his own goals, and learned of the Iconian gateways and temporal technologies available to this universe, he wouldn't be here today.
***
37 years ago...

The Undine Nicor cruiser was damaged, it's systems damaged after passing an unexpected solar flare. The black clad figure was hurt, his forehead bleeding from the impact the flare had caused to the ship. An Intrepid-class Long Range Science ship, the U.S.S. Theseus, a Section 31 ship, scanned the cruiser and transported the injured humanoid into it's medical bay.
***
The human was fixed by the EMH program of the ship, the safe way of meeting the injured man without anyone being hurt, the EMH being non-solid and unkillable by human hands. The man woke up to see the doctor standing over him and immediately tried to raise his pistol, only to find it gone. "If you are looking for your weapon it is still on the Undine ship, only you were transported over, Now if you don't mind stay still as I fix your ribs" the EMH said.
"Well it seems our friend has woken up, how are you," a human man walked into the room, he had a scar running down the right side of his face, and sandy blonde hair, "My name is Franklin, Franklin Drake, and you are?"

The man did not have any weapon on him, at least none he could see, so he decided to talk. "My name is Drake Storm, and I thank you for your help, but I must return to my ship," he replied. The blonde man chuckled as the man attempted to move, but restraints kept him from moving.

"Sorry about that, didn't want you hurting anyone, but since we have a similar name, why not call you Drastorm for short?" replied Franklin.

"Drastorm, I like it, Ironically that was something I was called back on...my home planet" he stopped, "Will you let me go?"

Franklin Drake unclasped the restraints on Drastorm, and let him go. "Well tell me Drastorm, would you like to tell me about yourself?" he asked.

"Well, why not." he replied, "My life began in a city called Paragon..."
***
Present...

He eventually betrayed Franklin Drake, used his information about Undine and other powers in the quadrants to gain the foothold he needed in the galaxy. Of course Drake sent Gregs Son'aire after him and he learned of his plan, but he stopped his enemy when he made him insane, or so he thought.

Now if only the gnat that was his enemy wasn't approaching his position at the moment.

*****
(Gregs Son'aire)

The U.S.S. Oregon matched orbit with the space station and three people transported over to the station. Zinuzee, Chassidy, and Gregs Son'aire stood at the end of a long hallway ending in a giant room that held a generator hooked up to hundreds of separate pieces of technology ranging from Tholian to Terran to Romulan. Zinuzee began to study the major piece of equipment that dominated the room, a half arch of an Iconian gateway, wires spread out from all directions being hooked up to most of the technology in the room.

"Sir the subspace rift seems to be being generated here, the Iconian gateway is rupturing subspace and tearing a hole in space/time while Tholian technology seems to be directing it to another timeline...wait it's not to another dimension...it's the Undine universe approximately 47 years ago..." Zinuzee reported scanning the room and it's various technology.

A slow clapping began from the other side of the room. "Nice Gregs, it seems not everyone in this world is as dull and lifeless as you," he said, "You see the Undine killed my world over 47 years ago by activating an Omega molecule, destroying my timeline in the process and my world, and in turn over the various years I've killed their agents, while also recovering the technology needed for time travel available in this world." He raised a pistol to the group of three. "Now I want you to stop messing with my equipment, you fools can't comprehend technology beyond your...no you can't be here...everyone died" he stopped looking at the others, focusing on the older blonde woman. "Cass...you died with the others.... I ....can't believe it, you survived!" his dark demeanor turned jubilant as he dropped his pistol to run over to his friend. He was quickly stunned by said blonde with a phaser, a few feet from where she stood.

"Sorry Drake, but you need to be stopped" she said, putting metal cuffs on his wrists, "Let's stabilize the portal, I can't seem to shut the portal off." The three moved on to various tasks Chassidy assigned them.
***
Gregs dragged a now awake Drastorm to his docked Nicor cruiser. "Sorry guys, but to stop this man from being evil, we need to go to the source" he muttered to himself, overheard by Drastorm.

"So, your going against your own crew, that doesn't seem like you from what I've seen..." Drastorm said. Gregs threw his head back, and laughed a hollow laugh.

"I've seen what happened to you Drake, I saw into your mind, I saw the Undine kill your world with the Omega Molecule, and I believe I can keep that from happening, I know what it's like to lose a world Storm, I don't want it to happen to you" He replied, he brought up a silver, handheld device, "I know how to separate your world from the Undine universe." At that Drastorm was speechless.
***

"Captain what are you doing?" asked Zinuzee, "The subspace rift is stable for now, but if you go in you can't return!" Static silence was all that was heard in response.

"That jerk, he's got Drastorm with him!" Chassidy said, "Oh no, he's going to do what I think he is..."

The Nicor cruiser went into the rift, followed by a wave of light that signified the portal's closing.

"You better know what your are doing you idiot" Zinuzee muttered to empty air
*****

The Nicor cruiser arrived into Undine space, the rift closing in a flash of light. The ship was headed for an organic structure not far off from where it currently was, a Terradome meant for invading real space. "So, you know where you're going Drake?" Gregs asked the pilot of the ship. The man merely nodded, and began docking with the Terradome.

"I lived there for a while, this place was my home," he continued, "I know where I'll be standing, and I know where we can hide to change the outcome." The Starfleet admiral merely nodded in response.

"You know, when we change the present, we'll have a horde of Undine to face, no backup, and a pretty confused man seeing his doppelganger and an alien being he hasn't met yet?" he said. Drake merely chuckled.

"Well, it won't seem that strange to him really; I mean he had just found a whole new universe, what's a doppelganger and an alien going to do to him, especially when they save him" he replied.

"Touche," Gregs replied.

*****
(Drake Two, Pov)

My name is Drake, and I'm a scientist, an explorer, and a technological genius from a place called Paragon City, Rhode Island. I transgressed into a new, fluidic universe where strange tripedal beings existed in symbiotic relationships with their surroundings. I was attacked and awoke to organic bonds, unable to do anything, unable to move.

Then they brought me to a portal, the same portal I had come through.
*****

(Drastorm Pov)

I had seen the portal moved into the same position it was last time I had seen it. The Undine had the Omega Molecule, just like last time, and I couldn't help but be enraged.

"Calm down Drastorm, get ready, on my mark...three...two...one.." he said.
****
15 minutes later...

The last Undine fell to the floor after a blast of plasma form Drastorm's pistol. Gregs stood in front of the portal, typing away on the silver, handheld device close to closing the portal. "We need to get Drake back into the portal before I type this last code string in" Gregs said. The older Drastorm nodded, before a cool blue flash of light occurred.

The elder Drastorm no longer stood there, replaced by a duplicate of Drake Two. "What just happened?" he asked, "How the heck did I get here?" The two duplicates stood face to face. "Last thing I remember is being him, looking at an older me...oh no...I've been copied and pasted onto older me..." Gregs and Drake Two were shocked that this was occurred, Gregs though was mentally cursing the timing.

"Drake Two, go through the portal now!" Gregs said. The one closer to the portal ran into it. "I hate TIC, they have the worst timing...." he said hopping they could get out of here before any more shenanigans occurred, "I need you to come with me Drake, we're leaving."
*****

(Gregs Pov)

We ran down the hallway till we reached the entrance to the Nicor cruiser. We got to the cruiser and disembarked from the Terrasphere. And we were surrounded by dozens of Undine cruisers. "Crud, I didn't see that coming..." I said, "Drastorm, I hope you had fun in this universe, cause your time here is about to end..." Then I felt the familiar tingling of transporter technology on my skin and stood face to face with a Tal Shiar officer.

"Hello old friend," said the smiling Romulan, "It's time I repaid the favor I owed you."
***
29 years in the future of another universe.....

After a year and a half of searching for the Romulan Republic agent, as well as searching for Drastorm, I had finally found one of the people I was looking for, a Centurion named D'Tarnek, a person I knew by a different name, Sal'vin Chernok. He was recruited by a man named Khimek after he stopped the indoctrination process. Sal'vin chose to become a deep cover spy for the republic after the presumed demise of Khimek. I was sent by Franklin Drake to the Republic because of Drastorm's supposed team up with the Tal Shiar for access to technology. Of course it turned into a rescue mission when I almost blew D'Tarnek's cover. So in response I took him prisoner when I escaped.

"Thanks again Gregs for saving me from blowing my cover, hopefully being 'interrogated' by the Federation and then escaping with false information will allow me to go back into Tal Shiar" D'Tarnek said after I had saved him.

"Good, well you owe me one Sal'vin.." I had replied.
***

Now here I was facing him again on the bridge of a Romulan ship. "Don't worry Gregs, the bridge crew here are all Republic agents" he told me. I sighed in relief worrying for my safety for a moment, but now I was relieved. "So how are we going to get home?" he asked me. I smiled, holding up the device I used to close the portal.

"Don't worry I have a way to get home," I replied.
*****
Six days later, 29th century....

"You've been summoned by TIC to face consequences to your actions taken in the altered future that you so ceremoniously ended upon interfering with the past, and had action not been taken by this commission to end that temporal causality loop and that altered future" the man merely rambled on charges. I chose not to listen to their threats, I already knew what I was going to do. "Are you even listening, you've caused irreversible damage as well as inserted an unstable variable into this timeline in the form of a super powered being," he continued, "We have to rectify his existance now, as he is to dangerous to exist."

I laughed, the blatent superiority that he showed over me was surprising, because he had not thought of the simple solution. "So then, why not end the threat by removing his powers?" I replied. The man looked aghast at my suggestion. "At this moment he is in a robotic android copy, one he discarded upon cloning a new body, so why not alter the genetic sequence so as to remove the powers" I added. He pondered my decision, then turned to me.

"Where would he go then, he doesn't technically exist in any of our timelines" he countered. I thought over it for a few seconds, when it dawned on me.

"Fold him into my own timeline, I never had a roommate in my academy days, so make him be my roommate" I replied.

The man brought up a holographic computer, typed in it, and then nodded. "I've done the changes you asked for and inserted him into the timeline as a temporal refugee, be happy I didn't erase you Gregs Son'aire, if you didn't have Aegis on your side" he said. I nodded at this, then chuckled.

"If I didn't have so much to do to save the 25th century...blah, blah, blah..." I said sarcastically. I went for the silvery patch on my arm, an anchor that kept me to this temporal plane. "Well I've had fun, but I get to move on now and a younger me gets to guide Drastorm along the right path, let's just hope he chooses the right path."

*****
(No Pov)

Starfleet Academy
Stardate: 68793.55; October 17, 2391

It was a chilly October morning, barely past sunrise, and already the morning mist was beginning to rise and dissipate in the air. The air was reflected in the attire of the early morning risers. The last box was being transported from Earth Space Dock to the dormitories holding center, though he decided to keep one box to complete the feeling of moving into a new place. These were the few remains he had, replicated from the many blueprints and designs kept in his android body. This particular box held synthetic clothing that he could use day to day. He also had in this box a paperback copy of his new favorite book, temporal contraband he was given from a friendly TIC agent who had no use for it, but he could recognize it's value as a new start in this world. 'Dorm room number 457, my first step' he thought to himself.

He set down his box in front of his door and knocked on the door. No response to his knock, he used the key code he was given to access the room, and grabbed his box. What he found in the room was surprising. The room itself was a sterile beige, only contrasted by the metallic frames of the two beds in the center of the room and the maroon color of the outer sheets. The place was kept neat and clean, though one bed had personal items around it, such as a pair of shoes at the foot of the bed and a small decorative knife hanging on the wall. He set his box down on the opposite, and decided to place his book in a small shelf in a table stand next to the bed.

The door was open behind him, and he missed the soft footsteps, but he didn't miss the cool feel of the knife on his neck. "Please tell me, why you are in my room, as well as why a box is on a bed?" a voice said. Drake stood rigid, wanting to disable his attacker, though he figured that this person had the upper hand with the weapon.

"I'm Drake Storm, I'm your new roommate, I'm a Temporal refugee from another timeline, the Temporal Displacement Division gave me the go-to and I was able to join the Academy as a way to be useful; I was what would be considered a hero in my own world" he replied. The knife was lowered, and Drake was released from the man's grasp.

"Ah, you're the new roommate, Z'Yrich told me about you being put into my timeline, and unfortunately the Academy is slow in delivering news, even with computer's," the man said extending his hand in greeting, "The names Gregs, Gregs Sharvan Son'aire, Cadet in Engineering class of 2399." Gregs released Drake's hand and turned to the box on the bed. "Let me guess, some clothes and miscellaneous items, till accommodations transfers your items to the room?" he asked. Drake nodded. "Let me ask, why do you have a strange crystal in your box, and why does it flux with temporal energies?" he asked. Suddenly Drake rushed to the box, and peered in to view a blue crystal with a pulsing red center, fluctuating in color. He smiled and held the precious gem in his hand.

"It's nothing Gregs, just an old souvenir," he replied, "So tell me, what species are you?" The other man smiled.

"Well I'll tell you, it all started in a place over 60 thousand light years from here, a place called the Delta Quadrant, it started on a planet called Ocampa by it's people, and an alien named the Caretaker..." he started off.
***
A few hours later...

Gregs took a drink, his throat parched form his long and detailed story. "So, tell me Drake Storm, what is your story?" he asked the other man.

"Well it started in Paragon City, Rhode Island of an alternate Earth, and it was in the early 21st century when I discovered a portal to this world..." he started.
*****
Personal Log
Stardate: 68793.80

I've found a new friend in this timeline; I've found a home in Starfleet.

It's time to start anew.

End Log...

Last edited by aten66; 08-17-2013 at 07:01 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 4,215
# 35 Outpost 47 - Epilogue
08-10-2013, 10:19 AM
Captain's Log, USS Hephaestus NCC-91748.
Commander Grunt recording.

We are en route to Starbase 39-Sierra, after a brief stop at Outpost 47 to silence the distress signal there and place warning buoys about the Elachi fungal infections. I don't
know that any of the fungi are dangerous to any of the various sophonts Starfleet might send, but better safe than sorry. Mr. Vovonek has completed an analysis of the programming of our passenger, Mycroft, an accidental AI that used to reside in Outpost 47's computer systems, and he assures me the software is - well - I suppose "sane" would be the closest biological equivalent. The next step, of course, is for our ship's counselor, Lt. Brel, to give Mycroft a psychological exam. I want to have these completed before we arrive at 39-Sierra, so we know what steps we need to take on arrival.

Counselor's Office, USS Hephaestus

"So," Brel Tan said, "the time has come for us to have a chat. Normally I'd be telling you to make yourself comfortable about now..."

The room's holoemitter flickered, and the other half of the Bajoran counselor's office was filled with an image of a stout, slightly pale human wearing late nineteenth-century English clothing, lying in what appeared to be a leather couch.

"How's this?" Mycroft asked.

Brel blinked. "Interesting. Is there a particular reason you chose this appearance?"

"Well, the personal appearance is based on the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created the character Mycroft Holmes in the 1880s on Earth - I hadn't been able to access the complete works until arriving here. The couch is based on the one used by Sigmund Freud, the famed 'father of psychoanalysis'. I thought it was appropriate. Was I mistaken?"

"No, not at all. Are you under the impression that you are Mycroft Holmes?"

"Of course not, counselor. It's just that when Gary realized I was sapient, that was the name he thought fit me best, and I have to say I agree - I do tend to sit in one place and think about a situation, then supply a solution that isn't intuitively obvious for others. And like the character, I also rarely go out and investigate things on my own. That used to be never, but now that I'm aboard a ship..."

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Ready Room, USS Hephaestus

"What's the verdict, Tan?" Grunt asked.

Brel Tan passed a PADD to his commander. "As you can see, sir, all psychological markers are within normal tolerances. Mycroft understands that it is not its namesake; it wants to be helpful, but is not servile. Mostly, sir, I got the feeling that it was - lonely. It has reiterated its desire to join the crew as a civilian consultant on infowar and cyberwarfare."

"Okay, and the bottom line?"

"Bottom line, sir, is that Mycroft is a free-willed artificial life-form, and under Federation law entitled to full citizenship. There's certainly no psychological disqualifier from service aboard our ship. However, its processing needs are sufficient that it can't reside in any normal computer system less complex than that used in an Exploration Cruiser or a starbase. Certainly it wouldn't be able to live in the computer a normal Dakota-class uses."

"Thank you, Mr. Brel," the Ferengi said, leaning back. "That will be all." He touched his commbadge. "Grunt to Vovonek. Please report to my ready room. We have some matters to discuss."

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Starbase 39-Sierra
Office of Base Commander Admiral T'Nae


"...and after capturing complete scan data, on my orders the Elachi ship was destroyed."

The Vulcan female behind the desk steepled her fingers. "Don't you think that might have been a bit - precipitous, Commander?"

"No, sir, I do not," Grunt replied. "This craft had already committed an act of war against a Federation facility in Federation space, and committed war crimes against the prisoners they took. The prisoners were beyond the help of even Starfleet Medical - euthanasia was the only practical response. I will admit there may have been an emotional component as well, but I was not going to let those fungal SOBs get away with what they'd done. My response was well within regulations."

"Very well. Now, as to this AI you found - I understand it is only able to operate aboard the Hephaestus due to the, ah, rather unique cybernetic configuration your chief engineer has achieved?"

"That is correct, sir. Mycroft requires more storage than is available on most shipboard systems."

"That is unfortunate, Commander. You will be required to remove the unauthorized system and turn it over to SCE for further analysis."

"I'm sorry, Admiral, but I'm afraid I can't comply with that order." Grunt very carefully did not smile.

"Please explain yourself, Commander." T'Nae's emotional control didn't slip, but there was just a hint of frostiness in her tone.

"Well, Admiral, under salvage law and the traditions of the Pakled, any items recovered from craft outside Federation borders, and whose owners cannot be readily contacted, are considered the property of the person or persons responsible for their recovery. As the components were recovered from a ship dating from at least two hundred years in the future, we can't exactly give them a call, and as the Pakled have never officially joined the Federation, Mr. Vovonek holds legal title to the computer system. Further, Mycroft has, as noted in our logs, passed all standard checks for sapience, and is officially a citizen of the Federation, pursuant to the Supreme Court decision in Voyager EMH Mark I, et al, vs. United Federation of Planets. As such, he has volunteered to join our crew as a civilian consultant on cybernetic issues, particularly cyberwarfare and infowarfare. As I do not currently have a Starfleet officer fully qualified for either position, I have accepted his offer. And under Starfleet regulations, Section 47, paragraph 23a, we are required to maintain quarters for each being aboard suited to their particular life-support needs. If I had a Breen defector aboard, I would need to modify one of my rooms to be a comfortable freezer. If I were conveying a Tholian diplomat, assuming such things exist, I would need guest quarters that could withstand temperatures in excess of 800 degrees centigrade. And as I have accepted the services of an AI as part of my crew, I therefore require a computer system capable of hosting his processes and memory requirements. Accordingly, I am unable, under Starfleet regulations, and both Federation and Pakled law, to release possession of the computer aboard the Hephaestus. I do apologize, sir, but," and he held out his hands in a supplicating position, "my hands are tied here."

"Indeed." One graceful eyebrow rose. "Very well, Commander. Until such time as you have been assigned a craft with greater computing capability, the systems of the Hephaestus are yours. However, you should be well aware that Mr. Vovonek's legal claim on the hardware is shaky, at best. It is fortunate for you that I do not see the point in provoking possible issues with the Pakled representative to the Federation at the moment." She reached for another PADD from the neat stack on the corner of her desk. "Now, as to your next assignment - you are to report to S'larin, a scientist at Sierra Outpost II, and follow his instructions for deployment of a minefield to protect our newest transwarp hub from possible Romulan incursion." She gave Grunt a look which, on anyone but a Vulcan, would have been a glare. "You are to follow S'larin's instructions exactly, Mr. Grunt. Is this understood?"

"Yes, Admiral, I understand and acknowledge your order."

"Very well, Commander, you are dismissed." T'Nae returned to her computer screen, as Grunt stood and headed back to his ship.
-------------------------------------------
Originally Posted by hfmudd
Quote:
You are special, you are unique, and you are passionate. You are also insignificant. Get used to it.

Last edited by jonsills; 08-20-2013 at 05:30 PM.
Commander
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 250
# 36
08-10-2013, 08:26 PM
One month after the loss of USS Agamemnon

Captain Rhonda Evans adjusted her dress uniform jacket one more time, looking at her reflection in the viewport. It was official, the loss of her ship had been investigated by the board, and she not only had not been reprimanded, but had been decorated. After what had happened in other engagements elsewhere along the armistice line, the Tiburon getting hammered, the loss of the Valkyrie, plus all the Klingon ships, anyone getting out of a scrap with the Fek with most of their crew, or more importantly civilians saved, were looked at as heroes.

Something she definitely didn't feel she was. Lucky was all...the method of her return raised a few eyebrows as well, but Temporal Investigations not only cleared her, Q had shown up at the Board hearing in an Royal Navy Admirals uniform from the 18th century. She wasn't sure if it was the current Q, or a future Q, and not knowing was probably for the best. Q proudly took the blame, telling the admirals that he wasn't done with her yet." Admiral T'nae looked more annoyed than usual, but Q tended to do that to people. So they let her keep command of the Heinlein. The fact that the AI wouldn't obey anyone else but her kind of sealed that deal, something that Q claimed credit for as well before poofing out. At least he had changed Admiral Fitsimmons back from the weasel he turned her into,though Rhonda privately thought it was an improvement.

There were still reports of missing freighters here and there, fortunately things have seemed to have tapered off. Hell, even the Klinks were talking about giving her a medal for her defense of their colony. There were rumors, mainly by talking heads in the media how this might lead to a permanent armistice, or even a peace treaty. Rhonda didn't feel that optimistic. She didn't feel much of anything, as Gay landed the shuttle at their next stop, Merced California. Ensign Melinda Sauer's hometown. of the over a hundred people that she had lost, forty eight had family on earth.

The first she had tried contacting, Crewman Jesse Bangerts family,that didn't go so well. She had contacted Crewman Bangerts father from the landing port in Reno, only to be told point blank if she showed her 'klingon loving murdering face' near their property they'd shoot her on sight, before hanging up on her. So there was nothing to do but get back in the shuttle, and head for the next on the list.

As the shuttle shut down, Gay looked with concern at her captain "you don't have to do this, they have casualty assistance officers who've all ready been there..."

She shook her head "they were only told what happened..they need to know why. They were my people, I need to do this."

Gay shrugged as they left the shuttle, there was ground transportation arranged to get them to ensign Sauers parents house. It was an older farm house, probably built in the mid 2300s. in one of the windows was banner, a white field with a red border, and a gold star in the middle of it, indicating that a family member died in service of the Federation.

Taking a deep breath, Rhonda straightened her back and rang the doorbell. The man that opened the door was scarred, the kind that come from a lifetime of battle. Captain Gergor Sauer (ret) opened the door "Captain Evans, thank you for coming."

Rhonda nodded as she stepped into the farmhouse. he looked just like the pictures Ensign Sauer had of her father, and of her home "thank you for seeing me" she replied "I just wanted to offer my condolences for what happened."

"she knew the risks" he said "same as I did, and her grandmother before her..and her younger brother. He left for the Academy the day before she died.."

There was a gentle tugging on her trouser leg. She looked down into Ensign Sauer's face-no..her daughter...looking just like her mother, the toddler holding a plush pink pony under one arm. Behind her the girl's grandmother stepped into the room "Tammy, it's time for your nap-oh..."

her eyes were just the exact same shade as her mother, the little girl smiling up at Rhonda "you know my momma? when she commin home?"

It was too much. she couldn't, wouldn't fall apart in front of the child, but she was losing it fast. "could you excuse me a moment?" she managed to get out, managing to make it onto the porch before her emotions overwhelmed her. She collapsed sobbing on the steps, then a moment later the door opened, and Gregor sat down next to her, holding out a box of tissue. "you're new at this, aren't you?"

She gratefully took one "I was a doctor originally, before they stuck me in charge. ah guess ah was lucky...in all the years hadn't lost anyone till now..."

He nodded, looking out over the trees "I was a geologist, in the science division. We were at Wolf 359, out of eight hundred plus on my ship, I was one of fourteen survivors. They thought that was good enough to give me a ship of my own. Then the Dominion war started...I was in command of the USS Ruben James at Chin'toka.. ten of us got out that time."

"ouch..."

"yeah. I kept asking myself, why did I keep surviving, when my crew, my friends died? At the end of it all.." he shrugged "as my first officer used to say, "why does it happen? Because it happens, roll the bones." he reached over and gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze "it's not anything I did wrong, nor is what happened to Melinda anything you did wrong. Space is dangerous, and there are things out there that wish us dead or worse. She made the choice to go out into the black. you want some advice?"

"Gladly."

He just smiled sadly "don't think of how she died, how the others died. Remember how they LIVED. Find good memories, and hang onto them like a lifeline."

She wiped her eyes, and smiled a bit "she always hummed this annoying little thing when she was concentrating on a problem, and used to torment us taking about the pecan pies her mom made."

"they still haven't figured out how to get those right out of a replicator?"

"hah, they can't even get decent peaches out of them still. Fortunately we had a big enough hydroponics garden we got some fresh produce."

Gregor stood, and offered his hand to help her up "well come on back inside, tell Tammy some fun stories about her momma, and have some fresh pie. Ellen made it when we heard you were coming."

Rhonda took the hand and stood up "I'd like that, thanks."

An hour later, she and Gay walked back to the shuttle port, waving at the Sauers who gave them a lift back. "you doing ok there?" Gay asked as she powered up the shuttle.

Rhonda just looked at the list on the PADD. There were forty seven names left to visit..but she felt that she could get through this now. "I'm ok. lets get moving, San Diego and Lt Vasquez's family next." The shuttle lifted off, heading south.
"It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier."

Last edited by knightraider6; 08-11-2013 at 04:42 AM.
Commander
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 428
# 37 End Run
08-14-2013, 08:45 PM
_


Subcommander Rycho watched the main viewer as the ship closed the distance to the shipyard. An intense desire to snarl in anticipation of the battle they were about to initiate warred with the outer dignity he had been taught to always maintain. His nature was in that way divided, as those who had designed him had intended him to be, all the better to control his abilities.

That they had failed in the end only fueled his desire to understand their thinking and the various limitations they had sought to remove by engineering his people. And, when he was honest with himself, Rycho had to admit that it was perhaps this desire that had led to his assignment by great Khan to that fateful scouting expedition, the one he often found himself deeply in thought of when time permitted him rare moments of reminiscence.


This was not such a time.


"Four more ships entering detection range.", Subcommander Tosik called from the Science station, obviously struggling with his own inner termoil at what they were attempting. "Initial identification are Assimilated Destroyers, class unknown. All four are initiating search patterns."

"That is a total of fourteen ships, Commander." Rycho shook his head, watching the tracks superimposed on the main screen display. "They will soon detect us, no matter how well we conceal ourselves."

The Commander nodded, her eyes intent on the screen as she sat with her chin upon her hand in a pose that seemed universal for deep thought. She indicated the structures ahead. "It does not matter. When we strike, we must decloak. And we must strike, so it is merely a question of when we will allow them to detect us."

"Perhaps if we were to launch from extreme range, we would have time to re-enter cloak? They would then have to find us yet again before they could interdict us, giving more time for another attack." Rycho suggested as he turned to her, knowing he was simply attempting to find some way they would survive the next hour.

But the Commander shook her head. "They are warp-driven starships. We will have moments to act before they are upon us, and escape will be impossible as long as they know where to direct their sensors." the Commander's jaw tightened visibly, something he had only seen her do very rarely "And a launch from that distance would allow the defenses too much time to intercept our weapons. That, above all, we must not permit."



Rycho returned his attention to the main viewer, his enhanced intellect seeing any number of possible tactics he could employ to confound or escape from their pursuers. However, they all relied on avoidance, and the Commander was committing them to an attack, and one that produced only a few outcomes that did not involve their complete and immediate destruction...none of them as pleasant.

"Two hundred kilocubics to acquisition of first shipyard structure." Helmsman T'kevv reported "Two minutes estimated firing range."

The Commander suddenly swung to look at Tosik. "The centralmost Cube. I note it has a designator different from the others. Why is that so?"

Tosik bent to call up information from his instruments, his hands tapping at the input commands until he found the notations. "The Cubes in this shipyard have all been positively identified as hybrid vessels, possibly including cloaking technology. While they are all inert, they are still enemy units and must be designated to account for their possible abilities.

"The central Cube does not have indications of a hybrid construction, but appears completely of Borg manufacture. If it activates, it will almost certainly be unable to cloak and must be considered to have the same potential as a standard Cube. Thus the primary designation difference."



Standing so suddenly that Rycho took a half step backward in surprise, the Commander walked to stand before the main viewer, staring as if in a trance. He wondered what could prompt such a reaction, but had that thought replaced by surprise when she said "Target torpedo on the Tal'shiar ships between ourselves and that vessel. Engage the warhead splitter and prepare to launch. Helm, as soon as we fire, bring us to within transporter range of that central Cube. Notify Strike Team to stand by for combat assault onto the Borg ship. Under no circumstances are any weapons to be fired at that vessel!"

As the crew began carrying out their orders, Rycho bent down to speak in a lower voice to her. "Commander, you know splitting the torpedo risks serious damage to the launcher. Possibly even catastrophic failure. These older launchers were never designed to step down their power levels to compensate!"

The Commander nodded, still watching the shipyards growing closer. "A necessary risk. We must reach that central Cube, and the vessels between our position and that objective are too well defended. The torpedo is the only weapon we have that will accomplish our goal, so it must do."

"But why??", Rycho asked, his voice becoming harsh as he almost reached out to grasp her shoulder, to force her to see the madness she was ordering. "Why must we reach that vessel? We are outnumbered and outgunned, our only strength our stealth and our ability to pick our targets. Moving into the very heart of the enemy will rob us of all that!"

But the Commander only looked at him, her eyes hard and committed as she said "I am Commander. Obey my orders."

Half-snarling, half exhaling in fustration, Rycho walked to stand near the Science station, earning a surprised glance from Tosik that the Human seemed oblivious to as he studiously watched Tosik's displays. Half-turning to glance a moment at the Commander, Tosik saw she was again staring at the main viewer, the image on it now a computer-simulated view that showed three Tal'Shiar battlecruisers that were arrayed in a line in front of them.




"Torpedo Control reports the warhead has been successfully divided and is being held in stasis." T'Kevv reported "Impulse fuel reserves diminished twenty percent."

"Acceptable." The Commander said "Time to engagement range?"

"Twenty Two seconds to firing range." the officer tapped several displays before adding "Note that the maximum rated duration of the stasis fields are only thirty seconds from final arming, my Commander. If we do not release in that time..."

The Commander cut an arm through the air. "It will be enough. Ensure Torpedo control is ready to rearm the launcher as soon as we have fired. Prepare to initiate attack. Disengage our cloak upon my command."




Seconds ticked past as the other ships grew on the screen, the tension among the officers around the Bridge rising. At what seemed the last possible moment, the Commander sat in her Judgement seat and ordered. "Attack!"

The light around the bridge changed abruptly as the sound of systems changing from their previous low-intensity levels rose into a much higher tone, the deckplates beginning to vibrate as the engines surged to full output. The synthetic sound that signaled the deactivation of the cloaking unit reverberating thoughout the Bridge, Rycho saw the weapons officer trigger his systems at the same time he announced "Torpedoes aflight!". Three massive globes of plasmatic energy leapt from the bow of the R'uhuv, each launch sending a shockwave through the hull of the warbird and causing the lights to dim slightly.




The ships ahead of them stood no chance. Linked to their targets by gravimetric fields that pulled the weapons towards them, the Tal'shiar might have survived if they had been able to go to warp fast enough to outrun the torpedoes, but they had been concentrating too much on locking their own weapons to the prey that had appeared in front of them. By the time they realized their error, it was far too late.

One ship managed to fire several plasma beams at the huge torpedo coming at it, but the beams were not aimed well enough and were deflected by the fields that sealed their fate. Then the projectiles met their targets, englobing each before imploding and producing a blinding white sphere of expanding nuclear fusion with physical properties similar to the interior of a star in their wake. Shields collapsed instantly, and the matter that composed the three starships fared little better, only blunting the searing energy that tore molecules apart. When the flares faded, all three ships were tumbling wrecks of their former shapes, adrift and aflame as parts of their hulls continued to burn.




"All speed to the target Cube!" the Commander stood and turned to Rycho as the ship lept ahead. "Subcommander, I will personally direct the assault on the Borg vessel. You are ordered to assume Command and fight the ship while I do so."

"Commander!!", Rycho's voice shook as he did what previously would have been unthinkable and grasped one of her arms in his powerful grip as she turned to leave. She gave him a look he had never seen before, a cool anger that he could not tell was due to his physically restraining her or his daring to challenge her. "You cannot board that ship with the legionnaires! That is my task! The risk is too great for a Commander of a Republic ship, and you know this!"

Peeling his hand from her, she turned her back on him. "I have no intention of accompanying the troops. I am going to my Ready Room. Follow your orders, Executive Officer Rycho. Keep my crew alive!"

Rycho could only stand in dumbfounded shock as she glanced towards Tosik, her eyes seeming to lose some of their determined fire for a moment as the Science Officer turned to the confrontation and met her own gaze. Then she strode through the doors and disappeared into her office, the sliding doors sealing her off from his sight.

A sudden alert tone brought both himself and Tosik back to the danger they were facing, the Science Officer frantically reading his readouts. "Four destroyers coming in at Warp Two!"

Sitting quickly in the Judgement seat, Rycho struck the armrest in fustration and he barked out "Drop the mines! Full dispersion! Maintain course!"

Watching the display, he saw the enemy ships abruptly vear away from the tumbling canisters of destruction left in their path. Arcing in evasive actions, the ships passed wide of the R'uhuv and decellerated far out of position to prevent their approach to the shipyard. However, they were undamaged, and Rycho knew they would not be deterred again.

Then they were passing the shipyard, moving to put it between their closest foes and their path away from the massive structure. As they left the mazework of support and power connectors to the Borg vessel behind, Rycho activated his intercom. "Centurian L'Voss, report! Did your troops successfully board? How many do we have aboard the Cube?"

There was a moment of silence before the voice of the senior Legionaire replied, sounding puzzled. "No, Commander. We are still awaiting orders to do so. When will we reach the target?"




Rycho's head jerked up in surprise, and he sat for only a handful of seconds before he was racing for the Commander's Ready Room, his hands balled into fists. His only thought being that she had purposefully given him command of the ship to provide some form of scapegoat for any failure of the mission, revenge for his actions on Risa, he swept past the doors. Romulans, he thought, never forgive a lapse in judgement!

But as he entered her stateroom, the doors closing behind him, Rycho found himself within an empty room. No Commander sat where he expected to see her, and no display holos hovered over her desk. It was as if she had never been in the room.

Walking forward, unable to understand what he was seeing, Rycho came around the Commander's desk and saw the PADD sitting upon it was active, displaying two lines of text. The first read 'Subspace Message Transmission Complete. Reception Confirmed." The second, however, was hand-written in an open Commander's log, and the words caused dread to rise in his mind.



'There are forty-seven names in the book.'




Staring at the single sentence, words he could not understand, he barely registered the hit that sent him spinning through the room, a massive booming reverberating thoughout the ship as the lights flashed out and his shoulder impacted on the wall beside the doors to the Bridge. Pain exploded in his head as it slammed hard on the deck, the room spinning more as he rolled. Red emergency lighting came on as a rushing sound filled his ears, and he began to pass out.

With a supreme effort of will, Rycho pushed himself up from the floor, seeing small spots of blood where he had landed, and levered himself against the bulkhead as he called upon the disciplines taught to him in another century to push back the darkness, to deny the need for his body to render him unconscious. No! Not now! I will sleep when -I- command it!!

Carefully, he braced himself as he stood, his shaking limbs becoming stronger as he commanded his muscles to draw on reserves within himself. The smell of burning materials was now noticable in the air as he dully noted his left arm was hanging limply at his side. That sight galvanized him, rage at the injury done him and the need to strike back giving him the energy to reach the doors and slap the emergency override when they failed to open automatically.

Rycho staggered back onto a Bridge shrill with warning alerts and lit by only the same emergency lighting as the Ready Room. The main screen sat at an odd angle displaying a static-filled test pattern, and he could hear the engine vibrations in the hull dying.

Lurching into the Judgement seat, he looked to the other Officers. Helmsman T'Kevv lay sprawled at his station, unmoving as smoke rose from the controls under him, while Senior Engineer Kourikus frantically worked at his station despite the burns across the back of his uniform. The Communications Operator was missing, and he did not have time to look for the woman in the semi-darkness.




"Report!" Rycho shouted, his voice carrying over the sounds of secondary explosions somewhere else within the ship.

"Two destroyers decloaked along our path and fired as we were cloaking!", Tosik said as he held a hand against the right side of his face. "We took two hits amidships, and three on the starboard nacelle support!"

Gripping his chair, Rycho demanded "Who ordered the cloak engaged?"

"I did." Tosik admitted as he gave Rycho a stern look. "You were not here, and a third ship was coming into firing range behind us! It was the only thing I could think to do!"

Shaking his head to clear it more, Rycho growled under his breath as he realized his departure had left Subcommander Tosik the senior officer on the Bridge. However, there were much more important concerns to deal with. "Damage report!"

"Hull ruptures on decks six and seven aft. We are venting atmosphere, and the starboard nacelle has been breached! Engineering reports warp drive no longer available, and our shields are fluctuating." The Senior Engineer reported as he worked "Torpedo Room reports the launcher has been damaged and is inoperable, but may be brought back online within four minutes. Impulse power still available, as well as all beam projectors, but the cloaking system has been destroyed. Shuttle Control reports fires in the shuttle storage areas, and Medical is attempting to determine casualties."




Looking at the main viewer, Rycho ordered "Restore the main screen! Tactical!"

The test pattern was immediately replaced by a display of the area around the R'uhuv, now rendered in crude flat projection instead of the holographic realism he was used to. Looking at the slow pace of his ship, Rycho saw the markers that represented enemy ships closing on them from several directions. They were not on attack runs, he realized, but were coming in together.

They see us a crippled ship. Rycho thought as he sat back, the bitter taste of defeat beginning to reach his mouth. They intend to capture us.

Looking about at the darkened Bridge, at those around him who still fought to keep their ship alive, Rycho finally realized the burden the Commander had carried from the first day she had assumed the chair he now sat in. The lives that had been placed in his hands, and the duty to hold them in trust for the people who depended on them all to protect them. In that moment, he came to understand all that had eluded him until it was thrust upon him.

And that he was not going to be able to save them.

Looking at the black covered box mounted in the deck at the foot of his Judgement seat, Rycho knew he had one last option. One way to at least save his crew from the terrible cruelty that awaited them at the hands of Tal'Shiar interrogators. He would have to act now, before they achieved transporter range....




Then the speakers around the Bridge crackled as an incoming transmission was automatically routed to them, and the voice of his Commander spoke from them.

"I am the voice of the many."



It seemed several other voices joined with hers, and spoke in unison.

"I am the one who brings order from chaos."




And then it was a multitude, a unified voice of thousands, and in that voice was souless purpose.



"We are the Borg."




Alarm tones blared across the Bridge as Tosik pulled back from his console in shock. On the main viewer the markers representing the forty-seven Cubes began to pulse with alert icons, then turn red as the tactical systems that still functioned recognized that the massive vessels were dormant no longer.

Then the Cubes began ripping free of the structures attached to them, habitats and workshop modules being thrown aside or crushed as the massive shapes they had been built to service accellerated away. Unhindered by the minor masses they were discarding, the Cubes moved with slow, unstoppable purpose, small shuttles unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place and time impacting on their surfaces as they passed.

In obvious panic, the Tal'shiar ships broke from their courses towards the R'uhuv and turned to the new threats around them. While a few disappeared into cloak, most formed into several attack formations and headed towards the nearest Cube to their position. Rycho could not understand what they were intending until he saw one formation unleash a volley of projectiles that seemed to shift from one color to another as they travelled.

So, the Tal'shiar had measures in place in the event of betrayal by one of their own. Rycho thought as he watched the torpedoes strike one of the Cubes, causing no sign of damage but rendering it a powerless mass of hullmetal and systems that no longer functioned. Not surprising, given how much betrayal plays into their ideals.



Then the remaining Cubes began firing their own beams, and space was suddenly alight with ships being rent, their shields and hulls cut through by the Borg's unbelievably high-powered lasers. In seconds, the Tal'shiar ships had been cut to half their numbers, and those that remained were desperately launching more torpedoes in all directions. Cutting beams shot down most of these before they could strike their targets, while the Cubes swept onwards as though the smaller ships were simply minor obstacles on their way to open space.

Then, with a flash of psuedomotion, a full fleet of Tal'shiar ships came out of warp directly in the path of the Cubes. Rycho had only a moment to register the presence of no less than three of the dreadnaught-class vessels that were the height of Romulan star power among the vessels of the fleet before he saw one of the destroyers that had been under cloak reappear and head towards the R'uhuv once again.

"Weapons! Is the launcher functional?" Rycho asked before remembering that T'kevv could not answer. Pushing out of his chair, he reached the Helm and saw the station was a mass of half-melted plasmetal and shattered conduits.

"Torpedo system still inoperative" Tosik reported from his station "And our beams will not penetrate their shields."

Rycho again glanced at the black control box by his chair, but before he could lunge for it, Tosik's gasp of surprise brought him up short.

"Proximity alert!" he said, his fingers flying across the console "Three ships have dropped out of warp around us!"

"Identify them!" Rycho ordered as he looked at the main screen.

Tosik frowned at his readouts as he said. "One ship identified as a Breen Chel Grett Class cruiser. One ship identified as....it's one of the new Risan defense corvettes!"

Rycho saw the two ships move to intercept the approaching Tal'Shiar destroyer, but suddenly felt cold fear begin to settle into him as he saw no fewer than three of the Cubes turn from their flight and head directly for the R'uhuv. "What about the third?"

Tosik leaned forwards before saying "Federation Sovereign class cruiser, but it's signature is strange. It is also not transmitting a Federation transponder signal. It is...."

Before he could finish, Rycho saw bright blue flares surround each person around the Bridge, and heard the tones of a transporter. Before he could do anything except blink, the world dissolved into the glow of transit.



_______________________________________________




Standing at the viewport, Rycho watched the stars pass by, the streaks of tachyons making the passage through warp a visual experience that caused him to again dwell on the past. And the present, though that was still too painful to spend time upon.

Behind Rycho, the doors opened, and a middle-aged human entered. From the reflection before him, he recognized the man, even though it would not have been anyone else entering this Ready Room. Without turning, Rycho said. "Admiral Verne."

The man nodded as he moved to sit at the desk that dominated one part of the room, and Rycho saw him put a PADD on its surface. "You'll be pleased to know all of your surviving crew were retrieved before the R'uhuv was destroyed. Our sensor scans confirmed that no one was left behind."

Rycho continued to stare out at the universe as he said. "One was."




In the silence that stretched, Verne stood and came to stand beside Rycho. At another time, Rycho would have been considering how his superior abilities placed him far above even speaking to this man, this commander that even Starfleet considered lacking in their eyes. But the events at Quanuyr had burned away all of his desire to prove his superiority, and left only one overriding imperative for him.

"She asked us to follow you in, to stay outside the system in case you ran into something you couldn't handle." Verne said as he also looked out. "All in complete confidence, of course. No way to involve Starfleet in this. She was that rare commander who knew from the beginning that Command is more than regulations and orders."

After a moment, Rycho turned to regard the Admiral. "Not involve Starfleet? A Sovereign class starship appearing in the Romulan Empire's most sensitive shipyard, in the middle of a battle and actively defending a Republic ship? How does that not involve Starfleet?"

The Admiral faced Rycho, and raised an eyebrow. "The Conquest is a starship of the Terran Empire, as is this uniform, and as are my command crew. Since the Empire has no affiliation with Starfleet, I'm sure the Tal'shiar can take up the matter the next time they happen to meet an Imperial representative. However, as that would require Tholian aid or help from the Empire, I don't think that is going to happen in the immediate future."

Turning back to the stars, Rycho only grunted. After another brief silence, the Admiral cleared his throat carefully and said "The Republic has already notified us that they expect to have you delivered to New Romulus at the maximum speed possible. It seems you and your crew will face a serious debriefing. Particularly given that the Cubes from Quanuyr escaped."

That message had come through quite clearly from the last Tal'Shiar ship in the system, just before it was rammed by the passing Cubes. The intercepted transmission had arrived during the setting of Rycho's broken arm in the Conquest's sick bay, and had roused him enough from the introspection he had been in since the battle to come up to the Admiral's stateroom unannounced. When he had found the doors unlocked and the office empty, Rycho had decided to wait, thinking of....

"They will not pose a threat to the Republic. Or the Federation." he said, shaking his head "She will not permit it."




Verne's voice was compassionate as he said "Your Commander is not the person she was. That person sacrificed herself so that her crew could survive, and her mission succeed. What is now left...is Borg."

Rycho straightened, his mind suddenly sharp with purpose as the Admiral's words triggered the old reflexive need to resist, the uncompromising directive to dominate what the world around him wished to impose upon him. And in that base drive, conditioned into him by his designers, Rycho crystalized the imperative he had been left with into unyielding determination and clear knowledge of what he must do.

Nodding to the Admiral, he turned towards the door. "Excuse me, Admiral, but I must begin preparing my crew for our next mission."

Admiral Verne turned to watch Rycho leave. As the Augment was about to pass through the doors, he asked "And what mission would that be?"

Rycho turned and smiled grimly "Why, to get my Commander back, of course."



____
"I am your leader, I am in command. The fate of all my followers lies in my hands. The burden of what is right or wrong, decisions have to be made. I have to take you all into this burning Gate." - Iron Savior, 'Never Say Die'.

Last edited by danqueller; 08-20-2013 at 03:39 AM.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 147
# 38 Forty-Seven: A Status
08-18-2013, 06:41 PM
Amanda Carpenter

Amanda Carpenter sat on her bed and thought of Miguel Jarvis. Thankfully both were assigned to the Executor now that the Reaper was scrapped. She had a feeling that Jarvis was finally ready for a long-term commitment. The only question was when he would seal the deal.

Kerna'tharan

Quote:
The boarding simulation onboard the Ithaca began at 0347 hours. I disabled eleven crewmembers before the holographic security officers were activated. The holographic emitters were easily seen and destroyed. Ensign Henderson and Lieutenant Zharnev hid from me and did not seek help. Commander Lim watched me engage the Klingon hologram. I recommend that these officers be sentenced to death.

The simulation ended when I shot Captain Smith in her bed at 0402 hours. She was asleep.
Captain Smith contacted T'Panna on the Executor. "Your security officer is an ass!"

T'Panna smiled. "Was Kerna'tharan wrong?"

Miguel Jarvis

Miguel Jarvis took a shuttle from Buenos Aires to Earth Spacedock to have more time to think. His vacation with Amanda started tomorrow and lasted until reported for duty on the Executor. If all went well, he hoped to give her the item secured in his pocket.

ch'Raul

Counselor ch'Raul enjoyed reading Kerna'tharan's report. The Jem'Hadar had come a long way since his amputation.

The next message in his queue was from Admiral Forlan at Starfleet Medical.

Quote:
ch'Raul,

I wanted to be the first to tell you about your promotion. You will be officially promoted to captain before Executor leaves.

You will be the only ship counselor with that rank. Your part-time teaching responsibilities for the Academy helped me bend some rules. T'Panna will be your commanding officer.

Congratulations! But I still remember the day you punched me in the face...

Forlan
T'Panna

T'Panna sat in her ready room and examined the list of senior officers. Glotz at ops, Simeon at helm, Kerna'tharan at security, and counselor ch'Raul were all returning. She needed a first officer. Ch'Raul had politely refused. Kerna'tharan had trouble with abstract thought. She needed someone new.

Yair Hillel

Yair Hillel's appointment with T'Panna was scheduled for 0930 hours. It was only a few weeks since he took leave, moved to Bajor, and resigned from Starfleet in order to pursue what the Prophets wanted from him...or so he thought. Talking with Ben Sisko helped him realize that the Bajorans don't need someone who can't keep his marriage and family together.

T'Panna had no reason to let him re-join the crew. But his wife Isabella was going, so it made sense for him to reclaim his commission and pretend that this detour never happened.

Isabella Hillel

The piano in her parents' house was a source of solace once again. Isabella allowed the music to freely flow from her memory for hours while her parents watched Emily. Yair had caused many sorrows, but here they fled from her mind. Happiness was found at last.
Captain
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 639
# 39
08-19-2013, 04:33 PM
Lynathru stared silently at the report on his terminal, reading it and re-reading it over and over again. The goblet of bloodwine in his hand had gone cold by now, and tasted caustic and bitter, though he had hardly noticed. The message had come from Qo'noS, desk of Chancellor J'mpok himself, distributed to all commanding officers in the KDF.

A massive revolt had broken out simultaneously all across the Klingon Empire. Everywhere-- on outposts, border worlds, in the Green District of the First City, and on almost every single ship in the Klingon Fleet-- Orions had taken up arms and lashed out violently, staging mutinies, committing acts of terrorism or simply rising up in mobs and riots. In every single instance, these Orions had killed as many non-Orions as they could, and had loudly proclaimed the coming of the Good Masters.

The Orion captain leaned back in his chair, feeling ill as he read the news. The Good Masters. He had figured that the Cult back on Terjas Mor would try something sooner or later- they'd always chafed at the idea of being ruled by an ohn'gallau like Melani Di'an, and it was only a matter of time before they made their move. But he had never imagined they would be so brazen as to launch their crusade all across the Empire, to stage mutinies and terrorism on Klingon ships. Especially his ship. He remembered the Notqa's battle against the Fek'Ihri, and of the act of sabotage Rashan had committed in the middle of that crucial battle. Extensive background checks and autopsies had been done on the Orions whom Rashan had poisoned, and it was now confirmed that almost all of them had been affiliated with the Cult in one way or another-- a third of them were even loosely affiliated with the loonies of the Massana Syndicate. They were all religious nutcases, men who had been slaves for so long that the idea of being free Orions was unthinkable. And in their zealous need to be good slaves to their Good Masters, they had planned to take over his ship, to kill every single non-Orion on board...and possibly even kill him.

That is, if Rashan and...whatever had been possessing him...hadn't stopped them.

Lynathru's hand tightened around the goblet. The rasping voice of the unreal thing that wore Rashan's face came back to him. Three great enemies you will face...Three foes who each carry a piece of you...defeating and destroying each of them shall make you more, and less. You shall rise to power while falling into endlessness. You shall be the greatest and the lowliest of your kind.Mark my words, Lynathru the Vengeful, Lynathru the Ascendant, for this is your destiny.

He took a deep gulp of the blood wine. Damn Rashan, he thought. Damn the Fek'Ihri thing that had possessed him, damn his prophecies, and damn his...Masters. He didn't believe it. He didn't believe any of it. At least, he didn't want to. The idea that he might rise in power and stature itched away at him: the more he tried to ignore it, the more it itched.

He was reminded of his training back in the Klingon Academy. His Battlemaster, Khe'Rath, like so many other Klingons, had loved the plays of some ancient Human bard named Shakespeare. Lynathru, personally, couldn't stand the Human's works-- too high-strung and elegaic in their language, too presumptuous and overly dramatic in their plots. All the same, he was reminded uncomfortably of one of these plays-- Macbeth, a play about some feudal warlord who rose to power, become a bloodthirsty tyrant, and suffered a great downfall, all because he had followed a sinister prophecy. He took another gulp of blood-wine. No one could foresee the future, he thought bitterly to himself. Not him. Not the Matrons. Not some witches concocted by some drunken idiot Human. And certainly not the Fek'Ihri. No one.

Taking a deep breath, Lynathru felt his gaze return to the screen. The Orion uprising had been brutally put down, and even now, the Empire's logisticians were still trying to tally up the number of casualties. What was certain, though, was that now every single other Orion in the Empire was suspect: there were massive investigations and inquiries being launched by Temek and his bloody witch-hunters. To make things even worse, apparently a big battle had gone on around some Human crap-hole called Moab IV. The details so far were sketchy, but what little Lynathru saw mentioned that General Ssharki's reserve group had been forced to engage the Fek'Ihri, and an entire world had been lost. Faced with war on it doorstep and attacks within its own ranks, the Empire was now very, very jumpy.

Which was why Lynathru was not surprised to see an attachment at the end of the letter. It was a summons for him to return with his ship to Qo'noS, to stand before an inquiry that would determine whether or not he was really a loyal warrior of the Empire.

He took another sip of the bloodwine, and sloshed the foul-tasting liquid around in his mouth. This inquiry was going to be the end of him, he just knew it. He had been allowed into the KDF in the first place because the Klingons had been growing desperate-- he had come to the Empire seeking sanctuary from his old Syndicate, and he Empire, embroiled as it was in a bloody conflict with the Federation, wasn't in a position to turn down experienced ship captains. But as far as KDF politics went, Lynathru was a nobody: he was not aligned with any great house, nor had he made any significant allies within the KDF itself. And he had never, ever, given anyone reason to believe he was truly loyal to the Klingon Empire, because...well, he wasn't. His only loyalties were to his own self-preservation and fortune, and it just so happened that his membership in the KDF was the only way to safely facilitate either of those until a better option came along. And unless Lynathru's immediate superiors were complete and utter fools, they probably knew that as well.

He was trapped. To go back to Qo'noS meant facing this inquiry and being thrown to the wolves. But to ignore the summons and flee...even if his crew didn't mutiny against him and kill him, he'd still be hunted down as a deserter and traitor. It would mean a life of yet more running...and Lynathru had made enough enemies in his time without adding the entire Klingon Empire to the list.

Just then, the ship's comm system beeped. "Captain," came the voice of his First Officer, Kovar, "we are picking up a distress signal on long-range sensors."

Lynathru leaned forward in his seat, his attention shifting. "Origin?"

"Rumaka Station, Captain, one of the Empire's weapon testing facilities in the Hedon system," Kovar replied. "The message indicates that the station's labour corps is in a state of revolt, and that it is only a matter of time before the station falls."

The mention of a revolt caused Lynathru to stiffen. "What sort of revolt?" he asked. "Is the labor corps made up of Orions?"

"Unknown, Captain." Kovar sounded a little confused by the statement-- clearly he hadn't recieved the message from High Command yet. "Ressic informs me, however, that the message is probably at least forty-seven minutes old by this point."

That settled it. If this was another Orion revolt, then it was also Lynathru's way of avoiding the Rura Penthe mines. After all, no one would doubt his loyalty to the Empire if he crushed another Orion uprising. And if those rebels were Orions, well...they should have known better.

"I'm heading to the bridge now," Lynathru said as he stood up. "Set a course for Rumaka Station immediately, maximum warp."

Hopefully, High Command would forgive him for being a little late.

Last edited by ambassadormolari; 08-19-2013 at 04:39 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 9,041
# 40
08-20-2013, 12:37 PM
There are 47 entries!!! Well, there were almost 47 entries Seems like you all enjoyed this one; thanks for participating!

I am going to unstick this as I prep to post #48, but as always, feel free to still contribute an entry if you have not had a chance yet.

Cheers,

Brandon =/\=
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:09 PM.