Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 9,125
# 51
05-25-2014, 07:48 PM
LC 16 redux ("First Contact"). This is a tie-in for "Invasion".
------------------- article on the Ha'ni species, retrieved 9 May 2412.

The Ha'ni: Biology and society

The Ha'ni species is a parthenogenetic reptilian race from the planet tr'Akh'ss, or Earth, which apparently evolved from varanid lizards in several parallel timelines. All Ha'ni societies encountered thus far have been capable of superluminal travel, although they lack warp drive. Two Ha'ni states in two separate timelines have been encountered so far; the zhirat, or Ministry, known only from the testimony of Starfleet contractor [Nemesis unit designation Three, and the Khizhat, or Suzerainty, a militaristic state that invaded our universe and was repulsed after a brief but violent political turnover thanks in part to the efforts of unit designation Three and Captain Ael t'Kazanak. Following this incident, all Ha'ni forces left for their own universe, leaving one scientist, S'lin Ta'kat, behind as an exchange officer. The rest of this article assumes discussion of the Khizhat government.

Ha'ni bear a strong resemblance to bipedal Komodo dragons, with powerful prehensile tails and broad but surprisingly dexterous digging hands equipped with heavy claws. The scales vary in color and pattern by the individual, but broodlines generally share a similar appearance. The dorsal scales are darker and rougher than the ventral scutes, which are generally kept smooth.

Ha'ni reproduction is similar to that of the certain teiid lizards; Ha'ni reproductive individuals (or jian) engage in copulation in order to stimulate ovulation. Meiosis and mitosis followed by self-fertilization results in eight identical gametes fusing into four zygotes; this helps perpetuate the genetically-determined Ha'ni caste system. The soft-shelled eggs are incubated for an average of six months before hatching. Jin and zin do not reproduce; neither show sexual desire, and zin are considered to lack gender identity (which has raised some interesting sociobiological questions, given the unisexual nature of the Ha'ni.

Hatchlings are separated by caste at birth, due to the specific care requirements of young jin (soldiers) and zin (scientists). Juveniles are fed regurgitated food by caretakers (other members of their caste) until they are capable of eating solid food unassisted. Juvenile jin are often genetically augmented shortly after this point if a senior Ha'ni deems them worth the effort.

Ha'ni names have two parts; the personal name, given to each hatchling by a caretaker, and the broodline name, similar to a Human family name; it is considered highly insulting for any Ha'ni other than a close friend, lover, or confidant to use the personal name of another, especially if that other is a high-ranking official. A broodline (khrnit) is a Ha'ni social structure consisting of a large number of Ha'ni all descended from a certain, renowned Ha'ni. If a Ha'ni is particularly exceptional, she (or her closest jian relative if that Ha'ni is not capable of reproduction) is declared the first member of her own broodline, which is given her name. Some broodlines have died out, due to random meiotic chance, and according to zin Ta'kat some had lost the capacity to produce jin and zin before the development of easy genetic modification. Most broodline members have similar personalities, and some similarities are usually visible even across castes; for example, Nivat broodline Ha'ni have a well-deserved reputation for wisdom and strategic thinking skills, while Akh'sat broodline Ha'ni tend to be simplistic and obedient, and Warat broodline Ha'ni are conservative and xenophobic.

Ha'ni also show personality differences across castes. Jian, who make up most civilian and bureaucratic roles as well as non-combat military roles, are largely similar to Humans in their psychology. Jin, who make up all combat roles in the Ha'ni military, are highly intelligent but very militaristic in their thought processes; a savvy opponent can often use this to gain an advantage. Zin, who perform all duties related to scientific research and weapons development, are easily as intelligent as the most renowned Human scientists, perhaps as intelligent as artificial life-forms such as former Enterprise-E captain Data, but show almost pathological congenital attention-deficit disorder symptoms. Ha'ni have dedicated guards for zin laboratories, and most Ha'ni officials have standing policies of not using zin-designed technology without extensive testing, due to the high propensity of such technology to explode.

Ha'ni do not salivate, and so consider spitting to be tantamount to regurgitating; a terrific insult. Furthermore, they consider kissing to be deeply perverted, because the only time in casual life that two Ha'ni mouths will touch is when an adult regurgitates food to feed a juvenile. If for any reason Federation forces are serving with Ha'ni, it is imperative to remember this cultural taboo, as it may permanently jeopardize relations and result in the deaths of all personnel involved.

Ha'ni do not commonly wear any clothing other than armor and a hip cloth to cover the cloacal region. Zin often wear vest-like arrays of belts and pockets to carry half-finished experiments and tools, however. Instead of uniforms, Ha'ni soldiers and officers usually wear necklaces or armbands to indicate their rank and assignment.

The Ha'ni state is a militaristic and expansionist society called the Khizhat, a Ha'ni word that means "Suzerainty", run primarily by jin military personnel. Jian make up 99% of the bureaucracy and about 30% of the military, mostly in support roles. The Ha'ni may or may not have access to replicator technology, but their society seems to operate without money, like most replicator-based societies. The military is mostly meritocratic, although according to Ha'ni troops who worked with Captain t'Kazanak and her crew during the attack on Earth, some political infighting resulted in promotion discrimination against relatively non-xenophobic Ha'ni.

The Ha'ni take extreme pride in their civilized status. "Uncivilized" actions, such as pre-emptive strikes, breaking treaties, and certain degrees of treason, are treated with the same harshness as the most dishonorable or cowardly Klingons. Ha'ni "civilization" does in fact bear some resemblances as a concept to Klingon honor; in fact, the Ha'ni have, in a similar fashion to the Klingons, declared certain members of other species effectively equal to their own kind (see below).

The Ha'ni have an extremely advanced understanding of wormholes, certain exotic particles, and materials science, but have not developed conventional transporters or energy shields. For more information, see the article "Unusual alien technology: Ha'ni".

Ha'ni invasion: Roots of the conflict.

In late 2411 (Terran Gregorian calendar), a Ha'ni scout frigate captained by a jin augment named Ar'tana Nivat entered our universe through an experimental wormhole device, where it encountered and destroyed an Undine dreadnought. The frigate (designated Ha'ni Khizhat zar'tanae Naarat, which translates as "Ha'ni Suzerainty Destroyer Vindication") then returned to the Ha'ni universe.

The Ha'ni supreme leader, Za'raess Rugon, deeply concerned about the stagnation and corruption of Ha'ni society, ordered another incursion, this time with a large fleet, in the hope that the exploration would revitalize the Ha'ni state and provide her with the opportunity to replace particularly xenophobic officials with more moderate Ha'ni. A force of over three hundred Ha'ni vessels, including one hundred and fifty scout frigates, thirty mid-sized exploration vessels, over one hundred battlecruisers, and several dreadnoughts equipped with light-focusing planet killer weapons, entered the Vorn system in early 2412, annihilating a Borg Collective strike force and installation in seconds. The supreme commander of the Ha'ni military, High Admiral ty'Lea Warat, a fanatical Ha'ni supremacist, then attacked and destroyed a Starfleet strike force that had been engaging the Borg, violating several Ha'ni military protocols and direct orders in the process.

High Admiral Warat was confined to the brig of the Ha'ni command ship for several days, in which time the Ha'ni fleet was attacked by another Borg Collective force and what appears to have been an Iconian fleet, both of which were defeated in seconds by Ha'ni weapons and planet killers. Ha'ni scientists under the command of Captain Ar'tana Nivat scavenged the wreckage and recovered Borg shield emitters, possibly in addition to other technology.

UFP response.

Starfleet Command ordered a four-ship task force led by Vice Admiral Alec Hammond to negotiate with the Ha'ni and find an acceptable solution. Admiral Jorel Quinn insisted on assigning his personal "fixer", Nemesis unit designation Three, to the situation due in part to her prior experience with the Ha'ni or another timeline. To counterbalance Three's well-known and self-admitted psychosis, Admirals Jac Chelliss and Kathryn Janeway (herself beset by allegations of psychosis and war crimes) suggested the assignment of Captains Ael t'Kazanak and Adam Pearson to the task force.

Arriving in the Vorn system, the task force entered into a formal cease-fire with High Suzerain Rugon, who wished to give the "mammalian" forces the opportunity to flee the galaxy before what she saw as the inevitable Ha'ni conquest. The revelation that the Ha'ni offer of unconditional surrender was actually an unprecedented "gift" caused consternation among the task force members, and enraged High Admiral Warat, a religious and xenophobic fanatic who wanted to "cleanse" all potential universes of non-Ha'ni.

Treachery and attack on Earth.

After meeting with Admiral Hammond and Pentaxian ambassador S'rR's, Rugon declared a temporary recess of negotiations. While the task force discussed the situation, Rugon was murdered treacherously by High Admiral Warat, who declared herself High Suzerain. Faced with a dearth of suitable candidates, Warat was forced to name Ar'tana Nivat as a High Admiral.

Warat then invited Admiral Hammond and Ambassador S'rR's back to the command ship for further negotiations; unit designation Three and Commander Pok Raban went as bodyguards.

The "further negotiations" were a sham, however, and Warat ordered her most loyal troops to kill the Starfleet agents after tearing Admiral Hammond apart with her bare hands. After the survivors beamed out, Warat fired on the USS Concordia, killing Captain Pearson and all aboard instantly, then opened a wormhole in order to attack Earth.

This breach of the cease-fire constituted an unforgivable act of barbarism to the Ha'ni, and High Admiral Nivat declared a formal alliance with the Vanguard, the only surviving, combat-ready ship of the task force. Meanwhile, Warat destroyed Earth Spacedock and prepared for a planet-killer strike on Earth.

Assisted by the Vanguard and Klingon Ambassador Worf's bird-of-prey, the Hegh Da, and using a scavenged Borg shield emitter as a barrier field generator, Nivat's ship managed to stop the command ship and disable its planet killers. Assisted by Ambassador S'rR's, unit designation Three, and Commander Pok Raban, High Admiral Nivat boarded the command ship and killed High Suzerain Warat, then declared herself supreme leader of the Ha'ni.


The Ha'ni invasion incident is currently considered to be a draw by the United Federation of Planets. While a considerable number of Borg, Elachi, and Iconian vessels were destroyed by the Ha'ni, the loss of Earth Spacedock for the second time in two years, not to mention four fully-crewed warships and the command experience of Vice Admiral Hammond, constitutes a major loss for the UFP.

The Ha'ni retreated completely to their universe, with the sole exception of a zin-caste researcher, S'lin Ta'kat, currently stationed on the USS Patagonia as chief science officer. High Minister Nivat officially promised that no Ha'ni military personnel or starships will enter our universe for a century, in the same peace ceremony in which she declared Ambassador Worf a civilized being legally equal to a Ha'ni.

Starfleet Command has attempted to interview zin Ta'kat about Ha'ni technology, but so far she appears to be operating under a Prime Directive-like requirement to not share her native technology. Captain Ael t'Kazanak, Commander Pok Raban, and Ambassador S'rR's were awarded medals of valor by Starfleet Command, and Vice Admiral Hammond was ordered a posthumous Picard Medal for exemplary conduct above and beyond the call of duty.

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LC 42 Redux: I Am the Legacy of Romulus

A Day on the Farm
Part One of Four

It was hot. Damn hot.

Not unseasonably hot for Virinat’s southern hemisphere in early January, understand, but hot enough you don’t want to be out in it unless you have to be.

Morgan t’Thavrau had to be. It was late in the growing season, almost time for the harvest. The satla and kheh, analogs to Terran wheat and rye or so Morgan had been told, weren’t going to irrigate themselves, and she couldn’t handle the irrigation without being out on the tractor. And she couldn’t be out on the tractor if the Elements-damned thing broke down on her on the other side of her 230 hectares. It was hot enough that she’d probably end up with heatstroke if she had to hike back to the house.

And that meant a trip down to the garage.

Morgan parked the tractor under the overhang, cut the power, and hopped down, taking off her hat and wiping her sun-browned brow on her sleeve. Luckily they had a strong wind coming off Mount Hyjal today so it was cool in the shade. “Alatra!” she shouted into the machine shop. “Get out here!”

“Alatra’s out sick,” came a gravelly baritone voice from inside and old D’Vex tr’Hllauyin came out, wiping his hands on a rag.

“Morning sickness again?”

D’Vex nodded. “Mm-hm.”

“What’s she on now, number five?”

He nodded again. “Mm-hm.”

“She sure didn’t waste any time.”

“No, she didn’t. What’s the problem?”

“The blinkenlights are coming on.”

“The—” D’Vex gave an angry grunt and glared at her. “Could you be any less specific?”

“Hey, I’m a farmer, not a mechanic. I can change the lube and the brake pads; that’s about it. It’s the ‘check engine’ light, same as the last five times.”

The older Rihanha gave a heavy sigh. “All right, let me have a look.” He grabbed the railing and hopped up into the saddle. Morgan tossed him the keyfob and he slid it into the ignition. “Thought as much. It’s that number two fuel cell again. I keep telling you to get that thing replaced.”

“Well, if I replaced it I wouldn’t get to see your shining face every other week, now would I?”

“Flattery’ll get you nowhere, Morgan. If you had any more Earth in you, you wouldn’t be able to move.” D’Vex hopped down off the tractor and opened the engine compartment.

“Well, I have to have Earth in me, I’m a farmer. Seriously though, I’ve ordered the part but it won’t get here until two weeks from now at the earliest.”

“Where in the name of Fire did you order it from? Eight-mil hyperspanner.”

Morgan grabbed the tool off a nearby workbench and put it in D’Vex’s hand. “Crateris.”

“Ow! Crateris? You ordered Havran?”

Morgan looked at the back of his head. “You got a problem with Havrannsu, D’Vex?”

“Hrmph, I’m old-fashioned. Bloody goblins are all right but I wouldn’t want my daughter to marry one.”

“Be that as it may, I order Havran, I know it’ll work. They know their machinery.”

“How’d you afford the shipping? Last season’s tomatoes weren’t exactly anything to write home about.” As much as they tended to scorn anything not Rihan in origin, the Rihannsu had developed a definite taste for the Terrhain vegetable when the trade embargos were briefly lifted during the Dominion War.

“Well, you know Pel, that Feh’renga who runs the spaceport in Ahalris? She owed me a favor from about a dozen years back. Before you and Malem turned up in that old T’liss of yours.”

“You just better hope the part’s compatible with the old girl. This tractor’s had so many parts replaced on it I think the only original piece is the chassis.” He slammed the access panel closed. “Try it now.”

Morgan clambered into the saddle and hit the ignition. No harmonics, no blinkenlights, just the familiar reassuring thrum and whir of the fuel cells and gearbox. “Thanks again.”

“That’s six you owe me, t’Thavrau. You planning on paying me back anytime soon?”

“Just as soon as we get the harvest in, then we can crack a barrel of the ale from last year. My treat.”

“Oh, no, no, no,” D’Vex said, waggling his finger. “You’re not getting off that easy, young lady. I’ve worked hard enough keeping that tractor of yours running this season I deserve the good stuff.”

“Wine from ’04? I’ve still got a few bottles left.”

He nodded. “Ie. It’s a plan.”

“All right, then. I have to get those crops watered in the south field or they might catch fire if it gets any hotter out here.”

“The aithaen vr’faeoh says it’ll cool off later in the afternoon. It’ll probably even rain tomorrow.”

“The aithaen vr’faeoh says a lot of things. I’ve noticed it tends to be wrong two times out of ten. Y’hhau, D’Vex!” She released the parking brake and hit the accelerator, gunning the tractor out onto the main thoroughfare through i’Haanikh, making a left turn towards her home and her fields.


No matter how many modern technological conveniences were applied to it, farming never really got any easier, and Morgan knew she looked older than a Rihanha of forty-nine standard years should have done. Not much older—a few crows’ feet here, a few laugh lines there, a couple touches of silver in her obsidian hair, and the kind of weather-beaten skin that only comes from years of hard labor under a not-always-forgiving sky—but older than she actually was.

But it made her happy. As hard work as it was, she loved growing things, and she loved the land. This far from town on an early autumn day, she felt peaceful, at one with the Elements. Earth was all around her. As dry as it had been this week, Water was still in the Earth, making the lehe’jhme vines in her western pasture fragrantly fruit. The Air was in the cool breeze coming off Mount Hyjal, carrying the scent of the fruit to her nostrils, making her mouth water in anticipation of jams, jellies, and wine. Fire was in the blazing star 141 million kilometers over her head, and though it beat down horribly at midday it was bearable as long as the wind didn’t rob her of her hat.

She loved it all. It made her feel a part of something again. It was a feeling she’d lost in those terrible first years after …

It was just after midday, fourteen-fifty hours by local reckoning, when Morgan finally turned the tractor towards home. Her cottage was Spartan even by Rihan standards, but it was the right size for an unmarried woman and four farmhands. A cool shower, a light lunch of hlai’hwy and cheese, and an afternoon nap in her air-conditioned living room beckoned.


First Interlude

The bridge of the warbird is abuzz with activity as a huge ship, over two kilometers long, looms out of the blackness. Dark-colored and shaped like an in’hhui nnea aehallhai, a nightmare fish from the darkest depths of ch’Rihan’s oceans, with dozens of spiny tentacles sweeping forward as no race anyone aboard knew of would ever build their vessels.

“Hail them again, Arrain,” Commander t’Ethian orders.

“Unidentified vessel,” Centurion t’Yalu says into her microphone, “this is the Imperial Warbird Albintian. Identify yourself and state your intentions.” She waits. “No response, Riov t’Ethian.”

“Keep trying, but remember our priority is to get Fvillhu tr’Chulan and the survivors of the Deihuit across the Outmarches. That ship is 10,000 kilometers out. If they come within 4,000 kilometers you are to assume hostile intent and react accordingly. Amnei’saehne, do you have a firing solution?”

Ie, rekkhai,” the tactical officer, Lieutenant tr’Khellian, confirms.

Ih’hwi’saehne, what’s the status on the rest of the escort we asked for?”

“I don’t think they’re coming. The entire subspace relay network is a mess,” Subcommander Morgaiah t’Thavrau answers. “We haven’t gotten a response from anyone since the USS Nobel two days ago. Barring some miracle, we’re it until—”

Leih,” tr’Khellian interrupts, “target is changing vector. They’re coming straight towards us. Time to intercept, one minute twenty.”

“How long before tr’Chulan’s runabout can go to warp?”

“Two more minutes to repair the warp core.”

“Unidentified vessel has answered the hail,” t’Yalu announces.


The in’hhui nnea aehallhai vanishes from the screen and is replaced with a Rihanha who’s standing too close to the camera. He’s smooth-foreheaded, a recessive trait that still occasionally makes itself known in the Rihan phenotype. T’Thavrau thinks he can’t be older than a century, but he’s shaved bald, with dark eyes filled with bottomless sorrow and rage, and a huge pre-Imperial tattoo of mourning taking up the center of his face. “This is Riov Saeihr t’Ethian of the Imperial Warbird Albintian. Identify yourself, now.”

“Hello, Saeihr, I’m Nero.”

T’Thavrau quickly freezes the image on her console and runs a facial recognition search. Perhaps there is something in the Albintian’s internal records.

And there is. “Riov. Nero ir-Benheris tr’Sihalian, age 69, skipper of Mining Guild vessel Narada. Stationed at … at Hobus.” She can barely bring herself to say the name: The pain is still far too fresh.

Leih tr’Sihalian, what in the name of Fire happened to your ship?”

“A few upgrades. The better to avenge our people with.”

“Missile separation!” tr’Khellian screams.

“Shields up!” t’Ethian barks. “Dorsal disruptors to point defense! Helm, interpose us between that abomination and the Deihuit’s transport, now! Tr’Sihalian, self-destruct your warheads immediately and this incident will be forgotten.”

But the mad Rihanha has vanished from the screen already. T’Thavrau hears the muffled thrum of the old Raptor-class warbird’s dorsal disruptor banks going into rapid fire.

Impact. The noise is deafening and the entire ship bucks. T’Thavrau is thrown from her chair. A console detonates to her right. The ceiling over tr’Khellian’s station shatters and pelts him with debris. A structural member explodes out of the floor and the operations officer vanishes in a fountain of copper-green.

“Returning fire!” tr’Khellian shouts. The wounded warbird wheels and lets fly a salvo of plasma torpedoes.

“Damage report!”

“Dorsal shields at 41 percent!” an uhlan yells. “Hull breaches on decks one through four, casualties unknown! Medical teams responding!”

The plasma torpedoes slam into the leviathan. A few of the huge tentacles snap off but the core of the ship is largely unharmed. The Narada won’t be dissuaded. Another volley of missiles erupts as the two vessels close and trade disruptor fire.

The bulkhead on the left vanishes in a fireball and t’Thavrau, barely back on her feet, is thrown free and slams into the far wall at over eleven meters per second. There’s an ungodly howl as air begins to rush out into space in explosive decompression, taking the screaming t’Yalu with it before the emergency force fields can raise. “We’ve lost main engine power!” tr’Khellian yells.

The pain is incredible.


Author's Note: So, we meet my third toon, Morgan t'Thavrau. This story ended up being much longer than I intended so I'm breaking it into four chapters. If any Rihan experts read this I'll accept feedback on the language use (there's a couple spots I constructed my own phrases).

"Aithaen vr'faeoh" is a Romulan phrase I constructed myself from a couple of sources. It's a weather-forecasting computer program (lit. "computer program for rain").

RIS Albintian is one of the random names for Romulan Raptor-class cruisers in Star Trek: Armada II.
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We therefore commit his body to the deep, to be turned into corruption, looking for the resurrection of the body when the stars shall give up their dead.

Last edited by starswordc; 06-29-2014 at 01:04 PM. Reason: corrected Rihannsu phrase
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 639
# 53
06-22-2014, 01:39 PM
LC #45: Freestyle

Adim th'Zarel had a secret, one that he had guarded jealously from his shipmates and friends for quite a long time. It was the sort of secret that could have cost him his rank, his posting, and his self-respect if it had ever come out.

A year ago, when he had first got his commission as Chief Engineer on the Da Vinci, he had been caught in the midst of a terrible accident. It had been a rookie mistake, one that he had been kicking himself over ever since. In the middle of a level 5 diagnostic of the main power converters in Engineering, he had accidentally left the nearby electrical compression grid running. The resulting high-powered discharge had sent thousands of volts running through his body, shorting out his nervous system and leaving him unconscious for an entire day. Thankfully, the incident had been written off as a freak accident, and nothing had blemished his otherwise spotless record. After a day in sickbay, he had gone back on duty with a clean bill of health and a smile on his face.

And he had that clean bill of health because he had lied and cheated to get it. The truth of the matter was while the electric discharge hadn't done any permanent damage, a wider analysis revealed that he was suffering from the initial stages of Zhell Syndrome. A hereditary disease that usually affected Andorians, Zhell Syndrome caused the systematic neural degeneration and atrophy of the body, usually starting in the digits and then working its way up the limbs. Sometimes, if a person was lucky, the degeneration would just leave one limb dead and useless and leave the rest of the body alone. Other times, it caused crippling, body-wide paralysis which left the afflicted person an immobile, drooling vegetable for the rest of their natural life. There was no known cure for the degeneration other than genetic tailoring at birth or a mercy-killing, and it only afflicted one person out one hundred, usually in the later middle ages.

But he had it. By that point, the signs of neural degradation were already visible in his legs, and it would be a matter of weeks before both limbs became weak, numb and useless. Before he was numb, weak and useless.

Zimmerman, the MkV EMH serving in the absence of an actual doctor on the Da Vinci, had recommended that Adim should be removed from active service due to the severity of his condition-- even with the latest in nervous regeneration technology, Zimmerman had said, it looked doubtful if Adim would ever walk again once the atrophy set in, and there was no guaruntee that the degeneration would stop there. But Adim had spent the better part of his life in Starfleet, and he wasn't going to be retired early. And so, he had permanently silenced Zimmerman by coding a block into his program, effectively prohibiting him from ever mentioning the truth of Adim's condition to another living soul.

Adim had gotten by, since then, by jury-rigging a pair of medical leg braces with an auxiliary battery and motor servos, and coupling them with a neural interface to give is legs mobility. This not only got him up and walking again, but it also completed the illusion that there was nothing wrong with him, and that he could walk normally. It wasn't perfect, of course. Even with extensive modification too the leg servos, Adim couldn't run if he wanted to, and from time to time he would suffer intense spasms of lingering nervous trauma in his legs. Zimmerman had always tended to these pains with short-term nervous fixes and medication, forced to keep things a secret by Adim's coding. But despite Zimmerman's constant insistance that he do so, Adim refused to go in for long-term treatment, not wanting to be parted from his duties or his ship. The only alternative was nano-reconstruction, and after witnessing the horrors that the Borg had unleashed on Vega Colony, the last thing Adim wanted was to have a swarm of wriggling nanobots injected into his bloodstream.

Now, though, Adim was on a new ship, with a new doctor on the roster. An actual, flesh-and-blood doctor who could not be programmed into silence. And Adim's first mandatory checkup was today.

He lay flat on his back on a sickbed, his antennae twitching uncomfortably as he waited for show up. A nurse had already given him a preliminary antibiotic hypo and told him to wait for the Doctor to arrive. From what Adim knew, all of the medical files and systems from the Da Vinci, including Zimmerman, had been re-uploaded onto the Archimedes. Hopefully, he would get the hologram again, and no one would discover the irregularity in his nervous system. Or, hopefully, whoever was serving as the Archimedes doctor would take the medical files for granted, and follow up on Zimmerman's false recommendations. At the back of his mind, a part of him knew that he should have come clean from the beginning. If it was discovered that he'd been concealing his condition this whole time, it would end his career for good...

"Ah, Lieutenant Commander th'Zarel!" A cheerful voice suddenly exclaimed. "Nice to see that you could make your appointment. How are you feeling today?"

The next thing Adim knew, a tall, matchstick-thin Bolian in a blue Medical uniform stepped into view, a big, friendly smile running perpendicular to the dark ridge that ran from his crown to his chin. Adim's antennae could feel an slight chemical aftertaste of antigens in the man's presence, mingling unpleasantly with the acidic tang of Bolian perspiration. And he was smiling. Adim had to double check that, but yes, this Bolian was actually smiling at him.

Adim blinked. After dealing with Zimmerman's caustic attitude for so long, this doctor's friendliness was off-putting. "Um...good, Doctor..."

"Choll." The Bolian shifted his PADD he had been holding under his arm and shook Adim's hand firmly. "Dr. Velnan Choll, Chief Medical Officer of the U.S.S. Archimedes, pleased to make your acquaintance." Releasing Adim's raised his PADD again and looked over it briefly. "I see you're our new Chief Engineer from the Da Vinci? Fantastic. The warp core hasn't been purring like she used to since Chief Mgembe was transferred, and the replicators have been a bit spotty lately. I'm sure you're the man the Archie needs, and I'm doubly sure you'll love working in our Engineering section." He set the PADD down and added, with a conspiratorial grin and a nudge, "Besides, it's great not to be the only blue-skin aboard, eh?"

"Er..." was all Adim could say in response.

Setting the PADD down, the Doctor pulled a small, thin, metallic object from one of his medical pouches. "By the way," he said, "please open your mouth and say 'aaah.'"

Adim opened his mouth, to ask what the hell was going on. The next thing he knew, the metallic object was rammed into his mouth almost all the way to his tonsils, and began beeping very loudly. "AAAAAAH," he found himself saying, involuntarily.

And with that, Choll took out a medical tricorder and began to scan Adim thoroughly as the thermometer in his mouth beeped. A cold sensation ran up Adim's tongue, and he could have sworn he felt something metallic crawling inside his mouth.

"Hmm...body temperature is about normal, no sign of fever or chill," Choll muttered as he scanned Adim. "Your respiratory system seems to be okay, your circulation is normal, and unless the nanites have developed sentience and a capacity for duplicity, your heart rate is at nice and healthy Andorian levels. Neural emissions, cellular division and toxin levels are all fairly normal as well." The Bolian smiled widely...a smile that suddenly disappeared just as quickly as it came. " for your legs, there shouldn't be any lingering nervous trauma from your accident...hmm, hold that thought..."

Without warning, he pulled another device from a nearby drawer. Before Adim could say anything, Choll pressed it to Adim's knee. There was the quick spark of a minor electrical current, and the Doctor frowned, noting the immobility of Adim's leg. "Hmm, that's not right..."

"I ab meddigal dada..." Adim stammered, the thermometer impeding his speech.

"What?" Quickly, Choll pulled the thermometer free. The crawling sensation subsided, and Adim resisted the urge to spit out.

"I said, I have medical data," Adim said, "from the Da Vinci, regarding my legs. Wasn't it uploaded?"

Choll stared quizically at Adim. "Why yes, it was all uploaded, along with all of the other relevant medical systems," he said. "Why do you ask?"

By way of reply, Adim straightened up in his sickbed and glanced at the nearest panel. "Computer, activate emergency medical hologram!"

In an instant, a familiar, balding Human shape appeared directly next to Choll, staring down expectantly at Adim. "Please state the nature of the medical emergency," the MkV EMH said.

Choll glanced in surprise at Zimmerman, before his brow furrowed. "Ah, of course," he muttered dryly, "I almost forgotten we'd picked up the Da Vinci's EMH as well." He looked at Zimmerman from top to bottom with an analytical gaze. "Outdated program, too."

The words caused Zimmerman to spin around in surprise. "What-- I beg your pardon!" the hologram sputtered.

"Oh, sorry, where are my manners." Choll smiled again, and extended his hand to Zimmerman. "Dr. Velnan Choll, U.S.S. Archimedes."

Zimmerman did not take the extended hand. Instead, he stared incredulously at the Bolian. "Doctor?"

"Well, yes," Choll replied smoothly. "Chief Medical Officer, in fact. I understand that the Da Vinci didn't have a qualified senior medical officer on board, and hence had to make do with your services, Doctor. Rest assured, though, I'm on the case!"

"Zimmerman," Adim cut in, "tell Dr. Choll about my condition."

Choll turned and raised a quizzical eyebrow at Adim. "Zimmerman?"

"A name the crew of the Da Vinci gave me," the EMH said, "in reference to my program's original creator, Dr. Lewis Zimmerman. They felt give me an actual name and treat me as a physical crew member." Zimmerman folded his arms behind his back professionally and spoke as though in recitation. "Chief th'Zarel has a temporary nervous condition, acquired as a side-effect of Sufflian flu contracted on Starbase 24, which limits his mobility and has caused a slight degree of muscle atrophy. This necessitates the use of the mobile assistance servos that he has attached to his leg. I have been treating it with regular theuronazine injections and physiotherapy, and his problem should sort itself out in a few weeks."

Adim almost breathed a sigh of relief as Zimmerman recited his pre-programmed lie. Choll, however, made no reaction as he turned back to his tricorder. With a sinking feeling, Adim saw that the Bolian was skeptical.

" interesting diagnosis, Doctor Zimmerman," he said, "although have you tried any alternatives? Perhaps a bio-receptive cellular regeneration treatment?"

Zimmerman remained silent, gazing stiffly at Choll and then at Adim. A cold sweat broke out on the back of the Andorian's neck when he realized that Zimmerman had only been programmed to give that one excuse, and nothing more. He couldn't lie any more than he had already.

Choll continued to stare at his medical tricorder. "Chief th'Zarel, my scans indicate severe degenerative damage to the saphenous and femoral nerves." He looked up from his tricorder to give Adim a harrowing stare. "A simple flu shouldn't have been that debilitating. Care to explain that?"

Adim fidgeted in his bed. "Well..."

The doctor gave a long sigh, and closed his tricorder. "You're not the first officer to to contract something that would end their career, Chief th'Zarel," he said, "and you're not the first officer to falsify medical records to avoid a discharge. Although I have to hand it to you, you are the first to try to reprogram an EMH to cover it up."

Setting the tricorder down, Choll picked up a PADD and began typing on it. "Come to me tomorrow at about 0800, and I'll see if we can start a regenerative program on your legs. If we start now, we may be able to restore some of your mobility in two months or so, though I can't make any promises."

It took Adim a few seconds to realize he was staring, dumbfounded, at Choll. It took him a few seconds more to realize that the expected doom hadn't come. "What...what is this?" he blurted. "You''re not going to discharge me?"

Choll set the PADD down and gave Adim and almost parental look. "While I don't approve of you aggravating your legs further with those servos," he said, "you're this ship's Chief Engineer. We were already on a month-long waiting list after Chief Mgembe was discharged, and this ship needs someone to look after its mechanical needs." He smiled warmly. "You know, the needs of the many, or however that crappy Vulcan saying goes."

Adim was speechless. Sitting upright, he tried to find the words. "I...thanks, Doc," he said. "I owe you one. Really, I do."

Beaming widely, Choll gave Adim a hearty slap on the shoulder. "Always happy to help, Chief!" he replied. He quickly changed his tone as he saw one of the sickbay nurses come in earshot. "Er...come to me tomorrow, and we'll see if that...flu effect is still bothering you."

Nodding, Adim sat up, stretched his legs with a mechanical whine of servos, and stood up. There was still a reflexive tingle of pain near his right kneecap, and both of his feet still felt numb and dead, but strangely, none of that really bothered him anymore.

"Thanks, Doc," he said again, before striding out of Sickbay. His heart was pounding in his chest. The danger had come and passed. He could stop worrying about his career now, he knew, and start worrying about that electro-plasma inhibitor that needed replacing near the secondary containment grid...

As Adim left, Choll turned to the EMH, who had been standing patiently all the while. "So...Zimmerman, huh?"

Zimmerman raised his chin a little. "As I said, the Da Vinci crew found it expedient to give me a name," he said. His chest puffed up a little. "I was, after all, the one who tended to their medical needs for the longest time, and evidently they were pleased enough with my services that they uploaded my program onto the Archimedes."

"Ah." Choll gave Zimmerman a slight smile before turning and sanitizing the thermometer with a nearby matter cycler. "Well, you do understand that all senior medical positions on this ship are already taken. However, since another pair of hands is always nice, I suppose we could take you on as a Nurse."

Zimmerman's face went a simulated shade of beet red. "Nurse? I will have you know, I am fully programmed and qualified for a senior medical position!"

"Oh, its nothing against you or your programming, Dr. Zimmerman," Choll said, "except...well, I'm the ship's doctor, not you."

Zimmerman's mouth gaped for a few seconds before he found the words. "I will not be a nurse!" he protested. "I ought to bring this before the Captain!"

"Oh, I'm sure he'll be happy to know you lied about a patient."

"As did you!" Zimmerman settled down for a bit, and folded his arms behind his back. "Besides, I was reprogrammed. You have no such excuse."

Choll frowned, and folded his arms behind his back in turn. "Hmm, it seems we're at an impasse, then, Doctor."

"Indeed," Zimmerman replied. "An impasse which neither of us can ignore."

The Bolian slumped his shoulders slightly. "Then, perhaps, for the sake of the crew's health, we should put our differences aside, find an amiable solution, and work together to-- computer, deactivate EMH."

Zimmerman's eyes widened. "Why you--" was all he managed to say before he blinked out of existence.

With a satisfied smile, Choll slapped his hands together and looked back at his PADD. "Nurse, could you send in the next patient, please?"
Career Officer
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3,899

Let go!

Same old situation
Seems it's comin' 'round again
I won't play the fool
I'm not screwin' around
I only play to win

I only want what I deserve
So who are you tryin' to kid?
You can call it
Like you see it
But I call it
Like it is

I'm sick of shruggin' off your petty little ways
The names are always changing
In the end it's just a game

We're runnin' in a circle, never ending chase
You keep on steppin' out of reach
But you won't win the race

(No more) Waitin' around
(No more) Hangin' around
(No more) Draggin' me down
(No more, no more)

(No more) Waitin' around
(No more) Hangin' around
(No more) Draggin' me down
(No more, no more)

Every thing's so easy for you
But I've struggled to get this far
I'm alone in the fight
What's wrong, who's right?
I take it all to heart

Your true colors start to show
You call yourself a friend?
The teams are drawn
You chose your side
You'll get yours in the end

You play along to the same old song
Just as long as you can win
When someone better comes along
You're too cool to let them in

So now I've got you wonderin'
If I've got it in for you
I'd like to tell you different
But I can't because it's true

(No more) Waitin' around
(No more) Hangin' around
(No more) Draggin' me down
(No more, no more)

(No more) Waitin' around
(No more) Hangin' around
(No more) Draggin' me down
(No more, no more)

So now I've got you wonderin'
If I've got it in for you
I'd like to tell you different
But I can't because it's true

Your name here

Davey Havok and Geoff Kresge of AFI - "Your Name Here"

P L A Y . T O . W I N

USS Ray Bradbury, Eta Eridani Sector Block, en route to Otha System - Stardate 68359.94 (2409.05.11.0906)

Lt. Kenzie screamed as the towering Klingon-warrior-turned-Borg-drone seized her neck and readied its assimilation tubules. Pure, undistilled panic overwhelmed her as she stared into the gray face of death.

Then a Romulan tomahawk appeared in the middle of that face, sending the massive drone staggering back... and a small object struck its chest, made a puffing noise, and the drone simply exploded in a spray of circuitry and gore.

The Ferengi tactical officer took several rapid deep breaths and squeaked out, "Is that all of them?"

"END SIMULATION!" a voice snarled from behind her. A Ferengi male stomped past her console and pulled the tomahawk out of the drone's forehead an instant before the hologram faded. "You're useless, cousin!" Lt. Krispen snapped at her, his needle-sharp teeth clacking together. "You could have at least tried to use your rudimentary martial arts training to defend yourself... and you!" He waved the tomahawk at LCdr. Terdiak, the science officer. "Was your phaser actually set to STUN!?"

"Shipboard weapons are supposed to be set to stun by default as a safety measure-" the Betazoid protested.

"Yeah, but when you're shooting at a freaking tactical drone, the recommended setting is Maximum kill."

"Looks to me like you were doing enough maximum killing for all of us," Cmdr. Nanz Downig, the Tellarite first officer remarked. She sat down in the command chair and crossed her legs. "The rest of us barely had to lift a finger. What's the point of a security drill if the security chief is just gonna use it as a chance to show off?"

"Exactly how many different weapons do you carry on a standard duty shift, anyway?" Terdiak wondered.

"I counted nine," announced Starjammer, the android navigator.

"Eight," Krispen told them. "The Honor Guard pulsewave has a built-in grenade launcher... But that's my point! I shouldn't have to defend you all, if you'd just remember basic counter-boarding combat training and not panic like a bunch of lanas rats at the sight of a few drones! Holographic drones, no less!"

"Mr. Krispen," Captain McLain's voice boomed over the intercom. "I will see you in my ready room."

"Yessir!" the security chief said sharply. He folded his tomahawk and returned it to his belt, and turned on his heel and marched to the door in the side of the bridge.

When he was gone, Roos Terdiak looked at Kenzie and said, "Your cousin scares the **** out of me. I'd rather go up against a Borg crossed with a Klingon crossed with a Gorn crossed with a tricobalt bomb than him."

"I'd rather pretend he isn't here at all," Kenzie muttered, straightening her bra top and settling back into her chair.

* * *

Meanwhile, Krispen paced McLain's ready room as he continued to vent. "The crew is dangerously unprepared to handle anything unexpected. We're bound for the middle of a freakin' war zone and they all think we're on a pleasure cruise around Risa - my stupid cousin is actually dressed the part-"

"Lieutenant Kenzie's shipboard attire strikes an appropriate balance between current Starfleet uniform regulations and your people's traditional clothing standard for females," McLain remarked dryly. "I realize you've never been very big on Ferengi traditions, but surely you can appreciate her point of view."

"What she wears is her business," Krispen conceded. "But how she - and the rest of the bridge crew - conduct themselves in boarding combat should be a grave concern to us both."

"Believe me, I'm concerned." McLain reran the replay of the simulation on his wall monitor, watching Krispen move in a blur across the bridge, tearing apart the holodrones with his impressive personal arsenal. "I'm surprised you didn't hit one of them with your Varon-T disruptor."

"I told you, that thing got stolen from me in transit," Krispen grumbled. He froze, and stared at his Captain. "Wait a minute - sir, are you criticizing my performance?"

"Aye. You're a maniac, Krispen," McLain said simply. "I'm not at all surprised the rest of the bridge crew had trouble taking the simulation seriously, watching the way you laid into a bunch of defenseless holograms. Your poor cousin, she was so mesmerized watching you she didn't even see that last drone until it had her by the throat. Nanz was right - you were showing off."

Krispen's usual frown turned into a deep scowl. "I suppose next time I should just kick back and let the crew fend for itself."

"Good idea," McLain nodded. "That way you can save your skills as an Eliminator for something that presents an actual challenge, and we'll get to evaluate how the crew performs without your... help."

Krispen grunted in a tone that indicated respectful agreement. "Will that be all, sir?"

"That's all." McLain watched his security chief leave, and turned to the replicator. "Tea."

As the steaming cup of Earl Grey materialized in the replicator unit, a singular figure garbed up like a 19th century whaling captain materialized on the other side of McLain's desk. "The lad grows more troublesome by the day," Ahab, the ship's AI announced. "Krispen's influence on crew morale continues to deteriorate."

McLain retrieved his teacup and stood. "He just needs to learn his way into his position," he declared. "It can't be an easy transition, going from a professional Eliminator to a Starfleet security chief. But lord knows he's trying. He's sincerely trying."

"He was seconded into Starfleet two years ago on your recommendation, spent eighteen months in the Academy accelerated course and barely passed the final exams and the lieutenant's test, then somehow scraped through advanced security training, and now you've taken him under your wing... why exactly?"

"When I first met Krispen, years ago, I had an instant understanding of him. Here was a man of irreproachable honor, who'd grown weary of eliminating other people's petty problems and longed some nobler purpose." McLain struck a Shakespearian pose. "There's no art to find the mind's construction in the face. He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust."

"Well," Ahab said, "let us hope your trust is well-placed."

* * *

Lt. Krispen returned to his quarters to put away his weapons. All he wanted was to keep his ship, his crew, his cousin, and his Captain safe. Why couldn't they understand that? Why couldn't they take him seriously?

He looked over his weapons as he put them away. He'd collected them all from the various contracts he’d completed in his career as an Eliminator. The Honor Guard pulsewave rifle he'd taken from a corrupt Klingon General. He picked up his tomahawk while searching the effects a Romulan mining foreman that his client wanted to cut out. And then there was the throwing knife… he'd earned that one during one of his first contracts, when the FCA hired him to kill his former mentor.

They were more than just tools of his trade - they were memories.

He started to close his cabinet, and his eyes lingered on a box on the bottom shelf. He reached for it, paused, and pulled his hand back. That one... I mustn't remember that one.

He locked the cabinet and stood up, and began planning his next drill. He knew the crew would treat it like a game. As long as they play to win...

Career Officer
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3,899

I need
A person to talk to
To care
To love
Could it be you?
Could it be you?

The situation gets rough
And I start to panic
It's not enough
It's just a habit
Hey, kid, you're sick
Well darling, this is it

You can all just kiss off into the air
Behind my back, I can see them stare
They'll hurt me bad, but I won't mind
They'll hurt me bad; they do it all the time

(Yeah, yeah)
Yeah, they do it all the time
(Yeah, yeah)
They do it all the time
(Do it all the time)
They do it all the time
(Do it all the time)
They do it all the time
Do it all the time

I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record
Oh yeah?
Well don't get so distressed
Did I happen to mention that I'm impressed?

I take one, one, one 'cause you left me
And two, two, two for my family
And three, three, three for my heartache
And four, four, four for my headaches
And five, five, five for my lonely
And six, six, six for my sorrow
And seven, seven, and then n-no tomorrow
And eight, eight, I forget what eight was for
But nine, nine, nine for my lost god
Ten, ten, ten, ten
For everything! Everything! Everything! Everything!

Oh, you can all just kiss off into the air
Behind my back, I can see them stare
They'll hurt me bad, but I won't mind
They'll hurt me bad; they do it all the time

(Yeah, yeah)
Yeah, they do it all the time
(Yeah, yeah)
Yeah, they do it all the time
(Do it all the time)
Do it all the time
(Do it all the time)
Do it all the time-time-time-time-time-time-time-time
(Do it all the time) -time-time-time-time-time-time-time-time-time-time-time
(Do it all the time)
Do it all the time!

Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes - "Kiss Off"

P E R M A N E N T . R E C O R D

Starfleet Academy, Central Quad - Stardate 68728.06 (2391.09.22.1747)

"Holy ****, he killed him!"

"Somebody get a doctor!"


"I'm taking medical..."

"Somebody stop him! Restrain him!"

"He's still alive..."

"Get a doctor!"

"Are you ****ing kidding!? I'm not touching the freak-"


"Get an ambulance"

"Look at all the blood..."

"Watch it, that ****'s corrosive..."

"Campus security and medical are on their way..."

"Hey guys, what's going on?"


"The demon-freak almost killed somebody!"

Cadet LaRoca Rusty stood in the center of the ring of frightened young people, staring down at Cadet Koel, who was lying on the duracrete bleeding from several long gashes on his arms and a pair of deep puncture wounds in his chest. I did that, he realized, as his senses returned to him.

The Bolian coughed, and bluish blood trickled from his mouth. Jamie Ritter, the med student, crouched over him worriedly. "I think he punctured one of his lungs!"

"Can you help him?" Rusty asked quietly.

Jamie shook her head. "He needs surgery, and I-" she fell silent and stared up at Rusty.

The Deinon stood very still, letting his claws hang limp, ignoring the burning sensation on his hands and forearms where they were covered with the Bolian's corrosive blood.

Campus Medical arrived first - three EMTs and a grav stretcher. Two of them worked to stabilize Ahnzar Koel while the third checked the other cadets for acid burns. "Let me see your hands," the Saurian paramedic told Rusty.

Rusty knew her. Her name was Luni Uligga - she was a grad student at Starfleet Medical School, and she'd been a TA for Rusty's first aid and combat anatomy courses. "I... I did that," Rusty informed her, not moving his arms.

"Then you probably have blood on your fingers," Luni told him. "Let me see."

Rusty numbly extended his hands for her, and let her wipe the neutralized bluish blood off with a swath of damp gauze she held with forceps.

Security arrived, being led by several cadets all pointing at Rusty. They approached cautiously. "You need to come with us, Cadet," Lt. zh'Thoris announced. Her antennae were pointed right at the Deinon and her right hand rested on her holstered phaser.

"As soon as I'm done treating him," Uligga told the security officer. The Saurian medic produced some bandages and an analgesic cream from her field kit. "Dermal regenerators don't work on scales, so you'll have to keep this wrapped until it heals. It should be okay to remove it in twenty-four hours. Try to keep your hands dry in the meantime."

"Arright," Rusty said listlessly.

Lt. zh'Thoris glanced at the wounded Bolian as he was levitated on the grav stretcher. "Let's go, Cadet," she told Rusty.

He fell in step with the security detail as they led him back to their office. As he walked, he tried to remember what he had done. Koel had been mouthing off, as usual, but he'd gotten more aggressive about trying to get under Rusty's skin. The Bolian had started shouting from across the quad, being egged on by his friends. When Rusty ignored him, he stepped over and started to get physical. Everything after that was a blur.

zh'Thoris opened a door to a holding room. "Have a seat, and wait for me," she told Rusty, before locking the door behind him.

Rusty turned a chair around and sat down, leaning on the backrest with his tail stretched out behind him. He stared at his reflection in what he assumed was a one-way mirror, and tried again to recall his fight with Koel. His nose hurt - had Koel punched him? Or had he struck with his pointed snout to try to make Koel back off? He remembered the wounds he'd made on the Bolian, and he was sure he was just trying to defend himself. But Koel was on his way to surgery and Rusty was in here...

The door opened and zh'Thoris came back in, with stocky Human deputy. "I've reviewed the holovid recordings of the incident and I've talked to the witnesses and I think I know what happened," the Andorian announced as she took the other chair, "but I want to hear your side of it before I make my report to the Commandant. Why did you attack Cadet Koel?"

"I didn't," Rusty said softly. "I was just walkin' back to my dorm, mindin' my own business, when he started shouting at me. I tried to ignore him, but he came over and got in my face." Rusty took a deep breath and looked her in the eyes. "I was just defending myself," he told her, more confidently than he felt.

Lt. zh'Thoris checked her PADD. "The holocams showed that he initiated the scuffle - he shoved you and tried several times to punch you before the view was blocked by other cadets who had gathered around to watch. But then the cadets I talked to said that you - quote - 'carved him up' and then jabbed your claws into his chest and it - I'll paraphrase here - 'looked like you wanted to kill him.'"

Rusty snorted. "If I wanted to kill him, I would have," he blurted. He clenched his jaw and tried to explain. "I... I didn't go for his throat, or his spine, or his central nervous system, or sensory organs, or major blood vessels. I don't remember actually trying to puncture his lungs, but I know I didn't try to kill him." He looked at the two long fingers on his left hand, now wrapped together in a bandage. "I woulda gone for his throat, if that were the case."

"Maybe you did, and he blocked you," the Human officer suggested.

Rusty shook his head. "Only a Caitian is quick enough to block me, but they aren't strong enough. Look at recordings of my martial arts classes if you don't believe me."

"I believe you," Lt. zh'Thoris said. "The wounds I saw on Koel's arms are consistent with your story. And as for the chest injury... I do believe you were trying to incapacitate him, not maim or kill him." She stood up. "I'll pass this on to the Commandant. This incident will be marked on your permanent record and you will likely draw a suspension, but given the circumstances and the fact that any form of physical contact with you is bound to draw blood, I think you displayed commendable restraint."

"Thank you, Lieutenant," Rusty said, feeling relieved. "And I am sorry for what I did to Koel. I won't let it happen again."

The Andorian nodded. "I will advise Cadet Koel not to press charges, as the evidence clearly shows that he initiated and escalated the confrontation. You'll have to wait here until I review the case with the Commandant, but I expect you'll be allowed to return to your dorm tonight."

"Thank you," Rusty said again. He watched her and her deputy leave, then he slumped over the back of his chair.

It was gonna happen sooner or later, he told himself. Without Jesu around to stand up for you, they'd just keep hurting you until you hurt someone back.

I know. People here are worse than they were at school.

No, not worse. There's just more of them. More aggressive, maybe, but no worse. Remember Suzie Lopez, from first grade? The first one to call you a 'freak'? That hurt bad, then.

I don't mind their words, and I don't mind if they try to get tough. But why does it always have to be me? Why am
I the one they all pick on?

Because you scare them. You're faster, stronger, and better than they are. Of course they'll try to challenge you. And you'd better get used to it, because they'll be doing it all the time-

Rusty shook the voice from his mind. He couldn't control the others, but he could control himself. He could suppress his instincts, resist the urges. I won't harm anyone else.

* * *

They let him go a couple of hours later with orders to report to the Commandant in the morning and to stay out of trouble. Rusty walked back to his dorm. He could feel people staring at him. He could smell their fear and apprehension as he walked through the Academy grounds. He entered the common area, where cadets were playing games or watching HV together. The room fell silent, apart from the entertainment speakers.

They knew what he was, now. They'd all seen or heard what the sixteen-year-old Deinon was capable of doing when provoked. They were all terrified of him.

Rusty ignored them. He went upstairs to his dorm room - a double that he'd moved into with his brother halfway through his freshman year. He'd had the room to himself since Jesu left the Academy.

Jesu had programmed the replicator to make a halfway-decent chicken tortilla soup. Rusty asked the device to make him a bowl, and a glass of Coke. He sat down to eat, and noticed that the sleeves of his jacket had burn marks where they had been spattered by Koel's acidic blood. He pulled it off and stuffed it into the replicator and told it to recycle it.

There was a knock on the door a minute later. Rusty swallowed his mouthful of soup. "Come in?"

The door hissed open for Luni Uligga, the Saurian paramedic. "Hi. I wanted to see how you were doing."

Rusty dropped his spoon, pretended he'd meant to do that, and looked at his hand. "Uh, okay, I guess. It doesn't hurt." He shrugged. "I'm doing better than Koel, I guess."

"Koel won't be bothering you for a while," she said. "He'll be spending a week in the infirmary, and I'm pretty sure he's too afraid of you now start sh*t like that again." She sat down on in the empty chair at his table. "What did he do this time to set you off?"

"Same as always, I guess. I don't remember it too well. Maybe he pushed me too far."

"Hmm. You don't remember the fight itself?"

"Not really," Rusty told her. "I remember he pushed me, and then he swung a punch... and the next thing I knew he was on the ground bleeding."

"Maybe he triggered some sort of blind-fight response," Luni suggested. "Some instinctive defense."

"Maybe," Rusty shrugged. "I'm just glad I stopped when I did. I know I could've killed him. Easily. And that... that scares me, Luni. For me to just... black out like that and start hurting somebody..."

"You stopped before anything really bad happened," Luni tried to assure him, "and I don't think anyone else will mess with you and risk a trip to the infirmary."

"I hope you're right."

Luni got up and looked at a holocap Rusty had on his desk - a picture of Jesu on their father's boat, with Uncle Ricky, trying to release a six-foot blue shark that Jesu had accidentally caught. Rusty hadn't been there. He was afraid of the deep water. But he liked the picture.

"How is your brother?" Luni asked.

"Okay, I guess. I haven't talked to him much since he started working."

"You miss him?"

Rusty nodded. "Yeah."

"You should call him. Or visit sometime. Ganymede isn't too far away."

Rusty sighed. "I know."

"Well..." Luni put the holocap down. "If you need someone to talk to... or anything, well... I'm here for you."

Rusty gave her a little smile. "Thanks, Luni. And thanks for checking on me."

"Sure, Rusty. Well, I'd better get to my studies... take care of yourself, kid."

Rusty watched her leave. That's what I've been doing. He had another spoonful of soup, but it started to get cold. He carried the bowl to the replicator and recycled it, drank the Coke and lay down on his bed.

He stared at the other bed on the other side of the room - the one that had belonged to his brother. He lay there thinking about his brother for almost an hour. Then he got up and went to the bathroom.

The hypo was waiting for him in the cabinet. The voices he heard, the memories of his brother, the gnawing feelings of fear and loneliness - the hypo took them all away and replaced them with sleep.

He injected himself, undressed, and lay down in his bed to wait for morning.

Last edited by sander233; 07-25-2014 at 12:07 AM.
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3,732
# 56 LC 11 - Hidden Agendas
10-03-2014, 07:01 PM
A certain measure of righteousness
A certain amount of force
A certain degree of determination
Daring on a different course
--- RUSH, "One Little Victory", Vapor Trails

Kathryn sat in her ready-room chair and squirmed to be comfortable. She looked to the desk comp, a United Federation of Planets logo looking back at her. Under the logo an icon blinked. Turning to the viewport on the right, she patted her regulation-bun coif as if pushing down a stray hair, then pulled at her jacket to straighten out non-existent wrinkles. Sighing heavily, Kathryn decided to wait a few more seconds to gather her thoughts. The man she was about to talk to had given special orders for her to follow. She was about to give him bad news and he had a reputation for not appreciating receiving such news from captains of the fleet.

Pressing the activation icon, a human male appeared with distinctly Asian features. His skin was darker than expected without the wrinkles that would normally define his age. Yet the silver streaks in his otherwise black hair above his ears betrayed his seniority. Another shock of silver washed over the front crest of his hairline and flowed toward the top of his head. The man's eyes were steel blue and his lips perpetually frowned. He shifted in his chair and brought both hands together to intertwine his aged hands. The skin on his hands suggested he worked manual labor for several decades, but Kathryn knew he had been an Admiral in Starfleet for over half his life.

"Admiral Kurita, I am ready with my report."

The Admiral simply nodded. A small part of Kathryn's soul wanted to say anything else than what she knew had to be said.

"Camus II needs to stay quarantined."

Takashi Kurita's frown deepened. "Your orders were to find a way to lift the quarantine." His baritone voice, coupled to his thick Japanese accent, pierced Kathryn's resolve, but did not destroy it. She knew she was right and that confidence shielded her from Kurita's persona.

Kathryn nodded. "Yes, sir. As you are aware, Camus II was an archaeological survey site of an ancient civilization. Then Captain Kirk's revelation of events from the survey team's mysterious deaths in 2269 prompted the planet to be quarantined. Per your orders, I accompanied the Away Team to corroborate the last reports Starfleet received and to determine if Starfleet can use Camus II as an evacuation destination from, or counter-offensive launch point to, the Bajoran Wormhole.

"It's been over a century since Kirk's visit. What did you find?"

"The Federation site experienced expected heavy damage from environmental factors and neglect. The life-swapping alien artifacts were still intact and functional." Kathryn cleared her throat. "I lost my Tactical Chief in that discovery." She bit the inside of her lower lip just enough to feel it without showing Kurita. He would not be interested in the details, but Karl Melango was a good officer. Although his handling of the artifact may have been reckless, the visual state of the artifact betrayed it's potential. His life force was literally drained from his body and the event did not look peaceful.

Kurita responded as Kathryn expected. "So the loss of one life suggests a continued quarantine around an entire star system." It was not a question.

Kathryn sat back into her chair, more relaxed with her position in the discussion. "Yes, sir. The artifacts and surrounding ruins seemed inert and ancient enough to be safe. Orbital and local scans did not reveal any active energy source. Karl ... the officer acted with reasonable precautions based on that data. His loss suggests further items, and possibly the entire site, is dangerous enough to require highly sensitive attention. More than Solaris is equipped to handle."

"But a whole star system?"

"Admiral, based on my experience, locally the risk is too great."

Takashi 's affect was blank. Kathryn sensed he was expecting more information and she breathed quickly. "Furthermore, I suggest it will be easier to maintain the current quarantine instead of changing it based on this mission."


"To be blunt, Admiral, the quadrant has known to avoid this system for over one-hundred years ... nothing needs to change officially. Unless other actions are ordered, of course."

A smile grew on Takshi's face, to Kathryn's surprise. "Captain Beringer, given what you know, do you have any recommendation you did not place in your report?"

Kathryn sighed and looked away to think. Camus II was a dead planet and the civilization was utterly ruined, presumably by their own technology. The life-energy transfer devices were abundant and looked inconspicuous like a vase or other decoration. Without an energy signature, Karl's death from the mechanism was a shock to the team and they evacuated without further investigation. If Kurita was fishing for out-of-the-box thinking to lift the quarantine, then Kathryn would oblige.

"Captain Cortez with USS Zurich has experienced staff with the best archaeology suites equipped. I didn't make the recommendation officially because it's more appropriate for others to order Cortez to Camus II." Kathryn shrugged casually as she reached past reasonable alternatives, "that or destroy the ruins using the experimental javelin lance weapon on board the USS Titanicus. But that would cause extreme destruction to the surface."

Kurita nodded. "Interesting suggestions, Captain." He lifted a finger briefly from his clasped hands. "The Titanicus is still field testing and any non-classified reports should be disregarded."

Kathryn knew what that meant and the Admiral was not subtle. "Yes, sir."

The Admiral unclasped his hands and leaned back in his chair. His demeanor suddenly became relaxed. "Your insight to the matter is appreciated. We have new orders for Solaris. Expect them within the hour. Command out." The image suddenly switched to the logo of the UFP.
Kathryn S. Beringer - The Dawn Patrol - Endless Excelsior - Veritatum Liquido Cernene

Solaris build
Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 9,125
# 57
10-07-2014, 10:08 PM
Using a LC 45 redux as an excuse for this. EDIT: Added some clarification captions.


D'trel ir'Aehallah: Linda Hamilton, circa Terminator 2.
Jenny: Georgia Moffet.
Dalek 137921: Kevin Michael Richardson.
Skaro. Unknown time.

The sun beat down on the red-soiled wastes. A plume of smoke drifted lazily for the heavens, its source a small, crashed spacecraft lying half-buried in the ground.

A wiry, muscular humanoid brunette with V-shaped ridges on her forehead and a pair of sharply pointed ears wiped her face on the arm of her uniform, checked a device in her hand, and swore.

"Damn radiation...I'll need another dose soon..."

She forced her way into the ship through a half-jammed door, fumbled around for a few moments inside, and pulled out a hypospray, which she injected into her arm.

"Better get back to work," the woman muttered. She pulled a hyperspanner out of a box by the side of the ship and reached into the innards of an exposed nacelle.

"Hello!" said a chipper voice.

The woman yelped, yelled in pain, swore, and pulled her bruised hand out, her other hand drawing a serrated saber-like sword. "Who the Ariennye are you?"

"Name's Jenny," said the perky, smiling Human-looking blonde in military-looking fatigues. "Do you want a lift? I can take you anywhere and anywhen you like, I've got this time-ship I nicked off of a man in a long jacket."

The brunette snorted disbelievingly, her sword still up. "Right. Like I'd fall for this. A cute blonde with the only offer I couldn't possibly refuse? Who are you working for, Section 31? Klingon Intelligence? The Tal Shiar? Because if you're with the Tal Shiar I'll kill you right here."

"Who're the Tal Shiar? Sorry, I'm pretty young. See, Dad got stuck in a progenation machine and I was the result, I've been exploring reality but..."

"Get to the point. Can you get me off this planet? And more importantly, where the Ariennye is this planet?"

The blonde smiled perkily. Elements, this was getting annoying.

"Sure! Oh, and what's your name? Mine's Jenny, short for genetic anomaly."

"At least you're a better kind of insane than the other genetic anomaly I know. I'm D'trel. Khre'Riov D'trel of the Romulan Republic."

"Ooh, fancy! Pleasure to meet you, D'trel! Now come along, your chariot awaits! And besides, we'd better get you off of Skaro, and quickly. It's a miracle you've lasted for a full three hours undetected!"

D'trel followed cautiously. "Five hours," she muttered under her breath. Jenny briskly and cheerfully walked up to an empty spot of air, pulled a key out of her pocket, and...

It looked for one moment like she was sticking it into thin air, and then a slender, gleaming spacecraft materialized in front of them. D'trel yelped and stumbled backwards.

"Well, don't just stand there!" said Jenny with another smile, beckoning from a doorway in the ship's hull. "Come on in!"

Cautiously, D'trel entered. "You know, this really is against my better judgement."

"Why are you doing it then?"

"Death wish," said the Romulan without a trace of sarcasm.

"Sorry to hear that. Oh, and welcome aboard the Time Paradox! I sort of borrowed it from this nice man called Captain Jack who I met once. It's a 31st-century temporal slipstream ship, Jack said it was a steal at any price."

"Great," said D'trel, looking around. It was bright, and comfortable, with a couple of oddly-designed couches in bright neon cushions, soft rugs, gaily colored walls, and a table bolted to the floor. Hatches at either end of the room presumably led to the cockpit , crew quarters, and engineering section.

"How many crew?"

"Apparently it's supposed to have 5, but I do just fine by myself. I do like company, though. Pity nobody seems to want to hang around for very long..."

"You said anywhere and anywhen in the universe?"

"Yeah!" said Jenny brightly. "Where and when do you want to go?"

"Ch'Rihan. About...May 2362, by your Human reckoning."

"Oh, I'm not Human," said Jenny brightly. "I'm a Time Lord, or Dad was anyway. But I know when that is...where is this "ch'Rihan"?"

She pronounced it correctly the first time, D'trel noticed. Odd, that. "The Humans call it 128 Trianguli III-A. Second inhabited planet. Just set me down outside Ki Baratan, the capital."

"Sure! Why are you headed there, anyway?" Jenny started punching numbers into the control pad.

"To kill a man," said D'trel.

Jenny stopped. "What? Why?"

"He destroyed everything I loved," whispered D'trel. "I'm just getting payback. I'm going to kill him before he violates and kills my love and exterminates my friends, and I'm going to fix my life. And everything will be as it should have been."

Jenny nodded slowly, starting to punch in the numbers again. "OK...I understand, I think."

"No," said D'trel. "Nobody can understand unless they've lived through it. My therapist understands, he's lived through it through me. Letheans are telepathic, you know? A lot of Rihan refugees understand. But you can't, not some irritatingly chipper woman in a fancy ship with a smile that reaches her eyes."

"Right..." said Jenny. The ship picked up smoothly and jetted out into space. "Slipstream's coming, should be smooth unless we hit a time lock."

"Time lock?"

"Localized artificial alteration of subspace. Prevents direct time travel into an area of spacetime. You can ride the stream around it, but not into it."

"Sounds nasty. This ever been used?"

"Gallifrey was time-locked during the Time War, along with most of the war zone. The Dalek Empire and the Time Lords, annihilating each other without any interference. Two survivors from the Time Lords, six that I've heard of from the Daleks."


Jenny shuddered. "Pray you never meet one. They're pure, sealed evil in a can."

"I see," said D'trel. Then the ship shook, throwing both women to the ground.

"Aah! What was that!" shouted the confused Rihanha.

"Time lock!" said Jenny. "Someone locked off...most of this galaxy, for decades! Who would..."

"No!" whispered D'trel. "No, no, no!" The monitor started blaring a red alert.

"Oh, damn," muttered Jenny. "A Dalek ship followed us from Skaro. D'trel, we've got to get out of here. I'm so sorry."

"Yeah," whispered D'trel. "Everyone's sorry. They can never help me save her, or fix my life, or kill him before he can hurt her."

The ship shook. "Pants! Daleks!" D'trel could hear the naked fear in Jenny's words.

"Set random dates! If this time travel is anything like space travel, they won't be able to follow as easily!"

"Good idea! Plotting random courses!"

Something jolted them again, and then suddenly there was a planet visible through the portholes, and they were coming up extremely fast, and then...


Iconian Empire base world. Andromeda galaxy.

"D'trel? C'mon, D'trel, wake up!"

" head...what happened?"

"Crash landing. Come on, the Dalek ship is crashed, too, but there's something going on."


"I don't know, another species showed up and they've just found the Dalek survivors. Come on, let's peek through the porthole!"

"I-DEN-TI-FY YOUR-SELF!!!" blared Dalek 137921, fifty Daleks at its rear. "I-DEN-TI-FY IM-MED-I-A-TELY!!!"

"Bwahaha! Puny and insignificant lesser being! You shall first identify yourself, and then you and all your kind shall KNEEL before the unstoppable glory of Supreme High Lord Inevitably-Fated--for Greatness!!!" SHLIFFG's mustachio quivered menacingly, a thousand Iconian telekinetic warriors arrayed behind him.


"Lowly metal being! You see before you the invincible glory of Supreme High Lord Inevitably-Fated-for-Greatness of the inevitably victorious Iconian Empire of unstoppable and indomitable POWAH!!!! You shall identify your species first, feeble servitor!"


"Ahahahaha! Foolish servitor! You have identified yourself in your primitive speech! Prepare to be annihilated by my unstoppable power!"


As the two humanoids watched, Daleks and their cybernetic exoskeletons melted...and Iconians died.

"Well...what do you know?" said Jenny, holding firmly to the Romulan, who had stopped struggling as hostilities broke out. "Put two overpowered racist xenophobes in the same room, and they WILL fight each other...Dad was right, you learn something new every day..."

Most of the Daleks were melted into goo, but Iconian corpses littered the ground. D'trel spoke up.

"When this is over...when are we, anyway?"

"By the Human calendar? 2410. About May."

"Fine. When this is over...does that Dalek ship have a selfdestruct? We can't just leave this stuff lying around."

"Yeah! And with the shields down and the Daleks gone, I can set it off remotely! Where do you want to go afterwards?" Outside, Dalek 137921 moved for the last standing Iconian, SHLIFFG, whose mustachio quivered with menace.

"Mol'Rihan. Dewa 3. Out in the hills north of the main settlement. It's as good a place as any."

"Alright," said Jenny, as Dalek 137921 shot SHLIFFG just as its travel machine's power cell exploded from a telekinetic stab. "And...D'trel. I'm sorry."

"I know," whispered D'trel, turning and looking directly into the other woman's eyes. " I can tell."

"Sure you don't want to stay on?" said Jenny. "I could use a companion, you know."

"I'm sure," said D'trel. "My crew needs me, and the Proconsul needs all the help he can get because he's a fool. I...will always remember this little trip, though."

"I'm sure," said Jenny. "Hey, I kind of like this place. I might be back sometime, you never know!"

She smiled brightly one last time, and closed the door. D'trel waved as the Time Paradox vanished, and slid smoothly out into space and time.

Yeah. She'd definitely remember that trip.

And one day she'd find who'd time-locked so much of her life. She'd find that person, and then she'd make them pay.
This came out a lot faster than I expected. I figured there'd be no way for D'trel to meet a Time Lord without trying to go back and kill Hakeev, so I decided to do it like this. And no Doctor Who story is complete without Daleks.

So I had the Daleks meet the Iconians a la the Dalek/Cyberman fight from "Doomsday", and altered the dialogue a little bit for fun. And of COURSE the Daleks pwnzor the Iconians, the only guy who can reliably defeat the Daleks without massively superior numbers and comparable OP power is the Doctor.

Hope you guys enjoy it.
Founder and Grand Vizier of the Sovereign Ba'al joke. Hail Ba'al! Our theme song
My official eternal issue: Why no muscle definition slider? Let's have some equal-opportunity sexiness, Cryptic!
PWE: NO to mandatory ARC! At least make it optional!

Last edited by worffan101; 10-08-2014 at 07:58 AM.
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 639
# 58
12-17-2014, 10:32 PM
Literary Challenge 29: "Hello Again, Q."

Captain's Log, Stardate 90159.19

The Archimedes has been diverted back to the Iota Zephyris Cloud to re-establish contact with the polaric entities we encountered on 88328.81. After our successful first contact-- made possible largely by Lieutenant Sann and her knowledge of Human history-- Starfleet has seen fit to send us back to the cloud, along with an ambassador whom they feel will be well suited to conversing with these entities.


" other words, please be true!
In other words...I. Love. You!"

The music stopped, and Vic Fontaine's audience-- both real and insubstantial-- burst into applause. To his own surprise, Arkos found himself joining in. Human music had never usually been his thing, but he had to admit, he was enjoying what he was hearing tonight. Ahead of him, Vic Fontaine smiled as he stepped down from the stage-- part of a holo-simulation of some old Earth establishment called a "nightclub"-- and bowed to the audience.

"Thank you, you're all wonderful tonight," the Federation's photonic representative said as he strode out amongst the tables, microphone in hand. "This evening has been something really special. It's not everyday I get to perform in front of Hollywood royalty." He walked over to the table opposite Arkos', where the delegation of polaric entities-- shimmering, black and white representations of old Earth movie stars-- sat. "Miss Hepburn, you're looking beautiful tonight! And Mr. Grant, wonderful to see you as well! And don't think I forgot about you, Mr. Bogart!"

"You'd better not have!" one of the shimmering representations said in a joking threat. The audience burst into soft-hearted chuckling, and Vic laughed with them as he turned and looked towards Arkos. "But folks, this evening wouldn't be happening tonight if not for Captain Nair here and the crew of the starship Archimedes. They were kind enough to host this evening for us, so let's give them a big old round of applause!"

The holographic audience started clapping again. Smiling, Arkos waved to the audience. For the occasion, he was wearing a suit jacket, shirt, tie and pants that apparently matched Earth's mid-20th century, although the outfit felt oddly loose in all the wrong places. Personally, he was going to be glad to get back into uniform once this was all over.

Eventually, Vic walked back onto the stage and started crooning another song. Neiazri glanced at Arkos from where she at next to him at the table. "Isn't this great?" she exclaimed cheerfully. Like Arkos, the Trill Science Officer was dressed in 1930's attire, wearing a slim-fitting black dress and a pearl necklace. Her hair was done up in an absurd-looking bun rather than its usual ponytail, but then Arkos never claimed to be good judge of oddities such as hair. "Not only do we get to establish diplomatic relations with the entities, but we also get a free show and front row seats in the bargain!"

"I just hope he doesn't bring me onto the stage for any duets," Arkos replied, remembering the disaster that was the ship's last karaoke night. "I'd rather NOT cause a diplomatic incident by hurting our guests' ears." If they had functioning ears, Arkos thought to himself-- seeing as they were non-corporeal projections of old movie stars, based on three hundred-year-old transmissions from Earth, he wondered how they actually heard things.

The whole thing had been Neiazri's suggestion, of course. Because the polaric entities' only exposure to humanoid life was from the transmissions of old black-and-white Human films, Sann had suggested that actual negotiations should take place in an environment they were familiar with-- a nightclub from Earth's early past, for instance, which was a common place of social gathering for the upper strata of Human society. It had been simple enough to create a suitable program on the holodeck, and replicate period-appropriate attire. It had the Diplomatic Corps' own suggestion to send in Vic Fontaine-- not only was his program still functioning in the years since the Dominion War, but had since attained sentience and was living in the so-called "photonic wing" of Memory Alpha alongside the likes of the Doctor. And so far, it seemed to be working: the polaric entities seemed right at home in the holographic nightclub, so much so that Arkos began to wonder how much of their culture and consciousness had been influenced by those old Earth transmissions.

"By the way, I did some digging," Arkos said, sipping on his own synthale, "and...apparently Vic Fontaine is roughly from Earth's 1960's, isn't that right?"

Sann nodded. "The Swinging Sixties, they were called, largely because of the popularity of lounge music in North America at the time."

Arkos frowned. "But...I thought you said that Lauren Bacall, James Stewart, and...all the other actors our guests are emulating, were mostly popular during the 1930's and 40's?"

For a moment, Sann seemed to be at a loss for words. Finally, she gave a dismissive snort. "Details," she said, downing another sip of synthale.

"Oh Captain!" A female voice caught Arkos' attention. He turned and saw two of the polaric entities-- Hepburn and Grant, he remembered being called-- striding towards the table, their black and white forms standing out in the muted, dark colours of the nightclub. "Captain Nair, I just wanted to thank you for hosting this wonderful party!" Hepburn said with a smile. "It's been absolutely marvelous, and the entertainment has been top notch!"

"Yes, the service is terrific as well!" Grant added, before grabbing the nearby bottle of synthale and inspecting it. "Although I do wonder where you got this particular batch of wine. The taste is...interesting."

Sann laughed. "Oh, that's a nice 2410 synthale, Mr. Grant, grown from the finest vinyards of the Archimedes' replicators."

Arkos chuckled at the comment, before turning back to his guests. "I am glad that you're enjoying the evening, though," he said. "Perhaps later, we can see what other common interests exist between your people and the Federation--"

"Oh, again with your Federation!" Grant grumbled. "Why spoil an otherwise perfect evening with politics?"

"Quiet you," Hepburn said, giving grant a withering look and a light slap on the shoulder. "The poor man is clearly trying his best, so the least we can do is be civil." She turned and smiled again at Arkos. "What my dear friend here meant to say, of course, is that we're having such a wonderful evening, so...why rush into things?"

"Oh, I wouldn't dream of rushing anything, Miss Hepburn," Arkos said with a smile. He glanced at Grant. "Maybe I can help improve the mood a bit. You don't seem particularly impressed with synthale, Mr. Grant, so...perhaps I could get you something else?"

Grant seemed to perk up at this. "Something else? I suppose you have a private Captain's stash or anything like that?"

Arkos chuckled. "Sadly, unlike some captains, I am not a raging alcoholic," he said. "However, I do have a vintage 2347 bottle of Chateau Picard in my office. It was given to me by Fleet Admiral Jorel Quinn when I took command of the Archimedes, and I've been saving it for a special occasion."

"Oh goodness!" Grant exclaimed with a chuckle. "Is this a special enough occasion, then?"

"As far as I'm concerned, making new friends is always a special occasion," Arkos replied. "I'll get the bottle--"

Suddenly, Vic's song stopped, and the audience burst into applause. "Thank you!" the hologram said, smiling widely at the audience. "Now, for my next song, I'm going to need a partner in crime." The audience chuckled, before Vic fixed his gaze on Arkos. "Captain, come on up here!"

Arkos froze. The one thing he had been dreading was actually happening: he was going to have to sing. He rooted himself to his chair and gave a weak smile. "Oh, oh no, I'm quite fine here--"

"Come on, Captain Nair, don't leave the audience hanging!" Vic laughed. "You're the man who made this all possible!"

"Go on sir," Sann said with a grin. "You know you want to."

The audience began to clap in unison for Arkos to get up. Even the polaric entities were joining in, grinning and clapping as well. Arkos felt his gut tighten. The fate of Federation-polaric relations depended on whatever he was going to do next.

Slowly, he stood up, and raised his hands. After a few seconds, the clapping died down. "Normally, I'd say yes," Arkos said, "but the truth of the matter, is that you're not here because of me." He glanced down and gestured at Neiazri. "Lieutenant Sann here is the one who made first contact with our guests here tonight, and she's the one who effectively communicate with them when the rest of us failed. It is because of her that we're all sitting here, sharing a wonderful evening together."

Neiazri looked up at Arkos with a mortified expression. "Sirwhatareyoudoing?" she managed to whisper out.

"And besides which," Arkos went on, "Neiazri here has been looking forward to a duet like this for the longest time, so it would be wrong of me to rob that moment from her!" He took a deliberate step back. "Lieutenant Neiazri Sann, everyone!"

The audience burst into applause. Neiazri stood up and smiled weakly at the holographic partygoers, before flashing her Captain an annoyed look. "Thank you sir," she said dryly, "that was a generous and selfless act on your part."

"Oh, you're welcome, Sann, any time," Arkos replied with a cheeky grin, before turning and heading off to go get the wine.


A few minutes later, Arkos strode back into his ready room. He stopped in the middle of the doorway, however, when he saw that his desk was occupied.

There was a Human sitting there, roughly...forty? Fifty? Arkos could never tell with their species. He had the light, pinkish skin that was typical for some of their species, a short-cropped fuzz of brown hair, and a standard grey-and red Odyssey uniform. And at the moment, he was grinning lazily as he lounged back on Arkos' chair, with his feet on Arkos' desk, drinking down swigs of Arkos' wine straight from the bottle.

"Oh, hi there, Archie!" the Human exclaimed cheerfully. "I found this bottle of Chateau Picard in your desk and decided to help myself. I hope you weren't saving it for anything!"

Arkos felt his molars grinding together before he even felt the cold surge of anger running down his spine and tingling like electricity around his lynsha crests. If he could have channelled his anger into some sort of external energy right now, then this Human would have been a blackened smear on the wall by now.

"Ensign," he finally breathed, taking a note of the man's pips, "you have about ten seconds to explain yourself before I have you thrown into the brig."

The Human perked up. "Ensign? he exclaimed, his voice betraying his outrage. "ENSIGN?" He paused, then, and looked down at is collar. "Oh, right." QUietly, the man reached into his pocket, pulled out a few more gold pips, and added them to his collar until his rank was bumped up to Admiral. He turned back to Arkos with a smug grin. "You were saying, young man?"

Arkos could only gape in stunned, incredulous rage at the man's behaviour. His brain kicked in, though, and he tapped his comm badge. "Captain to Security..." he began. His words died in his throat, however, when he noticed that very peculiar music was playing from his comm badge.

The man at the desk continued to grin as he waved his fingers like a conductor to the music. With a sigh, he then snapped his fingers, and the music stopped. "Oh, do have a seat, Archie," he grumbled. "You're killing my mood."

Before Arkos could say anything, he realized he was sitting. At that moment, he was sitting in front of his desk in a (very small) chair that had not been in his room before, facing the strange man in such a way that forced him to look up to him. After a few seconds of numb bewilderment, realization finally dawned on him.

"Q, right?"

The man's expression brightened. "That's a bingo!" He exclaimed cheerfully. His cheer quickly melted into a frown. "Is that the way you mortals say it? 'That's a bingo'?|

Arkos shrugged. "Don't ask me, it's a Human expression." He was still wrapping his head around the idea that there was an omnidimensional entity sitting at his desk and playing games with him. He had heard all the stories, of course, but he had always dismissed Q as something that happened to other, less fortunate Starfleet captains.

Q smiled again. "That it is. They're so wonderful, aren't they, those Humans? So full of life, and vigour, and boundless curiosity and handy euphemisms. It makes them so delightfully fun to pester."

Arkos sighed and leaned back in his chair, making a point of not showing how annoyed he really was. If he didn't let Q aggravate him, then maybe, just maybe, he would grow bored and leave. "I take it that's why you're here, then? To pester me? Because I have a rather tight schedule at the moment."

The omnipotent being laughed. "Why, Archie, perish the thought!" he exclaimed. "Causing you grief or discomfort is the last thing on my mind." As he spoke, he casually turned and tipped the bottle back, finishing off the last of the Chateau Picard.

"I'm glad to hear it," Arkos said dryly. "In that case, seeing as there's no hard feelings between us, maybe you could...oh, I don't know...leave?"

Q raised an annoyed eyebrow. "Leave? Please, I just got here." Leaning back in the chair, Q conjured a cigar between his fingers and took a puff. "This is a shoddy way to treat your guest, Archie. I'll have you know that on many worlds, I've been revered as a god! Great ceremonies have been thrown in my honour! Gifts of gold, wine, and attractive virgins have been laid at my feet! Compared to all that, your paltry reception get's a C minus."

Arkos felt his irritation rising. "Oh, you're many things, Q, but god isn't one of them," he said. "And don't call me Archie."

"But it sticks," Q pouted. "Captain Arkos Nair of the [i]Archimedes[i]...Archie of the Archie...the only Korda serving Starfleet, an exile from his all sounds so dashingly romantic, doesn't it?"

With that, Q snapped his finger, and a plastic name tag suddenly appeared on Arkos' uniform. CAPTAIN ARCHIE OF THE ARCHIE, only Korda serving in Starfleet, this is so dashingly romantic, it read.

"Well I'm glad you think so, Q," Arkos said, quietly removing the tag and tossing it aside. "I'm glad that you think my solitary, isolated status in Starfleet is so terribly fascinating."

"But you don't, do you?" Q's expression suddenly became serious, and he swung his legs off the desk as he leaned forward, casually butting the cigar out on Arkos' terminal. "While I was rifling through your office, I noticed that...aside from a piece of coral from Nar-Etulis, there isn't a single Korda thing in this room." He gestured outwards at the office. "Oh, I see several Terran books, a nice Vulcan tea set, a dynamic sculpture made by a Rigellian artist, and a few Risian sexual tokens--"

"None of which are your business," Arkos cut in.

"--but nothing that reflects any love or fondness of your own homeworld or people. Why is that?"

Arkos fidgeted. No one had ever asked him that before, and the fact that it had been asked at all made him feel surprisingly angry. "Well, Q, if I had anything left from my homeworld to put on my desk as a nice little ornament, I would," he said stiffly. "But as you said yourself...I'm an exile."

"Oh, pish posh," Q scoffed, "we both know that's not the real reason, Archie. You simply don't want to be reminded that you're a Korda."

The comment caught Arkos completely by surprise. "What?"

Q's smile returned. "Did I ever mention how easy you mortals are easy to figure out? You've been bitter ever since you were exiled, bitter and sore. You hate the backwards religious fanatics who kicked you out, and are ashamed to be associated with a culture that promotes digression into the stone age." He gave a casual shrug. "What better way to get back at that culture than by joining a different one? And that culture's name, Archie, is Starfleet."

Arkos an uncomfortable surge of heat around his lynsha ridges "That's not true--"

"Oh no?" Q sneered. "Pop quiz: an alien warfleet is heading towards Nar-Etulis, what do you do?"

Arkos' mouth felt a little dry. ""

A loud buzzer sounded from out of nowhere. "Time's up! You obey your precious Prime Directive, that's what," Q said. "Because let's face it, Archie, at this point, you're more loyal to the Federation than you ever were to your own people."

Arkos felt his jaw twitch uncomfortably. He was not in the mood for this. The last thing he wanted or needed today was to be psychoanalyzed by an omnipotent prankster.

"What are you trying to get at, Q?" he growled. "That I've turned my back on my own race? Because from where I stand, it's the other way around." He stood up abruptly. "Maybe I am more loyal to the Federation and to Starfleet. But that's because they've accepted me. They gave my family and I shelter when our own world couldn't tolerate us any longer. They've given me a future, a role I can excel in, and a reason to be proud of who and what I am. As far as I'm concerned, this ship is my home now, it's crew are my family, and the Federation are my people. Not the Korda, and definitely not the Chastised."

Q's expression seemed to increase in smugness as he looked up at Arkos. "And would you say that the Federation has earned this devotion of yours? This loyalty?"

"They've done nothing to harass or persecute me, Q," Arkos said. "Unlike my own people, they've done right by me. So yes...I'd say they've earned it."

Q said nothing in reply. Instead, he simply kept smiling up at Arkos-- the mischievous, krelking grin of someone with a dirty little secret.

Arkos frowned. "What are you smiling about?"

"Oh, nothing," Q replied, before casually snapping his fingers.

There was a brilliant flash of light, and suddenly a pile of things appeared on Arkos' desk. At first glance, it appeared to be a junkyard pile of severed fiberoptic cables, old EPS micro-recievers and console mods. Except, on closer inspection, the equipment all seemed relatively new. New and, Arkos realized, somewhat familiar.

"What is all this?" Arkos asked.

"Oh, you're the Engineer, Archie," Q replied. "What do they look like?"

"They look like..." Arkos picked up one of the strewn objects-- a thin rectangle composed of transculscent jade material. "They look like isolinear data chips, and booster mods, and internal feed nodes. Except...none of this is Starfleet standard issue." He glanced down at the pile. "If I were to put this all together, or attach them to existing systems, they would most likely be used to ensure a careful, uninterrupted data feed."

Q gave a long, theatric clap. "How very astute of you, Archie," he said. "A pity you never noticed these little add-ons on your own ship."

The chip fell with clatter from Arkos' hand. "What?"

"You heard me right, Archie," Q said, gesturing to the pile. "All of these devices were embedded on your ship. There's also a considerable number of annoying little worms, tracking programs and firewall backdoors that I isolated and put on all of these chips for your perusal. They've all been there ever since the Archimedes was built."

Arkos stared dumbfounded. "But...but who would..."

"Oh, you can find out exactly who if you just look through all the data on these things," Q said. "You're a smart man, you'll figure it out. But I will tell you this: these devices weren't placed on your ship by Romulan spies, or Mirror Universe agents, or some bored technician on Earth Spacedock. This was all put into place by the Federation that you trust so much."

For a few seconds, Arkos stared at the pile of monitoring devices...because yes, he realized, that was the only thing they could be: monitoring devices-- before sitting back down. A part of him wanted to believe that this was all a trick, some cruel joke on Q's part. That was the only thing it could be, couldn't it?

"Why are you telling me all of this?" he finally managed to ask.

"Partly, so that I could see that puppyish look of profound shock on your face," Q said, steepling his fingers together like some disappointed parent. "But also because, for a self-professed skeptic, you're guilty of the one thing you've always despised: you've placed an absolute and unquestioning faith in something. You have been an ardent believer in the cult of the Federation, a devotee of the Church of Starfleet, and you have prayed fervently at the altar of the Prime Directive. But now? Now you know the ugly truth behind all of the sermons you've been fed. Consider this a lesson in real skepticism, Archie: believe nothing, question everything."

There was a sudden, mechanical beep, and Q pulled out an archaic pocket watch. "Oh, look at the time!" he exclaimed. "I'd promised to meet Sheogorath at the Outer Planes of Sigil for tea and crumpets later this evening. I can't afford to be late, or he'll throw a cosmic hissy fit." He glanced back at Arkos. "It's been fun, though, Archie. Let's do lunch sometime! Just remember, you're buying."

And with that, Q disappeared in a brilliant flash of white light.

A silence descended over the room as Arkos was left alone with the pile monitoring devices, secret sensor logs, and chips full of malware on his desk. He almost didn't hear the mechanical hiss of the door behind him.

"Captain?" Neiazri's voice called. "The polaric dignitaries are getting impatient. Do you need--" She trailed off, noticing the pile on Arkos' desk. " that?"

Arkos slowly glanced back at Neiazri. "These?" He looked back down at the spyware, staring at them for a few seconds, confirming to himself that they were real. Slowly, he shook his head.

"I...I don't even know any more."
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 199
# 59
12-17-2014, 11:51 PM
Literary Challenge #5 : Shards of the Mirror

LC5: Glass Spider

Captain's log, Stardate 89130.87. The Lord English is on a routine patrol in the Regulus Sector Block. Reports of raiding activity by Klingon marauders are still frequent enough to warrant guarded security measures off the beaten path, so the crew will be extra diligent in the course of their duties. Once we finish the patrol, it'll be Drozana and dabo for us.

It was crewman Hollister's first week on board the Lord English, and already he was feeling a bit weird. Should he say something to the CO of the Lord English? Try to make conversation? Point things out? Air concerns over his job? As Hollister thought, his gaze scanned Vice Admiral Remus Lee up and down. Lee was busy chewing on a piece of toast as he was trying to put on his right shoe. His uniform's overcoat was still unbuttoned and draped on his shoulders. Crumbs began littering the floor of the turbolift they were both in.

"Crewman, can you hold onto this for me?"

Hollister looked at Lee, who was holding the piece of toast towards him. Wordlessly, he took it.

"Thanks, crewman," Lee said as he began buttoning his overcoat. Once he was finished, he took the toast from Hollister. Soon, the turbolift stopped at the bridge.
"Here's my stop. See you around, crewman."

Hollister stared blankly as Lee walked onto the bridge.


The bridge of the Lord English was awash with activity as Lee took the captain's chair. His first officer Kay Taylor was ready to brief him.

"Admiral, we've received a distress call within the Briar Patch. We've also detected weapons fire."
"Put the call on-screen," Lee ordered.

A disheveled-looking Orion female in a tattered uniform appeared on the screen, as she furiously tapped on the console.

"Mayday, mayday! We are- Remus? Is that you?" she exclaimed.

Lee looked at his bridge officers in confusion before responding.

"Hello, do I know you?"

The Orion was unceremoniously shoved out of the way by a disheveled-looking Human male in the same tattered uniform.

"I'll explain later! We have escaped from a Klingon Bird-of-Prey and are being chased by it! We need immediate help!"

An off-screen explosion prematurely ended the distress call. Diligent bridge crew quickly put the distress call's origin on the viewscreen.

"Take us in," Lee ordered. "Be ready for combat and emergency transport."

Amidst the roiling clouds of metreon gas and electrical charges, a Kivra shuttlepod attempted to dodge the disruptor fire of a B'rel Bird-of-Prey with a 95% success rate. The 20th shot, however, connected with the shuttle and sent into into a death spiral.
The Bird-of-Prey maneuvered to place the shuttle once more within its cannons' arc, but the arrival of the Lord English caused the Bird-of-Prey to break off the attack and cloak away, to Lee's chagrin.

"Losing the taste for battle already?" he snarked. "Some Klingons! What's the status on the distress call?"
"We're detecting a Kivra shuttle at 10 o'clock," Taylor replied. "It seems the pilots have lost control of the shuttle and are unable to reply to our hails."
"Beam the occupants to sickbay and secure the shuttle in the main shuttlebay," Lee ordered.

Soon shuttle and occupants were on the Lord English.

"Shuttlebay 1 reports that the shuttle has been secured," Chief of Operations Kovat Vystan reported. "Damage control teams are en route now."
"Sickbay reporting- we have the shuttle's occupants alive," Chief Medical Officer Four of Thirteen reported. "One female Orion suffering from combat stress, and one male Human with cracked ribs and radiation burns. I also detect signs of torture on the Human."
"Can you patch up the two patients as quickly as you can?" Lee asked. "I would like to talk to them."
"The male Human has also insisted that he talk to you," Four replied. "I will send him as soon as he is cleared. However, the female Orion seems to have fainted upon hearing your voice; I would like to keep her for observation."


"I am Vice Admiral Remus Lee of the USS Lord English, but you seem to already know that. First off, tell me who you are."

Lee sat at his desk in the Lord English ready room drinking a cherry and vanilla cola from a glass. The male Human sipped ginger ale from a mug before responding.

"Actually, I don't know you- that is to say, this version of you. My name is Joel Harris, and I am a refugee from what you call the Mirror Universe. I served in the Imperial Starfleet until the debacle at Vega IX. I escaped the slaughter by using a multidimensional transporter, but the Klingons in your universe captured me. I met the Orion you rescued and your Mirror counterpart in the same Klingon brig."

Harris stared into his mug of ginger ale before continuing.

"Aranea -the Orion- and I escaped solely because of the actions of the Mirror you. He was the one who had broken out of his cell and commandeered the shuttle. He would have come with us except the doors to the Klingon shuttlebay were damaged and needed to be held open manually. The last I saw of him, he was at the shuttlebay door controls when a Klingon guard shot him in the back..."

Both Lee and Harris fell silent. Lee pondered the story of the fate of his Mirror counterpart and wondered whether or not he would act so self-sacrificially if the situation called for it. Harris pulled out two isolinear chips and a Klingon PADD.

"The Mirror you gave this to me before Aranea and I escaped. He says it's his and Aranea's service records on the chips and a recording for you on the PADD. If we were to ever find this dimension's version of you, we were to give this to you to verify our story."

Lee continued to ruminate for a while before speaking.

"Well, now that you're free of the Terran Empire and the Klingons, what will you do?" Lee asked Harris.
"I don't know, I hoped to go back to Earth," he answered. "Maybe start a new life with Aranea. For now though, I would like to rest in quarters instead of the sickbay."
"Given what you've been through, I wouldn't hold it against you. I don't have any more questions, so you're free to go, Mr. Harris."


First Officer Taylor visited Lee later that day in his ready room. On the ready room desk was a Klingon PADD with the more disheveled Mirror version of Lee on the screen. Every so often, Admiral Lee would swipe the Klingon PADD's screen before typing on his own PADD.

"Admiral, may I come in?" Taylor asked.
"It's open," Lee responded.

Taylor took a seat across from Lee.

"I've heard the report about our two new guests and the fate of your Mirror counterpart," she commented.

Lee didn't look up from his work as he scribbles some more on his own PADD.

"Four cleared the Orion for release. She and Mr. Harris were given quarters on Deck 15."
"That's good."

Taylor could get the distinct impression that Lee was too absorbed in his own thoughts.

"The closest starbase to our position is Starbase 24," Taylor commented. "We should drop off our passengers before continuing on our patrol."

No response. Lee contined to type absentmindedly on his PADD.

"we should probably search for our universe's version of Aranea and Harris, so we can tell them about their Mirror doubles."

Lee mumbled to himself and grunted a non-committal reply. Taylor's patience was wearing thin.

"Admiral, what are you thinking about? Is there anything I can do?"

Lee again failed to reply to Kay. She finally got his attention by grabbing the Klingon PADD off his desk and throwing on the couch in the ready room.

"Hey! I was watching that!" Lee exclaimed.
"Admiral, I am beginning to think that your judgment has been compromised by the knowledge of your Mirror counterpart's death," Taylor informed him. "This is conduct unbecoming of a Starfleet officer."

Lee sulked under his ready room desk.

"Well, what would you do if you learned that someone that for all intents and purposes was you was now dead?" he asked Taylor.
"I wouldn't care," Taylor replied. Doppelgangers and counterparts are their own people and their own actions and fates don't reflect me. Whatever your double did, he did on his own terms and should not affect you in any way."
"Even so, I feel as if an integral part of me had died with my Mirror counterpart," Lee retorted. "Whether it's a blow to my pride as a denizen of this universe, or a reminder of my own mortality, the heroic death of my counterpart is something i cannot just ignore."

Taylor slammed both her fists onto the ready room desk, shaking everyone on and below the desk.

"Admiral," she said with barely contained ire. "permission to speak freely."
"G...granted," Lee replied timidly.
"The crew of the Lord English requires a captain who will not second guess every move simply because of bad news. You and I have been through many situations in which the safety of this ship and its crew hinged on making split-second decisions. There are many dangers in space which would instantly destroy us all even with the best leadership. If you choose to remain conflicted because of your double's death, I will be forced to initiate procedures to remove you from command of this vessel."

This last statement triggered something in Lee. He crawled out from under the desk, straightened his uniform, and adopted a confident posture.

"You're absolutely right, Kay," Lee admitted to her. " If I'm stuck on my Mirror double's death, I'll only end up digging my own grave, and then where would that leave me? To hell with the Mirror Universe."

Lee hailed the bridge.

"Bridge, set course for Starbase 24! We need to drop off our Mirror Universe guests before we continue to defend the Federation from all threats."

Chief Medical Officer Four of Thirteen replied from the bridge.

"Admiral, I've come from sickbay with news about our Human guest, Mr. Harris. Where are you?"


Harris made his way to the Lord English's computer core room. Pulling out a chair from the core's interface console, he sat down and pulled up his sleeves.
"Computer, access Lord English database, verify identity using ocular, blood, and skin biometric data," he ordered.

The computer core replicated several probes which took biometric data from Harris. Once the probes relayed the data to the core, they were recycled into energy. The console's lock-out screen gave way to a user-friendly screen with an open window that stated:

Identity verified. Welcome, Admiral.
Harris proceeded to copy and compress the entirety of the computer core's data into a single archive file. However, as he attempted to transmit the archive to a third party, the console suddenly shut down. Knowing the jig was up, Harris attempted to sneak away only to meet Lee, Taylor, and a squad of security officers.

"You've certainly know how to mess with people, Mr. Harris," Lee commented. "except that's not your real name, is it? When my Chief Medical Officer said your bio-signs were already in our ship's computers, I was surprised. When my First Officer said the only records to a 'Joel Chandler Harris' in our databanks was to a 19th Century American author, I was concerned. But when the computer core said I had accessed the ship's data while you were in the room, I knew what had happened. Your story of my Mirror counterpart's death is a lie."

Lee pointed an accusatory finger at Harris.

"You, sir, are the Remus Yue-chung Lee of the Mirror Universe!"

Harris stared blankly at Lee, before adopting a mocking pose and hand gestures as he confronted Lee.

"Oh, you got me, mirror me. That Orion <REDACTED> told me that this plan was flawless, and that's why I had all this cosmetic surgery done. Well, let me tell you that if she can outwit me, she can definitely outwit you."

Taylor pointed her phaser at Harris.

"Your Orion friend won't be going far," she warned him. "Our security officers already have her in custody."
"She's not the Orion you need to be concerned with," Harris retorted. "She's just a pawn like me, in a gigantic web that will catch everyone that my new master is weaving. If you want to not be eaten, you will do well to follow my lead and curry favor with her before it's too late."
"You have the right to remain silent," Taylor replied. "Security, take hi-"

Taylor's order was cut short by an explosion which rocked the ship. Chief of Operations Kovat Vystan reported from his station.

"Admiral, the Klingon shuttlepod in our shuttlebay suddenly turned on and flew into the shuttlebay doors!"

With the Lord English crew distracted by the shuttlebay disaster, Harris pressed a button on his wrist device. The Klingon PADD in Lee's ready room emitted an electromagnetic pulse which disabled the bridge's systems for 0.5 seconds, but it was enough of a window for Harris to be beamed off the ship.

"What happened?" Lee yelled. "Where did Harris go?"
"Admiral!" the bridge replied. "There is a Klingon Bird-of-Prey heading away from the ship!"

A Klingon Bird-of-Prey decloaked from its hiding spot under the ventral hull of the Lord English and flew away at 3/4 impulse. Before the Lord English crew could react, the Bird-of-Prey escaped the ten-kilometer effective range of ship's weapons. As the Lord English attempted to give chase, the Bird-of-Prey hailed the ship. Lee ordered the hail answered, and a well-dressed and familiar-looking Orion Matron appeared on the screen.

"Vice Admiral Lee, I must commend you for spoiling my plans!" she said. "Next time we meet, you will not be so lucky."
"So you reveal your true form, Aranea," Lee replied as he returned to the bridge .

The Orion scoffed.

"Don't call me Aranea, that's the name for the piece of trash Mirror Orion I'm letting you keep. I have taken the name Vriska to show I am more superior. You may call me the Spider Marquess."

Lee motioned for the Lord English to keep pursuing the Bird-of-Prey, although the ponderous Odyssey was too slow and too hindered by the Briar Patch to keep up with the Klingon vessel. Before long, the Bird-of-Prey exited the Briar Patch into open space. The Bird-of-Prey hailed the Lord English one last time before transwarping away.

"Be grateful that I have decided that you are more useful to me alive than dead, admiral," Vriska stated. "Rest assured that I will repay your insolence to me ten-fold once I have avenged myself on Melani D'ian and the rest of my enemies."

Lee stood flabbergasted as the Bird-of-Prey escaped with his Mirror counterpart. Soon, all traces of the Bird-of-Prey and its enigmatic occupants were gone, faded into background radiation. Were it not for the Orion being escorted onto the bridge by security, Lee could have sworn it was a crazy hasperat-induced dream.


Captain's log, supplemental. An insidious plot against my ship using my counterpart from the Mirror Universe was foiled. The Orion operative that was left behind professed no knowledge of the operation, or of my counterpart's actions; it would seem she was as taken in by the ruse as we were initially. Although her earnestness makes me believe her story about escaping the Mirror Universe with Mirror Me, Starfleet Intelligence will to grill her further. For now, my concerns are with her prime universe counterpart, named "Vriska", who seems like the kind of person who will make life hard for me for no reason.

Literary Challenges Entries- Star Trek Online: Lord English
Dramatis Personae of Star Trek Online: Lord English

Last edited by zidanetribal; 12-17-2014 at 11:55 PM.
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3,732
# 60 LC 12 - Inruder Alert
12-22-2014, 01:11 PM
What goes around ...

Kathryn sat down at the table and looked at the person sitting at the table on the other side. He was middle aged with short blonde hair and clean shaven. With high cheekbones and a square jaw, she smiled as if to appreciate whom she was looking at. She looked to the guard that escorted her into the room and nodded. The guard turned and exited the Spartan interrogation room. Turning back to the prisoner her smile disappeared as she acknowledged the scowl from his otherwise handsome face, then cleared her throat.

"Please believe me when I say I am sorry for what's happened."

The man looked away from a few seconds before replying. "Under normal circumstances I would be curious about it all. But this time I don't care. Fix it."

Kathryn nodded. "It won't be easy, Captain."

The man paused and did not change his tone or demeanor. "Let me say it another way: I don't care. Fix it."

Kathryn reached into her left sleeve and pulled out a small finger-shaped cylinder. Pressing a button and placing it on the desk, it hummed faintly. "This is creating a localized dampening field, blocking every signal transmission within ten meters. We have about a minute at most. Your name, well mine, is Ulric Solask. I don't want to be in your body any more than you are in mine. The transfer was an accident."

Ulric's demeanor soured. "So, what's the plan?"

Kathryn raised her eyebrows and shifted in the seat. "Well, if I can get to the artifact, then I can try the transfer aga-"

Ulric raised a finger to interrupt. "Do not try, Ulric. Do."

"Right. Can you ... I ... get you ... me ... out of here?"

Ulric crossed his arms. "You are a Starfleet Captain now. You have certain discretions. Yet, the truth will set you free, so to speak. Just tell them you need the confiscated artifact. We'll change bodies and go our separate ways."

"I must admit, Captain," Kathryn looked down and patted herself just below her breasts. "I would rather hope to get to know you more. But I realize this is not a good way to start anything."

Footsteps could be heard coming toward the door. Kathryn exchanged glances from Ulric to the door. Ulric snapped his fingers. "Stay with me. Just tell them the truth. There are stranger things that happen in the galaxy."

The Captain looked into Ulric's eyes. "I stole the artifact from the Zurich, can you promise me some form of asylum or immunity to help you?"

Ulric nodded quickly as beeps were heard as if to activate the door to open.

Kathryn stood and grabbed the dampening device, shutting it off. As the door opened, she tugged at the uniform jacket to smooth any creases then cleared her throat. Two station guards entered the room and flanked the doorway to allow a third officer to walk in. He surveyed the room quickly.

Before he could say anything, Kathryn spoke up. "Forgive me Commander, I needed a moment of privacy with Solask." She stepped toward the officer and presented the dampening device.

The Commander accepted the device and inspected it briefly. "Why the concealment, Captain?"

Kathryn sighed. "Actually, Commander I can explain that. But first let me say -", Kathryn pointed to Ulric. "That is Captain Kathryn Beringer."


The artifact was carefully placed on the table in the interrogation room and the guards stepped away not hiding their relief. The device was an equal-sided box, sand-colored, with a stylized dodecahedron on top. The side panels were blank, yet the eleven visible sides of the round-ish shape were iridescent, like the surface of a soap bubble.

Kathryn placed her hands on two sides of the box, then looked up to Ulric. "We'll need a little help because all you will do is touch any side of the 'hedron. If a guard will push you into the device, without telling you when it will happen. We should try to think of something else -anything else - than what we are doing now. That should replicate the accident." A guard reluctantly volunteered and stood behind Ulric.

"Okay, Captain. Whatever meditation technique you know, I recommend employing them." She looked to the guard. "Give us about two minutes. After that, push him toward the device. He'll need to touch it before he knows what is happening, so be forceful." She looked to Ulric. "Again, I'm sorry."

"This had better work." He closed his eyes.

Everyone in the room was silent and waited. The guard seemed to be counting seconds. After a few minutes, the designated "pusher" shoved Ulric toward the table. He was surprised as he collapsed onto the artifact and grunted as he recovered to stand. Everyone looked toward each other, wondering if anything had changed as if expecting an alien-inspired lightshow to show the life-energy transfer. Yet, there was nothing.

Kathryn stood away from the artifact and looked at her hands. She smiled and looked to Ulric who returned the smile. "It worked." She turned to the Commander. "You may arrest him again."

Ulric Solask was shocked. "What?! You promised!"

"Your right. Forgive me. Commander, Ulric Solask's charges should not include impersonating a Starfleet officer. Clearly, he did not do so with intent."

The Commander nodded. "Understood, Captain." he nodded and the guards grabbed Solask to escort him away.

"Wait! Captain Beringer, you promised immunity," Ulric pleaded.

Kathryn raised a hand and the guards stopped. She walked up to Solask and leaned in closer to whisper in his ear. "If you hadn't made a pass at me using my own body, then I wouldn't be whispering in your ear. I'm sorry, Solask." She stepped away and nodded to the guards.

Ulric Solask was visibly stunned as he was escorted out the room.
Kathryn S. Beringer - The Dawn Patrol - Endless Excelsior - Veritatum Liquido Cernene

Solaris build

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