Lt. Commander
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 239
# 11 Movies Through the Multiverse
06-23-2014, 02:15 PM
Fair warning, it gets a little dark.
Beware the implied details.
*************

Quote:
[From the Desk of J.R. Hamra]

[To Captain Gregs Sharvan Son'aire, and crew aboard the Oregon]

Well, I've heard a lot about you mister Son'aire, I'm too far away for normal subspace communication, I mean you are in the Delta Quadrant after all, but I've sent my courier and this message for you. After being approved by Admiral Janeway, Director of Starfleet Intelligence Admiral Chakotay, and Admiral Jorell Quinn, we of Hollywood Hologram Studios and Productions, have been allowed to produce both a digital movie and holodeck program, feature the day in the life of Captain Son'aire and your crew.

It was an extensive and grueling process after considering Romulan Republic, KDF ships, as well as other Federation ships in the candidate pool, we've been cleared to start filming as soon as you hit orbit at New Romulus. We've sent this message actually from Mol'Rihan, and have prepped our equipment for transfer to your ship. Hope to see you in a few hours, or within a day cycle.

Sincerely yours,

The Desk of J.R. Hamra, and H.H.S.P.
***

Sitting at the table, looking at the message on his others P.A.D.D., he began cursing under his breath at the stupidity and weakness of bringing civilians, let alone cameramen, professional spies in any universe, onto his ship, potentially messing up his personal agenda in this 'mirror universe'. Of course they didn't know of his plans, nor did the crew realize their precious captain was actually replaced yet, but he had kept them all from finding out for a couple of days, a week now, he just had to keep the act going with these people watching his every move.

Well this was going to put a kink in his plans for now. 'I hope my Captain is having luck interrogating useful information from my double,' he thinks, 'Lets hope these fools don't figure out, what the crew is oblivious to.'


******

[Mirror Universe]

He was huddled on the floor, his hair matted with dry blood from their previous attempts at 'interrogation', but it was also slick with the sweat from the current temperature levels of the room. They had made him remove everything but his underclothes, before they turned it into a sauna, minus the steam. His eyes were bloodshot from lack of sleep, his mind felt like it could snap at any moment from the torture they had put him through, both psychological and physical for the past week.

His skin was suddenly cooled as the room turned back into a habitable temperature, he hadn't heard the footfalls, but he could see the flickering visage of a blond teen as she approached him. She looked like a younger version of Chassidy, when he had met her in the Academy, but the flickering showed she was actually a hologram programmed so eerily like her. "Hello Captain Son'aire, it's a pleasure to see you still function within acceptable parameters," she says, "I apologize, whether you believe it or not, for the way that you've been treated, and want to tell you what you see now is not what is factual, but mere fantasy for one." She lowers a black cased P.A.D.D., embellished with a Terran Empire logo, underscored by an Omega symbol, at his feet, as well as a flask of liquid he assumed was water.

As she left the room, and making sure that the temperature wasn't changed, he picked up the flask and drank greedily of it, gulping a third of it down, before turning his eyes to the P.A.D.D. on the floor. He gingerly picks it up warily, acting like it was a venomous snake, but as he looks at the screen he can't help but admire the craftsmanship of the devices nonstandard casing. It was made of an indestructible, but light material, a metal of some kind, polished to a gleaming, obsidian-black, shine, and etched with the Terran insignia, overlaid on the Greek letter for Omega.


***
Quote:


I.S.S. Oregon Files: Gregs Sharvan Son'aire

[Locating Recent Files...]

[Current Mission: Infiltrate 'Prime' Universe to replace with key operative and double, total loyalty to the Imperial Starfleet.]

[Locating Personal Files...]
{Located File: Terran_Delta_1442.52}

[Interrogator Mark, Notes on Subject Delta]

Name: Gregs Sharvan Son'aire

Species: Ocampa/Unknown Vulcanoid; Hybrid
Origin: Delta Quadrant Planet.

The I.S.S. Homer retrieved a ship adrift among the stars, brought to us by our Vulcan agents within the Romulan Star Empire, though a second subject was left behind, compiled data was retrieved about the second subject. The first subject was found to actually be a hybrid between an Ocampa, a native of the Delta Quadrant, and a proto Vulcan most similar to a Mintakan in biology. Surprisingly it has physical characteristics reminiscent of a Romulan, it's biology seems to be used to a more humid and wet climate, though subject two's data reveals it is more adapted to a desert climate, like a Vulcan. Perhaps we can use this being as a test bed for anti-Romulan, I will report more on this when we return to Terra.
[End File]
***

[Intercepted Communiqué...]

After procuring the ship from our Vulcan agents, those sent to study the recent culture shift in Romulus, we've disabled the Homer, and knocked out all the crew, gassed them with some nasty stuff, and have sent a ghost ship to retrieve our man on the inside with his payload. We'll send it to one of the bases for study, cryogenics specialists who can keep the system from failing while we study the ships manifest and crew. Maybe we can use him after we've dissected the alien ship, give it a few decades after the projected results of the war occur, perhaps turn him into a man on the inside of the new Terran Empire.

End Log Operative Sixteen, Omega-Pi-164792.
Classify and encrypt under normal MΩ protocols.
[End Communiqué]

***
[Recent File Found...]
[Update to Crew Personnel Manifest]

Personnel File: Gregs Son'aire

Class Status: Revoked Citizenship; Reassigned as Third Class Citizen, under Trill Captain Zinuzee Zidire.

Current Role: First Officer and Secondary Chief Engineer under 'Cass'.
***
[Updated Crew Manifest and Role]

Current Crewman of the Oregon:

Captain: Zidire, Trill. Assumed command after imprisoning previous captain for suspected Terrorist activities with 'Memory Omega'.

Chief Interrogator: M'aei, Caitian/Ferasan. Cast out from one society for heinous crimes, her predecessors were welcomed by the Ferasans, a warrior subculture fostered by the Klingons, and Mae'i was born with a latent telepathic gene, when conscripted by Imperial Starfleet after a raid on Ferasan space, she eagerly joined to prove her worth and loyalty.

Chief Engineer" 'Cass', Terran Holographic A.I. Based off of stolen holo-programming data from DS9, Terrok Nor of the 'Prime Universe', she is one of the few A.I. programs integrated into recent Imperial Starships to help efficiency and maintenance work.

Chief of Security: Garfield 'Gar' Atadar, Terran Augment Clone. Cloned and bred for war, he is a fine chief of security, specializing in polaron based weaponry and usage. Loyalty is unquestionable, and has severe dependecy

CMO: Five of Seven, Liberated Borg/Reman Slave. Unknown Cybernetic creatures invaded Imperial Space, Five was retrieved from salvagable wreckage dead, and using the alien database from the wreckage, reanimated the Drone and wiped it's personality, leaving it a loyal operative and highly useful as a medic with the alien database's unusual medical knowledge.

Chief Science Officer: Deiso, Orion Female, Orion Syndicate Operative, known to deal in contraband both Imperial and Alliance, usual to turn a profit for the Oregon and gather much needed information for the Empire to use.

[End File]

***
[Activating Progam C_47_A-I_Omega...Searching Parameters Uploaded]
[Searching......]
[Intercepted File...Relevant Data Found]

Personal Log: Zinuzee Zidire

Stardate: 90876.51
CMO and First Officer's Log:

It's been a week since the Oregon has battled the cybernetic men; they had entered Imperial Space and we were the closest to procure new weapons for the Empire. They were vastly outgunned, the ship would barely be considered a Frigate by Terran Standard, but it was upgraded with advanced science and technology.

They came under the guise of peace and fear from an far-flung enemy, but from what we could observe their position came from an artificial transwarp/subspace corridor, technology beyond what either the Alliance or Empire had, but could equally be a trap and the ship a mere scout for an invasion. After employing a weaponized virus onto the ship, decimating the majority of crew, and turning the remaining ones into mindless, drooling puppets, we've upgraded our ship with unique new features, including a new and improved cloak that was compatible with our ship. I've been given the dead after the virus was rendered inert, as well as access to their medical database.

Right now I've tested a serum, one their files said could restore the dead, on a subject I've deemed Five of Seven, in his normal life he was a Reman, recently assimilated into their collective after coming into contact with a far scouting vessel. Funny enough their own files say he was the only remaining survivor of an attack by a species called the 'Sheliak Corporation', that they had rescued him from death. Oh how heroic they've written their lies. Maybe the captain will like my little pet project, maybe I could even reprogram him, turn him into a medical drone for our own use.

I did start to study their neural interface and found them very intriguing pieces. Perhaps I could ask Cass to help me whip up a neural chip that would help us enslave other races, make us loyal, conscripted crewman, and turn deserting crewmen into loyal drones to the Terran Empire. Perhaps I could add an agonizer function... The possibilities are endless. Maybe...maybe I could even earn my own captaincy. Or perhaps something better.

For now though I'll finish my pet project, see if I can get an obedient worker, possibly get a start on that chip, then I'll take all my findings to Captain Son'aire.
[End Log]

[Update 90881.69]

He's shot me down, that damn man! He said that messing with these carcasses was bad enough, but weaponizing their technology, creating mind control devices, was something even the empire wouldn't dare do, that it could backfire. Well, I'd like him to tell Five that to his face. Well, maybe when he was still a person, now he's a blank husk I've uploaded my information and medical knowledge into, all to make my work load light, but it matters to me!

That's it! Now I know what I'm going to do, it's a good think Cass helped me to make a few prototypes before I was shut down. Let's see him laugh after I take control of his damn ship, and he wouldn't even remember. Maybe I'll make him my servant boy, or lackey, or any of those old, confusing Terran terminolog1y. Then again why stop with him, why not the whole senior staff, all my little puppets. Of course I'll have to hack into Cass and erase all this time, maybe replace the memory.
******

Putting the device down, I had begun to realize what had occurred. I hope I could make it back to my ship now though, I have to stop them before this goes any farther.

******

[Prime Universe]

The ship was abuzz with activities as holocameras, put on seeker drones, recorded the daily activity of the crew from various places about the ship, with six personal drones set on Captain Son'aire and the bridge crew. Tensions were beginning to occur between the cameramen who kept the holocameras going, the director of the documentary, and the crew, especially the Captain, though his tension was from being unable to complete his mission.

The ship was allowed to patrol Deep Space in the Tau Dewa sector, patrolling for Tal Shiar bases beyond the border. So far the cameras haven't picked any action going on, except for the few times they had invaded privacy within the ship, on accident they had said, but they were alone in an expanse of space devoid of many habitable planets, except for the occasional Class M planet or Class H. They really needed some action to occur soon, or Gregs would feel like spacing the whole camera crew, or at least their cameras so it wouldn't be so suspicious.

*****

[Ten Forward]

A few of the Bridge Crew, Zinuzee, Gar, Nar, Sharvan, Ten, and Chassidy, sat around their table, the giant one in the far corner, away from prying eyes, or holocameras. "We all realize the captain's been replaced again..." this was from Chassidy, "And I mean, like not by and Undine or a Changeling, right?" The others nodded, they had all seen the signs.

"Yeah, he wasn't very subtle, I think he thinks he has fooled us," replied Zinuzee, "I don't think he realizes some of us know the Captain better then just friends.". The other bridge officers shake their heads in agreement.

"He tried to hide a scar on his forearm," mentions Ten, "Something he could have easily explained away since he was in another universe, but he chose to hide such a fact." The others nodded again.

"Do you think it's his mirror universe double, the same mirror universe we stopped from invading our universe a year ago," said Chassidy, "It would fit their M.O., they already tried to invade again a few months ago when they attacked Vauthil Station, when we picked up Hakeev's double." The others remember, but they didn't really know how their Captain was replaced, they had a transdimensional transponder, this was transporter technology accident, reminiscent of the Kirk incident.

"What we really need is proof," Zinuzee said. Suddenly a holocamera appeared out of thin air, a personal cloak disengaging.

"I believe I can help you with that," this was the director, Mr. Hamra, "I have something you really need to see; I agree with you, your captain has been replaced." Gar pulled up a chair for him, and then the man pulled up video up on a P.A.D.D. It was all the proof they needed.

*****

[Mirror Universe]

"Tsk, tsk, here I was hoping you wouldn't find out so fast Gregs, I mean, you weren't even supposed to get that P.A.D.D.," Zinuzee said, as she walked around the wreck of a man in the brig, "I do hope you are comfortable though, since I'll be able to return to Imperial Starfleet, with you instead of my Gregs, and tell the Brass that I placed a spy inside on of Starfleet's finest." At this he laughed at her, slowly a chuckle, then he laughed harder until he looked defiantly into her eyes with his now wild ones.

"Your the fool then Ziny, you don't realize it but my crew would have figured it out by now, they no me more personally then you even knew your ex-captain, you, or my version of you, I was going to propose finally when I got back," he says, "but you had to drag me into this universe, well she knows me better then anyone else, since we first met in 2408 and were assigned to the same ship in 2409, the Borg, the Devidians, the Dominion, your own empire, Hakeev, the Iconians, all of it; we've suffered through it all, and you think she wouldn't know her own Captain inside and out by now?" He goes back to his crazed laughing, before he lunges at the now frightened girl before him, as he grabs her wrists and locks her against the wall. She goes for her weapon, only to get a fist to the face, as he grabs at a device she has held against her, a Borg device of some kind retrofitted with their technology, and he realizes it is some kind of control device interlinked with a Borg temporal transmitter.

He begins running, making sure to lock the brig behind him after he grabbed her weapon. Now he had a goal, and it was to get to the bridge.

**

After thirty minutes of fighting and stunning crewman, Gregs made it to the bridge, took out the bridge crew, and he locked out access to the bridge. Suddenly an ensign stirs from the phaser stun, and Gregs is about to stun her again, before a new voice shouts for him to stop. Cass, the photonic A.I., appears in front of the young ensign. "We need her to help operate the transdimensional technology," she says as she bends down to help the ensign up, "She's an operative for memory omega, she knows how to get this ship into your dimension, and she'll keep her job if you stun her, after we break through reality." The ensign begins to work at the science console, while Gregs takes helm control, and Cass takes over weapons system. "You know Gregs, if we even happen to come across your ship, we'll be more than likely fired upon because of 'the colors of our flag' if you get my drift," she says, "How do you know your ship won't fire on us?" Gregs ponders this, then looks over to the photonic officer.

"I can't say for sure, but I believe in them," he says, "If they've figured out the ruse, they'll more than likely have tried to take him down by now." At that they went about preparing the ship for its journey, while crewmen outside furiously attempted to break in.

******

[Prime Universe]

A flash occurred, causing the current shift working on the bridge to be momentarily blinded, before the helmsman had to readjust course to avoid collision with the ship that had appeared directly ahead of them. Tychos, usually at the science station, was being given a shift of bridge command to help compensate for messed up scheduling with the cameras onboard now. Recognizing the ship as Terran Empire, the Tellaritte quickly made up his mind. "Disable the ships weapons before they can compensate, disable shielding too," he commands a lieutenant at tactical. As quickly as they could tehy disabled the Terran ship.

***

The ship rocked as weapons and shielding went down, the Iliad-Class ship, the mirror of the Tactical based Odyssey refit, was dead in the water with no defenses, while their opposite held them in their sights, ready to destroy them at the wrong move. "The...Oregon is hailing us, sir," the ensign said, "I've also pumped the ship with anesthize gas, per your request." Gregs nodded, and when visual was established, he saw the stout frame of Tychos, one of his Tellaritte scientists, in command; oh he hoped this wasn't another alternate universe.

"Imperial Terran Vessel, stand down and prepare to be boarded," he says, "We've disabled the majority of your systems and will prepare to take your people into custody as hostile invaders... sir!?!" The pudgy Tellar leaned in and noticed his commanding officer, dressed in now ratty strips of his clothing, realizing that it was an exact duplicate of the man onboard their own ship.

"Hey Tychos, you won't believe the week I've had...would you mind sending a security escort to track down my duplicate in the Oregon, and one to pick me up in the transporter room?" he asks, "I really want to get into my own bed tonight, and sleep comfortably instead of on a cell floor." The hum of a transporter was all he heard as he rematerialized on the transporter pad.

****

[Sickbay]

One of the doubles was put into the brig at first, the Terran Empire spy, but he was in a bit of a sour mood when they removed him to sickbay. Zinuzee and Chassidy stood next to the real Gregs, while Ten worked on the other. The man's head had to be shaved to reach their target, but they didn't have to worry about his sour attitude for much longer. The holocameras had been recording the incident on the bridge, the arrival and detainment of both Captains Gregs', and the procedure right now. J.R. Hamra stood to the side of the other group, talking to the captain and the others in the CMO's office. "So tell me again, what happened, how did he get to be replaced," he asks, "How was his doubles memory suppressed in the first place?" Gregs took the time to answer this.

"Zinuzee, the one on the other side, she got fed up after she tried to get creative and weaponize Borg technology," he says, "I visited their universe, I saw their Borg, and they were controlled by their version of Janeway for a time, before I destroyed them; it seems a group of peaceful Borg escaped, they were liberated at some point after their conversion, and the Terran Empire wished to use their technology to further their reach." He points to a device in his hand, the same device he lifted off Zinuzee earlier. "This was a memory control device they had created, based on Borg cortical nodes, and combined with a temporal transponder and transdeimnsional transponder," he says, "She could have a loyal and obedient slave, who didn't even know it, no matter where she was, even across universes, and my double was her testbed." Zinuzee pipes up this time, a second holocamera focusing in on her.

"It seems my double was an expert in medical technology, and she used this knowledge to take over," she says, "from the records Gregs brought back, it seems she had the ambition to take over the ship, hoping to expand her own sphere of influence in the Empire, and as we all know in the mirror universe, power breeds ambition, and ambition can be fatal." The holocamera then pans back, and refocuses on the whole group, then it goes to continue looking at the medical procedure going on in the other side of the room.

Ten had begun to remove the cortical implant, and had begun to replace the damaged nerves and tissue with replicated and artificial replacements. The man would be fine in time, but for now he was little more than a man at the mercy of his captors. The holocamera then zooms in at Ten and the removed Cortical node, recording this interesting piece of glowing, purple tech, so alien form the known Borg.

"We'll forward him to the Imperial Starship once he's healed enough, though from what Ten told me earlier, he'll heal faster then a normal patient would," he looks away towards the medical table, to see the sleeping man, while all of a sudden he saw him disappear in a transporter beam. Alarmed he hailed the bridge to see what happenned.

"Captain, we're rerouting a hail from the Imperial ship to Sickbay," Tychos reports. The viewscreen goes dark, before being replaced with the smiling, if artificial, visage of Cass.

"It was a pleasure to work with you captain, and we thank you for your assistance in retrieving our Captain," she says, "We'd also like you to know that our higher ups haven't been considering to invade in the near future, if not for a while, but that also Commander Zinuzee will be properly punished by my Captain when he heals, and he will heal." She looks away for a second, and orders an ensign to transfer some information to the ship, before turning her view back to Gregs. "When we meet again, and we will meet again," she says, "maybe we could meet in more favorable circumstances, more civil then how you were treated, I hope." At that the ship powered up, revealing its shields and weapons were fine, and it disappeared in a flash, as it returned to its own universe.

*****

The holographic A.I. reactivated the holocamera on the drone; she had found it had accidentally returned with the Captain, but had the ensign earlier return it's recorded information to the other ship. Of course, now she had the chance to use this technology in a different way, record her own logs, or spy for her if she so wished. Now though she used it to mercilessly record the screams and yells of Zinuzee as she was tortured at the lowest pain level that wouldn't cause personal harm to her. She knew her captain favored Zinuzee, and had the best outlook for her, and even tried to stop her from crossing dangerous lines on occasion. All in hope to change her from bloodthirsty officer, to a morally gray, who could be a possible recruit for Memory Omega at a later point in time, if only to satisfy his own secret love for her. 'Typical organic,' se thought, 'all the same they are.' She decided to stop the torture, knowing she wouldn't be favored if she killed her, and she had Gar take the lovely lady to sickbay to be healed.

The holocamera merely followed this all, uncompassionate, not fettered by morallity or view of right and wrong. It was the perfect view of the Mirror Universe, no bias, no contempt, but a perfect view of the multiverse, through movies.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 157
# 12
06-25-2014, 08:08 PM
USS Theseus, Somewhere in the Kassae Sector

"And that's pretty much the whole story, Tracy."

The young ensign leaned back on the couch, mouth agape. She absentmindedly brushed a stray red hair from her face, then crossed her arms.

"Remarkable, Skipper. I can't believe that's how you figured it out."

Zh'rissa uncrossed her legs and briefly stretched them out before standing up. "Come on, Tracy. Can't believe?" She walked over to the replicator, calling up two orders of tiramisu from the preset menu. "Your simulator scores in the Petara mission tell me that you'd think up the solution within an hour. Milk or cream?"

Tracy jumped up, smoothing her skirt as she walked over to join her commanding officer. "Cream, please. And double sweet." She took the two plates of dessert and walked over to the table where the remains of their dinner, a sampling of garlic shrimp and lightly seasoned mahi mahi, still sat. Setting down the plates, she gathered the dirty dishes up and brought them back to the replicator for reclamation.

"Thanks," Zh'rissa said. She took the two cups of coffee to the table and sat down, a sad look on her face.

Tracy noted this as she walked back to the table. "What's the matter, Skipper?"

Zh'rissa smiled. "Nothing. You just remind me so much of her."

"Your sister?"

"Yes." She took a sip of the coffee, wincing at the heat, and placed it back down to cool off. "You wear your hair similar to hers."

Tracy smiled back. "My mother liked this style on me, so I keep on doing the same thing. Tried to dye it black once. My mother didn't speak to me for a week." She blew on her coffee first, taking a long sip.

The deck shuddered, just as a land vehicle would when going over rumble strips. The forks rattled against the dishes, and ripples appeared in their cups.

Zh'rissa frowned, looking towards the viewport. "Odd. Third time this evening that's happened." She looked upwards, calling out towards the overhead, "Zh'rissa to Engineering...is everything ok?"

A static hissed before the voice of the Theseus' temporary Chief Engineer came through. "Skipper, it's the port impulse secondary relay again. I've replaced the replacement...twice! I have no idea what's causing it to continue."

"Is it something we need to return to spacedock for?"

"No, Ma'am. If it remains intermittent, we should be good."

Zh'rissa stood up and walked towards her desk. "Fine. Keep me in the loop."

"You've got it, Skipper."

Tracy looked up. "Ma'am...I still don't get why you insist on Skipper. You're the Captain, after all."

"That's my position, not my rank. I'll explain it someday. But until I have four pips, if I'm in command of something, I'm the Skipper, not the Captain."

"I don't understand..."

"Understanding is not required...only obedience."

Tracy's face scrunched up. "Ss-sss--Sorry. I---I---I didn't mea.."

Zh'rissa chucked. "Come on, Tracy. It's a line from that show we watched yesterday?"

Shaking her head, Tracy smirked. "Is the correct response D'oh?"

Zh'rissa smiled broadly, saying, "I'll make you the sector champ of Earth Trivia one way or the other!"

A hiss came through the overhead, followed by a deep voice from the speaker. "Skipper...sorry to disturb you. We are receiving a distress call."

Zh'rissa started walking towards the bridge, and Tracy rose to follow. The doors were slow, and the zhen bumped her arm on the edge, scowling. "On screen."

The hologram of a older, balding human male turned to face her from the center seat. "Audio only."

Waving her arm up, she answered the command hologram that she left in charge while she and her XO had their evening meal. "Let's hear it."

More static, followed by squeals, as if the sensors and computers were having trouble receiving and deciphering the data. "....tronic carrier....out of....ax...ter. Cleared from corridor 8188...struck stray ore barge...Mayday, Mayd---"

Zh'rissa pursed her lips. "That the best you can do?"

The hologram smirked. "I'm a hologram, not a spatial receiver. But yes, Ma'am...that is the best I can do."

"Triangulate the origin."

"Somewhere in the Ayala system. But there are no shiplanes in that area."

The deck shuddered under their feet once more, a bit more intensely.

Zh'rissa walked over to her seat, but the hologram didn't rise until she gave him a withering look. The hologram rolled his eyes and stood, giving Tracy a shrug. The hologram visually stuttered a couple of times, then winked out.

Tracy filed it away for another repair when she could find the time. Ever since they got pushed out of the repair yard early, things weren't functioning properly. The holograms...the replicators...that weird smell on deck 3...and the misfiring impulse engines.

It was as if the Theseus was sick.

Zh'rissa motioned to her right side, inviting Tracy to sit. "Number One, put the hologram on your 'to-do' list, if you haven't already."

"Yes Ma'am. I heard something at spacedock about holograms being all glitchy."

"Yet another rumour. Take it with a grain of salt."

"Yes, Skipper."

"Set course for the Ayala system, best possible speed. And check with Starfleet to see if anybody's closer. I've got a bad feeling that we're going to need some help."

"Aye, Skipper. Course laid in."

"Engage."

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

The mess hall on deck 3 was empty at this time. The Saber-class ship's complement was running on the lean side, and everybody had eaten.

Or tried to.

All the food came out of the replicators tasting sour tonight. Or salty. Either way, it was unpalatable.

A plaque that the repair crew put in the starboard alcove was near the overhead, aft of bulkhead seven. The lettering once affixed to the side had somehow fallen off, and a crewman absently swept it up as trash during the last shift.

All that was left on it was a black crystal within a polymer case.

And it started to glow a sickly green, pulsing three times over and over...

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

Somewhere in the Alaya System...

"Helm, bring us in closer."

"Aye, Ma'am. Closing to 50 kilometers. Want me to keep the rock between us and the facility?"

Zh'rissa brought her hand up to rub her forehead. The Theseus was running at Yellow Alert, and came in from the vector set out for emergencies. Per the code given in the Mayday, 8188, she expected to find the holograms offline, one unknown threat vessel, and that she needed to adjust her shields to a particular frequency to keep the automated sensors from betraying her presence. Jackie was doing a good job threading the invisible corridor, what with the engineering problems the Theseus was continually throwing at her crew.

What's wrong, girl?, Zh'rissa thought. Why are you acting up when we just fixed you?

Tracy looked to her Captain, a look of concern in her eyes. Zh'rissa had been distant since retreating to her quarters for the journey to Facility 4208, something Tracy had never heard of until a few hours ago. She didn't like the fact that Starfleet maintained secret facilities. It reminded her too much of...well....bad times.

"Skipper?"

Zh'rissa blinked, then straightened up in her seat. "Yes, Jackie, keep us on the underside until we get a clearer scan of the ship."

Tracy tapped her console, thought a moment, then chirped up. "Skipper, we're not going to get a clearer scan. It's a Koloth-class Bird of Prey, but definitely not stock. Not and IKS vessel, either. Transponder is faked, but she's showing as the Merchant Vessel Broken Wing, home ported at Chulan. Does that mean anything?"

"Hmm." Zh'rissa's antenna folded downwards. "Chulan?"

"Yes Ma'am."

Zh'rissa picked up a PADD, entered some calculations, then sent it to her Tactical Officer, who was pulling extra duties flying the ship. "Jackie, bring us up until you've got a straight line of sight to these coordinates." She turned to her XO. "Tracy, once the Away Team is down, raise shields and wait. Don't drop them until I send a no-duress code." She stood up, straightening her tunic. "Keep an eye on the Koloth; it's not to leave under any circumstances. Got it?"

Tracy stood up and took a step towards her Captain. "Skipper," she said quietly, "a word, please?"

"No time."

"Please?"

Zh'rissa sighed. "Walk with me," she said softly, taking a step towards the turbolift. She raised her voice, and continued, "Jackie, you have the Conn."

Tracy joined her in the lift, and once the doors hissed shut, reached out and grabbed a manual override to halt the lift before it could start it's short journey to the transporter room. "Skipper," Tracy said, "do I need to say that you shouldn't be going down there? Do I need to put on the XO's hat and quote regulations?"

"No, you'd just mess up your hair." The smile Zh'rissa said that with disappeared quickly, and she squinted at Tracy. "You have no idea on what is down there, and there's no time to brief you even if you had the clearance."

It was Tracy's turn to squint. "I have some idea of what goes on at black facilities," she said darkly. "Enough to know that you shouldn't go down in your state of mind."

Zh'rissa scowled at her. "Excuse me?"

"You've been keeping to yourself ever since we got that distress call. What is there that you don't want to talk about?"

"Let it go, Ensign."

"You taught me to not let things go."

"And I also taught you to know when it's time to follow your gut and when it's time to shut up and follow orders."

Tracy didn't back down. "I know when to shut up and follow legal orders."

"You're pushing your luck."

"No I'm not," Tracy cried out, her voice an octave higher than before. "I've been keeping quiet ever since spacedock, when you insisted that we were good to head out before repairs were completed." Tracy crossed her arms, and lowered her voice. "And I kept quiet when you didn't report we never got our replacement crew, and that half our engineers are holograms."

Zh'rissa's lips pursed, and an edge crept into her voice. "I have my reasons." She inhaled sharply, and crossed her own arms. "And I don't need to explain them."

"If this is about Ann-"

"How DARE you!" Zh'rissa spat out. She reached out to grab a handrail to keep her from lashing out. "Don't you ever....EVER....insinuate that my actions are related...to...."

An awkward silence fell over the turbolift, and Tracy pressed the override once more, starting the journey to the main transporter room.

"Sorry," Tracy said a few moments later.

"Don't....we will discuss this later." The doors opened with a shudder, the port side not retracting fully into it's space. Zh'rissa turned sideways and stalked out, hissing, "You have your orders."

Tracy shook her head slowly, sadly whispering, "Aye, Aye, Ma'am."

**********************
Aboard Facility 4028

The blue sparkles from the transporter seemed to linger a long time, not a surprise given that they needed to deploy pattern enhancers. The Petty Officers weren't smooth as they swept their phaser rifles around the chamber. Not a shock, thought Zh'rissa. Betty was from Astrometrics, and Myra was a Botanist. Denise, the acting Chief Engineer, never scored in the top percentile on tactical simulations, and it was all she could do to keep from dropping the tricorder while covering her sector.

But when they're the best you have, you make do.

Denise slung her rifle without permission, and walked over to the blown out terminal on the starboard bulkhead. "Ma'am," she whispered, "I'm getting all sorts of weird readings. Nothing makes sense."

Zh'rissa holstered her pistol, then opened her own tricorder. "Same thing here. Seems you haven't gotten the kinks out of *any* of the sensors, Chief."

Denise blushed, lowering her gaze. "I told you, Skipper, I've never seen these kind of problems before. We got jinxed at spacedock."

"Belay that talk. I don't believe in jinxes."

"But Ma'am...we were fine...well...as fine as we could have been after Vega. None of the problems we're having can be tracked back to the damage we took. Ann--"

Zh'rissa spun on her heel, but Denise went silent before she could continue her train of thought. Regardless, she raised a single finger in warning, then stepped over to the console that was still intact. "Take my tricorder...see if the errors are the same, or if you can compile enough good readings to sort though the garbage."

Denise slowly took her Captain's tricorder, then linked it to her own. She pulled out a transfer cable, and plugged into the console in front of her. She frowned, then reached over to an access panel, opening it with a bang that caused Myra to spin around, emitting a panicked squeak.

The engineer tried to sound cheerful as she chirped, "Whoops!", in an attempt to calm down her friend.

Zh'rissa scowled at them both, muttering, "Have you ladies forgotten why we're here?"

Chastened, Denise quieted down. "No, Ma'am. Sorry." She held up the tricorders, trying to hide her face behind them. "But I've got a recording from the secondary core."

"Play it."

The small display on Denise's tricorder sparked a couple of times, then went black. A wisp of black smoke came out of the vent on the rear, and an acrid smell filled the air.

Zh'rissa grabbed at the other tricorder, pulling the transfer cable out of the wall. She held out her hand to Betty, who wordlessly pulled her tricorder from its sheath and gave it to Zh'rissa. What's wrong with me?, Zh'rissa thought. I'm not acting like myself. The nightmares she experienced ever since pulling into spacedock had been bad, and now it was affecting how she was treating her crew.

She didn't like it one bit.

Taking a few deep breaths, she activated Betty's tricorder, putting up a firewall before accessing the same information Denise found. The screen shone brightly, as if somebody was pointing a visible laser into the lens. A gruff voice came out of the speaker, male, and grumpy. "I dunno why we here. I no see it." An equally grumpy voice muttered something unintelligible in the background, and Zh'rissa tried to clear up the signal.

Myra slowly walked over, whispering, "Maybe if we use my tricorder too--"

A blast of green light and a thunderous shockwave interrupted her words, and Betty slumped to the ground, horrible burns on the right side of her body. A line of smoke ran from her body to a jagged hole in the bulkhead.

"Now *that's* a blast! Drop em, Starfleet," a huge Orion male grunted. He was shirtless, and any spot on his body where he didn't wear piercings was covered in obscene tattoos. "Don't make me ask twice, blue, or another of yer crew gets toast." A second Orion walked out of the jagged hole, a huge disruptor cannon the size of a targ in his scrawny arms. He pointed it menacingly at Denise, and Myra dropped her rifle as the brute glared at her. A third Orion jumped through the hole, running with impressive speed towards Zh'rissa and Denise. He was sized somewhere between the first and second, and roughly grabbed Zh'rissa's pistol from its holster while cutting Denise's rifle's sling with a wicked looking knife.

"Why?" Zh'rissa asked.

The first Orion tilted his head back and forth. "Don't know why he does what he does," he said, pointing to the scrawny one. "Maybe the voices in his head tell him to toast girlies."

"You didn't nee--"

The second Orion waved the disruptor around, then fired again, striking Myra.

"Nooo!" Denise screamed, and the Orion shot her too.

Zh'rissa's hands leapt up in surrender. "Don't...."

"Save it." This came from an even darker sounding voice, whose owner strode out of the smoke and into the center of the chamber. "They really don't care. Ever since getting the repairs from your spacedock, they don't listen all that well."

Zh'rissa was confused, and blinked madly at the smoke burning her eyes. "What repairs?" she asked, nearly frantic.

"Allow me to introduce myself. Name's Trever. My ship's the Cordon's Fire. Yeah...fake transponder on her now...but you Starfleet types don't exactly hold out the welcome wagon on your stations for pirates." He held up a Klingon PADD, bringing up the schematics of a Koloth-class ship. "But privateers? We're more than welcome."

Zh'rissa's eyes bored holes through the man, who was incredibly fit. He looked to be in his mid-thirties, and wore his red hair cut short to the scalp, a thin scar running up from beside his nose. Zh'rissa was panting, both from the smoke, and from the rage she felt at watching her crew cut down in front of her.

The man stalked towards her, a curt motion of his hand dismissing the Orions. They gave him an evil look, but retreated through the hole, the first Orion winking at Zh'rissa as he departed.

"As I was saying," Trever continued, "Privateers don't get a second glance. Expensive to forge the permits. But worth it." He snatched the tricorder away from the console, admiring it for a moment. "You have better gear than the Klingons. Not as nice as the Romulans, but any port in a storm." He arrogantly placed his hands on his hips, and started to circle Zh'rissa.

"I bet you're wondering just why I'm here."

"The thought did cross my mind," Zh'rissa hissed.

"Honestly...I don't know. I was sleeping while they put a new induction coil on the 'Fire'...well, they put a new coil on the 'Broken Wing', but you get the point. I kept having the oddest dreams. About how I could be rich beyond belief if I just went and destroyed some Tellarite and Andorian ships." He pulled out a small dagger, sticking the point onto his finger. "I didn't understand it...but it made sense. Somehow. And my crew seemed to be up for it. So I made a few calls, and asked around on who knows the best way to bring upon genocide." He pointed the dagger at a point beyond the hole. "Come take a look."

Zh'rissa slowly walked towards the hole, conscious that the dagger was now playing across her left side. The three Orions weren't in the adjacent room, but there was a scraggly-faced Lethean crouched over a crate. The lid was carelessly tossed to the side, and an intricate tool kit was open on the ground. Seven other crates of different size were broken open, but empty. The Lethean squinted at Trever, motioning with a delicate probe. "You didn't tell me it was positronic. We'll need a different interface if you want to upload the memories."

"Tut, tut," Trever said. "We have all the ones we'll need on that ship that's come to take us away." He smiled sarcastically at Zh'rissa. "Isn't that right, Captain?"

"I'll never help you," Zh'rissa said.

In reply, Trever jerked the knife up and sliced her left antenna open.

"What was that, Captain?" he growled. "I didn't quite hear that."

"Go to hell--"

Slice.

The pain was too great, and Zh'rissa fell to the ground. She heard laughter, and looked over to see the Lethean smirking as it placed a head on a body of an android that it was assembling. She thought she could recognize it, but Trever kicked her in the ribs, ripping the breath from her lungs.

"Captain, captain....the pain? I can make it go away." He shook his head, confused. "But I don't want to." He shook his head again. "But I can be reasonable. Just whisper the duress code in my ear, and I promise, I won't make it last too much longer."

Zh'rissa could barely think, and struggled to open her eyes. "No..." she breathed out.

And white hot fire ripped into her thigh.

The Lethean chuckled again.

Trever wasn't so amused. "Now, Captain," he said, the edge in his voice as sharp as his dagger.

Her voice was barely audible. "No." Zh'rissa shut her eyes against the pain, hoping that her crew would somehow survive.

"Hey," the voice of the Orion shouted. "We got incoming."

Zh'rissa heard Trever rise, but not before he stabbed her in her other thigh. "What?!?" he shrieked, composure leaving his confident voice.

"Odyssey class, coming at maximum warp. Doesn't give a damn who knows he's coming." Odd tones signalled that a Klingon PADD was being used. "Jaard says it's the Bonaventure."

Trever's voice went back to an oily tone. "We ever deal with them?"

"No." Zh'rissa felt a kick in her ribs, not as had as the first one. "But I bet she has."

Zh'rissa felt warm breath against her face. "What about it, sweetheart? You know the Bonaventure?"

First the notes of a Federation transporter chimed, and then a body thudded on the floor next to Zh'rissa after a phaser whined. She thought she heard the Lethean start to say something, but he was cut off as she heard the sound of a neck snapping. "I don't think she does know, Brother. But I do."

Zh'rissa struggled to place the voice, but then the phaser whined again.

And that was the last thing Zh'rissa ever heard.

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

To be concluded in a future tale...

Last edited by masopw; 07-02-2014 at 06:55 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 755
# 13
06-29-2014, 06:42 PM
Personal record: Shalo of the house of Sinoom, commanding officer, IKS Garaka

"I live to serve, Chancellor," I say. "But your command is... unexpected."

J'mpok regards me inscrutably with his heavy-lidded eyes. "It is my judgment that you are the best choice. A Klingon crew, of course, was the first thought that came to my mind... but then, I thought again."

"One's first thought," I say, "would have been the flagship, and Captain Koren."

"Very true." J'mpok chuckles. "Captain Koren has many virtues. But she lacks some qualities... she is neither diplomatic, nor photogenic. This assignment calls for both those things. And it will do the Federation good to see that the KDF is not wholly Klingon - that Orions, for example, such as yourself, command respect and obedience."

He settles himself behind his desk. He is in a talkative mood, it seems. I remain in an attitude of respectful attention and let him talk.

"The Federation has finally seen the error of its ways, with regard to our mutual enemies. So far as it goes, this is good. But this armistice, this new cooperation, is a fragile thing. We must fight to preserve it, with weapons other than guns...."

"I believe I understand, Chancellor," I venture to say. "The battle for hearts and minds must be waged with... more subtle weapons."

"Quite so. Captain Koren finds it difficult to be subtle." His eyes are still inscrutable. "You do not. So, when this Federation purveyor of entertainments came to us, wishing to present a picture of the KDF at work... I thought of you."

"I am gratified, Chancellor." Actually, "gratified" is not... an entirely accurate... description of my feelings.

J'mpok nods, slowly and thoughtfully. "Go, then. Help this image-maker present his picture. It is my wish that you should show the KDF as a friend to be trusted... and an enemy to be feared."

I give a formal salute. "I will not fail you, Chancellor."

---

"Of final approach, confirmation there is," Commander Foojoy reports. "To shuttlebay four, the shuttlecraft of Federation is assigned."

"Excellent," I say. "Have an honour guard detachment there to escort this Director Marklance to the bridge. So, then. Time to make a final decision on which assignment we will take. The planetary survey in the T'Ong Nebula? Or the patrol in Khedaris Sector? I will entertain suggestions."

Suggestions are not forthcoming. I have never seen so many unhappy faces on the bridge, not even when we were facing an Undine planet-killer. I heave an exasperated sigh. "I know you were hoping for the tribute enforcement mission at Sarkan Minor. It is not practical, not with a Federation film crew aboard. Not if we wish to give a positive impression of the KDF at work. There will be other chances for booty, I assure you. But this time, we must put on a good show."

"Sir," Sano speaks up from the science console, her eyes wary in her dark green face. "I do not question your orders, but you should be aware of something. When I investigated the mission parameters for Sarkan Minor, a name came up. A name on your personal interest list."

They will not give up on this. "What name?" I demand.

"Satyusin Muhrl," Sano replies.

My whole body tenses. There is a long pause. I find I cannot speak... and no one else dares to.

"Muhrl," I whisper, finally. "In what context?"

"He is one of the approved brokerage agents in that sector," Sano replies. "Based on Presaucus III."

"Satyusin Muhrl," I say aloud. "Well."

K'Gan, my first officer, frowns in puzzlement. "Does that... change things?"

"It... might," I say, slowly. Ideas are forming in my mind. "Yes. It might well. This will be difficult, it will require careful management. But these things are always a matter of presentation. Raas." The Gorn at the comms console looks up. "Signal Command that we accept the Sarkan Minor assignment."

---

"Director Marklance," I say. "Welcome to my quarters."

"Oh," he says, "I don't have a title. Just plain Mr Marklance." He smiles. He is a tall, heavy-built, dark-skinned human, with a ready smile. Affable, that is the word for him. Affable. "Or Ryall, even better, that's my first name."

"Ryall." I smile back. "And I am Shalo, as no doubt you know. Please, be seated. Do you desire refreshment?"

He sinks, gingerly, down onto a pile of cushions. I sit cross-legged opposite him. My quarters are decorated in opulent Orion style - for the moment. Usually, I prefer plainer surroundings. But I think it is important to show that I have other than Klingon cultural values, for the present. "I guess I'd better keep a clear head," he says.

"Some Kryla flower nectar, perhaps? It has no intoxicating effects." He does not demur as I pour out two glasses of the sweet-scented golden liquid, but he sips it cautiously. "Nice," he says. "Very Orion." He gestures at the silk wall hangings. "Like this... but you're not dressed in the Orion style, are you, General?"

"I am a KDF officer, first and foremost." I am wearing my usual cold-weather version of KDF standard uniform, white leather and furs. "If I wish to be reminded of my Orion heritage... it is a taste I indulge in private."

"Well," Marklance says, "I guess the KDF would have picked one of their most... strait-laced... officers for this job, right? So let's talk about why I'm here."

"You are here to make a... documentary holo... about the modern KDF," I say.

"Right. Right. I mean, I'm saying this myself, but I'm one of the best-known - not to mention the best - documentary film makers in the Federation. You've probably seen my film about the behind-the-scenes secrets of the Deltan tantric therapy workshops?"

"Federation cultural material has not been common in the Empire, during the war. I know the Deltans believe themselves to be skilled in such things... it lies somewhat outside the military sphere, though."

"Yeah, I suppose not. Anyway. What I want to do now is give the Federation a real view of the workings of the KDF. You've been the enemy so long - demonized in our propaganda - so now we need a good, clear, unbiased look at how you guys work. That's what I'm here for. And I'm here because I'm the best."

No false modesty, I see. "The Chancellor's orders are... to present the KDF in a positive light. But it is essential, I think, that your documentary should be realistic. A tawdry recruiting film for the KDF would convince no one."

"Quite." He laughs. "So I'm going to make sure that's not what we get! I'm going to warn you now, I get involved on both sides of the camera when I make a film." And how the Deltans must have enjoyed that, I carefully refrain from saying. "So I'm going to be right there when you do your stuff, and I'm going to be adversarial."

I smile a tight little thin-lipped smile. "The KDF," I say, "has always welcomed a valiant adversary."

---

"Coming out of warp," K'Gan announces. The air of anticipation on the bridge is electric.

"Before we go on," Ryall Marklance says, "can you give me a run down on what exactly we're doing here?"

"Steer three eight zero mark two. Launch frigates as we reach range two thousand. All warriors to battle stations." I turn to Marklance. "We are here on a tribute enforcement mission. The government of Sarkan Minor has reneged on its commitments to the Empire... we are here to remind them that such behaviour is not acceptable."

"What's the difference between this, though, and a smash-and-grab pirate raid?"

"Official approval," I say with a smile. "Besides, does the Federation not enforce its treaty stipulations, from time to time?"

"Not with warships," Marklance says. "Well, not often...."

"Situations like this rarely occur in Klingon space," I say. "But, when they do, the Empire acts with appropriate severity."

"But you get to keep some of the - the loot, don't you?"

"Naturally. As an incentive for us to perform our duties well. And the additional expense is an added disincentive for the Sarkans to neglect their obligations in future."

Marklance shakes his head. "You people and your outmoded economic system," he murmurs.

"Of movement, around the trading post, I report," Foojoy breaks in. Marklance jumps. Foojoy, with his high pointed head, the warrior markings on his grey skin, and his extravagant facial hair, always seems to startle Marklance. "Ships, foregathering at mark three niner by four seven, six in number, there are."

"Classification?"

"Birds of Prey." The Sarkan asteroid trading post has deployed a picket force. That is to be expected - and that will change, as soon as their sensors get a positive lock on us. At present, they are merely wary. Soon, they will be terrified.

"Frigates one and two away," Sano reports. "Three and four prepping for launch."

"Those are... Fer'jai frigates?" asks Marklance.

I nod. "Originally, we carried S'kul fighters, but I consider those too fragile for most applications. The Fek'lhri waste lives needlessly... we spend them only as we need."

He glances around the cavernous bridge. "I keep forgetting this is a Fek designed ship," he says.

"The interior fittings are mostly Klingon. Fek quarters lack... certain amenities." I decide to seize an opportunity. "The Fer'jai frigates are closer to the original designs. If you wish a view of their interiors, I can arrange for exercises to be carried out - shall we say, tomorrow?"

"If you have any frigates by tomorrow."

"The Sarkans' Birds of Prey are old war surplus. Antiquated designs. They will present no significant challenge."

"Ships decloaking," Sano interrupts. "Six more Birds of Prey, and... one SuQob raptor."

"How's that for a significant challenge?" Marklance asks.

It is, I think, the full fighting force available to the trading station - that, and its own disruptor emplacements. "Time to effective range?"

"Thirty seconds," Sano answers.

"Can you take this?" Marklance asks. "Can we take this? Your frigates are outnumbered three to one!"

"So they are. Do you believe the Sarkans, now, to be innocent parties in their dispute with the Empire? I have reason to suspect - well, we shall find out, later, what I suspect. Forward batteries, fire as you bear." Marklance is perspiring freely. I suppose the Deltan tantric therapists did not prepare him for a situation like this.

"Incoming torpedoes," K'Gan reports.

I count down, silently, in my head as the torpedo salvo approaches. "And... phase," I order.

The light seems to shift on the bridge, the constant gonging note from the engines changes in pitch... and the Garaka becomes insubstantial for a moment or two, long enough for the photon torpedoes to pass harmlessly through us and waste themselves on empty space. Quietly, I tap out commands on my console.

"In range," snarls K'Gan. "Engaging."

Even here, deep inside the ship, we can hear the scream of the antiproton arrays discharging, feel the thumps as the tricobalt torpedoes launch. The Fer'jais are closing on the Birds of Prey, now, their own antiproton arrays slicing the night with threads of scarlet. Green disruptor light flashes back at us.

"Incoming fire. Forward shields holding at seventy-eight per cent."

The trading station is firing, too, though we are at extreme range for its fixed-mount disruptors. But, of course, these people are desperate - they see the Kar'fi carrier, the frigates, the antiproton beams and tricobalt explosions, they believe themselves under attack by the Fek'lhri. Normally, a glance at the Garaka's transponder ID code would disabuse them of that notion....

"Concentrate fire on lead raider group. Rotate shield frequencies. Ready a torpedo spread, but hold fire until I give the word."

Scarlet light from our forward arrays slashes open the hull of one enemy Bird of Prey, spilling air and warp plasma and burning bodies into the void. My frigates target another, fire as one, obliterating it in a single brilliant flash. But another trio of enemy ships is coming about.

"Incoming fire on starboard flank!"

Garaka rocks. Damage warning lights sparkle on my console, and there is the flash-bang of a transient EPS overload on one of the bridge consoles. Marklance gives a high-pitched yelp. I smile tolerantly at him. "Such things are to be expected," I say sweetly.

"That was an explosion! On the bridge!"

"Incoming enemy fire is absorbed and dissipated in the EPS grid," I say absent-mindedly, as I sketch out the next attack pattern on the tactical console. "Occasionally, there is a transient overload, or some impurities in the grid tubing are burned off by a passing surge... the alternative, though, would be to let the enemy fire take out a chunk of our hull. A minor distraction like this, believe me, is to be preferred." We are ready. "Fire torpedo spread!"

The multiple warheads shriek from our launchers. One Bird of Prey, out of position and already damaged, vanishes in a blast of flame - but the majority of the salvo is aimed at the base, and it strikes home, disabling shields and disruptor emplacements in a series of massive explosions. My beam arrays are swatting down the surviving Birds of Prey....

"Raptor is changing heading," Sano reports. "Coming about - activating a subspace jump -"

The enemy raptor vanishes from the screen. Sadly - for them - this was an obvious ploy on their part, and I have had ample time to take precautions. The raptor emerges from its subspace rift, a little under two kellicams behind us. An ideal spot for me to deploy a pair of tricobalt mines... I wonder if its captain had time to realize his error, before the detonations tore his ship apart.

The last few Birds of Prey are fleeing, in flames, from my frigates. The station itself is defenceless, its firepower wrecked by my torpedoes. Damage to the Garaka barely qualifies as cosmetic. I turn to my communications console, and press two buttons. One of them opens a standard Imperial hailing frequency. The other... turns the Garaka's ID transponder back on.

"Sarkan station," I announce. "This is Lieutenant General Shalo aboard the Imperial carrier Garaka. You are directed to surrender... and to meet your obligations to the Empire."

---

Marklance's voice sounds thin and tinny. "I'm going to take the opportunity. Of course she's up to something, but we haven't had a chance to get inside a Fer'jai frigate before...."

"We'll miss the prisoner transfer." The other voice is that of Marklance's "production associate". I have forgotten his name; I think of him just as the man from Starfleet Intelligence. "That might not matter, of course...."

"Yeah," says Marklance, "yeah. I'll give 'em credit, the Klinks haven't mistreated any prisoners - that I've seen. Hell, the poor guys seemed relieved, even." Well, of course they would - they expected to be eaten by the Fek'lhri, Imperial custody must seem preferable to that. "We can get the second camera unit to record the transfer anyway... if there are any, well, irregularities, they should pick up on them." Dream on, I think to myself. Faint noises sound, and then Marklance says, "Are you sure this room isn't bugged?"

"Swept it for surveillance devices myself," the Intelligence man replies. "It's clean." And he is perfectly right. But if you stand in the right place, two decks above their quarters, and next to the right ventilation shaft, you find that voices can carry. It helps, of course, that I know my ship. Intimately.

"We need an angle," Marklance says. "We need something... I don't care what it is. Something to show the KDF either in a bad light, or a good one. I don't wanna be neutral. Neutral is blah. Neutral is bad."

"Safe bet she'd prefer good," says the other, "but bad ought to be easier to do."

"Yeah," says Marklance, "they're Klinks, after all.... I'll find it. One way or another, I'll get my angle."

I step away from the ventilation shaft. Poor man. He is working so hard, trying to think of his angle. It would positively be an act of charity to find one for him.

---

It is late the next day when I see Marklance again. He strolls into my ready room, all smiles and affability. His camera team is not with him; so, this is to be a private conversation. I smile at him, and wave him to a chair. "You enjoyed your flight, then?"

"I got some good material. Those Fer'jai frigates are... weird. Gothic, maybe. I see what you mean about Fek interior design."

I nod in an abstracted manner. "You missed the transfer of the adult prisoners... an Imperial courier arrives tomorrow, if you need footage of ships docking and undocking. The children - there is a separate protocol, necessarily, for the care and repatriation of minors." The ship arriving tomorrow is an Imperial courier, and not - as today - an Orion slaving vessel. I do not deal in child slaves... the business is lucrative, but it is fraught with uncertainties. People become unreasonable where children are involved.

"It'd be good to show that. I guess." Marklance is trying to read my datapad upside down. He is not subtle about it; I sigh, spin it around, and show it to him. "What's all this about?"

"Choosing a brokerage agency to process the tribute from the station. You will understand that these things must be carefully accounted for... a select list of financial agents is kept by the Imperial authorities. People of impeccable financial probity."

Marklance purses his lips. "Accountancy."

"Dull, perhaps, but essential. The nearest large brokerage houses are on Presaucus III... I am trying to decide which to employ." I am frowning faintly, now, hoping to convey the impression that the choice is difficult.

"What's your thinking?" Marklance asks.

"I need an agency of sufficient size.... And there is one that I will not use."

He perks up at that. "Why not?"

I look at him steadily for a moment or two before I reply. "It is owned by a man... who was a trusted retainer of the House of Sinoom. My House. He betrayed his trust, turned his coat, sold our assets and our secrets to those who supported Melani D'ian and the war...."

"I thought you said these guys had to be of - what was it? Impeccable financial probity?"

"The brokerage was his reward. Your people have a saying, I recall - 'if it prosper, none dare call it treason'. The militarist faction prospered, and Satyusin Muhrl prospered with them. No doubt he deals honestly, now, with the Empire."

Marklance's eyes are gleaming with interest. "So you can't work with him? A matter of - family honour? But you're Orion, not Klingon... I always thought Orions were pragmatists."

"I find I am not sufficiently pragmatic to work with Satyusin Muhrl," I snap, with perfectly genuine anger.

"Really?" says Marklance. "That tells me something, doesn't it? About old grievances, and old memories, and just how deep grudges run in your culture...."

"It is not the same. Federation and Empire now face a common foe. My feelings about a man who violated my House's trust - they have nothing to do with -"

"Can you work with him?" Marklance is agog. He has found his angle, or so he thinks.

"It is irrelevant," I say with decision. "He will never work with me, for the most obvious reasons."

"If he could be persuaded... would you work with him?"

"To prove a point? To you?"

"If you like, yes."

"I am a warrior of the Empire. I will do my duty - however difficult, however unpleasant. Explain to me how this would fall within my duty."

"I'm guessing," Marklance says, "that your orders are to show the KDF in a good light, right? So, how about showing me that the KDF can put aside old animosities, can work with the people it used to despise, for the common good?" He is grinning. "A challenge, General Shalo. From me to you. Are you up to it?"

"It is academic. Muhrl has no duty to the KDF, and he has a high regard for his own skin. You will never persuade him to work with me."

He chuckles. "Want to bet? I can be mighty persuasive, General."

So, indeed, I hope.

---

The face on the holo-display is that of a small, bald man, with pinched features, greyish-green skin and long dangling earlobes. The jewelry he wears - nose studs, earrings, a glittering headband, several necklaces - looks incongruous on him. "Satyusin Murhl," I say to Foojoy and Sano. "An Orion-Gretebian half-breed, with some customs retained from both cultures... the one that interest me is Gretebian. You note the jewels?"

"Gaudy," says Sano.

"Display. Gretebians display their wealth, and they like to wear trophies. This being the case, some ideas sprang to my mind."

"A possibility there is -" Foojoy begins.

"Yes," I say. "That is why I need you to make... the requisite preparations. And you," I turn to Sano, "need to use our contacts on Presaucus III to the fullest. I need someone over whom Muhrl will be glad to triumph."

"We have less than thirty hours before we reach Presaucus orbit," Sano says doubtfully.

"You will need to work fast. But men like Muhrl make enemies as easily as they breathe. And he has one other quality that I think will prove useful to us." I stare intently at the face of my enemy. "Bravado."

---

K'Gan meets me at the transporter room, and his eyes widen at the sight of me. Well, that is good.

"Liberty parties are preparing to beam down, sir," he reports.

"Excellent. Pass the word amongst them, though, that we are still under the eyes of the Federation."

"They have been made aware of this, sir, but I will reiterate the message."

I nod. "A certain amount of... horseplay... is expected. Bar brawls, honour duels and the like. The Feds will expect it of us, and there is no reason to disappoint them. But we should stop short of significant property damage, or injury to passers-by. Or, especially, non-consensual... encounters. The Feds are very sensitive about such matters. Make our liberty parties aware that there is room in my trophy cabinet for the genitals of anyone who contravenes my orders in this respect."

K'Gan salutes. "It shall be so, sir."

"Good. The advance party?"

"Planetside and ready, sir."

"Good." I step onto the transporter pad. "Energize."

Red light encloses me and takes me away from the ship, into the hustle and bustle of the spaceport below.

The place is crowded, busy; I step off the pad and am swallowed at once in a swarm of aliens of a hundred different species, all hurrying on errands among low, domed buildings beneath a grey stormy sky. In the distance, starships tower along the horizon, freighters and frigates of numerous designs. I look about and spot Sano. She does not recognize me until I am quite close to her - it says something, perhaps, that an Orion costume of silks and jewels now works as a reasonably effective disguise. She smiles, and remembers not to salute.

"We have the one you need," she says. She looks a little careworn, almost hollow-eyed. It appears she has worked hard to achieve this success. I let her lead me down many winding alleys, into one geodesic dome building that looks much like any of the others.

The Gorns, Raas and Thraak, are standing over the wretched figure seated in one corner of the dingy bar. The few remaining customers are elaborately not paying attention to us. I sit down across the table from our captive, and take the datapad Sano offers me.

"Ekkdosin sh'Durn," I read. The captive looks up, trembling. I don't recognize his species - something small, bald and warty, with reddish-brown skin. "A figure, here, for the amount you owe to the Golden Raptor Loans and Brokerage Company... another figure, for your estimated assets. Dear me. There appears to be quite a disparity."

"Did Muhrl send you?" His voice is high-pitched and cracked. "How did you find me?"

"Sh'Durn is notoriously elusive," Sano says. "The Golden Raptor Company is by no means his only creditor."

"But it is the only one that need concern us now," I say. I smile at the cringing alien. "Good fortune attends you today, sh'Durn. Your debt to the Golden Raptor Company is about to be repaid. You will repay it. In full, and with interest."

"I don't have the money," sh'Durn whines. "You know I don't have the money...."

"Then we must make an arrangement," I say, giving him my sweetest smile. "I will buy your debt, sh'Durn. I will cover your bills to this company, and even add a little something to sweeten the pot. You should give thanks to whatever deities you worship, sh'Durn. Your luck has changed."

"It has?" He sounds doubtful.

"Of course," I add, "I am not a charitable institution. I am buying your debt, and I will receive value for money." I let my smile gain a little feral edge. "Let us discuss the arrangements...."

---

Ryall Marklance's smile is broad enough to span a star sector, as he ushers the small grey-green figure into my ready room. "Lieutenant General Shalo," he declaims, "let me introduce you to the president of the Golden Raptor Loans and Brokerage Company - Satyusin Muhrl."

I rise slowly to my feet. "Muhrl." He is smaller than I remember him, and his jewels are more gaudy and more numerous. I have to look hard... and then I have to restrain myself, to keep my face carefully composed, as I see that it worked.

"General." Muhrl looks at me, nervous and defiant. Of course, his innate bravado would tempt him to accept this assignment, to beard me in my lair - with, I suppose, a substantial monetary sweetener from Marklance.

"I hope you two can work together," says Marklance. "Bury those old animosities, hey?"

"I bear the General no ill will," says Muhrl.

"I see it is academic, in any case," I say. Marklance looks baffled; Muhrl looks wary. "You are wearing a Gral Temm assassin jewel, Muhrl. Whoever gave it to you will doubtless engage the trigger soon enough."

Murhl smiles. "This thing?" He points to the red gleaming gem at his throat. "It is a recent trophy, a payment for a debt - I have had it scanned for toxins, it is safe."

A trophy from a "notoriously elusive" debtor - in the form of a deadly weapon - could not fail to excite Muhrl's passion for display. "Are you sure?" I ask, sweetly. "The House of Torg, before its fall, created several interesting new toxins, specifically designed to pass undetected by standard scans. Perhaps you should check it with my science teams. Though I am sure you also obtained the release key for the jewel - even you would not dare to wear it, otherwise."

"Gral Temm assassin jewel?" Marklance asks. It is hard to tell if Muhrl's complexion has become even more unhealthy... but I rather think it has.

"My aide Commander Foojoy is of the Gral Temm people," I say. "You should ask him about the jewels - though he is, of course, of the Gral Temm warrior caste, not the assassin caste." The distinction between a Gral Temm warrior and an assassin is mainly one of spelling, but no need to trouble Marklance with this information. "Anyway. On the assumption that Muhrl will live, let us discuss the matter of the tribute."

---

It does not take long for Marklance to lose interest in the bookkeeping details, and leave. And then Muhrl makes an excuse, and departs for a little while... and, when he returns, there is no doubt about his complexion.

"The key is a fake," he hisses at me.

I hold up a tiny shining sliver of metal, and smile. "I know. Do you need that scan from my science team?" He does not answer. "You should avoid my transporter room," I tell him. "Who knows? The random pattern of bleeps and chirps from the circuitry might, coincidentally, match the pattern for the sonic trigger...."

His expression is half hate, half terror. I savour it.

"What do you want?" he asks, at last.

"What does anyone want? Wealth, power, pleasure... and revenge."

"You cannot afford to harm me in front of the Federation -"

"Can I not? My orders were to show the KDF as a friend to be trusted, or an enemy to be feared. Your death from the gamma-pyroxycene compound in that jewel... that would be fearsome, Muhrl." I hold the tiny key up again, toying with it, watching the light gleam on it....

"You might try removing the jewel, of course. The Gral Temm folk hero, Yeemus the Miraculous, once took off an assassin jewel without the key. That was one reason they called him the Miraculous. Do you feel miraculous, Muhrl?"

"What do you want?"

"I have told you. What you want -" I hold the key out towards him. "Now, let me tell you how you can earn it."

---

"That's... incredible," says Marklance. His gaze is rivetted on the display screen.

"It is not conclusive," I say, "merely... somewhat suggestive."

"The Sarkan traders were in league with the Elachi?"

"We cannot confirm that." Muhrl's voice is high-pitched and strained, and he is sweating profusely. Marklance does not appear to notice. His eyes dance as he reads the data on the screen. Much of it, in fact, is perfectly genuine. I have, with Muhrl's cooperation, added a few details....

"It would explain a lot," says Marklance. "Like, for instance, why the Sarkans seemed so darn relieved when you took them prisoner. If they were slated for use as Elachi experimental subjects...." He gives vent to a low whistle. "I think anything would be better than that."

"I repeat, we do not have definite proof. But these technology transfers, and these cargoes here -" I point to a section of the data "- would indicate trade with the remnants of the Star Empire, and onwards from there." It is usually possible to make some transactions from any trade hub look suspicious. "It just goes to show, though... our real enemies have a frighteningly long reach."

"Yeah," says Marklance, "yeah.... Look, this stuff ties in with, well, some other details I happen to know about." He lumbers to his feet. "I'm going to go talk to my production associate, maybe get transport to, umm, somewhere else...." He departs, muttering to himself, his eyes aglow with possibilities.

I turn to Muhrl. "You should take some medication to control your perspiration."

"I am wearing death at my throat! You cannot expect me not to be nervous!"

"There are worse things than death, Muhrl. Fail me, and I shall acquaint you with some of them."

---

"Of much wealth, offering, this one is," says Foojoy, "transportation, to the planet, to obtain."

"Muhrl is offering bribes, now?" Foojoy nods, his long face sombre. "Well," I say, "you act honourably in reporting the matter to me."

"My duty, it is."

"But, Commander, you must also think of yourself," I add. "Let me make a suggestion. When next Muhrl makes an offer, this is what you should do...."

---

I am in a twisting tunnel of blackened metal, lined with ridges and ribs, like the entrails of some vast beast. I lean casually against one rib, and wait. I do not wait long. Red light illuminates the place with a hellish glare for a moment, and then the light fades, and Muhrl is there.

"I hope Foojoy made you pay through the nose for this," I remark. He whirls around.

"A trap!" he screams.

"Well," I say, "naturally."

"So what now? You have ruined me, do you now intend to kill me? What is this place?"

"I have hardly ruined you. Do not exaggerate. You may, possibly, have liquidated the assets from Sarkan Minor at a favourable price to me... and, of course, I am glad that your brokerage house has waived its own commission, there... but you have taken a loss, you have not been ruined. As to this place... we are still aboard the Garaka. This section retains the original Fek'lhri design, that is all." I sniff. "I would call it a design aesthetic, but the Feks do not really do aesthetic."

"So is this where you kill me?" He sounds almost resigned to it.

"Kill you? I pay my debts, Muhrl." I reach out and touch a stud. An arched doorway in the side of the corridor begins to glow with ruddy light. "In that alcove, you will find the key to the assassin jewel. Take it, and free yourself."

He scurries to the doorway, then stops at the threshold. "This is... some trick, isn't it?"

I examine the fingernails of my right hand. With my left, I draw out a small, silvery device - Muhrl will know it instantly as the trigger mechanism for the assassin jewel. "You must decide for yourself whether you trust me, Muhrl. But I do not intend to stay here indefinitely, and you would be unwise to test my patience too far."

He scuttles through the doorway, into the alcove, and grovels on the floor, looking for the tiny key. I watch him with an air of detached amusement. It takes a while for him to find the key, and longer still for his shaking hands to insert it into the locking mechanism. I hear him sob with relief as the jewel comes away from his neck. I give him a moment or two to relax and feel safe.

Then I switch on the agony booth.

---

"Of departing, confirmation there is," says Foojoy. On the main viewer, we can see Ryall Marklance's shuttle pulling away.

I relax in my command chair. "All in all," I say, "that was most satisfactory. Qapla', my crew."

"I confirm that the body has been sent to a defective transporter pad," Sano says. "The signal degradation is... quite irrecoverable."

"Excellent. Though the authorities may well suspect some enemy of Satyusin Muhrl's...."

"They will. They will suspect the notoriously elusive Ekkdosin sh'Durn," says Sano with a broad grin. "But sh'Durn will continue to evade the authorities - I have personally attended to the matter. I have made him," she adds, "hard to catch."

"Yes," I say, "I do not see how this could reasonably have gone better. We are enriched, the honour of my House is satisfied... the Feds have their documentary film, and a fresh red herring to chase.... I suppose we might have extracted a few more darseks from Muhrl, or he might have lasted a little longer in the booth." Made slack and flabby from years of soft living, Satyusin Muhrl survived barely four hours in the agony booth. I snap my fingers. "The booth. That reminds me - K'Gan, do we have any defaulters at present?"

"Only one on the list, sir. Warrior T'rmek, reported for duty in an unfit condition due to over-use of intoxicants." K'Gan's hawkish face frowns at me. "Sir, the booth is a stern punishment for a minor infraction -"

"It needs cleaning, K'Gan, that is all. Although... you need not mention that to T'rmek, when you tell him to report there."

K'Gan's face clears, and he laughs. He appreciates the jest.

These things are all a matter of presentation.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2,569
(AI name change, some minor changes.)

Facility 4028


“This is the storage unit that they broke into, Captain.” said the Warden.

“And none of your guards have ever been in there?” asked Rose as Kira scanned the area. The door was blown open, but now a opaque forcefield was in the doorway.

“Never, we never had clearance. Way above my paygrade. However, once a month like clockwork, a couple of organics would come into this room for a couple of hours, and leave. They weren't impolite, but they weren't interested in anything other then getting in, and getting out. Been like that since the Founder was released and we moved things around after the assault.” said the Warden.

“I'm not getting anything from the scans, sir. But you already knew that.” said Kira in her light combat armor, with her Omega Force AP SMG slung over her shoulder. Rose was in the same armor set up, with her SMG hanging around her neck.

“Well, about to find out what in this room? “ as Rose walked up to the door terminal and put her hands on it. The computer acknowledge her presence and asked for the pass code. Rose then with her other arms waved her bracelet over another scanner. The forcefield lowered, amazing Kira.

“What the hell? How did you do that?” asked the Lieutenant.

“A present form a previous life, one that I want to get away from, but can't” as Rose and Kira walked into the room. Rose motioned the Warden to wait outside, suspecting that the room was setup so no emitter would work in the room. Both Kira and Rose did an initial visual search of the room, looking for traps and other surprises that the assailants might have kept around. Thankfully, they didn't find any. This was a quick extraction, and they knew what they were looking for. This wasn't looking good. There were lots of stage containers of various sizes and shapes, with some of them on shelves. Nothing that wouldn't be in here that would suggest other then personal effects for the prisoners. Well, nothing except none of the containers had names on them, only alphanumeric numbers, meaning somewhere there was a list of what box belong where. Then Rose looked on one the shelves and found a clipboard with a paper pages with handwritten notes and corresponding numbers. The names weren’t making any sense to her, till she came across one.

“Captain, seems like this is the area they were looking at, this is the one that isn’t setup like the others. The numbers aren’t in sequence as the others are.” offered Kira.

“Got it, Kira” as Rose walked towards the doorway, where outside the Warden and a couple of security guards stood. “Warden, have you ever seen a Edward Nygma, or a Tony Stark as guests of your care?”

“No, Captain.”

She smiled at that answer. “Do you have any idea why someone would make a room where photonics can't function in here?”

“To keep us out”

“And also to keep others in here.” offered Rose. “This is where they put AIs, photonics and other synthetic lifeforms ..Oh ****, No.”

“What, Captain?” asked Kira as Rose

“Max Silverhand?” asked Rose as she walked over to another shelf, on the third shelf after a couple of seconds, she sees a box that small, small enough to carry a datachip. “Why are you here, old friend?” She looks at it, then cracks it open, showing its contents a very familiar looking datachip.

“Nothing, Kira. Just remembering some of the good times of my old life. Where is this problem you see?” as Rose walked over to Kira's location

“Here, Kira, see if you can figure out which box is missing. I'll take a Captain Cook at the shelf.” offered Rose.

“Don't you starting talking like ChEng, Cap. Hmm, it seems we are missing the box to Edward Nygma. Rather interesting name, Cap. Why does it sound familiar?”

“We got a big problem if that box isn't here, Kira. As for why that name is familiar, it is the actual name of the Riddler, one of the many enemies of Batman.” answered Rose, with a very serious look in her eyes.

“Ah, the one that tired to defeat Batman many times, but offers him chances to save the city with riddles, many of them based on history and lore, Right?”

“Yep, and that's why this is bad.” as she motions Kira to leave the room.

“Warden, if you can, if anyone else enters that room, let me know when possible.” asked Rose.

“Captain, mind explaining what is going on?”asked Kira as they were about to teleported out.

“Only after I receive new instructions, you, Rehara, Tyra, and Reigun will get my debriefing, you have my promise, however, until that time, you will not discussed what you saw with anyone, whether in person or on device, not matter the reason otherwise.”

“Got it, Cap. Kira to RKT, 2 to beam up. Energize” as the two female humans get teleported out of Facility 4028.

Few moments later, as Ice is walking to her quarters, she spots Rehara, blocking the door to her quarters, with the look of 'We are going to talk, now or else'. Rose did not want this right now, but sometimes, even duty comes before friendship.

“Not now, Rehara”

“Not till you tell me whats going on?”

“Get out of the way.”

“No”

“NOW”

“NO”

“So help me Gawd, get out of my way, or you will be spending the night in the brig, Rehara” said a very irate Rose.

“You wouldn't dare”

Rose was about to touch her comm badge, when Rehara got out of the way.

“Don't let the door hit you on the way in, Captain.” replied the extremely mad Rehara.

'I will make it up to you, R. Just let me do my duty, then I can put the cards on the table' as Rose got in her quarters.

She got into her office and sat down looking at the datachip in her hand. “Complete disconnect of all data streams into data terminal 2 on my desk, even physical streams. Accept no commands from said station till further notice from me, and me alone, Code Breaker Tree, Able Two, Easy Niner. Acknowledge.”

“Acknowledge”

“Now get a comm channel open, code Eta Alpha, use jumping encryption Alpha, with triple security locks, and let me know when its acknowledge.”

“Understood. Opening channel now”

Rose sat in her chair waiting for Drake to get to where he could respond to her signal. While waiting she slouched in her chair looking at the datachip that was next to one of the her data terminals, on with a small holo device.

“OK, O'Connell, whats the sitrep?” asked Drake over the comm channel, voice only.

“Hate to ask this, but are you secure where you are at?” asked Rose.

“Yes, I’m in Yellowstone National Park. Situation Alpha.” said Drake.

“Well, did you know that you were storing AIs, photonics and androids in that room? And that room was being visited once a month to check on it?” asked Rose.

“Any clue who visited the room?” asked Drake.

“Nada, Warden said they had security clearance way above his paygrade, so you can guess what that means.” said Rose.

“Any idea what was taken?” asked Drake.

“Ever heard of Edward Nygma, Drake?” asked Rose.

“Nope, not ring a bell.”

“Well, whoever the person is that leaked the info on this place is the one you need to look for about the break in, for he knows about 20th and 21st century pop culture references. Edward Nygma was the actual name of the Riddler, an antagonist of Batman, who would use riddles based of history and lore to try to confound him.” said Rose smugly.

“Lore? Lore is in there? Please tell me Lore wasn't taken?” asked somewhat shocked Drake.

“Lore was taken, they knew what they were looking for and how to find it, Drake. You got a mole in Section 31.” Rose smiled as she sat up.

“We are so screwed. Bad enough we got a mole in Section 31, but that Lore is was taken. Ok, I will work on my end to see if I can get you more on what to do. I know what you are thinking, and yes, we deserve this, but keep this to yourself, got it. Drake out.” as the channel broke.

Outside Rose's quarters

Rehara was standing there pacing back and forth, waiting. Not long, the CMO of the RKT, Tyrahini Zor, the purple haired Betazed came up to her.

“About time you got up here. I need to get in there, and Rose locked me out.” said Rehara.

“And you want me to use my CMO codes to override the door. Why?” asked Tyra.

“She's shutting us out, after what happened at Bajor, I think she's losing it. Please, Tyra.” pleaded the Andorian.

“You really need to tell her your feeling for her, Rehara. It's hurting you too much.” as Tyra reached over and placed an hand on Rehara's shoulder. “She is oblivious to it as she is oblivious to her own care.”

“Are you gonna do this, or am I gonna have to bring Reigun in on this?” asked Rehara.

Tyra smiled weakly at her friend. She then tapped her commbadge. “Computer, open the door to the Captain's quarters, Medical Emergency. Tyrahini Zor, Code Able, Able, Easy, Zero, One Able, Open, Open, Open.”

Rose immediately stood out of her chair as heard her door open. Running out of her office into the main room of her quarters, she saw Tyra and Rehara looking at her.

“R, you better have an airtight reason for this, or you will be spend..” as Tyrahini walked up to the red-haired Captain.
“She's worried about you, and so am I. You usually are very good about letting us know things, bypassing orders or leaving hints for us to find.” said Tyra as a calm smile and her hands of to her side palm out, signifying they were not threat.

“Something you aren't telling me, Tyra” said a slightly less irate Rose.

“Hey, what the hell? Where am I? Hey, Rose, don't do this to your lover boy?” said a voice from her office

“Damn it.” She looked at her two friends, who bewildered at this, motioned to to stay out of the doorway of her office. She walked over to it, and leaned against the doorway. “About time you rebooted yourself, Karter.”

“What? How? Wha? Why are you out of uniform on base? You know the last time that happened Col. Stick-up-his-behind had us peeling potatoes. That was boring, I tell you that.” said a 6 inch hologram of a slight build male human.

“Because I am no longer in 53rd Special Operations Group, not even in the Army anymore, I am a Captain in Starfleet, and it has been 10 years since I last saw you.” said Rose. Now she walked over to her desk and looked at the hologram.

“10 years? You got to be crazy. Here I was talking to you about enjoying a moonrise on Risa, then I am here in this room. It doesn't make sense.” said the hologram.

“You might want to check you battery and uptime logs, you will find that I am correct, Karter.” she said as she crossed her arms.

“Ok, Ok, I'm doing that. Just checking to prove you are wrong, oh Icey.........And score one for, damn it, damn it. I hate it when you are right. Wait, my uptime log says it's been 8 ½ years since I was activated, but how can that be?” said a somewhat more worried AI.

“Well, what ever it is, it would explain why I found you in a storage room used by Section 31.” said Rose.

“Yeah, Yeah, I get it, something went wrong and they erased part of my memory, but didn't destroy me. Typical of this slimy, no good, space monkeys.” said Karter as started to fidget.

“Karter”

“Yes?” as the holo looked as if it was trying to process what had happened to it. “I am trying to access the mission data, but I ain't getting anywhere. Do you know how irritating it is for an AI to not access relevant data?”

“You're welcome.” said Rose.

“What? Oh, you are right. I am sorry, let me make it up to you, let's go to Risa and I can quote poetry in your ears.” said the holo.

“No. Ok, you two, you can come in now.” said Rose.

Carter looked at the door way as two angels came through it. A female Andorian who was rocking the half top and extremely short mini, and a purple haired Betazed that was wearing a far more conservative outfit, but had a face that cause men to kill each other for. The only thing he could say was “Hello, Nurse.”

“Who and what is this, Captain?” asked Rehara.

“Let me answer that, oh blue angel of hotness. I am Karter, spelled with a K, AI# 3146 from the Federation Synthetic Intelligence Institute based at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the preeminent AI university anywhere in the galaxy, despite what that Soong guy says. After all, they create me, and I am the best AI. In Fact, I am so great, stopped using my progenitor's likeness after they made me.”

“Really? You got teamed up with this leach?” asked Rehara.

“Hey now, It is all true.”

“Except for being the greatest AI part, and why they stopped using your progenitor's likeness part.” said Rose. She looked at her friends, “This is Karter, the AI was teamed with for 6 years as a SpecOps Operator, before I returned to Starfleet. Despite his lack of decorum, we did a lot of things together to save the Federation. When I left the 53rd, he was supposed to be teamed with another SpecOps team, but something went wrong and I found him in the same location as other decommissioned synthetics, including Lore.”

“What?

“Really?”

“I was in the same cell with that loser. Awe man, I need a shower.”

“Anyways.” as the Rose was interrupted by the red alert klaxon of the ship.

“Kira to Captain” said Kira through her commbadge.

“Go ahead, Lieutenant.”

“We got a priority message from Starfleet. Sol system is being attacked by the Undine. We got orders to Vulcan and be part of the rapid reaction force being assembled there.”

“Ok, Kira, get us going in that direction. Me and Rehara will be up there soon. Rose out” Rose let out a sigh. “When it rains..”

“It lightnings, lots of thunder, and very large hailstones dropping on your head, too” said Karter.

Rose started laughing at this rather abruptly, with a snort lodged in for effect.

“See, She loves me.” looking at Rehara. “and if you get to know me, blue angel of hotness, you will, too.

Tyra put her hand on Rehara's shoulder, trying to keep her from shutting off the AI, asked Rose a question. “Why was Lore taken?”

Rose's laughing stop very abruptly as she explained the situation. “We got a comm chatter from Starfleet command channels, but it wasn't from Starfleet. It was from Section 31.”

“Not them” said Rehara.

“Yep, even better Drake.” this caused an eyeroll from Rehara, a more surprised look from Tyra, and a “not that weasel again” from Karter. “Anyways, he stated that he got the alarm from there and after showing me a security footage of the break-in, ordered me to into it. The reason why I was asked was the assailants in the video was using powered armor close to MACO style, but different. We both deduced it was the Praetorian Guard of the Romulan Empire that was involved.”

“The is no Praetorian Guard for the Romulan Empire.” offered Tyra.

“Not in this dimension, oh purple-haired goddess of healing” answered Karter.

“Another dimension, the Eugenics war on Earth had a slightly different outcome. The Romulan Empire intervened in it on behalf of the augments. This also caused the Vulcans and Andorians to intervene too. Instead of them leaving on a sublight transport, they were exiled and accepted into Romulan space, when the Eugenics/Romulan War ended. As a token of appreciation for their help, the augments decided to make several units to help the Romulans in their fight for dominance with the hated Federation, including forming the Praetorian Guard, a formation of the best fighters and warriors the augments have. A version of the Varangian Guard used by the Byzantines, made up of families of exiled nobles looking for payback to their current situation.” offered Rose.

“The Praetorian Guard keep on doing excursions into our dimension cause we design things very closely compared to their home dimension, and being Romulans, they do not like to upset the applecart before they are ready.” offered Karter. “So they raid our dimension and try to get our tech so they can study and change things on their side without their Federation knowing how they got it. They especially like Andorian tech, after all it is the Andorians who kicked their butts in the war, with a side of human inflicted ass whooping.” explained Karter.

“Damn it, I know where the Guard is heading next, and with the Undine attack.” as Rose got up.

“Andoria?” asked Rehara while hoping it wasn't the correct answer.

“A beautiful mind matching that beautiful body, you are correct.” said Karter.

“Carter, don't cause any problems or so help me god, I am going to throw you into the waste incinerator. Rehara, Tyra, no word about what I said gets out, and nothing about me breaking Karter out.” ordered the pleading Rose. They both gave their ascent.

As the trio got out of Rose's quarters, Rehara hit her comm badge. “Kira, Rehara here, change course to Andoria, best speed possible.”

“Jump engines are offline, XO, so I changed our course to the Risa gate. From there, we can goto Andoria, Vulcan or anyplace that has a operating transwarp gate.” offered Kira.

“Acknowledge, good thinking, Kira.” answered Rose. “You know how to train them, Rehara. “

“Thank you, Captain.” as the two of them got into the turbolift.


Later, as the RKT enters the Andorian planetary system.

“Captain’s personal log, Stardate sometime. The universe had decided it's time to shake things up today. I sent the RKT here to Andoria on a educated guess. With the theft of Lore, one of the Soong androids and genocidal megalomaniac, from Facility 4028 by the Praetorian Guard, a formation of Augmented Humans in service to an Alternate Romulan Empire, I have been ordered to stop this incursion by Section 31's Franklin Drake by any means possible. This has also meant that I have disobeyed a direct order from Starfleet command to goto nearby Vulcan to be part of a Rapid Reaction Force being assembled there to counter the Undine assault on the Federation. As a good friend of mine says, when it rains, it throws lightning bolts, howling winds and hailstones in our way. End Log.”

“Kira, sitrep?”

“No active ships anywhere in the system, Captain. The only ships are at the Andorian shipyard. However, I am having a hard time getting up to date information from the shipyard.” answered D'artgean.

“Get us close to the shipyard then do an scan of the ships, how many we got there still?” asked the red-haired Captain.

“On it, Captain.”answered Nelen Exil, the renegade Voth manning the science station. “Looks like 6 ships of various classification, sir. 2 ships in the repair/maintenance area, and 2 ships in the production area, and 2 in what I would surmise is the refit area.”

“Sir, what are we looking for?” asked Victoria at her engineering operations console.

Rehara spoke up “Captain, if the idea is to take a working ship back, its only 4 ships then. Any of the ships are of Andorian design?”

“2, one in the refit area, the IGV Kumari, and the next is in the maintenance area, the USS Bonhomme Richard.

“Sir, we got a priority message form Andoria spacedock, there is a loss of control in their reactor, and they are asking all ships capable of getting underway to do so.”

“Well, that's too damn convenient. Rehara, wasn't there already a Kumari in starfleet?” asked Rose to her XO.

“A couple of years ago, Andoria got permission to make a battlecruiser version of the Kumari escorts they started producing. That is when they changed the name of the Kumari.” offered Nelen.

“So that is an Andorian battlecruiser? I think we found the target.” Rehara said.

“Who is moving?” asked Rose

“Bonhomme Richard, Varyag, and the Kumari. It seems the Curzon Dax is having problems with the...” as Nelen was studying the scans.

“Intercept the Kumari but keep an eye on the Richard” ordered Rose.

“Captain, Spacedock Andoria is hailing us.”

“Put it on screen but keep an eye on the Kumari.”

“Richmond K Turner, we have a level 5 reactor overload, if you do not vacate the area, your sensors could be overloaded.”

“Acknowledge, what is the complement of the Kumari?”

“About 12 season shipyard workers, they can handle moving the Kumari to a safe zone. We always make sure we can move ship in her state of completion.” said the starbase comm officer.

“How far complete is she?” asked Rose.

“Basically complete, she still needs..”

“Damn it, tell the Kumari to stand down, we have good evidence that someone is trying to steal her.” ordered Rose.

“Sir, I do not have that authorization, I'll have to” as Rose shut off the comm channel

“How close are we to getting a tractor beam on her?” asked Rehara.

“about...”

“Her Warp drives is powering up, Captian. She is going to warp.” as the Kumari slipped into warpspeed.

“Follow her, Kira, best possible speed.” ordered Rose.

Couple of seconds later “Warp 9, sir. We can overtake her, but if you want to stop her, then we got a problem. Her engines are more powerful then us by a factor of 3 if these scans are right. We got greater acceleration and a greater top speed, but we don't have the power to pull her out of warp using tractor beam.”

“I got an idea. Can we beam a team over and shut her off her engines? I doubt they have more then a dozen of pirates on that ship, and most of them are on the bridge and computer core getting all info they can.”

“That's suicide, Rose. No way any of our tactical teams would try that.” answered Rehara.

“Captain, Commander, there is a way to do it.” answered Nelen. “I remember from historical records that the Columbia did a similar action with the Enterprise. They used a lifeline to do it, but I believe given that we know more about the ships equipment then the pirates, we could do something similar, and safe beam aboard a small team on board the ship.”

“Do it Nelen, coordinate with Engineering and Victoria to get it done. Reigun, Tyra meet with me in the armory, time to break out my armor.” ordered Rose.

“Sir?” asked Kira.

“No way, Rose. You can't go over there with a team and.”

“There will be no team, Rehara, just me. I know more about what we are dealing with then anyone, fought them for enough times, there is nothing that will surprise me. I am going in with my power armor. I need you here. “

“Not this time, Rose. Kira, you will accompany the Captain on this mission.”

“No”

“then you are not going, Captain. Pursuant to Starfleet protocol..”

“OK, fine. Kira, you are with me. Reigun, Tyra, mine and Kira's battle armor, Out. Is there anything else, Commander?” asked a very irate Rose.

“Nothing at this time, Captain. Good Luck and both of you comeback in one piece.” said a tense Andorian.

After Rose and Kira left the bridge, a thought came to Rehara's mind. “Damn, that will actually help” as she got up and hurried to the turbolift. “Victoria, you got the bridge. Rose forgot something that will help her immensely on this action.”

“Yes, Commander.” as Rehara entered the turbolift. “Captain’s quarters.” as the door closed.

“They aren't telling us everything again, Nelen?” offered Victoria.

"They will tell us when they do, it's all we can do to help them when and where we can.” answered Nelen.

“Voth philosophy?”

“No, being an archaeologist. After all, the dead don't give up their secrets easily. Only when the winds blow, the rains happen, and time has happened in its way does the secrets of the past reveal themselves. “

Main teleporter room, 20 minutes later.

“and from here, it's a straight shot to the main engineering.” as Reigun was lecturing Rose and Kira when Rehara walked in.

“Rehara, why aren't you on the bridge?”

Rehara gave her something in her palm, Rose looked at it and smiled. “I knew there was a reason why I put up with you, Commander. Thank you.” as Rose put the datachip into a port in her back area.

“It has the latest specs on the Kumari, and all the engineering manuals on its systems.” Rehara said as she tuned to leave the room. “You three, take care.”

“Three?” both Kira and Reigun said.

“Yes three, you two.” said the AI from Rose's Powered Armor. “I wanna say this boss, and I do this with all sincerity, but this is the most harebrained scheme you came up with, even more harebrained then doing the HALO jump over J7V.”

Rose smiled at this. “Reigun, Kira. This is the AI I was paired up with when I was with the 53rd SpecOps Group. Karter, this is Lt. Kira D'artgean, formerly of the S.E.A.L. Team 13, and Commander, Reigun Kitamaka.”

“I never got paired with an A.I.” offered Kira as she putting on her helmet.

“I think you get paired with one after 4 years, and only after some very intrusive psyche evals.” answered Rose as she was putting her helmet on.

Both Reigun and Tyra was now looking over various sensors form their PADDs telling every sensor in the 2 power armor, and both of their life signs making sure everything was checked out before the mission gets underway.

“Ok, comm check, Rose, one, two three.”

“Kira, one, two, three”

“Karter, one, two, let get this going.”

“is he in my suit?” said Kira sounding slightly disgusted.

“No, he isn't. He is just talking over the comm channel, which he shouldn't. He is monitoring your vitals, and will provide relevant data when asked.” answered Rose

“Or needed, after all, I know more about that ship then either you do. You are gonna need me if things go over the rapids, like it always does on these mission” offered Karter.

“Shut up.” answered both Rose and Kira.

“I guess there is no time like the present” Kira said.

“Rose, to Rehara, Let's do this.” ordered Rose as both girls got on the teleport pad.

On the bridge, Rehara gave the order to accelerate and get into position to come along side the upper starboard side of the Kumari.

“Ok, our shields and our warpfield is now in synch with the Kumari.” offered Nelen.

“Warp field contact in 5, 4, 3, 2 ,1 “ a slight shudder. “contact, our fields are merging, slowing to match in 3, 2, 1.”

“Won't be long before both field go thru another synch change.” said Victoria.

“Rehara to Transporter room, do it now.”

“Energize.”

On the bridge of the IGV Kumari.

“Commander, the Turner has come alongside and merged warp fields with us.”

“So they means to destabilize the warp field to slow us down. Interesting, they know they can't stop us with weapons without irreparably damaging this ship. So they are gonna destabilize the field and try to do it that way, still its as dangerous for the Turner as to us.” explaining the commander to no one.

“Sir, they are falling back, and emerged from our warp field behind us.”

“What was that all about?”

“Our warp field still active, our speed was slowed down by .05% during the exercise.”

“Sir, we got another 10 minutes of feed needed before we got everything.”

“Good Job, Everyone. The Khan will be pleased with this operation success.”

“Sir, with all due respect, why did we leave the work crew alive.”

“We don't want to make more enemies then we already have. Killing them would have been a waste of firepower, could have alerted our presence, and would have caused a reason for this Federation to come for us. After all, we are here for their files, not their ships, not their personnel, and not their ire. Get everyone to the main teleport pad as soon as possible. “

In the armory of the Kumari

“Ok, Karter” as Rose took the AI chip out its place in the battlesuit and into a communication terminal as Kira was watching for any roving patrols. “Do what you do best, find out stuff that no one wants you to.”

“Captain, I am surprised there is no guards down here.”

“Probably a smaller team then I thought it was. Of course, with the pressure lowered in this area, and possibly the entire ship, only a few species could do anything more then fall asleep from asphyxiation.”

“Augments could survive in this.” offered Kira.

“Ever fight them, Kira?”

“Yeah, a few times in the SEALs. Always far harder then it should be. Klingons, Breen, and Jem'Hadar know when the fight is over, and any further fighting is a waste of resources, time, and energy. Augments, I have never seen them back down.”

“Got it, there is 4 two man teams on this ship, other then us, which I have made us invisible to the sensors, by the way.” spoke up Karter. “one in main engineering, one in main computer room, one on the bridge, and one in the main transporter room.”

“Karter, usually there is a team or two on roving patrol, where are they?”

“I can't spot them, so they aren't here”

“That doesn't sound right.” said Kira.

“Karter can't find them, and he can't find them, then it's the truth.” said Rose.

“Of course its right, I'm telling you the truth, Icey. I would never lie to you.” said Karter

“Of course” said Rose, even over the comm channel Kira could tell that it wasn't the truth.

“Ok, they got a high band datastream to Starfleet command. They are siphoning off all the files they can. Technology advancements, diplomatic communiques, engineering schematics, they are trying to get as much information the Federation and this area of the galaxy as possible.”

“So their mission isn't to take the ship, it was just a way to get into Starfleet communications and get everything about us they can.” offered Kira.

“Seems like it, and getting Lore, is about the same thing. They don't want Lore, they want what made him. Ok, same basic plan, goto Engineering, stop the Kumari. Karter.” ordered Rose.

“Yes, from engineering I can shut down communications, I can even put the ship onto emergency power, there by stopping them from using the teleport pad to get back home. But I need to be in the computer console from Engineering to do that.”

“Got it, Kira, you got point.” as Rose ejected Karter's datachip from the comm station.

“Cap, why couldn't we shut down the ship from there?” asked Kira as the moved up the passageway to a Jefferies tube.

“We don't have the codes to do it from armory or anywhere else, other then engineering or bridge. I'm not the Captain of this ship.” as Rose watched Kira back while watching for any surprises in their rear.

“For now, anyways.” said Karter.

“She likes the RKT way too much, Karter, to leave her. The only way she's leaving that ship is in a body bag.” laughed Kira.

“Hey, no dieing on me, Icerose. I don't think I want to exist without you around. The sensual curves that excite my electrons. The way you laugh at my jokes, they way you depend on me to save yourself from your own actions.” complained Harper.

“I think I figured out why you found that AI in facility 4028, his other operators killed themselves instead of being stuck with him for another minute. OK, here's the tube to take to the deck of engineering.” as Kira opened up the Jefferies tube hatch..

Engineering, IGV Kumari

While one of the warriors was making sure they had connection and all the data was being stored, another of the warriors was watching the area.

“No body except us are on board, Chief. You don't have to be so wired, we are almost done with this op.”

“I am not shrinking from my duties, LT. Been told that the Commander would kill any of us if we did not do our jobs, and I do not want to face her in the ring like Johnson did.”

“Johnson had it coming for a while, as long as you don't act like an arse, the Commander won't kill you.”

Just then one of the side doors blew inwards causing a big mess of that area. The two warriors looked from their respective areas at the destruction. A moment later, two armored humanoids teleported into the area. They threw two daggers at them, one of the daggers hit squarely in the visor of one, going up to the hilt, instantly killing the one overseeing the computer. The other guard got hit in the upper chest area with a dagger, impaling him in the heart. He didn't die at that moment, but he never got off a distress call as he passed away later.

“Good one, Kira. I'll never play darts with you, that's for sure now.” said Rose as she got to the computer terminal and inserted the datachip into it.

“So, what now?” asked Kira as she was watching the door and room while Rose was waiting for her AI to do the work of shutting down the ship.

“As much as I would like to catch them all, it would take too much time. I think it's time to put the Guard on the defensive now.”

“I could shut down everything, including every door on this ship.” said the twitchy AI. “After all, I am that good.”

“No, Karter. Let us see if we can get them to show us the promised land. Like we said, shut down engineering, weapons, and communications. Can you keep a link to the ship systems if you are in the armor?”

“Captain, there is no reason for us to let them go. They are gonna have a lot of secrets about us, that if they got out would damage the Federation badly, if not irreparably. We can't let them get away with this.”

“On the contrary, I have taken the liberty to put some of Karter's own viruses and worms in their systems. Now once they leave and try to hook those machines up, they will get me getting my jiggy on, and believe me it will be awhile before they can stop looking at that masterpiece.” said Karter. “Ok, I am linked in the system, so now I can see, oh crap, they are moving. Master transporter room.”

“How the..Ok, that's how they did it. “ as Kira motioned to the area where one body was laying, now only a pool of red blood.

“Damn it, I should have know. Karter, emergency teleport to that room now.”

“No can do, boss. They seem to got a interference field up around it. I am shutting down power to that area of the ship now. Damn, they got a backup power to teleport pad. I knew this was going too good.” as Rose ejected Karter out of the computer station. Both Kira and Rose was running as fast as they could to a turbolift.

“You know, boss. Rushing on them, when they are undoubtedly prepared for us coming down this turbolift is suicide.” said Karter.

“They are trying to get off this ship before we can get to them. Nothing like running with guns blazing to make a girls heart race.” said Rose.

“I can't get a hold of the RKT, Captain. They must have been caught off guard by the Kumari dropping out of warp.” said Kira as they entered the turbolift.

“Ok, Kira. I'm upfront, I want to you to cover me with that rifle of yours....”

“Whoa boss, you want at least 2 Guardsman shooting at you from the front, and a sniper shooting from behind you? Have you lost your freaking marbles? We got them cornered, and with the RKT coming back, we can get far more troops down here to help.”

“We only have 4 more powered armor suits on the RKT, Karter.” said Kira as she was checking her gear. “and they have rudimentary training in them. They can handle themselves in a defensive situation, but assault, they would just get in the way.”

“Follow my lead, Kira.” as the turbolift door opened. Rose then Kira rushed out, and about to light up the area, when no shots were bring fired at them.

“Not what I expected” as Kira was walking now.

“Oh that was unexpected, here I thought I was gonna to the Great Scrapheap as a virgin, but no dakka, dakka. I can deal with that.” said Karter on the comms.

The two officers were slowly and cautious walking down the corridor, to the master teleport room, leapfrogging every so often till they got into the doorway to the teleport room. They took either side of the door and got a couple of grenades ready. They counted to three, opened the door, and threw in the two grenades. The door closed, and they could tell the grenades went off. They both jumped into the room, rolling to the right and left into a crouch, one looking over the teleport pad, and one looking over the teleport station.

“Clear.”

“Clear.”

“I guess they left, but it seems they left some stuff here.” said Kira as she moved over and looked the the cargo containers. Lots of weapons, datapads, and other assorted stuff they were taking with them to the other side.”

Rose went over the teleport station and looked over the logs. “Looks like only 5 Guardsman switched over, Kira.” just as Kira was taken by surprised by a cloaked figure.

“Both of you, put your weapons down, Now.”said the Guardsman hold a dagger to the neck of Kira. Both of them complied, throwing their rifles, and then their sidearms.

“Your force daggers, too.” said the Guardsman.

Rose dropped her two force daggers, onto the floor. Kira dropped one, and then to proceed to use the other one in the Guardsman face, impaling it in the Guradsman's visor, killing it.

“Why does that hurt so bad?” as Kira was now on the ground holding her left arm with her right.

“Looks like she broke her clavicle on that, Boss.” said Karter over the comms.

“Kira, that was the most stupid thing I have ever seen” said her Captain as she making sure the Guardsman was dead.

“And coming from Icey, that is saying something.” said Karter “Ah boss, that Guardsman is getting up.”

“Not exactly up to my father's specifications, but this will suffice. For Now” as the Power armor hit a few buttons on the left wrist. “Tell my brother, I will return.” as the powersuit beamed out.

“Damn it, how did he get into that suit? Karter, get the life support systems up to normal, then see if we can get a hold of the RKT.”

“RKT to boarding team, come in?” Victoria over the comm channel.

“It's about time you got over here RKT, we got one injured here, but the Kumari is secured. No more hostiles aboard.” answered Rose.

“Sorry about that, Captain. Going at warp 9.89, it takes a while to turnaround while trying to not to overtax all the systems.”

“Acknowledge, RKT. two ready to teleport.”

Later that day, Great Hall on Qo'NoS.

“Hey, this is my kind of party. Come on Icey, just one dance for me, please.”

“No.”

“But”

“No”

“Rehara, you wont leave a handsome young AI like me”

“No”

“But”

“No”

Captain Va'Kel walked up to Rose and Rehara and greeted them, trying to shake hands without spilling the mug of bloodwine on either of them.

“Captain O'Connell, Commander Ch'Andyra. It has been sometime since we last saw each other.” spoke the captain of the USS Enterprise.

“Hello, Captain. It seems the party is dying down.”

“I think it's more everyone is getting their second wind. You won't miss the ceremony where this damned war will be put to the end.”

“I'll drink to that.” said Rehara. “Me and Shon has got some catching up to do, Rose. I really do think you need to talk to Quinn before those lasers from his eyes roast you alive.”

Rose offered her apologies for leaving, but Rehara was right. She to talk to Quinn, and quickly. After all, her Starfleet Career was probably at stake.

Quinn was able to get away from some of the Klingon dignitaries that wanted to relate the battle importance, and met Rose of the side.

“You better have a damn good explanation for you refusing a direct order, Captain.” said Quinn in a very level voice.

She offered a datapad on it “This will explain why I did that. I wouldn't have done that if I didn't think it was necessary. After about 5 minutes of looking over the reports, Quinn shook his head in disbelief.

“It's all true, sir.”

“I know, this is too weird to be fiction. With your AI being in this pad, it seems we can't get rid of your involvement with Section 31, either. They are going to want him back.”

“With all due respect, to hell with that. Karter maybe a pain in my neck, literally, but he is a sentient and what they did to him is against the ideals of the Federation. We all know that the galaxy isn't great place to be idealistic, but damn it Admiral, He is my friend, and left him to be ***** by them. I will not allow that to happen again.” answered Rose. “With all due respect, Sir” as she smiled weakly at that.

“You are putting me in a very awkward position, Captain.

“Of course, but you know I am right.” said Rose.

“I know. However, you own me a big favor now. And you too, Karter.” as he handed the PADD back to Rose. “After the ceremony and festivities are done here I am going to get debriefed by you and your crew again, on the way back to Earth. Understood?” ordered Adm. Quinn.

“Aye, aye, Sir.” answered Rose. Just then a chirp from her comm unit was heard. “Rose here.”

“Rose. It is Tyra. I finally got the work up done on the three people killed on the Kumari from your assault. I found a result, troubling.”

“Go ahead, Tyra. Only me, Quinn, and Karter can hear you over this crowd.” answered Rose with a shrug to Adm. Quinn.

“All three assailants were human, but I can't get a real answer to whether they were Augmented or not. 2 of them were male, and one was female. However, the female one was identified on our database.”

“Quinn here, Doctor. Who did it identify?”

“Capt. Rose O'Connell.”

“WHAT?”

“Geez, boss. Keep it down, some people might think the the Admiral here just hit on you. No offense, Admiral.”

“Quinn here again, Doctor. Can we tell if it is an alternate version of the Captain, or a clone?”

“Not with the equipment I have at my disposal, Admiral. I will need a major starbase, or medical facility for that detailed analysis, and the closest one to Qo'Nos is on Betazed.” answered Tyra.

“Well, considering the RKT is taking me back to Earth, we can give that sample to Starfleet Medical.” offered Quinn.

“What about Section 31, sir?”

“I'll deal with Drake when he comes. Well, time for me to act like a warrior half my age.” as a starfleet lieutenant and a Klingon warrior came to the two. “Oh by the way, Karter, you are officlally part of Starfleet, as a Petty Officer Second Class. You are assigned to the RKT as a Mission Specialist. Best I can do on short notice, but it should keep Drake's hand off you two.” Quinn smiled. “Time to show these Klingons who is the boss around here.”


Two days later, in orbit around Andoria.
Alongside the IGV Valg'taht

Rose running down the passageway to the transporter room. She had a medium sized present in her possession as she was trying her best to get there without causing too many people injures.

“You know, Boss. You could keep her from taking command of the Valg'taht by asking her to stay. She'd would say yes.” Karter said from her wristunit. “I bet if you got on your hands and knees, it would bring greater effect.”

“Shut up, Karter. She made her decision and I have no right to ask her to stop her career or her life for me. She will make a great Captain, a great Admiral even. Far better then I will ever be.” said Rose as she turned the corner and saw the transporter room. Then she saw Rehara enter said room.

Rehara was looking around, taking in the last sight of her home for the last three years of her life. She had a couple of bags with her, but the rest of her belongings were on the Valg'taht. Just then a swish of the door, and ran in Rose, looking a little winded from her ordeal. Rehara could see that she was carrying a package with her.

“Chief Kholdan, I'll handle it from here, take a break.” said Rose to the senior enlisted manning the station.

“You got it, Cap'n. I was wanting to get a cup of coffee.”

When the Chief left, Rose faced Rehara. She smiled weakly. “You weren't trying to sneak off the ship without me saying goodbye, R, were you?”

“No, but you need to be more on time. Your new XO will not be so forgiving.” answered Rehara.

“Why don't you show Rehara the gift you got her, before anymore awkward silence happens?” teased Karter.

“Oh, right. Here you go. Some stuff to help those days of being in command to go by.” as she gave the gift to Rehara.

“What is it?”

“Oh, nothing.”

“Bull****. When she got word about your transfer, she had me scour the internet to find 4 bottle of 2400 Zhevra vintage Andorian brandy. And then she teleports all over Earth to get these 4 bottles, that by the way , are not in the same continent or even the same hemisphere. And then has me track down this recording of some old comedy troop from 2100's Andoria, that is an original by the way, that she said you liked, and then..” complained the AI.

“You shouldn't have you two.” beamed Rehara.

“Ok, I can deal with the problems with that smile.” said Karter.

“Karter.”

“Shutting up.”

“Well, you better get up on that...”

Just then, Rehara grabbed a hold of Rose's face, and put a very passionate kiss on her friend, and former Captain. Rose was totally shocked by this and didn't respond. Rehara then released her, causing Rose to fall flat on her behind. Rehara then went over the the station, hit some buttons, went to the pad. “If you ever want be me back, just call, I'll be there, but don't take to long. Captain.”

After a few moments, the Chief came back in and saw Rose still on the floor, looking shocked. “What happened here, Cap'n?” as the Chief helped Rose up. Rose finally got her senses about her, and waved off the Chief, stating she tripped over her own feet. He didn't push the issue and let the somewhat dazed Captain walk out of the room.

“Boss?”

“Yes, Karter”

“I never get tired of seeing two girls kiss” said the AI mischievously.

Last edited by icerose20; 07-03-2014 at 08:50 AM.
Captain
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 5,472
# 15 LC65.1: The Headhunt, Part I
07-05-2014, 08:10 PM
USS Bajor NCC-97238 Department of Security, Case #2401, Classified Lambda-5 RAZOR BRIGHT GEPPETTO
File Reference RAZOR BRIGHT GEPPETTO DC-4: Investigating Officer’s Personal Log


I am Dul’krah, son of Var’takh, Home-Clan Korekh, Blood-Clan Rustra, Ship-Clan Bajor.

My people have a saying. Tuivakh ver eshalakh. The truth is mighty. It is this saying that gives the name to the service that keeps the peace among the Clans. The Ver Eshalakh are a Clan unto themselves. It was my pleasure to serve them actively for nineteen standard years, and though I am part of the Federation Starfleet now, I still serve them in a passive role. Once part of a Clan, you leave only by doing dishonor to the Clan’s name.

My people have no name for themselves as a whole. Even the name by which the greater galaxy knows us, “Pe’khdar”, was given to us through a misunderstanding. The Ferengi who rescued us from our ruined homeworld asked us who we were, and we replied, “The last Clans.” This in our tongue is ‘pe’khdar’, and so were we named. It suffices. The Federation calls our state the Pe’khdar Nation for Council representation purposes, but we ourselves hold allegiance to only the Clans with which we are affiliated. It is the Assembly of Clans that gives the Federation allegiance, not individual members of our people.

At present the most relevant of my affiliations is my Ship-Clan, where I am the elder in charge of ship’s security. It also means I am responsible for all criminal investigations undertaken in the purview of the USS Bajor. On occasion we are tasked to investigate outside the ship. One such occasion is today.

I am in my quarters, researching chord conversions for my latest effort on the vodchakh. I am told by Great Elder Kanril the instrument resembles a small seven-stringed lute that one plays like a violin. The description is apt: I am familiar with both instruments and once successfully translated for the vodchakh a short violin piece by a human named Lindsey Stirling. Such conversions are a hobby of mine and my project of the moment is a tlngDagh piece by Korbak, son of J’mpok. I hear that the twelve-times-damned war criminal’s only son is somewhat of an embarrassment to his father for having no interest in becoming a warrior or politician, either of which would be a waste of a great talent in my opinion.

I raise the vodchakh to my chin and bring up the bow, intent on attempting the first movement, when I am interrupted by the chime of the ship’s intercom, indicating I have a page waiting. Annoyed, I strike the key with the bow. “This is Lieutenant Korekh,” I answer in Federation Standard English.

“Dul’krah, it’s Eleya. I’ve got a job for you. Report to my ready room ASAP, please.”

“I am en route.” I lay aside the instrument and mutter a short prayer to Vo’tak, the night god who watches what must be set aside, before opening my door and stepping into the corridor. I step around two Bajoran crewmen traveling in the direction of the shrine Kanril had installed in compartment 0847 on this deck, and continue to the bridge turbolift. “Bridge.”

Elder Phohl is there to greet me. “Lieutenant.”

“Sir.” I duck under the doorframe, as usual—the Galaxy-class interior designers did not have beings of my people’s typical height in mind—and follow the Andorian to the starboard door, taking a glance at the viewscreen. Our course must have changed while I was off-duty: The plot shows us headed for the Ayala system.

The door slides open and I come to attention for Kanril Eleya, Great Elder of Ship-Clan Bajor, who is talking to someone over subspace. When I received my assignment to the Bajor before her launch, I considered it odd to serve under one so much younger than I. My people tend to favor leaders with greater length of experience. But she has proven her worth abundantly in my opinion: her decisions are practical and she is fiercely loyal to the Clan. “Commander Desdin, with all due respect to the PR department, Nicodemo Basurto’s holodramas are pointless, asinine exercises in navel-gazing, and I am not disrupting the lives of my crew so he can make a couple million credits at some self-indulgent film festival nobody off Earth has ever heard of! Go find some other schmuck!” She hammers the disconnect key and turns in her chair to face me, shaking her head in annoyance. “At ease, Dul’krah.” Elder Ehrob, in charge of engineering, steps away from the wall.

“Captain. Commander. If I may ask, what was all that about?”

“Some nonsense about using the Bajor as the set for a holodrama, and unless I get a direct order from Starfleet Command it’s not happening so ignore it.”

“Very well. I note we are headed for the Ayala system. What has transpired to require our diversion from Jouret?”

“How’s your security clearance?”

Odd question. “Sigma-9 all, Chi-4 by code word.”

“Good. As you saw, we’ve been diverted to Facility 4028. They’ve had a break-in.”
For a supposedly utterly secure prison, 4028 has had remarkable difficulties of late. First there was the incident with Kar’ukan and the female Founder last year, and then a group of rogue Starfleet officers with a Section 31 obsession broke in to retrieve an ally. “What details can you share, Captain?”

“I don’t know much right now; they weren’t sure the channel was secure. But we’ll be there in four hours. There weren’t any escapes this time, though, if that’s what you’re wondering.”

“That, among other things. Casualties?”

“ISIS’ main core is offline and one of their live staffers was badly injured,” Ehrob answers. “She’s been medevac’d to the USS Brisbane.”

“Danger of further escapes?”

“Minimal, if the report we’ve got is any indication,” Phohl replies. “Fortunately the Brisbane was in the area, but they’re not set up for the kind of investigation this calls for, so Commander Chennapragada deployed her security forces to hold the fort and called for backup.”

“That’s us,” Kanril finishes. “Nearest available big ship.”

“Do we know anything else, Captain?” She shakes her head. “Then if you will excuse me. I need to inform my team. Commander Ehrob, I will likely require the services of Master Chief Kinlo again.”

The bearded Andorian male nods. “I’ll let her know.”

“Thank you, sir. Captain.”

Kanril nods. “Right, you’re dismissed, Lieutenant. I’ll get the relevant files cleared and sent to your office. ETA, three hours, twenty minutes.”

I stop by my quarters before proceeding to my office and light the brazier. Or rather what I am allowed to use in place of a brazier on a starship, a bowl with an electrical heating element at the bottom. I retrieve a small canvas pouch from my desk drawers, remove a pinch of dried fashkh leaf, and drop it into the brazier. It is an offering to Chul’teth, goddess of the sun, she whose fire illuminates all mysteries. I stay there for a full five minutes, surrounded by the fragrant incense, meditating.

My religious obligations met, I proceed to my office, located on deck 5 adjacent to the main brig, distribute the files to Lieutenants McMillan and K’lak and Senior Chief Darrod, and bury myself in them until the Bajor comes out of warp. I glance over the dossier on the USS Brisbane NCC-26240, Lieutenant Commander Sumati Chennapragada commanding, a 130-year-old Miranda-class somehow still in one piece, before moving on to the file on one Commander Imara Stadi, the staffer injured during the attack, a file which proves far more intriguing. Stadi is a specialist in xenopsychology who assists with some of the more … exotic inmates, and an author or co-author of over two dozen highly regarded papers in the field, including one on my people. She is also a MACO, though not a currently active one, and earned two Purple Hearts for combat injuries and the Karagite Order of Heroism for service against Nausicaan pirates during the Klingon-Gorn War. A MACO-trained psychologist, and a Betazoid at that, is a novel prospect for questioning, but what interests me most is how whomever undertook the attack overcame one with such abilities.

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

“They were augments, that’s how,” Stadi answers. She lies in the Brisbane’s sickbay with one arm in a sling and the other with an IV. She is in her mid-thirties, has red-gold hair cropped military-short, and a face that I understand most near-humans would consider classically beautiful is marred by a jagged scar that runs from the corner of her left eye across her lips, and ends underneath her chin.

“‘Augments’, sir?”

“Genetic augments.”

“And?”

“And what?” She gives me a confused look.

“I do not see the issue, sir.”

“For starters, they were stronger and faster than me, and that’s saying something—I’m a heavyworlder.”

“How heavy?”

“1.65 gravities and I work to keep it.” Impressive. That’s even heavier than my people’s homeworld Dar Klatus. I ask her to continue. “Other thing is, I got a brush with their minds. They knew they had a strength advantage over me.”

She coughs a bit and I hand her the bottle of water on the desk next to her. She sips some and continues. “They beamed in firing, and when I didn’t go down from the phaser blast and tried to take them hand-to-hand they broke my arm in two places and then smashed my foot for good measure. Then they took off towards Isolation Zone A. All I saw.”

“Wait, they attempted to stun you and it failed?”

She shrugs her good shoulder. “Some sort of weird virus I picked up in my commando days. Aftereffects left me basically immune to low-power phaser fire. They didn’t have the gun set high enough.”

“Curious. That suggests they were trying not to leave a trail of bodies behind.” She gives a noncommittal murmur in response. “Describe them for me, please.”

“Didn’t get a particularly good look; happened too fast. Two meters or less in height. One was Cardassian, female, the other a human or Betazoid male. The human had … dark blond or brown hair, about shoulder-length, and dark eyes.”

“Anything else?”

“Just emotional impressions, Lieutenant, nothing really clear. I did get a sense that they were after something in particular.”

“Or someone?” I suggest.

“No, definitely a ‘thing’, I got that much.”

My combadge chirps. “Lieutenant, this is Chief Kinlo. I know how they got in and I’ve got a pretty good idea who they were, too. Meet me in the Primary ISIS Core when you get a chance, please.”

“I am on my way.” I look back to the commander. “Unless you can tell me anything else?” She shakes her head. “Very well. Be well, sir.”

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

I beam down to the airless planetoid into which the prison is built and follow the indicators towards the core. I stride past a group of orange-jumpsuited inmates standing against a wall, guarded by a pair of Starfleet Security officers from the Brisbane in full riot gear, and make a right turn. Kinlo is standing at the console, typing furiously. Elder Phohl is there, too, and I snap to attention. “Sir.”

“As you were. Chief, tell him what you told me.”

“La Famiglia Motta, sir,” the Klingon answers without preamble.

“I beg your pardon?” I ask.

“You familiar at all with Earth-based organized crime, Dul’krah?” Phohl asks.

“Somewhat,” I say in a non-committal tone. The answer depends greatly on exactly which group one asks me about. The Ver Eshalakh have had … encounters with le Milieu, which did not end in their favor, but my people tend to keep to themselves.

“Well, some of the old Sicilian mafia families that managed to survive the humans’ World War III branched out into space after Earth went warp-capable, set up shop on the fringeworlds. The Mottas were particularly successful, made alliances with the Orion Syndicate among others. On occasion they’ve even had the balls to go up against Starfleet directly. Remember that clusterfrak at Torgo VII a few years back?”

“Master Chief, how do you know they are responsible?”

“The attackers used a Trojan to knock ISIS offline so they could board. I recognized some of the code when I decompiled it. Classic piece by the Mottas’ pet cracker Ron Harper. Goes by Erasmus Omega on the extranet.”

“Commander Stadi believes the two who attacked her were genetic augments.”

“That tracks with what I know of the Mottas,” Phohl agrees. “They’ve been known to have their enforcers augged on some of the independent planets like Adigeon Prime.”

“Are they also known to specifically avoid killing people, even if it leaves witnesses behind?” Phohl gives me a confused look. “Stadi has a physiological oddity that renders her immune to low-power phaser fire. They overpowered her hand-to-hand only after she failed to fall unconscious.”

“No, you’ve got me on that one. Maybe they were in a hurry to get in and out before the Brisbane arrived.”

“Sir,” Kinlo says, “I just got the Warden online.”

A hologram of a riot-armored white-haired human with a somewhat large nose materializes next to us. “That hurt,” he says. Then he looks down. “There seems to be a problem here.” I hear Phohl stifle a bout of laughter, and Kinlo quickly hammers out a few lines of code and the Warden’s lower half rotates 180 degrees. “Ah, much better.”

“Warden,” I order, “Starfleet Security override, authorization Mike-Foxtrot-34844-Theta-3. Perform self-diagnostic and report status of all facility regions.”

The Warden freezes in place and flickers for a moment, then resumes in a distorted monotone. “Reading severe security breach in Secure Storage Four.”

“What is stored there?”

The Warden returns to his normal voice, with a worried look on his face. “Not what, sir, whom. I need confirmation of all of your security clearance levels before I continue.” Phohl asks for the code word. “Material is classified Lambda-5, code word ICARIAN BRIGHT GEPPETTO.”

After glancing at Kinlo and I to see if we leave, Phohl says, “Confirm security clearance through Lambda-5, ICARIAN BRIGHT GEPPETTO.”

“The head of Lore is missing.”

We stare at the Warden blankly. Finally Kinlo asks, “Who in the name of qeylIS batlh is Lore, and why would anyone want his head?”

END OF PART ONE

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

Author's Notes: Doing something slightly different this time by putting Eleya in the backseat and the POV into the head of the Bajor's security chief, an aliengen.

The Lindsey Stirling Dul'krah refers to is a real life indie artist I like, a hip-hop violinist who also does the odd cover of soundtrack tunes such as "Dragonborn". Look her up on YouTube if you get a chance.

The reference to J'mpok as a war criminal refers to the attack on Korvat in 2405, which meets the definition of ethnic cleansing and is therefore a war crime, and yet another reason I wish Cryptic would just have Worf chop his damn fool warmongering head off already.

The "rogue Starfleet officers with a Section 31 obsession" refers to the Foundry mission series Star Trek: Allegiance, one which I highly recommend. Sumati Chennapragada, the CO of the Brisbane, refers to a rather good piece of Star Trek fan erotica I read once called "A Bad Day for Shore Leave".

There is a reason why Dul'krah says he doesn't see a problem with Augments. All I'll say right now is that it ties into my annoyance with Star Trek humans' tendency to project their historical and cultural baggage onto everyone else.

As far as I know there is no actual Motta family among la Cosa Nostra.
Capt. Kanril Eleya, U.S.S. Andraste, Strike Team Alpha

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Say no to Arc! STO standalone installer

Last edited by starswordc; 07-06-2014 at 04:39 PM. Reason: minor formatting
Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 8,119
# 16
07-06-2014, 09:40 AM
Warning: This story is extremely silly and may contain moments that make you spit up orange juice, in addition to some Janeway- and Voyager-bashing. You have been warned.

This was originally going to be longer, but I got bored and figured it’d be funnier if I just made the entire holodeck shenanigans thing into a giant Noodle Incident.
***
“C’mon,” said Science Bekk, his tail twitching mischievously. “It’ll be fun! And there’ll be fighting!”

“I am a Jem’Hadar,” said First Omek’ti’kallan. “I do not “take vacations”. And I have heard…rumors about this “Captain Proton” holoprogram.”

“Don’t worry; I bought this one from Jak’s cousin Krugg. Completely free of bugs, he swears! Fresh from the Federation! Besides, I’ll let you fight Satan’s Robot!”

“Yeah,” said Zel through xir environmental suit. “You should do it, Omek. I’ll mind the bridge, beam the Admiral up when she’s done talking with D’tan.”

First Omek’ti’kallan sighed in resignation. He suspected that this was one of those “interpersonal relationship” things that Glorious Odo’Ital had talked about.

“As you wish. Third Zel, you have the bridge. Science Bekk, lead on. We shall crush this “Dr. Chaotica” in the name of Glorious Odo’Ital!”

Zel shook xir indeterminately-gendered head as the Ferasan and the Jem’Hadar trooped out.

“He never does get it, does he…”
***
“OK,” said Science Bekk, adjusting his Buster Kincaid costume over his tail and checking his little fangs in a mirror. “Remember, you’ve got to say something witty BEFORE you attack the minions, or they won’t switch to attack mode. Daysnur says that he’s going to show up later to play Queen Arachnia, so we should be fine there…”

“Let us begin,” said First Omek’ti’kallan.

“Yessir,” said Science Bekk. “Computer, begin program!”

The color faded out, and the opening narration began.

“The heroic CAPTAIN PROTON, and his trusty sidekick, BUSTER KINCAID, have gone, yet again, to rescue their ever-trusty and -faithful secretary CONSTANCE GOODHEART from becoming food for the dreaded Spider-People! As Captain Proton travels billions of miles to reach the dark and dangerous Planet X, the dreaded, diabolical DOCTOR CHAOTICA, the Malevolent Master of All Evil, has been preparing to sacrifice Constance to his radiantly beautiful, beguiling, and dark Queen, the dreaded LADY ARACHNIA of the Spider People!!! Our heroes swoop to the rescue in Proton’s heroic and high-tech SPACE ROCKET!!!

“However! Aware of Proton and Kincaid, the dastardly, devilish Doctor Chaotica has used his fiendish death-ray against Proton's ship, causing it to burst into flames while entering Planet X's unusually thick atmosphere.

“Now, Captain Proton and Buster Kincaid stare in horror, plummeting to Planet X's surface, while being contacted by the gloating Chaotica, who taunts them with maniacal glee! Will our heroes escape to save Constance? Will they successfully infiltrate the Fortress of Doom? Or have Chaotica and Arachnia destroyed our heroes and conquered the Earth at last?”

First Omek’ti’kallan looked down at his ridiculous outfit, and knew with absolute certainty that Odo’Ital would break out laughing if He saw Omek now.

Better get this over with.

“Buster!” shouted First Omek’ti’kallan, reading his lines off of the cheat-sheet on his mini-PADD, which was currently strapped to the inside of his arm. “We need to level off before we crash onto the deadly deserts of the mysterious Planet X!”

“I’m trying, Captain Proton!” shouted Science Bekk, wrestling with the humorously outmoded controls. “The unusually thick, expanded atmosphere of the dark and dangerous Planet X is interfering with the engines!”

“Ah,” said First Omek’ti’kallan, in the painfully precise tone of one who does not know his lines. “We had better vent the ballast! The reduced weight should help ease our dramatic descent!”

“Golly, Captain Proton! You’re a genius!” Science Bekk pushed a big red button marked “Drop Ballast”, and Omek wondered vaguely what the Criminal One a starship was doing with ballast, and how dropping all of the ballast would help level off such a starship.

There was a dramatic, thundering crash, and the vague rumbling of the Space Rocket stopped.

“We’ve landed safely, Captain Proton!”

“Outstanding. Now, to infiltrate the dreaded, diabolical Fortress of Doom, and rescue the lovely Constance Goodheart from the fiendish clutches of the despicable Doctor Chaotica.”
***
“How are they?” asked Jak.

“Science Bekk’s having a good time, but Omek’s just going through the motions,” said Zel. “I win. Pay up.”

“Program’s not over yet,” said the Nausicaan man. “I still have a chance to make you owe me those twenty strips.”

Zel grunted through xir helmet. “Fine. Damn, we really should’ve started him with the first chapter.”

“What, Captain Proton versus Ning the Uncompassionate?”

“Yeah.”

“I think that Omek would’ve enjoyed that one a bit more. Maybe. Ning’s kind of a bigger idiot than the most arrogant Tal Shiar thug, though.”

“Point, that,” said the Breen. “I’m sure it’d be better than Bride of Chaotica, though.”

“Yeah. Daysnur’s all set for it, though. He’s putting on fishnet stockings and other crazy stuff.”

Zel snickered. “A Lethean playing Queen Arachnia—now THAT I must get a recording of…”

Jak’s combadge chirped.

“Jak here.”

“Subcommander,” said Admiral D’trel’s voice. “Are the sensors running?”

“No, sir. Zel, boot up the sensors.”

“Orbital control picked up a strange spatial disturbance in your area. Go check it out.”

“Yessir,” said Jak. “Receiving coordinates now.”

Vengeance’s sensor arrays powered up as the warbird slid for a sort of…ripple in space.

“What the spam is that?” wondered Jak.
***
First Omek’ti’kallan was in the middle of turning a holographic Human inside out (in his defense, he was bored out of his skull at this point) when the program fuzzed momentarily, causing the hologram-man to vanish and reappear in the default “killed” setting on the ground.

Well. Holodeck malfunction. Wouldn’t be the first time, not by the Criminal One’s longest odds…

Then Omek turned to check on Science Bekk, and saw two Humans--live ones, by the heat signatures--looking at him and the Ferasan with identical confused expressions.
***
“What’ve we got?” asked Jak urgently as Zel swore and hammered at xir smoking console.

“Something’s messing with our systems! There’s a spatiotemporal vortex opening on Holodeck One!”

“…where Omek and Science Bekk are playing bad sci-fi programs. Wonderful. Daysnur! Get to Holodeck One, and see if you can get Omek’ti’kallan and Science Bekk out of there without losing them through the spatiotemporal vortex!”

“Now? But I just got into my Queen Arachnia outfit, honey!”

As much as Jak wanted to see his boyfriend in fishnets, duty to the crew came first.

“Sorry, now. There’s some kind of spatiotemporal thingamajig open down there; we’re holding position but it could do any number of bad things if we don’t fix it.”

“On my way,” said the Lethean with a sigh.
***
The dark-haired Human fainted dead away. The other screamed and wet his pants.

“Um…” said Science Bekk.

First Omek’ti’kallan muttered a quick prayer to Odo’Ital and approached, hands in the air in a peace gesture. The light-haired Human, still squealing, stumbled backwards and tripped, falling onto his butt.

“Have no fear, Human! I am First Omek’ti’kallan, and by the commands of Glorious Odo’Ital I serve the Romulan Republic…”

The Human pulled out a phaser and shot wildly at Omek. The blast fuzzed against the Jem’Hadar’s personal shields.

“Why the Ferenginar do I always have to deal with the crazy ones? Science Bekk, I will restrain this Human. Check the other and see if we can contact their superiors.”

Omek grabbed the squealing Human by the collar and head-butted him judiciously. The man slumped, unconscious.

“I’ve got a combadge!” said Science Bekk. “Hello, this is Science Bekk, KDF serial number 1398703, stationed as an exchange officer aboard IRW Vengeance. Um. Can anybody hear me? We’re sorry for scaring and knocking out your officers, but the one guy DID attack First Omek’ti’kallan…”

“Computer, end program!” said Omek, trying to stop the insanity. Nothing happened.

“Science Bekk, we have a problem.”
***
Subcommander Daysnur, wearing about six square inches of actual clothing and about twenty additional square inches of sheer netting, in addition to a few pounds of makeup, entered Holodeck One and immediately noticed two things.

First, the holoprogram was not running any more. The new safeguards (automatic end-program in the event of a malfunction) were working.

And second, there was a shimmering disturbance in the air, pulsating in the middle of the room.

“Oh, wonderful.”

He nodded to his backup, Sublieutenant T’pai and Uhlan Tarash, who proceeded to attach a braided monofilament rope around his waist as a safety measure. The two Romulans braced themselves and nodded their readiness. Daysnur took a deep breath and entered the shimmering anomaly…

There was a brief flickering sensation, and suddenly he was in the middle of a running Captain Proton holoprogram, with Omek and Science Bekk immediately ahead of him, holding their hands in the air as a stern-looking Vulcan and a couple of hulking Human thugs pointed phaser rifles at them.

The Humans lowered their weapons and gaped in shock as Daysnur appeared. The Vulcan’s only expression was a raised eyebrow.

“Um…” said Daysnur. “I take it that you’re not going to need me to play Queen Arachnia?”
***
Three hours later.

Tuvok walked them to the anomaly.

“It was…pleasant to work with you, Subcommander.”

“The pleasure was mine, Admiral—I mean, Commander Tuvok.” Daysnur’s makeup was smeared, his wig was askew, and his fishnets were in tatters. Doctor Chaotica had not been seduced. At least, not easily.

“Indeed. Let us never speak of this again.”

“Especially not the bit with the shark-lizard. Agreed.”

Tuvok actually winced at the mention of the shark-lizard.

“Agreed.”

Several feet back, Omek and Science Bekk were waving goodbye to the holographic Doctor, who was finishing setting up a device to close the anomaly.

“Science Bekk, what is your name? It is tiresome to call you Science Bekk all of the time.”

Science Bekk’s ears twitched at Omek’s question as the Doctor double-checked the makeshift flow capacitor.

“I have no name, First. I am merely “Science Bekk” until I do a deed worthy of attention.”

“Well, that will not do. I would definitely say that helping the Doctor here come up with a solution to the wormhole problem, and rewiring Doctor Chaotica’s death ray after Captain Janeway broke the off-switch, are deeds worthy of praise. From now on, you are Science Bekk Min’tak’allan. Praise Odo’Ital!”

Science Bekk Min’tak’allan made a curious motion that Omek interpreted as a bashful shrug. “Thank you, First!”

Before Omek could respond, the holographic doctor interrupted.

“And that should do it. Head on home; I can handle the situation from here.”

Omek’ti’kallan gave the man a salute and a bow. “Excellent. May you be victorious, Doctor.”

Ahead, Daysnur and Tuvok shook hands.

“Always nice to work with a fellow telepath,” said the Lethean. “I’ll be sure to say hello to the future you when Admiral D’trel meets him next.”

“It would be illogical of me to not state that working with a trained mindhound was an enjoyable experience. Your skills are pleasantly refined.”

“And you’re a sight for a sore mind. I swear, sessions with a borderline-psychotic Romulan once every two weeks? It really gets to you after a while. See you in the future. Live long, and prosper!”

“Peace and long life.”

The Lethean walked through the shimmer, followed by the Ferasan and the Jem’Hadar. The EMH pressed a button, and the rift disappeared with a flash of light.
***
First Omek’ti’kallan sat on his too-comfortable chair on the familiar bridge of the Vengeance, and sighed.

“How was it?” asked Zel, Jak picking his mandibles to xir right.

“I had a generally pleasant experience,” said Omek. “Science Bekk Min’tak’allan and the hologram who calls himself the Doctor said that I am never to discuss the incident with the mountain and the Destructo-Beam ever again. Second Daysnur and the younger counterpart of Admiral Tuvok seem to have enjoyed stopping Doctor Chaotica while we disabled the Death Ray.”

“So you had fun?” asked the Breen.

“I would say so, yes,” said Omek.

Zel swore, pulling a few strips of latinum out of a pocket in xir suit. Jak snickered and stuck out a hand.

First Omek’ti’kallan would probably never understand some things about his friends. Gambling was one of those things.
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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 239
Facility 4028...
...
Sometime in 2414...
...
ISIS Core Room
...

The Photonic officers went constantly around the whole entirety of the Facility, programmed to be stoic guards, unable to be anything else, all except the Warden. While the others were programmed to be security guards, sentient and capable of making basic, if albeit limited, decisions in an instant, they were nothing more than that, security. The Warden, for instance, went beyond the basic holoprograming of a security officer, he was, metaphorically of course, meant to be a judge, jury, and executioner over the whole facility, and the security officers his tools to carry sentence out.

Some were needing to be closely monitored, like Inmate 72604, Alevant, with Protocol Zeta-Eight, or Inmate 51099, K'staa, when he is out of his cell, needing to wear bite restraints so as not to harm other inmates.

Of course, not every inmate is strictly sentient, or even alive, and not all are held in cell blocks. Like inmate 01100, or at least a part of him, is one such inmate. The only way to gain access to the 'subbasement', as it is called by the creators of Facility 4028, is to gain access from I.S.I.S, the computer A.I. program running the automated facility. The Warden was an exception, but of course being a 'by-the-rules' kind of guy, he tends to still forward his request to the computer still.

**

His program was then transferred to an artificial storage facility, stored within an asteroid that was mined out previously by the Federation, and that was placed in an artificial orbit with the facility.

He looked around at the various odds and ends: A giant box with intricate carvings made of ancient stone that fell through a crack in time, a Preserver obelisk, the partially melted head of a once cybernetic creature preserved within a transparent aluminum box, a Thalaron Drone used by a Romulan Captain, now an inmate himself, even half of an Iconian Gateway salvaged from Iconia itself. The asteroid held hundreds of various and dangerous devices and tools from throughout the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, spanning various years throughout history, starting with Admiral Archer and Pike, from Kirk to Picard, even various items Captain Sisko confiscated in the Gamma Quadrant, to a database of cultural knowledge and strange alien technology removed from Voyager and copies transferred here by Admiral Kathryn Janeway herself.

The prize he was looking for though, was in a separated area removed from all technology. He walked up to the pedestal, removed from Omicron Theta, and was it holding the head of Lore. The Soong-type android was dismembered long ago, parts of him scattered across the whole Federation, locked away in secret vaults on other worlds. The memory engrams within the head were copied and removed before the head was shipped out here, and stored in the Daystrom Institute library. Of course, the Warden was given a copy of the engrams from Data himself in 2403, and given explicit instructions to reactivate Lore for an hour every year, so that he could learn what has occurred over the years. The Warden did what he was ordered, though the last time he did so Lore was intensely angered at the photonic man, because of the missing condition of his brother, Data.

Now though, the time came for the yearly reactivation, and the Warden was ready to do this, after their last fiasco when Mehra, Taris, and others escaped the facility during a riot in 2409, he wanted to make sure no one, not even a prison transport, was around so nothing could go wrong. Opening the panel located at the back of the head, the Warden pushed the complex series of buttons needed to reactivate the android. The android's eyes flashed to life, and the head began to move, eyes blinking, mouth moving in a silent scream, and finally Lore became conscious.

Blinking in an irregular matter, a weird twitch on the left side of his face coming back, Lore tested his motor functions, optical sensors, and finally realized the Photonic Warden in the room. "Oh, great, it's you..." he mutters sarcastically, rolling his eyes in the process, "I thought last time would be the final time I would awaken; appears I was wrong and you've favored me for another turn, what to try to change my morally corrupt view again?"

The warden's simulated eyes rolled in response, and he goes to shut the guy up, when ISIS contacts him, saying a ship was bound for the asteroid. Decidedly he leaves the robotic head, and activates the transfer system, attempting to bring the holographic defensive system online, as well as activate weapons platform, when he freezes. Behind him Lore laughs at the now frozen program, before it quickly turns to fear when an explosion occurs. The asteroid was being fired upon.

*****

Gregs had been called upon by Starfleet to investigate the two hour silence that had occurred between Facility 4028 and the nearest star base, and the Oregon was dispatched. What they found was a chunk of debris around a, now covered by force field, hole leading into a hollowed out asteroid. Crew had reestablished an atmosphere within the complex, and had debugged the holographic generator after finding an Elachi skittering saboteur drone, refitted to disrupt the photonic generator in the facility. Somehow the drone was brought in, out of phase thru Elachi subspace technology, and was used by a prisoner to disrupt the facility while they were raided.

The strange part was who the prisoner was. Instead of being a typical Tal Shiar operative it was actually a known Child of Khan agent, an Augmented human, who used the stolen drone to shutdown the facility. Finding that the video cameras were still working they found footage of James Fadi Mehra, or Princep Khan as he was better known as, beaming down to the asteroid, before the asteroid was blasted open, and retrieving the head of Lore before beaming out of the ship, and the attempted destruction of the asteroid.

"There was a reason it was built into an asteroid, even a hollowed out one," the Warden says, "the metal walls are built of the strongest and durable stuff, updated every year if newer and stronger materials are found, so it could last the heat of a fleet of Klingons if necessary." The Warden walks over to the stool where the head was kept, and looks around it. "Ah, the tracker is still on him," he says while turning back to Gregs, "We placed a tracker, a photonic flea we altered, on him so we could track him if we ever needed to." He retrieves a PADD from a wall socket, and then returns to hand it to Gregs.

"This, this is what you'll need to track him; we've known some of Lore's other parts have been close to being stolen at great cost by various groups," he says, "the Orion Syndicate mainly, though rogue Klingons and even Tal Shiar had attempted to steal them; this is probably the piece the Children of Khan need more than anything else." Gregs takes it, and looks at the location, and is puzzled when he recognizes the name.

"Well, who knew they would go there," Gregs says tapping his combadge, "Oregon, time to beam up." The transporter beam activated, leaving the Warden with his mess.

"Well, that's the gratitude I get for helping you," he says dismissively, "not even a shuttle ride or transporter back to the Facility; that's what I get?" The Warden goes to fix the holographic relays alone.

***

Amar Singh sat comfortably in the photonic chair in the cell. He had been given a cup of coffee to enjoy, a rare commodity as it was the real stuff shipped in from a local farming colony. He had heard the commotion, and saw the chaos in the Facility when the photonics stopped working and froze in place, he knew more than likely the storage facility holding Lore would have been attacked. He had met the augment prisoner who was taken in recently, and he had learned of why they were after Lore.

He smiled to himself though, because he knew what they were truly after. The chip that Arik Soong had hidden so long ago, said to hold the eugenics research he had made copies of after he had given up his eugenics, when he had changed his profession to artificial life he had made the chip so that when eugenics were finally acceptable, they could use his research to help fix a genome defect in Augmented humans. Of course, he knew because he himself would do this, the new Khan wanted to further augment his followers, make them even stronger and more durable warriors, and to bring a new era for eugenics.

How sad the information in the chip was currently in box XX-WE-39657 of Facility 4028, marked as part of his belongings. The other chip, the second one left behind by Arik Soong, well, it wouldn't be useful to Khan in the way he would think, at least not without the knowledge stored within the first ship. But that doesn't mean there wasn't as anything equally useful within the second chip.

Amar laughed at Khans foolishness; well maybe if he wasn't left behind he wouldn't have cared, but of course he wasn't the one about to make the mistake of activating an android who only wanted to exterminate biological life. He pondered something for a second, actually realizing another path this could take. He smiled, realizing finally what they were wanting to do, and at how different the outcome would occur if they used the second chip.

He sipped at his coffee, when the photonics had finally been reactivated, and as they checked on each and every prisoner, while restraining those who had gotten loose, no one else noticed the smile on Amar's face as he dreamed of Khans face when, or if, the second chip was put into Lore.

***

Trialas IV

The decrepit building that had been abandoned for almost two hundred years, was no longer alone, and it hadn't been for more than a few years. The planet had a Federation research center years ago, but recent geological instability and threat of volcanic activity had made it necessary for them to all but retreat from the planet, though migrating colonists had taken root. Structures in remote areas were built, signifying the more stable areas and livable places, filled with colonists going on their daily routine. The colonists were not in fear of the instability as of yet, but the Federation was keeping an eye on the planet before terminal ecological destruction of the biosphere.

The decrepit building had been there since the early 22nd century, when Arik Soong had first set foot on the soil with his augments. Now, though Arik's augments were long gone, a new generation of the children of Khan had set foot on the planet, led by James Fadi Mehra. Now they had gotten what they had wanted, the head of Lore, the final piece to the great puzzle. On a slab in the middle of the room was the reassembled body of a Soong-Type android, though it was by no means the original. The body was scavenged from Omicron Theta, and made from various scrapped parts found in Soong's workshop, from many of his previously failed prototypes, and they had found enough working parts to build a body.

Lore had been deactivated by Princep Khan when he retrieved him, and now he had his android specialist reattach the head to the body. They had found the chip in the old building used to house Arik's Children, and when he was told what it could be, that it could hold the key to total perfection, he chose to begin a campaign to find and reassemble Lore, the only Soong-type android who could process this type of chip. They had acquired Mudd-type androids before this point, and tried it on a total of 46 different classes but each had failed to read the chip, it was to alien for them to use, the chip needed a positronic brain.

Now the eyes activated, his face began to twitch on its left side, as Lore finally finished the activation process he turned to see his audience. "Well, this is quite a surprise," he said, than changes his voice to a higher pitch, "May I ask, why would a group of humans rescue little old me?" He looks toward Mehra, and recognizes both him and the signs in the others, that they were augments. "Or, may I ask, why would augments like yourselves," he says, "want me for?" At that Mehra smiled, and waved a hand to a box holding a small chip, comparable to the emotions chip, on a velvet cushion. To say the least, Lore was intrigued.

*****

Outside Trialas Solar System

The Oregon had met with the Tempis Fugit while in transit to Trialas VI, the two ships had a brief exchange, and after the Tempis had transferred their captain, who was an expert on human augments, they had continued on their own mission.

Hazel Singh found herself on the turbolift heading towards the bridge of the Oregon. When she heard about a new lead on Mehra, she jumped at the chance to join Gregs in pursuit. Ever since 2409 when Facility 4028 was raided by the Jem'Hadar, many of the inmates like Mehra had escaped through unknown means. Going off the books, and out of Federation jurisdiction, the Tempis Fugit was being backed by Starfleet Intelligence and Section 31 in certain operations against enemies like Mehra. She still took occasional side jobs within the Federation, but mainly hunted rogue and terrorists like the Children of Khan down.

Gregs was sitting in the Captains chair, Zinuzee to his right, when Hazel arrived to meet them on the bridge. Having said their pleasantries they continued course towards the planet.

**

The landing party beamed a quarter mile out from where the ship had scanned the augments, choosing to be far enough from the psychopathic men and women. Hazel and Gregs took the lead, while Khor, Chassidy, and Zinuzee took the rear. Suddenly a shot was heard, before the revving of an engine was heard, and an older model of a Delta Flyer class shuttle left orbit, and the clouds parted as the mammoth figure of an Elachi S'Golth ship entered the upper atmosphere. "Gregs to Oregon, tell me your out of sensor range when you spotted the Elachi ship on scanners?" Gregs says over his combadge. It took a few seconds for a response, but the familiar chirping came back.

"Yes sir, we cleared sensor range when long range picked up the Elachi energy signature," a voice says over the link, "We're going to stay out of range for now, do you want us to come pick you up when their ship leaves our sensors?" Gregs looks to where the shuttle had taken off, then back to the group.

"Negative, we'll search the area, they had some kind of base on the planet," he reported, "We're going to search it for clues as to where they went next, or what got them to leave." He closed the comm and then they headed towards a run down building that had shown signs of an attempt to rebuild it.

Finally finding the access door into the building, they found it locked form the inside. Pulling a device from her pocket Hazel looks at the door, and notices a slight bulge, nearly imperceptible to the normal human eye, but to an augment it was like a puzzle with a piece that didn't fit. Putting the device to the panel, she clicks some parts into alignment and the door slides in. "Don't leave home without your micro-servo," she says, smiling to herself.

Walking into the building, they find a curious sight. Lore, looking serenely calm and happy, was pouring a cup of tea for himself, a replicator being the source of the odd commodity. Of course he was sitting on a chair, but his legs rested on the slumped form of an augment.

"Well, Starfleet finally bothered to show up?" Lore says, "To bad you're to late." The left side of his face twitched and he dropped the china cup to the floor, shattering it to pieces, and Lore's face turned into an angry scowl as he jumps from the chair. "Get out of my head you flesh bag," he yells to a far corner of the room, before his face twitches again, "Oh there is nothing you can really do about that Lore, we're both stuck like this without the other chip." Twitching again the scowl changes to a yell of frustration. "Damn you," he says, "You had to leave your faulty circuitry where any human could find it." At that the face changes back to a pleasant one, and Lore laughs.

"Well, I did hand it to my son on my deathbed, he must have copied the circuits and used it to continue my work," he says, "and he probably left it here knowing nobody would look for it here, but I don't think it would turn into a legend." Again realizing he isn't exactly alone in the room, Lore turns back to the landing party, and smiles. "Ah, Captain, or should I say Captains?" he says noticing Hazel's rank, "I'm sure your wondering why I seem to be... a little spilt on decisions since my reactivation?" He sits down on the chair once more, again propping his feet on the still unconscious augment. "Well I'm sure you know of Lore, but I'm not so sure you'd remember me," he says, stretching his hands before settling them behind his head, "Tell me, have you ever heard of Lore's great-grandfather, well that's me, or at least a part of the great Arik Soong!" Hazel pulled a weapon on the clearly crazed android and fired, while Gregs went outside to recall the ship into transporter range.

While the other three grabbed Lore, Gregs and Hazel both grabbed the augmented man, and dragged him out as well. "Oregon seven to beam up," Gregs reports, "Leave me and Hazel and our other guest for last, beam the first group up now." The familiar hum of a transporter occurred, and a few seconds later Gregs found himself on the transporter pad.

*****

[Brig]

The Augment on one side, and the android in an adjacent cell, Gregs and Hazel both stood in front of the two cells, though both cells were silenced. Lore was twiddling his thumbs, while the augment was banging his hands, cuffed so he couldn't do anything else but throw them against the wall, to try and bust his way out. They had gotten some information out of the augment, though they had gotten more useful information out of Lore. The augments had won the S'Golth escort from the Tal Shiar and Elachi for removing a few enemies to their plans, plans that had later failed anyways with Republic interference, though the Children of Khan had come away with a free ship. Having eluded Federation and Klingon ships in the neutral zone, they were little more than pirates for a few months, before establishing a base near the original base of Arik Soong.

Eventually someone was smart enough to look inside the old decrepit building, and stumbled upon the chip holding Arik's consciousness, told Princep Khan of their finding, leading to this whole mess of events. Now though Khan and his followers had to go after the second chip, they had gotten an energy signature from their chip, and would be able to track wherever the other chip had been taken. "Facility 4028," Lore had said, "That's where they were heading when they left their steroid packed goon to baby sit me, of course they forget that they aren't the only superior being in existence." Now the Oregon had again set course to the facility, hoping to disable the augment ship before they had gotten hold of Soong's augment research.

****

[Facility 4028]
[Outside Amar Singh's holding cell]

The facility once again had been attacked, swarmed by a few Elachi skitterers and Elachi drones of the offensive and defensive kind. The few dozen droens were enough to go against the photonic guards, and once they had swayed a couple of the prisoners to help, they had begun to fight their way towards Amar Singh's cell, the only other geneticist who would covet Soong's research and track the chip down for its research.

Amar was standing in his cell, knowing exactly what was about to transpire, and he was grinning when he saw Mehra looking angered by his own smug face. "James, so nice of you to come and form a rescue party for me," he says nonchalantly, picking at his fingernails before turning to face the augment, "Your a couple of years late though." The augmented man merely laughs at the comment before destroying the console next to the cell, deactivating the force field in the process, and then grabs the geneticist by his throat.

"My name Amar, is KHAN, my title is Princep," he says, while lifting Amar up from the ground, "and you will treat your superior with respect, I could have anyone of my men or some of these more vengeful prisoners, kill you on a whim, if needed." He tosses the man back against his cell wall, and when Amar gets up, he wipes a little blood from the corner of his mouth. Amar then begins to chuckle, then outright laugh as he stands up to face Princep Khan defiantly.

"You are the pauper trying to fit the role of a prince, James, you don't deserve that title," Amar says, "My ancestor he was KHAN, Khan Noonien Singh, you're no more an augment than a man because you have been enhanced, no he was born an augment, while you were merely fixed." Khan was nearly about to punch the Amar in the face, when a commotion behind him made him realize the holographic guards may be winning out against the drones, and it wouldn't be long before even the prisoners turned on the augments. Frustrated Khan turns around for a second to regain his composure, then returns his gaze to Amar Singh,

"That's true, but I'm the closest thing between you and death right now Amar, tell me what I want to know," he says, "Where is the chip containing the research of Arik Soong?" Amar blanches, calculating the risks the augment brought out, then looks at Mehra, and smiles realizing they had reactivated Lore.

"Well, why didn't you says so?" he says in a creepily calm voice, "It's in box XX-WE-39657, in the claims facility."

******

The Oregon had beamed Gregs, Hazel, and a squadron of M.A.C.O's into the prison, while two squads of engineers and security groups beamed into both ISIS computer hubs to repair and retake the facility. The ship had disabled weapons and shielding of the augments ship as soon as they had entered the system, using the temporary battle cloak the Romulan Republic had allowed installed into the previous version of the Oregon. Now they just had to retake the station.

**

[Under Levels, Storage Facility]
[Row XX, Subsection W.E., Box# 39657]

Princep Khan stood in front of the small box, a three by three by three inch box, which inside held a chip compatible with nearly every single type of computer processing equipment, from old microchips to isolinear circuitry, even to neural gel packs if necessary to transfer the information. The chip though was meant for conjoint use with the one holding a copy of Arik Soong's personality and the positronic brain of a Soong Type android, but the information inside could be transferred through almost any medium available, even through assimilation by the Borg.

Now James Fadi Mehra had the ability and knowledge to create the most perfect augmented humans ever, warriors loyal only to him, and able to rise up against the oppressive Federation and it's standards. Taking the delicate chip in his hand, he held it up to the artificial lighting in the room, enjoying the view of the piece of technology as its metal glistened in the light. Suddenly the hum of a transporter was heard, as Lore and Gregs appeared near him.

***

[Ten Minutes Earlier]

"Captain, sensors show that James Fadi Mehra has visited Amar Singh," Chassidy said over the comm, "We've been told by Lore that Amar may know where the second chip is, sir." Gregs considers this, while trying to break free from the Gorn attempting to chew his face off at the moment. Using a telekenetic burst, he started to toss the Gorn off of him, while pulling a spare phaser out from his belt, and set it to near max to knock the Gorn out.

"Let security know we need Lore down here know, and when I contact you again I want you to transport me to the ship, and then have Lore ready," Gregs says, "Then we'll transport both of us to wherever Mehra is." Gregs then is attacked by a skitterer, which he promptly throws to the other side of the room before it could explode and release its noxious payload and cause bodily harm. He looks at the rest of the room and sees that the majority of this section was already taken down, how he hoped the engineering teams would get the rest of the ISIS cores back online at full capacity, then just the few security holograms who had mobile emitters before the facility was attacked again. It had been a third of the station, true, but it was just barely enough to retake the prison, even with the M.A.C.O's and security teams he had brought. Hopefully this wouldn't be a battle they would lose.

***

Lore/Arik had grabbed the Princep's wrist, twisting, trying to immobilize the augment. Fortunately both Lore and Arik didn't want this augment to get the chip, Lore because he was betrayed, Arik because even he didn't want another eugenics war, one that would end in even more prejudice and hatred against the best intentioned eugenics and the life saving treatments scientists like he had created. The chip was tossed from both beings grasp, and it was retrieved by Gregs as it had slid near his feet. "Chassidy, I'm wanting you to lock onto my combadge and engage the transporter in ten seconds," he yells into his combadge. At that he rips it form his chest and connects it to the chip by tying a piece of fabric around it, and sets it on the floor as he joins the fight against Princep Khan.

***

Hazari rushes through the rows and rows, she had been told by Zinuzee where the Oregon had last picked up signature, praying she wasn't to late to do anything. Running through the rows she finally found a scene, but she stopped and covered her mouth when she saw a pair of legs sticking out of an aisle, lying in a small pool of blood that was unmistakably Gregs' own. She let go of the breath she held when she heard moaning coming from that direction. Turning the corner she finds Gregs, lying against an aisle, his nose broken, a wicked gash from a broken right leg, and a limp left arm as he cradled his left shoulder.

"Man, who knew Khan could throw a punch like that," he says, before slumping to the ground. Hazel checks his pulse, and sighs in relief for he had merely fell unconscious, hopefully from just a combination of a concussion and slight blood loss. She looks around for Lore, and finds the android slumped against the wall of a different aisle, missing half his right arm, torn from it's hinges, but a smile on his dazed face.

"Hey sweet cheeks, mind helping a fellow find his way out of the joint?" he jokes, before a look of pain comes over him, "Damn it father, you had to give me a faulty emotions program, cause all I'm feeling is pain right now." The android moves its stumpy arm, as he attempts to get on his two feet, as Hazel helps him up, and the two walk over to Gregs' position.

"Oregon, three to beam up, one to sickbay, one to engineering," she says over her own combadge, "Energize." The transporter beams the three up, out of the depths of Facility 4028.

*****

[Sickbay]

"A civilian frigate warped in, we didn't realize it until we picked up its warp trail a few minutes ago, but it was outfitted with advanced technology," Zinuzee says, "by the time we could track it, it somehow created a subspace fold and entered it, we can't tell how far or where it ended up, but Princep Khan had transported over there during all the chaos." This time the Oregon had stayed around and helped quell the prisoner riot while they were still fixing the ISIS cores. Now the Warden had control again, and gratitude for helping expedite repairs, while back up had arrived by form of Hazel's ship, and another galaxy-class ship. Now though, Gregs sat in a medical bed, Ten and the rest of the medical staff had done a good job in repairing his injuries, and he merely was woozy from the blood loss, but there were no serious injuries.

"And what about Lore, or Arik, or whoever," he says, "Have you gotten around to fixing his arm?" Zinuzee nods, motioning around the corner as Lore comes around, his arm replaced with one of the prototype components picked up before they had left Trialas.

"And it's as good as new now Gregs, we've been given a lot to contemplate," Lore says, "we even convinced your chief engineer to help install the new chip, but I've left a copy of all the information in both yours and Hazari's databanks." Lore looks happy, more than he has at any time before, then he turns to the other guest surrounding Gregs' bed. "Could I possibly talk to the captain alone?" he asks. The others shuffle out, and back to their own duties around the ship, and Lore turns back to the Captain.

"I'd...well I'd like to thank you Gregs, we...I am a new person now because of this experience," he says, a look of deep thought crossing his face, before e smiles again, "There was a real reason too for downloading the second chip, it's changed me Gregs, I'm not Lore anymore, nor am I Arik Soong." He says this then turns his back to the captain, clasping his hands behind his back, and he looks slightly to his right side. "Arik Soong died over two centuries ago in his bed, Lore, the true Lore is still alive within his memory engrams at the Daystrom Institute," he says, "Me, I'm made from Lore's head and the cannibalized parts of my grandsons...creator's previous attempts." He turns back to Gregs' a smile on his face. "But me, me I'm also a new man with a new mind, Lore he couldn't adapt to humanity, he fostered resentment and hatred towards humanity because the Omicron Theta colony rejected him," he says pausing before resuming, "but Arik Soong was human all his life before copying his memories to a chip, one he never really imagined would be a prototype to the emotions chip Noonian Soong used to intergrate human emotions with an android, and now, now I'm no longer either Arik Soong or Lore but an amalgamation of the two."

He walks towards the Captain, and grabs his hand. "Because of you Gregs' I'm changed, I've even adopted a new name, Lore Soong, to reflect the new man who's neither man or machine anymore," he says, "You know Gregs, if you don't mind I'd like to take that old Delta Flyer the augments used, maybe search for my brother Data, I know he's MIA, maybe I can use the time searching for him to grasp on to what I am now, with your permission of course, maybe I could even take a few of those Mudd androids, the repairable ones, to help me?" His look was that of a pleading and honest man, not the angered and hateful Lore, or of that of Arik Soong.

Gregs looks at Lore Soong, he looks and sees the genuine look in his eyes, and he nods.

******

Captains Log: Gregs Sharvan Son'aire

Stardate: Redacted

It's been an interesting week, one I hope to never replay again. I had the Elachi S'Golth returned to my fleets starbase for repairs and upgrades, and I've even given the ship a nickname, the Servitor. Maybe I'll use this ship while the Oregon is in dry dock next time at Utopia Planitia.

I even Granted Lore's request. The shuttle was ready, repairs and upgrades had been made, Lore Soong now a recognized citizen of the Federation, and a crew of other androids willing to work with him, a few days after the incident. The shuttle had taken off to parts unknown, to search for the missing Captain Data.

Hazel too had gone off onto her next mission, parting two days prior, while the Oregon prepared to depart for planet Mudd to return the rest of the remaining androids.

Hopefully with time I'll recover from the scars Princep Khan left me, the mental ones, but I have to say I've chalked up another enemy for another day. I wonder how the augments got their hand on Elachi technology, I mean I know it was given to them, but was it the Tal Shiar, or the Iconians, who actually gave up the technology? And where did the technology in the civilian ship come form, the Solanae? This event brought up so many questions, the majority of which I know will never be answered, but for now, for now I need to sleep.

End Log

Last edited by aten66; 07-06-2014 at 04:46 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3,497
# 18
07-06-2014, 03:28 PM
The air was damp and the lighting was weak enough to cast shadows in many directions around the room. It was a decent-sized office and cluttered with artifacts from around the galaxy. All the extra items spread around the room had no discernible order. Layers of dust, or dirt, covered most of the items against the walls; those closer to the desk at the center of the room were obviously 'newer' to their owner. The desk was simple, yet large and metallic. A single desk lamp seemed to struggle staying active as it flickered with any bump against the desk. Several PADDs from multiple origins scattered across the desk top. The man sitting at the desk was slender and sweating profusely. The tattered suit he wore was grungy, as if he never bothered to change clothes. He licked the salty sweat from the top lip as he looked toward his visitor.

"I know beauty when I see it." He expanded his arms as if to show off the wares within the room as his toothy grin was marred by missing teeth.

Staza Murai crossed her legs, revealing more green-toned silky smooth bare legs than her short skirt already revealed. The warmth didn't seem to affect her and she smiled. "Your appreciation is renown, Mr. Berkati -"

"Please, call me Mathis. It is not often I receive glamorous guests."

"Ah, yes ... Mathis. No doubt my contacts informed you of what I was looking for?"

Mathis inhaled deeply before standing and nodded as he walked around the desk to sit at one corner. His grin never faded. "About that, not only is it highly valuable -". He leaned in and stopped grinning, "- it's also very dangerous. Now what would an Orion entrepreneur want with this ... thing." Mathis looked behind Staza quickly before returning his gaze at her cleavage.

A form shifted from the darkness, yet Staza did not take her eyes away from Mathis even though he wasn't looking at her, per se. "You don't need your guards with me. I have no secrets you couldn't get otherwise." She leaned in closer, which only made her cleavage deeper from the simple translucent shirt. His eyes widened slightly. "All you have to do is ask." She relaxed back into the chair. "And since you asked nicely, you know the Federation is hunting for that ... thing. Your reputation suggests you have to hide from legal authorities to prevent capture. So, the truth is I am really here to be your partner for a one-time transaction, one that will surely net you enough profit to get you out of the rare artifact business the rest of your long life. My connections within the Klingon hierarchy would make us both very wealthy, so wealthy you might even be able to buy a planet."

At that, Mathis looked into Staza's eyes, inhaled deeply, and stood. He turned and stretched as he walked back toward his chair. Running a hand through his hair, he wiped it on his shirt before saying, "that's a lot of money."

"Only if you agree to the terms." Staza stood, placed both hands on her hips and rested on one leg which angled her other leg out of the skirt.

Mathis looked to the guard again, then crossed his fingers as he looked at a PADD directly in front of him. He nodded slightly then looked up. "You still have not answered my question. What do you want with this?" He kicked something thick and metallic under his desk.

Staza turned and walked away slowly from the table. Looking toward the guard in the shadows she noticed it was a Breen, holding a short-barreled rifle. She couldn't tell what style the weapon was but it looked similar to a Tetryon rifle. Looking back to Mathis, she commented, "I've never seen a Breen up close." She walked toward the soldier swinging her hips as she walked. "Mathis, have you ever seen a female Breen before?"

The dealer breathed audibly then kicked the case again. "I can't say I have, actually."

Staza stood two meters away from the large Breen and looked him up and down. Then slowly turned toward Mathis. "Don't you think the rest of our ... negotiations, should be held in private. There are a lot of details to be worked out. I'd hate for you to lose an opportunity all because you feel the need to be protected. Besides, I speak with Syndicate interests in mind. As you know, they are not often willing to share their concerns with ... well ..."

Mathis took another deep breath and smiled. "Yes, I see your point." He nodded toward the guard.

The Breen simply turned away from Staza. The pathway to the door was a maze of small containers and artifacts he had to navigate, which brought him within arm's reach of the Orion.

Staza lunged toward the Breen's left side and kicked the rifle from his hands. It spun in the air briefly and Staza's arms twisted to catch it. The Breen did not recover fast enough as she placed the rifle barrel under the left arm and pulled the trigger. A bright blue flash engulfed the torso of the Breen and his arm was severed. She fired into the gaping wound as the Breen fell, it's gravelly voice screaming until it collapsed. A third shot disintegrated the helmet.

She spun on her heels to face Mathis. He had fallen back into his chair with both arms covering his head. Quickly, Staza grabbed the Breen's severed arm and threw it onto the desk. It clattered amongst the PADDs, scattering them and causing a lot of noise as they fell to the floor. Mathis yelped in fear and jumped into his chair.

Moving toward the desk, she noticed the metal container, then tapped Mathis with the rifle. He cowered further into his chair. Staza could smell fresh urine.

She tucked the PADD with her fake deal into the waistline of her skirt. "Come now, Mathis Berkati, surely you are tougher than a woman with a gun."

Mathis seemed to recover any sense of bravery he owned. He jumped from the chair and backed a few steps away, his pants wet. "What's going on here?!"

"I'm taking this crate, free of charge."

"But ... you're with the Syndicate!'

Staza looked at Mathis with derision. "Seriously? Did you really think the Syndicate would pay for this? I'm surprised you're even in the business thinking like that. Then again, I bet this was your first really big shake. Nice try, Mathis Berkati. Just let the big boys and girls play the game."

Mathis seemed to sweat more. "What ... do you plan to do with me?"

"First, tell me who got this crate out of Fed space."

"I ... I don't know."

Staza scooped up the Breen's arm with the rifle and flicked it toward Mathis. It slapped him across the face before he tumbled to the floor trying to dodge the lifeless appendage. "The Syndicate doesn't ask twice", she yelled as she pointed the rifle toward Mathis' groin.

"Aiee! Okay, okay. All I know is that a small group of people bust into some storage facility, then shopped the crate using a narrow-band subspace signal. The carrier waves are not monitored by Starfleet."

"Did you meet them?"

"All I did was respond to their hails when they arrived in system three days ago. I met with ... Jortan ... or something. I think he was a ex-Fed MACO gear-head because he had on that armor, you know? He transported the crate directly to this room."

She lowered the rifle and tried to push the crate with one leg. It didn't budge but she wasn't really trying. "What was exchanged?"

Mathis tried to stand until Staza raised the rifle. "All he wanted was civilian shipping information from Qo'noS to the Dyson Sphere. It was too good a deal to pass up!"

Staza squatted near the crate without looking away from Mathis. She reached into her blouse and pulled a small device from her bra, then snapped it onto the crate. It shimmered and hummed, then disappeared. She smiled, "that was a little uncomfortable to wear so I appreciate your brevity."

Mathis rolled his eyes in shame.

"So to answer your question: I'm not going to do anything, but I will let my contacts with the Klingons know about our meeting. Good luck, Mathis Berkati." She threw the rifle onto the desk, then was washed in a familiar blue shower before disappearing.

+++

On board Solaris ...

Staza Murai coalesced on the transporter pad and looked toward the other person in the room.

Captain Kathryn Beringer stood away from the console. "Welcome back. The crate is secured in the Brig."

"Thank you, Captain. That was rather unpleasant."

Kathryn waved toward the door and Staza exited the room first. They took a few steps in the hallway before Kathryn said, "I hope it was worth it. Lore is simply too dangerous to be let loose in clumsy hands."

Staza nodded. "I see."

They stopped at a turbolift and Kathryn turned to Staza. "I appreciate you burning a few contacts within the Syndicate for this. It won't happen again."

Staza looked down and the doors opened. "I agree, but it was worth it." She walked into the turbolift and turned to face Kathryn still in the hallway. "No more favors ... Scarlet Scorpion."

Kathryn nodded sullenly and the doors swished as they closed.
Kathryn S. Beringer - The Dawn Patrol

Solaris build - Veritatum Liquido Cernene

Last edited by cmdrscarlet; 07-06-2014 at 05:37 PM. Reason: Grammar dagnabit
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 16,358
Previously on Star Trek: Victorious: (Part One)

And now the conclusion.


Ryan stares in disbelief at the pale, granite-white face on the viewscreen, as the owner of that face; Alpha-- Lore, continues to smirk menacingly, "Surprised, Captain?" The malevolent tone's still there, as Ryan regains his composure.

"What have you done to my Officer, Lore?" His tone is adamant, even confrontational.

But Lore just smirks even more, sending a chill down Ryan's spine, "He's right here..." He holds up a small cylindrical container - the same one his own memory engrams were stored inside. "Well... most of him, anyway. Certain portions of his memory engrams are proving... useful. For example, Captain, I know about a certain... tragedy... involving a Starfleet Medical ship."

Ryan tries to keep his anger under control, letting out an aggressive tone in his response, "What do you want, Lore?"

"I have everything I want from you, Captain. Just... sit back and enjoy the ride."

"Lore--!" The channel is terminated, as Ryan looks around the bridge at the stunned crew, before turning to Carter directly. "Is there anyway we can reason with him?"

Carter shakes his head, "Lore's a sociopathic megalomaniac. Once he sets his mind to a task, he can't be stopped peacefully."

"There has to be a way."

"Admiral Maddox might know, but contacting him without Lore hearing is going to be difficult."

"Not necessarily..."

Captain's Log, Stardate: 87187.5. Commander Ryan Allington, U.S.S. Victorious, Ambassador-Class Support Cruiser.

They have my ship. The augments who attacked Facility 4028 have now taken control of the Victorious' Main Computer Core and captured my Operations Officer. Now, Lieutenant Commander Alpha has been hijacked by the memory and personality engrams of the Android Lore. I have few paths of action, which are growing fewer every passing minute. Without understanding what Lore is after, and with no obvious way to reason with him, my only option is to try and get a distress signal out undetected.

End of Log

***

Ryan walks into the Shuttlebay with Dannover, walking over to the Yellowstone-Class Runabout, U.S.S. Orwell, before entering.

As the step into the cockpit, Ryan heads over to the Helm while Dannover pulls open a panel in the floor.

"Are you sure you can keep Lore from picking us up?" Ryan starts preparing a channel to Starfleet Headquarters.

"He won't have control over the runabouts' communications systems yet. If he's restricted to the Main Computer, he'll only know about a communication from the Victorious through the computer access." Dannover is using a hyperspanner on one of the Bio-neural gel packs.

"But if he has control of the sensors, he could pick up the subspace carrier wave."

"Not... any... more!" She yanks out a large cylindrical component as Ryan turns in the chair.

"Is that...?"

"The subspace interference filter? Yeah."

"That's genius."

"I'm not finished yet..." She turns back to the gel pack and takes out a data shunt. "For the record, I want a commendation for this..."

"What are you doing?"

"Well..." Dannover jabs a hypospray into her arm, "the signal won't be allowed to pass between the subspace relays without a filter, and we need to make sure Lore can't pick up the shuttle's filter harmonics, so...," she then plugs the shunt into her cortical interlink implant.

"Are you sure? The last time you did something like this, it made it harder for you to keep the Collective out of your head."

"Yeah... but the alternative is letting Lore keep the ship, and I somehow doubt he's going to let us live to see his plan." She pokes a small implement into a tiny slot in the implant, cringing as they both hear a high-pitched hum from the implant.

Ryan turns back to the console, turning his head slightly to make sure she's okay, before opening a channel to Starfleet Headquarters, "This is U.S.S. Victorious calling Starfleet Command! Authorisation Code: Allington Alpha-Two-Four-Lima-Foxtrot! Please respond!"

It doesn't take long, as a starfleet commander soon appears on the viewscreen, "We read you, Victorious. What's your situation?"

"We've been hijacked by a group of augments, numbers unknown, led by the android Lore. All command functions have been rerouted to their location and we have no knowledge of his intentions. Requesting to speak with Admiral Bruce Maddox at Starfleet Cybernetics."

"Stand by."

Ryan waits for a minute before the screen changes to that of the ageing Admiral Bruce Maddox - the leading expert on the work of Dr Soong. The Admiral already has a grave look as he reads the report he just received from the Commander at Starfleet Communications. "Commander, I just read the report. Tell me what your situation is."

Ryan nods before speaking, "Lore has fortified himself in the Main Computer Core with a group of augments. He transferred all the command functions to his location and locked us out of the computer. We're travelling at warp speed on a bearing of 232 mark 12.

"Admiral, I was hoping you could help me to... reason with him."

"I'm sorry, Commander, but there is no reasoning with Lore. Right now, Lore is in control of the situation - he feels like he has all the power, which means he expects you to play his game. You have one advantage; Lore is selfish and vain."

"How does that help us?"

"You mentioned the augments who assisted his escape. Do you think they realise how untrustworthy Lore is?"

They suddenly hear a series of harsh tones from the console as Ryan turns to Dannover. "Lieutenant?"

"He's breaking through..." Dannover's in clear pain as Ryan turns back to Maddox.

"Sorry, Admiral, we're being interrupted! Request you send any assistance available!" He quickly cuts the channel before running to Dannover and pulling out the data shunt, grabbing her by the shoulders as she feints slightly. "Are you okay?"

Dannover groans as she wipes a bang of hair out of her face. "Been better..."

"Report to sickbay. That's an order."

"Yes, sir..."

Meanwhile, Main Computer Core.

The leader of the augments walks over to Lore, who's sitting at one of the interface consoles. As she approaches, Lore speaks in a menacing, almost bored tone, "What do you want?"

He doesn't even turn to face her. The augment takes a deep breath, before replying, "When will we arrive?"

"I haven't decided yet." Lore finally turns to face her, giving her that malevolent, evil smile. "What do you want?"

"I don't understand..."

"You rescued me from that... prison... gave me back a body - a life... Do you expect me to believe this was out of the kindness of your heart?"

"We're the same."

Lore chuckles slightly at that. Even his laugh sent shivers down her spine. "How so?"

"You were treated unfairly because you were different. They dismantled you simply because you were too human, and then when you were finally reactivated, they treated you like a criminal."

"Life's cruel."

"We're augments. We were engineered by our parents, or others, to be perfect. The Federation claims that augments aren't punished for our genetics, but that's a lie." A hint of bitterness creeps into her tone. "We're not allowed to hold public office. We can't join Starfleet. We have to agree to be monitored just so we can go out in public! And even then, we're segregated, treated as monsters!

"They fear us because we look like them, think like them, act like them, but are not them."

Lore smirks again, understanding, "Just... like... me."

"Yes... just like you. You understand. We can help each other."

"Please."

"We want to show the Federation Council that we're tired of being treated as freaks - as criminals - just because of our DNA."

"How?"

"Cold Station 5. It has hundreds of augment embryos in storage. Once they're active, the Federation will have no choice but to give us equal rights.

"When that happens, we'll help you escape Federation Space."

"What did you say your name was?"

"Heather..."

Lore stands up and walks over to her, that menacing smirk still present as he holds a hand out to her. "A pleasure to meet you, Heather."

Heather takes his hand, shaking it cautiously.

Captain's Ready Room, 10 minutes later.

"That's insane!" Daya is shouting at the top of her voice, both hands on Ryan's desk, as Carter and Tala sit on the sofa behind her, with Ryan sitting in his seat.

"Daya, it's the only way I can think of to get close enough to the augments to figure out what they're after!"

"That's stupid, and you know it!"

As the two continue arguing, Carter nudges Tala's shoulder, whispering to her, "So, how long have they been married?"

Tala smirks at the joke as Daya let's out one final argument, "They'll kill you!"

Carter clears his throat, getting both their attention, "Captain, I have to agree with Commander Saph. It's too risky to send you into the Main Computer Core. Even if they don't kill you, you'll give them an extremely valuable hostage."

"Carter, those augments are the only chance I see to get back control of this ship." Ryan is stubbornly standing his ground.

"Captain--"

"Now listen, all of you..." He stands up, looking at all of them. "If there was any other way, I would take it, but there isn't. Now, the decision is mine." He slowly walks around the desk into the middle of the room. "And it's made."

***

Ten minutes later, Ryan is waiting outside the door to the Main Computer Core, tapping his combadge. "Commander Allington to Main Computer Core."

He waits a few moments, before the menacing voice of Lore comes over the comm. "Hello, Captain. How can I help you today?"

"I want to speak with me, face to face. I'm unarmed."

"Are you now? How interesting. Tell me, Captain, is there also a team of highly trained security officers out there ready to shoot me the second I come out too?"

"No. I'll come to you, in there."

Another moment of silence passes.

"Very well." Ryan hears the door unlock. "Oh, and Captain? Leave the combadge outside."

Ryan sighs as he takes the combadge off, quickly weighing it in his hand before pinning it to the inside of the back of his collar. He then takes a deep breath before walking into the room, hearing the doors hiss shut and lock behind him. Before him, he can see Lore, getting ready to step forward when he feels a hand grab his arm, gripping it with incredible strength as one of the augments looks at him with a spiteful expression.

"Ah, ah, ah, captain..." Lore starts walking towards him, the evil filling the room, "I wouldn't struggle if I were you. We wouldn't want anyone to get hurt now, would we?" Once Lore is close enough, he inspects Ryan, looking around his head on either side, before reaching around to the back of his neck and plucking the combadge from his collar, holding it in front of his face, inspecting it, "Tsk, tsk, tsk."

Ryan keeps his face calm and collected as Lore crushes the badge like it was tin foil, before Lore nods to the guard and turns away. Suddenly, Ryan feels a fist in his face before everything goes dark.

First Officer's Log, Supplemental. Lieutenant Commander Michael Carter, U.S.S. Victorious.

It has been more than half an hour since Commander Allington entered the Main Computer Core, and we've still heard nothing from him or Lore. I've had Security Teams dispatched to the Core to monitor the situation, but in the meantime we continue to travel at high warp towards our destination, which we now know is Cold Station 5.

End of Log

Carter is pacing around the Bridge, feeling the tension in the room as they wait. "Why CS5? Why that target? What does he want?"

"CS5 was one of the Stations commissioned to store augment embryos after Earth's Eugenics Wars." Tala speaks up from the security station. "Maybe he's trying to raise an army."

"No, it doesn't fit his profile. This is too high-profile for him. He likes to pull the strings more discreetly than that."

He looks out at the viewscreen as the stars streak past at Warp 9, completely helpless to bring the ship to a halt.

***

Main Computer Core.

Ryan slowly regains consciousness, his vision dark and blurry. He feels a cold band around his wrists, his face wet, with a light tingling on his eyebrow. He starts to hear again, the ringing in his ears dying down to reveal the hum of a dermal regenerator.

He lets out a groan as he rolls his head to the side, the hum stopping before he feels a hand on his cheek, lifting his face to look at that of someone else as he hears a female voice, "Hey... Can you hear me? Can you see me?"

He squints his eyes, blinking a couple of times to bring his blurry vision into focus, while Heather starts running the regenerator over the cut above his brow again.

"What... what happened?" Ryan winces as his nervous system starts to kick back into gear. He's lucid enough now to guess that the liquid he can feel running over his face is blood.

"I'm sorry. Carlos is... impulsive. We're not animals." Heather finishes healing the cut, handing Ryan a flask, taking the top off for him, as he looks at her suspiciously. "Drink it." Ryan raises an eyebrow, still suspicious of the flask in front of him. "Please?"

Ryan eventually relents, allowing her to pour a little water into his mouth, before swallowing it and letting out a gasp. "Thank you."

"I know you don't trust us, but we don't want to harm you."

"Really? What about them?" Ryan nods his head towards the body of one of the maintenance engineers.

"We didn't have a choice. You'd have done the same."

"I'd have used the stun setting."

"And then you'd have had to either keep stunning them or tie them up. We both know the trauma caused by multiple phaser stuns, and we only had enough cable to tie up one person."

Ryan looks down at the bands of cable around either wrist, before turning his gaze back to her and saying sarcastically, "I'm honoured."

Heather sighs before standing up and walking around him.

"What do you want? What does he want?" Ryan stares at Lore, who's back at his console, working intently.

"The same thing you want; freedom."

"What are you talking about?"

"When was the last time you saw an augment, or any subject of genetic engineering, wearing a Starfleet Uniform?"

"There are reasons for--"

"There were reasons for throwing Japanese-Americans in 'Internment Camps' during World War II. Does that make it right?"

"The last time augments were treated as equal citizens, you grabbed power and devastated the entire planet!"

"They did! Or are you going to blame every augment for the actions of the augments of the 20th Century?"

Ryan stays silent for a moment.

"I didn't think so. Your Federation takes comfort in the assumption that we are monsters, when all the majority of us want is to be treated just like everybody else."

"It's not that simple."

"Okay, think of it this way; Vulcans are emotionally unstable once every seven years and have 5 times the average strength of any other Federation citizen. Are they incarcerated or barred from service to protect others?"

"Vulcans aren't humans."

"And judging from how augments are treated, neither are we. That's my point. Either we are human, and thus have the same rights as every other human being, or we're a separate species, and so have the same rights to self-determination as the Vulcans, or the Andorians."

"Alright, you've convinced me." Ryan looks at her, sincerity and understanding in his expression, but still that confident, determined look in his eyes. "But I can't help your people if you don't work with me. I promise, I'll take your case to the Federation Council."

"You really get the feeling they'll listen?"

"If they don't, then I'll take it to the United Earth Parliament. At the very least, you'll be eligible for Starfleet service. But, if you keep me hostage, my people will do everything in their power to free me. Martyring yourselves won't help anything. At most, it'll trigger violence on Earth. Is that what you want?"

Heather stays silent for a moment, repeating Ryan's performance only a minute earlier, before replying with "It's not that simple."

Ryan sighs. "Think about it. Do you really think you can trust Lore? He has his own motivations which are not in alignment with your own. Tell me where we're going."

"Cold Station Five."

Ryan looks at her in what can only be described as a determined fear, "You just gave him everything he needs. He's not going to threaten the Federation Council to help you, Heather. He's going to assassinate it and seize control for himself!"

***

1 hour later, Main Bridge.

Carter looks out the viewscreen as the ship drops out of warp, seeing the Space Station in view. The Station is embedded into a nearby asteroid, like many installations of the period. He's had Dannover get back in touch with Starfleet, and the Station has been evacuated ahead of them.

It's ironic in a way; the station had been built in this particular asteroid to protect it, but now the asteroid was a hindrance to shields, making it possible to blow the base out from under it by destroying the asteroid itself.

And that was exactly what they were about to do. Lore couldn't be allowed to raise an army with the Eugenics-Era augment embryos on the station, at any cost.

Carter taps the comm panel on the arm of the Command Chair, "Bridge to Forward Torpedo Room. Status report."

***

In the torpedo room, Dannover and Tala are modifying a photon torpedo so it can fire without computer command. Dannover looks up to respond to Carter, "We're almost ready down here, Commander. Just give us another minute."

***

"Commander," the Ops Ensign turns from his station, "I'm picking up a fluctuation in the torpedo room's power conduits."

"Torpedo Room?" Carter stands from his seat, walking towards the viewscreen.

Dannover quickly comes over the comm again, "Lore just put up a forcefield around the torpedo tube. We can't launch."

"Always one step ahead. He's always one step ahead of us!"

"Sir?" The Ops ensign turns again, "All life signs from the Computer Core just beamed over to the station."

"Lieutenant Tala, I want a security team ready in 15 minutes!"

***

Cold Station 5, Storage Centre.

Ryan is dragged along by one of the augments, with Heather walking alongside Lore. The room is cold, with each wall going on for about a mile, stacked with stasis capsules up to 15 meters from the ground. Each pod contains an augment embryo; a genetically engineered life form bred to be stronger, faster and smarter than any human, but with an unintended side effect; they were also more aggressive and mentally unstable. The result was a war that devastated Earth's Eastern Europe and Asia and directly led to World War III and the post-atomic horror.

Ryan is feeling several different emotions right now; awe at the logistical efforts that had to have gone into getting these things off of Earth and scattering them across the Sirius Sector like this, fear at the knowledge of what these embryos could do if they were awakened, and disappointment that this place has become a symptom of a dark secret for the Federation - Earth especially.

Heather feels much the same, only more fearful; if this goes wrong, it'll make things even worse for augments in Federation Space. Worse, what if Ryan is right, and that Lore is going to use this to get revenge on the Federation Council?

Her fears are realised when Lore starts the incubation process of the embryos. "What are you doing? We're only supposed to use them as leverage on the Federation Council, not wake them up!"

Lore walks away from the console towards the incubation chamber.

"Lore!"

"Would you be quiet?!" Lore snaps back as he pulls out a phaser, aiming it at her. Ryan looks before speaking up.

"So, we see your true colours at last. You never planned to help them. This was always just a way to get revenge on the Federation for your incarceration."

Lore smirks at him, that chilling look of malevolence still present, "Very good, Commander. You figured out what I thought was painfully obvious!" He starts backing up towards the bulkhead. "I don't intend on becoming a prisoner again!"

"There's just one problem; this place is abandoned. Don't you think there's a reason? Starfleet knew you were coming."

"Your point?"

"My point, is that this station is specifically designed to stop these things from falling into the wrong hands. There's a system in place to sterilise those pods in case the station should be lost. And I'm betting the Victorious has already started that process."

Suddenly, an alarm sounds as the backlighting of the pods changes to a red glow.

"Like that."

Lore looks around, seeing the life readings go nil on each and every pod, "What have you done?!" He lets out a roar of anger as he fires the phaser at Ryan, who ducks out of the way as the beam slams into the comm panel he'd been leaning on, just as Dannover sneaks up behind Lore and quickly hits the override.

Ryan looks up as Lore falls to the deck.

"This is Dannover, all clear here." Dannover taps her combadge to clear the channel as a security team comes in, aiming their weapons at the augments. The lighting goes back to normal.

"Hold your fire. All of you." Ryan walks over to Dannover. "Nice timing, lieutenant."

"It was easy once we figured out what Lore was up to. Killing the Federation Council to destabilise the Federation in revenge to everything that had been done to him - that's sorta clever in a crazy way."

Heather looks at the embryo pods, then at Ryan, "You killed them."

Ryan turns back, smiling. "No."

"But--!"

"You and Lore were so busy with each other, you didn't notice that I was able to reach a comm panel and hail the Victorious so they'd overhear what was happening. It was a simple matter of them manipulating the red alert lighting to make it seem like a sterilisation was actually taking place."

"Why?"

"Because I made it up. There is no sterilisation protocol - not on this scale. But, you and Lore didn't know that. Besides, I think enough people have died over this in 400 years. Why add to it?"

Captain's Log, supplemental. Commander Ryan Allington, U.S.S. Victorious, Ambassador-Class Support Cruiser.

Lore's memory engrams are being removed from Lieutenant Commander Alpha's body as we speak. The augment activists are currently confined to Guest Quarters on board and I have already received assurances from the Federation Council that their grievances shall be heard in full proceedings.

I have to admit that I feel humbled by the situation; until now, I took in full confidence the belief that the Federation was infallible. But the last two days have shown me that I was wrong. As always, there is room for improvement, in some places much more than others. Now it's just a matter of time, I hope, until the augments receive the justice that 6 of my crewmen died to give them.

End of Log

Ryan is sitting in his Quarters on the sofa, with Daya sitting next to him. They're going over his report to Starfleet Command.

"Everytime I try to put this down, I keep thinking about this passage." He points to the passage regarding the maintenance crew that was killed when the augments hijacked the ship. "Everytime, I feel like I should say more; like there's not enough."

"It seems alright to me. There isn't much you can say, Ryan. You've always had a hard time losing members of your crew. Just say how proud you feel or what you feel these crewmen deserved. Save the rest for the condolence letters."

Ryan nods, as the comm chirps. "Carter to Allington."

"Go ahead, Commander." Ryan looks up to the ceiling, the source of the noise.

"We've got a problem, captain."

Ryan rolls his eyes, sighing in exasperation, "What is it this time?"

"Lore's memory engrams are missing, and one of the cybernetics staff is gone as well."

"Any idea where they went?"

"Negative. A shuttle took off from CS5 a few minutes after we learned of the theft, but it's already gone to warp. We can't find them."

Ryan looks at Daya. "Something tells me we haven't seen the last of Lore."

To be Continued in 'Victorious': The epilogue.
My Fan Fictions
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2,569
RRW Antonina
Leaving New Romulus System

“So we have a Federation holovid crew on board the Antonina doing what exactly?” asked Subcommander Toven Khev.

“They are documenting the exploits of our lives. They wish to record our recollections of Romulan Republic founding and our fight against the Star Empire and the Tal Shiar. It would seem they wanted our crew. They said they wanted to get the correct not the official story. They wanted a real crew not one of the crews tasked with more diplomatic crew.” answered Awnya ar-Virinat, Captain of the RRW Antonina.

“Ha!. They should have been with us on the Osroene then. I still get migraines from all the work we did to keep that bucket of bolts operating.” said Hiven Teral.*

Veril chimed in “Hey, that ship got us through a lot of fights. I rather have that ship then this clean federation ship. I knew every system of the Roe, here I am still trying to read the manual. “

“You'll get used to her, just like the Roe, Veril” said D'Vex. “At least with the Antonina, we don’t have to worry about scrounging for parts for a 40 year old ship.”

“But it isn't a Romulan vessel, D'Vex.” said Toven.

“It is as Romulan as the Scimitar family of dreadnaughts Obisek is pumping out of the Vault “

“D'Vex, Toven, let us not replow the fields again with that argument. Admiral Kerenak insisted that we put a good face for the Republic with this crew, so I expect full cooperation with this holocrew. We still have some more testing and qualifications before we are certified for combat, so while this holocrew is on board we still have a job to do. Any questions?” said Awnya.

“Yeah, When do we get shore leave?” said Hiven.*

“When we get through certification of the Antonina, and not a moment before.” said the Captain. “Any pertinent questions?” giving a death stare to Hiven, who was trying to slide in his chair away from his Captains stare.

“Good, dismissed”

Three Days later

“Ah, Commander, thank you for you and your crews time. They have been very helpful with my project. This has been very insightful.” said the documentrist.

“You have been a change of pace from our work on combat certification of the Antonina and her new systems.”

“I hope we have not caused too many problems with our inquires.”

“Nothing that we can not handle, sir. In fact, my chief engineer said you helped him with a problem yesterday. High praise coming from D'Vex.”

“Well, I'm certain that D'vex or Veril would have figured out soon enough. Are we ready for the interview?”

“I am as ready as I will every be.”

“Good. Roll. Please state you name, rank and position?”

“Commander Lillel Awnya ar-Virinat. Captain of the RRW Antonina, a Dyson retrofitted Defiant class vessel commissioned by the Romulan Republic.”

“You didn't tell me your family name, Awnya. Why is that?

“I am an orphan. With the destruction of the homeworlds and the chaos on Virinat afterwords, I lost my parents and was left alone. I was 3 at the time I lost my family and taken from Virinat.”

“What happened afterwords?”

“Everything other then losing my mother and father and leaving Virinat is hazy till about my 7th year. By then I was on Rator III, in service to some high ranking Romulans there. In our old society, if you did not have a family, you had no past. With no past, there was no way to find out what was your path in the glorious society of the Empire. You also had no one to protect you from those that would exploit you for their own ends.”

the interview was broken up by the red alert klaxons, and a call for Awnya to show up to the bridge.

As Awnya was entering the bridge from the turbolift. “Toven, we still under cloak?”

“Affirmative, sir. We got a Dheal class warbird, the IRW V'Dredith, being attacked by a D'Deridrex, IRW Tanith. The V'Dredith is using all emergency frequencies at call for help, even Republic vessels. They say that they have important information on the current Tal Shiar movements and are trying to defect.”

“Sir, It could be trap.:” offered Hiven.

“Noted, still they are not going to back down if we just uncloak and say we are here. Power up the weapons, we are about to see what this Dyson tech does against the usual suspect. Hiven, get us behind the Tanith, Toven, target weapons and shields if you can.”

“Sir? Why are we doing that?”

“We got civilians on board, Toven. They didn't sign up for this fight, and maybe that Tal Shair will back down.” said a very calm Awnya.

The Antonina decloaked behind the Tal Shiar battlecruiser and pummeled the rear upper shielding of the massive warbird. This obviously caught the attention of the targeted warbird as it tried its best to turn portside toward the more agile ship, hoping to get its broadside in play. Hiven saw this and immediately turned starboard, then turned high and around keeping some distance between the battlecruiser and the Antonina while staying on the stern firing the dual heavy protonic poleran cannons and proton beam to continue to pummel the aft shielding. Right then a volley of very large green balls emerged from the aft end of the battlecruiser as it continued its turn to the port and down.

“Volley of torpedoes dead ahead, PDS engaging.” as the point defense turrets engaged the oncoming green balls of death. Just before the Antonia met them, the disintegrated from the massive amount of energy hurled there way by the PDS and forward firing cannons. However, they did their job as the battlecruiser was able to get her broadside on the Antonina.

“Sir, shields are holding for the moment, but holding our fire to disable them isn’t working as intend. Time to use the gravimetric torpedoes.” said Toven.

“Ok, fire at your discretion, Toven. Hiven, divebomb that ship.” ordered Awnya.

“Putting emergency power into forward shields, we are going to need it if we want to drop the payload on them.” said Veril from her station on the bridge.

The Antonina turned downward to buzz the battlecruiser, firing all of her forward energy weapons to crack the shielding, hoping to launch the grav torp in its hull. As it did the battlecruiser was firing all of its disruptors at the tiny ship, trying to break the shielding and forcing the Antonina to turn as not to get hit on the weakened siding. However, Hiven and Toven has done this so many times to other ships, they knew that it will be over quick, and the Battlecruiser will being dealing not only with a volley of grav torpedoes but also the large number of transphasic mines about to be dropped as the went by.

“Target shields are down.”*

“Our shields are down” exclaimed Veril.

“Firing Torp. Droping mines”

“Evasive maneuvers, Hiven. Get us the hell out of here.” As the Antonina was passing within 200m of the battlecruiser's starboard side. As it did this and gained a burst of speed, the battlecruiser's own PDS was trying to save the ship from its inevitable doom, but it just didn't have the time on target as the torpedo hit right smack in the middle of the upper hull. The impact punched a large hole in the hull, that was exasperated by the gravimetric distortion of the detonation. The battlecruiser might have survived this, but 12 of the 16 transphasic mines got through the hail of energy bolts from the PDS system also. This was the final insult to the battlecruiser, as its singularity containment unit was breached. As the Antonina accelerated away, the battlecruiser shrunk and then exploded in a large amount of energy that even punctured the aft shielding the Antonina.

“Aft Shields are down, but no hull breaches. Looks like we dodged that one.” said Veril.

“Yes.”

“I love this ship” as Toven kissed the targeting console of his station.

Then clapping was heard from behind everyone. This caused everyone to turn, and see the holo crew on their bridge. They both were clapping.

“I must say, Commander. That was better then I hoped when I was asked to do this. I doubt the famed crew of the Enterprise could have done that on their second voyage of an experimental design.”

Awnya looked pissed but kept her voice calm “How much was recorded?”

The other holocrew man looked over his PADD. “Then entire fight, Captain.”

“Sir, the V'Dredith is wallowing out there. Her engines are offline, numerous hull breaches. They want to talk to us.” said Hiven.

“Put it on screen.” stated Awnya, as she finally stopped trying to roast the holocrew.*

“RRW Antonina, thank the elements you showed up when you did.”

“What is your status, V'Dredith?”

“Impulse Engines are offline, numerous injuries and hull fractures. However, as long as no more Tal Shiar shows up, we should be able to handle these situation. However, we need to get the package back to New Romulus.” said the officer on the V'Dredith.

“Sir, I just contacted New Romulus, and they do confirm they are waiting for the V'Dredith to show up there. They are sending Reman T'varo squadron from the Vault backed up by the RRW Antalya here, but they want us to pick up the package and head to New Romulus immediately.” said Toven.

“Alright, V'Dredith. We got confirmation from New Romulus, beam over what needs to go to New Romulus. There is 4 Reman T'Varo's and the RRW Antalya being sent here to help. They should be here in the hour.”

“Understood.” as the feed got broken.

“Transporter room has said that 14 people were transported over. 12 to sickbay with various serious injuries. Also 2 others, I got security keeping them there for safekeeping till Toven goes down there.” said Veril.

“With your permission, Commander.” as Toven got up form his seat and rushed for the turbolift. Awnya got up from her command chair and walked to the holocrew.

“Hiven, you got the conn. Get us to New Romulus as fast as possible. I'll be talking to the holocrew in my ready room.” said the Captain while she motioned the holocrew into her ready room. They entered the room, the crew sat down in front of her desk as she went to a minifidge and pulled out a brown bottle.

“Care for a drink?” she asked.*

“What is in there?”

“Some glacial water from New Romulus. Some cold raktinjino.”

“what are you having?”

“A summerwheat beer from Alpha Centauri.” she said as she popped the top of her bottle.

“No Romulan Ale?”

“From my time on Rator III, I grew to hate its taste. There is a small bottle in here, but that is for D'Vex. I do not think that he will take kindly to giving anyone a sip of that bottle.” said Awnya.

“Water” said the cameraman.

“I’ll take the beer. I am surprised that you didn't use the replicator. You keep a supply of various real foods and drink, why?” asked the producer while thanking Awnya for the drink.

“On Virinat, we didn't have a lot of energy to use. The shipyard was taking a lot of it up repairing various ship that came through. I find that this reminds me of Virinat, just being there, just trying to heal, to be by myself, and not worry about if I displease anyone for any slight real or imagined that would get me locked in a dark room.”

“So you invited us in here to talk about the Tal Shiar traitor/spy you picked up. We do know the implications of what just happened and if they get out, so while I will not give the recordings up, you have my word that at this time that part of the tape will not be released.”

“You do have bosses, and they may not like you keeping this out. They might call this censorship.”

“They also sit back in Hollywood behind cedar desk, able to go home to their wives and kids every night and not have to worry about being sent into a firefight that they may not be able to come back from. There will be a time and a place for this to come out, commander, but not this time.”

“Good. I will hold you to my word. For if you don't, D'Tan displeasure will be the least of your worries.”

“Understood. Now we still have a few more questions to ask, Commander.”

12 hours later*
New Romulus Command Center.
D'Tan's Office

The door opened to the office. Awnya, Satra, Hiven, Veril, and Toven entered the office room. Sitting in there was Obisek, Admiral Kerenak, and Commander Tal'Mera, with D'Tan walking towards the group, his hand out. He shakes the hand of each of the officers. “Thank you again, Commander Awnya, Subcommanders Satra, Veril, Toven, and Hiven. You have again proven why you are the best crew in the militia. Please have a seat. We have much to discuss and not a lot of time.”

As the crew of the Antonina sat down, Awnya spoke up” Proconsul. Why are we here? You could have just called up to congratulate the crew.”

“Commander, while I could do that, I felt that we all here owe you and your crew more then just a piece of paper with a commendation for everything that you have done for us, our new homeworld, our new nation.”

“He also wants to not deal with diplomats, sycophants and other people that just want curry favor with him, and not tell him the truth.” said Obisek. “i keep on telling him that a few well placed shots, and that will be all over.”

“While it is tempting to do that, Obisek, that is how the old way is done.”

“Excuse me, proconsul. But things are moving way too fast to get into a philosophical arguments you two have.” said Tal'Mera.

“You are correct, Commander. Proceed.”

“The newest information is that the Tal Shiar was decided to try to take over the Empire without a proxy. It seems they can't find Sela, and all the other contenders to the throne aren't as malleable as they want them to be.”

“So none of them are powerful enough to threaten their hold, but not worth trying to make it puppets for them. Got it.” said Kerenak.

“So who is the new....”

Then the communication system turned on D'Tan's room, showing the crest of the Romulan Star Empire.*

“Well, I guess we are about to find out” said D'Tan as Tal'Mera and Kerenak was furiously trying to get in touch with various people to figure out what is going on.

Then the picture of a bald headed Romulan sporting a manicured goatee and two eyes appear.

“To the Children of those who marched under the Raptor's Wing, I am Colonel Hakeev, now Emperor Hakeev the First. I have been imprisoned by members of the former ruling establishment for a number years, while an imposter with my name sowed the seeds of the destruction of our great people, of our great nation. These people have been dealt with, as others who have benefited from this disunity. The purge of those that have worked with the Iconians and their minions is almost complete. However, this leaves one other thing to deal with, the war between our people. While it pains me to see so many of our sisters and brothers leave the care of the Star Empire to seek out a new life, I do see that they do have a grievance to be heard. The Republic has powerful allies, as do we, and if we continue with this fratricidal conflict, the entire Romulan species is at risk of extinction, like our forebearers on Vulcans were before the Sundering. I will not be the leader of the extinction of the Romulan people, the last leader do the Star Empire as a great power in out galaxy. So it is with the following actions I take to ensure that that does not happen within our lifetimes. First, Romulan Star Empire will recognize the Government of New Romulus as a legitimate government for those areas that it actively controls. In doing so, I will also halt all actions to secure areas in those area controlled by the New Romulus. I will also stop all offensive operations against the Reman Resistance. The careless loss of lives that has happened lately shall not continue. Secondly, I would like to propose a ceasefire dialogue with the said Republic and her allies in the Klingon Empire and Federation, to further cement this ceasefire. At this conference we will discuss any and all problems that have arisen during this conflict, and deescalate it from the genocidal conflict it has become. As a token of my leadership, I will allow all who wish to emigrate from the worlds controlled by the Star Empire to the Republic. I will not stop those who feel that the Star Empire has wronged them from leaving and finding a new home. After all, did we not leave our home on Vulcan because we believed the establishment there wronged us, and we did not want to kill our cousins. I hope these words and the actions taken in the days and weeks to come will show all of you that a new page in our history has been turned, and that peace will once again reign free for those of the Raptor's Wings. May the Elements watch over you.”*

“Yes. We Won..” exclaimed Veril. She turned around as saw the rest of the room crestfallen from the announcement.

“Didn't we?”*

“I’m sorry, Veril, but we didn't win. Hakeev just changed the rules of the fight now.”

“I need to contact all of our organization, if there is a mass exodus, there will try to put sleeper agents in the flood.” as Tamera got up.

“We need to contact every available ship, and get them ready to move the refugees to more controlled locations once they start showing up.” said Kerenak as he left the office.

“You shot him in the face, Commander. I was there.” said a shocked Obisek.

“It doesn't matter, Obisek. You need to get your ships to pickup any of the surviving Reman resistance cells as possible. He may say that he will let them go, but we can't let that go to chance.” said D'Tan.

“But, But, He is reconsigning us, he letting those who want to come here.” pleading Veril. “Are we so suspicious of his actions that we will not help those that want to be here.”

“Where do we put the refugees, Veril? How do we cloth them? How do we assimilate them into our existing colonies? You weren't here in the colonies in the immediate aftermath of the Destruction of our homeworlds. There is going to be a lot of scared and angry people coming to here. They will not want to wait to be helped.” said Satra.

“And it wont come to that. We will be calling in all of our favors from both the Klingons and the Federation to help with the refugee crisis. However, we are not the same as we were 20 years ago when the colonial governments collapsed. We know what we did wrong, we know how to do it right. We are a changed people. We will be stronger for this, and the Empire will be weaker. It is going to be hard at times, but it will come to pass that we will overcome the Empire and her machinations. Of this I have no doubt. However, that means that you and your crew will be working twice as hard as before, keeping the good will of the Federation and the Klingons while we work out our problems. This is a great burden, but I can think of no other crew that can handle it. After all, you have done before.” said D'Tan as he clenched his fist in defiance. “RRW Antonina, go out and be the heroes we need you to be.”
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