Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 51 Luna
05-22-2011, 11:32 AM
USS Luna, Standard date May 22, 2411; Captain's Quarters, Deck 2
"Ah, frak." Arachnidus wasn't having the best of days, and thinking about the coming weeks filled him with a sense of begrudging excitement. The Luna was in it's sixth week of it's final mission, for the nearly 25 year old ship was about to be retired. This meant only one thing for the old Luna class deep space explorer- it was time to come home. It had been a rough few months, and they'd taken their toll. Each crisis brought the ship closer and closer back to Sol, as more and more hazards threatened the Federation. The Borg invasion of 2410, the Dominion dreadnought assault later that year, the ongoing hostilities with the Klingon Empire.

All of them had detracted from the original reason Arachnidus joined up with Starfleet; to get out there and explore. In the literally thousands of years since the first spaceborne civilization in the Milky Way took flight, the citizens of the galaxy had only explored maybe 1/100th of it in any sort of detail. There were still thousands of light years left untraversed by any known species, many billions if not trillions of beings left to meet. It would be quite some time before that number got any lower, and Arachnidus wanted to be part of that. All the more reason his mood was bittersweet.

In the nearly three years since he'd taken command of the Luna, and the 7 he'd served on the ship, counting his command, they'd made twelve first contacts with space faring life, discovered almost four hundred new alien species, and covered about 25,000 light years, mostly in the outer reaches of the Beta quadrant. But, next week, that'd all be a distant memory as the crew transferred to a new ship and the Luna was shipped off to the Starfleet museum and fleet yards in orbit of Pluto. The crew was due to transfer to the new ship of the line for the Deep Space explorers- the USS Normandy. A Vesta class.

The design was almost as old as the Luna class to which the Captain's current command was eponymous with, yet the Vesta was decades ahead of it's time at the point of conception. A slip stream drive, next gen armor plating and shields, amazingly(and disturbingly) powerful weapons systems and a full astrometrics and biological suite unmatched by any current ship in the fleet. Even the Luna class or the other modular ships in the fleet with their sensor pods and astrometrics labs reverse engineered from the one installed on Voyager during it's jaunt around the Delta quadrant some 30 odd years ago couldn't hold a candle to the multiband scanners on the Vesta series.

Even with all of these advancements and the promise of getting back to what he really wanted to do with his life, Arachnidus couldn't help but feel a little more than sad about leaving his ship behind. He'd spent the last 11 years of his life, two thirds of his entire Starfleet career, aboard it. From his 21st birthday to now, he'd lived in these quarters, woke up every day to these friends and ate the same boring meals from these replicators. Even though the latter two would be more than present on the Normandy, it didn't make the captain feel any better. As he arose from his desk, where he'd intended to write up a final report to Starfleet Command(a somber note in itself), Arachnidus began to reminisce on the most important day of his life. The day he ascended to the rank and role of captain. As he sat down on his bed, his neck craned towards the oblivion of space and the beautiful backdrop provided by the nearby Azure Nebula, it all came back to him.

USS Luna, Standard Date: February 4th, 2409
Current location: P4X-97G, approximately 4,000ly from Sol System; Gum Nebula

"Captain, the shields are buckling! Power to weapons is dropping steadily!" Lieutenant Parker barked. Arachnidus stood on the bridge of the Luna, frankly a little terrified, even as XO. He tried to hide his fear, but it didn't work out too well- decorum be damned. In the seven years he'd been on the ship prior, they'd been attacked dozens of times. But never had it been this bad. As his best friend and subordinate Mark Parker yelled to Captain Thule over the dulled sounds of impacts on the shields and weapons fire from the ship they were desperately trying to save, Arachnidus looked out the viewscreen. The semi-flat holographic display showed, in the highest resolution possible, the possible harbinger of their doom. A Dominion battleship; something he'd only ever seen in text books, and never expected to see in his career.

The Luna had found it in this uncharted system several hours ago, and the command staff agreed that it was likely a remnant of the Dominion War. It was common knowledge that the Dominion had gotten dangerously close to the core worlds of the Federation by the close of the war, and the Alpha Quadrant bred Jem'hadar were a fair bit more rebellious than their subservient Gamma Quadrant brethren. When the order to surrender was issued, many of them disregarded it and retreated to the various nebulae and stellar clusters off the Federation-Klingon-Romulan triborder and remained hidden. Most, after a few weeks emerged and surrendered after their Ketracel White supplies ran out. Some, like the ones now threatening the Luna, did not.

Flares of purple energy radiated out of the Dominion ship's hull and Captain Thule's confident glare was momentarily defeated by the issuing of an order.

"All hands, brace for impact. Lieutenant Malketh'ar, lock down all bulkheads and divert power to SIF and shields."

The order was delivered just in time to save most of the ship. The bridge crew was not so lucky. One of the polaron torpedoes; a weapon that could easily penetrate Federation standard shields(luckily for the Luna, multiphasic shields were now the new default after the war) had landed right above the hull, on the dorsal side of the saucer, only about ten metres from the bridge which stood at the top of the ship. In space, an explosion was not nearly as powerful as it was in atmosphere, but the massive release of energy from the matter-antimatter detonation was enough- on Earth, it would have been powerful enough to turn most of the North American continent to glass and create a crater big enough to fit a portion of the Indian Ocean. Thanks to the weakened shields and ablative plating on the Luna's hull, most of the blast's energy was directed to space, but enough of it made it to the hull to cause serious damage. The bridge shuddered and fissures opened on the port bulkheads. The roaring sound of decompression drowned out the screams of the bridge crew as they tried to seal the breach and survive long enough for the damage control systems to kick in. After five seconds, which, to Arachnidus, seemed like hours, the emergency forcefield system activated and sealed the three foot long gash in the wall, through which space(and the silver hull of the Luna) was visible.

As the damage control team on the bridge rushed to seal the temporarily covered breach with thick square plates of titanium plating, which would have to do for the time being despite being significantly weaker than most modern ship hulls, Commander Arachnidus 'Vadam looked around the devastated bridge. His best friend, Lt. Parker, had a nasty looking cut along his forehead. Ensign Lawson, a beautiful human female, probably of Australian descent, looked disheveled, soot and burns pockmarking her tactical red uniform. Lt. Malketh'ar Shapek-Uknur, a Choblik male, was the only senior officer that didn't look like he was on the verge of death. His synthetic body parts, notably his arms and tail manipulator, looked a little worn compared to before the battle, but he seemed to be in decent condition as he quickly worked on coordinating damage control. Beyond them and the DC team, not all was well.

To his horror, as he walked back to his chair, he saw his captain sitting there, limp, blood streaming from his neck, chest and his head. On the floor was a bloodied piece of hull plating. Still in a daze, the Commander looked up to the ceiling and saw a hole where there was once a solid bulkhead. He saw the soothing backdrop of the gum nebula, the black void and stars inside it, and the purple-insect-like shape of the Dominion ship preparing to fire. They had maybe twelve seconds before the Luna became a piece of scrap metal. The battle was lost, and they were in no condition to keep firing. The commander ran to the conn and looked to his beautiful friend and, now, second officer, Ensign Lawson, who sat at the chair, and looked at the console. The warp core was still functional and the nacelles were in tact. The engines were spooled up. They could safely reach warp 4 under these circumstances. The now-captain looked up to his crew and was surprised to see faces and nods of approval. He slammed his palm down on the capacitive console and on the screen, the Dominion ship and all the space around it began to blue-shift as the Luna jumped to warp. After a few seconds of disturbing quiet, Lt. Parker issued a report.

"Arachnidus...Captain- we're clear of the battlefield." His bloodied, somber face punctuated the awkward and painful atmosphere. The entire bridge crew and the three NCOs working on making sure the hull didn't peel away around most of the senior staff and the bodies of the former captain and tactical officer were all thinking the same thing, and looked at Arachnidus, even if just for a split second. He was now the captain. Looking around his bridge and at his fellow officers, he pressed his commbadge and spoke.

"This is Commander 'Vadam to all personnel. Captain Thule is dead, I'm sure one of many beloved friends and comrades we've lost today. We're barely holding together right now, and we've still got that ship on our tails. I am assuming command of the ship and I am going to get us out of this. All stations, forward casualty and damage reports to the bridge. Let's finish this. Captain out."

Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 52
05-22-2011, 11:33 AM
Arachnidus didn't even need to recall what happened after that awkward and rushed speech. He, as the new Captain, managed by the skin of his teeth to get the ship repaired, promoted three junior bridge officers to senior positions, amongst them his best friend and future girlfriend, and, in the end, they took out the Dominion ship. The Luna spent the better part of two months limping home to dry dock, where Arachnidus and his crew all received promotions, trauma counseling and snazzy medals, in addition to some much needed R&R after the funeral for the deceased Captain Thule and the other seventeen crewmembers lost that day, to which the Captain personally attended each and every one. Now, here, three years later, the Arachnidus was preparing to leave it all behind. The ghosts of lost comrades, the faint echoes of the battle that led to his command, and the joyous years of exploration in celebration of his fallen friends. It was time to make new ones. That last sentiment was punctuated by a perfectly timed message from the bridge- by his first officer and best friend, no less.

"Captain, we're approaching the Federation border. We'll be clear to hit the transwarp conduit in about ten minutes."

"Thank you, Mark. I'll be up there in a second." As he stood from his bed and walked to the door, the captain looked back at his quarters. His commemorative plaque from his promotion; a copy of the ship's commisioning plaque; his High School diploma, Master's Degree and Starfleet diploma; a large holopicture of the him and the ship's former command crew, the former captain and tactical officer included.

"Computer, lights."

Sorry for the double post, I went over the 11000 character count limit.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 53
05-22-2011, 12:37 PM
Vice Admiral Nicholas Alben
USS Callisto NCC-93185-F
Elysium Class (Emissary Variant) - Star Cruiser

On my ship my crew still calls me Captain, even though I am an Admiral now. I prefer it that way. They've always called me Captain, as I've always had a problem being called sir, right from the very moment I took command of the USS Avenger when, well...I think you know what happened at Vega colony, so no sense rehashing painful memories...

Oh, right, the reason I'm here. What is my most prized possession? Well, that's a bit trickier than I thought when I first heard about this. See, my ship is my home, has been for a long while now. But the ship is irrelevant without her crew. To that end, I am lucky enough to serve with my two best friends in the world. First, Jennifer Lovell, my XO. Second, Chris Robison, my Chief Tactical Officer. We all attended the Academy together and to this day I'm not sure how we crossed paths as I tracked Engineering, Jenn Science, and Chris Tactical. When I took over permanently as CO of the Avenger, I moved hell and high water to get them on my crew.

It's no secret that serving in the frontier can be a bit, well, lonesome. We did a several month stent in the Delta Volanis cluster that was well...boring seems a bit of an understatement. Never even saw so much as a enemy standoff. Just cataloging spatial anomalies. So the crew was getting a bit stir crazy. I relaxed the rules and decorum a bit, allowing ship's personnel some more free time to pursue their own interests while we finished our mission. That brings me to my most prized possession. Chris and I always shot a few games of pool together at Stardust Bar just outside the Academy grounds. I was rubbish at it. They had an old pinball machine there; it had a space adventure theme, and only worked about half the time, but I loved it. Chris never understood why I spent so much time playing with that antiquated game. Anyway, as per our usual I showed up in the crew mess hall to shoot a game with Chris (one of the perks of being the Captain, I had a table installed on the top right level). When I arrived I saw Jenn and Chris standing there smiling next to that beautiful machine.

"It's not finished," Chris said, "needs an engineer's touch."
"Chris build the structure, I took care of the artwork," Jenn smiled with her arms crossed.

I ran my hand over the smooth surface of the pinball machine. The back glass art showed a beautiful image of the Avenger and the play field was painted like the Sirius sector. It took us another three weeks replicating parts to get that machine up and running. After the battle against the Breen, the Avenger was in sad shape. When Starfleet transfered us and decommissioned that fine ship,I made sure that that pinball machine came with us. After all the assignments I've had, that machine has stood in every mess hall of everyone. Standing a testament to a fine ship now long gone, and as a symbol of great friendship.

So if you're ever in the Gamma Orionis sector block, beam on over and have a go on my most prized possession: my pinball machine.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 54
05-22-2011, 03:58 PM
"Sir, what are your orders?" The bajoran woman's voice asked, in a very concerned tone.

Lt. Tarrak walked out of the turbolift and observed the bridge crew, all looking to him. It was not an unfamiliar scenario that Starfleet officers faced in 2409... they had an attrition rate that was staggering. For years, Starfleet Command had worked with the United Federation of Planets to get more manpower to maintain their massive fleets. Various neutral factions had been granted by Starfleet Command to have their people enlist... even if they were not member worlds. Grand Nagus Rom had served as an engineer on Deep Space Nine during the Dominion War years past... he put forth measures to alter Ferengi society to allow their people another path, than that of just profiteering... the ability to serve as he and his son had without prejudice. The nomadic Pakleds, though appearing to be simple-minded... were enlisting in Starfleet Academy and becoming commissioned officers, showing their own unique skills from years of spacefaring. There were others, still... planets outside Federation borders whose people were petitioning the UFP to draw attention to their planet, and allowing their own people to enlist in Starfleet to prove their societies were fit to join in with the Federation.

But when Starfleet continued to take heavy losses against Chancellor J'mpok's brutal armadas... the Dominion War looked like slap fight by comparison. War makes strange bedfellows, and rules are sometimes bent -- even broken... to maintain security and hold territory.

Starfleet had ships mothballed for some time... all listed to be scrapped and decommissioned. But the 'shipbreakers' were being diverted to other tasks... and the decommissioning of various ships grinded to a halt. After all, space was a very... very big place. And it was cheaper and more efficient to simply refurbish and refit these ships than spend the labor hours breaking them down and shipping the scrap to Utopia Planitia or any of the other overworked fleetyards which were responsible for keeping up with Starfleet's attrition rate...

It was hard to say just how many Miranda-class ships were waiting to be broken down to their raw resources before the orders were halted... they were relics, but more than a few still saw service during the Dominion War. The U.S.S. Tesla was one such vessel... and acted as a survey ship for marking new moons and asteroids for future mining operations when it received the distress call.

The Borg had returned. And in massive numbers. Worlds were threatened in the Gamma Orionis sector, and Vega Colony was being invaded... the Tesla responded, as did many ships that day.

Ensign Tarrak was assigned as a gunnery officer to the Tesla, and was also sometimes called on away missions as a security officer to assist Captain Phenx and the other bridge officers when an additional escort was needed. He had spent that morning sending his reports to his department head, but when the ship entered Vega's space... he was assisting his fellow crew members in loading and launching torpedo after torpedo.

A heavily damaged Borg Cube exited transwarp and locked onto the Miranda-class vessel with a tractor beam. Ensign Tarrak's deck found borg drones beaming in and assimilating the crew. Torpedo control went off-line as Tarrak picked up a phaser rifle and started shooting the boarders. A massive plasma projectile hit the Tesla, sending plasma through almost every deck. Tarrak evacuated five others into Jefferies Tube Six and were making their way to the bridge.

When they arrived at Deck One... they weren't prepared for the horrific scene. The entire bridge had to be decompressed and vented into space... a stabilized forcefield was over the hull breach, but everyone was gone. Captain Phenx, his first officer... the entire bridge crew. Gone.

The other five people were non-commissioned officers. 2 engineers, 2 tactical liasons, and the stellar cartography chief, the bajoran woman. Tarrak moved to the Captain's chair and sat down. The other officers took what positions were available...

The new tactical crewman reported that almost everyone had been killed on the Tesla... out of 200 crew members, only 10 remained, including the five on the bridge. The others had either died in the plasma fires, were assimilated, or died elsewhere in battle. "Engage ramming speed." The vulcan responded coldly. They all knew what they were up against. It was either die here quietly, or die putting up a fight. And they'd rather die in a collision course with the Borg Cube than be assimilated. Noone wanted that to happen.

The Miranda-class lurched forward, and started limping towards the massive hulk... when salvation arrived. The U.S.S. Arbiter, an Emissary-class battleship exited warp near them... it fired off a volley of quantum torpedos that finished off the Borg cube, and beamed the survivors of the Tesla aboard.

When the Arbiter returned to Earth Spacedock, Ensign Tarrak was cleaned up and made to look presentable for his meeting with Fleet Admiral Quinn. The discussion was short... the Tesla was being salvaged. It did not meet its end that day. Ensign Tarrak was being given a field promotion to Lieutenant.

"If this is humor, Admiral. The concept is foreign to me." The vulcan shifted his eyes toward the trill elder with a slightly arched eyebrow.

The Admiral went on to explain that experience mattered more than rank... and that Tarrak was the only surviving officer of the Tesla, making him the ranking officer. There were new cadets fresh out of the Academy arriving on Earth Spacedock in the coming weeks... he was given a PADD containing the duty rosters.

Tarrak was still somewhat skeptical of the situation, but saw the carnage at Vega Colony... their attrition rate would only get worse from here on out.

Weeks passed, and the Tesla was fit for duty. Lt. Tarrak had a ship full of cadets... and only a limited amount of experienced crew. They were all scared, nervous... not only about their missions to come... but the relative inexperience of their new vulcan commanding officer.

"Ensign, how many times have you flown a ship?" He looked at the young bolian helmsman from his chair.

"None, sir..." He replied embarassingly. "Then take us out." Tarrak only nodded.

"Isn't this a little improper? We just left graduation four days ago... and we're thrown on this ship... and you're not even a Captain, you're a Lieutenant. Do you really think we're qualified to run this thing?" The bolian looked up at Tarrak with fear on his face.

Tarrak's eyebrow only raised.

"We're at war, Ensign. The Klingons are threatening our territories and way of existance. One ship has been proven on multiple occasions to maintain the capability of turning the tide of battle. As for my experience, I served Vulcan High Command as one of their top tactical specialists before I transferred to Starfleet. However, I am fully aware of my duties as commanding officer, and if you do not trust my ability to command -- I can send you back to San Francisco, if you prefer. But I am the commanding officer, and if you plan on staying on my ship, you will observe starfleet regulations and ask for permission to speak freely, and I will not tolerate cowardice. Is that understood?" He said cooly and calmly to the blue man.

"Yes, sir." He straightened up and nodded to the vulcan before turning back to the helm.

"Take us out, Mister...?"

"Threnn. Ensign Threnn." He said, introducing himself.

"Take us out, Mister Threnn. Set a course for the Neutral Zone. Maximum warp." He turned towards the tactical officer, an andorian man... "I want this ship fully armed and capable of engaging the Klingons within six hours." The andorian nodded once, "Understood, sir."

The other bridge officers looked away from the commanding officer and turned to their stations... Tarrak had made it clear that they would perform to the best of their ability, and showed he was coldly efficient in the way he would command his ship.

Eventually, he thought to himself... he'd carve his crew into the finest crew in Starfleet. And the cadets of yesterday would become the veterans of tomorrow.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 55 Not to yield
05-22-2011, 04:57 PM
Personal Log
Stardate – 88994.40
Vice Admiral Matt Miracle recording.

I just received a communication from Starfleet Command. My half-sister’s ship was involved in some heavy fire fighting with the Klingons at P’Jem. I am pleased that T’Elanna is ok and that there were no serious casualties reported. I keep staring at ‘my’ Bat’leth hanging in my ready room and I am reminded about my blood ties to the Empire.

I was only six when my father was killed when the ship we were traveling to hit a mine left over from the Dominion Wars. Mom and I had only a moment before the deck we were on became open to empty space. We were lucky that a passing Klingon cruiser was coming to our aid. Mom was critical for a while and the Empire tried to locate any of my surviving families only to discover that my mother and I were the only ones left. My ‘adoptive’ father, Kort, was a young (by Klingon standards) officer on the ship and for who only knows reasons, started talking care of us When Mom was out of critical condition he asked her if she would grant him temporary custody.

After Mom healed, she and Kort spend time together and eventually, fell in love. They were married in a traditional Klingon ceremony when I was 9 and T’Elanna was born the next year. When I turned 12, I was officially accepted into the House of Kort and ‘began’ my training as a warrior. My father instructed me on everything. Sometimes, he took into account that I was human while other times he didn’t but each time I got knocked down, I got back up. My father used to say that I had Kahless’ spirit but, due to my human body, the strength of a Grishnar cat. Nonetheless, my father was proud.

My true test as a “warrior” came years later when my father entered me into a Bat’leth tournament. The tournament was open to the oldest male in the house under age which left me as the only participant. I was used to being ridiculed by the other Klingons so fighting the insults was a way of life for me. I advanced in the tournament (which I found out later cost a few Klingons their hard earned wages) much to the surprise of all. I made it to the semifinals which my mother called “the Final Four” (after some old basketball tournament madness) before my skills were tested to their breaking point.

Korlet was a “true” warrior in every sense of the word. When he drew my name to fight next, he was insulted and would not fight a Pahtak like me. After suffering through this tournament, I was not going to let my honor or my families be called into question. I challenged him and we began our dance with blades. After several minutes, it became clear that I was out matched but I could not back down. My ribs were broken and I was bleeding internally. Losing consciences, I stumbled but did not go down. My opponent, in a show of sportsmanship, asked me to yield and I refused. He held the Bat’leth to my throat asking again for me to yield and I refused again. That was the last thing I remember before waking up in a hospital bed. The details surrounding my final moments were filled in by my family. At the request of the champion, Korlet, I was to be given third place honor which came with a ceremonial Bat’leth. That same Bat’leth is now on display in my ready room reminding me to never forget where I came from and always to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 56 Redemption and Revelation
05-22-2011, 07:40 PM
Another cacophanous roar rang out from the crowd in the Mess Hall as another blow was delivered, many of this crew was new and therefore undertrained, they hadn't quite grasped the gravity of their actions yet, but such details were irrelevant to them now. Most of them had family or friends who had been killed or maimed by the Klingons, so when one walks into their midst, there was no thought, no reason, just revenge.

Another blow struck Kri'gak's face, the Klingon was flanked by three Starfleet crewmen, one Human male, a Saurian male, and a Caitian Female, had he wanted to, he could have held them off, but the CO of this ship had just allowed him to join, he knew that harming his oficers would not put him in good stead with Vice Admiral Darksabre, he was already hated by the Klingon Empire for speaking out against the war, he did not want enemies on both sides.

"Whats the matter ridgehead? Wheres your "honour" now? My brother was killed in one of your filthy kind's raiding parties, and now you walk in here like nothing's happened?!"

The Human finished his taunting by delivering another blow to Kri'gak's chin, Kri'gak had been left in an escape pod to die or be shot in the Neutral Zone for an extended period of time, he was already weakened as it was, the blow felt like a charging targ and he lost his balance momentarily, the Female Caitian leapt upon this opprtunity and sweeped her leg out, catching the back of Kri'gak's right leg, Kri'gak felt the floor leave his feet, and moments later, he was on the ground, he soon found himself looking up at a glaring Saurian.

"You kill all these people in the name of some kind of perverted Warrior code, and because of this ridiculous idealism you've dragged this entire Quadrant into war, for that, I hate you, your race, and everything you believe in."

the Human and Saurian began raining blows on Kri'gak, all he could think to do was wait until it was done and take it like a Klingon. Until suddenly, it did stop. Kri'gak was not sure if he had endured all they could give or he had died and gone to Sto'Vo'Kor, tentatively, he opened his bruised eyes to see the Saurian being restrained by a bearded Andorian he recognised as Gyzit, the ship's Chief Engineer, the Caitian was being held by a Human he also recognised frm the Bridge crew, the Human, known as Dale, had twisted the Caitian's left arm behind her back and pushed her head forward, while hooking his right leg around her own, she was effectively paralyzed.

Kri'gak heard a loud crash behind him, he turned around and saw the Vice Admiral himself, the Vilscaran had picked up the Human by the scruff of the neck and pinned him hard against a bulkhead, it was no secret that Krovennan liked to use Vilscaran military procedures to deal with his crew, especially when they went out of line, so it was no suprise when a restraining device was given to him by a member of Security.

"If you hate Kri'gak for his Warrior culture, I'd hate to know what you think about me, you can think it over in the brig with your friends."

the restraining device was placed on the Human, both arms were placed into seperate braces, the familiar sound of holoemitters activating sounded off, and soon the two were connected behind the Human's back with a holographic plate of duranium, but to make it worse, a third holographic restraint was added, to the Human's neck.

Kri'gak knew that the Human was powerless now, there were no safeties on those holograms, if he struggled, he would choke himself long before he could do anything, soon identical restraints were placed on the other two and all three were lead away, Kri'gak wiped his face with the sleeve of his new Starfleet uniform. staining it with pink Klingon blood, he saw the familiar hnd of the vice Admiral extend down to him, he put pride behind him for a moment, took it, and was pulled up by Krovennan.

The strength of the pull reminded Kri'gak that, although Krovennan seemed almost identical to a large Human, he was just as strong as a Klingon, if not stronger. Krovennan turned to address the crew amassed in front of him, whom had fallen deathly silent.

"Is this the actions of a Starfleet Officer? How can you call yourselves peacekeepers when you not only allow this, but take pleasure in it? Were this a Vilscaran ship, I'd have every one of you sent back to the Academy until you were enough of a person to stand by what you claim to be.

I am disgusted at your actions today, when you can answer to me how you expect to be peacekeepers after this, you'll earn my respect again, until then, you can all get back to work, since eating doesn't seem to be on your minds today."

The crowd dispersed to return to their duties, they knew that dinner had just been cancelled, Kovennan surveyed the crowd, a lot of people were simply upset dinner was over, but he could see a couple with true remorse in their eyes and movements, they would be the first to admit their mistake.

Drehera, the ship's Doctor, came to the Mess hall with a small kit of medical instrukments, she set them down on the table next to kri'gak and began to look over his wounds, the visor she wore obscured her blind Betazoid eyes, but Kri'gak knew she was looking at him in ways he could not imagine, as she turned away to calibrate a hypospray and a dermal regenrator Kri'gak decided it was time to speak to the silent Vilscaran.

"Why did you do that sir? You could have easily left me to their mercy, I'd have survived and I would have known that I was able to withstand them, maybe it would have even allowed them to calm down when they had released their anger."

Krovennan had turned his back and folded his arms, staring into the dark space beyond the wndows, obviously deep in thought, he turned to face Kri'gak, his arms never moving from their folded position.

"There is no sense nor honour in a three on one fight, besides, I will not tolerate insubordination aboard this vessel of any sort, you may think this devalues your skill as a warrior, but in truth, it does nothing of the sort. A warrior, a true warrior, does not seek to prove his strength constantly by flashy displays of skill or endurance, a true warrior does not take the blow to prove how thick skulled he is, he avoids it to show how skillful he is, a true warrior is strong of mind before strong of body, a warrior does not hold onto honour like a shield and cries murder when it is slighted, he keeps his composure, even when he loses all honour.

I do not claim to be an expert on what drives the Klingon people, but in many ways, our people are both two of a kind, and at the same time, worlds apart. I do not believe that shows of strength prove your skill, the pureness of heart, sharpness of mind and the strength of will is what I look for, today three of my crew did not show that, and so they will see the error of their ways, even if they do not realise it."

Krovennan left to return to his own duties, Drehera had used the hypo partway through the speech and was now healing Kri'gak's wounds one by one with the dermal regenerator, had this been a Klingon ship, Kri'gak would have dismissed the aid through honour alone, but after hearing what Krovennan said, he resolved to merely sit and let Drehera do her work, perhaps Kri'gak would ask the Vice Admiral to explain more of what he seeks for at some point in the future, but for now, he was conent with knowing that very few problems would arise from now on after what had just happened.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 57 The Old Guitar
05-22-2011, 08:35 PM
This old thing? well, how I got this old Gibson guitar an interesting story, if you'd like to listen.

Okay. Here we go.

I had taken to some quiet research in Delta Volanis. I may be a Tactical division admiral but sometimes I like to get away from the majority of the fighting out there. I mean, who doesn't? Even the least distinguished of warriors out there deserve a little respite. But I digress...

We had been scanning for days aboard the U.S.S. Doral, finding anomalies, acquiring tech, physical & radiation samples from various sources. I often let Envessa have control of the bridge while I cooked up something in the gallery or help tweak the weapons & sensor arrays. That Betazoid was a natural at finding something that could never be found, even when it had no mental resonance. To our surprise, we found an uninhabited planet with nothing more than lush forests & pristine oceans. We thought about beaming down for several hours & I discussed it with my top officers. Over the discussion, we decided to hit the turf immediately.

I beamed down with my top engineer, a Klingon named Draneh, a liberated Borg Human known as 99 of 100, a Breen refugee who had renamed himself "Red" (his favourite colour) as well as an old tactical schoolmate of mine, a Vulcan named T'mona. We went through a small area of thick forest scanning, researching & taking samples of plants. That's when we got a troubling communique from the Doral...
"Klingon bird-of-prey approaching planet!" They said. "They're beaming down to your location!"

As soon as we turned around, there they were with disruptors in hand.
"Split!" I screamed. My officers & I dived behind fallen trees, rocks & other covers. T'mona managed to dodge her way through the fire & ripped into the Klingon captain with her lirpa, effectively ending his life. The other 4, one Klingon warrior, 2 Orion lieutenants & a Gorn commander continued to put up a fight. Red managed to wear down the first Orion's shields with his Tetryon rifle & landed the killing stroke with a sniper shot. Draneh grabbed 99 of 100 & threw her at the second Orion & she managed to plant a hunting knife right into has heart, taking his life. By now, the bird-of-prey had moved on amongst the confusion & selfishly deserted their remaining commander. The other warrior had beamed away, the coward.

Before I knew it, the Gorn commander had lunged from his hiding spot & managed to knock me off my feet. As we tumbled though the forest, I noticed he had an old guitar in pristine condition slung on his back along with his Bat'leth. Suddenly, we had run out of ground. I landed on the ground at the very edge of the cliff on my belly. The unlucky Gorn flew straight over me & began to fall over. I managed to grab his arm & hold on for his life.

The heft of 250 pounds of lizard meat going through my arm was excruciating!
"Let me die!" He called out. "I'd rather die at the mercy of a warrior like you than live in a Federation prison!"
Then I had an idea. "I'm not going to imprison you! I swear upon my life!"
The Gorn thought to himself a moment as I used ever last bit of strength to support hold on to him. "Pull me up if you can!"
Then, using all I was worth, shouting obscenities & screaming out of pain, I dragged him up over the cliff & back to the edge of the forest.

We sat, catching our breath.
"Is... Is that a guitar?" I asked.
"This musical instrument? Is that what your species named it?" He asked back.
"Yes." I replied. "Would... Would you like me to teach you how to play it?"
"Okay." He replied. "I've... Always liked... What does your species call it.. Rock & roll."
We shared a laugh for a moment.
"My name's Galaranth" I said.
"I'm Thark, It's good to meet a fellow warrior such as yourself. I had no idea the Federation had honorable beings like you." Thark replied.
"There are more like me & you, there are lots of us who'd rather die doing what we love than in a prison."

& that's the story! Thark is now the best medic I've ever had the pleasure of working with. I never regretted the day I met him. He's a lizard of honor through compassion. He gave me that guitar as something to show he was grateful I saved his life & taught him how to play it. I bought him one of his own as a thank you for joining Starfleet.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 58
05-23-2011, 01:19 AM
Hmm. Prized possession.

For me it would have to be my Beech 17 Staggerwing. I grew up in a family of ancient aircraft aficionados My dad used to take me up in his A-26 Invader replica when I was little, and my oldest brother Mark had a TBF replica he used to try to and scare me with.

Dad and Mark taught me to fly when I was nine years old. At first, I just flew simple aircraft, but I really wanted to get more into aerobatics and racing, so they started teaching me on the harder planes.

For my thirteenth birthday, my brother got me a Beech 17 Staggerwing. Originally, it belonged to a family friend named Larry Tennifer, who had a farm in the Willamette Valley. He went to the Academy with my grandfather, and first introduced my dad to flying, and he always had a new plane of some sort. Larry is long gone, now, but I will never forget him. His influence had a lot to do with the career path that Mark and I chose when we both joined Starfleet.

Back to the story, for some reason Larry had picked up a replica of a Beech 17 that he said to Mark he was going to use for cropdusting. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me now, because this particular plane would not be best for that purpose. Either way, Larry wound up not liking it so it just sat in a barn for years.

One season, Mark was helping Larry out with his crop and happened along it and asked if he could have it. Larry agreed, and helped transport it to our farm.

It arrived worn and in pieces. For the next year, Mark and I worked to rebuild it, which I was a little frustrated at first that Mark sent me a plane that was in pieces, but in hindsight I'm glad he did. It was a fun project, and it helped me later when I had to do repairs. Me and that little plane have been together ever since that. I used to fly aerobatics at airshows in it, and I won a few junior air racing trophies in it.

I also loved doing night flights in it. I remember on those clear nights when it was just stars as far as the eye could see, I would point the nose up and pretend I was Hikaru Sulu at the helm of the Enterprise. It was a lot of fun. I may have stalled out a few times doing that, too, but I never told anyone. At least until now.

The last time I flew it was right before my late wife and I got together. She was visiting Earth with a diplomatic delegation, and got permission to come see me while she was there. Keep in mind, this was back in the '80s, so things were a little different politically than they are now. She told me she wanted to see all of Deschutes county, so I said, "ok" and tortured her by shoving her into a tiny cabin and flying her around for a few hours. Well, I wouldn't call it tortured. She seemed to have fun--at least when the plane wasn't upside down.

Of all the planes we owned, that was my favorite. A lot of great memories with that plane.

Since arriving in the 25th century, I haven't had a chance to fly it. I keep a replica of it on the holodeck aboard the Stellar Drift-F, but it's not the same. My nephew, who lives at the farm now, says that it's still there and he's kept it in operating condition in the event I finally get to go home and fly it again.

One of these days.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 59
05-23-2011, 02:15 AM
.................................................. .......A Matter of Honour.
...Year of Kahless, 1033.

...General Bor’tan stood at the far side of the bridge watching the unfolding chaos around him. A console exploded to his right, showering him with white hot needles of light. He bore the pain as it raced down his face. Warriors moved around him trying to contain the plasma that had invaded the bridge, slowly consuming the breathable air with a hunger that would only subside after their dying breaths. Asphyxiation is no way for a warrior to die, he thought to himself.

...The Romulan Cruiser was turning for another lateral run against the I.K.S Mun’chu, a Vor’Cha class cruiser. Their shields were down to less than thirty percent, disrupters were at half strength and the forward torpedo launcher had sustained severe damage that could not be repaired outside of a spacedock. The Romulan cruiser was faring little better; one of its great wings hung together by a few metal beams and forcefields.

...“Divert power from life support to the forward disrupters. Target the port wing, and fire all weapons.”

...The shipped hummed as they weapons reached their optimum power. The deck plates shuddered as several green bolts of energy erupted from the weapon points and sailed across the vastness of space. They silently struck the damaged wing of the warbird, causing the great mound of metal and machinery to fracture and break away from the green, falcon like ship. It began to spin widely as secondary explosions rippled across its super structure. A second wave of fire struck the ship head on as it continued to spiral out of control. The nose section was decimated instantly, before a third volley split the ship in twain.

...A chorus of cheers echoed through the bridge, as warriors thumped control consoles and slapped each other on the back. Even Bor’tan, who was no stranger to tense space battles cheered at the doom of his enemy. These were the times when warriors would do great deeds. How we whished he was young again, and could command his own ship, and not be stuck doing the tedious work of Governor of Mel’BruQ, a small colony on the edge of the Klingon/Tholian border.

...The cheers of the crew died down, as several engineers tried to lock down the plasma leak that still threatened to rob them of a glorious death.

...“My lord, another starship is entering the system. It is a Romulan bird of prey.” came the sound of a grim voice, almost spitting the word Romulan from his mouth as if it was posion.

...“Can we cloak?” asked Captain Dulek sharply. Dulek, was a young warrior who had made captain far sooner than his years would suggest. He was the nephew of High Council member Malk’tus. A scheming and despicable man; one that should never have been born a Klingon, let alone sit on the council.

...Bor’tan shook his head at the sight of the young man sitting awkwardly in the chair that he had yet to earn. After the death of Chancellor Martok, it would seem the Empire had fallen back into old patterns, where warriors were given honour instead of taking it. Yet this victory had shown there is fight in him. Perhaps he would break way from his families dishonour and prove himself a true warrior. “I asked you a question.” he snapped to the tactical officer.

...“Yes, the cloak is functional.” replied the grim voice.

...“Then do it.” ordered the Captain. Many would consider cloaking and hiding from an enemy to be a dishonourable, even cowardly action, but to a Klingon there was rarely anything dishonourable about winning.

...The bird of prey edged closer into the system, toward the burning wreckage of her fallen ally.

...“Has she detected us?”

...No, sir. It appears the explosion of the cruiser masked our signature just long enough for us to cloak.

...Bor’tan looked at the unwitting ship as it grew larger on the view screen. An easy victory perhaps on a level playing field, but a victory that would be perilous in their current condition. A victory that would be well earned.

...“Good, take us out of the system. Once we are far enough away from the wreckage take us to warp. Plot a course along-” he never had time to finish his orders.

...“You mean not to destroy it?” The thunderous Voice of Bor’tan filled the bridge.

...The silence was soon broken. “Yes, do you have a problem with that.” snarled the captain.

...A quiet rage began to grow in the pit of his stomach. “We have a chance for victory, she is unaware of our presence. We should destroy it now, or do you forget what they did to us?”

...“I am aware of the situation. We have a mission to complete unless you had forgotten that, the very reason you are here. I will not risk this ship over one Romulan vessel. We are falling apart as it is.”

...Bor’tan fist came crashing down on an already broken console. Another wave o sparks shot forth from it. “You are a captain in the Imperial fleet; this is a vessel of war. We do not allow our enemies to live. Destroy the ship now, or I will do it myself.”

...Dulek snarled at him, his jagged and broken teeth on display. The showing of the teeth was an old Klingon trait stretching back hundreds of thousand of years. A sign that he was willing and able to kill. Everyone on the bridge new was what about to follow. “This is my ship, General. We all know your record and what you have done for the Empire, but I will be seen dead before I let you give orders on my ship.”

...Bor’tans d’k’tahg was in his hand before he had even thought to use it. Years of experience had already moved him to the captain left, his weaker position. “Then you will be dead.” he said, rage and instinct taking over.

...He lunged at the captain, who quickly parried the blade away. Dulek backed off to give himself a few feet of room. The general circled around the massive support frame and lunged a second time. Dulek parried a second time, yet the general had anticipated the parry and threw a left hook into the captain exposed chin. He staged back down two steps into a console. Mor’tan pounced from his now elevated position as the blade came swooping down towards the captains chest. Dulek narrowly avoided the strike by rolling across the console to his right. He quickly regained his balance and drove his wickedly sharp right boot into the side of the general’s ribs. He grimaced at the pain and was lucky to avoid the knife that was aimed at his head.

...Dulek moved forward, trying to trap the general into an edged corner of the bridge, the sounds of the crew chanting rang in his ears as he closed in, the d’k’tahg shimmering with the feint glow of the plasma leak. Now was his turn to lunge. Mor’tan blocked the blade with his left arm, as it cut deep into his wrist the pain seared through his arm. However the knife was now temporarily lodged in his arm allowing a free opening into the captains exposed body. Without hesitation or regret he rammed the knife into captain’s chest and twisted as hard as he could.

...Dulek slumped to the ground in almost silence. Only a gargle emanated from his throat, before a trickle of blood seeped out.

...The crew continued to cheer and laugh at the fight. Some nodded in approval while others, who had backed their captain to win, reluctantly gave their respect.

...Bor’tan slunk into the cold chair and looked at the bird of prey on the screen. Dulek was right, they were in no condition to fight, and even the element of surprise guaranteed them no victory on this day. A day that what every warrior lived for. A good day to die.

...He had taught that lesson to Dulek and to every able body on the bridge. A Klingon must be prepared to win at all costs. This was no time for caution, for planning and regrouping. They were not the children of the Federation, or the cowardly petaQ of the Star Empire. They were Klingons, and this was a time for great warriors to do deeds worthy of song.

...He looked upon his new tactical officer. “Arm the weapons, lock targets and drop the cloak.” he said as the call of the warrior filled his heart.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 60 Ihnoc Takes Command
05-23-2011, 05:42 AM
“Challenges taking command? There's been a couple. Every crew I've had hasn't agreed with some of the aliens I have as my bridge crew; a Reman, Breen and Orion sitting at science, security and helm? I can see how that'd make humans especially uncomfortable. Fortunately after working under fire, you tend to forget your prejudices.”

“There is the story of the most recent Satusma's crew. A Nebula is somewhat a step down and at first I was given the impression the crew I'd been given was a step down as well. Every face was new. I had no rapport with these people and neither did my senior staff; Kyn, the Breen security officer, had a lot of trouble. Being Breen, his officers wouldn't accept his orders and Kyn isn't the typical sarcastic wall you expect one of his kind to be; he was cut up and lost his motivation for the post. Akabei actually did rather well by contrast, a warp field failure on our maiden voyage and 5 plasma manifold ruptures.”

“It was the same all through NX-93909-C. The crew were transferees from front line ships, some even from as far back as the Dominion War. They weren't incompetent, they just didn't want to take orders from some young upstarts. Some obviously believed, as I did, that the Satsuma had been demoted to an anomaly counter. I had no idea how to rally these people, stuck in their ways as we were, so I switched positions around. I sent engineers to sick bay, the tactical branch to the hydroponics bay and astrometrics became filled with security officers.”

“After a while, the crew were drained. A new line of work took it out on all of them and it allowed my senior officers to teach for once. In fact, the switch around created a status quo; the inverted crew seemed to be getting used to their jobs. They weren't complaining any more and the chiefs of staff had things moving but I wasn't satisfied. Each day, for eight weeks, I had one of my senior staff sabotage the ship. Omberi let out some harmless contagion in sick bay, Leila inverted the directional controls at the helm and Mei decided to meld a bunch of holodeck programs together; at least two were Vulcan Love Slave IV and Kahless Does Jazz.”

“The ship became chaos. In the end, the crew gained an immense respect for each other. They figured out I set them all up and all 750 of us got a kick out of it. We all respected each other's positions and working in a completely different environment increased their transferable skill sets. We still run Mei's program. I can't get enough of Kahless' and Surak's saxophone solos.”
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