Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Earth Standard Date, June 12th, 2399; Holodeck 2-1, Jonathan Archer Officer Candidate School

It'd been twelve hour since Mark and Arachnidus' ridiculous attempt at rewiring the KM had paid off, and now he was halfway through the test. The current simulation harkened back to the 23rd century version of it, where the Kobayashi Maru was a civilian cargo ship with a crew of 5,000 hauling various supplies to colonies in the Klingon Neutral Zone. The ship Arachnidus was "in command" of for the duration of the test was a Constitution Refit that was introduced during the Dominion War to bolster the ranks of Starfleet, considering they were taking personnel losses in the hundreds of thousands and ship losses in the hundreds. Everything had gone swimmingly and now the Klingons were bearing down on his ship.

Three B'rel class Birds of Prey and one Negh'var class battleship were approaching the Constitution, which had, on Arachnidus order, stationed itself in between the KM and the approaching Klingons.

Lances of subatomic fire erupted from the Starfleet ship's hull as acting Lieutenant Parker fired phasers at the BoP's on Arachnidus' order and acting Ensign Lawson maneuvered the ship to face it's approaching doom. The Birds of Prey were no challenge, but even on a good day, when the test wasn't designed to murder the test takers' ship, that Negh'var would simply fire all it's forward weapon banks at the Constitution and be done with it.

Which is exactly why, any second now, Arachnidus' custom programmed third attack force was going to come in. He'd programmed something special. Instead of the usual fleet of reinforcements or scripting the Klingon ships to be recalled, he'd decided to mix things up a bit. Horribly surprised, his secondary Conn Officer for the duration of the test, acting Lieutenant Junior Grade Chellick, a Bolian, turned around and gave Arachnidus an incredulous look before speaking.

"Sir, we've got a new signature on Long Range Sensors. FTL LADAR shows the silhouette of...a Borg sphere, on intercept trajectory."

Oh yes, it's all going to plan.

On screen, the visage of a Klingon appeared and spoke a preprogrammed message, then blinked out of existence. The rough translation was "Dishonorable peta'Q'pu, we have chosen not to devour your entrails and **** your corpses in a display of disturbingly erotic necrophilia, as our respective glories are now under duress from the impending threat of the Borg! We shall join you in fighting these cybernetic dogs."

The speech wasn't Arachnidus' best work, but he was proud of it nonetheless. The rest of the test went off without a hitch; afterall, a Borg sphere was an auxiliary vessel, and the first time it had been seen, during the Battle of Earth of 2373, it was vaporized by the Sovereign Class USS Enterprise, a ship which, to Arachnidus, had an uncanny ability to save the day. All of them, not just the most recent one.

Leaving the holodeck and approaching the review board, Arachnidus was confident he'd done fine.

If he hadn't, at least he'd had an interesting night of it all.


Off topic note; once again, as with Luna, I went over the character limit...sorry!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 122
06-28-2011, 09:41 AM
This follows on chronologically from Head Hunted (written for challenge #2)

The Waiting Room

Lieutenant Kyle Tremayne nursed the cooling cup of coffee anxiously. The sparse waiting room was frustratingly devoid of anything that could provide a distraction. Beyond the double doors two of his officer candidates were undergoing the final stage of their testing, the daunting “Psychological Stress Analysis” or “PSA”. Kyle had undergone the same test at the academy; the memory still gave him chills.

Unlike the old Kobayashi Maru test Kyle’s grandfather had taken, PSA tests were tailored to the cadet which made it far more personal and unpredictable. For the cadets it had become a right of passage and badge of honour and every graduate had their own horror story to tell. After the Borg attack on Vega, Kyle could understand why the test was so challenging. Anyone with the right qualifications can engage in scientific exploration, but to remain calm and make the right decisions in a life threatening crisis required a certain type of person. Even so, sometimes he wondered what kind of person formulated these tests.

The double doors hissed open to reveal Acting Ensign T’Lara. Kyle rose from his chair to greet her but the usually stoic Vulcan seemed to have her attention elsewhere. Her steps were stiff and unsteady and as she reached Kyle her hand reached out and grasped his arm.

“T’Lara?”

The grip on Kyle’s arm was becoming painful. T’Lara gazed blankly at the ground. “I, will be, alright, sir. I, am in, control. I... They... It was a logical test.”

The grip on Kyle’s arm disappeared as she fell into his arms. “It, was, lo-gi-cal.” She sobbed.

For what felt like an eternity he stood stunned, “Who were these people?” thought Kyle.

He waited for the sobbing tostop and slowly eased the trembling Vulcan away, wiping a tear from her cheek with his thumb. “Hey, it over, you did ok. Come on now, calm deep breaths.”

T’Lara nodded, gradually the trembling stopped and the hardness returned to her eyes. “It would be preferable if this is, not discussed in the future.”

“I understand. You know where to find me if you change your mind.”

T’Lara brushed aside a stray lock of hair. “If, you will excuse me, Sir?”

Kyle mustered what he hoped was a reassuring smile. “Carry on Ensign.”

As the Vulcan left Kyle rounded on the double doors and glared at them. A mix of guilt and anger churned in his stomach. This was his fault, Admiral Quinn had asked and he had recommended. Kyle looked at the cup of now completely cold coffee perched on the ledge by his chair. “Yeah,” he thought, “that’s about right.”

The double doors hissed open again and Jaro Antar walked through with a haunted look in his eye. He gazed at Kyle and nodded slowly and grinned, “I think I understand now. There’s a reason why you command types are that little bit crazy.”

Kyle eyes were drawn to the engineer’s fists as the reflexively clenched and unclenched. “You ok Jaro?”

“No Sir, not right now, but I will be. That was Obsidian Order quality nasty. I hope I never have to do that again.”

Kyle nodded thoughtfully, “I’ve often wondered just how deeply they dig before formulating the test scenario. If you want to talk about it?”

“Thank you Sir maybe later, but if you will excuse me, I have a Saurian Brandy or two, followed by a lot of quiet contemplation waiting for me.”

“Carry on, Jaro.”

Kyle followed his hazed engineer out of the room and into the bustling sunlit corridor and made his way to the instructor’s booth.

The booth was a small dark room overlooking a now empty holo-grid of yellow lines on black. A lone Aenar male of late middle age with three gold pips on his collar sat at the desk, his swivel chair angled to get a view of both the room below and the door. He looked up at Kyle with milky white eyes as he entered and grinned broadly.

“Ah Lieutenant! Come to see how your candidates performed?”

Kyle mustered as basic, “Yes sir.” The joviality of the greeting had distracted him.

“Well, they both passed. Not entirely unsurprising considering their history files. Real experience counts for a lot in being able to handle test. I also have this to give to you.”

The Aenar extended a pale hand in which he was holding a data pad. Kyle took it and read it.

“This is to confirm that Lieutenant Kyle Ulysses Tremayne is qualified for full command authority.” Kyle looked at the Aenar, back to the pad and again at the Aenar. “You were testing me as well?”

“Indeed, your field promotion stands and the report confirmed all but one facet of command requirements, compassion. PSA is a necessary evil and your reaction to its effect on your crewmen was sufficient to answer any doubts.”

Kyle felt hollow. “Was it..?”

“Worse for them because of you? No, that would be unduly cruel. We are not monsters Lieutenant, despite what scuttlebutt may say. PSA testing is performed under the strictest controls and Starfleet Medical monitoring.”

Kyle stiffened, “Sorry Sir.”

“Official ceremony is at eleven hundred hours tomorrow. A report has been sent to Admiral Quinn, he will doubtless have your orders. Carry on Lieutenant.”

Kyle mustered a nod and left. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 123
06-29-2011, 07:23 PM
Title: Crash Course

Dear Rynwon,

Thanks for your last letter. As I’ll say again and again, I’m sure, I’m not all that good at keeping up with correspondence, so I’m sorry there’s been such a long silence on my end.

So far, life on the Deborah Sampson has been more eventful than I expected. Maybe all “routine” exploration missions are like this. All I know is that in between scanning new kinds of plants or spatial anomalies, we’ve been in a couple of shooting matches. I suppose the war reaches all the way out here.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Academy days lately. Sometimes that seems like another life, sometimes like yesterday. That second one is closer to the truth. And I’ve tended to be nostalgic—you know, before the burden of command and all—but it wasn’t all sweetness and light.

I was a good student, and I worked as hard as anyone, maybe even harder than most. And though I got to know a few people, I mostly kept to myself. I’d never been off Umea for any length of time before, and San Francisco was a world away—literally, I guess—from the small, intimate scale of life on a new colony.

I don’t know what your Academy experience was like—a lot different, I’d imagine—but you can get by pretty well in most classes and even some of the training exercises without having to deal with other people much. But—and I knew this then, though I did my best to avoid it—being in Starfleet isn’t about being on your own. I’ve definitely learned since that no one can make it out here alone.

That became clear on the Amalthea—that’s the ship I took my cadet cruise on. The Captain had the engineering cadets working in teams and rotating who was in command every few days.

I never really aspired to command. I still don’t, but don’t tell Starfleet Command that. I joined Starfleet because I loved the idea of exploring new worlds, loved being in space, loved being able to play with the latest tech. But Starfleet seems to have different ideas. Maybe they see something in me I don’t. My mother would appreciate that.

Every day it was my turn to lead our little group, I’d wake up feeling slightly sick to my stomach. And it was always a disaster. We didn’t blow up the ship or anything. But, every time, within about 10 minutes, I was feeling pretty invisible and another cadet—his name was Hanor Rudix—was in charge. Even when I gave a direct order, the other cadets would look at him first. He did it with everyone—he was one of those kinds that always had to be the center of attention, and he was good at putting himself there—but he did it more with me. He always made a special point of calling me “Addy,” which no one else did and which I hated.

I was never quite sure why he took particular pleasure in giving me a hard time. Maybe it was because we were the only two Trill in engineering. Maybe it was because he had some sort of weird crush on me, though that sort of thing is much less common among Trill than humans. Maybe he knew a little about my background—the fact that my parents were pretty active in the anti-joining movement, my mother especially—and he resented that.

Whatever it was, by the third week, I just gave up.

By then, the Amalthea was assigned to chart some stellar anomalies in the Delta Pictoris system—something about the neutrino emissions of one of the two stars there. Science was never my strong suit. On the way in, the Captain decided to drop a few of us off at one of the outer planets where there was some long-term observational equipment. Because the ship would be out of transporter range, we took a shuttle down. It was me, Rudix—of course—and four science cadets. No offense, but most the science cadets I knew couldn’t have fixed their own tricorders in a jam, let alone the equipment planetside, which was why Rudix and I were there.

I sometimes wonder if there isn’t some central computer at Starfleet Command that’s constantly analyzing pysch profiles and spitting out orders that don’t make a lot of logical sense, but are supposed to make us better officers. Anyone who was remotely paying attention wouldn’t have put Rudix and me in the same away team for the better part of a week. But, well, I guess it worked out.

On the way down to the surface, I found out there was something worse than being trapped with Rudix. We hit some massive wind shear in the upper atmosphere. Rudix was the pilot—I’m a fair pilot but I’ll admit that he was better. Though maybe not as good as he thought he was, because he tried to take us straight through. Within the first couple of seconds we’d lost all our primary thrusters and the port nacelle strut had buckled. We started spinning—I couldn’t tell you in which directions—and the power kept going out, which meant the lights kept flickering, like a strobe. It made everything feel like it was going in slow motion.

Before we hit, I managed to redirect reserves to the emergency inertial dampening fields. I’m not sure if you’ve had experience with them. They basically protect the crew compartment and whatever parts of the engine might explode on impact. I guess it did its job because we weren’t flattened into paste and we didn’t obliterate a couple of square kilometers when we came down.

The situation didn’t seem so bad at first. I looked around and saw that everyone was moving. There wasn’t much left of the shuttle—the top had been torn off so that we were all sitting in what looked like a mangled sled. There was nothing behind the crew compartment anymore, though recognizable chunks of the engine and power systems were scattered around us.

I knew we wouldn’t be stranded. We were due to check in in a few hours and when the Amalthea didn’t hear anything from us, she’d send help.

The worst news was the weather. It took a minute to separate the roar in my head from the crash and the roar of the wind. It was frigid with flakes of snow—probably snow, though given the temperature I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was frozen carbon dioxide—in the air. The landscape was barren—grey soil between hulking grey rocks. I vaguely remember bouncing off a few of those rocks as we skidded to a halt.

It sort of reminded me of the Umean back country where I used to go with my father when he was out to catalog some of the planet’s more reclusive species, and where I started hiking and camping on my own when I got older. I’d been in some tight situations then and made it through alright, and that was much further from any potential help, so I wasn’t immediately worried.

From there, though, the news got steadily worse. Of the four science cadets, only two were mobile. One was in particularly bad shape. She had what I recognized—from personal experience—as all the symtpoms of some pretty serious internal bleeding. I gave her a dose of dylovene, but knew that wouldn’t be enough. Help might arrive, but if we had to wait untill we missed our appointed check-in time, it would have been too late.

Rudix wasn’t much help. He seemed more or less physically ok—I checked for a concussion—but psychologically off. He was in shock, of course—we all were—but every time I tried to talk to him—or at least shout to him over the noise of the wind—he just stared off into space. It was the first time I hadn’t seen some sort of smirk on his face.

All the rest were staring at me asking “what do we do next?” I could read the question on their faces. I don’t know. Maybe I looked like I knew what I was doing.

My first thought was that maybe we could hunker down in the partial shelter of the ruined shuttle, but when I scanned the area with the one mostly working tricorder—and that I had to juryrig to get any readings out of—I found that one of the engine components had been compromised and that the radiation levels in the area were rising fast.

Our only hope seemed to be to get to the unmanned research complex we’d been sent to check. There’d be some shelter and I thought I could modify the telemetetry equipment there to send out a distress call.

So we had to move. The human colonists on Umea have a saying. “Det finns inget dåligt väder bara dåliga kläder.” That means “there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.” I found a few survival packs that had insulated jackets in them, but nothing that was up to the cold around us. I also found four personal shields that were working well enough. I knew that if you partially shorted them out, they wouldn’t stop a disruptor any more, but they would generate a pretty substantial amount of localized heat. I gave one to each of the science cadets.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 124
06-29-2011, 07:25 PM
(continued...)

For me and Rudix, I scavanged a small collection of bio-neural gel packs from the wreckage. Normally, they don’t heat up at all, but if you give them a hypo of cyproheptadine and run a current through them, they can get nicely warm. I gave Rudix the majority of them—wrapped them around his core with fragments of wire mesh from some part of the shuttle I’d never seen before. I figured I’d been through worse, so I could probably due with less.

The last issue was the two cadets that couldn’t walk—one because of a badly broken leg and one because of internal bleeding. I was able to get some of the shuttle’s antigrav units working well enough to support a metal bed for the woman who was bleeding. By that time she’d lost conciousness. With no other high tech options, I put my arm around the other cadet and helped him hobble over the hard ground as best I could.

For a long time, it was just one step after another.

We made it to the research station—not much more than a shack really—but enough to keep out the wind. I set the personal shields in the corner and turned them up all the way. They sparked up a storm, but within a few minutes—until their power cells burnt out—they put out enough heat to make the place comfortable.

Recongifuring the comm equipment wasn’t difficult. The hardest part was working with fingers I couldn’t feel anymore. There was no reciever, so we had to wait to see what worked. The chirping of our combadges eventually told us it did. Within a few minutes, we were all in the sickbay.

The next few days were mostly a blur. I remember being told I had two broken ribs. I’d already more or less figured that out—it wasn’t the first time, though I thought they might only have been bruised. I know the Captain talked to me at some point, but I don’t remember what he said.

When I finally did return to duty, I didn’t have trouble with Rudix any more. We were never friends—I think his pride was hurt a little too much for that—but he didn’t challenge me when it was my turn to lead our team anymore. He was positively deferential. By the end of the cruise, the other cadets didn’t even glance at him after I gave an order.

After we got back to Earth, I was asked to speak at one of the planetary survival classes at the Academy. I said yes, even though I knew I didn’t have much to say. I did what anyone who knew how to deal with the outdoors did. I can’t believe I said anything profound, but the whole class and the instructors listened politely anyway.

So far, no crash landings aboard the Deborah Sampson, but I’ve still been thinking about those couple of hours—and that’s really all the time we spent down on that planet. It’s not as if everything changed after they were over. I didn’t suddenly become the next Kirk or Picard or anything. I was still uncomfortable in charge of our engineering team. Just not as uncomfortable.

I think we all have our elements. Out in the wilderness was—still is mine. But your element is just what you’re used to, where you know what to do, and little by little, I was able to make the engine room my element too.

Now, everytime I sit in that center chair on the bridge, I feel like some klaxon is going to sound or there’s going to be some priority one message from Starfleet Command telling me there’s been some terrible mistake and I don’t belong there, that I should be in a Jeffries tube running diagnostics on the environmental waste subsystems. But maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. Maybe—as unimaginable as it is right now—I can make the bridge my element too.

Most days, I think I’ll get there, one step after another. Most days.

Well, too much introspection can’t be a good thing. I don’t know why I always do that in these letters to you. I should just say that I hope all is well on board the Republic. We won’t be making port for a while, so these electonic visits will have to do.

Thanks for listening and take care.

Brigid
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 125 Free Thinker
06-29-2011, 08:58 PM
This going to be quick, Ensign. I have meeting with Admiral Quinn in 10 minutes.

In a nutshell, I was on the USS Alabama for a training mission in the Risa System. There was an attack by pirates and the captain was killed. The Pirates turned away at the last moment and we were spared destruction.

Starfleet has an interstellar version of Hostis humani generis. You took Latin right? Good. So because we were attacked by pirates and they posed a danger to all ships in the sector, I ordered all non-essential crew to the planet so we could save power on life support. I then ordered the shields, engines, and weapons be priority repaired.

We located a nebula and sent out a general distress call. We claimed to be a transport carrying latinum for the Bank of Bolias. As expected, we were attacked.

We destroyed three of the four ships and captured the fourth. I faced the commander of the last ship and was faced with two choices: take him to the nearest starbase or shove him out the airlock. After a few minutes of pondering, I decided to take him to the nearest starbase.

Just then, the ship disappeared and was replaced by a holodeck. I was taking a test and I passed...sort of. I apparently skipped the part where I contacted Starfleet to ask for permission to hunt down the pirates, but they decided to give me extra credit for doing the right thing without having to be told. Starfleet wants people who can think for themselves.

So if I see you in here again because you have to be told every little thing you need to do, I'll toss you out the airlock as we warp past a starbase.

Dismissed...
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 126
06-30-2011, 07:29 AM
Title: Finnegan’s Wait

“So this is the way you want it, eh ****?”

Richard Allen Cleary said nothing. He stood rock still, hands clasped tightly behind his back, eyes narrowed, staring into the broad face of the upperclassman hovering millimeters away from his own.

“What now, Dickie boy?” He could feel the man’s hot breath on his cheeks and did his best to stifle the anger and disgust that were rising up inside him.

“It’s so sweet that you’ve made a new friend.” The upperclassman—whose name was Finnegan—gestured with his chin toward the first-year cadet, still on the ground behind Cleary.

Cleary had been watching Finnegan torment the poor plebe for weeks now, subjecting him to pranks, humiliating him in public. His latest stunt had involved a metal bucket full of ice water, balanced on top of one of the few old-style swinging doors left in the Academy. He’d heard the sickening thud when it fell and couldn’t stand by any longer.

Finnegan smiled sweetly. “You and Jimmy make such a cute couple.” Then his expression was serious again. “So what now?”

That was the question. Cleary felt his fists tighten behind his back. He’d seen plenty like Finnegan over the years, and there was only one way to put bullies like him in their place. He imagined himself swinging at the moon-shaped face that eclipsed his vision, felt his knuckles connect with the soft flesh and the bone underneath, shaking out the clean pain in his hand that signaled a solid hit.

“Are you thinkin’ of hitting me? Really? Go ahead then, ****. Take your best shot.”

Of course, Cleary knew he couldn’t. There were serious repercussions for striking a senior officer. He’d been tempted before but had never given in. And he wouldn’t now. Even if Finnegan threw the first punch. Cleary had never disobeyed a Starfleet regulation and he wouldn’t start now.

Plus, he’d worked too had to get here. Cleary had joined Starfleet at 17, rising through the enlisted ranks. He was already a decorated veteran of the Battle of Donatu 5 and of Orias 7. It was his behavior during the latter, and the Citation for Conspicuous Gallantry he received, that got him into the Enlisted to Officer Program and the Academy.

He wasn’t going to throw all that away for someone like Finnegan.

“Aw, you’re just like your girlfriend, Dickie. Hardly worth my time, the two of you.” Finnegan gave Cleary a wide, toothy grin and stepped back, finally. “I’ll be seein’ you around.” He turned and walked casually away.

Cleary only now saw the group that had gathered around to watch the unfolding drama. With nothing more to see, they began to drift off in twos and threes. He ignored them, turning to the young cadet behind him, his silver tunic dark with water. There was a trickle of blood running down the side of his forehead where the edge of the bucket had caught him.

“Are you…” Cleary began, trying to remember the cadet’s name.

“Alright? Yea, I’m wonderful.” Cleary offered a hand to help him up, but he pushed it away. “I’m just wonderful.”

“I was just trying to…”

The cadet gathered the books that were scattered around him and brushed the wet hair out of eyes. “Make things worse? Well, you did a great job. He'll be back, you know.”

Cleary blinked at the young man’s anger.

“I can handle myself. I don’t need your help. Or your pity.”

Cleary sighed. “Suit yourself,” he said, watching the cadet stand and turn to leave. What was his name? Jimmy something. Jim…James…a short last name.

The cadet stopped. He turned his head slightly. “Thanks,” was all he said, then he walked briskly away, wiping his forehead and trying to act like nothing had happened.

Cleary shook his head. He wished the young man the best. Then his memory clicked. Jim Kirk, that was it. He seemed like a nice enough kid, though maybe not the toughest or the most promising officer material. But Cleary still liked him. And, with a little direction, he might amount to something someday.

He’d keep an eye on the young man, just in case.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 127 The Case (part 1)
06-30-2011, 11:47 AM
Note--I'm stretching the idea of 'passing grades' here just a bit, but if these 2 cadets don't successfully navigate this case, they won't pass the Academy. Part 1 is in this post and Part 2 will be in the next post.
----------------
The Case

“Cadet First Class Johansen, step forward.” the Academy’s judge intoned. The dark-headed Vulcan, Admiral Selik, sat the high seat of the bench, flanked on either side by the Betazoid prosecutor and the human defense attorney, Captain Romero.

The young, brown-haired man stepped forward. He swallowed hard, his Adam’s apple bobbing against the stiff Academy dress uniform that had seen use only a handful of times. He knew that the prosecutor, Captain Callrin, was a gifted telepath. He didn’t bother trying to suppress his fear from her. If she won, his Starfleet career as a doctor was over before it even started.

“Cadet First Class Xam, step forward,” Admiral Selik stated once more.

Xam, the only Ferengi in the Academy, stepped forward to stand next to his classmate and good friend. Neither looked at the other—they both knew better.

“You both are charged with assault and battery, destruction of property, and conduct unbecoming a Starfleet cadet. I note that you both pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all three charges.”

“Aye, Sir,” both cadets answered.

“Prosecution may begin the argument,” the judge nodded to the Betazoid.

Captain Callrin rose from her seat and strolled over to stand in front of the cadets. She looked up at Johansen for a long moment. He kept his green eyes studiously forward, trying to keep his heart from racing any faster. The doctor in him noticed that her hair was pulled back so tight into a dark-colored bun that it made her face taut. She then looked down at the young Ferengi, who had locked his eyes straight ahead.

After an overlong silence, she ordered, “Cadet Xam, explain what happened last week at Club Orionis.”

The Ferengi took a deep breath. “Sir. Cadet Johansen and I were at the club, playing Dabo. I realized the table was rigged, and warned him quietly not to play it. The Tellarite running the Dabo table overheard me and took offense. Cadet Johansen proceeded to argue with him. Pugneen—the one running the Dabo table—punched him, and then grabbed him by the throat. When I tried to get Pugneen off of Johansen, Pugneen’s brother grabbed me, threw me over the bar, and proceeded to assault me. There was a loud noise, and all the glass bottles around me exploded. The Tellarite continued to beat on me, and I was forced to defend myself. Then Johansen grabbed Pugneen’s brother off of me and knocked him out.”

“That much is clear from the police report, Xam,” Callrin said, sarcasm making the air in the court room desert-dry. “Do you know how much damage that ‘offense’ cost?”

Johansen replied, “50,942 credits, Sir.”

Xam turned his head abruptly to his fellow cadet and friend. “What??? That’s outrageous! There is no way we are responsible for all that damage! Did you have an accountant look at that, Johansen?”

The human cadet nodded. “In fact, I had three accountants look at the receipts of the damage from the bar fight, Xam. Honest ones, too.”

“Ferengi Rule of Acquisition Number 16…”Xam started.

Johansen finished, “There is nothing more dangerous than an honest businessman. I know. In light of our situation, Xam, we might consider an exception.”

Xam turned his head back forward, the sound of grinding teeth clearly audible.

Captain Callin’s obsidian eyes pierced Johansen. “I noticed from the report that you just conveniently happened to find a sonic weapon on one of the Tellarites during this little ‘bar fight’, as you put it, Cadet. I also noticed it was conveniently tuned to a frequency that Tellarites are especially sensitive to. I also noticed that Xam was curiously unaffected during the altercation.”

Romero stood. “Objection, Admiral. Captain Callin is presenting assumptions rather than facts.”

“Sustained,” Selik said. “The prosecutor will constrain herself to the facts of the case only.”

Callin nodded acknowledgment. “The facts of the case are as follows, Admiral. Cadet Xam made an accusation regarding the accuracy of the Dabo table being run by the Tellarite, Pugneen. The Tellarite, naturally, argued the point. Cadet Johansen escalated the verbal argument, and when he called the Tellarite a ‘Krognik demon’, Pugneen threw a punch. A fight broke out in the bar. Cadet Johansen somehow found himself in possession of the Tellarite’s sonic weapon and discharged it, rendering the Tellarite deaf, possibly permanently, and breaking all the glass in the club.”

Xam looked at his friend in awe. “Did you really call him a Krognik demon? I never heard that part.”

Johansen shrugged one shoulder. “I thought he might appreciate the fact that I’d studied his species enough to be familiar with an appropriate Tellarite insult. Apparently I found the one Tellarite who couldn’t take a joke.”

The DA’s mouth twitched a fraction in humor before he schooled it back to the decorum required in the courtroom. “Admiral, the Tellarites both initiated the assaults. It is clear from the report that these two cadets merely defended themselves. This is the only black mark on either cadet’s Academy record, and their performance to date has been excellent. The Tellarites should have been brought up on charges of assault rather than these two fine cadets. Pugneen should be the one responsible for the damages, and the cadets should be acquitted of the assault and battery charges.”

Callin again looked at Johansen intently. “I have a question for you, Cadet. Keep in mind that I am Betazoid and will know immediately if you lie in this courtroom.”

Johansen met her level gaze. His voice was a razor-edged Ushaan blade. “Captain, since I learned you were prosecuting this case, I have not once forgotten that you’re Betazoid.” He turned his eyes back straight ahead again.

She narrowed her eyes at him. She circled around him once, slowly, hands clasped lightly behind her back. Then she looked up at him again. “Cadet Johansen, Tellarite weapons are not normally set to a frequency that is harmful to their own species. Did you alter that Tellarite’s weapon?”

Romero interjected, “Admiral, Johansen’s Academy record clearly states that he is pursuing coursework in physiology in preparation for medical school. His record shows he does not have proficiency in any weapon except a standard phaser and some basic karate techniques.”

Admiral Selik said, “The Cadet will answer the question anyway. The Academy does not always note training that a being might have acquired outside of their normal coursework.”

Johansen looked at Callin, whose eyes were glittering onyx slivers. He stood rigid. “Sir, I was in the middle of a brawl. There was no time to change any settings on any weapon, let alone a Tellarite weapon. Pugneen had my neck in a death grip—that is very clear on the recordings. I couldn’t breathe. I got ahold of the sonic weapon and fired it, hoping just to get him off my neck. I didn’t expect all the liquor bottles to also shatter. This, of course, was not the club owner’s fault, even if he is Pugneen’s brother. However, as an honorable Starfleet cadet, I am willing to reimburse Pugneen’s brother for all the broken bottles of alcohol, including the 2 bottles of Reserve Romulan ale that he had under the counter. I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to reimburse him for the ketracel-white that was also there, however, seeing as that’s illegal and all.”

“How did you manage to see the white, Cadet?” the prosecutor asked.

“Pugneen’s brother grabbed Xam, dragged him behind the bar, and was punching him into a pulp,” Johansen replied.

“He had me by the ears,” Xam nodded, rubbing one lobe. “The pain was unbearable.”

Callin’s eyes flicked back and forth between the two cadets as she studied them.

Johansen continued, “I jumped over the bar to rescue Xam. I punched Pugneen’s brother right in the snout. He fell back, and the cabinet door broke. That’s when I saw the ale and white. Well, the broken bottles, blue ale spilled all over, and the shattered tubes of white, anyway.”

Xam shook his head, eyes downcast. “Just think of all the profit he lost. Maybe his entire business!”

“Terrible, just terrible, Xam. I feel sorry for him. First he finds out his brother is ripping off customers and our fellow cadets on Dabo, then his brother goes deaf when his own sonic weapon is set to a Tellarite frequency, and then he discovers his brother is running a drug ring right under his nose. That must have been a really bad day for him,” Johansen sighed sadly.

“I’m sure Pugneen’s brother appreciates your…touching sympathy.” The acid dripped from Callin’s voice. She turned to the judge. “This case looks and smells just like vigilantism to me.”

“Objection! The prosecution is insulting 2 Starfleet cadets,” Romero said.

“Sustained,” answered the judge. “I will reserve judgment until all the information has been fully explored. Your position is to prosecute, Captain Callrin. Do you have other questions for the cadets?”

“Yes, Admiral. Cadet Xam,” she said, turning to look down at the Ferengi. “Your hearing tests indicate that you should have been incapacitated by the sonic blast. Yet you were not. Why?”

“It may have had something to do with my earwax problem, Sir. And the fact that we were both rolling around on the ground behind the bar, which partially shielded the sound.”

Capt. Callin tapped her PADD quickly, and peered at the results. “Cadet, there is absolutely nothing in your medical records indicating an ‘earwax problem.’”

“I use my q-tips regularly, Sir. It’s very embarrassing for a Ferengi to have earwax showing in public.”

“He goes through at least a box every other week, Sir,” Johansen chimed in. “I know—I see them in the bathroom trash all the time, being his dorm-mate, you know.”

“I’m aware the two of you share a dorm room, Cadet,” Callin said. She turned towards the front of the courtroom. “Earwax,” the prosecutor muttered under her breath as she shook her head in frustration, and then looked up at the judge. “Prosecution rests, but reserves the right for rebuttal.”

Admiral Selik nodded once. “Noted. Captain Romero, you may proceed.”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 128 The Case (part 2)
06-30-2011, 11:50 AM
Captain Romero said, “Cadet Johansen, did you change the settings on Pugneen’s sonic weapon at any time?”

“No, Sir, I did not.”

“Did you start the bar fight?”

“No, Sir, I did not.”

“Why were you arguing with the Tellarite?”

“I was engaging in inter-species relations, Sir. I thought Pugneen might appreciate a taste of home.”

Captain Callin rolled her eyes.

Captain Romero raised his eyebrows. “By calling him a Krognik demon?”

“I was not aware that this particular Tellarite considered it an extreme pejorative, Sir. I will keep it in mind for the future, however.”

“I’m sure you will,” Capt. Romero drawled. He turned to Xam. “Cadet Xam, did you intentionally provoke the Tellarite to start a fight?”

The Ferengi stared straight forward. “My goal was to get Cadet Johansen away from the Dabo table before they ripped off any more of his credits. I’ve noticed Pugneen’s table has been rigged every time there are a lot of Starfleet Cadets playing, and I didn’t like him taking advantage of anyone, especially my fellow cadets. How he’s managed to escape the law for so long is beyond me.”

Captain Romero said, “That’s for a civilian court to decide, Cadet. I’m sure Pugneen has acquired the interest of law enforcement after this…event.” He turned to face the judge. “Admiral, we have reviewed the case and the video recordings carefully. It is clearly evident on the holo-records that Pugneen attacked Cadet Johansen first. Tellarites are known for their argumentative nature, and while Cadet Johansen obviously argued with Pugneen, there was no way for him to know that Pugneen would become violent. Furthermore, there was evidence of alcohol and ketracel-white in Pugneen’s system in sufficient quantities to deem him ‘under the influence’. Ketracel-white has been shown in medical studies to contribute to Tellarite violence. Again, Cadet Johansen would have no way of knowing that Pugneen had been ingesting an illegal substance. I move that Cadets Johansen and Xam be acquitted of all the charges.”

Johansen could hardly breathe as Admiral Selik reviewed the facts on his PADD. Finally, the judge spoke. “There is insufficient evidence of wrong-doing on the Cadets’ part and clear evidence that they were attempting to defend themselves. It is the opinion of this court that the charges be dropped.” The Vulcan looked at both cadets. “However, it is also the opinion of this court that you two never again step foot in Club Orionis or any other facility owned by these particular Tellarites.”

“Aye, Sir,” they said in unison, relief easing the tension on both their faces.

“The case is dismissed. You are free to go. The mark on your records will be removed,” Admiral Selik said.

Xam and Andy glanced at each other, smiles flitting across their faces.

As the cadets walked out of the courthouse and down the side garden path back to the Academy education center, Capt. Callin walked up to them. “Cadets, I’ll be reviewing the club’s previous holo-records. If I find tampering with that weapon by either of you, I will personally hand-deliver the perjury charges to Admiral Selik.” Her eyes narrowed at both of them. “Have a nice day.”

Xam stood up straight. “Johansen did not alter that weapon, Sir, and you will not find one shred of evidence of that, no matter how many records you comb through.”

The prosecutor snorted at that, then stalked off without an answer.

“Cadets, can you give me a hand for a moment, please?” Johansen and Xam looked over at the man calling them. It was the gardener. “This pot is a bit heavy for me to move.”

“We’ll move it for you, Boothby, don’t worry,” Johansen said. The cadets picked up the pot and carried it over to the spot the gardener directed them.

When they finished, Boothby said, “Come and sit a moment. You two look like you could use a bit of quiet after being in the middle of the hub-bub in that courthouse.” He pulled a trowel out of his gardener belt pouch and started digging in the large pot. “You know, my father and grandfather were gardeners here for years. I decided to follow in their footsteps and tend to the beauty of this campus. Sometimes, we even chat with the cadets. So, when I found these, I thought I’d make the time to chat with you two.” He pulled Ferengi earplugs out of his pocket and held them out to Xam. “Found these in a flower pot not too far from the dorm. Must have fallen out of your ears. They’re good ones, too. Block out lots of sounds, I noticed, especially sonic frequencies that affect Tellarites.”

Johansen and Xam glanced at each other.

Boothby went on. “We Boothbys have kept an eye on promising cadets for years. Especially the ones that do the right thing, like protect classmates and visitors from thieves who’ve managed to elude the law for years, even if they might not go about it in quite the right way.” He kept digging in the pot. “I took a little visit to Club Orionis. Found this copy of a holo-record from a week back before the brawl. Kind of develops a weird glitch right before a couple cadets walk in and a certain Ferengi pick-pockets a sonic weapon. Tellarite brothers probably should get their recording system checked. It never would show it to me a second time.”

Xam swallowed hard.

Boothby settled some flowers into the pot with gentle fingers before looking at the two sweating cadets. “Next time, you come to old Boothby, and I’ll get you the right kind of help with the right police so you don’t end up in a courthouse trying to do the right thing. Sometimes I give good advice now and then, too.”

Johansen grinned.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 129 The Kobyashi Maru Part 1
06-30-2011, 02:41 PM
3 of 11 waited for her debriefing from her last command test… The Kobyashi Maru…
3 thought re-assimilating to humanity was tough enough… her re-matriculation into star fleet in an accelerated command course left her with no idea she would get a surprise command performance on the Kabyashi Maru test. It had changed drastically since the 40 years she had taken it last… With Holo Projectors and Transporters you do not even know it’s a simulation until it’s over.
While the test itself is called the Kobyashi Maru the ship you are sent after changes. She had heard that more cadets flunked out of Command school than ever as a result.. She was not sure that her actions during the test would be called to question but it was what happened after the test, that was the question she was dreading.
Every command cadet knew it was coming just never when. You went out on patrols on ships. And some were real patrols and others were holo-deck simulations. You never knew which was real and which was fake till after the fact but every cadet dreaded the Kobyashi Maru test.
A lt. in dress uniform came out. Folowed by a Lt. with a bruised face who took look look at 3 of 11 and walked out of the waiting room with a harrumph of disgust. “He’s ready for your Cadet.”
3 of 11 stood and walked through the entryway to the Commandant of Starfleet Academy’s office. She walked right up to his desk and thrust her chest out and after saluting said “Cadet 3 of 11 reporting as orderd Admiral.
The Admiral looked at her. “At ease Cadet, Sit down. Let’s take a look at your performance. Computer: access visual and audio logs: Kobyashi Maru test for Cadet 3 of 11 time index 19:31 hours.”
The adrmial got up from his chair and walked behind 3 as the room transformed to the bridge of the U.S.S. Milford. 3 saw herself at the captain’s chair recording a log entry into the arm rest. The Milford is an old style Oberth class vessel. Maneuverable, but not very well armed, but very serviceable as a reconnaissance and scientific survey vessel. They were less than a parsec from the Neutral zone at this point.
“This is your second time taking this test?” The admiral asked.
“Indeed admiral, I took it once before under Admiral James Akar’s instruction 40 years ago… The test was much more different back then.” She stated.
“Cadet you must tell me your anti aging secret.” The admiral said with a smirk.
3 gave the admiral a sidelong glance. “Being a drone for over 40 years being assimilated 2 weeks out of the Academy is not a recommended way to preserve your youth sir. A side effect of my reliance on the nano-probes in my bloodstream.” She said sadly.
“When did you figure out this was a test?” The admiral asked, ignoring her discomfort.
“Actually the realism and duration of the test gave no clues until the second wave of klingon’s.” Since It appears I spent 2 days on patrol on board the Milford I had no idea it was a holographic simulation until the end.” She replied
It was at this point the environmental consoles at the auxiliary ops console blew out. While they had been talking the Milford had answered a distress call and had fell into the Klingon trap. It seems the SS Yamato was in fact a trap to get the Milford into the Neutral zone.
“All hands brace for impact!” she could hear herself yell into the com. As the bridge shook as ith’s shield took much of the impact of the first Torpedo volley.
She then watched her next actions with the admiral:
“Con, Cut power to attitude thrusters and shields! Kill lights and vent plasma from the port side! We will draw them in.”
“Aye captain!” the Lt. complied and then watched as the Klingons regrouped for their next pass at the Milford on the tactical display.
“Tactical, when they come at us and they are at 2000 kilometers away I want you to re-raise shields and fire a photon spread and phasers on the lead ship. Con, You will lay in a course of 319 mark 8 at warp 2. Once on course increase to maximum warp”
“But Mam, that will make us follow the other 2 and bring us away from the Yamato.” The Lt. stated.
“Lt. if you think anyone on that ship is still alive you are as naïve as you are young. That course will cause us to pivot at Warp 2 so boost power to the structural integrity field as soon as you cut the power back on.” 3 said in her normal matter of fact tone, ignoring the glare coming from other crew members.
“You’re going to abandon the Yamato Mam?” the Lt. replied.
“Yes Lt. we have found a new strategy, correction, perhaps an old strategy, being employed by the Klingons: using freighters as bait to lure in Starfleet vessels. Since we cannot ascertain if the crew is alive or dead we have a duty and obligation to report our findings to Starfleet Command. Therefore, please be sure to record all our findings into our next log buoy.”
“Here they come!” The Lt. shouted
As the distance counted down 3 saw herself watching the numbers intently. “Now! full power to Structural integrity, fire photons and phasers! Execute course now!”
On the Tactical and front split screen they watched as the phasers sliced right through the lead bird of prey’s shields and the photons finished it off. This caused the other 2 ships to veer and their vollies of torpedoes and disrupters just missed the Milford’s Starboard Warp emitter.
“Target second Vessel and Fire!” 3 yelled as she struggled to fight the forces of the ship pivoting faster than the SDF could compensate for while tactical executed her order and they watched as the second Klingon ship exploded in front of them.
“Captain! The 3rd vessel is breaking off and regrouping with 3 more bird of prey and a fleet of 3 K’tenga class vessels are hot on their tail as well!”
“Con! get us out of here, launch the buoy, best possible speed!” The ship rattled with the speed and then shook as the she was hit from 3 sides. The rest of the scene had the Admiral watch as 3 executed course corrections and actions to finish of the 3rd Bird of prey and damage the the second wave and then watch as 3 called for all hands to abandon ship as the Milford was torn apart until the scene reset. And 3 looked momentarily confused as officers that were left for dead disappeared except for the Lt. at Con. He got up stared around just as confused as 3 until she sat back in her chair and whispered “Kobyashi Maru.”
3 turned to the admiral expecting the simulation to end. “No Cadet, there is more.”
3 Turned back as she knew what was coming and was dreading it. She looked down at the deck plate and contemplated the composition.
The young Lt. got up from his seat at Con and said: “So that was a simulation?” He said with incredulity.
“It appears so Lt. we have appeared to have been in a an un-announced “No-Win-Scenerio.” Simulation.”
“You left that ship to die! “ the Lt. said to her.
3 Looked thoughtful for a moment “As we were unable to determine life signs and the Klingon’s interrupted that pursuit we may never know.”
“But you never bothered to even try! Not even after they broke away! You left them to die.”
“Yes it was unfortunate, but my first priority is to my own crew and we had new intelligence to report to Starfleet?” 3 replied
“The borg really did take away your humanity…You really don’t care.. We died while running away never trying to save those civilian lives! We died running away with our tails between our legs and you don’t care!”
“3 got up and back handed the Lt.s sending him sprawling across his console he looked up at her in shock with blood forming on his nose and lip.”
“listen to me you worthless dunsel! Don’t ever tell me I don’t have feelings or don’t care! Ever! I spent 40 years picking hundreds of thousands of souls apart with voices in my head telling me that it would make me better! Powerlessly watching my hands and tools assimilate thousands of people as I watched!” 3 was trembling with rage.
The 3 that was listening to herself was trying to hold back the tears of agony and embarrassment.
“I made a decision Lt. to try and save my crew and report back to Starfleet, all on par with regulations! If you have a problem with that go to the commandant but don’t ever tell me I do not “Feel” anything or do not care!” 3 looked up to watch herself march of to the side and look around in frustration.
“Whoever is in charge of this show get me the door out of here now!” As the holo-deck door appeared the admiral said: ”Computer end playback.”

To Be Continued
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 130 The Kobyashi Maru Part 2
06-30-2011, 02:42 PM
The admiral walked to his desk and sat down.. Bouncing his hands nervously.. “The Lt. has filed a complaint against you Cadet. He wants to have you court-marshaled.” The lips of the admirals face curled up. “But it’s been a long time since I have seen any cadet kill 3 birds of prey with an Oberth class ship and then hold off some K’Tenga class ships. That was original tactical execution cadet.”
“With respect sir, it was not original. Captain James T. Kirk used the same tactical “trick” that I employed on a diplomatic voyage to Babel.” 3 was still unable to look up into the Admiral’s eyes.
“Interesting, so indeed you learned something new at your latest go around in the academy then.” The admiral said proudly.
“With respect sir, I learned about the tactic when I was in the Academy 40 years ago when Admiral Leonard McCoy guest lectured for field medicine class. He had a tendency to tell stories about his adventures with Captain Kirk.” She replied flatly.
“Cadet at attention!” 3 bolted upright with the power of the admiral’s voice.
“You will look at me when addressing me!” I just witnessed one of the best performances on the Kobyashi Maru test in a long time! You did your duty and while you lost the ship according to simulation 60% of your crew would have made it to the escape pods.” He sat back down.
“Our Lt. who was to observe you, and now wants you keel hauled for hitting him not withstanding, I’m recommending you for command… But... You will be talking to a counselor at your earliest opportunity. It’s obvious you have a temper issue but what captain doesn’t at times.”
“You will go to counseling for no more than 3 weeks at which time you will take command of the real U.S.S. Milford as it is being refitted as we speak. And if you do not attend Counseling and if you do not take what I have given to you, I will personally kick your kiester back to Admiral Ackar 40 years ago where I’m quite sure he would begin kicking your kiester!” He reached to the side and pulled a pad up: “He recommended you for command 40 years ago as well and by god you will command if I have force you into counseling or not! Is that understood Cadet?!?! Wait belay that! Captain!?!?”
3 looked at the admiral in confusion and blinked a few times “Admiral?”
“I said is that understood Captain!” his voice reaching a decibel level only slightly louder than the borg collective that was once inside her head.
“Yes sir admiral sir!” she shouted
The admiral sat down. “Dismissed Captain, and Captain.. Er… 3?”
3 had half turned and looked at the Admiral “Yes sir?” she enquired.
“Regardless, if you copied Kirk or not, well done. And truth be told, I should probably re-introduce some of his curriculum. Report to the graduation ceremonies tomorrow at thirteen hundred hours where you will receive your captain’s pips and your official orders. Oh and one other thing.” The Admiral looked sheepish for a bit. “I was amazed it took you as long as it did to backhand that Lt. I’ll try and remember to not get on your bad side.”
3 looked down in embarrassment for the umpteenth time that day. She looked up at the admiral with a half smile. “Thank you Admiral, I shall endeavor to control my temper and hope I never give you any cause to be on my “bad side.””
The admiral smiled. “Go on Captain. go and celebrate.”
As the door slid shut behind her 3 let out a long sigh. Celebration is irrelevant she thought. There was a time before, before, being ”borg” she would have… As it was, she had few friends at the academy.. Very few people wanted to hang out with an “X” borg. She decided she would celebrate by watching an old earth video series called “Battle Star Galactica” And perhaps she would replicate a bottle of Chateau Picard to celebrate by herself..
As the great Ambassador Spock once said, she thought to herself: “There are always possibilities.”
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