Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 131
06-30-2011, 08:34 PM
The Checkpoint

The checkpoint was moving slowly. It was a gray day, overcast, but the heat and humidity were inconsistent with the shade. The inversion layer kept everything bottled up. A violent thunderstorm could be on them in a moment, turning the dry road into a quagmire in minutes.

Major Armstrong was sitting on the fender of an armored personnel carrier, reclined back with his cap pulled low over his eyes, kicking one leg lazily over the dust-caked treads; for all the world to see, just a bored officer stuck with drek duty, wiling away the day. Why was he here? He knew they were thinking, when they gave him any thought at all. These groups usually had a SNCO in charge not a commissioned officer, and certainly not a Major.

The soldiers twenty feet away at the barricade, which looked more like several bike racks that someone had wound razorwire around, paid him little mind, busy with their own duties. They were in two groups of three. The six of them had set up two lines to try and get more people through quicker but the lines blurred together into one big clot after a hundred feet.

One checked IDs. Another scanned luggage and clothes with a hand-held metal detector and explosives sniffer. The third, a specialist, administered a quick blood test for the worst communicable diseases going around; sliding the samples into a desktop scanner, which was balanced precariously on what looked like an old card table. The results, about 30 seconds later, were accompanied by a chirruping that culminated in a musical tone. High pitch, you can proceed. Low pitch, you turn back or move to the side while a corpsman re-checked your vitals and paperwork but it was generally for naught. Disease could spread like smoke on the wind and nobody wanted to be responsible for another outbreak in the refugee camp down the road. They’d dug enough graves in this conflict already.

A pair of dogs, a burly Alsatian and a sleek Doberman pulled at their leashes straining to taste the array of foreign scents. Their handlers kept firm hold and were mindful to look where the dogs looked and took note of bulky packages or irregular body silhouettes. Behind them four more soldiers stood with their rifles held across their bodies or at waist level. Two had regulation assault rifles, the third a salvaged enemy weapon, some kind of AK judging by the “banana clip” and wooden stock, and the fourth a nasty-looking shotgun, matte-black with a full-length tubular magazine and underslung flashlight with IR filter.

The people trying to get through were at once varied and depressingly the same. All races and classes were represented but they all had the same worn look to them on their clothes and their faces. And their souls… Armstrong added mentally, then rebuffed himself for romanticizing the situation. Just another POS day in another POS country. What was it even called? It had more letters than he had patience and its pronunciation varied from dialect to dialect (of which there were at least 20 that he knew of). He pursed his lips in annoyance. This was no life for a soldier. Peacekeeper, he thought derisively, over armed bureaucrats is more like it. These people just want out; to get to the camp and away from the hell that their homeland had become.

They’d been at this for almost a month. Processing refugees was arguably one of the most boring duties and your mind could wander very easily if you were not careful. Jarek had begun to string the disjointed tones of the medical scanner into some kind of abstract musical work, when a low tone he had not heard in several years, snapped him to full awareness.

Barely moving his head, his eyes scanned over to where the specialist with the medical scanner was seated. He was arguing with a man in worn, ill-fitting fatigues; lots of soldiers had thrown down their weapons and joined the refugees, so this in and of itself was not unusual. Jarek took stock of the man’s appearance. He was lean and well-muscled, though he was trying to hide that with his baggy jacket. He had a healthy cast to his handsome face unlike the other refugees whose faces were drawn with despair and malnutrition. The fire in his eyes was one of indignation, not desperation.

“Run the test again! I have not been sick a day in my life!” the man said imperiously in heavily-accented English. Jarek’s eyes narrowed.

“Sir, please step over to the corpsman and he’ll get you sorted out. You are holding up the line and we have a lot of people left to process today.” The corpsman had joined the specialist at the scanner and managed a benign, if tired, smile at the upset man. “This way, sir, if you please,” he gestured off to the side.”We’ll get this figured out and get you on your way,” he finished in a placating tone.

“Don’t you patronize me, you simpering fool! Run the test again!” The man stuck out his hand. The corpsman nodded to the specialist, who swabbed the man’s finger with alcohol and readministered the test. The same ugly, low tone resulted. “Outrageous!” bellowed the man, throwing up his hands. One of the soldiers who had taken note of the disturbance, moved slowly over to where the others were standing, his shotgun held low in a non-threatening but readied posture.

Jarek Armstrong had spent most of the 90s in this or that shadow war; dirty little secrets that the government felt John and Jane Q. Public were happier not knowing about. He hadn’t made many friends, explaining his current assignment, but that experience gave him knowledge these soldiers didn’t have. Like how that innocuous little blood test also checked for certain genetic markers. Markers that weren’t supposed to exist anymore…not outside of the cryolabs in the CDC and NIH. He couldn’t believe they’d found one here of all places.

The angry man backhanded the corpsman, sending him flying. He lunged forward with astonishing speed, snatching the shotgun from the nearby soldier, flipping it around and unloading a blast into the soldier’s chest. The specialist came quickly to his feet with his sidearm drawn but was subdued with a spinning kick to his temple; he collapsed in a heap. In just under three seconds, three men were down, possibly dead.

“Augment!” Jarek screamed, then realized that term didn’t mean a whole lot to most people as the man fired two shots into the air, roaring at the top of his lungs, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. “Uber!” he corrected, “Uber!” gambling that the slang terminology might get the desired response.

The checkpoint erupted in chaos, people running this way and that with panicked screams. The other three man team was swept away with the crowd. The two dogs were loosed. The Doberman went for the throat, the Alsatian decidedly lower. The augment brought the barrel of the shotgun down, knocking the Doberman away but losing his grip on the weapon, while he brutally kicked the Alsatian away. The handlers brought up their sidearms but dared not fire into the crowd.

Jarek had been off the AFV’s fender and running as the third soldier had fallen. He shoved past a man in a crumpled and mud-stained business suit but was almost knocked down by a crazed woman swinging her suitcase in a bid to escape the crowd.

He could not make the man out in the flurry of the crowd. The other soldiers had their rifles at their shoulders and Jarek knew that he was about to lose control of the situation. “No! No! Do not fire until you have a clear shot! That is an order!” he barked. If one of them fired, they all would and things would turn into bloodbath. He knew this was what the augment wanted. In the confusion, he would slip into the camp and lose himself among the thousands there. This had to be stopped now.

“That’s right! Run away, freak! I laugh at your so-called superiority!” bellowed Jarek. Play on his ego, wound his pride. That’s as much a part of them as their strength or speed. He didn’t have long to wait.

He saw the man’s head rise from the crowd, like a lion rising from the tall grass on the savannah. He was looking right at Jarek. Heard me with those perfect ears of his, no doubt.

With a fluidity that belied the bulk of his frame the man knifed through the rapidly-thinning crowd towards Jarek. He was on him in a moment and swung a backhanded fist at his head. Jarek dove under the strike toward the man, tackling him at the waist. He would have knocked most opponents to the ground with that move, but he only staggered the augment, who dug his heels into the ground and then brought a knee painfully up into Jarek’s chest. He grabbed the front of Jarek’s uniform and pulled him up to eye level, head-butting him.

Jarek flailed his arms to get free and staggered back, drawing his pistol. The augment narrowed his eyes as Jarek's finger tightened on the trigger. He was suddenly in front of Jarek and knocked the pistol from his hand with a casual blow. Jarek’s whole arm was numb with the impact. Sensing he was off-balance, the other man stepped halfway past Jarek, placed him hand on Jarek’s chest and pushed hard while simultaneously sweeping his leg backwards. Jarek was thrown to the ground hard and his breath left him explosively.

“Finally, you are in your proper place. At my feet,” the augment said with a look of contempt on his face.

The next thing Jarek heard was the roar of automatic gunfire as the augment was thrown back. He fell to the ground and did not move. Several soldiers moved past Jarek and surrounded the augment on the ground; one nudged the augment’s leg with his boot. Another soldier moved into his field of vision, “We got him, sir. You kept him tied up long enough for the crowd to disperse, then we had our shot. Helluva risk you took there!” The darkness closed on him then.
-----
“Thank you, Mister Armstrong,” the instructor said, making a notation on his PADD, “a most interesting insight into the chaotic events of the early 21st century. Top marks!” Applause filled the room, punctuated by a few cheers. The instructor motioned for silence. “Next up we have…”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 132 Ihnoc's Academy Challenge
07-01-2011, 06:30 AM
“A challenge at the academy huh? Well my graduation wasn't so long ago for me or much of my crew. I did pretty well in Xenolinguistics and the various tactical courses. Academically my only real failing was some of the temporal mechanics lessons where I tended to create paradoxes with my solutions. In fact, that was part of the problem. The Prime Directive was my biggest issue at the Academy, including it's temporal variant.”

“You see, every cadet goes through the same training as a Starfleet officer on the directive. But we all perform differently and react to it in all kinds of different situations. You've heard about Picard and how many times he bent the rules. The way I saw it at the Academy, if Picard went on to become a long time captain and ambassador with all those transgressions, why couldn't I?”

“Anyway, eventually we had a practical exam on the directive concerning first contact with a world that needed our seismic technology to stop the planet from falling into itself. The pre-contact reports from officers who had done research on the culture suggested they were on the cusp of their first flight and only a government decision would allow it. Time is running out and the government decides not to go ahead with the flight.”

“So this simulation, which they dressed up as very real, puts me at a dilemma. I don't know what the rest of my class did but I always guessed they meta-gamed it and left the planet alone for the 7 billion inhabitants to die. I took that test 5 times and while it was no Kobayashi Maru, I always failed by initiating the contact anyway. Eventually they passed me for “determined resolve” and I managed to graduate. I still bend the directive. At least now I have the chance to actually do some good, rather than change some variables.”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 133 Candidates...
07-04-2011, 07:14 PM
Candidates

..After another successful mission in Gamma Orionis, Captain Tenebrae and his Vulcan First Officer, Vol, raised their glasses in the usual celebratory manner. At the same time they both uttered the same toast.
.."...absent friends."
..Tenebrae pursed his lips as the drink slid down his throat, removing several layers of tissue in the process he presumed.
..“That last mission reminded me of my entrance exam for Starfleet Academy.”
..“Indeed Captain from what you have told me, it was quite similar in many respects.”
Tenebrae glanced out of the window in his quarters at the other ships in the Battle Group Omega Fleet. Thinking about the thousands of officers out there and began to reminisce.

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

..Shuttlecraft Orleans touched down gently on one of the landing pads at the Relva VII starbase. Tenebrae stepped off last, looked over to Vol and grinned.
..“We made it. Well this far at least, by this time tomorrow we could officially be Starfleet Cadets.”
..“Indeed,” Vol tugged uncomfortably at his collar, “however, I do not believe you replicated the correct size uniform for me. It is proving…distracting.”
..Tenebrae laughed, shaking his head.
..“Don’t worry Vol, I’m sure it’ll loosen up in no time.” His smile quickly vanished as he noticed the other two candidates, Desira an attractive Betazoid female and Choto a rather nervous looking Saurian male, quietly standing to attention. He turned his head slowly to see a stern Caitian Officer stood before them, staring disapprovingly at him.
..“Are you two quite finished?” the Caitian asked, without waiting for a reply he continued. “My name is Lieutenant M’Larr and you are here because you want to be in Starfleet. You are here because someone thought you could make a difference out there. You are here to prove that to me and to yourselves. The process will begin shortly, please make your way to the examination area and I will be along shortly.” Lieutenant M’Larr began walking away but suddenly stopped, turning to look at Tenebrae and Vol, still tugging at his collar, “as far as you two are concerned I shall be keeping a close eye on you.” He turned once more and vanished into a nearby Turbolift.
..“Great, thanks Vol. I’ve been here two minutes and already I’ve been reprimanded…”
..“I fail to see how my insufficiently fitting collar was the cause of such merriment on your part. You replicated it therefore you are the cause of your own reprimand.” Tenebrae threw an arm over Vol’s shoulder and ushered him towards the examination area. “Vol, my friend, I’m guess I’m going to have to explain sarcasm to you one more time.”

..The first set of exams were over surprisingly quickly, Tenebrae felt quite confident he’d done well. Vol was his usual, calm, Vulcan self. As they all made their way to the Turbolift to the lower floors for the next set of examinations, they discussed their individual performances until the voice of Lieutenant M’Larr sounded from the internal communication system, “we apologise Candidates, the Turbolift is out of order, we will have to beam you to your next examination. Please remain still and prepare for transport momentarily, due to some odd power fluctuations we will have to transport you one at a time to your destination.” Within seconds the four candidates disappeared in the shimmering glow of the starbase’s transporters.

..Tenebrae transported into what he at first assumed was a storage room but soon realised he was in a disused Auxiliary Communications Room. Not long after, the other three cadets beamed in one by one. Looking as confused as he had been the others looked round the room trying to figure out their location.
..“Why are we here?” Desira asked, “shouldn’t we be in the Science Lab.”
..“I don’t know Desira. What I do know is that we’re in an old communications room, I’ve only been here for a few seconds longer than y…” Tenebrae was cut off mid-sentence by alarms sounding. He looked at his friends, “…that can’t be good.”
..The voice of Lieutenant M’Larr once again sounded from the internal communication system, “This is Lieutenant M’Larr, Borg Drones have transported into the starbase. All Officers report to the Armoury and defend your sections, candidates are ordered to seal yourself into the Auxiliary Com Room and wait for rescue, I repeat, you must not leave your current location and you must wait for rescue. They have already destroyed the U.S.S. Marlowe and disabled our Primary Subspace Communication Relay and most of the critical systems. We are trying to restore them now but we are having no…Wait what was that noise? Guard that door! They’re breaking through…*WE ARE THE BORG, YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED. YOUR BIOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL DISTINCTIVENESS WILL BE ADDED TO OUR OWN. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE *…stop them! We have to…” The comm turned to static and cut off.
..“Oh no, this is horrible. Not the Borg…” Desira grabbed onto Choto and sobbed gently, “I don’t want to be assimilated!”
..“Calm down Desira, that’s not going to happen.” Tenebrae looked her straight in the eyes and in a calming tone said, “we’re going to call for help, but first let’s seal these doors.”
..Vol looked at the map of the base on the wall, “There is an Armoury just down the corridor. I will go get some Phasers.” Tenebrae nodded and Vol raced out of the room, returning minutes later with one hand Phaser and a half-charged Compression Phaser Rifle. “I could only get these, they were in their charging stations, the rest of the weapons were locked away securely.”
..“Then they’ll have to do.” Tenebrae threw the hand Phaser to Choto, “quickly, use that to weld the doors shut, try to use as little power as possible, we’re going to need it.”
..“O…Ok,” Choto replied, nervously focusing the beam along the door seams.
..“Vol, work on getting the Subspace Communications back up, we need to get a message to Starfleet. You may only get a few seconds before they block the new frequency so send it when you can.”
..“Agreed,” Vol ripped the cover panel from the console and began switching out Isolinear Chips.
..“Desira, I need you to get us some eyes out there. We need internal sensors to track the Borg advance.”
..Desira stopped sobbing, nodded and began working on the internal sensors system. After a few unsuccessful attempts Desira shouted to Tenebrae, “I have minimal coverage restored, we have several Borg Drones on this floor.” She breathed in sharply and said in a panicked tone, “they’re coming this way!”
..“I won’t have Subspace Communications working for at least three minutes Tenebrae,” Vol said, ”we have to slow them down.”
..“The door is sealed, but I doubt they’ll hold back the Borg long enough.” Choto stepped back from the door.
..“Ok find some cover Choto and keep that Phaser pointed at the door. Don’t forget to remodulate if they adapt, I’ll try to distract them, maybe I can buy you some more time.” Tenebrae grabbed the Compression Rifle and ran over to a console in the corner, “keep working until the last minute possible, good luck.” Before anyone could object, he accessed the Emergency Transport System and beamed himself into the corridor behind the Drones. He instantly fired at the Borg in front of him taking out four of them in quick succession. He had to remodulate twice to take out a further two of the Drones before the Rifle’s power gave out. The remaining Drone turned to face him tilting its head slightly as if it was reassessing the threat level. As the Drone marched on him he heard Desira shout through the door.
..“We did it! We got through help is comi….” Without warning, the Secondary Communication Room exploded. He recognised it immediately as a Borg Cutting Beam. They’d locked onto the communication source as soon as the message was sent.
..“Noooooo!” Tenebrae’s heart sank. His stomach twisted and anger built within him at the deaths of his friends. He looked the remaining Borg Drone in the eyes, “go ahead. Assimilate me. Starfleet is coming and you’ll soon be dust and rusting parts.” The Drone seemed to hesitate for a second before continuing towards him. It grabbed him by the throat and pushed him against the wall. Tenebrae closed his eyes waiting for the pain of assimilation to come. Even as he faced his ‘death’ the knowledge the Borg were about to be wiped out, made him smile as he heard the Drone speak one last time.
..RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!"

CONTINUED…..
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 134 Candidates... (Continued)
07-04-2011, 07:15 PM
CONTINUED…..

.."Computer, end program."
..Upon hearing those words, Tenebrae slowly opened his eyes in time to see the Borg and the room fade away replaced by an older model Holodeck. He recognised the voice as Lieutenant M’Larr’s.
.."That was your final test candidate. And I'm happy to say you have passed."
.."Seriously?" Tenebrae looked stunned, "I..uhh…Thank you, Sir?"
.."Don't thank me...Cadet. You should be proud, Starfleet is lucky to have you." M’Larr smiled.
..“Lieutenant M’Larr can I ask, how did I pass? I caused the deaths of Vol, Desira and Choto by ignoring your orders, or I thought I had at least.”
..“Cadet Tenebrae, your greatest fear is being responsible for other people’s lives, in this simulation you proved that under pressure you are willing to make tough calls in some cases you will have to ignore direct orders if the greater good is threatened. You made the right choice, you had no idea whether or not the Command Staff were incapacitated or dead. Your actions would have ultimately saved the base and those still alive. You proved that if the situation called for it you were willing to place your crew in dangerous situations. If you desire to become a Starship Captain, which I highly recommend for you, then you will have to make those sorts of calls on a daily basis. You will be responsible for hundreds of officers and sometimes you will lose a crew member. It is the unfortunate burden of a Starfleet Captain but a necessary one all the same. You will make a fine Officer and, I believe, a fine Captain eventually.”
..“So I take it my classmates were not really in there?”
..“No, your classmates each had their own ‘test’. They are waiting for you in the recreation lounge, I suggest you go and join them, I’m sure you all have stories to share.”

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

..“Captain? Are you feeling ill? You seem to have gone rather quiet,” Vol enquired.
..Tenebrae snapped out of his dreamlike state and looked at him. “I’m fine thanks, just thinking about old times. One more for the road?”
..Vol nodded as he picked up the glass, closely inspecting the blue liquid it contained. “I have to ask, is this beverage what I believe it to be Captain?” They both took their second drink.
..“Romulan Ale,” Tenebrae responded, shuddering.
.."Hmm, I thought as much. It has an intriguing colour and flavour, not unlike what I expected it would taste like. However, I must report this serious infraction of Starfleet Regulations regarding the ownership of Illegal substances on a Federation Vessel." The Vulcan First Officer sat silently for a few seconds then raised an eyebrow, his mouth giving the slightest hint of a smile.
..“Humour, Vol?” Tenebrae asked.
..“Sarcasm, Captain.” Vol replied.
..“I see we still have some work to do…”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 135 What Are Friends For?
07-05-2011, 06:23 AM
Late 2367

Cadet 2nd Class Tyhla Phell’s review for her Communication and Sensor Systems final came to an abrupt end as her roommate stormed into their shared bedroom, tossed the PADD she was carrying onto the table with enough force to send it and several of the others stacked precariously there clattering to the floor, and dove headfirst into the bunk below her. The young Andorian set aside her notes on standard lateral sensor configurations and peered curiously over the edge of the bunk. “So how did it go, Alex?”

In response, Cadet 2nd Class Alejandra Romero buried her face in her pillow and screamed in frustration.

Tyhla winced and flattened her antennae back against her skull. “It can’t possibly have been that bad!”
Alejandra rolled over with a groan and avoided making eye contact with her friend. “I swear Professor Brandt has had it in for me since class began… If I follow instructions exactly, she gives me demerits for not being flexible. If I try to show some initiative, she gives me demerits for not following orders!” She covered her face with her hands. “I’m going to have to repeat Starship Helm Control. I just know it. This’ll put me back a whole semester; it’s a prerequisite for half the classes I was going to take in the spring!”

As Alejandra rolled over on her side and began punching her pillow in frustration, Tyhla hopped down from her bunk and perched on the edge of Alejandra’s mattress. Placing a reassuring hand on her knee, Tyhla glanced out the door into their squad common room where two other members of Grey Squadron were unwinding with a game of kal-toh. Z’Tuq glanced up from the game and caught her eye with a questioning look. Tyhla shook her head slightly, and the large Klingon turned his attention back to the game, at least for the moment. After a moment’s quiet thought, Tyhla tried to reassure her friend.

“There are plenty of things you can do, Alex. You can make up lost ground over the summer. Or appeal to the faculty senate to waive the prerequisites while you’re retaking it…”

There was a quiet hiss as the entrance to the common room opened to admit Reittan Stadi and Abar Laikan, the two most boisterous members of Grey Squadron. They were talking excitedly with each other and, when they noted the door to Tyhla’s room was open and both its occupants were present, they quickly made their way over to lean against the door frame and join them.

“Is it true what’s going around campus?” Abar asked in a tone of mixed astonishment and awe. “That during your final you flew an Excelsior-class starship out of Spacedock at full impulse and 90-degrees roll while the space doors were closing?”

Tyhla’s glare at the interruption, originally set for heavy stun, faltered in surprise as her mouth dropped open. “What?!?”

“In simulation,” Alejandra objected defensively. “Professor Brandt said I had to the count of ten to be ready to go to warp, and you know what would happen if you engaged a warp drive inside Spacedock…”

Abar threw back his head and laughed. “That is absolutely insane! I didn’t think it was possible. Hell, I heard a couple professors discussing it while crossing the quad, and they didn’t think it was possible."

Alejandra’s face began a slow transition to scarlet. “Madre de Dios, is it all over campus already?”

Reittan just grinned. Abar made a noncommittal gesture before teasing, “all over campus would be a bit much. If you run quickly, you can probably beat the rumors to the transporter hub.”

“If there is any mercy in this universe, I’ll never emerge from the pattern buffer,” Alejandra groaned.

“It’s not as bad as all that, Alex,” Reittan said, his attitude suddenly sobering up. He entered the room to seat himself on the floor next to the bunk. “You accomplished what you were ordered to do, right?”

Alejandra nodded silently.

“You didn’t damage the ship or Spacedock in the process, right?”

Alejandra began to open her mouth, but Reittan cut her off before she could object to his line of reasoning. “At least no damage more serious than scraping a little paint off, right?” Alejandra nodded again. “And you weren’t actually failing the class going into the final, were you?”

Alejandra shook her head. While she hadn’t been doing nearly as well as she felt she should have based on previous course work, she had been passing the class... barely.

“Then I don’t hear anything that makes me think you should fail the final, and you can’t go into the final passing the class, pass the final, and fail the course. I’ve taken most of my required basic mathematics courses, so I’m sure of it.”

Reittan saw the brief flicker of a smile cross Alejandra’s face. “Alex, people aren’t talking about it in the way spectacular failures get talked about.”

“They’re talking about it the same way they talk about the other crazy exploits of Grey Squadron,” Abar said as he stepped into the room himself.

Reittan glanced at Abar and nodded in agreement before turning back to Alejandra. “And while I did hear Nick Locarno outside Kirk Hall bad-mouthing the story to everyone within earshot, it was fairly obvious how jealous he was.”

“How do you know that?” Alejandra asked.

Reittan tapped his forehead. “Betazoid, remember? That much emotion coming off a guy, I can’t help but pick up on it.” He smiled reassuringly. “He wouldn’t be that worked up if it weren’t a seriously impressive display of skill.”

The other members of Grey Squadron had gathered quietly around the doorway. Vomek stood in the background with typical Vulcan stoicism. Z’Tuq entered and spoke up gruffly before the pause could become uncomfortable. “Come. Everyone is done with their exams for the day. We will take you to QeHlaq pach to drown your sorrows in bloodwine and sing Klingon Opera off-key.”

Alejandra smiled but shook her head. “No. Some of us still have exams to take tomorrow, and a hangover of that magnitude won’t help me. Or a few others I can think of. But as soon as they’re all done, you’re on.”

She slid off her bunk and walked over to pick up a bag from one of the chairs. “I’m going to head to the athletic center and run until I’m too tired to care about it anymore.” The members of her squadron parted to allow her to pass. As Alejandra reached the door, she turned to give them all a grateful smile.

“Thanks, guys. I’ll see you in a few hours.”

As the door hissed shut behind her, the other members of Grey Squadron stood looking at the door for a moment before turning to other activities; Tyhla returned to reviewing her notes while Abar and Reittan retired to their room, discussing the odds of various other squadrons taking top honors for the semester.
Vomek turned to Z’Tuq as the common room emptied. “Logic dictates that there is time for me to kick your butt at kal-toh at least twice more before dinner.”

The Klingon laughed. “We shall see, Vulcan.”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 136 Test of Time
07-06-2011, 05:53 PM
Test of Time
Some memories can never really die,
no matter how deep you try to bury them or why,
you cannot just let sleeping dogs lie.

........The earliest memories I have slip through the cracks of the walls put up by the hive mind… up until last night the earliest memory I had was of chasing the collective after they murdered members of my family & assimilated my sister, only to be held in custody by my own people, attacked by a presumed ally, & caught with our proverbial pants down by a desperate borg hail Mary. Now, I am feeling signs of complacency from the memories of the life I no longer deserve to claim as my past; now that I have betrayed everything I believe I try to forget it all.

........I can never make up for the atrocities I was forced to commit, therefore I have abandoned whatever I was in life before to become a reborn individual. The bloody wounds of the past haunt me as the echoes stir in the gaping hole from whence my conscience was surgically extracted... separated only by a line of scar tissue that covers my sentiment with a thick, dull shield that protects me from any feelings I may have had in the life before. But there are unavoidable inherent traits that connect us, my former self & I; some bonds are just built stand the test of time.

........A far back memory returned to me in a dream this last night. I am walking down the halls of Starfleet Academy with my chin held high, though I was already taller than most humans at the academy, some even called me beanstalk. That was 5 outta 6, one more test to go; ironically my favorite class too so it will be fun & easy. I don’t remember the test, I figured if I ever remembered anything about my academy days it would be how nervous I was, but all that stands out in this instance was a conversation with my uncle, my most inspirational mentor. His words will resonate with me for the rest of my years. He was not one to underestimate fate, nor understate the obvious unavoidable truth.

={Psychology 209}=

........Several hidden heads snapped up from their drool session as their tables folded away beneath them, & they heard the loud trilling of the instructors daily concluding statements over the ringing of dismissal bells. Speaking of Trill…

The professor clears his throat, & speaks in a harsh tone with a John Cleese/Mark Twain type of mixed accent.


Geomrati: “Goodness gracious how time flies! Class dismissed, don’t forget your PADDs, you’ve all been transmitted a copy of your homework, you’ll see... this month’s project will be of a more interpersonal nature, you will be focusing on social disorders; so I'll be expecting you to warm up to someone whom you think has or might have had a social aversion & get their permission to do an interview. I know the year is almost out but no matter how much I demand of you, the workload Starfleet will ask of you will be ever-greater! Now go on get busy cadets look alive. Oh, & do take care not to let their depressing positions on life affect you psychosomatically; those who pay attention in class know what I mean, the rest of you can find out in 5 seconds anyway just like everyone else in the galaxy… *sigh*”

“So now, what sounds forward to men & backward to every other gender?“ I riddled him.

Geomrati: “I thought I said class dismissed, that means get outta my hair McKormack!”

“My aren't we cranky in our old age... Oh but you know this one, it is so simple a child could figure it out. Honestly I could pick one of several answers that are on display out there for the world to see. In fact, you were the one who originally told it to me!”

Geomrati: “Always so stubborn. Since when have we covered role-reversal in class?”

“Oh I’d say about… last week, & two weeks before that… You often forget that you teach us things more than once, but we always cover enough for each course & make up the rest on our own time so we have enough time in class to just do nothing.”

Geomrati: “What’s there for teachers to do anymore…? Aha, but of course now that I know I’ll have to pay more attention & crack down on y’all! Hey why aren’t you worried they’ll tear you apart for telling me?”

“Because I’ve told you once per trimester & you always forget within a day, it washes away with your other lifetimes.”

Geomrati: “Oh, aye… can’t blame anyone for having lived too long. It does all sort of start to blend together whenever my hosts get older. But I’ll be back in a few months with a new host, & a new outlook on the past & future. Walk with me, it's getting stuffy in here, I need some fresh air to ponder your riddle.”

“Oh fine I’ll just tell you so you can think of me & laugh instead of stress over some dumb joke – you really shouldn’t be out of the hospital to begin with, I could call them up, I’m sure they feel the same way…“

Geomrati: “Ok ok you win you win; I’m not going to spend my final moments encased in 4 walls. I’ll be out here, in the gardens, in the fresh air. Hard to believe this used to be one of the most disgustingly polluted regions on the planet, & now it is among the cleanest on the globe. Besides… um… you would further insult my intelligence to just give me the answer. Oh, & one more thing, I don’t need to see you’re final to know you’re gonna pass. You stumped me with a simple mind game, in all my 9 lives I don’t believe anyone has ever come close to doing that.”

“Oh no you don’t get off that easy… I won’t be bribed out of my victory… *whispers the answer*”

Geomrati: “Offpt *scoffs*, how dare you! Yes yes yes yes & I would have remembered that, yes I would have if you would have just waited… a nano-secend!” His breathing becomes short, but at his age that is a pretty common & natural occurrence that not even the most modern of medical sciences can avoid, treat or prevent forever.

“Like you said: as the l-cars network spreads throughout the quadrants, now almost anyone can access nearly any bit of non-classified information at any time. You don’t just ask a person a question anymore, that’s what computers are for. On the spot is the only way to get a real human response nowadays! I’ll see you at this trimester’s Kobayashi Maru after-party!”

Geomrati: “I’m not human, but I take your meaning. I’ve been waiting my entire career in this life to hear someone say that. Just you wait, this time I’m gonna show you a drink you’ve never even heard of, then you will be, as they say: under the table! *hahaha-oh!”

“Mr. Geomrati?” Geomrati collapses to the floor grasping his throat.

Geomrati: “Ohhhh… *coughs* the host… *wheeze* is failing…”

“Mr. Geomrati? Hang in there… everything will be ok. *chirp* Aindreas to live support, contact the nearest EM & send them to our position, this is an emergency! Mr. Geomrati has…”

Geomrati: “*long exhale*”

“…expired…”Aindreas performs CPR & manages to resuscitate him as the med team chimes that they have arrived on site.

Geomrati: “Ohhh my head! *chokingly* Damnit boy do you have any idea how many times I’ve died? Being brought back is always more painful! Next time, let me rest until my next change will ya?”

“He yelps! He’s alive! Don’t bother thanking me, just remember me now that you’re actually going to live to see another host!” The medics rush in & check to see if he can be transported safely, which he cannot.

Geomrati: “Looks like I’m goin under the knife early… goodbye kid. Tell the rest of the kids I’m sorry I won’t be able to make it to the Maru bash this year…”

“I’m sure your absence will be deeply… felt…”

Geomrati: “Oh shut up already, you know they all hate me for experimenting on them, plucking & plunging into & from their meek little minds. You don't have to be a telepath to be able to read your students! *haha*”

“*haha* No, I don’t think it’s that. There is a difference, sir; between hate & respect. They know that you're gonna diagnose anyone that doesn't do this assignment with a social disorder! So we've come to this: at this point they are letting you test them, because they know they won't return empty handed.”

Geomrati: “Thank ye, lad. All I can ask of people, I s’pose I have earned it. You've always been my control group, now you're just as faceless & washed up as the rest o' them.”

“Ah yes, thank you that reminds me of one more thing I wanted to mention before they cart you off... it might be prudent to note that at times that respect may have been gained through fear & intimidation...”

Geomrati: “Oh, shut the %$# up, somebody get me the $%@# out of here! Have a nice life beanstalk.”

“See you in the next life, Mr. Mind.”

At the ceremony, they talked about my uncle like they knew him, but no one knew him like I did.

Consoling Voices: “We’re so sorry for your loss…You’re uncle was a good man & a great professor.”

Then when I returned it went something like…

Droning Voices: “Goodbyes always are the hardest… we think you handled that extraordinarily well, you have demonstrated sheer discipline in following the line of duty as an officer & a diplomat; welcome to the ranks, Starfleet!”

They pinned a new solid pip on my collar, I signed up with a freshly forming fleet of cadets that formed on the shore of the academy on graduation day; & next thing I knew five years had gone by.

I’ve flown both solo & side-by side,
I wore that wretched uniform with pride,
it may have been short but wow... what a ride!


Then it was time to say so long,
as the days of youth were now surely gone,
you need but only remain strong.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 137 enginnered chaos
07-08-2011, 01:59 PM
“Get away from that console you moron!”

Krovan straightened, banging his green hairless head on the thick matte metal of the replicators underside, causing a swarm of stinging fireflies to dance around his tired aching eyes.
The angry footsteps of the Sorno's head engineer vibrated towards him, despite the thick layers of fire retardant foam saturating the deck beneath his heavy booted feet.

Olgan was a violent drunk, the only time he was more vicious was when he was sober, or when his sleep deprived fumbling apprentice managed to foul up the ageing systems aboard the Sorno.
Recovering somewhat, Krovan began to slide out from under the console, rolling out of kicking range of the swaying old Orion, and raised his arms in a placating motion.

“Olgan, look...I only wanted to tune up the ..”

The fire alarm began blaring over the loudspeaker above, distorted and ear wrenching, partly because of the panic in it, partly because the speaker was hanging by its connecting wires, swaying in a slow circle.

Krovan looked up at the speaker, Olgan did as well, although he nearly fell backwards as he did so.

“You took the sealing collar off the speaker to rig the replicators connection plate?” he asked, one bleary eye squinting at the mess of wires overhead.
Krovan nodded, shuffled back a step, the foam on the floor making his footing unsure.

“And cut the fire safety cable by mistake, and set the ships alarms off, coating the entire bleeding scow's interior with this?”

He lifted a foot, shaking the foam off his boots, and then he did fall, flopping down to one knee, and slipped again as he managed to pull himself back up.

“the captain and officers were in the mess...all six of them, they took a double cut of rations from the crew..”

Krovan nodded again nervously, since the replicators went down anyone working below deck one had been eating less, and working more.

“And do the replicator repairs work now?”
His eyes were almost reptilian as they bored unto Krovan's.

“It only makes ice cream...”

Olgan began to laugh then, a big hearty bellow that rang across the Sorno's decks, along it's pitted old plating, through it's sagging ducting, and eventually up it's leaking ancient pipes, to the Officer's mess, only softening when it collided with the half ton of thick liquid foam, and the entombed Officer's within it.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 138 The Ghastly Truth
07-09-2011, 03:26 PM
“I can’t do this.” Kim said, sighing with frustration. She leaned back in her chair, skewing her lips angrily at the PADD in front of her and tossed her stylus onto the desk.

She brought her hands up to her face, and smoothed her fingers along her chiseled features, turning her eyes to Lieutenant Julienne Clemmings, who stat on the sofa a few feet a way.

The rehaired Starfleet officer turned and looked at hte third year cadet and rose, placing her book face down on the suede cushions. She turned her gaze to the bay windows of the high rise overlooking downtown Oakland, the lights of the city glittering into the night sky. Combat medicine had been an easy subject for her, but one that after tomorrow when she joined the crew of the USS Oregon, may be put to the test. It was astrometrics that had given her trouble initially. Julie had never been good with stellar cartography. Probably why she had chosen to be a security officer instead of a helmsman.

She turned away from the windows, grabbed the back of a mahogany-colored wooden chair opposite the desk from Kim, and brought it to the side of the desk. She sat down and took her hand, smiling at her lovingly.

“You’d think with as many injuries as I’ve had in my life that combat medicine wouldn’t be such a difficult subject. My last three tests, I thought I had everything right, and I don’t know what I’m missing. The final is tomorrow, and I just don’t feel like I have a grasp on it.”

“Did you read Captain Volek’s feedback?” She asked.

“I did. They were just answers to the questions I had missed. I did fine on the labs, but for some reason I just can’t seem to get past the tests. I should have gone into engineering instead of this. I’m a helmsman for goodness sake.”

“Engineers still have to pass combat medicine, and you are still a tactical officer, with valuable ground combat abilities. You can expect to be asked to go on away missions, especially when you reach that coveted senior officer or ship commander level.” Julie quipped.

“I think you are just less of a bookworm when it comes to this particular subject. Just try to visualize what you are doing, like you have one of the test dummies or an actual patient in front of you. I know you’re good at that.”

Kim sat forward in her chair, and squeezed Julie's hand.

“Thanks hon. I just feel like a failure.”

“You’re not, and I have faith in you, though your ability to ask for help leaves something to be desired. Now, give me a copy of your last test, and your study guide and we’ll go over it. This time, I want you to visualize the scenarios and not the text book.”

It was 0920, and the completed test had been with Captain Volek for the last twenty minutes. The wait was excruciating.

Kim stared at monitor on her desk, her eyes tracing the contours of the border around the screen, and then to her hand and the bright red band around the cuff of her dark uniform. Here she was a third year cadet, a budding tactical officer about to fail Combat Medicine. The most basic function for any Starfleet officer to have on ground, especially a tactical officer. She had narrowly dodged being held back in her first year because of the incident over Starfleet Command, and in her second year because of fractured bones in her face, and now she was going to get held back because she couldn’t pass Combat Medicine.

A sigh broke her musings and she looked over at Cadet Amy Wycleff, who stared at her monitor, suppressing a look of joy.

Murmurs began around her as other Cadets began to receive their final grades. Kim looked up at her own screen to see a little “C” flash on the screen. Passed! Kim exhaled slowly in relief.

=^=

“Wait a minute.” Captain Vaihuu e’Hvalli interrupted her mother’s tale, and looked at her, an amused smile stretching across the Romulan halfbreed's thin lips.

"Your role within the Fleet is combat support. You are a combat medic."

The look of amusement on her daughter's face caused Kim to begin to laugh, which triggered laughter from Vaihuu. The two sat, opposite each other, pitcher of Vulcan spiced tea on the coffee table between them, laughing for several minutes.

“Well, I would like to think that I have made up for it since then." Kim said, regaining her composure. "It was almost forty years ago."

“I suppose I shouldn’t be too discouraged about learning the helm then.” Vai said, looking down at her glass of tea on the table.

Kim smiled at the young science officer. "You can do anything, my dear, when you put your mind to it. We should, however, talk to Commander Kala about the streak of red paint on the port nacelle.”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Hello and welcome to our writers challenges!

Today we start the slightly belated two-week run of the fifth Lit Challenge: Shards of the Mirror

Every Trek fan will know what happens if a Mirror is mentioned!
Write about your character's Mirror Universe Doppelgänger! To help us see the right mental image of your setting, please mention before you start your story on where in time your Mirror is showing:
  • TOS Mirror
  • DS9 Mirror
  • ENT Mirror
For all intents and purposes, we'll assume that TNG and VOY times as well as the "Right Now" we have are akin to the DS9 Mirror. The Terran Empire has been shattered and the greedy Terrans run a guerilla war to rebuild the empire; while the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance is hunting down the escaped slaves!


This is the writer's thread.
The Discussion Thread can be found HERE.
We also have an index page of stories HERE.




The rules may change from one to the other, but I'd like to give a quick recap each time. These may grow as we move on, so feel free to also give feedback!
  • Each Challenge will run for two weeks. For 2 weeks we will sticky a subject and have at it.
  • There are no right or wrong entries. If you write 500 words of 3000: Write what inspired you and what your thoughts on the topic are - with one tiny mention:
  • Please heed the rest of the forums' rules when submitting your story!
  • Each poster can have one entry per character. Feel free to edit you post however to fix typos, add stuff or remove stuff as you see fit during the next two weeks.
  • After two weeks time, the thread will be locked and unstickied. If you wish to write on this topic after this time, there will be a place for this in the "Latecomer" thread.
  • We'll have two threads: One to post the stories, one to discuss the stories. *I will allow cross-linking between these two threads!!*
  • I will index your story by name and title (if you have one) for future reference.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 140 Bob the Vengeful
07-11-2011, 07:52 PM
(DS9 Mirror)

"Report!" Bob yelled to his wife Angela of Borg.

"Shields are offline. Weapons are gone. We have minimal power to engines" she replied. Her captivity with the Borg was a short one. Bob rescued his wife from the Borg with the help of other Terrain rebels. The Borg, a more passive-aggressive group in the Mirror universe, barely put up a fight.

"Set a course for the Mutara Nebula. The Cardassians won't follow us in there," Bob ordered. He was right. As soon as the Terrain cruiser ISS Gurley made it into the nebula, the Cardassians broke off their pursuit.

As Bob looked over the damage reports coming in from all over the ship, he ordered, "Begin repairs. The Cardassian ship will go any moment so we won't have to hide here for long."

Their mission was success. Bob was able to plant a bomb on the main reactor of the Cardassian ship. But instead of destroying the ship, it would just shut down the reactor and blow a hole in the side. Without power, the ship would be unable to put up emergency forcefields. The crew will be sucked out into space.

They deserved it. After all that time fighting for independence, the Cardassians dealt a severe blow to the Terrain Empire. They attacked the Mars colony, killing Bob's family. Only his wife escaped the destruction. The only thing in Bob's heart now is revenge. Revenge for the killing of his family.

It took a while, but Bob finally found the Cardassian ship that destroyed the Martian Colony. And with one action, he would have his revenge. Revenge for those killed. Revenge for those maimed.

"Captain, sensors are back online. I'm detecting a large amounts of debris near the Cardassian ship as well as several bodies," reported the young Ensign.

"Thank you. That's what I wanted to hear." Bob sat back in his chair. A grin slowly came across his face as he thought about those Cardassians gasping for a breath that will never come. Hoping for a rescue that will never happen.

"Captain. Weapons are back online. But I'll need to engage in some target practice to get the targeting systems back online."

Bob's grin grew even bigger.
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