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Rihannsu
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 216
Bryan was just about to go down to the ship's lounge when his combadge chirped.

"Admiral Valot, go ahead." he sighed.

"Sir, you may want to get up here," Ibalei said, her voice taking a much darker tone than usual, "We've just arrived at the coordinates."

"On my way."

Bryan wearily stepped into the turbolift. When the doors opened, Justin, the ship's chief of security called out from the left of the lift "Admiral on deck!" and Ibalei moved from the central chair to the one immediately to the left as Bryan moved to sit in the one she had been in. As he sat down, something out the front window caught his eye. It looked vaguely like an Odyssey class, but he couldn't be sure.

"Athena, status?" He requested.

"One ship, similar in design to an Odyssey class, direct front sir." the AI responded.

"Anything else?"

"Negative, sir. Although, you may want to take a look at the name of the ship."

"Put it on the main screen."

The screen changed to reveal a dark grey hull, emblazoned with a name all too familiar to Bryan and the rest of the crew.

"The I.S.S. Minerva." Kerry Avalrez, the Athena's chief tactical officer, said, a touch of dread in her voice.

"Sir, they're hailing us." Ensign Aara called from the comms station.

Bryan steeled his gaze and straightened his uniform before calling out "Onscreen." He was met by none other than a darker version of himself, a long, jagged scar over the left eye, and a cruel grin on his face.

"Well well." The mirror cackled, "I would say that I'm surprised, but, knowing me, I'm not really."

"Cut to the chase." Bryan said tersely, "What do you want?"

"I have a...favor...to ask of you," he offered, "Do you mind if I meet you on your ship? Say, transporter room 2?"

"Fine. Beam over when I give the signal." He then signaled to his comms officer to cut the channel. "Kerry, you have the con. Aara, sound yellow alert. Thryiss, get weapons lock on the I.S.S. Minerva. Dwayne, prepare to begin evasive action if and when they start firing. Six, prepare to reverse polarity on the primary and auxiliary shields. Justin, get MACO teams to transporter rooms 4, 5, and 7. Get your combat gear and have your best team form up on me. Ibalei, follow me as well. Let's go look into the mirror."

The bridge echoed with a chorus of "Aye, sir's" as the crew responded to his orders. Bryan got up from his chair, grabbed his rifle from the Ready Room, and walked through the ship with Ibalei, Justin, and a few of the Athena's MACO troopers until we arrived at the transporter room. Around a minute later, his counterpart beamed in with two of his soldiers. All of the Athena's officers immediately leveled their weapons, targeting lasers dancing along their targets.

"Hand over any and all weapons you and your officers have." Bryan said coolly.

"Well, it's not like I need a rifle to kill you anyways." He said, as they all handed their weapons to us.

"You realize that includes the knife in your boot."

"How could you have-"

"I'm you, remember? Which reminds me, the teams you sent to transporter rooms 4, 5, and 7 have all been either detained or eliminated."

"Touche. Shall we get down to business?"

"Why not. Justin?" With that, the chief of security unleashed a hail of phaser bolts from his minigun, which had been set to stun for exactly this reason. With that, they dragged them out of the room and into the brig.

*******

They finally awoke again about ten minutes later, and were mildly shocked to see how they had been treated.

"I'm not as...Idealistic as some of my fellow officers." Bryan said, as if reading their minds

"I can see that," his Mirror said, anger creeping into his voice.

"So, what did you want?"

"Hm? Oh, right. the...pardon me, OUR 1st Assault Fleet is preparing to lead a full scale offensive into your universe."

"And you're telling me this...Why?"

"Because I believe that it would be a mistake." He said, turning his gaze away.

"Give me the coordinates. We'll handle it." Bryan said, seeming to believe what his mirror had told him.

"Sir, You don't seriously think that-" Ibalei started.

"I know it's a trap." He whispered into her ear. "What I'm counting on is that he doesn't know that I've all ready figured it out."

"I see." She whispered back. "What are we going to do about it?"

"I'll tell you in a little bit," Bryan turned back to his mirror counterpart. "So? What are the coordinates?"

"You remember where the I.S.S. Stadi was deployed?" He responded.

Bryan sighed heavily. "You Terrans sure like your novel ideas, don't you," he muttered sarcastically. He stepped out of the brig and into one of the turbolifts to contact the fleet's leadership.

*******

Bryan stood with the leaders of the 1st Assault Fleet around the holographic display in the center of the U.S.S. Athena's Strategic Command Center as he briefed them on what he had learned.

"You're sure about this" Admiral Leyla Blaze, one of the two co-leaders of the fleet, asked cautiously.

"Yes, ma'am. Quite sure." Bryan responded calmly.

"And what's your plan?"

"Well, ordinarily, I'd say to engage them from two separate angles to guarantee that we catch them in a flank." Bryan pondered aloud as he moved the images of ships around the tactical display, "However, seeing as how this battle will be basically against myself, that won't work. Now, the primary counter to a pincer attack is a three pronged force, with one center force and two flanking forces. As a result, we need a counter to that tactic. The most effective method of countering that is an assault wall, with cruisers at the front, escorts behind them, and carriers and other support ships at the rear of the formation."

"Interesting idea Bry. And you're confidant that it will work?"

"Yes ma'am. I can totally eliminate them with a minimum of casualties and a fraction of the force any other fleet would ordinarily need. Say maybe around one-third of the fleet's full strength to guarantee victory."

"You'll have fully half of the fleet, including my ship, if you do not mind me assuming command of the task force."

"Not at all ma'am. As your XO, it's my duty to support you on the front line, which I will do.

"Very good. Have your ship form up with the rest of the fleet 1 Light-Year away in two hours."

"Right away, ma'am!" Bryan said, flashing a quick salute as he entered the turbolift to the bridge.

*******

"All ships, you are cleared to engage! Fire at will!" Leyla called from the U.S.S. Equinox, and the fleet moved forward to launch their full scale assault on their Mirror selves. The Terran forces, as had been expected, divided into three groups, while the prime forces stayed in formation, the Athena at the very center of the front line of cruisers and battleships.

"Sir, Terran forces are in firing range." Athena called out.

"Good. Thryiss?" Bryan said calmly.

" Aye sir!" She said. Not even a second later, the entire hull of the Athena lit up as her phaser banks lashed out against the night sky, Quantum torpedoes sped away from their tubes, and several panels opened along the hull, revealing an impressive array of defensive turrets.

The ferocity of the assault from the fleet caught the Mirror forces completely off guard, as multiple ships actually collided with each other attempting to take evasive maneuvers. Despite this, they recovered quickly, and they began coordinating their attack, attempting to make up for how far behind they had been at the end of the opening salvos. The Terrans began their counter-attack with a wave of fighters. Though this would have been an effective tactic against most fleets, as the heavy phaser banks of Starfleet vessels can't target fighters very well, they didn't count on one small advantage the Prime 1st Assault fleet had: Point Defense turrets.

"Sir, Terran fighters inbound." Athena called out.

"Activate defense grid." Bryan said with steely calm.

The Athena and several other Federation warships lit up the night sky with a series of tiny pulse phaser blasts. Suddenly, the Terran fighters exploded bright orange, illuminating the space between the two fleets. It was then that the Terrans unveiled their trap: just behind the entire squadron of fighters was an entire salvo of Tricobalt heavy torpedoes. But the Prime fleet had a counter for even that, as the cruiser wings peeled away, revealing the line of escorts just behind them. The Escorts charged their cannons, overrode standard targeting protocols, and opened fire, cannon blasts scattering into the wall of torpedoes. the few that made it through the onslaught were easily absorbed by the shields of the cruisers which had maneuvered back into the formation.

The battle quickly descended from a well coordinated and organized artillery duel into a vicious and bloody melee, ships jockeying for position in a dance both elegant and deadly at the same time. In what seemed to be the center of the fight, two sides of the same coin, a duel between gods took place. The Athena and Minerva, the same goddess under a different name, fought in an epic duel. Axial dual beam banks lashed out whenever one ship would get in front of the other, and phaser blasts ripped away from each ship's saucer and hull into the others. In the end, one ship stood victorious, though not without scars.

"Sir, the Minerva is going down!" Thyriss called from the weapons station.

"The Minerva is overloading a phaser bank!" Athena warned.

"Six! Reverse shield-" Bryan couldn't finish his sentence. A massive orange beam of light arced away from the Minerva as she exploded, ripping into the Athena, and striking her right in the torpedo magazine. The resulting detonation ripped through the bridge, causing significant damage to both ship and crew.

When he finally recovered, Bryan yelled out "Damage report!" but received no response. He was about to repeat the order, when he looked to the starboard side of the bridge, and realized why he had not been answered and his blood ran cold. Ibalei had been flung from her chair by the blast, and lay still on the deck. Even with several limbs clearly broken, her long, dark red hair randomly pulled from its customary ponytail, and bleeding from multiple puncture wounds and lacerations, the young Trill had never looked more beautiful.

"Ibalei!" Bryan yelled out, voice breaking. He quickly tapped his combadge and almost shouted "Medical team to the bridge! The first officer is down!" as he sat down next to her and held her head, desperately checking for a pulse.

*******

Bryan sat silently by the bed of starbase Nova Prime's medical lab, seemingly lost in thought. Ibalei lay there in front of him, still unconscious after three days.

"Syiseda," he said evenly as the Athena's chief medical officer entered the room, "how is she?"

"Stable, for now." The Betazoid responded, sensing his true feelings.

"Will she recover?"

She looked over sadly "That's up to her. Even our most advanced technology can only do so much."

Bryan sighed. "And the Athena?"

"Well, I'm no engineer, but even I can tell it's bad."

He sighed again.

"She loved you too, you know," She whispered into his mind.

"I know," he thought, "But thanks. It's nice to hear it from someone else."

At that, she walked out of the room, once again leaving Bryan alone with Ibalei. He got up and gently stroked her silent face, his hand running down the spots on right side of her head and down to her neck. He gently kissed her forehead and whispered "Good night, beautiful." as he turned to leave the room. However, as he began to walk out, he thought saw her eyes begin to flutter open.
Vice Admiral Bryan Mitchel Valot
Commanding officer: Odyssey class U.S.S. Athena
Admiral of the 1st Assault Fleet
Join date: Some time in Closed Beta

Last edited by ironphoenix113; 01-27-2013 at 12:42 PM. Reason: Final details added
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 146
# 12 Revenge for Lieutenant Parker
01-23-2013, 07:48 PM
In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended to by a bodyguard of lies.
- Winston Churchill

Kalandra Sector, Beta Ursae Block

Acting captain's log, supplemental. Now that I've summarized the status of the ship, it is time to get down to the details - how I ended up sitting here in Captain Carter's ready room. Five days ago we had an unusual situation...

---

An annoying beep interrupted T'Panna's skim reading of personnel logs. Glotz turned around with a stunned expression. "Captain, I am detecting subspace distortions nearby. Range: three hundred kilometers, bearing 127 mark 13."

"Shields up. Yellow alert. Captain Carter to the bridge. Turn to face the threat. Put it on the viewscreen."

Carter arrived about thirty seconds later. He must have been on his way back from the mess hall when I called for him, T'Panna thought to herself. Making us stagger our lunch to help hide our relationship has been lame. I miss the time with him, though he?s been good about making it up to me.

As she yielded the captain's chair to Carter, Glotz noted that Odyssey was being hailed. "On screen." Carter's voice was firm.

My God, they did it! Section 31 cloned us. T'Panna's hands balled into fists. Then she realized that the Carter on the screen had a scar on his left cheek and what looked like a raw blaster burn on his scalp. The background in the image looked odd too...

"Carter, I presume? I am also Carter, of the Terran warship Elegos. I spent a lot of time and money trying to hunt you down. I need your help."

The real Captain Carter stood up. "Ok, you look like me. But how do I know that you are from the Terran Empire? We've had a situation here that leads me to be suspicious of people who show up looking like me."

The Carter on the screen smiled. "That sounds very interesting. Maybe you can tell me about it while we go hunt down some Gorn. They killed my first officer, Travis Parker. I need to avenge his death. Will you help me?"

---

Four months ago

He was the first officer to be killed since her promotion to first officer. T'Panna knew that Parker wouldn't be the last. The problem was deciding whether to be impersonal (so the deaths wouldn't hurt as much) or a real human being and hurt every time an innocent person met an untimely death.

Carter stood at the front of the gathering, and it was clear that he was holding back tears. He raised his head and continued to read from his prepared remarks. "Times like this make me hate being a captain in Starfleet. We aren't allowed to hunt down and kill the Orion pirates who murdered Lieutenant Parker in cold blood during a routine planetary survey. All I can say is that Parker embraced the ideals of the Federation...and I hope that his murderers will one day come to justice. Honor guard, commence with the funeral."

---

T'Panna broke the silence. "Why should we believe you? I doubt we were the easiest people to find. Are you out of mercenaries in your universe?"

The mirror Carter shook his head. "You don't understand just how intertwined our realities have become. Ships move back and forth so freely these days...so when we ran across an Orion trader that mentioned being chased by a Federation captain named Carter, I knew that finding you would be the best course of action."

---

Carter and I argued about his decision all the way from the bridge to Shuttlebay One. Then security chief Hillel jumped in on my side. We didn't know what was going on, but something didn't feel right.

The mirror Carter offered too much - in exchange for our help avenging the death of his first officer, Commander Tyler Parker, he would give us information to lead us to the Orions responsible for the death of our Lieutenant Parker. The story was that the Orions who killed our Parker are actually smugglers of scientific goods and managed to get themselves into a tangle with the Terrans. Mirror Carter heard them tell of an escape from an irritable bald guy who looked kind of like him.

I still thought it was a trap.


When Hillel and Ensign Wedemeyer went to the back of the runabout, Carter leaned in and whispered to T'Panna. "He knows about our relationship. While you were doing the pre-flight check, he took me outside and explained how he figured it out. But don't worry; he's not going to report us. "

T'Panna looked doubtful. "Why not?"

"He wants to cut a deal that's a little bit outside of his jurisdiction. He has evidence that points to Alice, our photonic librarian, as the Section 31 mole. I haven't seen it yet, but I trust his judgment. Her portable emitter is onboard, and he's convinced me that we can't turn her on until we return and he gets to interrogate her."

"But she's a sentient being. This is a clear violation of her rights."

"A violation? Yes. But this is war." Carter swiveled his chair around and pretended to focus on some meaningless readout.

---

Our runabout, the
von Laue, was joined by the shuttle Retaliation in the chase. It took seventeen hours to reach the unnamed planet where the Gorn were. Then we waited for two days for them to leave. My doubts started to fade when all the Terrans wanted was for us to stay on our own ship and be the extra firepower.

The actual ambush was fairly simple. Mirror Carter hailed them, told them why they were going to die, and opened fire. I had a little bit of a breakdown and refused to open fire on an unarmed vessel. My Carter took the helm and fired the torpedo that gutted their ship.

A few minutes later the Terrans opened up the wormhole to our universe. That's when the real trouble hit.


T'Panna's eyes went wide. "They followed us back!" She turned around and saw Ensign Wedemeyer covering Carter's mouth with one hand and holding a knife into his ribcage with the other. Hillel lay on the floor unconscious.

"I'm sorry Commander, but I couldn't trust you with the truth. Don't stand up. No, stop fidgeting or the knife goes in deeper.

"This Carter is actually a clone. The real Carter is onboard the Retaliation. He planned this as a way to eliminate some terrorists and regain his command. Admiral Farber gave him this assignment."

T'Panna sagged her shoulders. Play along just a while longer. "Well, I guess that makes perfect sense...you sick, twisted..." Her words faded out as years of martial arts training kicked in. Wedemeyer was on the floor within two seconds.

---

Mirror Carter didn't react too well to me opening fire on his ship. Somehow I managed to knock off a warp nacelle with my first shot. I guess he thought that Wedemeyer could keep us under control.

Back on the
Odyssey, things got even more confusing. Hillel's evidence pointing to Alice as the Section 31 agent was obviously false. It appeared that Hillel was the agent, and Alice was the only one onboard smart enough to figure it out. So he set her up to take the fall. But, Hillel swore that he was unaware of Wedemeyer's scheme to take out our Carter.

Could Section 31 have two agents working independently? It is possible. But who is this mirror Carter? Under interrogation he admitted that the Gorn were actually the ambassador to Cardassia and his aide from our universe. Whoever was pulling mirror Carter's strings wanted them dead, so mirror Carter caught them and imprisoned them in the mirror universe. He had agents on the ground release their shuttle and let them fly into the trap.

Now I have the Carter I've been with daily for several months in sickbay and another Carter in the brig. One was mortally wounded but will recover; the other is morally warped and delusional. Oh and the delusional one confesses his love for me all the time.

What was supposed to be gained by this mayhem? It is possible that Wedemeyer could have incapacitated me and made the switch. Then we'd have a cloned Carter for a captain. Or maybe this was engineered to take our minds away from something else. Or maybe this is all meant to punish Carter for being a reluctant partner in Section 31's dirty work. What is the truth? Is it even uglier than all of these guesses?

Last edited by superhombre777; 01-23-2013 at 08:06 PM. Reason: inability to copy/paste from Word without rogue question marks!
Commander
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 394
# 13
01-24-2013, 05:47 AM
"We're on our way, Admiral." Jinx signed off her communication with Admiral Quinn and walked through to the bridge. "Helm, set course for Trill, maximum warp. It seems the Symbiosis Commission wants to see me."
"Aye, Sir."

Three days later, the U.S.S. Nightingale dropped out of warp in a high orbit around the planet, Trill.

"Mat, I shouldn't be too long, you have the bridge. Oh, if you want to run more weapons exercises like you did last time we were here, that'll be fine, but please make sure someone tells the Commission. We don't want their fleet paying us another visit. Got it?"
"Yes, Captain. Wait, Captain, we are receiving a hail. It's not coming from the planet, and there are no other ships in the area."
"On screen," Jinx ordered. A brief moment later, another Trill appeared on the viewscreen. It was male, yet there was something... familiar about him.
"Jinx, good to see you," he said with a smile, "Still wearing that old body? You should have got yourself a new one long ago. Hmm, I can see you still haven't worked out who I am yet. Honestly, I thought you were smarter than that. It's me! I'm you, just from a different place. Listen, as much as I'd like to sit and chat about our lives and how similar they really are, this isn't a social call. I need your help. Oh, wait, that's right... WE need your help. As in, all of us on Trill."
"Ok, before we go any further, let us clear a few things up. You are me, just from a different place?"
"Correct."
"Terran Empire place, or somewhere else?"
"Bang! You got it one! I'll put your mind at ease though, we are not allied with the Terran Empire."
"Wonderful," Jinx muttered, her quiet comment dripping in sarcasm. "Right, next... How did you get here? We've heard of these incursions from your universe a few times over the past few hundred years, most recently a year or two ago not too far from DS9. Never anything on Trill though."
"Oh, simple. We mastered the technology needed to jump between universes long ago."
"And, I suppose the most important part, what trouble is Trill in?"
"Oh, not Trill, Jinx, us. As in the symbionts on Trill. My Trill that is. Our slaves have decided they don't like us controlling their population to keep them in check, and they have started to rebel against us."
"Wait, what? Slaves on Trill? Since when?"
"Oh, it's been quite a few hundred years now, Jinx. We had this bond with the native humanoids on the planet for thousands of years, millenia, even, and then they started experimenting on us. Using the bonds we had with them, we overthrew them, and have dominated their society ever since.
"Now, we keep our slaves in small enough numbers for our purposes, but still enough to sustain a healthy breeding population, and when we need a new host, we simply take one.
"But, we have started to hear mutterings of discontent, so we have started looking at alternative solutions. This is where the Terrans come in. From the genetic research our slaves did on us centuries ago, we know it is possible to rewrite a being's genes to suit a particular environment or requirement. More recent studies show that these Terrans' DNA is fairly similar to our current host populations' DNA, and that with the right equipment and people altering it to make them compatible with us would be a fairly simple process.
"Unfortunately, the best person we know of is dead in this universe. Our spies reported that her counterpart in your universe followed a remarkably similar path through life to ours, ours was just unlucky. So, what do you say? Will you help your fellow symbionts protect their way of life? All you would need to do is track down a single Bajoran by the name of Miranda Dubort."

Jinx tapped a few buttons on her console as she considered what her mirror counterpart had said. As she opened her mouth to reply, a single word appeared on the console - Acknowledged.

"Miranda? I know her well. We were at Starfleet Academy together. What happened to her in your universe?"
"One of us encountered her on Bajor, and had her brought to Trill to help with some of the genetic experiments. It was her that gave us the idea of using the Terrans as hosts."

Jinx kept tapping as she listened to her mirror counterpart's explanation. Another 'Acknowledged' appeared on her screen.

"In this universe, Miranda is now a Captain in her own right, and she is never too far from Trill. How would I contact you once I had her?"
"You wouldn't need to. We would contact you."

Tap. Tap. Tap.
Acknowledged.

"Hmm, if you can detect an apparent casual meeting between two ships, you certainly don't need me to find her. Now, are you going to tell me what is really going on, or do I destroy you now?"

'Ready' flashed up on her console, closely followed by a few more lines stating the same thing.

"Destroy me? Why would you do that? It would be suicide. You'd be killing yourself. All we need is Miranda Dubort, and you can go back to your old memories and your precious Federation."
"No deal. Engage."

The silent orders the ship had been ferrying from console to console meant the crew knew exactly what they were doing. Within seconds, the ship had fully charged shields and weapons, and had come about to face an apparently empty patch of space.

"Fire." Jinx ordered.

There was an explosion about 5km off the Nightingale's prow. The viewscreen went dead.

"Captain," it was Vranlek. "Do you not agree that it was foolish of them to use their cloak at the same frequency we use ours? It made detecting them very easy."

Jinx ignored the question, instead turning to Henriette, her security officer, and the only member of her crew that knew her from her Academy days.

"It's hard to believe, Henri, that we could fall so low. Symbionts, taking slaves as hosts, and hosts as slaves."

"I know, Jinx. You've always struck me as one of the more honourable species in this crazy galaxy, "Henriette gave her a rather subdued grin, "Still, it was an opportunity to lose Miranda, and you go and screw it up... Again. Honestly."

Jinx shook her head, amused by Henriette's comment, but dismayed that even in a mirror universe, symbionts could consider such deeds, before turning her thoughts to the report she had to prepare for both Trill and Starfleet.

Last edited by bortjinx; 01-24-2013 at 05:54 AM.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 586
# 14
01-24-2013, 11:23 AM
Personal log: Tylha Shohl, officer commanding USS King Estmere NCC-92986

I look into the viewscreen and I try to keep a tremor out of my voice as I answer: "Well. Hello, me."

The strange-yet-familiar face breaks into a sly smile. "Quite," she says. "Hello. Now, about that favour -"

"Are we in a hurry?" I ask. I want to buy time. I want to... process this, to understand it. The mirror-me smiles more broadly; she must know that, I realize.

She seems to be on a Tholian bridge, her own King Estmere's, perhaps? She is like me, and yet not; she is wearing Tholian silk robes, scarlet and gold, and her antennae peek out of an elaborate hairstyle, where I've always preferred something plain and simple. And my gaze is drawn, again and again, to her right cheek; smooth and flawless blue skin, no trace of the looped scars that run across my face.

"It's important," says not-me. "And it's a matter to our mutual advantage...."

"Sir," Science Officer Zazaru interrupts from her console, "I'm reading something coming through the anomaly. Mirror universe quantum signatures... Tholian energy readings... it's massive. Sir, I think it's a Tholian dreadnought...."

"Oh," says not-me, "she's a bright one." She leans back on a throne-like command chair, grinning now. "We need to talk," she says. "And I think you'll find, once you've scanned my ship... I'm in a position to insist."

---

King Estmere has been chasing anomalies for a week, through the wormhole-eaten margins of Tholian space, following streams of particles so exotic Zazaru doesn't even have names for half of them. The chase has led us here, to a... something... that's a vague glow at the edge of visibility in normal space, but a bizarre and complicated web of folded spacetime in my science officer's console displays. And now, as we skirt the edges of this thing... now, this.

"Confirming energy signatures and transponder codes," says Anthi Vihl. "Sir, it's the Presa Gran - or the mirror equivalent." There's no trace of nervousness in my exec's voice; I'm glad of that. My mirror self smirks at me from the viewscreen.

I glare back at her. "King Estmere was in the battle group that took down the Presa Gran, in this universe," I tell her.

"You don't seem to have brought a battle group with you, though," she answers. "Careless of you."

"The Presa Gran was supported by five full squadrons and a dreadnought consort," I snap back. "I don't think you're as well placed to insist as you think. And you know I'm not bluffing. Besides -" I force a smile, myself, conscious of the way my stiff right cheek moves "- I can't do you any favours if I'm dead, can I?"

"True," she says. "In any case, I don't want a fight - not with you, anyway. I'm serious about needing your help, and I'm serious about it being in both our interests. So, let's meet, and talk. How about it? I'll come to your ship -" She's anticipating my objections, damn her. "I'll just bring two of my senior officers, no armed guards -"

I think furiously for a second. "No," I say. "I'll come to see you. Consider it a gesture of trust, if you like."

Her smile disappears. "I don't credit that," she says. She pauses a moment, and I can see her antennae twitch. She's trying to read me, to second-guess me, just as I am with her. "You're curious," she says. "You want to see what it's like over here... what I'm like." Her smile comes back. "All right," she says, "I'll indulge your curiosity. And you can bring all the armed guards you like, if you want."

Like I could bring a raiding party big enough to take over a Tholian dreadnought from the inside.... "Same terms as yours," I say. "Two senior officers, no armaments. Agreed?"

"It'll be a pleasure," she says.

"One hour from now, then," I say firmly.

She sighs. "You want time to think. I suppose I understand. Try to think quickly, though - this opportunity won't last forever."

---

Minutes pass. I pace up and down in my quarters, trying to think quickly.

The mirror universe. It's easy to think of them simplistically, we are the good guys, they are the bad ones. But there's plenty of bad in our universe, too.... It's not a flip side, good versus evil. Somehow, in the mirror universe, technology kept pace with ours, but society remained frozen at a barbarian, or at best, mediaeval level. That's not an evil me, out there. That's me as - what? Me, without the benefits and constraints of civilization. Me, as some kind of mercenary leader or petty warlord. Me, with no limits on my bad side.

The humans have a term for it: knowing who you are in the dark. When no one can see you or judge you, besides yourself... the decisions you take then, they define who you are. My mirror-self... is she who I am, in the dark? What am I? What faults do I have, what vices would I indulge, if no one could judge me?

To understand that... is to understand her. My reflection. My enemy.

Because I have no doubt of one thing. She is my enemy.

---

Three minutes to go. We meet in the transporter room.

"I'm not sure I understand, sir," Soledad Kleefisch says in her low voice. "Of course you need your chief science officer... but why me? I don't have any experience with Tholian ships besides the King Estmere, and I've no particular knowledge of the mirror universe...."

My cheeks are cobalt blue with mortification. I look down at the deck. "Because," I mutter, "I'm an Andorian bigot. I don't - I don't rate humans, all that much. At the back of my mind, I keep thinking... damn whiny pinkskins. I know it's wrong, but it's there." With effort, I raise my eyes to meet Soledad's gaze. "I figure, if I underestimate you... my duplicate will do it worse. I want someone there that she'll - overlook, ignore. Someone capable."

"Why not Sirip, then, sir?" Soledad's voice is mild, probably milder than I deserve.

"If relations between Vulcans and Andorians are like they are in our universe, she will automatically be suspicious of a Vulcan." I shake my head. "I'm just guessing. I don't know nearly enough about the mirror Andorians - their culture, their attitudes -"

"I think you're probably right, sir." Soledad hesitates a moment, then says, "If it helps, sir, I've never noticed any, umm, attitude from you -"

It does help. A little. "Thank you," I say.

Nearly time, now. We step onto the transporter pads.

"Energize."

---

"Welcome aboard." I decide to think of her as Tylha-2. Her face is all smiles as we step off the pad.

The mirror dreadnought's transporter room is big, bright, and hot. I make a mental note of that. They're having the same environmental problems we did, at first, with King Estmere - and they don't have the Jolciot poly-stable alloys to handle the temperature differentials. Tylha-2 most likely doesn't have the patience to cope with Jolciot speech patterns; in her universe, the USS Aquitaine probably nuked Magamba while the Jolciots were half way through their welcoming orations.

"My chief science officer, Commander Zazaru," I say, gesturing to my companions, "and Commander Kleefisch, security."

Tylha-2's glance skips over Soledad - was there a little dismissive curl to her lip? - but lingers on Zazaru. "Commander Zazaru? Then there's someone here you must meet.... This way."

She sweeps out of the transporter room, imperious in her scarlet robes. I walk beside her, and I think of how I must look, scar-faced, with my simple practical hair and my simple Ops-division uniform. She looks like the reality; I'm not even her reflection... more her shadow.

The Presa Gran's corridors are wide, brightly lit, and they twist and turn in odd ways: Tholian architecture. There are subtle differences, though... mirror universe alternatives, or just the differences between a Recluse carrier and a Tarantula dreadnought? We pass a data stalagmite in a corridor, and there's something odd about it.... I stop, and look.

"What?" says Tylha-2. "Oh, I see. Don't you use them...?"

My skin crawls. Behind the semi-transparent console panels, the top of the column is a Tholian head and torso, fused with the circuitry. "They can interface directly with the electro-plasma conduits and the isolinear bus," says Tylha-2, "and they have so much innate processing power, it's silly to waste it." She taps at the console. "How are you today, Commander Lukatene?"

<All functions within normal operational parameters>, the console says. Tylha-2 smiles.

"You should watch out for Tholian data ghosts," I say. "I'm not kidding," I add, as her face turns sceptical.

"Interesting," she says. "I'll make a note of that." She strides on down the corridor; I follow. Crewmen, in the barbaric uniforms of the mirror universe, stand well aside as we pass. "In here." Tylha-2 points towards a door flanked by two massive Caitian security guards.

Inside is a conference room, dominated by a holo-projector in its centre; my attention, though, is drawn to the two people seated already at the table. They rise and stiffent to attention as Tylha-2 enters.

"I hope you may know these two," Tylha-2 says. "May I present my mirror counterpart and her officers, Commanders Zazaru and Kleefisch? Science officer Quon; chief engineer Izini."

The tall Andorian who isn't my Shrin Izini smiles. His gaze measures me in a way that makes my flesh creep... again. Science officer Quon is dressed in a scanty Terran Imperial uniform, but is otherwise the image of Zazaru. "Zazaru?" she says, eyeing her counterpart. "Ah, I understand. This husk was called Zazaru, before I came to occupy it. Well, I shall have to keep my explanations simple, so that a single-lifespan humanoid can understand them."

Zazaru's face is paper-white. Unlike many Trills, she's never sought out joining with a symbiote... now, I suspect, she never will. The joining, in our universe, is a marriage of minds... I should have realized it would be different, on the other side.

To try and defuse the tension, I say, "In my universe, Shrin Izini has been promoted... he's no longer on my ship."

Tylha-2 chuckles. "Well, I don't keep him just for his engineering expertise." Shrin-2 responds with a lascivious grin. "Anyway. To business." She takes a seat, gathering her robes around her. Her two officers sit back down. I motion to my people; we take our places. Zazaru's face is still white.

Tylha-2 taps at a console; an image forms in the holo-display. "The anomaly," she says. "We found it... a little ahead of you, I think. Once we discovered it, though, I knew someone on your side would come... and I rather hoped it would be you. It made sense for it to be you."

"Because the quantum parallelisms between the two universes extend to macro-scale phenomena," Quon says.

"Quite." Tylha-2 smiles. "We've had time to analyze it, to an extent... and we will share that analysis with you. But, basically, what we have is a region of space-time with ambiguous quantum energy levels - it can flip from my universe to yours at any time. It's taken us a little while to work through all the implications of that."

"A gateway between the two universes?" I say.

"For a start," says Tylha-2. "But, we need to stabilize it, somehow - make it reliable. And that's why we need your help. To hold the gateway open, we need particle-generator - anchors, I guess is the best word - on both sides. And each set of generators needs to have the right quantum signatures for their universe. If this is a door, it needs to be held open from both sides."

"I can tell you now," I say, "that we're not keen to allow the Terran Empire unrestricted access to our universe."

"But it wouldn't be unrestricted," Tylha-2 says. "You would retain complete control of the gateway from your side - and, without that stabilization, we can't move outside this very limited region of overlap into your space. Think about it. We could have a genuine neutral port between my world and yours. A place for commerce and diplomacy, not just haphazard raiding. You pride yourselves on having a superior culture, don't you? You can send over missionaries, or whatever, and teach us the errors of our ways." Her smile is sly and derisory. "And if we tried to send raiding parties in return, all you need do is - flip a switch, turn it off." She turns to Quon. "Now, tell them the clincher."

Quon leans forward, taps at a console of her own. Data starts to scroll across the holo-display. "The quantum states in the anomaly," she says, "do not resolve in a binary function, but in a solution which is at least trinary, more probably has indefinite or infinite arity." She shoots a contemptuous look at Zazaru. "Do you follow the implications of this?"

Zazaru's voice is cracked, tense, but she answers, "Yes." She turns a troubled look towards me. "Sir, if this is right... this anomaly doesn't just form a bridge between our universe and theirs. It could connect to... an infinite number of different realities."

"Exactly." Tylha-2 sounds triumphantly smug. "You people are scientists and explorers, right? How would you like an infinity of new worlds to explore?"

---

Afterwards, once we've received the data downloads, and Zazaru has never once met Quon's eyes, Tylha-2 comes up to me as we make ready to leave. "Come to my quarters," she says.

"Sir," Soledad says, speaking for the first time, "is that wise?"

Tylha-2 gives her a brief glance and dismisses her. "It's all right," I say. "I know why she wants to talk to me. Wait in the transporter room."

"Oh, don't be a bore," Tylha-2 says, "let them look around, it's all right. I'll detail some of my people so they don't get into any trouble."

"All right, then," I say. Soledad still looks troubled. "Carry on, Commander," I tell her, and I follow my mirror-self down more Tholian corridors.

Tylha-2's quarters are larger than mine, refreshingly cold, luxuriously furnished - cushions and silk hangings, crossed blades on display panels, a chunk of half-melted machinery on a pedestal in one corner. "A trophy," she says, subsiding languourously onto a pile of cushions. "From a first contact, one time."

I wonder if it was Magamba; I don't ask. I sit stiffly on a cushion across the floor from her. "So, you want to talk. Talk."

She laughs. "I suppose I don't have many secrets from you. How'd you get the face? Walk into a door?"

I lift my hand self-consciously to my scars. "It was from Gimel Vessaris," I say. "Many years ago."

"The Nausicaan attack?" I nod. "They hit us there in my world too." Her face turns savage. "We beat them back... but my fathers were executed, for allowing them to get past our defenses. Scapegoated. I paid them all back, though - Nausicaans and so-called Starfleet Admirals, too. What happened with you?"

"We had no defenses," I say. "Gimel Vessaris was... just a colony world. I was hit by disruptor fire, a stray bolt from a Nausicaan marine. I was lucky. Both my fathers were killed, too." Another parallel. Alike, but not the same.

"You should get it fixed," she says. "It's not very appealling."

"There's too much underlying damage. My whole cheekbone was pulverized - there's a prosthetic implant holding my head together, now. The nerves and the connective tissue are too messed up, further surgery would just... move it around a bit." My eyes meet hers. "When I recovered, I knew things like that... had to be stopped. So I joined Starfleet."

"You know how to fight. And you have a cause. That's good." She rises to her feet. "I've got a cause, too. Do you know what I want, from all this?"

I don't. What drives this woman? Power? Revenge? What would drive me, if I had no restraints? "Enlighten me," I say.

She walks over to a replicator. "Dh'syara tunnel wine, Kidane Province, standard, two." She hands me the glass of warm, milky liquid. "Do you know how we make it, in my universe?" She tells me, in gleeful detail, how it's made. I sip my wine and say, "Some things don't change, then." She looks disappointed.

"I'll tell you what I want," she says, abruptly. "I want your Starfleet's support. And don't give me any guff about your so-called Prime Directive, you know it doesn't apply."

"Support for what?" I ask. "A neutral inter-universe trading post? They may go for that...."

"I want more than that," she says. "Do you know what it's like, in my world? The endless wars, the factions tearing each other apart, the struggles for the imperial throne.... We're a warrior culture in a time of weak leadership, and you know what that means, historically." Her smile is gone; her eyes are hard on mine. "We're not fated to be like that," she says. "Some people, I know, think different - think something mechanistic, in our universe, keeps us from having peace. I don't believe that, and I don't think you do either. We can change my world. With your Starfleet's help, I intend to."

"How? And what help do you want?"

She laughs. "What sort of help do you think I want from a giant military machine? Listen," she says urgently. "People are tired of war, tired of fear and uncertainty - and when they're like that, they will rally around a strong leader. I can be that strong leader. I've got the Presa Gran, and I'm Andorian - do you understand how much of the Andorian military will follow me if I strike out, with your people's backing? I'm guessing we could subdue Earth and Vulcan inside a matter of weeks, and then it'd just be a case of mopping up the remaining resistance. Scrap the corrupt Terran Starfleet and install a brand new Andorian Republican Guard in its place."

"With you as Empress of the Republic?"

"Don't tell me you're immune to ambition, Vice Admiral." Her smile comes back. "We can think of a different title, anyway. Praetor, perhaps - like they used to have in the Romulan People's Collective. Come on, Tylha, you know I would do a better job than the current leadership. All those scheming Vulcans and corrupt Terrans - you know we're better than that. You might not want to admit it, but you know it."

There's something lurking behind her words; the bigot's infallible excuse, I'm just saying what everyone else is thinking. Maybe it's even true... but just because everyone's thinking it, that doesn't make it right.

We're at war with the Borg because they think they have a right to eat the universe. We're at war with the Klingons because they think Klingon rights and Klingon customs are more important than their own lives, never mind ours. I don't know why we're at war with the Iconians, but I'm betting it doesn't have anything to do with Iconian humility. Everyone might think we're better than those other people, and sometimes they might even be right. But nothing good ever comes of thinking that way.

I don't say any of this. I can't. I just look at this woman, who is me, who wants to be Empress of the galaxy, and I wonder, how is this me? Zazaru, at least, when she looks at Quon, has the comfort of knowing it's not her, it's just an arrogant alien slug moving her limbs and her voice. I don't. This woman is me, in her body, her genes, her life, her thoughts... she is more me than I am, better looking, more commanding, more confident in herself....

And she is, by my standards, quite mad.

I rise to my feet. "I'm going to talk to my people about constructing the particle anchors," I say. "As for the rest... I don't know."

---

"We're really going to do this?" Soledad asks, as we step off the King Estmere's transporter pads.

"We're going to build the particle anchors," I say. "Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves."

Zazaru has hardly spoken; now she finds her voice. "I - I don't think we should, sir."

"We need to know how that gateway works," I say, firmly, "and the best way to do that is to pool resources with our... counterparts. So we've got to play along with them, at least for a bit. Some of what they say makes sense, in any case."

"You can't be serious!" Zazaru's eyes are blazing. "You can't let things like - like that - into our universe! Sir -"

"You've had a shock," I say. "I understand that. Try and stay calm - take a break, get some rest, see Dr. Beresford if you have to - but try and stay calm. I need you for this."

"You must have had something of a shock yourself, sir," Soledad says quietly. "I'm... rather glad... I didn't meet my double. There is something rather uncanny about the idea."

"Yes," I say, shortly, "but there's work to be done. Zazaru, we need to understand how this thing works, because we may need to turn it off. All right?"

Zazaru takes a deep breath. "Yes, sir." Her voice is still sullen.

I turn to Soledad. "Any insights?"

"Not much, sir," she says. "You were right, though, they didn't pay me much attention. In particular -" she taps the side of the data monocle she wears "- they didn't notice that this was set to visual record. At least we've got some data on the inside of a Mirror-adapted Tholian dreadnought. And I sneaked a download from one of their consoles at one point. It's not much, but it might help."

It might indeed. "Thank you," I say, and I mean it.

---

King Estmere circles the vague glow in space, following the massive shape of the Presa Gran as it moves around the gateway anomaly. At precisely measured points in space, each ship spits out a drone, a glittering metal sphere studded with particle generators. When they activate, the anomaly will be wrapped in a web of energy, will settle and stabilize... will be a true gateway between my reality and hers.

My mouth is dry with tension. On my viewscreen, her face is exultant.

"Completing deployment run in two minutes," Anthi Vihl reports.

"Confirmed," I say. I turn to Zazaru. "Status?"

"Generators idling," she says tonelessly. "All units report full function."

"Keep me informed," I tell her. I cross the bridge to my command console, start to tap in the codes I need....

"Very soon, now," Tylha-2 says. "I must invite you over for a visit, sometime... when everything is settled."

"For your coronation, maybe?" I ask her.

She laughs. "At least, if you don't get that face fixed, I won't have to worry about you impersonating me."

"I never imagined my face on a coin," I say. Seconds tick off. "Deployment completed," Anthi reports.

Tylha-2 glances at something outside my field of vision. "On our side, too," she confirms. "Synchronize countdown."

I touch my console. Zazaru's face is wooden; her eyes, though, glare accusation at me. "Countdowns locked. Energizing in three... two... one... Energize."

Latticeworks of golden light flow from drone to drone, enclosing the anomaly in an immense sphere of exotic forces. I look at the data displays. Everything seems to be working as planned. The structure of the gateway is changing, becoming more orderly, more precisely aligned.... "Steer three-zero-zero mark zero," I order. King Estmere starts to come about, her needle prow turning, slowly, to face the gateway.

Tylha-2 frowns. "What are you doing?" she says.

"I'm just checking something." I look at the displays again. Everything is going according to plan.

A stable gateway, between the mirror universe and our own. And a stable mirror empire, under the capable heel of one Tylha Shohl. That's the plan. That's her plan; now it's time for mine.

The readings on the data display change colour. They've reached the levels I marked, using the data Soledad stole from the Presa Gran; the gateway is no longer uncertain, it is reliable... but, if something happens to it now, it will not just revert to its initial state, it will collapse and unravel completely, fading away into normal spacetime.

Something is going to happen to it. "All banks," I order, "open fire."

King Estmere's polarized-disruptor cannons open up, sending a hail of deadly energies into the gateway. The ship kicks beneath me as the hyper-plasma torpedoes follow suit, balls of searing green light hurtling into the glow.

"What are you doing?" the other me screams.

"Closing the gate. You won't be satisfied with just one universe! Don't forget, I know you!"

She turns her head. "Kill those torpedoes! Then take her down!" She remembers, then, to kill the comms channel. Not that it matters. I know how she thinks.

"Alpha wing, Bravo wing, immediate launch," says Anthi. Scorpion fighters, the best New Romulus had to offer; more than a match for Tholian Widows, and their plasma torpedoes may make all the difference.

"Brace for impact," I order, as the Presa Gran cuts loose.

The gateway is already destabilizing, the interface between her reality and ours weakening... and that's all that saves us, as the immense firepower of the Tarantula dreadnought smashes our forward screens to nothing. King Estmere rocks; damage control lights sparkle across the bridge, and there's the flash and bang of a transient EMS overload on one console.

"Hard about!" I'd like to keep the hyper-torps pointed into the gate, but another volley on our fore quadrant will kill us for sure. "Hyper-plasma array, max power!"

Tylha-2's gunners are good; all but one of the torpedoes dies before it reaches the gateway... but one's enough to do some serious damage, I hope. King Estmere heels hard over, presenting her port-side shield to the Presa Gran's withering barrage of tetryon fire. Our hyper-plasma beam lashes out, a ribbon of vicious green lightning, cutting into the glow of the gateway. The Scorpions are firing, adding their own plasma blasts to the assault.

The port screen holds - just. Presa Gran is weakening -

Inside the energy web, ambiguous spacetime gives up its ambiguities. The gateway comes apart, releasing energy itself as it does, a spray of photons like stardust exploding. In another setting, it would be beautiful.

The vast bulk of the Tholian dreadnought suddenly shimmers, fades, becomes transparent, vanishes entirely. The gateway is down. Presa Gran vanishes back into its own universe, taking my duplicate and her dreams of empire with her.

I take a deep breath. "Recover fighters," I order. "Stand down."

---

Later, there is a knock on the door of my quarters. When I answer it, Soledad Kleefisch comes in.

"Commander Zazaru confirms, no trace of the anomaly remains," she tells me. "Also, sir, she tells me to say thank you."

I say nothing for a while.

"Starfleet Command would never have supported one mirror universe faction over the others, in any case," she says.

"Wouldn't they?" I grunt. "Starfleet's ideals get a bit tarnished, sometimes."

"I think you did the right thing, sir."

I sigh. "She was the regal-looking one who dreamed of peace for her people and offered us infinite worlds to explore. I'm the scar-faced one who shot it all to pieces.... Which one of us would you cast as the villain?"

"Some peace isn't worth having, sir."

"Maybe hers would have been. Maybe she'd have got it right."

"I don't know, sir. But I'm inclined to trust your judgment." Soledad turns to go. "Even though you never asked me what I think of Andorians," she adds, as she goes through the door.

Well, I think, I asked for that.

I turn back to my viewport, and look out at the speeding stars. My face, reflected on the glass, looks back at me.

Might she have done it, achieved her empire, brought peace to the mirror universe? Or are they doomed, there, always to be that brutal, twisted mirror of ourselves? Are goodness, morality, decency, really just a matter of quantum energy signatures? I don't know. I did what I thought was right... and that's all I can do.

I look at my reflection on the glass.

It has no answers for me. Perhaps that's for the best.
Commander
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 366
# 15
01-26-2013, 12:22 PM
Sanara stared at her near-double on the viewscreen, wondering yet again how her life kept getting more complicated and bizarre. "Excuse me?"

"A favor," the other Sanara repeated. "Questions I want answered. Maybe three wishes, as the Terrans say." She smiled tightly. Like her battered old runabout, she had clearly seen rough use and some narrow escapes. Instead of science blue, she wore drab earth tones, greys and browns; the only spot of color was a faded blue-green scarf that set off her eyes. Her golden hair was not drawn back in a ponytail and draped over one shoulder, but cut short in a ragged, probably self-administered bob. The lines on her face were deeper, her cheekbones more prominent. The pattern of spots along the sides of her face and neck, however, was identical to the smallest detail. "I'd like to come aboard your ship and discuss it with you."

"You want to come aboard Europa?" Wary suspicion, skepticism... and lingering incredulity that this was actually happening.

Again the tart half-smile. "The Lethe's a bit small for both of us and your security team. Look... Captain. Here or there, I'm alone and at your mercy. I assure you, I just want to talk."

Draz considered it another moment before nodding. "All right. Hold your position; I'll have you beamed aboard. Draz out." A flicker of some emotion crossed the other woman's face as the screen blanked and returned to a magnified view of the runaboat against the starfield, but the captain was already turning to her tactical officer. "Get that security team to Transporter Room Two. Explain the situation to them, give her a thorough scan... and if she checks out, escort her to my ready room."

"Sir." Lt. Wen was already moving toward the turbolift; a quick gesture to Kessinger, and the larger man fell in behind her.

---

Fifteen minutes later, Draz was standing by the floor-to-ceiling window, gazing out at the stars - and at her own face, reflected dimly in the transparent aluminum - when the door chime twittered. "Come."

The door hissed open and her living reflection entered, accompanied by Europa's science officer. "Captain," T'Maal said with the slight head tilt and raised eyebrow that Sanara suspected was taught to all Vulcan children before they could walk, "may I present... Sanara Lucel."

Face to face at last, each woman regarded her counterpart with carefully neutral expressions. The one with captain's pips on her collar finally spoke. "Thank you, Lieutenant Commander. Dismissed."

"She'll try to kill you, you know," the visitor stated as soon as the door closed again.

"What?"

"Your Vulcan. As soon as you show any sign of weakness." The mirror Sanara shrugged. "They talk of honor and duty and then stick the knife in. Intrigue and deception are a way of life for them. Anyone who thought different got the hell off the planet thousands of years ago."

"That's not what you came all this way to tell me." Draz gestured to the seat on the other side of the desk; after a moment, the other Trill took it. Only then did the captain seat herself.

"No, it's not. I'm here for two reasons, one professional, one... personal."

"Let's start with professional, then," Draz suggested, regarding her double over steepled fingers.

The mirror Sanara nodded, launching into what was clearly a rehearsed presentation. "There's a question that's long vexed many scientists on my side of the quantum boundary, myself included: why you, and why us? Why, out of all the infinite possibilities, do we keep running into each other?" On the other side of the desk, the captain opened her mouth, but her guest held up one hand in a very familiar gesture and Draz obligingly shut up. "Yes, the first crossover was accidental - as far as we know - and there have been several deliberate incursions since, from both sides. But there's more to it than that. 'Random' dimensional interphases and other phenomena have a significantly higher chance of connecting this particular pair of realities. We have... evidence that the Tholians of our universe may have had contact with this one as far back as the 22nd century! Somehow, these two universes seem to have become entangled, just like two particles... but how, and why? Is it a natural event, or is someone responsible?"

"I've wondered the same," Draz acknowledged. "It should be random; we should both be seeing a much wider sampling across the set. But it's not. The dice keep coming up the same number, over and over." She frowned. "Unfortunately, aside from those deliberate incursions, there's not a lot of data. As a practical matter..."

"As a practical matter, those in power have other priorities." The other Sanara's frown was more of a cynical sneer. "They don't care about the how or why, only the what and how they can take advantage of it. In your reality too, I expect. Some things are the same all over." She leaned forward in her chair. "I'm here on behalf of a research consortium that does want answers to these questions. We want to work with people on your side, exchange data, get access to the observations you've made here. Work the problem from both ends."

"Purely in the interests of science and advancing the cause of knowledge, of course." When she wanted to, Draz could sound just as sarcastic as her twin, who smirked and nodded at her reply.

"Naturally, there are - or will be - some with their own agendas, people trying to turn what we find out into some sort of advantage or profit for themselves or their sponsors. But forget about the applications for a moment! Can you look me in the eye and tell me you don't want to just know?" There was a long pause, at the end of which she nodded triumphantly. "Thought so."

"I'll take your proposal under advisement," Draz said carefully. "I know people who might be interested in... collaborating with you and your associates on such a project. There would have to be strict guidelines, security arrangements, guarantees... but we've worked with Klingons on some things, and last I heard we were still technically at war with them." She sighed and rubbed at the bridge of her nose. "What was the other thing?"

The other Sanara said nothing at first, fidgeting in her seat. "How much do you know about how things are on Trill?" she finally asked. "In my universe, I mean."

"Practically nothing," Draz answered immediately and honestly. "I assume that you're part of the Empire, just as my homeworld's been part of the Federation for the last hundred and twenty five years."

"It's a little more complicated than that." The other looked up, making eye contact again. "My people are slaves. Not to the Empire, but to the things that rule us. The parasites."

"The p-- the symbionts?" Draz stared, not believing what she was hearing.

"That's what they call themselves. As if it were a partnership of equals, as if they did anything for us." She scowled, crossing her arms over her chest. "They raise us to be hosts for them, our immortal masters. When one of them needs a new body, when the old one is all used up, they pick someone strong or beautiful and take them away. And when that person comes back, it's not them anymore. It's one of them looking out through their eyes, speaking with their voice."

The Trill with the short-cropped hair rose to her feet, leaning across the captain's desk. "You're at war with the Borg in this universe, right? Your Borg, not ours. I've read about them. Let's see if I've got it right: they assimilate people into their collective against their will. They stick things in them that take them over, take away everything they were, turn them into drones. Puppets. Empty, expendable husks. Does that cover the essentials?"

Sanara nodded slowly, feeling a cold twisting in her gut as the Draz symbiont echoed her horror. A universe where they were no better, no different than the Borg... Suddenly, she wanted to find the nearest bathroom and vomit.

The other Sanara pushed off from the desk and stepped back, still facing her native counterpart. "So that's the other reason, the main reason, I'm here. To see if your Federation will help us. To ask you to save 700 million people from slavery, no, worse than slavery... from being hollowed out by those things so they can walk around in our skins, bred for it like animals for their dinner tables."

Draz, still shaken, took a moment to find her voice. "I... of course I'll do whatever I can. I'll take it to Starfleet Command and the Symbiosis Commission if I have to."

"Good," her double replied with a sharp nod. "I'll return to my ship and my universe, get in touch with my contacts and let them know help is on the way."

"Wait." It was Draz's turn to hold up a hand. "It'll take some time to get things moving, and... and honestly, I don't know how much the Federation can do right now. Like you said, we're at war, and not just with the Borg but on several fronts." She looked aside, avoiding the other's gaze. "And then there's the Prime Directive to consider..."

"**** your Prime Directive!"

The outburst rang sharply in the small office, making Draz's jaw drop at its unexpected venom. Her visitor plowed onward: "We never had anything like that in my universe. Maybe there's something to it when it comes to primitive, pre-warp cultures. But when you apply it to other empires? Then it's just an excuse, something to hide behind when you don't want to get involved. Because it might be hard and messy. You might get your hands dirty, might have to suffer and sacrifice a little for your principles. You love to talk about how evolved and morally superior you are, but when it comes time to show it? 'Oh no, we couldn't possibly interfere.'"

Mirror Sanara pounded a fist on the desk as she continued her rant. "But you are involved. You've been involved in our affairs for over a hundred years. You interfere just by existing and observing; Heisenberg. You don't get to pretend otherwise, to abdicate your responsibility. Either live up to all those lofty words about universal rights, or have the honesty to admit they only apply when it's convenient for you."

"I said I would help," Draz gritted, rising to her feet as well. "Just don't expect miracles."

"I expect nothing from you," her reflection scolded. "I hoped maybe you'd be different, that I could trust you, but I was wrong. You're just the same."

Draz nodded curtly and reached for her desk terminal, touching a button. "Security to my ready room. Our guest is leaving."

"Acknowledged."

"If you give us a way to contact you, I'll be in touch when I have some news. On either matter." Gaze still locked with her counterpart, Draz came out from behind her desk to face her as they'd done at the start of this meeting. She gestured toward the door, which had just swished open to admit Kessinger and an ensign, also in red and almost as beefy. "But right now, I think you should go."

Seconds passed before the civilian blinked, literally and metaphorically. The captain turned...

And a loop of simple, inert, harmless cloth slipped over her head and was yanked tight.

Sanara gagged and struggled against muscles as strong as hers, perhaps even stronger. She could see that the guards had their phasers out, but her assailant was keeping the hostage between them and her as a shield. The silk scarf that had looked so fetching around the other Sanara's neck was now around hers, and the voice that whispered in her ear was her own.

"If there's anything left of me in you, I'm sorry. I'm doing for you what I couldn't for my brother. But if I'm just talking to the monster?" The noose contracted further. "Choke and die."

Through the pounding rush of blood, Draz faintly heard the hum of a transporter somewhere close. Then the tightness around her throat was gone and the person who'd been strangling her was dead weight, slumping unconscious to the deck. She gasped for air to fill her lungs, leaning on the slender but strong shoulder of her rescuer, finally lifting her head to meet that cool dark regard. "Ugh. Thanks. That was risky, you know."

"There was adequate space for transport, and Chief Galloway is a skilled operator," T'Maal replied, unperturbed. "If she did manage to avoid my nerve pinch, there was a 67.2% chance that she would expose herself to phaser fire. I deemed those odds acceptable."

Draz smiled weakly and nodded, giving T'Maal another pat on the shoulder and reminding herself not to even consider playing a game of chance against the woman.
Join Date: January 2011
Ensign
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 13
# 16
01-27-2013, 01:16 PM
Captain's Log, Stardate 86834.06:

Where do I begin? I suppose, from where things became interesting. Which, on a patrol mission in the Orias Sector, usually doesn't take very much...

*fade to flashback*

Captain Scott Freeman, known in some circles as the practical joker of Starfleet, was bored. This usually lead to no end of grief, for his officers and crew, or anyone else they happened upon. And bored, in hostile space, made things even worse, since the crew were already on edge. He sipped at his coffee, while idly glancing around the bridge of the USS Supreme.

It still, even a few months out of dock, felt strange, to be commanding the same Sovereign Class vessel he had been born on, when his father was it's commanding officer. It might never be something he fully adapted to, but Captain, no, Admiral now, Marcus Ross, who had served as XO for so many years, had insisted there was no one in Starfleet more fitting, to command her now.

Most of his senior staff were present on the bridge. Long range sensors had detected possible hostiles a few hours earlier, but so far, closer investigation had revealed little of interest, thus triggering the dangerous boredom. Scott narrowed his eyes, scanning his officers, to see who would be his next victim. He had finally settled on his strategic operations officer, Ensign Sifak, a relatively young Vulcan woman, with nothing close to a sense of humor, when Lt Cmdr Stearns sounded off from tactical, her voice cutting all side chatter the instant she made her announcement.

"Ship decloaking fifteen kilometers off starboard. Terran Empire warp signature."

Scott swore under his breath, before tapping the shipwide comm on the arm of his chair. "All hands, all stations, Battle stations. Red alert. This is not a drill." He turned his head towards Stearns. "Shields up, modulating frequencies, and arm all weapons." He turned his head towards helm, and the viewscreen. "Cadet Sukura, bring us about, level with the Terran ship, keep us at one quarter impulse."

Before he could continue, Lt. Yisos spoke up from science station. "Sir, the ship is Sovereign Class....hull registry is reading....ISS Supreme! They have not raised shields or armed weapons, sir, but they are hailing us."

Scott froze in place, for what felt like an eternity. Before he'd assumed command of this Supreme, he and his crew had encountered that Supreme. It's commander had been the Mirror Universe counterpart to his deceased father, and the encounter had left Scott shaken more than he cared to admit. After that, he wasn't sure he was ready for another such meeting. However, since they didn't appear to be looking for a fight....

"On screen." The words came out almost as a whisper, as the viewscreen shifted it's image, and, instead of a twisted version of his father, Scott was stunned to be looking at nothing short of what could be described as his evil twin brother....

Mirror Scott smiled, obviously enjoying the shock on this universe's version of his face. "I take it you were expecting to see the old man again, Scotty? I know all about that encounter you had. Don't you worry. Daddy will never darken your doorstep again. Not after I tossed him out an airlock."

Several crew passed by the viewscreen, and despite some changes in wardrobe styles, hairstyles, and other minor details, the uncanny resemblance to the crew of the USS Supreme was unmistakable. Mirror Scott narrowed his eyes, and the grin that spread across his lips, was an arrogant version of the cocky one often worn by this universe's version. "I have something of a dilemma, Captain, and I need your help."


Scott motioned with his fingers, and, on cue, Stearns locked weapons on several targets, some to cripple, some to kill. "And why should I help you? You might have done this universe a favor, and probably your own, as well, by eliminating your father, but I somehow doubt you're a whole lot better."

Mirror Scott shrugged, as if the accusation mattered little. "I'm probably worse. In fact, considering I brought a nasty subspace weapon across with me, I'd bet good latinum, that I'm worse. If it goes off, it'll take a solid chunk of real estate with it. Do a detailed subspace scan of my ship, Scotty. I'm sure you'll see it. Just like I'm sure you'll notice it's on a build up, right now."

Scott turned his head sharply, looking to Yisos and Stearns, both of whom nodded, the expressions on their face telling more than their silence. "How bad?" He asked.

Yisos ran her hands across her console, and gasped. "Sir, if my readings are right, it could cascade, and take out half the sector. Billions of lives, are in it's damage path...."

Stearns looked grave, as she added her scans results. "My estimates give it about one hour, before detonation, sir. At maximum warp, they could position it to do some incredible damage, but..."

Mirror Scott cut her off. "But, we'd never clear the damage path, is what I think she was going to say, Scotty. And that brings us to where we need your help. Help you are likely to want to provide, since, 'billions of innocent lives', as well as your own, hang in the balance right now."

The arrogant grin was unnerving. It held the same amount of sheer confidence Scott's cocky version had. He locked eyes with his Mirror Self, neither gaze wavering. "You don't have any engineers on board who can shut it down?" Scott was missing some important key here, something he needed to know, before proceeding.

"Oh, I do, Scotty. Possibly even similar ones to who you have over there. One of my slaves, Sifak, Vulcan wench, managed to encrypt the sequence, before she armed the damned thing though. We haven't been able to break the encryption yet, and time is sorta running short." Mirror Scott shifted his gaze to the Sifak on the USS Supreme, and shook his head. "Even under my best methods, I haven't been able to break her."

Scott nodded slowly. "Here's how this is going to work, and we don't exactly have time to debate, so listen up. I'm going to assemble my team, and I will accompany them. We'll get this thing turned off, and then taken apart, and destroyed. You will beam over here, as our guest, while we work things out. Then we trade back, and you either head back where you belong, or I do both our universe's a favor, and put a final solution, to the ISS Supreme problem."

Mirror Scott's grin grew even broader. "Sure you only want me, in a hostage exchange, Scotty? I'd have asked for more senior staff, if I'd have been you. I'll agree to your terms. Shall we get on with it? That countdown isn't waiting for us to parlay, after all."

*End Flashback*

My team, Sifak in particular, were instrumental, in disarming the subspace weapon. Aside from one brief incident, that was quickly resolved with little violence, things went rather smoothly. And, once completed, and the exchange was over, my mirror self literally waved goodbye, and triggered some form of energy surge that caused his ship to skip universes, presumably sending him back home.

Given how well I know myself, and the basic similarities in core personas I've noticed between mirror counterparts, I am deeply troubled, at how anxious the other Captain Freeman was, to be aboard my ship, in the capacity of a prisoner. He obviously didn't fear returning to his ship, and I noticed a fair amount of unusual loyalty from his crew, for mirror society.

If his mind works anything remotely like mine does, there was something more important than the subspace weapon involved in all of this, and he somehow felt his brief time as a restricted guest on my ship, gave him some form of tactical advantage. However, despite my misgivings, and numerous detailed sweeps of my entire ship, and very watchful attendants during his stay here, we have detected nothing that could explain this mystery. I am, however, certain, my senior staff share in my misgivings about the whole situation. My gut is screaming that something is not right.

End Log.

--------In the Mirror Universe--------

Scott glanced over at Sifak, who was smiling, as she lifted her head from the sensor readings. "Well, lover? Did it work?"

Sifak nodding, as she approached her husband. "It is working perfectly, Captain. Your bio residue is reading through the sensors almost perfectly. The readings aren't perfect, by any means, but I'd say the new echo sensor is a success. Within one hundred or so kilometers accuracy, we are tracking everything the USS Supreme is on their sensors." She purred in response, as she sat down, placing her arm around Scott.

Scott turned towards Stearns, arching an eyebrow. "And is he on his way back to DS9, to see if a more detailed look, can figure out what we did?" When Stearns nodded, Scott laughed. "A little subspace radiation, a few tweaks to a transporter...and we have left a shadow on his ship, that we can use to tell us the entire DS9 Defense Grid with. Keep on their course, and keep an eye out for Klingon ships. I'd rather not run into trouble, before we have a chance to cause any." He leaned back in his chair, feeling quite pleased with himself. Almost as an after thought, he turned to Stearns and added, "And send daddy a message. Tell him to ready the fleet. The invasion is about to begin."
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,067
# 17
02-03-2013, 07:38 AM
Acting Captain's Log: Stardate 88079.6

First Officer T'Pal in Temporary command of the U.S.S. Shadow.


It has been three days since Captain Donovan had been returned to the ship, in which he has been under intensive care for both physical and psychological trauma suffered at the hands of an alternate reality counterpart, more frequently referred to as his "Mirror Self". Initially the crew had been on assignment hunting Tholian ships in the Azure Nebula using a Sao Paulo class retrofit with Romulan technology granted to Section 31 by way of Starfleet. It seemed D'Tan, leader of the Mol'Rihan colonization, at the behest of the Reman leader Obisek had granted access to these technologies in an effort to help stop the Tholians from capturing Romulan ships in the nebula.


The U.S.S. Shadow had ambushed a contingent as they were preparing to transport a ship. During the course of battle it was detected by the Chief Science Officer that one of the spacial anomalies had started giving off different readings when suddenly a temporal destroyer bearing the name I.S.S. Morbius (one seemingly identical to the vessel commandeered several months ago) came through and began firing upon the Tholian ships, destroying what it could before the rest could phase out of our reality. Once the last of the ships were gone and the Captain felt the ship was not a direct threat the Morbius hailed us with its own Captain Donovan appearing on the monitor requesting to "come aboard to ask a handsome devil for a favor".


Even at first glance the two Donovans were easily distinguishable as the "mirror" Donovan was missing an eye and marred with various scars. As soon as he had beamed aboard he was greeted with a small security team, a condition to which he agreed given the nature of the vessel and the mission there of. The entire senior staff had been called in on the meeting and with the exception of myself, Chief Medical Officer E'Saul, and Science Lead Sabin, the entire staff were quite shocked at the request of the other Captain. Death. The Captain was seeking an end befitting a "warrior" such as himself, and as far as he'd been concerned that meant either ending things himself or letting a member of his crew do it in an attempt to gain control of the ship, neither of which reasonably were options for him. It was then that he asked the Captain to a one on one contest as a search for a fitting end, a request Captain Donovan unexpectedly put some thought into.


To the relief of those present he refused leaving his counterpart quite angered. As he stood up to leave reached out to shake the Captain's hand, a gesture I find most humans all to comfortable with. While they shook the scarred Donovan quickly attached a small device around The Captain's wrist and both were instantly beamed out. I immediately signaled for battle stations as the senior staff ran to the bridge. Having knowledge from our own time spent field testing the temporal destroyer I ordered all fire directed at the temporal drives to disable the craft from escaping to another time or universe. While the I.S.S. Morbius was able to get shields up the strain on the power was enough to keep them from making the jump.


Instead the ship moved into evasive maneuvers and began counter offense in an attempt to disable our ship rather than destroy, a move which prompted me to open hailing frequencies. As predicted an alternate to Commander Keating came on screen to negotiate a cease fire. It would appear that the Vulcans aboard were still subservient to the newly reformed Terran Empire though as my own alternate was wearing a uniform a little more revealing than I would prefer the crew to see, case in point I had to close the mouth of the helmsman for him.


We discussed our options and seemed at a standstill, while "Mirror" Keating was opposed to the idea their captain had given strict orders to neither depart nor to destroy us. It would seem that in some small way their Captain had a sense of honor that bought us enough time to use what we knew about the vessel to disable it. After communications were closed the senior staff organized in the operations room and brought up the schematics for the ship, something that would give us the element of surprise if needed. I had an armed security team dispatched to the transporter room if the opportunity arose. Mr. Sabin and Edison had found a few leads as to how the Ship could get the Captain back.


The I.S.S. Morbius had been quiet for far too long and for the situation at hand that was entirely unacceptable. With the request made of him and the knowledge of the "Mirror" Universe we had no doubt that either our Captain Donovan was being forced into one on one combat to the death, or he was being tortured until he gave in. It was the only logical reason a ship with the clear tactical advantage would refrain from outright eliminating any possible threat from our ship. After some deliberation with the senior staff it was decided that we would in turn create our opportunity to strike.


Returning to the bridge I ordered battle stations and red alert. The U.S.S. Shadow with little warning, shifted forward cloaking suddenly, a move our counterparts could not have predicted though unexpectedly as we began charging weapons we were struck suddenly by a low power chroniton beam. With out shields it was a direct shot to the engines, unexpectedly slowing the ship even though the beam wasn't enough to damage them. Clearly the alternate Keating was showing off, something our own Commander is known to do as well making the next move even more of a surprise. Even though we had been slowed we were facing and that was all we needed. I ordered full power to weapons decloaking the ship as we unleashed a full burst of everything we could minus power to life support and transport systems.


Following the initial barrage I had all power diverted to shields and structural integrity, if I were what the Captain refers to as "the gambling type" I would have bet that as mad as their Keating was he would not dare break the orders of his captain and following such, each of our major offensive and defensive systems were taken off line. Repair teams were issued as need be to get any systems online, but from that moment on all we had to do was wait. It took but moments before the explosion hit, something the Morbius crew did not see coming. One of the problems encountered in the crews time spent testing our temporal destroyer was that it utilized a high energy shield emitters and there fore theoretically possible with enough force to open a 0.02 second window as the shields cycle power to compensate. A window just big enough for opportunity as some of the Human crew would say.



The security team had beamed over in that single instant and began an assault on the ship. Taking what would be the mess hall and holding position, accessing any and all data they had on Captain Donovan's whereabouts as well as disable any systems before they were locked out, a task easily countered from the bridge which is why a less detectable option along a carrier wave in the transport beam. Coordinates were sent from the team to Crewman Wraith, who thanks to his unique cellular structure, would easily slip through the ship unnoticed delivering a small explosive device in the ships computer core. We might be underpowered against the future vessel but if it's computer systems were taken offline than every function would need to been done manually costing the I.S.S. Morbius a considerable amount of time. During the countdown Wraith would be required to traverse the distance from the computer core to where ever they kept the Captain, during the momentary blackout before backup generators activate would give the rescue party enough time to be beamed out.



It was at the time of the second explosion from the computer core that another threat arose in the form of another Tholian attack force. Slowly they emerged from an anomaly forming a few kilometers off starboard. As planned the teams returned, Wraith and Captain Donovan being rerouted directly to sickbay. I ordered evasive maneuvers as did the Morbius. Most of our systems were still down including weapons and shields, the Morbius' systems were in an unknown status with out the primary computer system which would make defense difficult if not impossible. We received a hail from the alternate Captain Donovan who even with the missing eye and scarring had been clearly irate. He began giving orders for how best to use both ships to fight off the Tholians.


The logic behind his orders were solid as well as the tactics. Neither ship would be able to fend for themselves with out the other, and using the Shadows computer as a relay for the Morbius' weapons and defenses we would be able to act as one to fight superior numbers. It is not often I break etiquette but I interrupted the alternate Donovan to simply reply "I apologize Captain, for the interruption, but my responsibility is to the crew of this ship not yours. Hopefully the Tholians will be able to give you what you failed to get from Captain Donovan." With that I closed the channel and activated the only system undamaged in the attack: the cloak. It occurred to me as the Tholians took the I.S.S. Morbius that it might be in fact, the same ship found months ago as it had no records or future knowledge in it's newly repaired computer systems. We are currently traveling under cloak back to Mol'Rihan for full repairs, all readings and reports will be sent upon arrival.

Computer: end transmission.

Last edited by wraithshadow13; 02-03-2013 at 07:46 AM.
Lieutenant
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 42
# 18
02-05-2013, 03:50 PM
Cardassia Sector
Stardate 90680.1

===================

The U.S.S Republic held station on the outskirts of the Badlands. The commanding officer of the Odyssey-class starship paced in front of the viewscreen. The waiting had started as tedious, but had lately become nerve-wracking. The quiet warble of the proximity alarm was a welcome relief.

"Distance and direction to the contact?" he barked, a little more abruptly than he would have liked.

His executive officer replied with her typical Vulcan efficiency. "Bearing 026 mark 014, range 8.4 million kilometers. Contact is closing at approximately one-half impulse."

The familiar outline of an Excelsior-class starship filled the screen. "Is it her?"

T'Valas nodded. "Short-range sensors have resolved her markings. She is the I.S.S. Hood."

"We're receiving a hail." Commander Chol said.

O'Ryon turned to her and nodded. "On screen."

"Hello, Terry," said Colonel Tarius O'Ryon of the Office of the General Inspectorate. "I have a favor to ask."

"It's funny," replied Admiral Tarius O'Ryon of the Federation Diplomatic Corps. "I was just about to say that."

The scarred face twisted into a cruel parody of a smile. "Then my timing is impeccable. As usual."

============

Moments later, the Terran colonel admired the luxury of the Federation ambassador's ready room with a sigh. "I really should abduct your interior decorator sometime. Mine had no sense of color coordination."

"Have you shot him yet?" Ambassador O'Ryon poured two cups of coffee.

"Pfft. Of course not." Colonel O'Ryon crossed the room to pick up the proffered cup. "I had him shot. Do you think I handle the messy details myself? We're both delegators, you and I..." He trailed off and looked into the cup. "Cream and Syrup of Squill?"

"I know me too well," replied the diplomat. His counterpart was an odious human being, but the colonel didn't top the list of odious beings he dealt with during his career. It was a close call, though. He raised his cup in salute.

"Cheers to me!" The colonel returned the salute and took a slow sip, clearly savoring the moment. "I had to bribe four customs officials and blackmail a fifth for my last bottle of syrup. I finished it months ago." He looked up at the ambassador expectantly.

"I'll send you home with a case, presuming we can come to an accommodation."

"Down to business! Just the way we like it." He took a shorter, faster, larger gulp of his coffee and set the cup down on the ambassador's desk. "I have some turf issues on my side of the dimensional barrier."

"How awful for you." Ambassador O'Ryon sat down in his chair and gestured for his counterpart to do the same. "I imagine the alternate-universe-technology-theft market is quite contested."

Colonel O'Ryon sat. "You should know. You've personally wrecked two of my projects."

"Part of the risk of the business. You break your agreements and you should expect the penalties." Another sip. The opening rounds of negotiations were tedious, but necessary. If the parties could tally up exactly who owed whom what and how much, the actual bargaining phase would be short. Anything to get this reprehensible officer off his ship faster... "You promised that you would approach me with requests for technological assistance. Instead you kidnap and replace a Federation scientist and build an Odyssey-class ship from stolen blueprints."

The Terran raised his hands in mock surrender, "Excellent points, brother." Colonel O'Ryon knew that was the ambassador's least favorite form of address. "But now shall we address the ever-growing list of officers that I have helped you retrieve from Imperial custody?"

"Retrievals which no doubt embarrassed your rivals and increased your influence and power with whatever circles you run in." Not good enough, "brother," he thought. "I should think you'd be nigh-invincible now, what with all the 'help' you've given us."

"Oh, if only that were the case!" He feigned a swoon against the back of his chair. "Alas, brother, your last bit of interference was truly damaging." He sat back up and leaned across the desk. "Do you have any idea how many people I had to kill to keep my job and my ship?" He slowly shook his head back and forth. "It was not a short list."

"I'm trying to find it within my heart to forgive myself." The ambassador matched sarcasm with sarcasm, pounding his heart gently with his fist. "Oh, good, I found it."

Colonel O'Ryon laughed. "I should know better than to try that with you -- me! You're not the typical Federation slug. So, I'll stop this negotiating dance and tell you what I need."

"Please proceed, Colonel."

Colonel O'Ryon rose from his seat and meandered over to the window. "Your signal arrived at an opportune moment. My ... difficulties ... caused by your most recent meddling in my affairs have come to a bit of a head. The competition for acquiring technology has grown even more fierce. Commensurate with the recent weakening of my influence."

"More than just the Tholians?"

Colonel O'Ryon nodded. "I've discovered that not only are there factions within the Empire working directly with those spiders, but there are 'independent' operators working for their own ends."

Ambassador O'Ryon crossed his arms. "I had always lumped you in with the 'independent' types."

Colonel O'Ryon laughed. "A common mistake. Most of those who make it die quickly." He returned to the desk but didn't sit. He leaned over it, looming over his seated counterpart. "Most. But not these newest competitors. They've crossed me, but managed to stay hidden. I have to find out who they are. If they succeed in bringing significant technologies across the dimensional barrier without the kind of ... shall we say "filtering" ... that my organization provides, the Empire will be torn apart from the inside."

The ambassador uncrossed his arms and considered his doppelganger. "Coincidentally, that's exactly what I was going to ask you."

The colonel scowled narrowed his eyes in suspicion. "What are you talking about?"

"I believe your rivals have undertaken a project or two that has come to my attention. I'd like to know who they are, what they want, and how I can stop them from getting it."

Colonel O'Ryon's scowl turned into a smile. "Oh, how fortunate for the both of us. It looks like I might take home a case of Squill after all."

Last edited by kineticimpulser; 02-05-2013 at 04:14 PM. Reason: Proofreading and punctuation
Former PWE Community Team Lead
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 9,046
# 19
02-05-2013, 04:38 PM
Nice work, Captains! Working with the mirror universe can be tricky, but you all rose to the occasion.

I am going to un-stick this as I prepare to post #38, but please continue to enter and discuss.

Cheers,

Brandon =/\=
Brandon "BranFlakes" Felczer | Former Community Team Lead for Perfect World Entertainment
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 962
# 20
02-09-2013, 06:17 PM
Ship's log. The Sentinel was charting new colony locations in the Rolor nebula when we encountered a void in space. Upon further investigation, we discovered another ship trapped in the void. We hailed them, only to discover, to my surprise, it was another ship named Sentinel. Same class, same crew. But they were slightly different.


This ship had become trapped in some technobabble that Emony and Bosip assure me meant that other vessel was stuck in our dimension. Our own curiosity got the better of us, and as we had closed in to investigate, we were also trapped. The other Stunshock asked for our help in getting free. Well, who am I to turn down a request from myself. Their ship needed some polarised Ion Conduits and phased inducer couplings to rig their impulse engines with some kind of inversed field, that when combined with a warp shell would push their ship back into their own dimension and us free at the same time. Unfortunately, their warp engines were offline and they needed us to create the warp shell. Since it was the only way to get my crew back out, we made the modifications to both Sentinel's and the plan worked.


Emony recorded everything, and the data is being sent back to Earth for study. I'm sure the Terran Empire will be able to find some use in the data we aquired for them.

On a more personal note, I found it somewhat...... intoxicating to have two Talaina's around. Most intoxicating indeed.
*******************************************

A Romulan Strike Team, Missing Farmers and an ancient base on a Klingon Border world. But what connects them? Find out in my First Foundary mission: 'The Jeroan Farmer Escapade'
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