Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 271
# 21 Hell hath no fury
03-24-2014, 05:38 PM
Hours... Days... Weeks... Time has lost all meaning now. We have been fighting the Iconian fleets for what feels like an eternity, not unlike that first fall through the abyss after being cast through the schism.

We had brought to bear the combined fleets of the Federation, Klingon empire, and the Romulan Republic. 2000 vessels...


...not enough.

We are broken, reduced to a few scrappping bands of resistance: a dozen or so federation ships, focused around my Alteisen Riese, Odyssey class. 2 Galaxy class; 3 Vesta class; Char's Atrox, the Ra Cailum; Amuro's Defiant class, the Gespenst and a few fighters interspersed between. They were scrambling to hold on to the gateway.

A handful of Klingon battlecruisers were huddling around an apparent prototype ship, registry ping designates the ship as 'I.K.S. Sazabi', it's captain is the illegitimate offspring born after my encounter with a rather obnoxious member of a species who call themselves 'Chobe'

The Romulans were hit hardest, reduced only to one warbird, commanded by my son, Peewee. He hasn't forgiven me for what I did on Barza, and I can't blame him for it, considering I haven't either. Who could forgive genocide?

Even the machines I have built are close to falling apart in this massacre of a battle.

The ominous creaking of bulkheads breaking split the battlefield, "Oh ****, there goes another battlecruiser!" Cried out the remaining bridge crews.

"Kyosuke!" I barked in communication to my ship, "Polarise the hull and pick up those life pods. Get them through the gate and stay there! No more deaths on my watch, understood?!"

"Aye, ma'am." Kyosuke responded, closing the channel.

I hailed the flagship, Gespenst "Amuro, we are getting our butts handed to us here! What's the ga-" I was interrupted by a flash as the last Romulan vessel was going critical "PEEWEEE!" I cried out.

Flashing through my mind was all my experiences with my baby Peewee: His birth, raising him on Barza while fleeing the military, the pain of knowing I'd never see him again after being cast into the schism, finding him again in the brig on New Romulus, above all I remember the lullaby I sang to him:

#Oboete masu ka?
Yogiri mau sora no shi-ta
Ookii na yume wo Kikasete kureta koto

Dare mo ga mina
Otona ni naru kawari ni
Taisetsu na mono wo Okizari ni shi-te shimau#


"Cagalli!" Amuro roared over the tight-band radio "We can't hold the gateway much longer. I'm ordering a full evac from the sphere. Fall back, providing cover where needed."

"I have an alternate solution. Remember the results of the test after you asked me how much I weigh?" I respond.

"I don't have time for games, but I remember." Amuro sounded puzzled.

"I'm going to switch them off entirely. Get everyone out asap, I'll try to stall as long as I can." I said, fighting back the tears and rage.

"Do what you must. Godspeed, Cagalli. Ray, out" The channel closed.

The remaining ships limped out through the gateway, while being covered by the Ra Cailum and the Gespenst.

"This might be the end, bud." I said, tapping the controls of my RV. "This part I have to do alone. Computer, lay in intercept course for Ra Cailum hangar deck, 15 second delay. Deliver following message to Char on execute: Char, if I do not return, keep this machine in storage, no-one can be allowed to retro-engineer any of its systems. ANY of them."

"Open hatch. Engage subroutine"

"Acknowledged" Droned the onboard computer's voice as the hatch before me hissed open.

I kicked away from the RV, activating my RCS thrusters to drift towards the amassing Iconian fleet, barely scathed by our ruined forces.

Tapping away on my wrist console, I hailed the lead Iconian ship.

"You think you've won, don't you? Think again. I've seen you're archives on the sphere. I've data mined your ships capabilities, your techniques, and I find you laughable.

You hide behind smoke and mirrors, you bluff and use bravado. The only technology you have employed is a jumped up transporter.

I built a better one.

You believe all are beneath you, but you are so wrong. The combined fleets you have decimated are your equal at the very least. They saw past their differences and stood side by side to take down a tyrannical foe.

You have been found wanting, and you have missed something oh so important."

The Iconian commander interrupts, "And what might that be, Andorian?"

"I'm not Andorian." I rebuke, a smirk briefly splitting my stern facade "I am not of this universe. Beyond this space, beyond fluidic space, lies so much more. Many realms with races which you are to them as a terran ant is to you.

I am banished from my own world for decimating armies who sought to use me as a tool for total domination. My crime, destroying the combined military might of Barza, to free all from their tyranny.

I have travelled countless worlds, met many who thought them above all others.

I have struck them all down.

You have watched this galaxy over the ages, look up recent events relating to the Q Continuum, Terran communications history around the late 20th/ early 21st century. You'll find a curious little piece which I left behind by mistake.

A legend, told by a childrens show which refers to a tantrum I had when my machine broke down:

#hengenjizai tenmagedou yami no kehai ga semaru
mondoumuyou nasakemuyou ikki ni keri wo tsukero!

kiseki no PAWAA ikari no SOURU arashi to tomo ni raimei no naka
KAWARE! KAMI NI NARE!#"

The gravitic compensators de-activated. No longer dampening the gravitic forces of my body, the entirety of the Iconian fleet lurched closer, the Sphere beginning to crumble.

I could hear the Iconian commander howling orders to his subordinates to try and escape my pull, but it was too late.

They will yield, or I will crush them all within the contorted remains of this sphere.

"#tatakitsukero! sono kobushi wo uchikudake! aku no yabou
ankoku no kumo wo fukiharae!!

hoero! asu no sora e kagirinai yume wo misete
arehateta sekai ni kibou wo

inishie no kami no waza ni atsui yuuki wo komete saikyou no keshin wa tatsu!#"

The iconian flagship cried out in steel agony. Buckling from the tidal forces between myself and the star below.

"You cannot de-" The iconian commander was cut short by his ship succumbing to the pressure, crushing down to the size of a small sports ball.

"Gravity's a *****" I smirked. Once more tapping on my wrist, I broadcast to the rest of the fleet "Basically... run."

I drifted over to the gateway, hoping to be able to pass through in only an EVA suit.

Unfortunately the gateway emitted a powerful pressure wave, denying me passage as my RCS thrusters were just too weak.

"Need a ride?" Amuro chirped over the comm.

"Yup, and some lunch." I said.

---------

I stepped into the mess of the Ra Cailum, the only ship in the fleet with sufficient capacity to convey the shipless back to their respective commands.

I collected a small tray of food and sat down an empty table.

"How are you holding up?" Amuro asked as he took a seat opposite me.

"I just watched my son die. How do you think I feel?" I retort, disgusted.

"About that..." Amuro trailed off.

"Hi, ma" Peewee mumbled, taking the seat next to me.

"Peewee!" I cried. "Amuro, you are such a ******* at times."

"Well, I'll leave you two to catch up." Amuro said, getting out of the chair "I'll handle the mission reports, but I'll need you to fill in the blanks after we fell back. And go see Char, yeah? He want's to talk to you about some cargo you forced aboard. Something about a bill for a new hangar door."

"Later" I said, tears still streaming from my eyes. "I have a lot to catch up on."
Ikuzo, Trombe!

Last edited by amurorx0; 03-25-2014 at 11:15 AM.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,322
# 22
03-25-2014, 12:37 AM
A Place Among the Stars


The brakes on city bus 29 squealed as it lurched to a stop. The narrow double doors folded open allowing a young woman to cautiously step off to the sidewalk below. She reached into the pocket of her long grey wool coat and extracted a ruffled scrap of paper "251 west 139th street, apartment 4" she read its lone scribble aloud with a British accent. Looking around at the addresses on nearby buildings, she stepped forward, nearly bumping into a passerby. "Excuse me." she apologized.

He shot her a curious look. It was Harlem, 1963, the lone blonde girl certainly looked out of her element. He pointed to a nearby door, "251 is just over there, ma'am." The tall black man had overheard her rambling. She couldn't help but momentarily envision the man with pointed ears and eyebrows.

She did a double take before smiling softly, "Thank you, sir." She moved on her way toward the building. She walked inside the apartment, up the stairs to the second level. She found apartment 4, and knocked on the door.

The door cracked open, a man remained obscured on the other side, "How can I help you?" he stated with a meek, if curious temper.

"My name is Anne Reece, I wanted to talk to you about a story."

---

"Captain?" Atom tried to get Aznia's attention, "Captain??" he raised his voice dispassionately.

"I think she's in contact with the prophets, Atom. That is a Bajoran Orb." En'thaas responded. "At least I hope she is."

Aznia continued to stare blankly into the orb. The glow of the alien object filled the quiet cavern.

Hours earlier, the Federalist retreated with six other Federation ships into the Gamma quadrant. Traditional warp travel in most of the Alpha quadrant had been rendered impossible as Omega particle detonations cascaded in sectors from Tau Dewa to Eta Eridani. Species 8472 and the Elachi had developed some alternative means of faster than light travel, which gave them free reign to decimate worlds across known space. Qonos, New Romulus, Vulcan, even Earth... The Federation was in ruins. Loss of life tolled in the tens of billions. A coalition of surviving ships made a final stand at Deep Space Nine, and as the attacking forces approached the weakened survivors, a last retreat into the Gamma quadrant became necessary for survival.

When the Federalist led the survivors through the wormhole, Aznia guided the fleet to the Merik system. She led an away team to Merik III and proceeded into a secluded cavern in a mountain range on the southern continent. She acted as if she'd been possessed, with a singular obsession drawing her to these caves. Her crew was concerned with her behavior, but given the events of the last few weeks, it was the least of their concerns. They trusted the Captain. At the end of the tunnel, the away team found their path obstructed by rocks that had caved in. Aznia summoned every ounce of her strength to begin moving boulders. Her crew was surprised as her petit frame lifted boulders at least two-thirds her own mass. She was clearly on a mission, but no one knew what it was, not even Aznia; she simply knew she needed to move these rocks. It was a short time before the team uncovered an ornate box buried in the stone. Aznia lifted it out of the rubble and set it gingerly on the floor of the cave. She knelt beside it, opened its doors, and disappeared into the glow of the orb within.

---

"Oh... please... just go away." the aging black man disregarded his visitor, aiming to shut the door in her face.

"Please! ... Please Mr. Russell." Anne pleaded, jamming her toe in the door frame. "Your stories have meant so much to me!"

Benny Russell sighed. "What do you want? An autograph? How did you even find me??"

"It's about Deep Space Nine... the Federation... the future. I need your advice."

Benny's tone changed, "Deep Space Nine? How did you?? ... Never mind. Move your foot, I'll let you in." his tone resigned and softened. He shut the door, unchaining the lock. The portal reopened, and Anne stepped through. "Take a seat." he gestured to his couch.

"Mr. Russell, I just want to let you know how much of an influence you've been to me as a writer." Anne was effusive in her praise. "I want to show you something..." She reached into a satchel she'd carried with. She removed a manuscript and set it on a coffee table.

"Hold on a minute." Benny was confused, "My Deep Space Nine stories were never published. How did you ever read them??"

"My father was Edward Reece." Anne watched as Benny recalled the familiar name. "You sent him a personal copy of your Deep Space Nine series several years ago."

"Edward and I were colleagues for many years. We exchanged correspondence several times and critiqued each other's stories. I was sorry to hear of his passing."

Anne nodded sadly, "After he died, we found your stories in his office. I found myself so inspired by your Captain Sisko, that I began to write another series sharing that universe you created."

"Are you a science fiction writer too?"

"I've had my stories of time travel published a few times..."

"Time travel... just like your father!" Benny grinned.

"Just like my father." Anne resigned to the fact. "But your Trek through the Stars inspired me to take a new path. People need to read this. I would like to do everything I can to get these stories all published; but I wouldn't do so without your blessing."

"I tried to get these stories published ten years ago. I ended up doing time in a mental asylum for my trouble." Benny removed his glasses, rubbing the bridge of his nose with two fingers. "People aren't going to accept that vision of the future." he suddenly recalled a story he'd read weeks prior, "You said you write time travel stories?"

"That's right." Anne smiled.

Benny rushed over to a bureau in the corner. He reached into a drawer on the top tier of the desk, retrieving a small science fiction magazine. He paged through to the middle of the issue, "I read this story last month, 'The Backstep' by A.C. Reece."

"That's one of mine." Anne nodded, "Did you enjoy it?"

"I did. Your father would be very proud of such fine work. I should've realized you were his daughter when I read the story."

"...or at least his son." Anne quipped, "I've still yet to get any work published with my full first name."

Sadness washed over Benny's face, "Like I said: all this time, and people still aren't going to accept a better vision of the future."

Anne leaned forward in her seat to assert herself, "We need to show them what kind of future it can be. They can't accept it until we create it."

"Well..." Benny took a seat in a chair beside the couch. "...it couldn't hurt to take a look at the future you've created." They began to read the manuscripts together.

---

"Walesa to Atom," a fuzzy communicator signal came through.

"Go ahead, Commander." the Android tapped his insignia badge.

"We've received a communication from the Dominion. They've agreed to help us blockade wormhole to make a stand against any Undine or Elachi ships that might try to come through." She spoke with urgency to finish this mission, "We need to leave and meet them there. Has the Captain finished her mission?"

"No. She appears to be in the midst of a Bajoran Orb vision. I suggest we continue here."

"We'll beam a subspace communications array down at the foot of that cavern. You should be able to link your communicators into it, and remain in contact with the ship. Let us know if anything changes."

"Aye, Commander. Atom out."

The channel closed, En'thaas looked up from his tricorder at the Android science officer, "I'm not fond of the notion of spending the rest of my life on this rock."

"While this planet has a breathable atmosphere, unfortunately there is no flora or fauna on the surface. We also have yet to detect any drinkable water." The Android was very matter of fact. "There is still time to have the Federalist beam you up."

"No, I'll stay here with you and the Captain. This mission needs to succeed one way or another."

---

"She was somewhat inspired by your character Dax." Anne explained her Captain. "I imagined a character who was cast in the shadow of a truly great man, but becomes conflicted with her own aspirations and drives: struggling to succeed in his world. Your Trill species presented a unique angle on that motive. A female captain may be controversial- but with the experiences and memories of an established male captain, I think I'm giving the reader every reason to accept her. They'll be drawn in, then they will discover that she is very much her own person."

"I can see where you've pulled that kind of inspiration from. The best characters are drawn from within ourselves like that." Benny nodded approvingly.

"I just don't know how we can end this." Anne moved forward in the story. "I've began to write the end as a cataclysm. A way to close this book once and for all. But it doesn't feel right."

Benny thought about it for a long moment, "This is a story of hope. Of course these people will see their challenges, but my stories inspired you to write the next generation for this universe. I'd like for you to inspire someone to do the same and leave it open for the future authors to pave the way to their own brighter tomorrow."

Anne was torn. She remembered her father's writing style emphasized importance on giving the reader closure. Her stories about time travel always worked to close a predestination paradox or end where they'd begun. But this was a departure. Maybe it was a time to let old habits die.

The dead bolt on the apartment door unlatched, the door opened, and a woman walked in with a bag of groceries. She stopped and met eyes with Anne. "Uh... Hello there."

Benny and Anne both stood up. Benny quickly moved to take the groceries off the other woman's hands "Anne Reece, I'd like you to meet my wife Cassie." He said as he carried the bag in toward the kitchen "Cassie, this is Anne, she's Edward's daughter. She came to talk to me about Deep Space Nine." he passed through the door, leaving them together in the living room.

Cassie's attention shifted back to Anne, "It's nice to meet you, Anne. I was sorry to hear about your father, Benny was very upset when we heard the news."

Anne smiled softly, "Thank you. I want to apologize for bringing my work to your home. I couldn't find another way to reach you."

"Ever since Deep Space Nine was left unpublished, Benny has separated himself from his past work as a writer. This is the first time I've seen anyone talk to him about his work in years." Cassie sounded almost relieved that her husband was acknowledging his passion again, "Would you like to stay for supper? I'm making a meatloaf tonight."

Anne grinned widely, "I'd love to. Thank you very much."

Benny walked back in the room, "Where are you staying, Anne?"

"I just got in town this afternoon. I was going to find a hotel this evening."

"Nonsense. We have an extra bed in Benny's writing room." Cassie interjected immediately.

"Oh, I'd hate to impose."

Cassie cut her off. "It's no imposition. I'm glad to see someone use the space for a change." she shot a look back at Benny to suggest he begin his writing again.

Anne smiled graciously, accepting their offer.

---

The Federalist stood guard at the wormhole alongside the survivors' convoy and the Dominion fleet. The stand would be made here, and everyone held out hope that the prophets would somehow do away with the Undine-Elachi fleet. Tension was high as the crew waited to see how the events of the next few moments would play out. The fate of the entire galaxy seemed to rest in their actions.

"The wormhole is opening!" Quallo shouted across the bridge.

Walesa sighed, "It looks like the Captain's mission was no success... Send a message back to the away team. We're engaging the enemy. All hands to battlestations, red alert!"

The Undine and Elachi ships flooded through the wormhole as a torrent. Every color of energy fired across space as torpedoes ripped through shields and hulls. The conflict was intense, and the Undine allied forces took heavy losses. The enemied just continued to push through the wormhole. The Federalist was one of the last ships to remain on the Federation side.

"Can we do something to close the wormhole??" Walesa shouted to her bridge crew for ideas.

Chief Engineer First of Eight piped in from the aft engineering station, "It would take a vast amount of energy... perhaps if we breached the core exactly at the mouth of the wormhole."

"Can we go into multi vector mode and evacuate everyone into the alpha module?" Walesa inquired.

Quallo mournfully answered "Multi vector systems are offline."

"Take the ship in." Walesa ordered, "All hands to emergency escape pods, abandon ship!"

The bridge crew scrambled, Walesa decided to go down with the ship and assure the plan succeeded. The ragged ship weaved itself through the battle and readied the destruct sequence. Once the ship was in position and the crew was evacuated, Walesa looked down at the control pad on the arm of the Captain's chair. The self-destruct sequence was armed and could be activated at the push of one button. She hesitated for just a moment...

---

After supper, Anne retired to Benny's modest writing room. She continued to write her apocalyptic ending for a short time, but couldn't bring herself to pen down the destruction of the Federalist. She sighed for a moment before resting her face in her palms. At that moment, she realized that this was likely the desk where this story began. She imagined Benny writing down the first tales of Ben Sisko, she remembered a story with its genesis at the very wormhole that she prepared to destroy. It was a full circle. It was a predictable style that she felt too tied to.

Anne set aside her story, and jotted down the day's events in her personal journal. She logged the generosity and kindness of this family of strangers she'd visited unexpectedly. She told herself the tale of her struggles with expectations and ambitions. She yearned to be her own person, but she also yearned to honor the people who made her the person she was. She poured her heart out into her diary with a fervor that she could not find within the end of her Federalist story.

She looked at the bedroom door, and saw the flicker of an open flame glowing across the bottom of the portal. She grabbed the ending of her story... and stormed out of the room to find Benny sitting by firelight, writing down a few new ideas on a clipboard.

Benny looked up, "It's the first time I've thought about writing in some time, Anne." he admitted, "I want to thank you for stoking the flame inside me."

Anne was visibly frustrated over something. "I really am glad I was able to do that. Because I can't seem to do the same for myself." She tossed the ending of her story into the fireplace. "At least I can stoke this flame."

"Anne, no!" Benny pleaded, a moment too late. "We could've gone over that. There was no need to destroy it." he preached mournfully.

Anne stared into the fire as her apocalypse dissolved in the flames. "My heart... wasn't in it. I need Aznia to live on. I need hope for the future. Right now, I find more passion in writing about the present!" Inspiration suddenly struck Anne. "The present..." she gazed back toward the writing room.

"What's your idea, Anne?" Benny's intrigue was peaked.

"This." she retrieved her diary, "You, Cassie, your home, your kindness, this crazy adventure I've taken to get your blessing and ask your advice. The search for passion to write. The love of my stories. Inspiration! This is all inspiration. This is what I need." Anne transcribed the last day's worth of stories from her diary onto the Federalist manuscript.

Benny was fascinated, "So you're making yourself- the writer- a part of the story!? I like it! You could tie that as an Orb experience, like the ones Ben Sisko had!"

Aznia wrote as much down as quickly as she could, loving the inspiration.

Benny spoke again, his tone soured slightly, "...you know, if you write this part as yourself, you'll be exposed as Anne and not just A.C." he was sad to reiterate the implications of that.

"Be damned the consequences." Anne put her foot down. "I'm going to write my own story whether it gets published or not. I'm going to be my own person whether I'm accepted or not!"

Benny and Anne smoothed out the story through the night. By morning, they were ready to send it off to the editor and publisher.

"I'm proud of you, Anne." the older man smiled widely, "You've reminded me of the spirit I've been stripped of for so long. You've got a tough road ahead of you. Just never give up. If you affect just one mind, the future can still live on."

They mailed the story off, and Benny escorted Anne to the bus stop. The number 29 pulled back up to the curb. "This is my ride, Benny. Thank you for everything."

The two friends hugged. "Keep in touch! Keep writing! I'll do the same." Benny smiled as proudly as he could.

Anne stepped on the bus, as the bus doors slid shut her story ended where it began. The West 139th Street scenery outside suddenly transformed into an alien cave. Aznia found herself kneeling before an orb, so she pulled the doors on its box shut. She took a moment to gain her bearings. Looking up at Atom and En'thaas, their concerned faces seemed out of place. She knew the gravity of the situation, but she also knew that everything was different now- she knew the ending she'd written. "Deet to Federalist-" she tapped her badge.

Atom interrupted, "We lost contact with the..."

"Walesa here, Captain." the responding signal cut off the Android.

Atom and En'thaas looked at each other stunned. They presumed the Federalist had been destroyed when contact cut off abruptly.

"Status report?" the Captain responded to her first officer.

"I'm not sure how to explain this. We've ejected escape pods, but I see no evidence that we were ever in a battle. The Undine apparently never attacked us." Walesa was baffled. "I also think... I was visited by the prophets."

"I know." Aznia responded. "I can explain everything once I'm back aboard. Everything will be fine now. Prepare to come pick us up as soon as you've reintegrated the escape pods."

---

Beaming back aboard the Federalist, Aznia carried the box that contained the Orb of Inspiration. Walesa met her in the transporter room.

"I'm very confused. I was about to destroy the Federalist to close the wormhole, but I had a vision of a Starfleet Captain in a 2370s uniform. He told me that it wasn't time for the end. When I awoke, there was no sign of Species 8472, and no sign of battle damage. The debris of the Federation and Dominion ships was gone too."

"That battle never happened, Commander. The Undine never invaded. The omega particles never decimated our quadrant. That vision was dissolved away in the flames stoked by the dreamer."

Walesa looked at Deet like she was speaking another language. "Why do we remember it then?"

"Don't worry. Nobody else does." Deet smiled coyly, "It's just not time for the end."

Last edited by azniadeet; 03-25-2014 at 02:03 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,178
# 23
03-25-2014, 09:03 AM
Marleen had been his strength, his hope, and the one thing that kept him looking toward tomorrow, so it was tearing him apart to see her like this. She was dying, and for all the doctors, treatments, and advanced or illegal technologies at the fingers of Section 31, and yet she was still dying. The condition had spread to most of her body, slowly consuming her from the inside out. He could feel her depart. He had been holding her hand for hours, but as she slipped away, his heart felt like it was slowly being pulled away with her. He gripped tighter, in hopes that he could keep her just that much longer or at least be taken with her...

He snapped too, his abdomen still bearing the scars of Krotious' bladed fingers. The wounds were mostly healed, but being Captain didn't put him at priority, not for something like triage. Dr. E'Saul had made the logical choice, treating his wounds until they were no longer life threatening, then moving to the next patient. The ship shook, lightly, and Captain Donovan tried to pull himself to his feet.

"Gah!"

"Captain!" Fizi cried, as she ran over to help keep him from hitting the deck.
"Status report."

"Captain, you're still hurt, you're in no condition to-"

"Status report, Nurse Pruz..." he pushed through the pain. The young nurse, bit her lip for a moment before responding.

"Not well, Sir. Commander T'Pal is on the bridge. The ship is segmented and not doing well. The... the wounded keep pouring in, and that's just on Alpha, things are a little worse on the other sections without access to sickbay."

"Casualties?"

"Twenty dead, another twenty-two wounded, eleven unaccounted for. Wraith is in quarantine."

"Quara- arhh... What do you mean Quarantine?" He clenched his stomach as he said this, leaning hard against the medical bed.

"What ever happened Krotious hit him with, it's shut down his nanoprobes. His entire immune system is just gone."

"Gone? But that would mean-"

"Precisely Captain," Dr. E'Saul finally chimed in. "His Body is tearing itself apart from the inside out. Without the Borg technology holding him together, all of the enhancements that make him unique, are no longer capable of coexistence."

"Can you do anything?"

"I... I cannot. At his current rate of deterioration, he has about a week. Without the proper equipment, there is no way to reestablish his nanites, and given our current situation, I am not even sure if the force field will even hold long enough to keep him from succumbing to any microbe that would normally pose no problem."

"I need to be on the bridge."

"But Captain, you can hardly-" the nurse's objection was cut short by the Doctor, injecting the Captain with a hypospray.

"Against my better judgment Captain. This will help ease the pain, but your abdomen still needs further treatment. In your current condition, I would not suggest taking on a superior enemy in close combat." She looked to the nurse, simply stating "when treating humans, you will find that they are almost as stubborn as treating a Klingon. In situations like this, they are more so. As long as he can do the job, there is no standing in his way."

"Yes Ma'am." Fizi smiled.

Captain Donovan shuffled over to the quarantine field, peering in to see Wraith, laying there dying. For all of his strength, his hope, Wraith's body was tearing him up slowly. With all of the advanced technology on this ship, there was no way to save another person. All lost to the genesis device...

He made his way, painfully, to the bridge.

"Captain on deck!" Keating bellowed, his eye covered in a make shift bandage.

"Captain?" Commander T'Pal sounded slightly surprised. "Are you fit enough to resume command?"

"Of course not, but that ship can't be allowed to keep that device, not when we still have breath." He grunted again, taking his seat, tapping the console on his chair. "How are we doing?"

"Not well, Captain. Our weapons are useless against the carrier, and the fighters are slowly overwhelming us. Evasive maneuvers are the only thing keeping us from being destroyed by the main ship's weapons." She furrowed her brow as she paused, the ship shaking again for a tricobalt explosion close to port.

"What is it Commander?"

"While you were incapacitated, we received a communique from the strike teams. They have been all but destroyed by Krotious."

"His ship opened fire on the station?" Donovan asked, puzzled.

"No Captain. Not only was he on the station, but he was in several places. Before the transmission was cut, the Commander, made it sound like Krotious of Borg was the entire invasion force. Each one slightly different, but Krotious none the less."

"How the hell is that even possible?"

"I believe that we have a possible answer, Captain."

"Agreed. While Mr. Sabin and I have been handling a few extra duties, we've hypothesized that he was able to do this with his ship." Simon Edison said, tapping his console.

"His ship? Have you identified it?"

"Indeed Captain," Mr. Sabin added, "Lt. Ker'paH was helping treat the wounded when she saw the ship from a window. She identified it as a Kar'fi Carrier from Klingon legend. It was used by 'evil spirits' from Sto'vo'kor. Further analysis showed that this ship might have been made from the Carrier he stole from the Solanae."

"We believe that he has retrofit the ship and it's advanced technologies to fit his needs. It is more than likely, he's modified the ships ability to travel through subspace into a way to travel between dimensions, collecting his alternate selves."

"That doesn't make sense though... What reason would he have for that?" Captain Donovan asked, as another console blew out.

"He needed an army of himself?"

"Do not be ridiculous, Lieutenant Keating. He already had a crew, and there is no guarantee that his alternate selves would share his skewed vision." T'Pal stated. "Even then, I doubt they would be willing to undergo his 'unique' assimilation."

The Captain paused a moment.

"Perhaps they didn't have a choice..."

"Captain?"

"Project Scorpion..."

Nobody on the bridge said a word. While the senior staff knew of the Section 31 ties for the Geist, only Captain Donovan had clearance for the files.

"Years ago, during the Voyager incident, Captain Janeway and her crew helped developed a weapon capable of assimilating on a massive scale."

"Why would this station be making weapons of mass destruction? Why would Voyager-"

"It's not a weapon," Donovan said, interrupting Simon Edison. "at least... it wasn't supposed to be. Over a century ago, there was a project known as Genesis. A private team of scientists had developed a device capable of nearly instantaneous terraforming. For various reasons, it failed and the project had been dropped until about ten years ago. Trying to recreate Project Genesis had been restarted, resulting in total failure." The Captain choked on his words for a moment, before continuing. "A few of the lead scientists developed abnormal growths. Given the nature of Genesis, the growths spread quickly and incurably. Within two months, there were no survivors. From the files Admiral Aviess sent us on this station, they were trying to use the Borg technology to control the reactions better, as well on an exponentially larger scale. No matter what, Krotious can't be allowed to leave with that weapon. Are all of the transporters working?"

"Yes, Sir."

He began explaining a plan as another wave of fighters launched. The three sections of the U.S.S. Geist weaved through out, trying to avoid the heavy tricobalt torpedoes. Again, the segments made a bee-line for the Kar'fi Carrier, but this time the fighters backed off, just as Captain Donovan had anticipated. The three sections locked onto the ship with tractor beams, driving it hard into the side of the station. The Kar'fi, as expected, had been undamaged, due to its advanced shielding. As the fighters began to come about, the beta and gamma sections latched onto the station using the magnetic docking clamps, pinning ship to the station. The Alpha section initiated emergency beam outs of the other two, as well as any remaining crew from the star base.

"Is everything ready?"

"Aye Captain." Chief Fine said, tapping the last of the the commands into the engineering console on the bridge.

"Initiate sequence. Helm: get us to a safe distance, maximum warp."

As the Alpha section of the Geist warped out, the remnants of the transwarp drive activated, causing massive systems failures. The overload sent both the secondary and tertiary into breach, taking the station with them.

"Warp us back in, now!"

"Aye, Sir."

"Status report on the Kar'fi?"

"Their shields are down, hull is at 25%. There isn't even debris left of the fighters."

"Bring us in, we need transporter lock on the device. After that, we come about and send this bastard straight to Gre'thor. Pull all available power to the forward arc."

The ship did as such, pulling around for a second run. Before the first shots were even fired, a rift had opened and a second ship had positioned itself between the two combatants, taking the full brunt of the attack.

"The Iconian vessel is unphased, Sir." Keating reported.

"We're receiving a hail Captain. Text only."

"What is it?"

"Instructions. From the look of it, they are challenging us to a fight?"

"What? Why not just attack us and get it over with?"

"This is on a much larger scale than just two ships, Captain. The orders specify that it be a final battle between our alliance with the Klingons and Romulans, and their fleet consisting of Iconian, Undine, and Solanae ships."

After transmitting, the Iconian ship pulled forward, dragging the damaged carrier through the anomaly, leaving what was left of the U.S.S. Geist to be towed home. Upon arrival, all crew members were rushed to Starfleet Medical to be treated properly.

"And Wraith?"

'He's stable for the time being, but Dr. E'Saul is unsure about his immune system. If she can't replicate the programing of his original nanoprobes, then he might not make it to the end of the month. At least being here, will ensure that he lasts longer than the few days he had on the ship." Admiral Aviess said, handing James the data P.A.D.D.

"What about the Geist?"

"For the time being, it's been destroyed. With how badly damaged the remaining segment is, there is no point in trying to repair it."

"Have you read the Iconian invitation?"

"I have, and preliminary talks between the higher ups seems to be unanimous. We're sending in the fleets. The Romulans and Klingons will be sending ships, as well as delegates and Generals. Given how big of a pain you've been, the message specifically names your as our 'Champion'. Once you and your crew are ready, we'll be transferring you to a new NX class ship to begin training."

"But their ships are more advanced than most of the ships in the fleet, what chance do we stand?"James' voice wavered slightly. Aviess wasn't sure if this was due to the events of their last battle, or the pain meds, but she frowned before going on.

"We'll be testing putting you on a Chimera."

"You've gotta be joking, those are the ugliest ships in the line."

"Aesthetics aside, it has everything we need to build a new test platform. We'll be routing several new systems into the design, the phasers alone will be routed through several subsystems allowing them to enhance shield regeneration rates, as well as other power levels. This will augment the damage as well as survivability by a factor of three."

"What do you make of the Undine?"

The Admiral sighed.

"We're not sure how they fit into all of this, but the Klingons have evidence that they might have been used by the Iconians... Tricked into believing that we had built the Dyson Spheres specifically to attack them. Project Scorpion is being revisited as a weapons project. Admiral Janeway is heading up teams to integrate nanites into our offense against the Undine, but there is no word yet on how this will affect Iconian systems. The Solanae is still iffy, as we dig through the Dyson spheres. The tech is advanced, but we're slowly picking up on it."

"Admiral. Jolene... How could you? Genesis?!? After what happened to Marleen? After what happened to others on her team? Honestly, Jol, how could you?"

She sighed heavily again. This was going to be a long conversation that she had hoped to never have...
Rihannsu
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 216
# 24
03-25-2014, 09:34 AM
Admiral Bryan Valot gripped the edge of the Athena's strategic display nervously. The hologram showed thousands of warships shifting positions and getting into formations, each under his direct command. He had been chosen to lead the fleet, the most massive ever assembled in the alpha quadrant's history, even moreso than the fleet assembled to take Cardassia at the end of the Dominion war. Several other flag officers of the fleet stood in the strategic command center with him, aiding him in planning the battle. One, a Joined Trill woman named Abonay Dirom who was a General in the Klingon Defense Force, decided to speak up.

"Are you sure this plan will work?" she said, eying the images of several Klingon warships.

Bryan shook his head slowly. "No, I'm not."

"Then why should we use it?" One of the other Klingon Generals asked.

"Do you have any better plans?" Bryan snapped suddenly, causing the Klingon to back off a little.

After a brief pause, Admiral Selana Da'is, Bryan's Romulan half-sister spoke up. "Much as I am loath to suggest this, all of the Romulan Republic's Flachion class dreadnoughts are armed with Thalaron projectors. In theory, we could bring our ships into a line and all fire the pulses when the Iconian fleet comes into range."

Bryan pondered the idea for a moment, before feeling sick for considering it. "The Iconians might have the technology to block Thalaron blasts, so I'd rather leave that to be our last resort."

"You can't actually be considering using Thalaron weapons, Admiral Valot!" Admiral Tobin, a Trill that had been assigned to the First Assault Fleet to serve as a strategic adviser to Admiral Valot, shouted. "You know full well that their use is banned by the Federation!"

Bryan looked over at the Trill. "What would you rather?" He said, a dangerous edge to his voice. "We fight the battle conventionally, lose, and the end result is a protracted war that could see the destruction of the entire Alpha quadrant, or would you rather us break a law to prevent that in the event we can't win this conventionally?"

"So, the ends justify the means?" She replied, looking pale.

Bryan nodded. "I'd rather have the taint of Thalaron weapons on my hands as opposed to the blood of trillions."

Tobin shook her head. "Very well," she sighed.

"All right. Let's go over the plan one more time," Bryan called. "The vanguard force, consisting of roughly one-fourth of our fleet, most of which will be cruisers, battleships, and dreadnoughts, will begin the battle by engaging the main enemy force. After we have the enemy distracted, we will signal the rest of the fleet to decloak or halt the masking of their energy signatures and charge in, flanking the Iconian forces. From there, the battle will likely descend into a full scale melee. Keep with your individual squadrons, watch for collisions, and watch your fire. We will likely be outnumbered, so we will be able to use that to our advantage. Keep moving, and try to stay within their formation. With luck their numbers will make it more difficult to respond in close quarters combat. The battle will be at approximately 0830 tomorrow. Head back to your ships and get some rest. Good luck to you all. Dismissed."

The other officers filed out of the room one by one. Bryan knew that come would likely not survive tomorrow, and the thought sickened him slightly. After pausing to look at the display once more, Bryan stepped out of the room as well and walked thought the halls. Eventually, he found his way back to his quarters. His Joined Trill first officer and wife, Ibalei Zizania, was already there waiting for him. Her jacket was laying on the chair she was sitting in.

"Hey there," She said, continuing to look out of the window. "How'd it go?"

He sighed heavily. "Everyone knows the plan. Now, we just have to count on them to follow through with it. And hope that it works."

"You have doubts?" The Trill woman said.

Bryan nodded, easing himself into the chair next to Ibalei's as he removed his own jacket. "For one, we'll likely be outnumbered. Also, the Iconians are vastly more technologically advanced than we are. We haven't had enough time to really study the Obelisk class that we acquired from the Solanae Dyson sphere yet, so we still don't have a full grasp on the Iconian's strengths and weaknesses."

Ibalei reached over and touched his hand. "I know that, no matter what happens, you'll do the best you can. You're easily the best tactician Starfleet has, so I am confidant that, if there were only one person in the entire universe who could win tomorrow, that it would be you who would lead us to victory."

"I wish I shared your confidence," Bryan replied, looking down and shaking his head slightly.

Ibalei kissed Bryan lightly as she shifted into the chair with him. "You can do this Byran. All you have to do is give the word, and we will all be ready to fight and win."

They both sat in silence for a few minutes, watching outside as the stars gleamed in between the hulls of the numerous warships in the fleet. They were as ready as they'll ever be. The only thing they could do was wait and hope that they would live to see the next day.

*******

"Admiral on deck!" Justin called out as Bryan stepped out of the turbolift and onto the bridge.

Looking around, he saw most of the crew were already at their stations. Bryan walked over to his own chair and sat down.

"Are you ready Ibalei?" he asked, looking to the chair to the right of his.

"As ready as I'll ever be," She commented, looking at the viewscreen.

He shifted slightly, beginning to slouch in his chair. "Athena," he called, "How long until the Iconian armada arrives?"

The ship AI's holographic avatar shimmered to life near Bryan's chair. "Their ETA is about thirty minutes, sir," she replied.

Bryan looked out of the bridge windows to the surrounding ships. The vessels that were to serve as the flanking force had already left the formation and were in position further out, leaving only the ships that were going to serve as the advance guard holding position. He recognized several of the ships he had fought along side ove the course of his career, the Vanguard, Enterprise, Kirk, Renown, Bremen, Defiant, Valhalla, and Dyson, all of which were excellent ships, with capable crews and skilled captains.

"Open a channel to the rest of the advance guard," Bryan called.

"Channel open, sir," Athena said.

"Attention all ships in the advance guard, this is Admiral Bryan Valot on board the U.S.S. Athena. The Iconian fleet will be arriving in about half and hour. Sound red alert and be ready. Our battle plan will be as follows: We will begin the fight be engaging the Iconians at long range with lance, autocannon, quad-cannon, or other axial heavy weapons. After the artillery barrage concludes, fighter squadrons will move in the engage and destroy enemy fighters and harrass the enemy capital ships. Finally, once the fighters have completed their attack runs, the capital ships will move in to engage the Iconian fleet. Once we have them distracted the remainder of our forces will attack the Iconians in their flank, hopefully giving us the advantage. Remember, you are the only thing standing between the Iconians and the entire galaxy. Never before have so many of us come together for a single cause. But never before have we faced an enemy this powerful, this determined. The Iconians will not show any mercy, so we will give them no quarter. They will terrorize the populations of everyone represented here today. We will stand firm in the face of that terror. They will keep advancing until our last cities fall, but we will not fall. We will prevail. Each and everyone of you will be remembered for your actions in the coming battle. Stand fast, stand strong, stand together. Admiral Valot, out."

"Nice speech," Ibalei quipped.

Bryan nodded. "Let's hope it makes a difference. Sound red alert!"

"Red alert, aye sir," Ibalei replied, tapping a key on her console. "Attention all hands, this is the First Officer. Red alert, all hands to battle stations. Red alert, all hands to battle stations. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill."

Bryan sat forward in his chair. Crew began to scramble onto and off of the bridge as they all prepared for the battle they knew was coming.

"All stations report ready, sir," Iablei commented, a few minutes later.

"Just in time too," Bryan replied, gesturing to the viewscreen.

There was an uncountable number of flashes as the Iconians and their allies warped into the sector. If he had never before felt fear, Bryan certainly felt it now, as the enemy's ships continued to warp in. He closed his eyes for a moment, picturing the many trillions of lives that now depended on him succeeding here and now, at this final battlefield. His entire career counted on this one, key moment. All of history would look back and see his actions.

"The plan will work, Bryan," Ibalei said.

Bryan reopened his eyes with a renewed fire. "Of course it will. The Iconian threat ends here."

The Iconian fleet approached at impulse power, confident in their numerical advantage over the forces of the galaxy. Bryan looked around at his bridge crew. Some looked angry, others confidant, and still more almost sick with fear.

"Sir, they're stopping," Athena said, her hologram looking slightly puzzled.

Bryan stared straight ahead, his eyes narrowing.

"Incoming hail, audio only, being broadcast to all ships in the sector."

"Put it through," Bryan said.

"Look upon us and tremble," a distinctly alien voice hissed through the intercom.

"Hostile ships are advancing again!" Athena said. "Faster this time."

"Artillery weapons, at the ready!" Bryan called.

Suddenly, a part of nearly every ship in the vanguard force began to glow as every ship in the fleet charged their most powerful weapons, even as the Iconians continued to approach the fleet in a single, implacable wave. Bryan narrowed his eyes once more.

"Fire!" he yelled out suddenly.

The entire fleet lit up as a massive number of beams, heavy torpedoes, and cannon blasts erupted from the ships. Numerous ships in the Iconian fleet were ripped apart by the onslought of fire, but they continued to advance in spite of the losses.

"Fighter wings, engage!" He called out again.

"Aye, sir, all squadrons moving to attack," the leader of the fighter groups replied.

Hundreds of small shapes darted at the Iconian fleet, and smaller beams, torpedoes and cannons lashed out from the, striking the Iconians. Several ships were damaged by the onslought, and the fighters turned around to make another pass. Suddenly, the Iconian fleet lashed out with their own weapons. Many of the fighters managed to evade the onslaught, but several were not, and those who couldn't were quickly cut down, causing Bryan to wince as he thought of the pilots he had just sent to their deaths. Looking back up once more, he readied himself to fight the hardest battle of his life.

"All ships, engage!" Bryan yelled.

The Alpha quadrant's fleet charged forward at the Iconian's vastly larger armada. Multi-colored beams arced across space as the two fleets closed to point blank range. The entire sector exploded into chaos as the final battle truly began.

*******

Several hours passed, and the two fleets were still locked in their deadly duel. Ships exploded, illuminating the night sky. The flanking force had already long since engaged, and there was little to no hope for reinforcements. despite putting up the most ferocious fight of their lives, the allied forces were slowly being pressed back. On his bridge, Bryan was up and waling around the bridge as he observed the battle around him. He called out orders to both his crew and the other ships in the fleet as he spotted opportunities to gain ay advantage, but in spite of his best efforts, they could not push the Iconians back.

"Sir, the left flank is starting to collapse," Selana called from the R.R.W. Aquila.

"Fighter squadrons alpha through echo, carrier groups delta, beta, and omega, assault squadrons gamma, iota, hermes, and apollo, move to the left flank and shore up the defenses there. Battle groups delta throught foxtrot, move into the center to fill the gaps left by the other groups," Bryan called with rapid-fire speed.

"Sir, port shields just failed!" Six yelled from her station.

"Reroute emergency power and polarize the hull. All hands, brace for-"

A massive explosion cut him off as a transphasic torpedo slammed into the neutronium armor just under the bridge. Picking himself up off the deck Bryan quickly surveyed the damage when he looked over and saw Ibalei laing on the floor bleeding next to her chair. Bryan felt a twinge of pain in his gut, but he knew that he had to keep fighting. He moved back to his chair and tapped the intercom button.

"I need a medical team on the bridge, the first officer is down," he called, concern creeping into his voice. "I repeat, the first officer is down."

"Aye, sir," Syiseda, the chief medical officer on the Athena, replied. "Medical team is on the way."

Bryan turned his attention back to the battle. "Six, how much longer until you can get my port shield back up?"

"Now, sir," the Borg woman replied.

Outside, the left side of the ship shimmered as the shield came back online.

"Six, reverse shield polarity."

"Yes sir."

The shields began to glow a dull orange as the began to turn the Iconian's weapons fire into additional shield strength. The Athena continued to engage, turning and weaving through the battle, pahsers arcing out in every direction, and the occasional quantum torpedo sailing from its tube. All around, ships exploded with a brilliant orange fire or a bright green shockwave from a microsingularity as the battle continued to rage. As strong as the combined Federation, Klingon, and Romulan fleets were, they slowly began to falter against the seemingly implacable tide of Iconian, Elachi, Solanae, and Undine warships. Just as the battle began to seemingly draw to a close, however, the unthinkable happened.

"Sir, multiple new contacts," Athena called. "IFF identifies them as Federation, Klingon, and Romulan Republic, sir!"

"Athena, this is Admiral Quinn on the U.S.S. Odyssey," the Trill called. "I thought you could use some assistance, so I gathered what ships I could and sent them here. We are at your disposal. Just tell us where you need us."

"Odyssey, this is Admiral Valot on the Athena," Bryan replied. "Glad to have you here. We could use some support in all sectors of combat, so take your pick."

"Roger that," Admiral Quinn replied. "All ships, engage at will."

Hundreds of fresh warships joined the fight, driving into the Iconian's flank, ripping many of their ships open with their first salvos before joining the melee themselves.

We might just get through this after all, he thought to himself, smiling slightly.

*******

Bryan walked into the Athena's sickbay, which was full to bursting with injuries from the battle.

"How is she, Syiseda?" Bryan asked the Betazoid woman.

"A couple of bruised ribs, a few minor lacerations, and a broken wrist," she replied. "I think she'll make a full recovery, dad"

"That's goo-" Bryan stopped short, realizing what Syiseda had just called him. "Wait, what did you just say?"

"Congratulations Bryan," She said, smiling slightly. "She already knows if you want to go talk to her."

"Are you sure?"

"Bryan, I'm a doctor!" She said, obviously exasperated. "I wouldn't have told you if both me and my staff had made sure."

"Point taken," Bryan replied.

He walked over to the bed Ibalei lay on. Even in the midst of the weight of the losses from the battle, he still managed to smile a little bit.

"Hey there," the Joined Trill said. "I take it from that smile Syiseda told you the news?"

"Yeah," he replied. "She did. A little hard to believe, isn't it?"

She sat up and smiled a little herself. "It's nice to have something that we can be happy about even in the midst of all of this." She gestured around the room, motioning to all of the injured crewmembers.

Bryan nodded. "I guess this means I'll need to find a replacement for you then," He said thoughtfully.

She smacked him lightly. "I'm not going to be out of action that quickly."

"Point taken," Bryan replied, rubbing his head where Ibalei hit him. "At any rate, Ibalei, I need to get to the SCC to make my report to allied command. Before I go however, I want to make you a promise."

"What promise is that?" She asked.

"I promis you that I will be a better father to our child than mine was to me," He replied, his voice deathly serious. "No matter what, I will always try to support them in what ever they choose to do. I promise."

She reached up with her good arm and touched Bryan's cheek lightly. "I know you will," She replied smiling. "You're an amazing person Bryan, and I have no doubt that you will be an excellent father."

Bryan smiled slightly as well. "I'll see you soon, Ibalei." With that, he strode out of the room, thinking about all of the blood that had been spilled not several hours before. They had won, but the cost had been high. Despite the losses however, Bryan knew that they were not in vain, as they had saved the galaxy from a threat greater than even the Borg. Now, his child would grow up in a brave new world, one free of the threat of the Iconians.
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
Ensign
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 27
# 25
03-29-2014, 12:33 AM
“Captain’s log: Stardate 91818.86

The Calico Jack is back in Earth Spacedock after getting repairs after the battle with the rogue Betazoids and the Bismarck. We are preparing to engage the Mirror universe forces when we are re-stocked at ESD. Word from Starfleet is that the Mirror forces are attacking Vauthil Station, Obisek is also…”

Suddenly the entire ship went dark, Des stopped talking, then a deep, menacing baratone voice came over the comm. “Ahh, Admiral Roberts… you have proven yourself to be quite the officer, defeating the Borg, taking the Dyson sphere, saving the Federation, going wherever you are needed, that is all well and good…but the game ends now. You, and your Federation have been a thorn in our sides for too long, but now the pieces are in place…and soon the galaxy will once more be ours.

“What do you mean? Who are you? What are you talking about?”

No response…

“Hello….HELLO?”

Suddenly, Comm channels began lighting up all over the place, from New Romulus, to Qo’noS to Earth. Massive surges of energy all over the place. Reports of Undine, all over, and of massive weapons, then silence…

The crew of the Calico Jack rushed to battle stations. But everything had calmed. Then, over every comm channel in the galaxy came that same voice, “Thus is only a fraction of our power. You have 24 hours to surrender or you shall all perish in fire.”

Comms were once more ablaze trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Admiral Quinn hailed Vice Admiral Roberts, “What the hell is going on, Roberts?”

“I’m guessing the Iconians, sir, they talked about re-taking the galaxy, and I certainly would not put this past them, it seems they are preparing their endgame.”

“Wait, the Iconians? Why would you…”

Suddenly a flash crossed Des’s mind.

“Hold on a second, Admiral, helm, Hail Commander Kaol of the Solinae Dyson Sphere.”

“No response sir.”

“Try again.”

“Still no response…”

“Admiral, I think the Iconians are making a push for the Solinae Dyson Sphere… and if the Jenolan Dyson Sphere could be moved instantaneously then… Oh God… Nelen was spot on…”

“Vice Admiral, what are you going on about?”

“Nelen was exactly right! They are using the Dyson Spheres to hold entire fleets of ships, then transporting the Dyson Spheres to wherever they are needed!”

“This... this could be catastrophic! Not only the loss of Solinae and Jenolan, but... the entire galaxy... We had better get in touch with New Romulus and the High Council.”

"Agreed, Admiral."

They did just that and came to the same conclusion. They scrambled whatever forces they could…the entire galaxy was facing its greatest threat ever... Admiral Roberts sat in his ready room, thinking of what they could possibly do to help beat this threat. “If they are going to be using the Dyson Spheres…and they can transport them anywhere in the galaxy…how are we going to…wait…we know where two Dyson Spheres are…what if…what if…All Senior staff to the briefing room, immediately, I may have a plan…”

Everyone rushed to the briefing room. “Alright, I’m sure you are aware of the Iconian threat…but there might just be a way we can win...it all depends on one thing. Nelen…do you think we can send a wide-range self-destruct command throughout the Dyson Sphere network?”

“It is unlikely, given we don’t know how many Dyson Spheres there are.”

“Maybe we could send it through the gateways…we know where they are…”

“Yes, but we don’t know which ones lead to the Dyson Spheres and even then, they are likely to be heavily guarded…”

“Maybe we do… remember, the New Romulus gateway lead to the Solinae Dyson Sphere…and there, there was a hub of some kind, which I used to activate all of those gateways…maybe…just maybe, if we can get back there, we can destroy all the gateways at the same time…”

“But that will not stop the Dyson Spheres…” Tugo pointed out.

“You’re right, it will stop them from moving from sphere to sphere…but it will not stop the spheres altogether…”

“And the Solinae hub is trashed…” Nelen pointed out…

“No, it's not Nelen, we were simply forced out by the Iconians…”

"But I thought you said that you found the destroyed hub with Admiral Tuvok."

"No, no, no, we found a destroyed...station...near the SUN!"

“What’s going on, captain?”

“The Solinae station is destroyed…but what of the Jenolan?”

“We don’t know…”

“That uncertainty could be our victory right there…if we can use the Jenolan’s Station to transmit a self-destruct sequence to the other Dyson Spheres, disguised as a transmission, we could destroy them all in one fell swoop.”

“That is, if the Jenolan Station is still functioning.”

“That hope is our saving grace. Now…before any of you leave your seats…I’m going to require a blood test from each of you to make sure none of you are Undine Infiltrators, because if that station is destroyed, we are fighting for a lost cause. The Klingons…the Romulans…The Federation…will all be wiped off the map.” All of them did as was told…none of them were Undine.

The Calico Jack hailed Admiral Quinn, “Admiral, what’s the situation with the Klingons and the Romulans?”

“They are scrambling all ships to face the threat.”

“Have them all meet me in the Jouret system.”

“WHAT???”

“I may have an idea on how to beat the Iconians!

“You don’t honestly think they will…

“It’s the only way, Admiral.”

“But what about…”

“Send 7 ships to cover Vauthil Station.”

“Well…you’re looking very sure about this, Roberts... If you were anyone else, I would say you are completely insane…but…hell, I’ll put you in to both Jm’pok and D’tan.”

Suddenly, both the high chancellor of the Klingon Empire and the leader of the Romulan Republic each stood before him, here was his time to give the biggest pitch of his life…and he was not known for being a salesman.

“Esteemed leaders, I come before you today…”

“Get on with it, you miserable To’ba! The Iconians are at our doorstep!” Jm’pok interrupted with his usual gusto.

“Yeah, nice to see you too, Jm’pok. Anyway, I have a plan that could bring us victory in the coming battle…but I need all available ships you can muster, even those defending the homeworld, this plan is risky, but it is really our only hope.”

Jm’pok nearly spit out his bloodwine, as he couldn’t believe what he was being asked to do, by a human no less! D’tan, though still cool and collected as always (for a Romulan) was also equally distressed.

“Let me explain…” and he did, Jm’pok was not impressed, and neither was D’tan,

“So, you would have us abandon our homeworlds for your little scheme, which still even then, only has a very slim chance of working?”

“I’m unfortunately with the Chancellor on this one.” D’tan replied, “It makes no sense for us to abandon our homeworlds in one risky maneuver, which even then, only has a slim chance of working.”

Des was about to get cut off entirely, he had to make his next words count... “What alternative is there? If you don’t commit all your forces to this plan, than it DEFINETLY will not succeed. We will be facing not one, but two solar systems full of enemy forces. But if we all just hang back and defend our homeworlds...we DEFINETLY will not succeed, we will be overwhelmed almost instantly… So, let me ask you this. If we are going to die, why not do it in one final strike which has the smallest possibility of victory, than succumb to inevitable defeat?”

They thought about it for a few seconds, then Jm’pok threw down his bloodwine, stood up and declared, “Then if we are to die, then let us die as Klingons! We will join you!”

D’tan then spoke, “We Romulans are no strangers to fighting, we fight to save our new home… We will not be subservient to anyone! We must fight for our ability to remain free from tyranny, whether it be from the Tal Shiar or from the Iconians! We will meet you in the Jouret system!”

The transmission ended, Des sat back down in the Captain’s chair, practically exhausted from making that pitch. Admiral Quinn came back over the comm, “Roberts, I don’t know how you did it, but the Klingons and Romulans are heading for the Jouret system! Starfleet will join you!”

“Thank you, Admiral! Helm! Set course for the Jouret System, maximum Transwarp!”

“Aye, sir!”

The Calico Jack rushed to the Jouret system, and arrived on the outskirts of the Jouret system so that they would not crash into the over 3 million ships that were present there, “Hail everyone.”

“H-h-hailing, Captain.”

Before he knew totally what was happening, 3 million captains looked him in the eye.

“Klingons, Romulans, and Captains of the Federation. Today we fight for the possibility of life. Today we fight for our freedom, today, we fight to prevent an ancient power from rising once more…I know you all sacrificed a lot to be here, I know we have had our squabbles, but in order to survive, we must put those behind us and FIGHT! Our enemy can bring entire Solar systems to bear against us! But we must not tarry in the face of this enemy! We must fight! Muster your courage, then, brothers and sisters! We march to war! We march for our very survival!” The captains gave a rowdy cheer and prepared to enter the Jouret gateway.

Des thought to himself, “Resistance is going to be toughest getting in, so we must come in with overwhelming force to prevent them from bottling up the gateway.”

“Carriers, once we get through the gateway, launch all fighters! Furthermore, before we go in, we should have 100 ships fire a simultaneous torpedo spreads through the gateway, so that it will not be blocked when we charge in.”

“Aye, sir!”

The torpedo spreads were primed.

“Cruisers go in first to absorb the incoming fire, then science ships to keep them from overwhelming the cruisers, then Escorts to take them out.”

“Right, sir!”

The gateway was opened, then, from the cruisers, the torpedo spreads went out, they waited…

“GO, GO, GO, GO!” Des called out, waiting for any warp cores to breach before entering, then immediately, 1000 at a time, because the gateway was THAT big, the cruisers charged into the Solenae Dyson Sphere. Beams blasting whoever got in their way. The Iconians were caught completely off-guard. Left and right, exploding ships, the ripple spread throughout the Iconian lines, but the Solenae Sphere was still filled with Iconians, and they were beginning to regain their footing, and were beginning to deal some real damage to the cruisers, the Iconians were so many they blotted out the sun. Then the Science ships came in, though they were more vulnerable, they helped the cruisers take out the Iconians... up to this point, Des was amazed, everything had gone off without a hitch so far, only a fraction of the force was in, and they were already winning, but he of all people should know how quickly a battle can change. The alliance ships plunged deep into the Iconian lines, but then they met an old foe…the Undine… The power of the Undine was starting to take its toll on the ships. Their planet-destroying lasers being the main problem, they would just point it down the line and shoot, taking out almost anything in its path. While they, too were being cut down with ruthless efficiency, they were doing just as well, but then the Undine became fewer and fewer, and the ships coming through the gateway became more and more, the wall of enemy vessels began to buckle, and bend, and bend, then finally, the Escorts came in, and began assisting the cruisers and shattered the wall of enemy ships impeding their progress, Des led the Escorts in himself, and looked at the carnage, for a brief moment, he was almost sorry, for them, but they were still fighting a battle, and unfortunately, things began to sour again. The Iconians were bringing in reinforcements from other Dyson Spheres into the Solinae! Des noticed this, and had to stop it somehow, but he needed the gateway to get into the Jenolan Dyson Sphere… they could send in one ship alone, but it would need Cloaking Technology, and not just any, the best. Des then asked, over all Romulan Channels something that he never thought he would have to say, “Does anyone with Romulan Cloaking technology want to go on a suicide run?”

A silence fell over the comm, and then one Reman Vessel, the I.K.S. Kutusov, a Ha’apax Advanced Warbird, responded, “Yeah, sure, why not? I have nothing to lose.”

“Then come with me.” Des also spotted two Scimitar-class warbirds coming through the gateway, The Lance, and the Zion, “Helm, Hail the R.R.W. Lance, and the R.R.W. Zion.” They appeared onscreen. “I’m going to need you to cover for the Kutusov as it enters the gateway.
When you go in, give off one of your thalaron…eagle…spread…destruction…thingies…”

“Thalaron pulse.” The captain of the Zion said.

“Yes, that. We’ll cover you while they are deployed. After you’re done with that, go in and give ‘em Hell. Keep cover for the Kutusov while it takes out the rest of the Dyson Spheres.”

“Of course, Captain.”

They left the screen, when Janna, a Romulan who had only been with the crew for 7 months, spoke up, “Captain, you are sending them to their deaths!”

“It is unfortunate that this sacrifice becomes necessary. But is not sending two to die greater than letting trillions die? They knew what they signed up for.”

“But Captain, didn’t Captain Picard’s encounter with the Ba’ku clearly…”

Des got up from the captain’s chair, and went over to her immediately, a look of icy rage on his face, “You will never bring up that mission in my presence again, is that clear?”

“Y-y-yes, captain…”

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…” Des then, for the briefest of moments, paused with an puzzled look in his eye, “Computer, personal note. Do the WANTS of the many outweigh the needs of the few?”

The computer beeped a few times before saying, “Note recorded.”

“Alright, back to the battle. Helm. Bring us to the gateway.”

“Aye captain.”

“Be prepared for solar radiation.

“Aye, sir.”

“Also, helm, Hail the I.K.S. Blood N’ Guts.”

“Hailing.”

Calico Jack to Blood N’ Guts, come in, Blood N’ Guts.”

An aging, overweight Klingon came onscreen.

“Des’t, you have temporary command of the armada while I am gone.”

“We’ll be done with this battle before you get back.”

“Thanks, and Des’t, Please don’t say…”

“Come, friends! Today is a good day to die!”

Des facepalmed, “That…”

They took off toward the sun at full impulse, quickly following the Lance, the Zion, and the Kutusov. The Kutusov was already cloaked, and the Lance and Zion were just outside the gateway, “Helm, take us in with the Zion and Lance. Kutusov, do not enter the gateway until you receive the all-clear from me, and maintain radio silence until you reach the target.”

The transmission was a bit static-y because of the close proximity of the sun, “Ye….ir…”

“I’ll take that as a yes. All hands, prepare for battle, as if you weren’t prepared enough already. Launch all shuttles.”

“Aye, sir!” and they entered the gateway. The Zion and Lance went in first. Followed quickly by the Calico Jack. The Sphere was COVERED with ships, the sun was blocked entirely, be they Iconian, swarmers, or Undine, everything was nearly dark. The Lance and the Zion both deployed their thalaron weapons, a greenish hue began to show around them, the enemies nearly instantly identified them and began firing.

“Activate torpedo point-defense system!”

“Sir, are you sure we have that many torpedoes?”

“Let’s do what we can! Fire! Fire Cannon spread! Keep the attention on us! Brace for impact!”
The enemies began training in on the Calico Jack and its shuttles. 6 seconds left… the longest 6 seconds of his life.

“Activate hazard emitters! Tugo, reverse Shield polarity!” He thought to himself, “Just a little longer, baby, just a little longer.” “Kafruss, what’s our status?”

“Breaches on decks 4, 5, and 8, and we’re leaking plasma!”

“Dammit.”

3…2...1…

The Thalaron weapons activated, eviscerating all enemies in range.

“Helm, take us back. Lance, Zion, keep cover, keep fighting.”

The Calico Jack emerged from the gateway, and the Kutusov rushed in.

“Helm, take us to the spire, where our former base was.”

“Aye sir!”

They rushed to the spire. There, they met another ship, a Klingon ship.

“Captain, we’re being hailed by…the Bortasque’

“Onscreen.”

“Admiral Roberts, so we meet again.”

“What’s your point, Koren?”

“Ahh, you are becoming more like a Klingon each time we meet. I like that. We wish to accompany you as you take out the gateways.”

“Your assistance is greatly appreciated.”

“I will bring along my most capable bridge officers.”

“I will do the same.”

“I will see you there.”

They cut the transmission.

“Wisel, Kafruss, Temata, Sek. Transporter room.”

They had done this so many times that he didn’t have to say more.

“Takerra, you have command.”

“Aye, sir.”

They rushed to the transporter room and beamed over to the giant room where they found the hub last time.

“Be careful, that’s a long way down.” Des said.

Des turned and saw Captain Koren and her troops beam down.

“So, Roberts, we meet again.” Koren was significantly smaller than Des, but that just meant higher density of fight.

“Let’s go, we don’t have time to lose.”

They rushed through the winding paths, and eventually made it back to the point they were at.

“Wisel, plug in and send out a self-destruct message to all Iconian Gateways.”

“Aye, sir.”

Then Des thought, hard…and then realized he had made a grave miscalculation.

“WISEL! STOP!”

“Aye, sir, the message has not been sent yet.”

“What is the meaning of this?” Koren questioned Des in a rather angry attitude, (as if that was any different from normal)

“I’ve made a grave miscalculation. If we shut down the gateways now, we’re stuck in the Delta quadrant. If we destroy the Dyson Spheres before the Gateways, we’re dead. We have to destroy them almost simultaneously.”

“What? Why didn’t you think about that earlier?”

“It just never came up.” Des tapped his combadge, “Des to Kutu…Dammit!”

“What now?” Koren asked again.

“I told him to maintain radio silence until he reached his objective.”

“That could be hours!”

“Time we don’t have. Sek, Kafruss, Wisel, Temata, set up a defensive perimeter.”

Koren told her officers to do much the same.

They waited…and they waited, for what seemed like forever.

Meanwhile, The Lance and Zion had both been destroyed. The Kutusov was now flying alone…
Detus commanded in a soft voice, “Grogos, divert power from everything to the cloak and to the engine.”

“Even Life support, captain?”

“Even life support, we can’t be caught.”

“Aye, sir.”

Detus was very distrustful, it’s amazing he got to be captain at all. Despite being part of the Romulan Republic, he despised Romulans and only kept one around for…enjoyment… and another as his personal…servant… other than that, he had no Romulans on board his ship, he even gave up the R.R.W. Designation in exchange for an I.K.S. designation, he couldn’t stand them. The Tal’Shiar took everything from him, and had despised his species for millennia…now, it was time for payback…on ALL of the Romulans…but even payback must wait when the ENTIRE galaxy is at risk. They waded through the thick cloud of enemies, barely missing each one, it felt like it took at least a half-hour to wade through it all. “Tovan, get me a Raktajino!”

“Y-y-yes sir…” Tovan said in fear.

A few minutes later, Tovan appeared on the bridge.

“Y-y-your…R-r-r-raktajino…s-s-s-sir…”

“Thank you Tovan, you might live yet.”

Detus took a sip of the Raktajino, just as the sun appeared out from behind the enemies. They were not far now. When they were in range, Detus gave the Order. “Grogos, Nallmos, Rshlilk, Veril, To me! To the transporter!”

They rushed to the transporter. The Kutusov beamed them over, this attracted some views from the Iconians and Undine, but the Kutusov was so close to the sun, the Iconians and Undine were blinded by the rest of the radiant light, which completely covered it, cloak or none. Detus and his Bridge Officers rushed into the Jenolan hub. Fighting past defenses with ease, until reaching the center of the station.

“Rshilk, do you think you can find what the Human speaks of?” Rshilk was a Gorn of high class, his family were nobles in the Hegemony before the Klingons attacked. He only kept his status because of his proficiency for both software and hardware.

“I might be able to…HA! Here it is! We have it!”

“Detus to Des, we are here and we have found what you require.”

“Thank God, Detus. We’ve hit a bit of a snag. Is there a gateway near you?”

“I don’t see one.”

“Dammit. We’re going to have to set our destruction on delays, to make sure we don’t remain stuck here when this thing goes off.”

“Agreed. Rshilk, set it for a 10-minute delay.”

“Ten minutes? Do you think you can get out in time?”

“We have transwarp drive, and there’s an opening in the Jenolan Sphere, if you recall from that Undine Planet-killer.”

“Ahh, yes, so THAT’s how you plan to get home.”

“Should take me a day or two.”

“See you when you get here, you should be able to arrive to a heroes’ welcome!”

“I’ll hold you to that, Des.”

Des directed to Wisel, “Wisel, 10 minute delay on the self-destruct, this gateway should be able to return us to our respective ships.”

“Aye captain.”

Detus, in the Jenolan sphere tried to contact the Kutusov, “Detus to Kutusov, come in.”

No Response.

“Detus to I.K.S. Kutusov, Come in, Kutusov.”

Then, a familiar voice came over the communicator, “The Tal Shiar may not have been right about much, but they were right about you Remans, you sicken me, Detus, I will not let you keep us as your slaves any longer! I have taken over the ship, and am prepared to leave with it. As for you…burn in whatever pit you crawled out of.”

“Tovan, you BASTARD! You…you…”

“Are getting PAYBACK…sir…”

Rshilk was frantic. “We’re going to die, we’re going to die, we’re going to die!”

Detus instantly pointed a disruptor in his face. “Yes, we are…now quit whining about it.”

“If I just…”

“If you try to do anything to stop the self-destruct there will be less of you than there will be of this sphere when it blows.”

Rshilk was paranoid, he looked around the room, trying to lash out at someone, then, he took down the force field in the floor, and…threw himself into one of the beams.

“Good riddance, the coward, Veril, Darling, would you kindly restore the force fields before this Dyson Sphere destructs?”

“Gladly, my dear.”

Veril re-established the force fields in under 5 seconds.

“Now, is anyone else feeling in a cowardly mood?”

“No, no, sir! We are glad to die for the Empire!” The two Nausiccans responded.

“I thought so.”

Detus took a seat on the floor, with Veril, and they looked outside at the beauty…the stations lights began to glow red, explosions all over, the Nausiccans trying to get out desperately, but to no avail.

Des and Koren saw the explosions in their dyson sphere start a-ways off.

Wisel spoke up. “The Delay is established, Captain. I would advise we, as you say, get the hell out of here.”

“That’s a very wise observation Wisel. Des, Koren, and their crews rushed back to their own ships, Des made the call.”

“All ships, now hear this! We have completed our objectives! All ships, set course for the gateway as fast as you can! I repeat! Break off all combat and retreat through the gateway!”

The allied ships all made a bee-line for the gateway, some arriving faster than others, The Calico Jack stood at the entrance. He saw that no more ships were coming and the enemy were fast upon them. “Helm, into the Gateway!”

“Aye, sir!”

They proceeded through the gateway, less than a minute later, the entire gateway crumbled in a heaping wreck. When Des got to the other side, what he saw was troubling indeed, the system was significantly less crowded than before, while before, there were over 3 million ships, now, by Des’s estimate, the number was less than half that.

“Casualty report.”

“I…I don’t know…”

“Hail everyone.”

“We made it…we won…I hope… we won’t be able to see the explosion from here, but they should be gone. We did our duty, our comrades would be proud of that…”

The other ships set course for home to get repairs and prepare for other missions. Des, and the crew of the Calico Jack…just sat in the Jenolan system… he refused to take any hails. He got the unofficial casualty report the next day…only 1.2 million ships survived the battle, as there had been over 3 million to start with…1.8 million ships, lost with all hands… “Unconfirmed reports say that…” he saw the number, and put down the report, around 2 BILLION…lost… “and we won…” The massive loss of life lay heavy on Des. “Helm, set course for Earth, Maximum Warp.”

Des gave command to Takerra and went to his Quarters to check on his children, both Human-betazoid hybrids, his son, Des Troy Roberts LXXXIV, and his daughter Jemma Roberts. They were only 3 months old, and Des sat there next to their crib and watched them play. happy as always, but when they saw him enter, their faces drooped to one of confusion, almost. Kengla went right behind him.

“I don’t see what is wrong with you, we won.”

Des was playing with the children, but still distraught, “2…billion…dead…I’m amazed you didn’t break down yourself…2 billion…”

She paused…”they knew what they were doing, Des. That’s why they signed up for Starfleet.”

“To die in the Delta Quadrant Millions of lightyears from home? What will their families think?”

“They will be distraught, just as you are. But they will get over it.”

“Will they…will I?”

“Just because you led them doesn’t mean…”

“No, it does. I led them, If I hadn’t lead them, they wouldn’t all be dead!”

“If you weren’t there…they would.”

“But.”

“No ‘but’s.” Kengla left the room to leave Des in peace

Des read through the casualty list again, “R.R.W. Lance, R.R.W. Zion, I.K.S. Blood N’ Guts, I.K.S. Kutusov. Died or missing with all hands.”

Then he remembered something he heard from his father, “Des, a wise man once said, ‘It is good that war is so terrible, lest we grow too fond of it.'”

He thought about those words for the rest of the day.

Last edited by destroyer831642; 03-30-2014 at 11:27 PM.
Commander
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 356
# 26
03-29-2014, 12:37 PM
"What Will Be" Part 2
Phaser blasts flew through the area. Iconians took damage and Starfleet took more. Our fleet had lost three ships so far. But we pushed forward. We came closer to the gateway. Elachi and Solanae ships died much more quickly. Dyson-class starships approached from behind as well as Armageddon-class and Omnipotence-class. The Federation had invested time into making equivalents of Undine and Iconian technology. I knew that equivalence with the Iconians was at this point, almost impossible. But these huge vessels fought on. Gaping holes had been punctured in the Renaissance. We continued forward.
"Don't back down, helmsman," I said. I hoped to inspire determination into my crew.
My Excalibur-class vessel pushed forward. The Renaissance-A fought on. A piece of the wall exploded, shrapnel resonated from it. A chunk of debris struck my operations officer, and the Bolian Borg was knocked backwards. Seeing the event happen so quickly, I bent on impulse to help him. It was no use. He was dead.
The starship made it to the mouth of the gateway. The McCoy and the Trevin were close behind. We traveled into subspace.
Once there, we saw the expanse of eerie bridges overlapping in a very strange place in the universe. We fired torpedoes to destroy some bridges, but others we couldn't avoid crashing through.
A myriad of Iconian vessels swarmed in the place. We continued to fight, realizing we may die. As we drew nearer, I felt vibrations stream through me. I felt myself grow neutral. I was in a transporter beam!
I saw a new room appear and many others materialize, each of them a captain of a ship in the Allied Fleet. My friends, Kelten, Joe Penbrooke, and T'Pomme, were there. A shadowed figure stood before.
"Let us observe how a leaderless fleet will continue in battle," a voice that sounded like gravel muttered.
"Identify yourself," I shouted.
The crimson skinned, black pupiled and eyed Iconian stepped forward. Crests of bone and scales grew up past their ears. "I am the Iconian Emperor. I am the one that is behind it all." His ebon black uniform shined in the precious light. "I have been lying in wait for centuries. Waiting for the destruction of the Federation. I have wanted its demise. Now I have it." The throaty voice uttered.
"Don't you realize that we can beat you! We have overcome your barriers of deception and warfare and are now united against you. More and more governments have joined the Alliance. Until every last starship in the Alpha and Beta Quadrant is gone, we will not give up," I declared.
"You truly believe so?" the Emperor asked with disdain in his voice. "Do you even consider the collateral damage?"
"What do you mean?" I stared deep into his Tartarian pupils. They reached to grab you and pull you in like the Great Pit from ancient Earth Mythology.
"If you find the core control system for the gateways, and it is destroyed, all gateways so too shall be!" the Iconian shrieked.
"And?" I did not know what he was threatening us with. "Wait a moment..." a look of shock certainly crossed my face. "The power the destruction one of those things could do if destroyed-"
"Hundreds of them all across the galaxy. Hundreds of worlds destroyed. Quadrillions of species extinct. All the Strange New Worlds that won't exist.
"So, Captain, the galaxy is either ours, or no ones!" he shrieked.
I felt for my tricorder at my side. I scanned the facility we were now in. "The Core Control System, it's in this building!"
I focused all of my telekinetic ability. I aimed them at the Emperor. He was shoved back and fell to the ground.
"Come on," I shouted to the others. We raced to a door. Using my vast knowledge of Iconian technology, I hacked it.
We found our way to the Gateway Controls. For many minutes, I studied it. "I know what I can do." I stared back at my fellow Starfleet officers and felt remorse. "But it will mean we must fulfill our final promise to the Federation.
"I can draw all power from the gateways, which will shut them down. Once the energy is built up in here, it won't stay in place for long. We can all sacrifice ourselves, and release the energy, destroying everything in this honeycomb of subspace. The Iconians would be eradicated, but so too would we."
Kelten glanced up at me. "The logical thing to do would be to do it. We must protect the Federation." He walked beside me up onto the platform next to the controls. From those controls, the Iconians had been deciding connections to make between gateways for years. Now, it would be destroyed. "It should seem that we could use the controls to make a subspace rift and escape before the explosion with the fleet."
"Indeed," I looked at calculations he had input. "Let's do it!"
A glass cylinder began to fill with Iconian energy. It grew extremely large. Penbrooke sent out a hail to the fleet alerting them to the situation. They would soon lock on to our signal.
It was time. I released a bit of the energy to make a rift. The rest of the energy destabilized. One by one, Starfleet members dematerialized.
The Iconian Emperor approached from the corridor. "You will never be able to escape our wrath!"
"You've lost this war. You will never return to the Milky Way." I, too, vanished. The energy poured out and destroyed the building.
The fleet returned to a space a few AU away from the Dyson Spheres. A splash of energy poured out after we had escaped. The rift closed in the instance.


Let us allow the history of the future to decide the rest.

"Star Trek: Rubicon" Season 1, Season 2 A new era, a new time, a new crew, a new ship, a new mission...
"I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment because it will never come again."- Jean-Luc Picard
Captain
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,566
# 27
03-30-2014, 05:21 PM
Previously on Star Trek: Sierra...

"You are being hailed, Captain. Priority message from Starfleet."

Elijah looked up at the ceiling, his attention divided between the com and Tiberius. "We can't have messed up the mission yet. We haven't even left dry dock yet!"

"Sir, it's...Admiral Janeway."

****
"Captain Lowe, you remember Rear Admiral Tuvok." Admiral Janeway gestured to the Vulcan at her side. Elijah averted his gaze as he shook the man's hand, remembering the actions that occured during the Dyson Sphere incident.

"Rear Admiral. This is my first officer, Commander T'Luminareth." Elijah quickly said. T'Lumi shook Tuvok's hand, her face as emotionless as his own.

****
"What do you mean, Risa is gone?" Elijah stated, alarm in his voice. Janeway pressed the small remote in her hand and a holographic image of a debris field appeared overhead.

"This is all that remains of the Risa system. Every planet was obliterated. Even it's star was destroyed." she stated. T'Lumi gazed at the image, a look of intrigue on her face.

"Could it have been another Planet Killer?" she asked. Janeway shook her head.

"There was no sign of one. Sensors didn't pick up any anti-proton emissions in the debris. What they did find is what concerns us," she said, leaning forward, "We found traces of Omega particles. Whoever did this has apparently discovered, stabilized and weaponized the Omega, and somehow managed to get it into the system and out without being seen."

****

"Admiral Janeway! Incoming message across the subspace frequencies, all channels." the comm chirped. Janeway tapped her badge.

"Patch it through." she stated. A shrill screeching noise blared over the comm. Elijah, Janeway, T'Lumi and Tuvok immediately threw their hands up over their ears to muffle the noise. The universal translator quickly went to work and before long, loud but understandable words began to fill the air. A deep velvety voice spoke, it's commanding tone evident.

ATTENTION, LESSER LIFEFORMS. ALL THAT YOU KNOW IS NOW AT IT'S END. YOUR TRUE MASTERS HAVE RETURNED. LET IT BE SUNG ACROSS THE STARS. ICONIA RISES FROM THE SHADOWS ONCE MORE. SURRENDER TO US AND YOU WILL BE SPARED. DEFY US AND YOU WILL BE PUNISHED.

Elijah looked at T'Lumi, horror dawning across his face. She returned his fearful gaze with eyes wide in alarm. Janeway had a grim look and even Tuvok looked fearful.

****

"The Klingon Council and the Romulan delegation have agreed to join forces with the Federation against the Iconian threat." T'Lumi reported, reading the news from a PADD. She handed it to Elijah, who skimmed the contents.

"Wow. The Enterprise, the Mogh, R.R.W. Vigilance. Lot of veteran ships on the front line. Which taskforce are we going to be a part of?" he asked, swiping through the PADD. T'Lumi shifted uncomfortably in place.

"We're not in any taskforce, sir." T'Lumi said. Elijah looked up with astonishment.

"Don't tell me we're being benched. We HAVE to fight. I can't just drift through some nebula wondering if Earth is going to be there when we get back." Elijah said. T'Lumi shook her head.

"No, sir. The reason we're not in any taskforce is because we're LEADING them."

****

"Computer, Locate Two of Three." Elijah said, tapping his combadge.

"Two of Three is not aboard the ship at this time."

****

"So...the prodigal queen returns to us." The Collective said in unison. Two gazed up at the bio-mechanical bust that was the current Borg Queen, her spinal column swaying gently as she was lowered into her mobile platform. She smirked wickedly as her body connected with her. She stepped forward and placed a hand gently on her former protege.

"What brings you back to the Unimatrix? Have you come to take my place? Become what you were designed to be since the beginning?" she said, malice in her eyes. Two raised a hand and removed the Queen's from her body.

"I have come to ask...to ask a favor." Two said hesitantly. The Queen let out a soft sigh of disappointment and strutted to the main core. Two followed, a step behind.

"I want you to send aid to the Federation. Species 5618." Two said. The Queen let out a mocking laugh.

"Species 5618? Why would we help them?" she questioned.

"Because Species 47 has returned." Two stated. The Queen stopped in her tracks and turned to Two. She looked puzzled.

"Species 47. A designation that has not be uttered since the first Cube. Even iif Species 47 exists, why would we get involved. They pose no threat to the Borg. We will assimilate them." The Queen stated with a smug tone. Two's eyes narrowed.

"We cannot let them fight Species 47 alone. Please, help them. I will do anything. I will..." Two's voice faded. The Queen turned, grinning evilly.

"You will what, Two of Three?" Two looked down at the ground in defeat.

"I will rejoin the Collective. I will Ascend." she said bitterly. The Queen placed a hand on Two's face. "Say again, my auditory implants must be tuned improperly."

Two sighed and looked into the face of the Queen.

"I will become Queen."

****

"Sir, Sensors are picking up a distortion is space. A rift is opening up ahead." Viran'Adar, reported. The Jem'Hadar warrior looked at Elijah from his tactical console.Elijah nodded.

"Onscreen." he ordered. Viran nodded and brought up a view of a large red anomaly ahead of them. The rift pulsed, it's massive size taking up most of the scree and seemed to go on forever. A small beeping noise took Viran's attention.

"Captain, sensors are reading a massive wave of ships. Elchi....Undine....Solanae...and some sort of massive energy signature in the rift. Unknown origin." Viran reported. Elijah placed his hands over his mouth, contemplating the situation.

"It's likely Iconian. T'Lumi, send out a message to the ships. We'll need to be careful with the fight. Target the ships and remodulate shields every few seconds so the Soalnae don't board our fleets. Undine are high priority, the Ela-"

"Sir! Massive spike in Omega ahead of us! They're firing the weapon!" Viran yelled. Elijah bolted up in his chair.

"Lumsi, evasive manuvers! Get us out of the way! Red Alert! T'Lumi tell the fleet to scatter and regroup!" he yelled as the alarm blared. He looked at the screen as the rift flashed and a bright purple beam issued forth. The ship shook violently as the energy barely scraped by them.

"Damage report!" Elijah yelled.

"Shields are stable. It barely missed us....Captain....the beam hit the Enterprise...tore through their shields....Captain Shon and his crew....they're dead...." T'Lumi said, her voice shaking. Elijah looked at her, shick on his face. He slowly turned to the screen and hung his head. He sat silently for a few seconds.

"Elijah, I..." T'Lumi's voice faltered. She made her way around her station and sat beside the man, a hand on his shoulder in comfort.

"Full impulse."

"Captain?" she asked. Elijah slowly raised his head. His eyes were aflamed with determination.

"We're taking the fight to them." he said, standing up and taking a few steps forward.

"Full impulse. We're going into the rift."

And now, the conclusion.
You haven't heard "Jukebox Hero" until you've heard it in the original Klingon.

Captain Elijah Barnabas Lowe, U.S.S. Sierra.

Last edited by moonshadowdark; 03-30-2014 at 06:33 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3,602
# 28 Apologies
03-30-2014, 05:33 PM
Solaris banked around the shattered dedication satellite at Wolf 359. Bright beams followed him and impacted against the debris between the Federation ship and the shooters. Once the sleek Excelsior Refit-class ship appeared from the other side, return fire laced from the saucer section, followed by a salvo from missile pods within the hull. Shileding from Fek'Ihri and Elachi ships lighted up against the barrage, some beams finding their way past the energy defense fields, then missiles slamming against unprotected sections. Internal explosions sprayed metal away from the ships, adding to the growing flotsam of the battle space.

Accelerating, the Federation vessel flew between the conglomerate of enemy ships and vented a green-colored cloud from the nacelles while firing broadsides of orange-yellow beams of havoc. At point-blank range, Solaris raked destruction across multiple ship prows, the gas infiltrating the interiors and killing crew, slowly crippling the enemy further.

"Well done, McKinnon!" Kathryn could barely contain her excitement from the command chair, her knuckles white against the arm rests. She sat at the edge of her seat as she heard the crew around her execute the attack pattern flawlessly, but it was her Helmsman that made it all come together. "Aye, Captain" was his response. She looked around the bridge: red warning lights flooded the room, every console lit up like Christmas trees revealing information in real-time and everyone was sweating from the prolonged combat. Glancing toward S'Rel's station, Kathryn looked at the damage report display of her ship above the Vulcan engineer, pulling a stray strand of hair back into the bun on her head. Not too bad, she thought to herself before returning to the main viewscreen.

As the ship turned away from the exploding wreckage, the stars slowly streaked past. Kathryn noticed a burning Federation escort in the background drifting away from the battle. "Tactical, identify the vessel on the viewscreen."

Karl Melango looked up, then quickly tapped against his console before responding. "USS Rodimtsev, Matthew Calgar as Captain. Sensor scan reveal all escape pods released, but one life sign aboard."

Kathryn's eye's widened. "McKinnon, turn to intercept the Rodimtsev. Anthi, patch me through, audio only."

As the static cleared from the speakers, a male's voice was coughing. "This is Captain Calgar of the USS Rodimtsev, who is calling at this dreadful hour?"

"This is Captain Beringer of the Solaris, can we assist?"

"No, I planned to ram an enemy when it gets nearby, I sent my crew packing after the cannons became disabled."

Kathryn looked to S'Rel. The Vulcan shook her head. Data scrolled at Kathryn's chair of the escort and she knew it wasn't flying anywhere. An idea sparked and she needed to see if it would work.

"Captain, you'll have to forgive me later." She motioned for the line to cut. "Omazei, transport him off that ship."

"Aye, Captain." The Trill tapped a few keys. Moments later she reported Calgar was causing a ruckus in Transporter Room 3 and was on his way to the bridge.

Smirking, Kathryn turned to her Chief Engineer. "Thel, can our tractor beam tow the escort at high turn velocity?"

The Andorian nodded, "it could be done but the emitters might burn out at the attempt."

Kathryn smiled. "Good. Capture that ship. Mr. McKinnon, once the Rodimtsev is one thousand meters from us, plot a course back into battle and get us to the nearest battleship."

"Aye, Captain." Ian's fingers danced across his console as the hum of the tractor beam mingled with the thrum from the quad impulse engines. The damaged escort was washed in the blue of the beam and was pulled toward Solaris. At the designated range, both ships turned back toward the fray.

The doors to the bridge opened and Matthew Calgar stormed through. "Captain, I demand to know what you are doing!"

Kathryn motioned to the empty seat on her left. "Welcome aboard Captain Calgar. The Rodimtsev must have been a fine ship for her Captain to stay aboard. Sensors revealed she was dead in space, but she has not used her last breath yet."

Calgar sat down and scowled as her surveyed the bridge, then quickly took the seat offered. "What do you mean?"

Kathryn looked forward. The viewscreen showed a large Voth dreadnought ahead. "Ian, come about positive z-axis forty-five degrees, impulse at seventy-five percent. Make a parabolic arc toward the dorsal side, then turn to face." She looked at Thel, "is the tractor beam holding?"

"Aye, Captain"

"We need a diversion. Omazei, hail the nearest Federation vessel."

The line opened. "This is Captain Ael t'Kazanak of the Vanguard. This is not a good time to talk."

"Pardon the intrusion Captain. Would you mind getting the attention of the enemy at bearing four-two-four mark four-seven? I have a surprise for them."

Ael looked toward a tactical display. "Acknowledged." The screen switched to viewing. The Vanguard changed course and expelled orange beams and torpedoes toward the dreadnought. In return, dark red lances missed and found their mark against Federation shielding. The two ships exchanged fire for a few seconds before the Vanguard turned away, fulfilling the role. The dreadnought slowly turned to follow.

Calgar looked to Kathryn. "You don't seriously plan to do what I think you are planning to do."

"Again, I'll have to apologize later. Ian, accelerate to full impulse, prepare attack pattern sigma. Thel, set tractor beam to full. On my mark, cancel the beam."

The two acknowledged as Calgar sat back into the chair. Solaris lurched forward, dragging the helpless escort behind it. As the Voth dreadnought turned, its dorsal side was fully exposed to Kathryn's charging vessel. Bright orange beams belched from every emitter available with missiles erupting from tubes, each shot weakening the Voth shield facing until it collapsed from the weight of fire.

At her command, the Excelsior-class ship turned away within several kilometers, the tractor beam silenced and the escort ship continued on it's destructive trajectory. Antiproton beams fired into both ships. The escort slammed into the Voth ship near the engines, it's hull buckling from the kinetic impact.

"Come about, burn that ship from below," Kathryn whooped.

Solaris arced toward the Voth vessel whose guns were silent. As phasers fired into the crippled ship from below, more beams, both green and teal-colored, came from nearby ships as allies discovered weakened prey. The dreadnought's shields failed visibly from the onslaught, then beams and torpedoes tore into the hull. It bubbled before exploding and Allied vessels scattered from the debris, each resuming the battle against other foes.

---

In the future ...

The Klingon's eyes widened. "By Martok ... that was you?!"

Admiral Calgar frowned toward Kathryn who was grinning behind a wine glass. "That was a fine ship you destroyed, you know. They may have been able to salvage the Rodimtsev."

Kathryn shrugged. "We'll never know. So I'll say it again with witnesses this time, Admiral Calgar: I'm sorry."
Kathryn S. Beringer - The Dawn Patrol

Solaris build - Veritatum Liquido Cernene

Last edited by cmdrscarlet; 03-30-2014 at 06:14 PM. Reason: Added link
Captain
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 580
# 29
03-30-2014, 08:47 PM
On Stardate 85571, the end came.

The civilizations of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants had known it was coming for quite some time. The whispers, prophecies and doom-filled tales had become too persistent, too frequent to ignore. Everything had kept coming back to the same, repeated, irrefutable truth. They were returning. The Demons of Air and Darkness were returning.

Even so, when they came, the surprise and force of their attack left the galaxy reeling.

Portals opened instantaneously all across the known galaxy, spilling out ships in their hundreds of thousands over countless worlds. Elachi, Solanae, Fek'lhri, even Undine...the servitors of the enemy were without counting, and their ships polluted the pristine darkness of space with their numbers. Bolarus IX was the first to fall, overwhelmed by the dizzying number of invading ships that into orbit around it. Those few Bolians who were not slaughtered in the first day were rounded up and used as living fodder and genetic material for their conquerors. In a heartbeat, more worlds fell in rapid succession-- Tellar, Risa, Betazed and Rigel IV were all lost in a single day of carnage. By the time the Federation even realized there was an attack going on, the attacks was spread. Ferenginar, Lysia, Tamaria, Ktaria and the Sheliak Corporate all fell within days of one another, their populations all but exteriminated and their worlds left burning. The enemy did not stop, did not pause to harvest resources or to set up governments on these conquered worlds. They seemed only intent on spreading as much carnage and terror as quickly as possible.

Cardassia was the next to fall, her fleet overwhelmed and left burning in orbit, before titanic planet-killing energies wracked the world itself. The enemy reduced Cardassia to cosmic debris in a single day, snuffing out the once-glorious Cardassian civilization in a heartbeat. In a cruel twist of irony, Bajor suffered the same fate on the same day as portals opened up around it, twisted mirrors of the majestic wormhole that the Bajorans worshipped. Deep Space Nine was overwhelmd, and vanished in flame as the world below it screamed its last.

Against this attack, there was no respite, there was no ability to fight back. The enemy did not cross interstellar gulfs with great fleets whose movements could be predicted. They simply appeared, emerging from swirling wounds in the fabric of reality, screaming down from orbit or materializing into packed streets and killing all who came before them. Against terror such as this, there was no defence, no hope. Even as Starfleet consolidated its forces near Vulcan, the enemy struck Earth itself. The defenders of the Federation capital fought bravely and desperately, but they were outnumbered against a foe that knew neither fear nor mercy. After days of intense fighting, it was over. Earth was left as nothing more than a blackened, burned rock, its population dead, and the remnants of Earth Spacedock and much of Starfleet hanging in orbit around it in a mass grave.

As the onslaught continued unabated-- as Khitomer, Ferasa, Terjas Mor and Rator III were all annihilated-- the allied powers of civilized space resolved to make a final stand. The remaining fleets of the Federation, Klingon Empire, and Romulan Republic all resolved to gather their forces and meet the enemy around New Romulus. New Romulus, where the whole ordeal had first begun with the opening of the enemy's gate. New Romulus, where, all credible intelligence reports confirmed, the Iconians would make their greatest move, and the final hammer-blow would fall.

It was the greatest alliance in living memory, the greatest gathering of ships since the blood-stained days of the Dominion War. Thousands of ships stretched in great, majestic battle-lines across the Mol'Rihan system. Shoals of fighters swam around the swan-like shapes of Federation cruisers. Birds-of-Prey lurked in cloaked wolfpacks amongst the asteroid fields, while Klingon Raptors and battlecruisers sat with their weapons emitters primed and ready. Titanic warbirds anchored the line, looking like grand predators about to swoop out into the stars. The planets and major asteroids of the system were turned into fortresses, ringed by defensive stations, turrets, and minefields.

Famous ships like the Enterprise, the Bortasqu, the Kang and the Lleiset all stood among the Allied ranks on that day, along with less famous, but still noteworthy, ships like the Solaris, the King Estmere, the Valg'yr and the Seruk. The odd ship captured from the Dominion, Voth, Elachi or even Fek'lhri was pressed into service and sent onto the battle-front. Even Admiral Tuvok's task group of advanced Dyson-tech ships arrived, ready to use the enemy's own tools against them.

On those thousands of ships, last rites were given, prayers were muttered, battle-songs were sung, and final goodbyes were said. Every man, woman, and mono-gendered entity on those ships knew what was at stake, and was determined to fight like never before, to achieve victory at any cost.

It would not be enough.


*****


The first portal opened at the edge of the system, a yawning red maw of a wormhole that opened up and seemed to suck hungrily at space. Then another portal opened, and then another. Within a minute, thousands of portals had winked into existence all over the Mol'Rihan system, with more and more opening with each passing second. From those countless yawning mouths, the enemy came pouring forth.

Thousands upon thousands of ships vomited forth from the portals, a dizzying riot of shapes and colours that jarred the senses. The red-finned shapes of Fek'lhri ships shrieked forth on currents of red balefire, flying alongside the insidious, weavil-like shapes of Elachi warships. The twisted, organic shapes of Undine bio-ships came pouring out like predatory fish scenting blood, while further behind came the vast, leviathan-like shapes of Solanae dreadnoughts, clouds of Swarmer drones filling the spaces between ships like locusts. In mere seconds, thousands of enemy ships had entered the Mol'Rihan system from dozens of different points. Within minutes, those thousands became millions.

Within seconds of the enemy's arrival, fire was exchanged, and the battle began in earnest. Firefights raged on a battle-front several hundred thousand miles across, searing bursts of particle weapons crisscrossing the inky blackness in a dizzying kaleidescope. Every so often, that kaleidescope was accentuated by a bright flash, an expanding pocket of superheated gases, a brief spark of flame in the cold void. Across every stretch of the Mol'Rihan system, in the shadow of every major planet, the ships of the Alliance fought desperately against the incoming tide of invaders.

Scores of ships and thousands of lives were lost in the first few seconds of the maelstrom. The Federation starship Relentless was the first to die. A proud and mighty Galaxy-X dreadnought, the Relentless had been anchoring the centre of her battlegroup, weapons primed and shields raised, as a mass of Undine and Solanae ships approached. The Relentless deadly phaser lance was primed to fire the moment the shooting started. That lance remained dormant and inactive, as a Solanae weapon-code ravaged the Relentless' computer cores, deactivating weapons, shields and life support in a heartbeat. The ship's crew didn't even have time to die from asphyxiation before the Relentless was cored by an Undine antiproton burst, and blew apart with enough force to shred a surrounding squadron of frigates.

Even in the cold of space, the heat given off by so many energy discharges at once was an almost palpable thing as ships fired, blazed and died within seconds of one another. The Hermes-class Kyzor found itself in a furious duel with enemy fast escorts, and managed to take out three Elachi frigates before being hunted down and obliterated by Undine cruisers.The Ambassador-class Kon Tiki, burning inside and suffering multiple hull breaches, drifted forward grandly, its phaser batteries swatting away Swarmers left and right, before suffering a calamitous core breach that took an Elachi cruiser out with it. The Romulan Venator, a proud D'deridex warbird, was critically stricken by antiproton beams and imploded in a singularity core meltdown, forming a miniature black hole that pulled in friendly and enemy ships alike.

Not everything went the enemy's way, however. The Avenger-class Shallash, crewed by vengeful Tellarites, led an attack group deep into a cluster of Undine ships, phasers and torpedoes blazing as it killed bioship after bioship. The I.K.S. Kortus, a battered old Kamarang-class battlecruiser, earned its share of honour that day, taking on and defeating a much more powerful Fek'lhri dreadnought. The famous Caitian Redclaw squadron demonstrated why they were the greatest fighter pilots in the Alpha Quadrant, blasting their way through countless Swarmers and even bringing down an Elachi battleship.

On the spinward front at the edge of the system, cunning tactics by the Romulans momentarily confused the enemy, leaving them chasing warp-ghosts and shadows left by singularity cores. The confusion cost the enemy dearly, as dozens of ships were lost to this counter-attack. The Romulan Republic's flagship, the Lleiset, led a spearhead of no less than ten Scimitar warbirds into the enemy ranks, spitting emerald fire from their plasma weapons and leaving countless burning hulks and scattered fields of debris in their wake.

Even as the battle around them raged, allied science vessels did what they could to seal the portals from which the enemy poured, diligently pouring verteron counter-pulses into the swirling rifts even as they came under fire. Several of Starfleet's best science ships, such as the Daystrom, the Turing and the Morah, were obliterated by fire along with their escorts. Many others carried out their missions successfully, closing rifts just before they were hunted down and destroyed by the enemy, closing vital rifts in their final, dying moments.

It didn't matter. Although scores of rifts were closed, hundreds more soon opened in their place, spilling more ships out from subspace. No matter how many enemy ships were destroyed, more arrived to take their place.


*****


"HIv!"

The moment the command was barked across the TacNet, the Klingon attack squadrons made their move. Hundreds of Birds of Prey decloaked and swooped down upon the enemy fleet in a single, synchronized attack, darting between capital ships and coming in behind enemy attack craft as they filled the void with disruptor fire. Countless enemy ships were caught by surprise, and in the first few seconds of the attack, hundred of vessels blistered, burst and died before they could even return fire. Even as the Birds of Prey sowed chaos, heavier Raptors, battlecruisers and heavier ships decloaked in their wake, mopping up the stragglers left by the initial onslaught.

Even as hundreds of the enemy ships were destroyed by the Klingon counter-attack, more soon arrived to replace them. More and more portals opened, disgorging more ships to replace the ones lost. Where once they were driving the enemy before them, the Klingon spearhead soon found themselves fighting for their lives against waves of fresh enemy ships, outnumbered and cut off on all sides.

Many brave deeds were made that day, each worthy of a song. But they would be songs no one would ever hear.

*****

The I.K.S. Notqa' shuddered violently as it took another pair of direct hits, the klaxon blaring hatefully in Lynathru's ear. On the view screen, one of the other Birds of Prey in the Notqa's squadron took a pair of torpedoes to the stern and burst apart in a tremendous ball of superheated gas, momentarily washing the screen with flame.

"Report!" Lynathru barked. He could smell something burning here on the bridge. That was never a good sign.

"Shields at thirty percent!" Rresh shouted from his console. "We have a hull breach on deck two, and--"

Rresk was cut short as the ship shook again. A diagnostic console chose that moment to explode, flinging an unfortunate Bekk across the room in a mangled, charred heap.

"We've lost the Qa'rol and the Kor'bak!" Farra shouted from Tactical. "Captain, I'm not reading any ships left from our squadron. We're the only ship left!"

On the viewscreen, a cluster of Solanae swarmers buzzed into view, spitting angry red antiproton beams. Emerald disruptor bolts shot out in return from the Bird-of-Prey and swatted a few Swarmers out of the sky, but the ship still shook again as the enemy hammered her.

"Well, so much for our glorious attack run," Lynathru muttered to himself as he leaned back against his chair. "Engage cloak! We'll retreat back to the main battle line and come around again for another pass--"

A dry hiss from Rresh cut Lynathru short. "Captain," the Gorn Engineer said, "that last hit disabled our cloak!"

Next to Lynathru, Kovar burst up from his seat. "WHAT?" the old Klingon roared. "Get it back online, you overgrown newt--"

The ship shook again. In the background, something exploded, violently, with a flash that left Lynathru temporarily blinded. There were screams, and bodies flung outwards.

Biting back a curse, Lynathru blinked his eyes furiously, trying to get him working again. As his vision finally cleared, he noticed Kovar now lying on the deck before him. A large girder had impaled itself in the old Klingon's chest, and blood flecked his wheezing mouth.

Lynathru cursed, loudly, as he knelt down next to his First Officer, before slapping at his comm badge. "Medical team to the bridge!"

It was only then that he remembered that Sickbay had been on Deck Two, which had been opened up to space several hit ago. It wound up not mattering: with a final wheeze, Kovar's eyes finally rolled back. The old warrior was dead, and Lynathru realized he was a lot sadder than he thought he would be about that fact.

"Captain!" The shout came from Sadra at conn. "We have enemies on all vectors! I can't shake them!"

The ship shook again. Gritting his teeth, Lynathru stood back up. "Then don't," he growled. "Initiate attack pattern alpha. Overcharge all prow cannons and our dorsal turret. Take us right down their throats!"

He had never ever thought he would hear himself say those words. He had always hoped of living to a ripe old age, attaining immense wealth, and dying in bed while being pleasured by dozens of attractive humanoids. He had always known that he might instead die in battle, in the service of his Klingon overlords, but he had never once figured on dying like a Klingon, going out in a blaze of glory while charging headlong into oblivion. If he were a Klingon, he knew, he'd be thrilled right now. As it was, all he felt right now was severe Orion annoyance at the enemy that had denied him a more comfortable end.

The Notqa surged forward, its engines almost howling as it dove headlong into the fray. On the viewscreen, space was practically filled by darting enemy ships and flashing weapons fire, and the unceasing emerald daggers of his ship's disruptor bolts. In the next five minutes, Lynathru lost count of the number of ships the Notqa killed in its last flight. An Elachi frigate was shredded by disruptor bolts and left a drifting, burning wreck. An Undine cruiser was gutted by a high-yield plasma torpedo and left to burn in space. Countless Swarmers shattered and exploded after a scatter volley swatted them aside.

It was only when the ship shook and stopped, and Farra informed him that their left wing had been sheared off by a direct hit, that Lynathru knew it was over. On the viewscreen, the titanic shape of a Fek'Ihri Dreadnought loomed into view, propelled forwards on red balefire as it spat antiproton beams down at them. Around Lynathru, the ship shook and shuttered in its death throws, his bridge crew slowly but surely dying as the bridge came apart all around them.

He stood up grimly, drew his twin disruptor pistols, and prepared to utter the foulest of curses as Fek'lhri began to beam onto his bridge.



*******

On the R.R.W. Aen'Temar, Commander Ta'nara Veral had problems of her own. Her Mogai-class warbird had been diverted from the edgeward front to assist the allied science ships closing portals near the fifth planet. Already, the TacNet was a chaotic mess of screams and dying cries. She had ordered it shut off-- she didn't need distractions right now.

"Attack Pattern Sh'arien, mark. Fire at will." The command was firm, smoothe and calm. Even in a situation like this, Ta'nara surprised herself at how calm she could be.

The winged, blade-like shape of the Aen'Temar shimmered as it uncloakedTa'na, swooping down on the packed battle-line like the predatory bird it emulated. Shrieking bursts of plasma fire tore into the enemy ships-- two Elachi frigates were annihilated in an instant as the Aen'Temar caught them by surprise, and a nearby cruiser only barely had time to about-face as the Romulan warbird swooped towards it. A few beams of sickly yellow energy lashed out against the approaching vessel, but the answer quickly came in the form of a thin beam of white-blue that lanced from the Aen'Temar's nose. In an instant, power began to flicker across the Elachi ship as as the subnucleonic beam did its work.

The enemy ship was floating, dead and lifless, as the warbird swooped past it. The Elachi on board didn't have long to reflect on their surprise before they, and their ship, were annihilated in a searing ball of green flame as a plasma torpedo struck home.

"Enemy ship down, Commander!" shouted Centurion Taliv at Tactical. "We're clear for now!"

Ta'nara gave a measured nod. On the viewscreen in front of her, all that remained were the allied science ships, all of which looked badly battered. The closest ship, a Federation Intrepid-class, was leaking so much oxygen and fire that Ta'nara would have been amazed if anyone was left alive on that thing. In the background, one of the countless portals swirled, a red gyre that slowly grew larger and larger.

"Open a channel to the science ships." Without even waiting for confirmation that the channel was open, she spoke up. "Federation vessels, this is the R.R.W. Aen'Temar. Continue destabilizing the portals-- we will cover you as best we can."

A crackle of static erupted from the other end. "Negative...can't...ntinue..." a distraught-sounded voice could barely be made out saying. [i]"Our main deflector...damaged, an....ther ships...crippled as well..."

The transmission gave a strangled buzz and died at this point. On the screen, the Federation Intrepid began to apart in tiny puffs of flame, before finally disintegrating in a great cloud of fractured metal and escaping gases.

Ta'nara edged forward in her chair. "Report!"

At ops, Nalae did a quick diagnostic. "That ship just suffered catastrophic superstructural damage, Commander." She shook her head. "I'm not reading any survivors."

"All of the other science vessels in this group are indicating severe damage," Ziala added from the Engineering console. "Commander, it looks like the majority of them have been had their main power grids disabled."

Ta'nara frowned. Already, her mind was racing through a number of possible effects that could disable ship systems. Energy dissipators, tachyon power drains...the viruses that the Iconians had been known to use. "Can you pinpoint the source?"

Ziala shook her head. "Negative, Commander," the Reman engineer replied.

That wasn't good: those science vessels were needed to close the portals. Already, on the viewscreen, the closest portal was swelling to an uncomfortably large size. "Any way they can restore power?"

"Yes, Commander," Ziala said, "but it will take hours."

Ta'nara's hand clenched tightly around the armrest of her chair. There was nothing else for it, then. They didn't have time to deliver aid or technical support to those science vessels-- those portals needed to be closed now before more enemy reinforcements could come through.

"Bring us into an optimal distance in front of that portal," she ordered. "Redirect all auxiliary power into the main deflector and use it to channel a reversed verteron pulse into that portal. I want full ECM countermeasures in place in case whatever disabled those ships hits us."

She noticed her crew give her a few concerned glances. To their credit, though, none of them spoke a word to contradict her. They were all veterans of the conflict with the Tal Shiar and the Elachi, and they all knew what was at stake here. It was the same, unspoken agreement that had seen them through their toughest missions against the enemy. It has to be us. There is no one else. Slowly, the [i]Aen'Temar[//i] glided towards the swirling portal, and for a moment the viewscreen was lit by a bright flash as a blue-white beam shot out and seemed to disappear down the portal's swirling maw. Almost immediately, the portal seemed to start diminishing.

They all knew the risks they were taking. Alone and unsupported, the Aen'Temar would be easy pickings for any enemy ships in range. It came as no surprise to Ta'nara, then, when the Tactical console began to beep rapidly.

"Commander," Taliv cried out, "we have Undine inbound!"

No sooner had Taliv said this when the bridge rocked violently. On the viewscreen, several twisted, organic shapes flew past, spitting arcing yellow beams down at thim. The ship shook again, lights flickering from the impact.

"Return fire, full torpedo dispersal and beam arc!" Ta'nara ordered. "Ziala, keep our shields up!"

On the viewscreen, one of the swooping Undine ships was struck by a plasma beam, and veered left as the teal energy washed against its shields. In reply, however, the Aen'Temar shook again as more and more energy bursts hammered it.

"Shields are at sixty percent!" Ziala shouted.

At conn, Centurion Lorek wheeled around to face Ta'nara. "Commander, we need to make evasive manouvers! We're a sitting target out here!"

"Belay that," Ta'nara almost snapped in reply. "We need to prevent more of their reinforcements from coming through. That takes precedence over everything, Centurion, even our own safety!"

As though to accentuate the point, the Aen'Temar shook again, sparks erupting from one overloading power conduit.

"Shields at forty percent!" Ziala exclaimed.

At this rate, Ta'nara knew, they wouldn't last another minute-- and they needed more than a minute to finish closing that portal. "Ziala, reverse shield polarity to ward off some of that damage!" she ordered. "Also, diffuse our excess core energy to initiate a warp shadow dispersal around the ship! Nalae, initiate photonic decoy system!" Let's show the Undine they aren't the only masters of subterfuge.

The moment Ta'nara gave the order, the Aen'Temar's singularity core pulsed, her external holo-emitters hummed to life, and the next thing the Undine knew, six Mogai-class warbirds appeared to decloak all around them, swooping in on attack vectors.

Ta'nara could almost imagine the creatures shrieking in alarm as the Undine ships scattered, taking evasive manouvers and pot-shots as they broke off to deal with this new threat. It would take them a few vital moments, she knew, to realize that these ships were sensory tricks. A few vital moments that her ship would need to close the portal and escape.

"The Undine are distracted for now, Commander," Taliv confirmed, looking suitably relieved. On the viewscreen, the portal shrank further and further, looking like some sickly flower that wilted under the unceasing verteron stream.

"Good," Ta'nara breathed. "Maintain the illusion for as long as possible." A small part of her contemplated scanning the Federation ships for survivors, and, if the opportunity allowed, beaming them aboard. She quickly perished the thought, knowing it would put the Aen'Temar in more jeopardy than it was in already. In war, there are always necessary casualties.

There was another set up beeps, this time from the Ops console. Centurion T'Vex turned to face her, his usually pale face now an almost deathly white. "Commander...we just got word from the fleet," he said. "The Lleiset...the Lleiset has been destroyed, along with most of our primary attack wings. Enemy ships are now strafing the surface of Mol'Rihan itself."

A silence fell over the bridge at that point. The Lleiset, the pride of the Republic's fleet, crewed by the best of the best...if the Republic's flagship had just been destroyed, and if their homeworld itself was being attacked...

Ta'nara gritted her teeth and focused back on reality. "Maintain the verteron pulse," she ordered, her voice almost narrowed into a hiss. "No matter what happens, we are NOT stopping." In her mind, the mantra repeated again. It has to be us. There is no one else.

True to form, her crew masked their sorrow and carried on with their duty, acting with the quiet discipline that Ta'nara had worked hard to instill in them. The silence was broken, though, by Nalae at the science console. "I'm reading a cascade reversal in that portal, Commander," she exclaimed. "It's closing!"

As Ta'nara watched, the portal began to shrivel and die in front of her, even as the Undine duelled with illusory warbirds all around it. For a moment, she almost allowed herself a grim smile.

And then, all of a sudden, the lights flickered and died, and everything on the Aen'Temar's bridge shut down all at once.

Ta'nara shot to her feet, glad that her crew couldn't see her shocked expression in the dark. "Report!"

Ziala was fiddling with the erratic lights of her console. "Commander, we've lost main power!" she cried. "We're down to a few dregs of auxiliary! Something...something went right through our ECM defenses and shut down all of our primary systems from within!"

Ta'nara's teeth clenched together. Iconian viruses. Even our best defenses are useless against them. "Initiate a memory dump, now!" she snapped. "I want our main power grid back online two minutes ago!"

"Commander..." Nalae's voice spoke as a hushed whisper. "The portal is opening up again. Something...something is coming through..."

Slowly, Ta'nara turned back to the viewscreen. Nalae was right. The portal was opening again, swelling back to an immense size in the space of a few seconds. And something was coming through-- something gigantic, and looking like a sickly fusion of technology, organism, and ectoplasm. And it was coming right for them.

In the last few moments of her existence, Ta'nara could only stare at the enemy as it emerged from its hell-dimension. In those last few moments, to her credit, she didn't allow her crew to see how afraid she was.



********


On bridge of the U.S.S. Archimedes, Arkos Nair watched, numbly, as Hell opened up on the viewscreen.

He didn't believe in Hell, or Gehenna, or Hades, or whatever-the-tides sentient beings called it. He was a rationalist, an atheist, and proud of the fact. He knew that there was no pit of unfathomable evil at the bottom of the universe, no realm of eternal torment awaiting sinners after death. He knew these for the fictions that they were, and understood that the universe could be a cruel enough place on its own without any sort of eternal damnation. And yet, as he sat transfixed in his command chair and watched the swirling, red maw of a portal opening up around New Romulus, he knew, on some deep, instinctual level, that he was looking at the gate to Hell.

It was impossible. His mind balked at the sheer, improbable size of the portal, and struggled, and failed, to calculate the power output that would be needed to open or maintain something of that size. As his mind struggled, the blue orb of New Romulus dimmed, its oceans steaming and its continents blistering. And then, before he had even registered it had happened, New Romulus was gone. In its place was the ever-expanding red maw, widening further and further like a bloody wound in space. He stared, entranced, at the crackling energy that played around the whirling strata of this wormhole...and at the endless mass of shadow that danced at its centre.

He was about to ask Sann for a sensor report, when he remembered that she was dead. Sann, K'Nera, Adim, Brax, Farim...all of his senior officers were dead at their posts, fried by electrical surges, impaled by shrapnel, or asphyxiated by the toxic fumes that now permeated the ruined, flaming bridge. The entire crew was dead after the ship suffered catastrophic damage. The Archimedes was floating dead in space, damaged beyond repair, listing on what few dregs of life support and power it had left. Around it, the once-grand Allied fleet burned in space. Only he was left, sitting uselessly on his chair, unable to do anything.

"There are many endings," said a voice to his side. Admiral Quinn stood, straight-backed, to the side of the bridge in full dress, seemingly oblivious to the flames that danced around him. "This is but one, but if it is, it is THE end."

Arkos turned and stared numbly at Quinn, but before he could even question what the supreme commander of Starfleet was doing on his bridge, he realized the Admiral wasn't alone. Dozens of figures were standing on his bridge now, forming a semicircle around him as they stared down solemnly. Some of these people were still alive, though some Arkos knew for certain to be dead.

"The door has been opened," said B'Vat, looking as he did in the distant past. "The key has been stolen."

"What is unlocked can never be closed again," said Admiral Janeway, the old Terran woman giving Arkos her usual grandmotherly frown. "The current can no longer be stemmed."

Arkos stared up at the figures and blinked. For some reason, it didn't bother him that these people, living and dead, were all gathered here on his bridge. Somehow, this all seemed to make sense.

"Why are you showing me this?" he asked. "Why me, and not someone who can actually stop it?"

Uncle Syrkhu stepped forwards, looking as hale and healthy as he did when he was alive. "If the shell dies, so too does the formless within," he said. "The plane of the physical, and the plane of our existence, are tied by fate."

"You are but one finger of a hand," said Arkos' Mirror Universe self, clad in his priestly disguise of a Telvenar's robes. "But the hand must be made to act."

"You've shown me what happens if we act!" Arkos snapped. "And it isn't enough!" He stood up to face the figures who were now crowding around him like a mob. "Tell me, what must I...what must we...do to prevent all of this from happening?"

For a moment, the figures were silent. Then, as one, they all took a step back, allowing a figure from the centre of the group to step forwards. It was then that Arkos realized he was no longer standing on the ruined bridge of the Archimedes, but in an endless expanse of pure white light. He also realized, then and there, that he recognized the figure approaching him-- a tall, dark-skinned Human wearing the black and red of Starfleet.

"The pitch has already been thrown," said Benjamin Sisko as he held a small, spherical object in his hand towards Arkos. "The baseball is already in motion. But you...you need to make sure that the right people are there to bat it."


****


Arkos' eyes opened.

For the first few seconds, he blinked. Everything was different. He no longer felt the heat of the flames on his skin, heard the sound of dying klaxons in the background, or felt the coppery, chemical tang of smoke on his mouth. He felt the briefest surge of panic until he realized where he was.

"Captain?" Lieutenant Farim Meru, conn officer of the U.S.S. Archimedes, knelt down next to Arkos, worry evident on her Bajoran features. "Are you alright?"

Behind Farim, a pair of robed Bajoran monks were looking down at Arkos with equal parts concern and confusion. A small crowd of civilians had also gathered, all curious as to what a Starfleet officer was doing lying down in the middle of a public area.

Arkos' mouth felt numb all of a sudden. "I..." He turned back to the object in front of him-- an ornate bronze box that towered above him. Flashes of memory came back to him now. He had been on shore leave on Deep Space Nine along with the rest of the Archimedes crew, and Farim had invited him to visit one of the Bajoran temples. At first he had politely dismissed all of the tenets and rhetoric of the monks there, but then Farim had dared him to kneel before one of the altars in the temple. An altar which, Farim had said, containd something called "the Orb of Possibilities."

"Where...how long..." Arkos fumbled drunkenly with his words. "How much...time has passed?"

"What?" Farim blinked in confusion. "Only a few seconds, sir."

"He's had a vision," one of the monks suddenly whispered. "The Prophets have granted him an orb vision!"

Farim's eyes widened. "Sir, is this true?" Her voice had a hushed, almost reverential tone to it.

For a few seconds, Arkos couldn't speak. Whatever words gathered in his throat simply failed and died. It was impossible, he realized, to find words that could convey the sheer horror of what he had just seen. Of what he needed to prevent.

"What...is a baseball?" he finally managed to say, before toppling over and passing out.
Commander
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 422
# 30 The Knife
03-31-2014, 11:40 PM
____________________


Commander's Journal



It seems the most dependable thing a commander may count on is that things will not happen when it is convenient or planned for them to happen. This applies to both normal operations of the ship as well as larger affairs governing the use by the agency that built, operates, and authorizes the actions of that ship.

So it has happened to us all.

Almost two days ago, all known galactic governments in the Alpha Quadrant received a subspace message on all channels. That transmission informed us all that the Iconians were asserting themselves as the ruling power in this section of space based upon their ancient claim to this galaxy, and gave us fifty standard ahn to surrender our forces to their control. Failure would be met by conquest instead of subjugation, destruction instead of enslavement.

It was, perhaps, their ignorance of how far the races of the galaxy have progressed that the transmission of this message in a simutanous fashion also meant those who they sought to cow into servitude might triangulate the origin point of that signal, and put aside their differences for a time to deal with a threat to them all.


Perhaps.


As the Republic Flotilla mobilized to join the forces of the Federation and Klingon Empire in forcing an end to Iconian actions against us all, I was taken aside by Senator Harov to an empty room in the Command Center. How did he know of my true intentions? Did he also suffer from divided loyalties? Or, was it simply that I was the only commander in the briefing who was not rihannsu?

Regardless, I heard him out, my heart falling with each word. For so long, I have strived to achieve position within the Flotilla, and now words from an old man's lips put me to the task I had so secretly accepted when I left the custody of my Tal'shiar handlers. In many ways, I had hoped I would never have to enact my mission, for I had come to enjoy my place in the New Republic.

All that is ashes now. My duty awaits.


I have sent the transmission, with the information that will almost surely result in my execution, should the Republic exist after today. You who read this after my fall, know that I do this only because there is no other choice for me.

I am who I was designed to be.




End Recording.





_______



"Forward shields down sixty-two percent!"

"The General's flagship is hit! It burns! Kru'Ghah belev' a'gekk!! Forwards!!"

"That beam just passed throught the Detroit's shields like they weren't even up! Evasive action!"

"More enemy ships coming out of subspace at two-one-seven mark four! Identified as Undine!"

"Heavy damage on the T'ressiv! Our core is in imminent danger of collapse! For the glory of the Rep......"




The subspace transmissions tell the tale plain enough. The battle is joined, and the forces involved are fully engaged. Many will die this day, far from the worlds whose fate might be decided by their struggles. Others will live, but in what new order of things?

It does not matter to his mission. His task has already been set.

He looks to the main screen, seeing the slowly turning planet displayed there.

The timing must be correct. Too soon, and the orbital defenses will have a chance, small as it might be, to react. Too late, and the fleet will reveal itself too far into the interlaced grid of sensors, weapons, and shielding, to chance anything but a devastating first strike. If they are to accomplish their mission and take the planet intact, then the cloaks must be dropped.....

His hand gives the command.





In close proximity above New Romulus, starships styled as swooping birds-of-prey suddenly appeared, their cloaking fields dropping to reveal the hulls within. Sleek Mogai class ships stood off the larger D'deridex and D’ridthau class warships, all of them dwarfed by the massive hulls of six Scimitar class dreadnaughts.

Aboard her flagship, Colonel Favra nodded approval as the ships of the Tal'shiar fleet took station without delay, the weapons already locking onto whatever the sensors aboard each ship found offensive to their penetrating beams. It had not been easy to take the place of Hakeev after the former had failed so spectacularly in the mission given to them by their masters, but she had managed to avoid the fate of those who had stepped too quickly to fill his place. Now, these were her ships.



The Scanning Sublieutenant turned away from his console, saluting her before reporting "As was expected. No warships are present, my Commander!"

Standing from her judgement seat, she gestured to the Communicator Centurion, awaiting only a moment before speaking on the subspace radio channel that would carry her words to the upstarts on the planet before her.



"To those who have rebelled against the Rihannsu and the Star Empire, I now bring the will of the Tal'shiar. Your pitiful delusion that you could set yourself apart from your proper place and turn your backs on your people is at an end."

Pacing slowly to allow her complete confidence in the situation to be obvious to those she addressed, she continued "Your ships are far away, as was intended, fighting a battle that has no true meaning. They cannot save you. My ships have all of your meager planetary defenses targetted. They cannot save you. On my command, your world will burn, and your foolish resistance to our authority will be at an end.

"You will surrender at once, or that command will be the next thing I transmit following this message."



Taking a breath, Favra allowed a small smile to cross her face. "Do not think that yielding to our rightous authority will mean death. Our allies have assured us they have a place for you in their restored Empire, a purpose greater than your insignificant Republic could ever hope to achieve. A new road to the stars, paved with the gifts from those who tread them long before our race arose! A glory fit for our race will finally be ours!"

Looking back to the world on the viewer, she dropped the smile as easily as she might a ration wrapper. "You have five siuren to accept your proper place."


"That will not be necessary.” a man’s voice said over the speakers around the Bridge, a note of satisfaction obvious even as she saw the unmistakable outlines of a Republic Ar’kif warbird decloak between her own ship and the world beyond. “I already have an answer awaiting you.”






Momentarily thrown off-balance by the appearance of the other ship so close to her own, Favra stared at the image. How it had come into such a position without being detected was only the first of several questions that raced through her mind as she tried to evaluate how this changed the situatation. The second question followed the results of her internal calculations on that matter.


Was this commander mad?


"You may think your little display impressive, but I assure you that it changes nothing." she said, pausing a moment to note that the other ship was, indeed, merely sitting motionless relative to her own forces "One warbird is hardly a threat to a fleet such as I command. It only encourages me to suspect those on Mol'rihann are about to voice a rejection of my generous offer.

"That would be a fatal choice."



Silence stretched as the other ship defiantly remained between herself the the planet. It was clear the other commander was playing for time, perhaps hoping the Flotilla would return if her own fleet remained in position long enough while they traded conversation. That would be the way of the Federation, but rihannsu were not so foolish.

"You have three siuren. Do not assume I will hesitate a moment longer."



_________




He sees the confrontation play out before him, still safe from detection from friend or foe. It does not matter to one, for they know he is here. For the other, however.....

Again, he looks to his crew. They know the danger they are risking, not for the first time. But this time, there will be no convenient excuses, no careful reasons to push aside the truth of what they are doing. It will be far too visible, too obvious even to those who will want to plead their case. There will be no more bridges unburnt.

An inward sigh is all he allows, straightening in his chair. His eyes meet those of his most trusted officer, sharing the knowledge of past moments too like this for comfort. A nod from that other is all he seeks, and he receives it without reservation.



Almost time for the final move on the chessboard.



______



The massive shape of the Iconian Warshroud slipped out of subspace just behind Favra's flagship, dwarfing even her ship's impressive bulk. More mobile base than starship, its shadow fell on almost an eighth of the Tal'shiar fleet before it, and the ships moved to cluster closer still.



Colonel Favra was not pleased at this turn of events, and became even less pleased when the holographic form of the Iconian appeared before her. Looming over her, it gave a displeased hiss before speaking.

"Our patience with your petty desire to dominate your kin is at an end. The diversionary battle arranged for your benefit will not last and your delay tests our tolerance of your desires. We require only the gateway intact. You will now act to provide it to us."

Swallowing both her reflexive desire to issue a harsh denial and the fear engendered by her witnessing of what these beings had done to others who resisted their commands, Favra stood and gave a slow bow. "Master, our people require unity again if we are to serve you fully. Destroying those on the planet will only cause the fractures in our society to harden, while forcing them to rejoin with the Empire will show those with...unwise thoughts that rebellion ultimately ends in failure. Also, there is the matter of the planetary defenses. While we have all known combat locations targetted, there can be little doubt others exist...."

The Iconian cut the air between them with an angry gesture. "The great engine has extended its influx shield around your fleet. The planet's defenses are of no import. You will now deliver this planet unto our control, or we will examine if the Tal'shiar are truely as grateful and loyal for the gifts we have provided as you have claimed."




When the image of the alien had faded, the Colonel stabbed a finger at the communications key on her judgement chair. "I have no more time to await. You will reply now."

The voice of the Republic commander replied at once. "Indeed. I am quite impressed by your 'allies', though I must wonder...what would the effect of a plasma torpedo upon its hull be?"


Mad indeed!


"My masters have already encompassed our fleet within their fields. They are impenetrable by such weaponry, and, as you are outside that field, your resistance is pointless!" Favra shook her head "Your only hope and that of your world is to accept the fate the Five have determined for you. Surrender, or die!"

"Ah, but I want to be clear on exactly how hopeless my situation is." the other's voice said, impossibly sounding confident and....was that smugness? "Nothing outside the field of your masters can pass through to damage your fleet?"

"Yes, that is correct."

"And, your entire fleet is within that field, so I cannot attack them from where I am?"

"Yes, yes....there would be no point, otherwise!" the Colonel no longer cared if that commander was insane or not...he had exhausted her patience. " Is there a point to this??"

"Assuredly." The man paused a moment, and Favra had the unmistakeable vision of his face smiling on the Bridge of his doomed ship. "With your fleet so close together, there is indeed no way for me to engage any one of you without taking fire from all. Even if I could penetrate whatever that field is. Yes, I admit that you have rendered any resistance from my ship or the planet a hopeless task."

Then the voice turned into a whisper, as though he were sharing a secret with her. "But, did you know that, before this all started, a Senator on New Romulus actually told me of your plans? You might know of him, since he was supposed to be your agent."

A chill suddenly passed through her, only growing as she heard him continue. "And do you know what he said to me? He said...'We of the rihannsu have one tactic that has defined everything about our stuggles. Our ships, our culture, and even our souls are bound by one truth that has become the foundation of our conduct of any conflict.

" 'The highest art of war among our people is that of taking our enemy unawares of any threat until our blade is already sinking into their back.' "





Colonel Favra had time to note the strangeness of the ship that decloaked without warning on the far side of her fleet. It was clearly part of a Federation Galaxy-class starship, yet it appeared to only be the half that mounted the warp engines. Even more curious were the gold markings visible across its hull, making it almost seem like a ship of the Rihannsu, a bird of prey swooping down upon....

Favra's mind suddenly snapped into action with a memory, that of an Intelligence briefing some weeks ago dealing with new modifications to certain Galaxy-class ships. Those with three warp nacelles, as this one was. It was about the unique weapon on these ships....

"Escape manuever one!!" she cried to her crew, not bothering to hide the sudden alarm that flared throughout her being. "NOW!!!"




Her ship pitched wildly, falling away from the fleet even as the front of the Federation ship suddenly glowed with building energy. As she clung to her seat, the massive phaser weapon discharged in a wide cone of destruction that enveloped both her own fleet and the Iconian Warshroud. Her ships held their own, their shields in place to take the fury of the attack.


The Iconian, however, did not.


Its field far extended around the fleet, the attack lauched within its boundaries found no such barrier between it and the alien construct in its path. In an instant, matter tore apart under the barrage of high-energy phased particles and photons, rending open the huge shape of the Warshroud as though it were a mere cloth caught in a firestorm. More, the frequency of the sweeping cascade of destruction had been carefully chosen, and it reacted against the unique material of the Iconian, causing far more damage as parts of it were actually sent back into subspace. Sections peeled away, bulkheads flew apart, and somewhere inside the kilometers of construct, the attack met the beating heart of the battlestation.


A second flash of blinding light exploded out from the rent Iconian, striking shields already weak from the prior blast. In an instant, half of the Tal'shiar fleet was sent tumbling away, their broken hulls twisting in the shockwave that spread debris and radiation outwards and across those of their fellows who were outside path of that incomprehensible energy discharge.


In confusion and attempting to regroup, no one in the fleet noticed what else was occurring until the lone Republic ship opened fire, its plasma torpedoes impacting before the remnants of the Tal'shiar could react. A Mogai warbird staggered, then began to come apart as it fell away as a burning hulk.



It was too much.



Later reports would cite Colonel Favra's Second-in-command with issuing the orders to retreat, the Colonel having been rendered unconscious by the initial impact of the attack. Sensor records showing the arrival of a ragtag group of warships did little to blunt the harsh penalty laid upon him, especially when further analysis of those records revealed that several of those ships were civilian craft.

The Iconians then demonstrated that they had their own ideas of how to punish failure, and the Tal'shiar, long masters of interrogation and subterfuge, learned that they, too, could still know fear.

______



Commander Rycho stood at attention before Proconsul D'tan, his eyes kept at the respectful distance over the other man's shoulders despite the stern presence of Admiral Kererek seated to D'tan's right side. The silence since the last question had gone for almost a full minute, both of the seated men only staring at him with expressions he could read without needing to look.

Finally, the Proconsul leaned forwards. "Commander. You have admitted to providing command access codes to the entire system defense network to Admiral Verne, an officer who the Federation suspected and we now know still serves the Terran Empire, a known enemy of the Republic and all of the Alpha Quadrant. The sensor records on the dreadnaught under his command make that clear beyond any doubt. Further, your disregarding of your orders to deploy with the rest of the Flotilla is also not in doubt, no matter what the outcome of that decision might have turned out to be.

"I want to know why you did all of this before I pass judgement."

Finally lowering his eyes to meet the older man's, Rycho answered "Had I not taken control of the defense network, I knew the enemy would have likely been detected and engaged by some part of it before they reached the place I had chosen to meet them. I could not risk that they might become hesitant and break their fleet into sections. Also, had I not done so, it is certain the Tal'shiar ships would have been fired upon before we were ready to engage them.

"I gave those codes to the Admiral because my ship would be in direct line between the enemy and their goal, and I could not thus risk transmissions of any kind. It had to be from someone away from their sensors, even under cloak."

Giving Rycho a hard stare, D'tan asked "But why Admiral Verne? If you had explained this to Admiral Kererek...."

"I had already discovered one Tal'shiar operative was within our ranks. I was not about to risk another learning of my plan. In this, Admiral Verne was both capable of being contacted, and had the ship needed to seal its success. "

Admiral Kererek looked at Rycho with a penetrating gaze before speaking. "I know those I put in command of my ships. I know them very well. It was not for fear of discovery that you did not come to me with this. You had another reason."

After a moment, Rycho nodded. "Had you learned of this attack, you would have recalled the Flotilla, and the Tal'shiar would have learned of it through their spies. They would have aborted their attack, and not come at all. They would not have suffered their losses here, and would have know it was I who brought them to it.

"And that, I would not allow."

D'tan stood and for the first time showed some of the anger seething within. "You would not allow? You?? Upon what right did you claim such power to decide that?"

Rycho met the Proconsul's eyes with cold determination. "The right that the rihannsu have claimed for themselves for centuries. The right I have claimed as mine from the day I escaped the Tal'shiar and came to the Republic."

"What right?" D'tan demanded, his hand slamming onto the desktop with a sound that reverberated off the walls.

But he was rihannsu, and so knew the answer. Knew it before Rycho spoke it in a voice both cold and alive with rage.



"Vengence."


______



Commander's Journal Supplimental




The Thur'Vas is on course for the Nimbus system, where she will conduct a full scan of the system for any evidence of Iconian incursion. Reports indicate there might have been a sighting of a ship matching what we have seen of their craft, though the source was a freighter of no great reliability. Still, it is a place to send us for a time.

I retain command, though I have been reduced in rank to Subcommander once again. Since I fully expected to be discharged into imprisonment or worse, this is not an unwelcome outcome. It seems my superior abilities are still too useful to the Republic to be cast aside, even in the face of my actions.


I regret nothing. I have fulfilled my oath to see myself revenged upon the Tal'shiar, and such a loss as they suffered at my hands will not soon be mended. It is enough.


As for Admiral Verne, I do not forget what he and his crew have sacrificed for my vengeance. Even if they claim it was to stop the Iconians, it does not change the fact that their actions enabled my victory. For those actions, they are now regarded with great suspicion by the Federation, their ties to the Terran Empire now made manifest in many minds. Even fleeing to the Omega Squadron may not be enough to appease their superiors this time, and I must conclude it is only a matter of time before Starfleet places them under arrest.

We shall see about that.



In any event, our mission is not complete. We have a task still before us, and I will not delay it to chase phantoms in a system filled with the refuse of three empires.


Our work is not done.



End Recording.




_____
"I am your leader, I am in command. The fate of all my followers lies in my hands. The burden of what is right or wrong, decisions have to be made. I have to take you all into this burning Gate." - Iron Savior, 'Never Say Die'.

Last edited by danqueller; 04-01-2014 at 06:26 PM.
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