Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 178
# 31
04-01-2014, 12:37 AM
LC61: A Rather Crude but Generally Decent Man Goes to War

Quote:
Captain's log, Stardate 191210.41. After so long, the plans of the Iconians have come to a head. Starfleet Command has ordered all ships to the Procyon system to prepare for their oncoming invasion. As the Enterprise has not reported in from its mission into the Iconian subspace, it falls to the Lord English to lead the defense force at Procyon V, where the Iconians have sent a clear message as to their intentions of conquest. The more idealistic of us have named Procyon V "Demon's Run" in the hope that we defeat the "Demons of Air and Darkness" at last.
===

Vice Admiral Theo Taylor straightened his uniform as he looked at the viewscreen. In the orbit of Procyon V, he could see giant spheres pulsating space-distorting gravimetric energy around the planet. Romulan Intelligence had picked up their signatures a few days before when they suddenly appeared in the system. Theo Taylor had studied pre-Federation history at the Academy and knew from sight that these spheres where near-identical to the ones that Captain Jonathan Archer of Enterprise NX-01 encountered in the Delphic Expanse. He turned to Thanme, his Tamarian first officer.

"Thanme, what do you make of this?"

The Tamarian first officer shrugged.

"Sokath, his eyes covered, "she replied. "Pandora, her box unopened. Whiplash, twirling his mustache."
"You're right; whatever this is, it's probably going to be bad news," Taylor replied. "Mr. K'Gan, what is the status of the task force?"
"USS Ferenginar's first officer has reported that her captain died late night on the operating table," the Klingon security officer replied. "Trombe and Federalist are operating on skeleton crews, and Mutabor is still without main deflector or shields. As for the rest of the task force..."

Taylor's brow furrowed. Mutiliated sheep were going up against a wolf with multidimensional teeth and a stomach bigger than the known universe.

"Does Starfleet Command have any news of Enterprise?" Taylor asked.
"None," K'Gan replied. "If she isn't here now, she won't be here at all."

Taylor swore under his breath, cursing the antennae of Enterprise's captain. The absence of the Federation flagship would be sorely missed. In the intersections of the spheres' gravimetric energy he could see a growing number of ships: Elachi, Solanae, Quarren, Fek'Ihri, Hur'q, and so many more. Each gravimetric shockwave emitted affected more of the system and revealed more and more ships. K'Gan had calculated before that at current rates, the Procyon system would be enveloped in the space distortion in five hours; the Sol system and the rest of the Federation would fall within the week. Taylor made his decision.

"Thanme, inform Admiral Valot that-"
"Aleema, at the supernova!"

Taylor turned to see a ship come out of a rift in front of his ship. Unlike most ships which came out of spatial rifts, this one was definitely not related to the Iconians, as it was not firing its weapons. K'Gan worked on his console frantically.

"Admiral!" he stated. "A ship has come out of a spatial rift in front of us! It's a Federation model!"
"Ye gods! Is it Enterprise?"
"The configuration isn't Universe-class, Admiral," K'Gan reported. "I'm getting a visual on the registry. NCC, 9, 9, 4, 1, 3... A."

Taylor's bridge crew looked on in surprise as K'Gan finished talking.

"USS Lord English, Admiral."
"Lord English," Taylor uttered agape. "just like us. But they disappeared so long ago..."

Universe-class USS Lord English, NCC-99413-E, command vessel of the Procyon V task force, had witnessed the appearance of its predecessor, Odyssey-class USS Lord English, NCC-99413-A, missing for almost 150 years, and the full force of the realization froze Taylor in his tracks. Thanme recovered her composure first.

"Rai to Jiri, at Lungha!" Thanme commanded, ordering hailing frequencies opened.

On the Lord English-E's viewscreen, a frustrated human vice admiral was shouting orders and trying to get a handle on the situation.

"-k did we end up in the 26th century?" said the admiral.

---

In the 25th century...

---

"Trans-dimensional rifts opening!"

When Admiral Lee was young, he used to frequent amusement parks in his native Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He was especially good at the Whac-a-Mole arcade game as he was more than agile enough to take down even the fastest mole. However, there were only five moles that popped out of the same five holes, and they weren't firing weapons.

"Incoming torpedoes at 8 o'clock low!
"Evasive manuevers and brace for impact!"
"Port shields are at 10% and won't take any more damage!"
"Casualties reported on decks 15 to 17!"

From all directions, USS Lord English was being assailed by weapons fire from Mirror Universe ships. For every five Terran starships the crew destroyed, a sixth one appeared to fire on the English. Shields were worn down from the countless fire and more and more torpedoes began impacting the hull. On the bridge, Admiral Lee struggled to keep his ship together amidst the chaos.

"Fire phasers at will and execute Attack Pattern Beta," he commanded. "Deploy all tactical, engineering, and science teams to man emergency posts."

A photon torpedo rocked the ship. Lee's first officer Commander Kay Taylor reported bad news from her station.

"Admiral, we've suffered damage to our warp engines," she explained. "If we don't withdraw now, we won't be able to withdraw at all."
"We need to continue to buy time for Obisek to kludge up his anti-tachyon pulse," said Lee. "If the Terran Empire takes Vauthil Station, they can easily attack systems all the way to Jouret, and Lord knows we can't have the Terran Empire have access to Solanae technology."

The Lord English fought valiantly, but the mirror ships kept coming, and soon the ship was cut off from the rest of the task force. Every effort it attempted to break the enemy lines forced it farther away from the station.

"We've lost contact with USS Galaxias and IKS Klang," Kay Taylor reported. "The Khazara and Arca Solis are attempting to repower Vauthil Station and will not be able to reach us."
"If we stay out here, we'll be torn apart," Lee observed. "We may have a better chance of survival if we can get into Vauthil Station's weapon range. I want all power to the engines and for the hull to be polarized. On my mark, punch the throttle and don't stop until we can touch Vauthil."

Even before the Lord English could move, however, things began going wrong. A photonic shockwave torpedo crashed into the English, sending it into the path of a Terran Typhoon battleship. In self-defense, the Typhoon activated Tractor Beam Repulsors, sending it into the path of another Typhoon, which was destroyed at that moment by Vauthil Station's spinal lance. The shock of the battleship's destruction disabled the last of English's power systems, and the ship was plunged in darkness as it tumbled through space. Soon, however, the ship regained power and the crew of the Lord English started to regain their bearings. The relative silence which now surrounded them seemed eerie in comparison to the earlier battle.

"Status report!" Kay Taylor ordered. "I want all departments to report in!"

From the reports coming in throughout the ship, it became apparent that whatever just happened caused the enemy fire which had menaced the ship for the last ten minutes to stop. The bridge returned to operation, although the viewscreen remained dark and the blast windows closed.

"T'Shaanat, can you get power back to the bridge?" Lee asked. "I want to know what's happening right now and whether or not the ship is in danger."
"We are working on the situation, admiral," the Chief Engineer replied, "but we are getting some rather concerning readings. Kira in the science lab has more details."

Soon the Klingon Chief Science Officer paged the bridge.

"Admiral, I have some good news and some bad news," she reported. "The good news is that we are no longer under attack by the Terrans. The bad news is that we are no longer at Vauthil Station. In fact, we are no longer in the 25th century. We seem to be a century or so in the future."

Power came back on to the Lord English; outside the bridge viewports, a massive disc with tapering nacelles filled up the view, while a young Human and a Tamarian appeared on the viewscreen.

"I want all the senior officers in the observation lounge immediately. How the f-" Lee exclaimed, unaware of the viewscreen.

===

Despite being in no shape to care for themselves, the Procyon V task force was more than willing to assist the Lord English-A in its repairs; it helped that even the smallest of the 26th century ships dwarfed the English in size. Inside a cargo bay of Lord English-E, engineering personnel made up of a plethora of different species worked on stabilizing the damage on English-A, while thirty decks up, Theo Taylor met with Lee in the E's sickbay.

"I'd welcome you to the 26th century, Admiral," Theo Taylor admitted, "but the 26th century is not a welcoming place, and it would be in our best interests to find a way to send you back."
"Well, Admiral Taylor," Lee replied, "I'm not too psyched to go back, but at least this gives us some time to catch out breath."

A Hirogen medic went over to Commander Taylor and scanned her over with an unfamiliar tool; a Voth doctor conferred with Commander Taylor over something that Lee couldn't hear. The two medical personnel drew Lee's attention.

"So, Hirogen and Voth are now members of the Federation in the 26th Century?"

Admiral Taylor sighed.

"A lot of species have joined the Federation, but nowadays it's more out of desperation than willingness. Federation membership has lost most of its prestige over the century."

Theo Taylor sat by the biobed to monologue.

"I suppose the end began after the Terran attack on Vauthil Station. Although the task force eventually drove off the Terrans, they were unable to destroy the enemy dreadnought in a timely fashion and Captain Obisek was killed when the dreadnought rammed the station. Without Obisek's leadership, the Remans grew apart from the Romulan Republic, and the Romulans were forced to compensate by curtailing their actions, including recalling their flagship Lleiset to New Romulus."

At this point, Commander Kay Taylor had been treated for her injuries and came over to check on Lee, who silently gestured for her to listen to the story. Theo Taylor's demeanor became more and more depressed as he continued speaking.

"Without the Romulan Republic to act as middle ground, Dyson Joint Command split between Federation and Klingon camps, which made unified resistance all but impossible when the Undine invaded the Solanae Dyson Sphere.
Things came to a head after the allied zone fell when the Federation destroyed the Jouret Gate to keep the Undine from swarming into the Alpha Quadrant, trapping a Klingon War Fleet on the other side. You've fought in the Klingon War of the 2400's; you could imagine how the Klingon Empire reacted to that."

Lee nodded. It wouldn't take much to provoke the Klingons into another war and abandoning their warriors to certain death would do that.

"So what happened after the Undine attacked the Solanae Sphere?" Lee asked.
"Terrible things," Theo responded. "The Federation-Klingon War which followed the destruction of the Jouret Gate lasted another five years and laid much of the Alpha Quadrant to waste. In the meantime, the Iconians had been making many galactic entities into servitors that by 2425, we learned first-hand just how futile our fighting had been. The Elachi had destroyed the Romulan Republic by 2444, while Qo'noS had been conquered by a combined Hur'q-Voth task force in 2469. Earth remained until 2499, when the Solanae jumped a Dyson Sphere into the Sol System and stole the planet."

Theo's eyes misted over; Lee saw that Kay's eyes were also starting to tear up.

"Since then the Federation has been fighting a losing war, trying to attract those who still have hope that the Iconians can be defeated, while moving civilians from planet to planet to prevent them from being subsumed into the servitor workforce. Now we're at Procyon V, trying to prevent the entire quadrant from being subsumed into Iconian subspace. We've picked up gravimetric readings from spheres around the planet corresponding to another of the Iconians' servitors and we're going to launch a suicide mission to prevent them from expanding their territory. I have no faith in our survival or the success of this mission. But I do believe I have found a way to win."

Theo Taylor stood up, fire in his eyes. The intensity put Lee and Kay Taylor aback.

"Great-Grandmother always talked about a sister of hers which had served on a USS Lord English back in the early 25th century; I grew up learning about that ship and how it had found itself foiling time and again the Iconians' plans. Now I believe my entire life has been created to lead up to this moment! If I can send you back to Vauthil Station at the same instance you disappeared, the timeline can be rewritten so that the Alpha Quadrant alliance won't be destroyed, and the Iconians won't be able to exploit the destruction and conquer the Alpha Quadrant. I know that the Temporal Prime Directive prohibits me from changing the timeline so, but I've always believed that the timeline was already changed once you disappeared. So, can I count on you two to return to your time and save the Alpha Quadrant?"

Lee looked at Theo Taylor. His glare was burning a hole in his forehead. He pondered the idea of returning to his time; it would be in the best interests of his crew to at least try to get back home, and saving the Alpha Quadrant would go a long way, but could he betray the Temporal Prime Directive? Suddenly, a gravimetric shockwave rocked the Lord English-E, knocking out much of its power. In the darkness, several white-skinned bald figures with flat noses appeared on the ship, attacking personnel and disrupting systems.

"We don't have time for your reply, Admiral Lee!" Theo Taylor shouted. "The Sphere Builders have started their counter-attack! We need to get you on your ship!"

---

Running down the corridors of Lord English-E, Theo, Kay, and Lee rushed back to the Lord English-A as Sphere Builders engaged in battle with the Starfleet crew. Weapons fire from outside began strafing the ship as Fek'Ihri and Voth ships began appearing out of subspace. Power began failing throughout the ship; entire sections were being destroyed and crewmembers sucked out into the void. Avoiding much of the fighting, Lee and the two Taylors made it to the bridge of Lord English-E, where they met Commander Thanme and Ensign K'Gan.

"Admiral!" K'Gan stated. "The other ships in the task force have been captured or destroyed by the servitor attack! We are the only ones left; requesting an immediate retreat back to Sol to ask for more reinforcements!"
"No can do, K'Gan," Theo responded. "If we leave Procyon now, we can't be sure if the temporal rift the A's came through will still be there. We have to get them back now if we stand a chance of saving the Alpha Quadrant."
"Kadir, beneath Mo Moteh," Thanme stated. "Shaka, as the wall was falling."
"I know that this plan is most likely going to fail," Taylor said, "but if we try nothing, we die for nothing, and the Iconians will have won indefinitely."

Theo turned to Lee.

"If you can guide your ship into the rift, I'll be able to cover you from the E," Theo stated. "If all goes well, you will be back in your time before you know it."

Lee began to reply to Theo, but at that point, another explosion rocked the bridge. Solanae and Elachi ships had finished off the remainder of the Procyon V task force and was firing on Lord English-E. Different servitors began beaming onto the ship, and a Sphere Builder materialized behind Theo, impaling him with her hand. Although K'Gan headbutted the Sphere Builder and Lee finished her off with his retractable karambit, it was too late for Theo, who fell to the floor dead.

"Shaka, when the walls fell!" Thanme cried out. "Kiazi's children, their faces wet!"

More and more servitors beamed into the ship. Other Sphere Builders, Hur'q, and Quarrens attacked the bridge, which devolved into a melee. With the Lord English-E falling apart, returning the A to the rift seemed like an impossibility. Lee attempted to contact the English-A on a console; after seven seconds he was able to input the correct commands.

"Admiral!" Chief Engineer T'Shaanat cried over the com channel. "The cargo bay of the future vessel is under heavy attack! We are currently fighting off Elachi and Fek'Ihri combatants!"
"I need you to get the ship out of the cargo bay, T'Shaanat!" Lee responded. "Once you're free, head to the rift we came here in!"

Lee turned to K'Gan.

"Hit the button that blows the doors to Cargo Bay 7!"

K'Gan did so; the Lord English-A was blown out in an explosive decompression and made its way under fire to the rift. Lee turned to Thanme and Kay.

"Kay, I need you to beam to the ship immediately to take command. Thanme, I want you to beam me back to my ship once it reaches one kilometer from the rift. I won't brook any disagreement, because if this works, none of this will have happened.

Kay saw the same fire in Lee's eyes that were in Theo's eyes and saw further argument was useless.

"Admiral," she proclaimed. "If you don't return to the ship once we hit one kilometer, I'm turning it around and rescuing you."
"Yeah, yeah," Lee said as she dematerialized off the E's bridge and onto the A's bridge.

More and more servitor ships poured out of the subspace rifts around the spheres. Many of the ships targeted the Lord English-A and attempted to destroy it, only for their shots to be blocked by the English-E's bulk and destroyed by the E's weapons. Soon, the A reached two kilometers away from the rift.

"We're almost done here, ladies and gentlemen, but now it's crunch time," Lee told the E's bridge crew. At that point, an Iconian Dreadnought slipped out of subspace and caught Lord English-A in a tractor beam. On the viewscreens of both Lord English's, an Iconian face appeared, shrouded in darkness.

"Do not resist your fate. All will become servitors. This is the destiny of all."

As the Iconian dreadnought powered up its weapons, Lee took control of the English-E and pushed its engines to full. The massive Universe-class vessel rammed the Iconian ship, breaking the tractor lock on the A. In retaliation, the dreadnought pounded the E with all its weapons, causing much of its saucer to disintegrate to fine particles. Lee shouted a last message to Kay over the viewscreen.

"This is it, Kay! Save our future!"

The Lord English-E exploded under the withering fire of the Iconian dreadnought and was lost with all hands; the force of the E's warp core breach propelled the Lord English-A into the rift, and back into its own time.

---

"Hey, it's you again."

Admiral Lee found himself on a Wells-class Timeship. He began to feel some déjà vu over the situation. A somewhat familiar man came up to him and stared.

"I thought I put you back in the right timeline after the events in the Azure Nebula," the man stated. "Ah well, Captain Walker and the USS Pastak is always willing to correct the timeline. Try not to go off in those doomed timelines any longer, or you won't be able to find your way back next time!"

Another flash, and Lee left the timeship.

---

"Massive energy spike detected! They're opening more rifts! Mirror dreadnought coming through!"

At Vauthil Station, the Lord English prepared to combat the last hurrah of the Terran Empire. The concentrated fire of the defenders had caused critical damage to the ISS Stadi, and its captain had made the decisions to take Vauthil Station down with it. The Stadi lunged forward to ram Vauthil Station's command deck in its dying throes.

"Activate Tractor Beam Repulsors!"

The Lord English, having manuevered itself under the Stadi, pushed the dreadnought off course and sending it away from the station where it was shot by the station's spinal lance and destroyed. Obisek hailed the task force which came to save Vauthil Station.

"Thank you, generals and admirals," he said. "Without your help, Vauthil Station would have been lost."
"It's no problem at all," Lee replied. "We're glad to help our friends in the Alpha Quadrant Alliance."

===

Quote:
Captain's log, supplemental. The Federation has won a great battle today. Forces from outside our dimension have been sent back to where they belong, and the Alpha Quadrant is safe from another threat. The Lord English has distinguished itself again in the battle, and I've ordered the ship to New Romulus to celebrate with our Romulan and Klingon allies. Although Starfleet Command has denied us permission to rename Procyon V "Demon's Run", they have arranged for all veterans of the battle to be given the title "Good Person". I will have to get Fleet Admiral Lee and Great-Aunt Kay some osol twists while I'm on New Romulus.
http://sto-forum.perfectworld.com/showthread.php?p=5629511#post5629511

Literary Challenges Entries- Star Trek Online: Lord English
Dramatis Personae of Star Trek Online: Lord English

Last edited by zidanetribal; 04-02-2014 at 01:29 AM.
Ensign
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 10
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/_\The Final Battle/_\
-––––––––––––––––––

- Three months after the invasion-

On board the U.S.S. Colmubia's Gate, Vice Admiral James Throne stared out the window of his ready room. The man walked over to his desk and sat down. "Computer, begin log entry." He requested. After the computer acknowledged, he began.

"Captain's personal log star date 91508.88...It's been three long months. The Iconians have finally been defeated. Command has asked me to send a small squadron from Task Force Whiskey 117 has been assigned to patrol the sectors surrounding the Dyson Sphere. -sigh- Loosing Tonha made me think a part of my soul was torn away. She was probably the closest person I knew on this ship." The Admiral paused as he thought back to when Tonha was in sickbay. "Seeing her body cold and lifeless was something I'd never forget. She sacrificed her self to save the Alpha Quadrant. " He resumed. James felt tears coming to him but he forced them back. " As of this star date the Colmubia's Gate will be receiving a new First Officer...Computer end log." The Admiral buried his face into the palms of his hands, and sighed heavily.

*****
Debri was everywhere as the Colmubia's Gate flew towards the Iconian dreadnought. Only a handful of KDF, Republic, and Federation ships, were left including the Enterprise-F and the Bortasqu'. The Emissary class cruiser fired a barrage of Quantum Torpedoes who aimed for the enemy dreadnought. Several of the torpedoes missed but then hit the surrounding targets. Shields flashed as they scored a direct hit destroying several ships.

"Report!" James shouted over the alarm.

The Operations officer spoke first." Captain,three Iconian frigates have been destroyed. But the dreadnought's shields are still holding."

"Helm bring us around for another pass." Throne ordered.

"Aye sir!" The Jem'Hadar replied, as his fingers tapped the console.

The ship banked sharp to the left while firing her tetryon beams in all directions.

"Renuzia, try and take their engines offline. Oliver reverse shield polarity! Take off some of that damage." The officers acknowledged. James tapped a button on his chair and opened a comm. "Throne to away team, status report. Tonha what's the situation?" A female voice came through. "Jackson and Roberts are down sir. It's just me and Chief Uvar." Her voice was shaky.

"Our transporters are badly damaged. We'll only be able to transport one of you."

Another voice interrupted. "Admiral I've just received word that the Enterprise has been hit on their starboard nacelle. Their venting plasma!" Renuzia noted.

"Dammit!" Throne cried. "Tell cruisers echo through gamma to head over to their location."

On the dreadnought First Officer Tonha Ke'sath and Chief Engineer Uvar Noreen fought their way into the Engineering room. The two women finally made it in. Uvar tapped her badge.

"Captain we're in."

"Is the bomb ready Chief?"

"Yes, but sir we have a problem." She replied.

"Go ahead?"

"She took some damage on our way in. The timers fried so I'll have to fire it manually."

The Admiral sighed. "Is there another way Chief?" He asked.

"No sir, I'm afraid there isn't."

"Alright then. Detonate the bomb and get the hell outa there!" Ordered the Vice admiral.

"Yes sir! Chief out." The Bajoran shook her head.

"I'll do it." Tonha said as she moved towards the Engineer.

"Are you sure? Because as soon as it goes off-" the chief was cut off.

"I know the risk. Now go to the EVAC site. Save your self." Tonha's voice was sharp.

The young Bajoran didn't move at first. But as she turned she said "good luck". Tonha gave her a slight nod and returned to arming the device. When Uvar arrived at the EVAC site she tapped her badge.

"Uvar to Colmubia's Gate, one to beam up."

Meanwhile Tonha set the delay to one minute. She decided it was time to say her goody byes. "James..." She said as she tapped her badge one last time. "I remember that question you asked me before the war began." The bridge was silent as Tonha spoke. You are a strong-willed being who never gives up hope. Ever since the academy I knew we'd make the best team."

Oliver interrupted in a soft voice "Sir the dreadnought's core is breaching." James noticed the rest of the allied fleet moving away to a safe distance as he sat in silence. "And James." Tonha said softly. "Yes Tonha?" He asked griping the arms of his chair.
"I love yo-" The channel was cut off when an explosion ripped the dreadnought apart.

****
Star date 91058.90
---
A chime beeped as James woke up. Looks like I fell asleep again..he thought. "Enter"

A young women walked into the ready room. Her hair was the same color as her uniform. Due to the deregulation of star fleet uniforms, the Admiral decided to have the crew wear the Task Force Whiskey green uniforms. "Commander Liza Thompson reporting for duty sir." She stated.

"Welcome aboard number one. Since you are now apart of the Colmubia's Gate, you're also a member of Task Force Whiskey 117." James replied.

The Commander spoke up. "I understand that sir. Also I heard that you were promoted to second in command of the Task Force. Congratulations...if it's not to late." James nodded his head and rose from the chair. Throne put his hand on her shoulder. "If you don't mind Commander, I'd like to give you a tour of the ship." Liza replied. "That would be splendid Admiral." "Good, then we can use this as a chance to get to know one another." James said. The First Officer smiled as James lead her out of the Ready Room. Outside work bees swarmed the Colmubia's Gate as engineers as they were refitting the old Star Cruiser. Utopia Planitia was busier than ever...



Vice Admiral James Throne
U.S.S. Colmubia's Gate
NX-91004
Task Force Whiskey 117
Second in Command
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 154
# 33 Last Voyage of the Yorktown
04-01-2014, 06:34 PM
2399, Somewhere in the Mutara Nebula

"Keep scanning."

My eyes were hopelessly trying to make out anything through the static on the viewscreen. Sure, I could see random swirls of colour, and maybe a crackle of lightning here and there, but even with the enhancements, sensors still couldn't give a clear picture when in the nebula.

So much for the vaunted advancements on the Ambassador-class.

Still, the Yorktown is mine...and faults and all, she's still a great ship.

"Trying," Sotek called back. He'd been at his post for the last ten or so hours, doing what Vulcan Science Officers do best: raise their eyebrow from time to time and dumb down the explanation enough for the captain to understand it.

A quiet cough from behind me caught my attention, and I rotated my seat to the right. The Orion freighter captain, now wearing a robe at the insistence of my Security Chief, shot me a pair of sad doe eyes. "Captain," she purred, "isn't there anything that you can do? My people need your help before the life support module shuts down." She flicked her black hair out of her eyes, and pouted. "I couldn't afford a Mark IV...they only have hours left on the itty bitty Mark II."

L'naa rolled her eyes from her station, shaking her head slowly from side to side. The Orion captain wasn't making many friends amongst my female staff, arrogantly strutting back and forth, cooing to each male crew member, and dumping so many pheromones in the air I had to have her escorted only by Deltans. L'naa pursed her lips, squinted her eyes a bit, and said coldly, "Maybe if you spent less on latinum bracelets you could have afforded at least a Mark III."

The Orion spun on a spike heel, crossing her arms and fixing L'naa with an icy glare. She was about to say something, but stopped short, and instead just gave a little grin. "Sorry, deary," she quietly said, batting her eyes. "They were out of stock."

Something didn't seem right about the Orion, but I waved it off for now. This was the first time she was civil to a female member of my crew instead of being catty. We picked her up in a small lifeboat a day ago, adrift just outside the Mutara Nebula. The lifeboat bore signs of plasma fire that targeted life support...the calling card of the pirates we've been hunting for the last month.

These unknown pirates were good...I'll give them that. They had some inside info...it was the only way they'd be able to make their hit and run attacks without Starfleet catching on and laying a trap. We had a small task force out looking for them, as they'd gone after a Ferengi trader who had connections to the Grand Nagus. Maybe one of us would get lucky.

I really hope so...as these pirates don't leave survivors. The Orion was the first.

Breep...breep...breep.

I looked over at Sotek, puzzled as to why a signal beacon was coming through clear when our sensors couldn't get a clear signal on anything, audio or visual. He shrugged, activating a detailed scanner that slowly rose up from his console. He bent over and peered into the scanner, slowly making adjustments via the console.

"Captain," he said, "it reads as a Romulan signal buoy, yet a secondary frequency is that of a Nausican Raider's primary sensor array. I'd recommend caution, and going to Yellow Alert."

The Orion squealed behind me, jumping up and down, letting her robe part at the front. "No! It's my ship! You've found them!" She made her way towards me, arms open for a big embrace, but the Deltan Security Officer stood in her way and simply shook his head, No.

"Captain," I said calmly, "you said your ship was a standard Type Zeph trader. If I'm not mistaken...that type is incompatible with Romulan technology."

L'naa spoke up, "You're not mistaken, Sir. The Gorn tachyon relays in the Zeph prevent any Romulan, Reman, or Cardassian transmitters to function without shorting out primary and secondary systems immediately."

The Orion tilted her head seductively, smiling towards me over the shoulder of the Deltan Security Officer. "Oh, my dear Captain," she whispered. "It is just a false transponder code. If you put resistors between a Scorpion fighter's ejector pod beacon and the Gorn tertiary relay, it won't burn out the couplings."

Sotek and L'naa exchanged a quick glance at each other, L'naa frowning. She called up schematics on her station and began to study them as Sotek downloaded the data he'd gathered from his station.

I turned away from the Orion, my head swimming. The Deltan had held up three fingers behind his back, indicating that the Orion was trying to distract me with her pheromones. "Commander," I called to Sotek, "could that work?"

"It might. But that is highly doubtful."

The Orion pouted again, stomping her foot like a child. "It does work! I did it myself! See? Here my ship is...you can see it now!"

I looked towards the viewscreen, and indeed, a gull-like ship appeared out of the blue waves of the nebula, all static gone. I guessed we were close enough for our sensors to get a clear image, or moved away from a pocket of interference. Either way, the Zeph floated towards us, trailing light green plasma from the left nacelle. She bore the scars of the pirate's plasma weaponry, the life support tower sheared away, and multiple lifeboat hatches twisted and melted into the hull plating.

"Oh no," the Orion said dramatically, "Captain...my crew couldn't get out! Please...without the life support tower, they must have lost atmosphere by now! Please pull them in!"

It was Sotek's turn to roll his eyes. "Sir, I read faint life signs, and minimal atmosphere. If they can detach their nacelles we can tractor them into Shuttlebay 2."

"No, please! Don't do that! I couldn't possibly afford new nacelle couplings! Can't you bring them into Shuttlebay 1?"

I looked at the screen closely, noting that if the Zeph had the life support tower, it wouldn't fit into the main shuttlebay, and with the nacelles in place, wouldn't fit in the aft shuttlebay.

I had a bad feeling about this.

Sotek did as well, and sent a message to my console. Confirm life signs aboard, some very faint. No weapons detected. We can pressurize the shuttlebay faster than we can beam the crew out, given the Zeph's fifteen transport inhibitors.

"Why exactly does your ship have multiple transport inhibitors, Captain?" I asked.

"Pirates, deary. You don't want them to just sneak up and beam your cargo off, do you? My shields aren't the best...but my inhibitors are."

I took a deep breath. "Commander, bring them in, slowly. There won't be more than a meter of vertical clearance. Pressurize the bay and get medical teams there."

Sotek didn't look pleased, but answered, "Aye, Sir. Tractor initiated...we have them."

Looking over to L'naa, I was going to ask for a status report, but noted that the Orion was grinning a bit too slyly.

A grin that was getting bigger as her ship entered the shuttlebay.

"Sotek, belay my last. Back that ship out now."

The Orion snarled out, "Oh, I don't think so." She stomped her other foot down, and a brilliant flash blinded everyone on the bridge as the bottom of the Zeph burst out like a phaser spinal lance.

The deck heaved forward as the inertial dampers struggled to keep us with the forces tearing the Yorktown apart. Incredibly, I heard the whir of a Klingon transporter, and turned to see the Orion Captain vanish in a stream of red matter, her left hand pressing the latinum bracelet on her right arm. The bridge was filling with gasses from ruptured conduits, and sparks flew from nearly every console.

"Damage repo--" I started to call out, but was interrupted by a blast from a plasma torpedo detonating against the hull. I was thrown to the deck, along with half the crew.

Sotek, as always, managed to stay upright. "Sensors are offline. We are blind!"

L'naa shouted over the howl of escaping gas, "No...that witch played us...stand by!" She pounded her console, as it wouldn't respond to the usual gentle tap, and the viewscreen cleared up instantly. "I ejected her lifeboat...it was jamming our sensors this entire time!" She hit her console again, then ran to one that wasn't smoking. "Onscreen now...incoming ships!"

Through the smoke I made out the angular lines of a Rigellian Freighter spitting out plasma fire from multiple turrets, and I could barely see the rounded nose of an Angosian Transport launching a spread of photon torpedoes.

"Brace for impact!" I shouted, cursing myself by allowing the Orion to con me. She did all the right things...played the victim, played out sympathy for the spacer down on their luck, and made us believe that her crew was in immediate peril.

Somehow, I don't think that's gonna help much at my court-martial.

By some miracle our shields took the impact of the photons, and I nervously looked at the Master Systems Display. The blast from the Zeph pierced straight down through the main shuttlebay entrance, ripped though our decks, and exited through the main deflector. If it was inside when it blew, the beam would have taken out our warp core, and we'd be particles. Alarms were blaring, and casualty reports were coming in from all decks. I couldn't make out any sense, so I motioned to Sotek to cut all comms so we could try and regain some control and attempt to get out of this alive.

"Audio muted!" Sotek shouted, and motioned towards the Conn and Ops positions, shaking his head sadly.

There wasn't any position left.

I cursed again, and sat down hard in my seat. Opening the panel on the right side, I yanked out the flight controller, as I didn't trust that touchscreens would be responding in the way I intended.

"What do we have left?" I shouted.

L'naa was at the MSD, using a tricorder to enter commands, as the console had melted into slag. "You have the saucer's ventral forward and port array, dorsal port array, belly array, and port lateral array." She squinted at the readings, adding, "three photons in the aft tube, reloader is offline."

Sotek called out, "Shields at thirty-three percent! Engineering can give you maneuvering thrusters only."

"Casualties?"

L'naa shook her head. "Do not worry about that now. Just get us out of here if you can."

Damn it.

"Hang on!"

I rocked the ship towards the Angosian Transport. If it still had torpedoes, it was the larger threat. The Yorktown was sluggish, turning too slowly to bring what little weapons I had to bear.

"I need quarter impulse at least!"

Sotek calmly said, "Not going to happen." He looked at the MSD, and quietly said, "Might be time to bail, brah."

I shook my head. "That's what's not going to happen. They don't leave survivors."

The deck heaved up again. "We take any more damage, we will not get a vote in the matter," L'naa said, without emotion.

"Boost power to the RCS, and all shields to port," I ordered. Sotek jumped back as his console erupted into sparks, but without a pause made his way to the Sciences II station, reconfiguring it for Engineering.

"Done."

Slamming the flight controller to starboard, the Yorktown responded a bit quicker, allowing the remaining phasers a chance to strike back. Orange beams lanced out towards the Angosian, but her shields took most of the hit.

Sotek shook his head again. "No effect. You have got to hit them with everything we have."

I yelled back at him, "That *was* everything!"

"Then it seems like this *is* a good day, after all."

L'naa yelled, "Shut up, you two! Just do your magic and get us out of this!"

I threw her a quick glance, enough to tell her she crossed a line, but went back to slamming the flight controller, hoping that it could somehow sense my desperation and give me just that much more. More phasers...more shields...more maneuverability.

More.

Just a little bit.

The Rigellian was trying to sneak into our weak starboard, so I rolled Yorktown 45 degrees in that direction, hoping that the saucer would take more of the relatively weak plasma turret fire. The Rigellian responded with an unrealistic burst of power, somehow coming abeam and hitting us where our main deflector once was. I heard a horrific shriek of duranium plating as a torpedo in the damaged forward tube detonated, ripping a hole in the neck that I thought would be the end of us.

Sotek looked at the MSD, comparing it to the reading at his station. "We pau, brah."

L'naa concurred, shrugging her shoulders to indicate there was nothing left to do.

I came to the sad realization that they were right. I swallowed, then ordered, "Set interlocks on the core to backflow. Just in case." I stood, looked up, and said, "Computer, begin auto-destruct sequence. Authorization Garret, two one, Omega Omicron."

Sotek took a step forward, and calmly said, "Computer, Commander Sotek. Confirm auto-destruct sequence. Authorization Omicron Mu three five seven."

L'naa took a step forward, and said with a smile, "Oh hell no. Not today, boys! Look!" she said, pointing at the screen.

Four flares stretched out from the edge of the nebula, compacting back into the familiar form of the ships in our task force.

At our starboard side, the Nova-class Valkyrie opened up with a gravity well, snaring the Angosian and Rigellian in a violet wave, as the Hope-class Mendeleev let loose with a spread of photons, her phasers firing at will, raking the hulls of both pirate vessels.

Off to our port, the Kaitain's nacelles lowered in position, and photons blasted from both tubes on the Intrepid-class' blended neck. She quickly moved between us and the pirates, extending her shields to keep us in one piece just a bit longer.

But what was more amazing was the sight of the pylons and nacelles of the Hypatia visibly bending under the stress of evasive maneuvers, bringing both fore and aft weapons to bear on her targets almost simultaneously.

I'm gonna have to ask Grunt how the hell he pulled that one off.

The pirate ships tried to mount a defense against this new threat, but were just outmatched. The Angosian signalled its surrender, but the Rigellian, in an act of defiance, started her own self-destruct sequence. Captain Palmer used tractor repulsors to shove the ship off a safe distance before she blew, but the shock wave that hit us still made the Yorktown screech in an alarming way. It didn't matter that L'naa didn't enter her self destruct authorization. The core was going critical, and there wasn't anything we could do to stop it.

Hitting the transmit button on my chair, I opened hailing frequencies shipwide, as well as short range so our rescuers would hear us. I grabbed the PADD strapped to my chair to ensure I went through the correct checklist for emergency evacuation and got the transponder codes right.

"This is Captain Garret of the Yorktown. All hands abandon ship. Lifepods will eject you to a safe distance. Use ejection sequence Alpha One. Engineering port, set rendezvous with NCC-72134, engineering starboard, set rendezvous with NCC-74683. Saucer port, set rendezvous with NCC-92770, saucer starboard, set rendezvous with NCC-95784. One minute thirty seconds until warp core breech." I tapped quickly through the PADD's options, selecting the appropriate responses to the questions. "Do not use our transporters. Help any injured shipmates get to a pod...do not grab anything else. That is all. Good luck."

As I stood up from the center seat for what was probably the last time, I had to force my emotions down so I could get to the lifepod. L'naa and Sotek had already entered the last pod on the bridge, and were looking at me with alarm as I slowly walked towards them.

"Sooner would be better than later, brah," Sotek called out.

I looked at the PADD, making sure the sensors showed no life signs aboard. Only then did I enter the pod, slamming the hatch behind me. L'naa had already punched in the rendezvous code, and initiated the ejection sequence.

I heard the hatch blow open above us, then felt a kick as the lifepod shot us away from the dying Yorktown. Looking out the viewport, I saw dozens of lifepods flying away from the ship, reminding me of some cartoons I saw as a child where teeth come flying out a mouth after being punched. I felt like that...punched.

In my gut.

Fire was leeching into space from multiple holes on the Yorktown, and it was astounding to actually see the damage first hand and not through an impersonal MSD. The grids on the nacelles glowed an unhealthy shade of blue, the Bussard Collectors a brilliant crimson. Blue and gold lightning crackled across the hull from one place to another, and panels blew off as structural integrity was lost section by section.

I didn't have it in me to watch as the seconds counted down to zero, so shut my eyes tight against what was coming next.

Didn't matter.

The light was blinding.

My ship was gone.

*********************************************
Twenty-three years later...

Do-do-doo-dweep!

I looked towards the door of my ready room, grateful to whomever had interrupted my flashback. I never really stopped having them. Sure...they diminished in frequency, but whenever something stressful came up, so did my demons.

I guess I'd have to spend a few more sessions working on that. Don't know why I resisted counseling for so long...it really did help. I guess the loss of the Honolulu years ago was a good thing, seeing as how the crew I took onboard included an awesome counsellor.

"Enter," I called towards the door.

It quickly swooshed open, and Sotek came in, a half dozen PADDs in his arms. "Admiral," he started, then paused. I think we were both still getting used to my rank, and his eyebrow twitched a bit as he replayed the promotion fiasco in his mind. But as usual, he quickly recovered and spoke to the matter at hand.

"Here are the reports from the fleet. All ships report optimal conditions." He placed the pile on my desk, spreading them out like cards. "Klingon and Romulan fleets have spoken to their units, and are awaiting your commands before we move to the engagement points." He tapped at a PADD, displaying the combined fleets that I'd reluctantly taken command of for this final push against our foes. "I've kept it in three fleets, folding the Ferengi, Cardassian, and Vulcan detachments into our command structure...just so the Klingons and Romulans don't use them for cannon fodder or as an excuse to accidentally have friendly fire address old feuds."

"Good thinking," I said. "This thing is going to be difficult enough without "accidents" happening. Just to be sure...keep the Cardassians in the middle of our formation. Both the Klingons and Romulans have their reasons for a bit of mistargeting."

"Agreed." he put his hand on the guest chair, and I motioned for him to sit down. He tilted his head a bit and asked, "I know the fleet is ready...but are you?"

I shook my head. "No," I admitted. "It's the same thing I told the Admiralty...I'm don't want the command of a fleet that can cause so much damage at my whim."

"And that is why they said you are the exact person that should be in command. Someone who does not crave the power."

"Old friend, that is exactly the tripe they feed somebody when they want to play on their emotions to accept something difficult. And tripe is far from ono grinds."

He sat back and temples his fingers. "That may be so...but if you were not the right person, I highly doubt that other captains would so eagerly accept their role. And the Klingons and Romulans have no concern with taking your orders."

"Yeah...but do they know about the Yorktown?"

"Have you been thinking about that again?"

"Yes."

"It was a long time ago. We have all learned quite a bit since then."

"But what if I make a mistake again?"

Sotek flashed a quick grin, then said, "If you do...I hope that I am faster in figuring out a solution that does not rely on luck. Or in your second officer being so distrustful of an Orion female that she dropped a marker buoy signalling that we might need assistance."

"There won't be any last minute rescues even if we drop a hundred buoys...we are committing all forces. No reserves."

"All in."

"You got that right."

Sotek stood up and straightened his uniform top. "Then it may be time for you to signal the fleet it is time to deal."

I stood up and walked towards the door, Sotek following me onto the bridge. I gazed around, seeing that each station was stocked with emergency supplies nearby, and damage control personnel, medics, and MACOs lined the perimeter, ready for whatever came next.

"Commander, open a fleet wide channel," I called to my wife, L'naa.

She sat in the seat to the right of my chair, and tapped a command on her console. She gave me a warm smile as she stated, "Channel open, Admiral."

Admiral, I thought. I never wanted to trade my four pips for the boxed set, yet here I stood, rectangles on both sides of my neck.

Felt like I could feel them choking me, and if I screwed up, they just might as an angry Undine jams them down my throat.

Nope.

Not gonna let that happen.

"All hands," I said, standing as straight as I could, "this is Admiral Garret. I'll be brief. The events of the last few years have shown us that our foe takes no mercy, and is one we don't want our children to ever face. So it comes down to this. You all know what has to be done, and I know you'll do your part and more. We stand united against a threat to our future. We can not fail...as there will be no second chances. So fight hard, fight smart, and when the battle is over, we can all go home. Godspeed and good luck."

The channel closed, but not before I head a chorus of "Qua'plaa!" from the Klingon ships, followed by some of their crews breaking into song. Should I have said something about if they find themselves feasting and drinking with their ancestors to not be afraid, as they are in Sto'vo'kor and already dead? Nah...that would have offended them by accusing them of having fear. And I don't know how I could motivate the others...probably ticked a few off with Godspeed.

Whatever. They can file complaints later.

Sotek walked over to the express turbolift that would take him to the Rouge Valley. He rapped the frame twice, shook his head, and threw me a Shaka.

It was something he used to do on the Yorktown....tapping the wooden decorative door frames for luck.

I figured out what he was telling me. No wood here, brah, but it's all good. This ain't the Yorktown. You've pulled us out of worse situations than that, and you'll do it again today. Hang loose, and we hit Giovanni's next Thursday.

Raising my right hand, I first gave Sotek the Vulcan salute, then rolled my hand into a Shaka. "See you on the other side."

The doors slid shut as he nodded, and I walked over to Lt.Cdr. Dipolo at Ops. "Signal the fleet to launch all auxiliary craft and fighters, and prepare to depart on my mark."

She smiled, answering me with confidence. "Aye, Sir...signaled."

I made my way to the center seat, sat down slowly, and prepped my consoles for battle. There were two phasers attached to the back of my seat, and a Mehk'leth taped underneath.

Just in case.

The monitor showed our fleet launching their support craft, and a moment later, I felt the slightest of groans as the Rouge Valley slid out from her aft home on the Bonaventure. L'naa called out, "All ships report ready, Admiral."

I gave her a warm smile, then tapped my console. "All ships...move to the engagement coordinates. Follow the pathfinders pace, and on contact, unleash hell."

Picking up a PADD, I noted that the weather over my house on Earth was raining with high winds. A bad day.

I showed the weather report to L'naa. "Seems like today is not a good day."

She rolled her eyes at me. "Save that stuff for the Klingons," she whispered. She reached out and held my hand. "We'll make it."

"I know."

"I love you."

I paused a beat, then answred, "I know."

She rolled her eyes again and shook her head. "You tell me to do, not try, and I will hit you. They can court martial me after the battle."

I smiled. "After this battle, we debrief and in a month we retire on this Admiral pension of mine."

"I do not believe that for a moment."

"That we won't live through this to get to retirement?"

She sighed. "No, my husband. This we shall survive. But I do not believe for a moment you are ready to give this up and retire."

Her confidence buoyed my spirits.

"We'll see. Tomorrow."

"Tomorrow."

Last edited by masopw; 04-04-2014 at 09:57 PM.
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