Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 151 "First, Do Harm" (Part 3)
07-14-2011, 11:44 PM
Jolie did something she had only done a few times before in her life. She dared to hope. Then, for some reason she couldn't quite fathom, she held out her slim, manicured hand for N'Eligahn to shake. "Deal." He took her hand tentatively at first, then pressed her strong hand with the same firmness that she offered.

"Languages of power and death. All too true," Jolie snorted. "I suppose you wonder why I would want such an archaic thing as peace. Well, let me tell you. My daughter died because we didn't have the right medicines 10 years ago to save her. I finally found a cure for Talaxian plague 3 years ago--in between making weapons, of course. We could have had that cure half a century ago if we'd put the resources into medical technology."

The captain looked out the window in her ready room, staring at the stars that had suddenly become blurry. She hadn't thought about her daughter in quite some time, and it pained her to realize that. She buried the thought lest it become a liability. "I have no one to carry on my name, N'Eligahn. I don't want to bring another child into this universe." She looked up at the ceiling to contain the tears threatening to spill. "At least, not the universe as it is now."

The console on her desk beeped. It was her communications officer, Lt. Orlando. "Go ahead, my bloom," she said.

He informed her, "Captain, Admiral of the Fleet on a priority channel."

"Patch it through immediately," Captain Bindo ordered. She held up the long-nailed finger of one hand in front of her pink lips, motioning for silence from everyone in the room.

"Admiral," she purred as his image materialized on the screen. "I hope you enjoy the schematics for the new graviton torpedoes I've sent you. I trust they were satisfactory?"

The scarred Admiral grunted. "After a few of my ships wiped out a few of my enemies, I deemed them serviceable."

Jolie asked, "How may I serve the Empire today, my Lord?"

"The Romulans have attacked."

"I'm already at Starbase 27, investigating. There are some odd energy signatures here."

The Admiral narrowed his eyes. "Explain how you knew about the attack."

Jolie sat back in her chair and crossed one leg over the other. "I was patrolling the area, investigating anomalies, when a distress call went out. Naturally, I felt it was my duty to investigate for any scientific curiosities."

He rolled his eyes. "You and your damned science."

"That 'damned science' keeps us all alive, my Lord."

He snorted. "Weapons keep us alive, Jolie, and pure force. What did you find?"

"I've only just arrived, my Lord. Full scans should take..." she tapped her console. "about 28 hours. With my full analysis, of course." She bowed her head at the Admiral.

"Do it in 10, and then meet up with Admiral Relys. The Cardassians are making a move."

"The Romulans appear to be moving as well, my Lord. I believe they may be the greater threat of the two, militarily speaking."

"That's why my fleet is heading to the Romulan border, Jolie. Relys can handle a few rebels. I need you to find out about this new species that are following the Cardassians."

Jolie leaned forward as if this was news to her. "New species? What information do you have on them, my Lord? I must know now!"

The grizzled Admiral chuckled. "You are like a child on Gift-day. I'm sending you the data now. I trust you'll find more, and send it to me. I never know when Relys is going to turn on me. I need to stay one step ahead."

Jolie nodded sagely. "Of course you do, my Lord. You wouldn't have risen to Admiral of the Fleet without some wisdom. And knowledge, of course," she curled her lips in a small, sly smile.

"You can turn down the smarminess, you know. It's just me."

"Never, my Lord. I fear you too much." Jolie dipped her head.

"Good girl. 10 hours."

"Aye, my Lord."

"Admiral out."

After the image faded from her screen and the secure channel was turned off, Captain Bindo sat back in her chair and closed her eyes. She rubbed her forehead as a throbbing headache. "God, I hate that man."

She opened her eyes and looked straight at N'Eligahn, black eyes flashing. "He was the father of my daughter. He's also the pig who ordered me at phaser point to finish the experiment on a new weapon while my daughter drowned in her own body fluids."

Neligahn watched the exchange between them with detached interest. The inner politics of the Empire didn't concern him, though the news of an upcoming battle did give him several ideas. "I understand. I can't say I have pity to spare for you," he said, his voice low. "My brothers and sisters won't have the chance to experience what it's like to...procreate. A side effect for us first generation subjects that Mtarel's 'folly' corrected for the second generation." He paused for a moment then slowly shook his head. "Whenever we talk, even before our escape, you confuse me more then anyone else I've ever met," he said.

"I'm long past needing pity," she sighed. She took a long drink of her wine. "I just thought for some reason that you should know." She swirled her glass again and watched the wine make a tiny vortex in the glass. Her dark eyes looked back up at the modified Rethian. "So, I have 10 hours before I warp to the coordinates the Admiral just sent me. I suggest we work on a plan." She tapped a button on her console. "Commander Pine. The Fleet Admiral wants data scans and analysis on his desk in 6 hours."

"Already scanning, Captain," came his reply.

"You are a dear. Dr. Andres--I'm sending you data that the Admiral sent me on the Illythiiri. Analyze it, find me all the strengths and weaknesses we can. We may be fighting them, along with Cardassians and whoever else they've decided to add to their ragtag fugitive fleet."

Dr. Andres answered immediately. "Aye, Captain. I'll have an analysis to you as quickly as possible."

Captain Bindo looked up at N'Eligahn again. "I suggest we figure out how to protect ourselves from the Ilythiiri and Cardassians, though I may be able to open a channel to Col. Sorripto. No guarantees on that, though. I'm not sure how quickly my contacts can reach him." She tapped out a private, highest-priority message to Captain Rogers, seeking a quiet meeting. She included a transfer of enough gold-pressed latinum to make him wet himself--as a token of her esteem, of course.

"My trust doesn't extend to people I don't know," Neligahn said. "The only individual I've contacted besides yourself is a Captain Alther of the Terran Empire. I'm not too worried about her, though." He paused. "I have my own plans in place that I intend to act on." He stood up from the couch. "I suggest you continue to do...what you do," he said. "I'm going to send down Mtarel to assist you. You have my assurances she'll be here only to help and observe, nothing else. I'll send you my private comm channel if you need to get to contact me," he said. "It's more secure then those of the Emperor himself, I assure you."

He met her eyes and felt the odd sensation he'd felt before. "I have to admit, this meeting has been...informative," he said.

Captain Bindo tilted her legs a couple times, making her chair turn back and forth. "I'd rather you stayed." She sat forward and her chair went still. "My men won't let her within 10 feet of me. You may trust her. I, of course, have my doubts about her mental control if she decides to get angry. Jolie stood up. "In the meantime, I suggest Dr. Andres join you--I'll give him the data to fix the telomeres and enhance the mitochondria numbers. I'll even have him work on the...procreation problem, if you wish." Jolie, uncharacteristically, started to blush. She suppressed the blood flow going to her cheeks before they became too red.

Neligahn's eyes were fixed on her for a moment as his mind raced. He realized then he had gotten too used to the Keresh being his mental anchor and retreat, someplace he could go to ensure he stayed grounded. Without that crutch, he felt extremely exposed. "I would be lying if I didn't find the offer to stay, intriguing," he said. "But I have a ship to take care of and I'd be surprised if they weren't getting antsy now and targeting this ship in case I don't come back." He paused and shook his head. "No, I have preparations to make and a war to ensure occurs. But I will take you up on your offer of Dr. Andres. For whatever it's worth, I assure you he will return as intact as he was when he came aboard."

"Mtarel will be returned intact as well, so long as she doesn't make any offensive moves," Captain Bindo answered. "Well, Captain N'Eligahn, it's been a most pleasant meeting. We should have these little chats more often."
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 152
07-15-2011, 11:26 AM
Title: Finnegan’s Law

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

Richard Allen Cleary said nothing. He wanted to reach up and scratch his newly-grown goatee—it was the latest fashion and Cleary always kept up with the latest fashions—but instead he stood rock still and glared over Finnegan’s shoulder at the first-year cadet who faced them both.

“You don’t want to be my friend? Fine Jimmy. But you don’t want to be my enemy. You won’t live long that way.” Finnegan crossed his arms and settled back on his heels. He didn’t even reach for his dagger, but then he didn’t need to. That’s why Cleary was here.

Instead of shrinking away like most did, the younger cadet—Jim Kirk was his name—stepped closer to Finnegan, reflecting the upperclassman’s broad smile back at him. “The question isn’t whether I want to be your friend, but do you want to be mine?”

Kirk had been the focus of Finnegan’s attention for weeks now. The two had circled each other like wolves, waiting for an opening. Cleary had been mostly busy, taking care of a group of upstarts that thought they could challenge Finnegan and get away with it. They didn’t.

Now that things had started to heat up with Kirk, he’d been called in to do what Finnegan always called “enforce the law,” that is Finnegan’s law.

Finnegan scoffed at Kirk, almost casually, though Cleary could see him tense up from behind. “Friends with you, Jimmy? Why would I care about that? You’re nothing. You’ve got no patron, no crew. You’re family is dirt. They’ve got no influence, and neither do you and you never will.”

Cleary felt a rush of anger, but quickly quashed it. Finnegan had said similar things to him. They were all true—Cleary’s family had no standing or power—but it still burned to hear those words, even if they were meant for someone else. The only reason Cleary was in the Academy at all was because he’d survived long enough to catch the attention of Admiral Pike. And Pike, like Finnegan, appreciated Cleary’s skills. He was good at two, and only two things—killing people and following orders. But that was enough to survive, at least for now.

Cleary thought he saw Kirk’s face contorted by anger for a moment, similar to his own. But then it passed, and the young man’s face was smiling again. “Oh, I’ve got more influence than you know. I’ve been watching you, Finnegan, and I’ve learned my lessons well.”

Finnegan laughed out loud and shook his head. “Delusions of grandeur! You should really learn your place, Jimmy boy. You’re entertaining at least, but I’ve got better things to do than waste my time with a worthless piece of trash.” He glanced back and nodded to Cleary. “It was nice knowin’ you.”

Cleary unsheathed his dagger and took a deep breath.

Finnegan looked back, his eyes wide with surprise, a silent “what” half formed on his lips. Then he fell forward heavily, the hilt of Cleary’s dagger protruding from his back.

Kirk looked down at Finnegan’s sprawling form and then up at Cleary. “Good job,” he said. “Stick with me, ****, and you’ll go far.”

Cleary felt the warm rush he always did after being told he’d done well. He didn’t even notice Kirk’s balled fist until it hit him in the stomach. He doubled over, falling to one knee and struggling to breath.

He felt Kirk’s face near his own and the younger cadet’s breath on his ear. “Just remember. If you ever think about sticking a knife in my back—and I’ll know the moment you do—you’re going to join your former friend here face first on the deck. Is that clear?”

Cleary coughed and sputtered. All he could do was nod feebly.

Kirk stood back up. “Good. Now get up and stop pretending you’re hurt. We have some work to do. If you try to play on my sympathies, you’ll discover I don’t have any.” He turned and began to walk down the corridor. “Oh, and pick up my books while you’re down there,” he called back.

Cleary, finally able to take a breath, reached down and gathered up the few books that Kirk had been carrying, probably for show. He knew if he stuck with the younger man, he might amount to something someday. But he also knew enough not to fully trust him. Kirk might be an excellent patron, but there was something about him that made Cleary nervous.

He’d follow orders, of course. But he’d also keep an eye on Kirk, just in case.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 153 Shattered Mirror
07-15-2011, 06:29 PM
((DS9 era, but I imagine that since it actually is happening in 2410, the Terrans will have had some kind of significant progress in regaining their power))

The Bridge was dimly lit, some areas pitch black, the dim turquoise light was mainly focused on the consoles around the Bridge, so that their users could see where to put their furiously typing fingers, however no light appeared on the user's themselves.

Had the Bridge been lit to it's full potential, it ould be instantly known that it was not a Terran Bridge, the walls were black metal and the consoles comprised of prismatic shapes of differeing hues of green and turquoise, but what would have struck a stranger to this Bridge more than anything was it's sheer size, it was far larger than anything the Alpha Quadrant had made.

On a Terran or Klingon ship, this would seem an impracticality, but this was not an Alha Quadrant vessel, and a Bridge this size was appropriate.

In the middle of the darkness, the Commanding Oficer sat in his chair, he was illuinated up to the lower half of his face, his position radiated confidence and a relaxed attitude, one leg over the other, leaning back in his chair, and his hands clasped together, resting over his midsection, suspended by his elbows propped up against the arms of the chair, the ship's Bridge was almost perfectly silent, save for the occasional electronic sound from one of the consoles, but otherwise, there was not even the sound of breathing as the stars streaked across the enormous viewscreen, eventually, this silence was broken by a voice from one of the crewmen.

"Commander, we are almost at our target area."

"Bring us out of warp right next to them."

"Aye sir, shall I raise the shields?"

The Commander of the ship let out a soft chuckle, a wry smirk wrought itself across his illuminated face.

"Don't bother, there isn't a thing these toy ships can do to even scratch the hull."

"Understood sir, dropping out of warp...now"
__________________________________________________ _______

The space above the planet was ablaze with the grueling fight above it's atmosphere, the planet was lifeless and not in a strategic area, however, the planet was loaded with enough resources to build an entire fleet of Terran ships and power and maintain them for 60 Earth years if necessary, so now the Terrans and the Klingon/Cardassian Alliance were locked in combat for this goldmine of resources.

The two sides had lost their formation two hours ago, and now were scattered over the battlefield, as time wore on the fight got more and more intense, both sides were taking heavy casualties, but the ones remaining consisted of the strongest vessels and the most brilliant tacticians for Captains on both sides, the first shot had been fired three hours ago and it seemed unlikely the last ine would be fired off anytime soon.

The fighting continued, until the bridges of almost every ship on both sides were filled with panic riddled voices.

"Gul Dumek, I'm reading an enormous energy signature building up next to us!"

"Captain Jameson, it seems to be an enormous warp signature!"

"We're right in the path of it!"

"Evasive maneuvers, NOW!"

One ship tried to run away from the confusion, but it's crew soon saw the empty space in their viewscreen be swallowed by a wall of silver metal, before the captain could evfen issue orders to stop, the ship rammed into the obstruction, exploding almost immediately. when the explosions died, the ship was little more than wreckage, but what it hit was unscathed.

"See? Not even a scratch."

The Commander grinned in his darkened Bridge, the fighting had ceased as the Terrans and the Klingon/Cardassian ships were awestruck at what they saw, a monstrosity of a vessel.

The body was a very shallow V shape, but the front and sides were perfectly vertical, the length of the sides was many times that of even the largest vessel there, and the ship's height dwarfed even that, but what was the most impressive part, wa the ship's armament, on the V shaped front, four black rectangles spanning roughly two thirds of it's total height housed a row of enormous cannons each, and on the edges of the body, a large triangular weapons pod on each side slung underneath.

It is not everyday a crewman encounters a ship that can dwarf the V'ger, so it took a while before scans of the vessel were initiated, the previous conflict seemingly forgotten, behind the body sprouted equally enormous engines, still emanating a green/turquoise glow, at the middle top front of this behemoth, a small white slit served as the viewscreen of the Bridge, inside it, the Commander grinned at the enemy's confusion.

"Open a channel to all of those vessels, we'll give them a fair chance."

One console emanated a few sounds before the Commander spoke.

"This is Krovennan Darksabre, Commanding Officer of the Vilscaran Battle Fortress, I.V.S Drekkar Os'kanneth, this planet and all of it's resources are now under the jurisdiction of the Vilscaran Empire, all ships currently in orbit of this planet will surrender unconditionally and prepare to be boarded.

When we have removed all we need from your vessels, we will send you on your way, failure to comply is not advisable, you have one minute to respond."

Krovennan had not moved from his position, the minute passed beriefly until an officer spoke up to break the silence.

"Sir, the Lead Klingon and Terran ships are hailing us."

"Put them both onscreen"

The view of the lifeless planet was replaced by a scarred Klingon male and a blonde Human Female, the Klingon was the first to respond.

"We will not become slaves to anyone! It is a good day to die!"

"We were slaves once already, we will not become slaves again, no matter how fancy a ship you fly."

Krovennan paused for a moment, before moving from his chair and walking towards the screen, the only piece of white light was directly in front of the screen, as Krovennan walked into the light, the black and grey of his Vilscaran uniform became much more detailed, but what almost made the Human falter was the left side of Krovennan's face, it was horrifically burned and scarred, the skin almost pure red, one eye was white and pieces of flesh were missing, the eye seemed to almost dart between the two, as if it had its own malicious intelligence and was sizing up the two for death.

"You two hve no choice, if you wish to live another day, I will accept no less than unconditional surrender, if not, turn off this transmission now, and we'll see how well you fare."

It did not take long for the two to regain their misguided bravado, both screens switched off almost simultaneously, Krovennan smirked and spoke without turnnging around to the darkness beyond his small spotlight.

"Arm all defences, raise shields and prepare the main weapons, swat these gnats from our face."

Once again the space above the planet was ablaze in weapons fire, however, this time the two sides from before seemingly ignored each other ad focused on the Battle Fortress, which had erupted in an Antiproton shower of beam lances, cannon fire and pulse wave weaponry, the enormous cannons and the two weapon pods had not yet fired, seemingly waiting.

The fight was intense, but when the last shot was fired, only the Battle Fortress remained, Krovennan mused to himself, they had fought hard, but hadn't even halved the shields, now all that was left in their way was the wreckage of the insects that had buzzed around this vessel, and the planet before them.

"Are the main weapons charged?"

"Aye sir, turbolances armed and ready, weapon pods report their own turbolances are at maximum power."

"Excellent, scan the planet's surface, aim your weapons at the weakest points and fire."

Th enormous weapons started to glow with the red of their Antiproton ammunition, before long the energy erupted in a bright red beam, impacting against the planet's surface, the weapons of the Battle Fortress cascaded their hellish red beams down on the planet, striking the key positions with pinpoint accuracy, the planet's high concentration of metal meant it held for a while, but before long the surface broke and the weaker points began to crumble, planetary destailisation occured, until the planet broke itself apart.

The shards of the former planet scattered in all directions, some oblitweated the wreckage around the Battle Fortress. Krovennan finally walked back to his seat and sat down, submerging himself in darkness once more.

"Report."

"Scans show that the intel was correct, the planet is, or was, rich in what we need."

"Good, send a beacon into the wreckage so Vilscar can send a mining party, as for us, we head back to Vilscar, this was a nice little distraction, but I fell that our people will miss their strongest vessel, head for the wormhole, warp 8."

"Aye sir, estimated time to the wormhole, 5 hours."

"Excellent, keep me informed of any developments."

Krovennan lifted himself from his seat and entered the turbolift, soon he was walking through the labyrinthine corridors to his quarters, the design was the same, but the corridors were better lit, so the black metal walls were visible in all their glory, Krovennan felt his burn as he walked through the corridors, he had been given this by his counterpart in the other universe, a Federation lackey.

He would pay him back for what he did, one day he would bring this harbinger of death to his universe, and pay Earth a visit they would never forget.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 154 A Most Peculiar Tale
07-15-2011, 07:27 PM
(DS9 Mirror)

The vulcan sat at a desk in his quarters, casually glancing out the window. In the distance he could see two other ships following in formation. The four amethyst nacelles of the Phoenix-class escort, I.S.S. Fearless, and in the distance, the massive bulk of the Jupiter-class dreadnaught, the I.S.S. Minerva... this squadron was forged for war, with enough firepower to bring down any threat it encountered. And yet Tarrak knew those were not the only other ships in the vicinity... three months ago he was consulted by Captain Breng to help breach the fabric of reality and create a spatial anomaly that would allow an entire fleet to instantaneously move across dimensions.

Piercing into another dimension was nothing unheard of in the Terran Empire. It had happened a handful of times in the past, but the practice had become more and more common since 2409. To move forty-seven ships within the timeframe of thirty seconds was at first laughed at by the Terran Science Commission. Tarrak offered his proposal to the board, and despite two hours of presentation... he was simply brushed off. If for anything... because of the immense amount of energy needed to create an anomaly of that size, and the amount of repair time needed for the deflector dishes after they were modified to nourish the anomaly until they breached onto the other side. It was tactically unwise to the paranoid members of the commission, and Tarrak left with his data to return to menial service on Station Triumph near Rigel V.

Of course, fate had other plans... and the entire Science Commission was terminated three months later by the enterprising Dr. Bellsworth and his longtime friend, Captain Breng... an ambitious man who sought to abandon his universe and conquer a new one. All thirteen members of the board made the mistake of leaving on the same shuttle after a conference with 52nd Imperial Logistics Division. The sabotaged warp drive blew their atoms across 4 light years, and allowed Dr. Bellsworth and his terran think-tank to assume their place. And they wanted a way out of the universe, out of the threat of capture by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance.

Tarrak was merely a pawn to them. A vulcan who studied astrophysics extensively, who had no real desire for anything other than a menial life, and kept mostly to himself. His thesis on Extradimensional Theory made him a prime target for Captain Breng's plans to move his fleet into another reality.

The three planned in secret, to leave the Terran Empire as they know it and conquer a new dimension one planet at a time. Breng was a tactical genius, perhaps gifted to the point he saw the folly in trying to fight against the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. An unsuspecting dimension, he theorized... would be more efficient to claim.

They conspired together, assuming they were all on the same page... but none of them suspected what the quiet, unassuming vulcan thought or cared about. To them, he was merely a tool to use. The means to an end. Not even Breng considered looking into his private life -- the life past his scientific studies.

"We're almost ready, Tarrak. Report to engineering to oversee phase one." Breng's voice boomed over the comm in his quarters.

"Yes, sir. I'll... be on my way." He gathered his diagnostic tool and moved out of his quarters, shutting off the data terminal he was working on.

Once he went to engineering, everything went just as predicted. The fleet was on its way to conquest. It would be the largest successful exodus in the Terran Empire. They would arrive in our reality at once and brutally assault anything and anyone standing in their way. Then establish dominance from there.

"My calculations are correct, Captain. We are approaching the right area to establish the rift." He spoke into his handheld comm, and looked over the readouts of the panel.

"Good... meet me in Shuttlebay 4. The Pathfinder will be waiting. Lieutenant Robertson will pilot you in first." The Captain ordered, and the vulcan only replied with a simple, "Yes, sir." Before departing.

As he made his way to the shuttlebay, Lieutenant Robertson never asked him what he thought of this, or what his plans were once they departed the ship and entered the rift. Tarrak knew what would likely happen... he knew Robertson was not in Captain Breng's favor ever since interrupting his dinner with what would later turn out to be a bogus claim of treason against him by another officer. He was... expendable. And Tarrak knew he was too. He assumed his shuttle would be destroyed once Breng was done using him. After all, he wouldn't want any of the other forty-six captains to find a way back through so easily... he was just another loose end to tie up for the mission, in all likelihood.

Once in the shuttle, they moved ahead of the fleet. Deflector arrays began to channel beams one at a time into a particular area of space from their deflector dishes. Each of them attuned to Tarrak's calculated frequencies. An anomaly appeared, and began to expand... Lt. Roberts went throttle up and the Pathfinder raced toward the strange blue-white cloud.

"It'll be exciting to see what's on the other side, vulcan." The human smirked. He had no respect for the vulcans, obviously... being brought up and raised in the belief that humans were the master race.

"Yes... unfortunately, you will not." Tarrak said as he was getting up.

"Wait, wha--?" The lt. turned around, only to get a particular area of his collar pinched, and he collapsed out of the chair, unconscious.

"I'm sorry, Lieutenant. I don't want to kill you, but I can't promise you who we're going to meet won't... but at this point I have to take the risk." The vulcan remorsefully replied to the unconscious officer before taking command of the helm.

---

"Captain, you should have a look at this... we found this on Tarrak's data terminal!" An ensign ran across the bridge of the Gargantuan, the star cruiser flagship of Captain Breng, with a PADD in hand. He handed it to the startled man, who immediately began looking over it.

I want you to know that I am sorry. I have no other choice. The Terran Empire has no place for people like me. The Klingon-Cardassian Alliance despises me even more. After I lost my wife to one of your senseless battles, I knew I had to escape. Using your ships to start somewhere new was the best option I had. I anticipated you would like to use my designs to further your own treacherous agendas. And I anticipated you would kill me as soon as you had no other use for me. You will not be joining me. Live long and prosper.

The captain finished reading and pointed to the viewscreen.

"Destroy that shuttle! NOW! Don't let him get through!" He barked aloud.

"It's too late, sir.. they entered the rift!" His chief tactical officer replied.

"All ships! Converge on the rift! Destroy the Pathfinder!" The Captain leaned over to speak into the comm on his armrest.

All ships immediately powered up their impulse engines and headed for the rift quickly. Tarrak's shuttle was no match for even one of their ships, let alone all of them.

Tarrak reached over to tap in a few commands on a panel, and a modified phaser beam lanced into the rift behind him, causing the rift to explode into billions of fragments of light, sealing him off from the rest of the fleet.

Ahead of the Pathfinder, a Monarch-class exploration cruiser began to diverge on the shuttle. A hailing frequency came through.

"This is the U.S.S. Bavaria. We've identified your vessel as the I.S.S. Pathfinder. All vessels of the Terran Empire are considered enemies of the Federation. Lower your shields and prepare to be beamed aboard as prisoners, or we will open fire." A woman's voice blasted over the comm.

Tarrak swallowed hard, knowing that his vessel would be instantly blasted in a matter of moments if he did not respond quickly.

"This is Pathfinder... my name is Tarrak..."

"Lower your shields. You have 15 seconds to comply before we open fire." The woman angrily replied, cutting him off.

"Look! My name is Tarrak... I... I'm requesting political asylum. I'm not a member of the Terran Empire... but there's an officer next to me who is. I'm lowering my shields now... again, I'm requesting political asylum..." He quickly replied. He hadn't come this far for so long just to be killed on emergence into this reality.

---

"Political Asylum?" The skeptical bajoran captain looked at the vulcan as he entered the bridge, escorted by two security officers. She had the faintest hint of a smirk on her face. Obviously, never having heard of such a request from someone in the 'mirror' universe.

"We'll grant it to you for now... your associate is in sickbay... he'll be our prisoner until we figure out what to do with him." She shrugged lightly.

"He's not my associate. He's just part of a larger fleet that was following us through that dimensional tear... you should be thanking me, Captain... they would have destroyed your vessel easily." He raised one eyebrow apprehensively.

"A fleet, huh? All we picked up was your shuttle. Where is this massive fleet at?" She continued to remain skeptical.

"Subspace... I suppose you could call it limbo. They're neither here nor there. Not alive. But not dead. I abhor taking lives... perhaps they'll find a way out. Perhaps not." He shrugged lightly.

The bajoran shook her head. "Well, we have no way to substantiate it one way or the other. But I've never heard of someone from your universe asking for political asylum in ours. All the same, it's in our regulations to grant political asylum to anyone fleeing an oppresive regime... you'll be shown your quarters, Mister Tarrak. But I warn you... try anything clever and I'll break you in half like the branch of a menva tree." She offered a quick glare, still untrusting of him.

He shook his head.

"I only want to start a new life somewhere else. I assure you... I'm incapable of doing anything clever, Captain."
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 155 Inner Workings
07-16-2011, 12:53 AM
(DS9 Mirror)

There was a sickening crunch, then the guard crumpled to the ground, his head wrenched to the side at an unnatural angle. With a sneer of contempt on his face, the gaunt, red-haired human kicked the body aside, then stepped to the console at which the Cardassian had been working.

Thin, bony fingers danced across the panel, causing a series of schematics and multi-function displays to rapidly flicker across the screen. The images and the movement of those fingers paused for a moment, as a map of the small facility appeared on the screen; the man's steel-grey eyes locking onto the screen, unblinkingly, searing the image into his brain. His fingers then began their rapid waltz once again, rapidly poring through the system's database, until, finally, he located the file that he sought. An image of the base's primary power source, a small fusion reactor, and a brief summary of its operations, steadily glowed on the screen.

Leaving the information displayed on the monitor, he picked up his rifle and rapidly scanned both hallways that led to his position. Satisfied that no alarm had yet been raised and that none of the other Klingons or Cardassians were approaching, he returned to the console. A practiced eye quickly dissected the relevant information from the monitor, as he examined the readout for the reactor. The sneer on his lips widened as he looked over the information. Clearing the data from the console, he looked down at the satchel on his belt, and one hand reached down to caress the Transphasic charge as he whispered, "I know just where to put you, my friend..." then he chuckled quietly.

Pulling a tricorder from another small pouch on his belt, he made a very brief scan, to pinpoint the locations of nearby enemies. Making a mental note of hallways to avoid, he set off at a brisk pace; the map of the facility, captured in his near-photographic memory, guided him on a winding descent, into the bowels of the small, rocky moon on which the facility was located. With only two more stops to update his tricorder readings, he managed to reach the reactor control room without incident.

Peering over the railing of the catwalk that circled the room, he noted that there was a single, Cardassian engineer working on the reactor and only a lone guard, an ancient-looking Klingon with equipment that looked just as ancient. He grinned, knowing that the diversionary attack that his crew was making on the base's supply stores, about a kilometer away, was having its desired effect and drawing the base's defenders away. He then started grumbling quietly, as he realized that he would not be able to get a clean shot at the guard or the engineer, without moving down into the control room. Gingerly and as quietly as he could manage, he made his way across the catwalk and down the ramp that led into the room, grimacing at each footfall that quietly echoed with a slight, metallic noise, but the reactor's ambient noise was evidently sufficient to mask his movements, as neither the guard nor the engineer reacted to his approach.

Finally reaching a clear vantage point, he squeezed off a burst of fire at the Klingon guard, who crumpled to the ground, in a motionless heap. Moving with lightning speed, however, the Cardassian engineer leapt behind a nearby piece of machinery. Cursing at the engineer's quick reaction, he quickly sprinted down the remainder of the ramp and ducked behind a console, as the Cardassian sent several, yellow beams of energy lancing out from a small pistol. Mentally steeling himself, he stood from behind the console and sent a spray of energy bolts toward the Cardassian's position, then braced himself for the inevitable return fire. The Cardassian peered around his cover and managed only a pair of beam blasts, which splashed across the man's personal shield, before return fire scorched a series of small, burning holes into his upper body, and the engineer collapsed to the floor.

Exhaling gruffly, he frowned, knowing that the noise of combat would attract the attention of the facility's remaining guards. Sensing that he needed to move swiftly, he made his way to a small access panel, located on the side of the reactor assembly. Not worried about subtlety at this point, he used the rifle to blast the panel's locking mechanism, then pried the panel open. Checking the EPS conduits inside the panel, he breathed a sigh of relief that his quick analysis (and uncanny ability to understand the inner workings of even the most complex machinery) had accurately identified a weak spot that his potent, but small, Transphasic charge could wreak havoc upon. Pulling the charge from his satchel, he set a short timer on the charge, then carefully placed it inside the panel, angling the charge so the detonation would maximize its damage and, hopefully, trigger a chain reaction in the reactor. A sinister smile settled upon his lips, as he thought of the destruction that even the small reactor would cause when it exploded. Nothing pleased him more than exquisitely-wrought devastation, particularly, when his expansive technological expertise enabled him to employ finesse to maximize the effects.

The approaching shouts of several of the base's other inhabitants was all the motivation that he needed to finish his musing and get out of the facility, as fast as he could. Tapping his wrist communicator, he said, "Marshall to Blackguard, beam me directly to the Bridge... It's done, and now we need to take our leave from this miserable rock..."

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


"Well, I still can't really explain what happened, but, you were right, I couldn't find anything in the EPS system that would have explained the explosion that disabled the reactor," said the red-haired man to the anxious-looking Cardassian, who peered over his shoulder.

"But you were able to fix it, correct?" asked the Cardassian.

"Yes, it should be back up and running smoothly... Momentarily..." the human answered, pressing several buttons on the console in front of him. A wide smile crossed his face as the reactor hummed to life. "See? I told you I could fix it," he said with a satisfied grin.

"The stories of your technical expertise are well-founded, Captain, and we are in your debt," replied the Cardassian, who breathed a long sigh of relief.

"Don't mention it... Fixing things has always been one of my great joys in life," answered the man. Clapping the Cardassian on the shoulder, he strode toward the ramp leading out of the small facility. His smile faded to a slightly-puzzled frown, as he peered down at his tricorder and examined the data he had collected while repairing the reactor. Although he had told the Cardassian the truth, that he could not definitively explain what had happened to the reactor, he had detected some unusual, multi-phasic particles, but he was not entirely certain what they might mean. Quantum anomalies had never been one of his strong disciplines, preferring, instead, studies of concrete physics and its predictable outcomes rather than dealing with things like multi-dimensional theory.

Shaking his head at the readings on the tricorder, he decided that the best thing to do would be to turn them over to V'Rot, when he returned to the ship; the Vulcan would probably be giddy, at least, as far as Vulcans can be 'giddy', at the prospect of studying an inter-dimensional phenomenon. To be fair, he supposed that the Vulcan approached a problem like that, much the same as he would approach a damaged warp core, or the reactor that he had just repaired for the Cardassian research facility; just a puzzle to be solved, with the reward being the satisfaction of having solved it.

The smile returned to his face as he tapped the combadge on his chest and said, "Marshall to Paladin, one to beam up."
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 156
07-16-2011, 09:32 PM
DS9 Era: Ferengi Wench

“Theta. Come here.” Bazran barked as he pushed away his plate full of food utter disgust. “What is this swill you call food?”

“Sir. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”

“Well, I suppose you are a Terran and you can’t help it, but I will have to each you a lesson about how to serve your betters.”

Terran slave designated three one nine theta had been the personal attendant of Bazran Talar, Intendent of Empok Nor, for almost 2 years now. He had come to know the Intendant very well but the Intendant was in a bad mood. Empok Nor had been ordered shut down and the Intendant had been taking it out on him. Though he had to admit, not all of the abuse was unwanted.

“Into my bedroom now and I’ll give you the lesson of a lifetime.” The Intendant grabbed the slaves ear and threw him into the bed only to lock the door behind him. Only a moment had passed behind the closed doors when the door to Bazran’s personal space chimed.

“WHAT?!” Bazran exclaimed with extreme announce. The door chimed again.

“Enter, this better be important.” He said as he exited his bedroom ready to see who had interrupted the lesson he was giving his slave. It was, Sar, his Breen First Officer. In general the Breen were an enemy of the Alliance however Bazran found Sar useful and as a result Sar’s life was spared but more than that he gave the Breen an amazing honour. The chance to become his First officer.

“She’s arriving,” Was all that he said, Breen weren’t known for the loquaciousness.

“Well, I should be there to ‘greet’ her give me the chance to repay her for this great opportunity.” Each word was spat out with bile. This less than a being woman was responsible for seeing Empok Nor being shut down. Of course he was being “rewarded” with a desk job but being behind a desk meant your battle skills diminished and was all an attempt to weaken the Bajoran’s hold on the area.

The wandered through the well known halls of Empok Nor together as Bazran’s Terran slave hurried after them bearing a pitcher and a few glasses.

“It is a pleasure to see you, Nirol. Would you like some refreshment? Theta, glass for a guest.”

“Knowing you Bazran you probably had it poisoned.” Nirol, a ferengi doctor who also had been attached to the Alliance responded as she ignored both Sar and Bazran and started to look around.

“So this is my new research facility? Could be better but then again it was being Run by Bazran so I couldn’t of expected much from it.”

“What do you mean your base? I was told they were going to shut this base down?”

“Yes, and then once they had already had this place shut down I ‘convinced’ the Alliance to let me use it as a research base. Apparently Garak wants to do some testing of a new interrogation method see how... effective it is. I’ll run the scientific end of the research while he tries it out in the real world. Oh, and sorry that you’ll be stuck at a desk for the rest of your life.”

“ARRRGGGH!” exclaimed Bazran. This.... this Wench. This Ferengi Wench had beaten him if he could get away with blatant murder he would do it right here right now but he couldn’t. Though perhaps... there was something that he could do about it.

“Well, I guess I should show you around. Where first?”

“My new quarters, which by the way I want your stuff cleared out in an hour.”

Bazran screwed up his face as if the thought of following her orders disgusted him.

“Fine alright. Let’s get this over with.”

Sar, Bazran, and his Terran slave retraced their steps with Nirol following behind. They entered Bazran’s quarters. “Bedroom’s there, alright where next?”

“Don’t rush I won’t start the clock until after the tours finished. I’ll check my new room out.”

She was rubbing it in, but he knew she would it was his chance to strike, of course not him personally but his Theta.

“Deal with her.” Bazran whispered into the Terran’s ear which set him into action. The theta would kill for Bazran but he also would Kill Bazran himself at certain times but the Theta hopefully wouldn’t arouse her suspicions beyond simply keeping an eye on her but a quick bludgeon over the head of the woman’s short frame with anything came to hand and that was it she was down and dead.

However Bazran also had to tie up loose ends, the Theta was a loose end with a quick nod Sar phasered the theta in the back. Killing her and allowing the theta to be framed for her murder.

“Now, we have a chance to keep Empok Nor. Good work my cold-hearted friend I knew you’d make yourself useful.”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 157 Agent of Cerberus
07-18-2011, 04:29 PM
(DS9: STO Era)

(Disclaimer: If you recognize it, I don’t own it.)


Cerberus.

Even among the fledgling New Terran Dominion (including back when it was still the Terran Resistance), the name of that shadowy organization was spoken of in harsh whispers. In essence, it was analogous to Starfleet’s Section 31—a Black Ops group that would go to any means necessary to accomplish their objectives for the good of the Terrans, even means that others considered reprehensible, such as the forbidden science of Genetic Engineering.

Proof of that now lay prone outside an Alliance Stronghold, waiting for the base’s Commander to emerge from his Quarters.

Takeshi was one of Cerberus’ best Snipers, known to most of the organization as “Archer”. He was capable of hitting a target with a high degree of accuracy at the absolute outer effectiveness limits of his Phaser Sniper Rifle, acquired by Cerberus from the other universe through illegal channels. Her incredible accuracy was due in part to his origins.

Takeshi was a Designer Baby, gestated in an artificial womb and genetically altered during that period to the pinnacles of genetic perfection—a true “superhuman”, if you will. And after he was “born”, Takeshi was raised by Cerberus, his training beginning as soon as he could hold his first weapon.

As a result of his training, Takeshi was practically emotionless—and completely dedicated to the goals of Cerberus. Some of his fellow agents—as well as his “handler”, Elaine Rubech—had taken to nicknaming him the “Perfect Soldier”.

His eyes spotted movement—the Klingon General commanding this outpost was entering the open, allowing for a perfect shot. Takeshi set his Rifle for maximum power, knowing that this would drain the rifle’s power in five shots, but not caring in the slightest. He lined up the General in his sights, waited the briefest of moments for an optimal shot… and pulled the trigger.

The General was struck right in the forehead, the power behind the blast vaporizing him in an instant. As the guards began searching for the culprit, Takeshi activated the Transport Beacon on his wrist, returning him to the Raven, his personal craft which waited for him in orbit. Raven was a Tempest-Class Shuttle, a new type of shuttle bearing many similarities to the Delta Flyer used by Starfleet. The shuttle was equipped with a Cloaking Device, which remained active even as Takeshi returned to the shuttle.

Takeshi sat in the Raven’s Pilot’s Seat, activated the comm systems to a specific frequency, and said in his standard emotionless tone, “This is Archer. Mission Complete.”

“Good work, Archer,” came the voice of Takeshi’s “handler”, Elaine Rubech, as her face appeared on the comm screen. “Director Bashir will be pleased with this. Your next target is a Cardassian Gul commanding an Alliance base in the Ortega System.”

“Mission Acknowledged,” Takeshi replied, keeping his emotionless expression. “I’ll get right on it.” He then closed the transmission, manipulating the controls of the Raven and sending it towards the Ortega System.

***

As the transmission ended, Elaine sat there motionless at her station at Cerberus Headquarters for a few moments. She cared for her charge, Archer, like a sister would care for her brother, but she’d also developed a bit of a crush on the young man. And she’d never be able to get him to notice it because he was so emotionless, and so all she could do was support him like this.

“Please be careful, Archer…” she whispered quietly, before standing up from her station to go get some rest.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 158
07-21-2011, 12:50 PM
(TOS Era - Movie technology level)

Admiral Kirk surveyed the bridge. The damage was heavy and most of the bridge crew were dead. Spock's attempt at reforms were a poison to the empire, which even stalwarts like Kirk knew was on its way out. Maybe the idea of an empire was destined to fail, Rome, England, history was littered by fallen empires, and maybe this one had run its course.

Three Klingon birds of prey surrounded the proud but battered Enterprise. There were ten when this ambush started, but the numbers were just too much, even for a legend like James T. Kirk. He might be able to take one more down, but he knew he was outgunned against a trio of vessels.

"The lead Klingon vessel is hailing us, Admiral" said Uhura. Kirk gave a nod and she activated the viewscreen. The face of Koloth filled it.

"The butcher of Organia himself. I would have expected more of a fight out of you, or are you getting too old for this?" sneered the Klingon.

"I would have expected more of a fair fight from someone who claims to be so honorable as you do, you worthless K'pekt." spat Kirk.

"You speak of Honor," the klingon laughed. "You know nothing of it. Come over here and meet me in honorable combat and I'll spare the lives of your crew. "

"Done" Kirk sneered.

Lieutenant Shayde quickly spun from her helm position and snapped to attention giving Admiral Kirk a salute. "It would be my honor to shuttle you to combat and stand as your second, since the poleron weapons have made the transporters useless." She winked at the Admiral.

Kirk got the message and said "On our way, you worthless veQ. Prepare to die."

"Today is a good day..." Kotolth said before Uhura cut him off.

"Come on Leutenant, let's not keep them waiting." Kirk headed to the turbolift with the junior officer in tow.

The ride in the turbolift was a quiet one. The admiral had barely known Shayde. She was a junior officer to the senior officer that died during that last combat. He knew everyone had an agenda, the question was what was it. So he asked.

"What's in it for you. You're nobody. You know they'll kill you as much as they'll kill me. You stay here and you might live."

Shayde smiled. "Sir, they're not going to kill either of us.

She reached into her tunic and Kirk's hand shot to his phaser. She gave a quick "It's OK, it's not a weapon" and filled the admiral in on her plan.

----------

The shuttle cleared the hangar and glided effortlessly into space. Once on approach Shayde hailed the lead Klingon vessel.

"I'll enjoy this you klingon dog. You killed my son, now I'll send you to hell personally." Said the Admiral as the shuttle closed on the lead vessel.

"I can't wait to see you try, Kirk." Sneered Koloth in response.

Shayde brought the shuttle on a graceful approach. She tossed the recorder she used earlier in the turbolift over her shoulder and laughed. "Stupid gullible Klingons."

When she was within about 500 meters she tapped on the helm feverishly and brought the warp drive to an emergency start.

"What? Fire disrupt..." were the last things Shayde heard as she saw the starfield tear and the bird of prey impact the shuttle. It flew through the neck of the vessel shearing the bridge completely and then slammed straight into the main hull of the second. Both klingon ships burst into a brilliant ball of destruction as the Enterprise battered the third with what fight she still had in her. The third vessel didn't last long.

Admiral Kirk smiled and told Urura to open a channel to the transporter room.

"Scotty, did you get her?"

"Aye Admiral." the Scotsman replied. "A little singed but no worse for wear. Can't say that for the Klingons or me shuttle."

"Well then tell Lieutenant COMMANDER Shayde to get her butt back up here. Enterprise doesn't fly herself."
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 159
07-21-2011, 02:20 PM
(DS9/STO era)

Bridge of the I.S.S. Asakura, Magellan-class research vessel, Reimers System

"So what is that thing?" Captain Kalen asked, staring at the bluish-purple swirling anomaly on the viewscreen

"I think that's one of the dimensional gates the Science Commission have been going on about," his science officer, Dutgra Joson, replied. "They've been seeding them everywhere around here. Ever since the alternate Starfleet closed off the big one in the Arawath System."

"Can we go through?" Kalen said.

"It seems stable, but are you sure that's a good idea? I mean there could be anything waiting on the other side. Federation, Klingons... Borg?"

"I'm well aware of that, Commander. However, the chances of jumping into the middle of a battle are slim. If the alternate Reimers System is as dead as this one, we'll be..."

He was interrupted by his tactical officer, a Vulcan female named Sovak. "Sir, there's something coming through the breach!"

"Identify!"

"It's a ship... Starfleet."

"Ours or theirs?"

"Theirs. Registry reads as NCC-101165, U.S.S. Arael. Some kind of advanced battleship. Reads as Gryphon-class. Oh? Captain, for some inexplicable reason they are hailing us."

"They probably haven't worked out where they are yet."

"But," Dutgra interrupted. "They flew through that portal. They were probably sent here."

"Think, Commander. That is a warship. If the Feds were doing research, they'd send a science ship. If they wanted to invade, they'd send a fleet. One lone escort means that it's here by mistake. Onscreen."

The viewscreen was filled with the image of a young woman. She had pale skin, brown hair, and a visible Borg implant on her cheek. "Eight of Twelve, acting Captain of the U.S.S. Arael," she said in the typical curt manner of newly liberated drones. "Our ship was dragged through a dimensional distortion. The Captain is dead and the ship has sustained major damage. It is unlikely that we would survive a return trip. Are you able to assist us?"

"Do you know where you are?" Kalen shot back.

"We were in the Reimers System, although I understand that the dimensional rift could have taken us to any point in spacetime..."

"No. I mean which side are you on. Scan this ship."

Eight looked confused, but gave the order. "I.S.S. Asakura," she read. "The Terran Empire. So we are in what is known in my dimension as the Mirror Universe?"

"I believe that's what you call it, yes."

"Regardless, are you willing to help us?"

Kalen laughed. "Why should we help you?"

"Why shouldn't you?"

"Oh, I don't know? How about the fact that I could disable your ship and hand it over to the Engineering Corps. We get all of the technology with none of the hassle."

"This is a warship, Captain. Entering into combat with us is not advisable."

"You said yourself, your ship is damaged. And just because Federation science vessels aren't heavily armed, doesn't mean that we're so naive. Surrender, and I'll be quite happy to drop you and your crew off at the nearest planet on our way back."

The transmission was cut from the other side.

"She cut the link, sir," Sovak explained.

"Thank you for stating the ob..." Kalen didn't get a chance to finish his sentence before the Asakura was rocked by an explosion.

"Transphasic torpedo!" Sovak said. "Fore shields holding at 88%."

"If she wants to be like that, fine," Kalen said. "Jam their targeting sensors, tractor beam when we're in range and fire at will. I want a readout on their capabilities."

"Shields at full power, hull integrity at about 35%, weapons power 40% and rising."

+++++

On board the Arael

"They're jamming our sensors, I can't get a lock on anything out there!" the ship's Andorian tactical officer reported.

"Fire a volley of torpedoes. Use visual aiming," Eight ordered. "Raekel, go to Engineering, do what you can to assist. Structural integrity is a top priority. Inform me as soon as we're fit to head back through the distortion."

The young officer nodded and then ran to the turbolift.

"Targeting sensors back online!" the Andorian shouted.

"Target the sensor pod on the dorsal side."

"Sir?"

"It's lightly shielded, now do it."

+++++

The Asakura was again shaken violently by an explosion.

"What now!" Kalen demanded.

"They hit the sensor pod. Dorsal shields down to 20%."

"Where's that tractor beam!"

"Coming in range in three, two, one... got them!" Sovak shouted.

"Hail them."

Eight's face appeared on the screen again.

"I was expecting something a bit more... interesting?" Kalen said. "Not much of a warship. Still, I'm sure that the boys in Engineering will make some use of it. Now, as you rejected my most gracious offer to surrender, your crew will be taken into custody and put to use in some nasty dilithium mine somewhere."

"I don't think that will be happening," Eight replied.

"Oh really? And why not?"

"I'm making preparations to eject the warp core. At current power, it will be pulled toward your tractor beam emitter. On contact the antimatter will annihilate, destroying your ship."

Kalen clapped slowly. "How clever. That plan would destroy us both. I thought Borg were supposed to be smart. To be efficient."

"You will be destroyed. We won't. The Arael is outfitted with advanced reactive shielding capable of withstanding the explosion."

"No shielding is capable of sustaining two warp-core breaches at close range, it's just not possible," Kalen replied. Internally, however, he was beginning to worry. Perhaps the UFP did have advanced shielding. Maybe she really would go through with her crackpot plan.

"The question is, Captain, do you want to find out. Are you willing to risk the lives of your crew on that assumption?"

Kalen thought for a minute or so, staring Eight down. "Release the tractor beam."

"Captain?" Sovak replied, shocked.

"Do it."

Outside, the Arael rounded the Asakura and headed straight for the portal.

"Well?" Kalen shouted. "Full Impulse, follow them! You thought I was going to give up?"

The two ships raced toward the anomaly, but the Arael was clearly faster. It would reach the portal long before the Asakura, and with the Asakura's targeting systems damaged by Eight's attack on the sensor pod, the crew were having difficulty locking on to the small warship.

"Sir," Dutgra began. "If we fire an antiproton beam at the distortion, we might be able to destabilise it, stop them from escaping." Kalen nodded, and she got to work preparing the pulse.

Meanwhile, the Asakura continued to fire half-blind toward the Arael. As the sensor systems were hastily repaired, more and more of the shots found home, and eventually a shot took out one of the Arael's nacelles.

+++++

"They hit the port nacelle, Captain!"

"Well, let's hope we reach the portal before they get the chance to finish us off, the helm is completely unresponsive," the helm officer announced.

"Eject the warp plasma, it may slow them down," Eight ordered. "It's useless to us now."

On the screen, Eight watched as the portal got closer and closer. Somewhere her inside cybernetic mind a spark activated, the spark of hope. The hope that they'd make it, the hope that the Asakura wouldn't be able to lock on and blow her ship away, the hope that she'd see her own reality again. She was ripped from her thoughts by a sudden flash on the viewscreen. "What was that?" she asked.

"Antiproton pulse!" a science officer shouted back. "They're trying to destabilise the rift!"

"Will we make it through?"

"No idea!"

"Launch all remaining torpedoes back at the Asakura's deflector array. I don't want them trying that a second time while we're inside!"

Five proton torpedoes shot toward the larger ship, two sailed straight past, two hit the sides of the deflector but one hit the array itself.

The Arael headed into the anomaly which by this point was crackling violently with unstable antiproton energy. The small ship was buffetted and hit with energy discharges, but after about half a minute it emerged back into normal space.

"Damage report!" Eight demanded.

"Er... we're running on emergency power, thrusters only, the shields are down, life support is failing and don't even think about weapons."

"What about the anomaly?"

As the Arael slowly turned around on its thrusters, the crackling distortion became visible again. It pulsed with an intense white light for a few seconds before collapsing completely.

"Captain, we're being hailed," the tactical officer said.

"What is it now?"

"Don't worry, Captain, it's definitely a Federation signature. We're only going to be able to get audio with the state of these systems."

"Put it through."

There was a pulse of static before the message resolved. "...U.S.S Arael, do you receive me? Does anybody read me?"

"Yes, we read you. We're damaged but alive. What is your current position?"

"Luckily for you, on the edge of the system, ETA about ten minutes."

"Hang on, I recognise that voice," the helm officer said uneasily.

"It is... familiar," Eight agreed. "Captain? Would you mind telling me your name and that of your vessel?"

"Er, of course... Yalesz Kalen, U.S.S. Asakura. Is that important?"

"No. It is just... curious."

"I like curious things. I'm looking forward to hearing the story. Kalen out."
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 160
07-25-2011, 05:17 AM
(TOS era) “The Thousand Cuts”

Communications Officer Ryn swiveled around in her chair, “Sir, incoming message from I.S.S. Revenge. It’s real-time.”

“Pipe it to my ready room. Secure channel,” ordered Commodore Jarek Armstrong of the Imperial Starship I.S.S. Resolute, standing up from his command chair. He tugged down on his sleeveless command tunic, smoothing its greenish-gold cloth into place and adjusted his dagger and sash. Live real-time communications this far out were resource intensive and rarely used when a simple subspace missive would accomplish the same purpose for a tenth of the energy outlay. This must be important. He left the bridge and entered the small private room off of the bridge.

He moved to the viewscreen at the desk and keyed in his access code. A stern Andorian face appeared on the screen. Her antennae were thrust forward like two striking serpents, showing anger or at the very least extreme annoyance. Armstrong was privately amused; Andorians were a “passionate” people as they liked to say; it made them easy to read.

“Commodore,” the Andorian began, saluting, “is this a secure channel?”

Armstrong returned the salute, his right fist over his heart before extending his arm, palm outward, “Of course, Captain Firal. You may speak freely.” Jarek’s eyes narrowed and his mouth quirked into an ironic half-smile. All ship-to-ship communications were monitored, both electronically and by Imperial agents, present in all ship crews to some extent especially since that half-Vulcan interloper had seized the throne on Terra. No one had predicted the meteoric rise of Spock after Kirk’s ham-fisted blunder with the Halkans; rumor had it that Kirk was assassinated by his own mistress after failing to follow Imperial protocol to subjugate the “uncooperative” Halkan population, but his body was never found. That same mistress was now Spock’s personal companion and confidant at the Imperial Palace; no doubt a reward for her faithful service.

Captain Firal’s antennae twitched almost imperceptibly; the Andorian equivalent of clearing one’s throat.

Commodore Armstrong took the hint, “One moment, there has been increased ionic storm activity in this region, let me compensate”, the screen flickered several times as the terminal cycled to a randomly determined encryption algorithm. A picture-in-picture display showed a pre-recorded military update from Captain Firal to Commodore Armstrong; that’s what any eavesdroppers would see.

“Much better,” Jarek said as he seated himself at his desk and poured himself a glass of Aldebaran Whiskey from the nearby bottle. He took a swig of the fragrant green liquor, swishing it around his mouth casually as an implant in the roof of his mouth tested it for toxins; detecting none, he swallowed, appreciating the spreading warmth. No one had tried to poison him yet, it being such an obvious means of removal, but he never ruled out some ambitious amateur trying one of the “classics”.

The Andorian captain’s antennae relaxed into a neutral position. “You got the gift I sent,” Firal said, indicating the glass Jarek held with a nod of her head.

“Yes, an excellent vintage, and fast becoming a rarity since the unfortunate “accident” that rendered most of Aldebaran’s arable land toxic and barren, “ Jarek responded as he finished what was in his glass and smiled. “How fortunate that there were several off-world concerns ready to pick up the slack. Someone made a tidy profit there, didn’t they?”

Captain Firal nodded briefly, “Well, I know how you like green…things.” Firal’s antennae were stock still, an Andorian “poker face”, but her tone was plain.

Jarek raised an eyebrow. Obviously, that comment was aimed at his Orion Communications Officer, A’nea Ryn. It was no secret on board that he had assigned A’nea to more… personal duties in recent weeks and evidently that news had reached Firal which meant she still had at least one contact onboard informing for her. Careless, thought Jarek, never let personal feelings deprive you of a valued resource like a well-placed spy. “Jealousy ill suits you, Shalan’Tora.”

Captain Firal looked vaguely insulted, “Only cautious, as anyone should be around an Orion, sir. We’ve both got too much on the line to risk on foolish dalliances.”

Nice try, the commodore thought, but I could always read you, dear girl, ever since you were a cadet. “No one can replace you, Tora,” he said with a placating smile, using his affectionate nickname for her. “And, in fact, Ryn is an Imperial spy.”

Firal’s antennae waggled momentarily showing a mixture of alarm and confusion before she tamped it down and regained her “composure”; her expression never changed. “I assume that she will have an “unfortunate accident” soon, then?”

Jarek was silent, seeming to consider whether to pour himself another drink. His eyes were smiling teasingly, though.

“Commodore!” Firal barked irritably.

That Andorian temperament, Jarek mused. “For now she serves our purposes. She is clearly unaware that my enhanced metabolism makes me immune to her biochemical “charms” but by playing the fool for her, I make sure she only relays what I wish Imperial Starfleet Command to know.”

A dangerous ploy, sir,” Firal said finally, “…but I defer to your greater experience.” Jarek sighed inwardly; that was Tora’s way of calling him an “old fool” while conceding the point.

“You didn’t contact me to see if I got your present. Has there been a development on your end?” Jarek inquired.

“Indeed. Spock’s machinations are deviously subtle in the extreme, more befitting a Romulan than a Vulcan. He has an uncommonly disciplined and powerful mind, but my Betazoid assets have finally come through for me.”

Jarek’s mouth twisted sourly; he disliked telepaths and would not tolerate them on his ship, but Tora harbored no such prejudice and employed several covertly as spies in key positions throughout the fleet. “And?” Jarek asked as he reined in his distaste.

“You were correct. Spock is slowly but surely destroying the Empire. His “social reforms” weaken every aspect of our society. Imperial Intelligence is expending more resources watching its own citizens and ship commanders than foreign threats. He alienates our allies, allows crucial treaties to lapse, and encourages our enemies through inattention and carelessness. The fleet goes wanting for lack of funding; some commanders reduced to marauding for crucial resources. Our borders have never been more at risk. He proclaims it the beginning of a new Golden Age but it is death by a thousand cuts.”

Armstrong nodded absently as Tora finished. “How long would you say this process will take?”

“As I said, it’s subtle. Depending on how perceptive, and ambitious, our enemies are, it could still be years perhaps decades, but no longer than that.”

“And our side projects? How do they progress?”

“We have caches of weapons, latinum, and valuable commodities stockpiled in sleeper vaults on several Imperial worlds and some outside the Empire as well.”

“If possible, move as much as we can out of the Empire. My own investigations have detected definite diplomatic maneuverings between the Cardassians and Klingons. I have done what I can to slow the process but the blood’s already in the water. I suggest we make our move sooner rather than later. Meet me at the designated coordinates in one standard week.”

Captain Firal nodded curtly. “It shall be so, at least some of the Empire will survive through us.” She saluted formally and signed off.

Jarek sat back and steepled his fingers, staring at the blank screen. I didn’t survive the Eugenics Wars, cryonic suspension on an experimental sleepship, and six assassination attempts to meekly submit as some half-blooded traitor poisons us from within.

Ryn would have to be dealt with immediately. He couldn’t risk her informing her superiors of his actions. He poured himself another swig of the whiskey and downed it in one gulp. He retrieved an ampoule from an inner pocket in his tunic and emptied the contents into the remaining whiskey and recapped the bottle, swirling the liquor a few times. He stood and exited the ready room, taking the bottle with him.

As he came onto the bridge, he noted Lt. Ryn’s slender green fingers quickly move over her communications console; no doubt queuing his decoy report for transmission to her Imperial masters.

“Lieutenant Ryn, join me in my quarters. I have some reports,” he sloshed the whiskey in the bottle for emphasis, ”I need to go over with you,” Jarek made for the turbolift as Ryn secured her station and rose to join him, a sweet smile on her lips. The turbolift doors scythed shut behind her.
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