Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 256
# 1 Standing Ground (Story)
10-07-2013, 09:42 PM
Stage 1: Denial

There comes a time, you decide
What from your life will be real
What scars you will keep alive,
What you are willing to heal

Trans Siberian Orchestra

USS McGrath, Engineering, 0230 hours

It had gotten to the point that Commander Ponta der Trys did not even have to ask where to find her. She needed to find the Captain, after the latest incident. Yep, there she was, up on the intermix chamber. It was as if the engines were like a security blanket for the caitian, anytime there was a problem, she retreated there. Fortunately it was Gamma shift, the few engineers on duty long used to their CO's nocturnal visits.

"I'm getting too old for this," she muttered as she climbed the ladder, the warp core pulsing next to her, how anyone could find this soothing, the tellarite had no clue. She made the jump easily enough, next to the half dressed lump of fur. "Cap'n?" she said softly.

"I can't do this, I can't keep doing this..."

Ponta both agreed and disagreed with her. True, it wasn't the M'chelle Schrodinger that had been born in this universe, this one's home was a lot more brutal...but she was just as smart, and knew everything her 'sisters' did. She'd proven that time and again in battles and was the interaction off duty that messed her up so. The latest was Commander K'aret, a handsome (at least to other caitians Ponta supposed) feline who had known and dated Schrodi years ago. The original Schrodi. This one...

"how bad did I hurt him?"

"Busted jaw, no permanent damage that the doc couldn't patch up," Ponta replied. No point in sugar coating things. "You are going to have to work on these panic attacks...I told him that you've been jumpy, had some bad experiences with Orions lately..." Which was technically true, the neurocollar that she had been forced to wear daily on the ISS Tirpitz had been developed by Orions for the Empire.

"It doesn't matter, I smelled him, I knew he wasn't a threat, and I still panicked..."

She reached over and patted Schrodi reassuringly...females she never had a problem with. Males on the other hand...any species...perhaps doing the switch was a mistake...not the first time Ponta had thought that. "You could always resign, go back into research-"

"NO! Er, no...she needs me here. She saved me, I can't let her down..."

"And when you do hurt someone bad, or worse, and they start poking at you?" She sighed. "Damnit Schrodi, I believed in this crazy scheme of yours to save the Galaxy. I still do. but if you don't get yourself together, and soon?" Ponta shrugged.

"I know that..." she said, her tail twitching. "I know all this logically, I know she needs to be with K'Tirr, I could never take her away from that.. but she's... strong. I'm not..."

"Bull****. I saw you with my own eyes not two days ago pulling a Monroe to get Ensign Bell out of those borg drones," Which was true, while she wasn't wielding a fracking I Beam the titanium crowbar still did rather good damage to the drones.

"That was different, the kid would have died if I didn't act."

"And if you don't act right, how many more will over the long haul?"

She just started sniffling again, Ponta resisted the urge to sigh. The Cap'n had her demons she needed to get rid of...she just hoped Schrodi could pull it together before it was too late.

Astro-sciences Lab, USS McGrath, 0740

"well, you're up early." The Bajoran department head was usually there at least a half hour before the rest of his morning crew. Some of them were still excited grad students, others, jaded oldtimers who let the machines handle most of the data collection, and simply analyzed it later over coffee.

"We're doing subspace mapping of pulsars today, who could sleep?" Neidere said brigthly, the Orion dressed very conservatively for her race's usual standards, wearing one of the jumpsuits the civilian scientists tended to wear on board. but then she wasn't one of her race's usual members. She had left her family to study Quantum Physics, even if that meant going to the Federation, their plan to breed her with another family be dammed. She was on board as a civilian specialist, Dr Schrodinger had liked her thesis about gravitational fluctuations affecting pulsars and had pulled strings to get her on board.

Lt Kaval Edon just chuckled. "Fine then, if you want to get the detectors set up, we'll be getting sensor feed off channel 2, and don't forget to set multiplexing with the probes so we can get a three dimensional image."

She just nodded and went to work, sniffling a bit. "Are you feeling alright?" the Lt asked.

"Just the suppressors trigger my allergies," she replied as she calibrated the antenna arrays. "Could be worse, I'd rather have stuffed sinuses than half of the crew bouncing after me like love crazed skunks."

"I see you've seen Tanya's cartoon collection. As amusing as that would be to see, I get your point," he said, chuckling as he sipped his coffee.

Orion Marauder Carrier "Good Servant", Hromi Sector

"Matron, I bring news."

Matron Reli Katam opened one eye as she dozed lightly in her quarters, a hulking barechested enforcer busily at work rubbing her feet. "Mmm..this had better be important," she muttered, not even bothering to sit up. "What is it?"

"We've located Neidere."

That got her attention. "Really? About time, and how soon until she is returned to us?"

The young male kneeling before her squirmed a bit. In truth, it was Nakut's fault that she had left in the first place. But it could not totally be blamed on her cousin, no, Reli should have never permitted her daughter to learn how to read. Ever since she had seen the news story about that Ohn'Gallau Damojena Massaana being granted Klingon citizenship..she had railed at her duty to the family. Bah, Science was useless, when she could be of so much more worth to her family as broodstock. It had been Nakut who had been beguiled into giving her a lift to Drozana station...from there, she had disappeared close to a year ago. "Where is she?"

"She's in the Federation, Matron," Nakut said. "Currently as a researcher aboard a Starfleet Science ship."

There had been a time not long past, where she could have then just given an order. One lone Federation vessel would not have been a threat, especially a mere science vessel. But between losses incurred during the cultists uprising, and the resulting Klingon crackdown, she did not have any warships to spare in retrieval. Still, her daughter was willful, yet trusting, and fond of her cousin. "You will take a small ship, and fetch her."

"But Matron, what if she should-"

"She will not, and even if she did try," she said, her own pheromones filling the room, "you will obey me over her, will you not?"

He bowed low and reverently. "Of course Matron. I will bring her to you." with that he was dismissed, turning and leaving.

She turned to her aide, who was standing quietly in the background. "Have the medical staff ready - my daughter is to be gelded the instant she returns. I am not losing her again!"

"Of course, Matron."

Drozana Station, five weeks later

A wretched hive of scum and villainy. Thats how many on both sides of the border viewed the Ferengi operated station. Few with legitimate business visited there,and those that did, tended to watch their backs and their wallets. Bringing a ship full of civilian scientists to a place like that gave Ponta migraines...but it was occasionally necessary. Fortunately a lot of the eggheads chose not to partake in Drozana's dubious hospitality. They'd be here just long enough to get what they needed, then get back out. Besides, the Cap'n had mentioned they could lay over a few days here, or a few days on Risa, the latter was overwhelmingly chosen. Schrodi hadn't had any more incidents, yet as well either. So far so good.

Neidere wasn't sure about this. Oh she missed and cared about her cousin, in fact she had a borderline crush on him, though never took advantage of the situation, another thing that her mother did not approve of. Still, knowing he was here and had what he called 'good news', was worth checking out at least. She wasn't stupid however. She'd made friends with some of the McGrath's crew, and they were going with her to both meet and chaperone Nakut. Ensign Sovrok was as fond of puzzles and word games as she, and being Vulcan was immune to orion pheromones. Tanya on the other hand was human, also from the Astro-science department, and being female also safe from any influence. It was nice Neidre thought, having friends who liked her for who she was, not what she could do for them.

there were a lot of orions here, many in KDF uniforms, but as her cousin never joined, it wasn't that hard to pick him out. He was the only Orion dressed almost scandalously heavily, a long sleeved shirt covering his chest, and loose fitting pants as well. "Nakut!" she cried, hugging him when she saw him.

He was troubled, but did not let it show. True, he was overdressed, but his cousin...and scent! She had almost none, she had gone so far as to suppress even that part of her heritage! "Cousin, it has been too long!" he smiled warmly. "I hope you are doing well?"
he asked as he sat down in a booth, the others joining him. He noticed the Vulcan sat with his back to the wall, that one could possibly be a problem. Still only two, far less than he had expected.

"I'm doing great," she replied. "I've been working with Dr Schrodinger, well she's the Captain, but she's also a scientist."

He nodded and smiled, as she prattled on about things that in the great scheme of life had no meaning. What good was knowledge of things that could not be seen, felt, sold? "So, you said you had news?" She said as she paused for breath.

"I've thought about what you said when I brought you here" he said convincingly "and I believe you are right. I also managed to bring Nadia with me as well?"

Neidere's eyes lit up. "You did? How did you get her away from Mother?" Her younger sister was her only regret at having left...especially knowing that the fate she escaped may soon be hers as well once she got to breeding age.

"She left for a conference with the other houses, with the disarray since the, upheaval" he said, putting the rebellion delicately. "Things are strained. So while she was out, I grabbed her and headed here. She's asleep in my shuttle."

She was up and headed for the docking bays before Sovrok or Tanya could protest, the two just looking at each other and shrugging as they followed. they were both armed after all, and Sovrok was trained security. Besides, this was the one who got Neidere out of her mother's clutches. They never even felt the disruptor bolts slam into them, leaving them unconscious on the decking.

"Load them all up," Nakut said, the ambushers carrying them on board. "The female's comely enough to use as stock, and the male, well there is always a market for what a vulcan knows. and make damn sure to leave their communicators..."

One of the Orions just grinned as he pocketed them. "I've already got a holosuite reserved in her name, by the time their ship comes banging on it's door, we'll be on the other side of the sector."
Nakut just grinned. "Good, let's go home, the Matron is waiting for her wayward daughter. dogging the hatch, he proceeded to the bridge as his cargo was secured, taking off and jumping to warp.

Stage 2: Anger

You were told to run away
Soak the place, and light the flame
Pay the price for your betrayal
Your betrayal, your betrayal!

I was told to stay away
Those two words I can't obey
Pay the price for your betrayal
Your betrayal, your betrayal!

Bullet for my Valentine Your Betrayal

Drozana Station, five hours later

They were due to leave over half an hour ago. Four had been un accounted for, Doctor Molamm had been visiting his favorite hangout on the station for semi-legal recreational pharmaceuticals, and as usual the aging botanist from New Woodstock was stoned out of his gourd. Ponta had security put him in the brig to sleep it off being it was a substance that was legal on his homeworld, of course that also meant the replicators would be down again when he awoke, and tried to program them for something called 'cheetos'. The other three missing...well she didn't really expect that of them to be honest. All had good records, no problems from any of them. Still their com badges were in the holosuites, they had probably lost track of time, and communications were always dodgy on Drozaza for some reason.

She followed the ferengi holodeck manager up the ramp, two security troops with her. Going up she passed a KDF Major going down also with a security escort, half dragging a pair of intoxicated and under-dressed Ensigns. Some things are the same for everyone, she thought with a smirk, the Major giving her a knowing shrug as he passed. Ensigns. Always getting into trouble everywhere.

"All right, open it up," she said to the Ferengi. The manager was used to such things, happened on a regular enough basis. While they usually only interrupted holodeck sessions when a customers latinum ran out, they'd learned that when KDF or Starfleet security showed up, it was better (and cheaper) to just let them in. "Party time's over Ensign...oh crap."

The room was empty, with nothing but the three combadges sitting on a table.

* * *

There was just one rule, Belan though as he felt his lobes ache. one Frixing rule that anyone working for him had to follow. Cheat, steal, rob, he didn't' care, but never disappear Starfleet or KDF personnel. Especially the KDF, they became rather stabby when angered. Thus station 'security' was extremely helpful when some visitor from one of those two heavily armed and easily irritated groups went missing. "We have them on camera three," one of the technicians stated. She sent the images to his terminal, where Ponta and her security escort was watching

"Dammit, don't you have any kind of detectors when weapons are fired?"

The Ferengi just gave her a look. "It's no skin of my lobes if people do whatever to each other here, besides if I did have better security, then I'd have to raise prices?"

Ponta just rolled her eyes. "I don't wanna hear it. I want to know who was on that ship, and where it went!"

"I can't tell you that Commander - and not because I don't want to. We ask no questions here. He could have claimed to be the great green grandson of James T Kirk himself, and we wouldn't have questioned it."

She just ran her hand over her face in frustration. "I assume you at least have his transponder codes?"

Normally, information like that wasn't just handed over to authorities. But they'd learned the hard way, and the Federation and the Klingons both only let the Ferengi go so far here. Smuggling, the odd drug deal, they didn't care. Touch their people... "Right here," he said, handing it over. "Though I would presume that they might be faked."

Ponta just smiled grimly. Tellarites, while not seeming friendly, were generally seen as harmless. Grumpy, complaining, but harmless. This one however...Belan found himself drawing back just a bit by the look in her eyes. This pig-man had teeth, and she wasn't afraid to use them. "Thank you for your help," she said in a tone that was far too sweet for the fire in her gaze.

USS McGrath

For once, the Captain wasn't in engineering. Nor her cabin, or ready room either. Technically, she wasn't even on the ship. Oh she was connected to it, protocol stated safety tethers when going out into the black in an environment suit, but she was about 100 meters off of the port side, just seemingly talking to herself.

"I do fine, I handle any emergency, then throw an ambassador through a window at a diplomatic function."
{Well he did grab your ass, I'd have thrown him too.}
"That's not the point...I can't keep things in focus. As soon as I get reminded of something...bam. I panic."
{Вы должны сохранять спокойствие. Они не могут повредить вам больше.}
"I know that! Damnit, I know it logically, intellectually, but emotionally...that's where it all falls apart."
There was a few moments of silence. {I could ride with you, help you through things-}
"While you end up sleeping all the time? K'Tirr is patient, but doubt anyone would be that patient - and you've got your own life as well. Just because mine's messed up doesn't mean everyone else's has to be."

There was an actual noise in her earpieces. "Cap'n," Ponta's voice came over the com, "we got a situation..."

"Roger, coming in," she said, turning towards the lock. "I've got to go, I'll handle this somehow, don't worry."

Ferasa, Ri'orr Highlands


"What happened?"

Schrodi's eyes refocused. "She cut me off, hell all of us off."

K'Tirr's tail twitched, she of course had told him everything, she could not, would not keep secrets from him. "I did not know you could cut off from your sisters."

She sighed, rubbing her hand over her face "At first we couldn't before we separated, now, well, mainly only do it when things are getting, uhm, intimate.

He laughed. "So I don't have to worry about others watching."

"Actually it's more because it's damn distracting, to be in say the middle of a lecture, or realigning a warp field, or running an experiment to have one of my sisters and their husband, or lover, or whatever, uhm, occupied," she said with a bit of a blush.

"I can imagine," he said. He'd met several of them, and some of their children as well. When the time came, any future cubs would not be short on trusted caregivers, at least. "Do you need to go?"

"No" Schrodi said, shaking her head. "You need me here, there's things with building the household that you won't be able to be here to manage when the General calls you back, and I've got experiments to monitor as well," she sighed. "Plus, she has to get through this on her own. If she doesn't, she'll never heal."

"Hrrr...still..." K'Tirr mumbled. "She may need help...she is kin." he stated.

"I know. I've got someone keeping an eye on things."

He nodded. "I was...considering sending someone..." K'Tirr passed the report to Schrodi. "I am...somewhat disturbed at what Little Hunter's been up to - I think giving her actual work to do might be appropriate."

She pondered that "True, and one never knows what she'll turn up." Which was unspoken. Ever since the Battle at the Gate, those involved had kept in quiet contact. Any thing that looked even remotely capable of bringing similar horrors through was to be found, and destroyed, whether the governments involved approved or not. At least the Empire was willing to see the big picture, but then they were the Klingon Defense Force. "The McGrath is still along the neutral zone doing stellar research, so it shouldn't be a problem to give them a shadow incase they find something that needs smiting."

K'Tirr smiled, carefully hiding his fangs. "Indeed." He started tapping into his PADD.

"And that is?" Schrodi asked, looking over his shoulder.

"Deployment orders and a requisition to the shipyard," K'Tirr told her. "We have funding, the Herdthinner must remain in Little Hunter's going to be helming a new ride."

"Those are...MCDF codes," Schrodi said.

"Yes, yes they are," K'Tirr said. "As an officially neutral minor power, the Moab Confederation doesn't have to abide the Armistice - they can shoot anyone, on either side, without endangering the peace."

She just smiled. "Have I told you you're a genius today?"

K'Tirr nuzzled her. "No, but you always make me feel like I can out-cunning the rest of the universe." he purred to her. "You need to let Ponta know about Little Hunter."

"I'll have Thag pass it on, she'll have it by tonight."

Da Nang ship repair dock, Moab III

Zimehoz knocked on Anh's quarters. "Come in." Anh Cu'ong was reading - the book was a gift from a friend. She looked at the Lethean. "You should stick to KDF uniforms, Doctor-floral prints don't suit you."

Zimehoz laughed. "I don't know, it's comfortable and airy." he said, and sat down. "We have a...request."

she folded the book closed. "When you use the royal 'we' you mean K'Tirr - and you mean it's not just me."

"You are correct," Zimehoz told her. "Your new rank and position, and your...connections are needed." He handed her a PADD.

She scanned it. " I want to take this to Ariel?" she asked bluntly' "It's not the usual run of Moab business."

Zimehoz shrugged. "I would take it to Saul, first," the Lethean told her. He nodded to her uniform cap and jacket. "Officer's rank suits you."

She sighed. "Okay, me at Zobies in two hours," she said. "And dress for duty."

With that, she started dialing out. The first order of business was to requisition a ship capable of weeks-long travel at warp. The second was to secure clearance for the cruise from KDF traffic control - this wouldn't be AS difficult as the third problem - securing a reliable crew with the right..ties?

THAT meant dealing with Ariel and Minister Moskowitz.

"...yes, this is Leftenant Colonel Cu'ong, connect me to the Yard Boss," she began?

USS McGrath

"Wait, what?"

"We've got three people missing, Cap'n," Ponta stated. "Ensign Sovrok, Tanya Miller, and Neidere Katam from the Astro-science department."

Sovrok she only knew in passing, Miller was one of the sensor geniuses, and Katam... "She's that Orion that I brought on board six months ago, she did that paper that the Daystrom Institute published."

"And four to six hours ago, an Orion male who claimed to be her cousin met her on Drozana, led them to a docking bay, where several accomplices stunned them, then loaded them up and left."

"And nobody said anything... oh, wait, Drozana, right." To her credit, the indecisiveness was gone.But then, her problem wasn't when there was a crisis... "You have a heading on him?"

"Negative Cap'n, but we do have his transponder codes. Probably bogus-"

"But they'll be on long enough until he's clear of shipping before he changes them - which gives us enough time to pick out his warp trail. Thag," she said, turning to the neanderthal at the science station on the bridge "I need you to configure a probe for non-subspace signals. once we find the trail, we can pick up any emissions from it that would propagate out no faster than C, being he's only gone a few hours, we can use that to narrow the search down. Also once we get the trail Identified, have two probes paralleling and following the path, and have another to try to back follow the trail backwards, from where he was before he reached the station."

"He was in a Toron class shuttle Cap'n," Ponta added. "He's got enough range that he could be long away by now."

Her eyes seemed to blaze for a second, probably a trick of the light... "It doesn't matter. I'll chase him 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round perdition's flames before I give him up! I'm getting my people back!"

MCDF Li Truk Trang, B'rolth-Retrofit class, on departure orders...

The ship was the first one completed from the second major military aid package after the Battle of Moab, and she was definitely an MCDF vessel - the red lighting replaced with more human friendly spectra, the consoles configured for smaller, human frames. Anh sat in the commander's position. The crew weren't the hardened veterans of the old MCDF - they were a mixture of recent-trained amateurs and recent immigrants from other worlds in the Empire - thankfully, enough were trained that she had a competent NCO corps.
And, of course, she had Dr. Zimehoz.

"Secure from liftoff, set heading Two six four two one, let's go meet the neighbours," Anh announced. "Engage cloak and warp."

"You think they're going to be there?" Lt. Uziel Thanh asked.

"I think so," Anh said. "If not easily found, we know what their warp-signature it is, we?ve got a nice, shiny diplomatic cover for making contact."

"Hell of a shakedown mission" the Lt. commented.

"Yep. it is," Anh said. "Doc, what do we know about the McGrath since the battle?"
"They took on some new crew after the fighting, then were reassigned back out here - cataloguing stellar anomalies along the Neutral zone," Zimehoz said.

"Why would K'Tirr be concerned?" Anh asked. "That's a milk-mission."

"He didn't say, do you suppose it might have to do with politics at Earth?" the Lethean hazarded.

"K'Tirr wouldn't pull just us in for that." Anh said confidently. "Something bigger is up, but not so big he'd call on General Ssharki."

"'re thinking something recent, then," Zimehoz suggested.

"I am. See if KI is willing to part with personnel dossiers on anyone who's joined the McGrath's crew since the Battle of the Gate," Anh said. "Something might stand out...Uziel, kick a message to Ariel, see if Haganah knows of anything involving members of the McGrath's crew - incidents, crimes, thefts - accusations, anything in the sector that might get the Boss-Cat's nose tweaking to trouble."
"It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier."

Last edited by knightraider6; 10-08-2013 at 04:53 AM.
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 628
# 2
10-07-2013, 09:51 PM
*Subscribes to Thread*

Also, you might want to Re-post Stage 2--it's got a few Non Forum Friendly Punctuation Marks which have been turned into question marks.
Originally KiraYamato before the Account Linking - True Join Date August 2008

"Close Air Support covereth a multitude of sins." - Maxim 4, The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries

Last edited by takeshi6; 10-08-2013 at 09:48 PM.
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 256
# 3
10-08-2013, 04:43 AM
Originally Posted by takeshi6 View Post
*Subscribes to Thread*

Also, you might want to Re-post Stage 2--it's got a few Non Forum Friendly Punctuation Marks which have been turned into question marks.
(mutters, and sharpens spork to smite whoever put that bug in the system. Fixed. )
"It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier."
Career Officer
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3,938
# 4
10-08-2013, 09:31 AM
I can't decide what I love more - K'Tirr and Schrodi just being adorable together, or that you used my second-favorite BFMV track to lead in to stage two.
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 256
# 5
10-08-2013, 10:01 PM
Stage 3: Shame and Blame

USS McGrath, somewhere in the Hiromi sector

It had taken them, well, longer than she would have liked to find the right trail. Not that the crew wasn't good, it was just so damn many civilian ships of dubious legality went to Drozana in poor states of repair, there was enough leakage from their drives to hide a Borg cube or six... Like a lot of space, the systems weren't marked if there wasn't anything there. For all the thousands of stars with planets, there were tens of thousands more that had nothing worth noting.

They were Technically in Federation territory, the border tended to be a bit ambiguous out here, mainly because there wasn't anything worth fighting over for the most part.

"He definitely both came and went from there, Cap'n" Thag said with certainty. Once they were finally clear of Drozana, tracking became much easier due to the mismatched warp fields between the nacelles of the shuttle, leaving a trail a blind man could follow.

"Very good," Schrodi said. With a problem before her, she was doing fine these past few days, no, over a week now. "Anything on long range sensors?"

"Hard to tell, there's an asteroid field in there, nothing really valuable, just the type of rubble that really interferes with scans."

"Going in blind is never a good idea Cap'n," Ponta reminded her from the First Officer's seat. She'd given up the helm (mainly because she felt the Nebula class wasn't flown, merely pointed in the general direction one wanted to go and eventually it turned) her increased duties pretty much made that a necessity anyhow.

"I know, but if there is someone there, they've probably got to know we're here. We're not exactly sneaky like we were in the Dauntless."

That got a chuckle from most of the bridge crew. "Maybe they'll see us coming and give them up, afraid we'll not be able to turn sharp enough and crash into them," Ponta grumbled.

The crewman on the helm, Kadbala Idmrun, just shook her head. "It's not that bad, Commander," the Betazoid said. "Give me a few days' notice and I can turn just fine."

"It might be a good idea to wait a bit for some support," the XO said with a knowing glance at Schrodi. They both knew that K'Tirr had managed somehow to send help their way, it was still a few hours off though...

" They've had them for a week now. The longer we wait, the worse it may be."

The Tellarite bit her tongue. While Schrodi was wrong...she was also right. There really wasn't a right answer to this situation, they were damned if they did and damned if they did not, or more precisely Neidere was most likely. "Very well, Cap'n. Take us in, Mr. Idmrun, one quarter impulse."

Orion Maruader Good Servant

He prostrated himself on the deck, "Matron forgive me, I was followed."

Reili gazed down at the trembling male. Truly he was...but then the shuttle he had been given was not in the best of condition, as so much was nowadays. It was to be expected, she supposed. Her science slaves had picked it up when it came out of warp, Federation Nebula class. Slow, underweaponed, a fat sow ferrying scientists to and fro. Not a threat. True, she was in neutral space, but then the Orions were technically part of the Klingon Empire. No, this F'deraxt'la ship was no threat. At least not a military threat. Political, now that was another thing...

"What is the status on my daughter?"

"She is being bathed and will soon be ready to be presented to you."

"Bring her companions as well. We will be generous and gift them back to their ship, as they were not the property you were sent to retrieve," she said with a glance down at the trembling Nakut.

"Hail them. Tell them we apologize for their...inconvience, that their missing personnel are safe and will be returned, as will their abductor."


"This is a mess of your making Nakut. Please tell me you did not touch the female human on the trip back, humans can be so upset about such things.."

", Matron. I was piloting, she was not touched."

"Good. Invite their captain over," she said. "Politeness never hurts. Easier to be kind before unsheathing the blades if necessary."

USS McGrath

There were somethings you never expected to hear. Klingon Polka. Ferengi's having a half off sale. And Orions apologizing for kidnapping your crew? "You're ****ting me!"

"No Sir," Thag replied. "The commander of the Orion vessel is hailing us, she wishes to apologize in person for the mistake her crewman made in returning her daughter back home."

"But..." Schrodi shook her head. "Onscreen." She looked to be in her mid forties, dresed in the typical underdressed fashion of her race, long black hair hanging down to her waist "I am Matron Reli Katam. I seem to have accidentally acquired a couple members of your crew, Captain..."

"Schrodinger, M'chelle Schrodinger." She didn't betray any emotion, at least none that could be seen by the Orion woman. "How do you accidentally kidnap my crew?"

"My agent was to meet with my daughter and bring her back here, there was a, family emergency," Reli said. Which was true...if Neidere wasn't around to be bred as was agreed upon, the brood fees would have to be refunded... "My agent thought they were attacking, and panicked, stunning them. They are unharmed. Please," she said with a smile, "allow me to make up in some small way for this."

"What did you have in mind?" Schrodinger asked.

Reli glanced down at Nakut. The Klingons had been coming down hard on many of the families after the recent unpleasantness. His violating the Armistice could bring the wrath of the Empire down on her, if it was not handled carefully. fortunately, she knew both how much, and where her nephew had been stashing money. "Compensation for their time and travel, and for wasting the Federations valuable time as well."

Ok, now they had heard everything. Still, ending this peacefully was always for the best for both sides. "Very well, how do you wish to make the transfer?"

"Your people are currently being checked by our medical staff, and after a week of travel, will be cleaned and fed. Please, join me for dinner Captain, so I can express my condolences."

She wondered if this was how Alice felt going down the rabbithole. "Very well. I'll be over shortly. McGrath out."

"Cap'n, you can't seriously be thinking of going over there?"

"She wants to apologize, and give us back our folks. Orion food isn't that bad to put up with in return." She hit the com button on her chair. "Sickbay, I need an orion pheromone blocker shot ASAP." Turning to Ponta, she said, "I should take a few folks with me, probably females to be on the safe side.

"Well, taking Dr Daron would be good, and I'd recommend Pickens too," Ponta said.

"Right, well I'll collect the doc from sickbay, have Pickens report to the transporter." She looked back at the Orion ship on the screen. "No way it's just this easy..."

Orion Marauder Good Servant

It was warmer than the McGrath. They had come armed, and the muscular barechested enforcers made no mention of their weaponry, as if expecting it. To her credit, Lt Pickens didn't even stare at them, obviously selected for their physiques, but then her boyfriend could probably bench press the lot of them.

They were led through the ship, fortunately she had both a good sense of direction and a transporter lock from the McGrath. It was almost but not quite completely unlike any starship she'd been on, more like a flying bordello from the decor, silk drapes lining the corridors, soft pillows and cushions here and there, and the orions she did see...well she'd seen people with more clothes on clothing optional beaches on Risa. I think I see why D'Moj wears so much, she thought as she followed the enforcer to the, well was it a bridge or a parlor? Hard to tell.

The Matron stood as they entered, dressed, or undressed as the case may be as most of the other females were, the Tiara looking to Schrodi something a six year old girl would wear as a souvenir from DisneyPlanet.(?)

"Captain Schrodinger," she said. "Thank you for coming, though I wish it was under more, pleasant circumstances."

She just nodded, glancing around, still, wouldn't hurt to be polite. "Thank you for turning them back over to us," she said. "Though I don't see them.."

Reli glanced over at one of her aides, the nearly nude woman looking at her version of a PADD "Miss Miller is still, uhm, in the bath."

Schrodi just sighed and shook her head. "Every time someone is looking for her, she's in the tub."

"Well it is relaxing, especially with the right company," the matron said with a grin. "Still, we have our schedule, and you have yours, so please tell her to, what is the phrase, get a move on?"

The aide just nodded as she tapped something into the PADD. "As for reperations, I hope this amount will be sufficient?" Reli said, as she handed over a figure. Not that she cared, it was not her money she was giving away, but if it kept attention off of her house, it was a small price to pay.

Schrodi was about to refuse the money - then thought for a second. she'd just give it to the three that were taken when they were back on the McGrath "That should be fine". Just then another of the barechested Enforcers arrived. kind of pale for an enforcer, no wait...

Ensign Sovrok tried his best to look dignified as only a Vulcan could - even bare chested, wearing trousers far tighter than regulation. "Are you alright, Ensign?" Schrodi asked. At least Vulcans didn't blush, though Pickens was turning rather pink.

"Other than damage to my uniform, I am fine, Captain." If he seemed unperturbed, Tanya Miller was about as pink as a lobster, evidently her own jumpsuit was 'lost' as well. At least she had a loincloth over the chain-mail bikini as she muttered, "If anyone takes one image of me in this I'll strangle them with their own intestines!"

Despite the situation she had to try hard to suppress the urge to laugh. Not that she'd want to be seen in that either...oh well. "There's still Neidere-"

"My daughter will be remaining here. She is still a citizen of the Empire, and her family needs her right now."

Caitians tended to be not good poker players at times when angry, their ears tended to give things away, Schrodi's own tilting back. "I would like to speak to her myself - she had gone through a great deal of effort to get her thesis to me, one that I believe she needs to keep working on."

She expected some argument, but Reli simply smiled. "Of course." Her everpresent aide pulled out her PADD again, tapping commands on it. Less than a minute later she emerged from the doorway, dressed similarly to the others, but... there was something different.

She remembered the first time she'd met Neidere, the girl wide eyed with excitement that someone as renowned in the field thought her work was valuable. She'd called in a few favors to get her cleared as a civ-tech on board the McGrath, with another year or so of data, Schrodi thought she could get her work to one of her old profs at MiT. There was a fire in her eyes, a yearning for knowledge, finding new there was a different fire. She moved, no, slinked across the deck, to kneel reverently at the feet of the Matron.

"Captain Schrodinger would like to know if you would like to leave with them."

Neidere looked confused. "But why would I want to leave, I'm here to serve, unless you wish I should service them..."

Schrodi saw the eyes, that once held so much wonder and hope... now, empty except for artificially amped lust

Eleven years ago, ISS Colonel Green

M'chelle Schrodinger was scared. She hadn't wanted to be here, didn't want to be here. Her parents had advised against her going to Terra for school, scholarships or not. But she wanted to learn, and that was the place to do it. She'd kept her nose clean, went to classes and that was it. But then her theory on cross dimensional travel had attracted attention... Official attention.

The Empire had pushed the Klingon/Cardassian Alliance back, and there was an effective stalemate now. But this technology, if it worked out, could turn the tide. Which is the last thing she wanted... she just wanted to figure things out. She was pulled out of grad school, stuffed in a uniform that was almost too small for her, and sent to the Col Green, where the Captain had her sent to his cabin. She waited there nervously, she could tell they'd left Terra, the sound of the ship changed, she could feel the pulse of the warp core as it twisted space around the ship.

There was a sound behind her causing her to jump. It was just the Captain...she made sure not to look him in the eyes, humans really didn't like that. She hated it herself, but it was how the world was.

"Do you know why you're here?" The Captain said, pouring himself a drink.

Looking down, she replied, "Professor Stevens said that my theory on quantum universe navigation is something that will benefit the Empire?" she said timidly.

"That too," He chuckled, and not in a nice way either. "Your brains will bring me power, and bring glory to the Empire, and death to our enemies. But I'm not interested in the brains at the moment..."

She'd been lucky. She'd never felt an agonizer before, it was part of the 'uniform' that they put her in, in this case a collar that was fastened around her neck, markings on it denoting her as the Captain's property. Every nerve of her body was on fire, she felt like she was on fire as she screamed, falling backwards onto the bed.

As he approached, blotting out the light, her screams were all she could hear.

Sickbay, USS McGrath, two hours later

It had taken almost everything in Dr Daron's medkit she had with her to sedate the Captain back on the Orion ship. After seeing Neidere, she simply started screaming incoherently as she jumped for the Matron, breaking the arms of two enforcers and Ensign Sovrok as well as they tried to pull her off. She was sedated now, sleeping hopefully, as Ponta joined her in her office.

"I'm sorry Commander," the doctor sighed, sitting at her desk. "I can't cover for her anymore. Under General order 104, section C, She's..." she sighed. "In my view as CMO of the USS McGrath, Captain Schrodinger is medically unfit for command."

"Yeah... I have to agree. I don't know what happened to her over there, the Orions aren't talking, but at least they're not shooting." She sighed. "I wish we didn't have to do this, though-"

"You do."

They both turned around in surprise. She was standing there, looking, well, weary and beat, her tail dragging the ground. "I've been holding you back in your career anyway Ponta, you deserve your own command."

"You should be in bed ca-er, Doctor," Daron said, using her civilian title.

Schrodi just smiled softly. "Too much in my head... I'll be in my lab, if that's ok. helps me keep calm."

The CMO looked like she was going to protest, then simply nodded. "Call if you need anything."

She just gave a sad little smile then headed out the door.

Nha Tranh administrative district, Moab III.

The Orion on the subspace comms was furious - and had orange lines from scratches visible on her face.

"...attacked ME on my own ship! I want..." Matron Nediere gathered herself visibly, "I want justice." she said.

General K'Ragh frowned. "You admit your man took two of theirs."

"I do not deny it," she said.

"You ordered this taking?" the Klingon added.

"I ordered him to take my DAUGHTER back," she clarified for him.

"You are not Klingon, you will settle for Arbitration - for damages, and only if the Federation's people demand an explanation," the Klingon said.

"If I have to settle for Arbitration, I want an Orion!" she said. "Someone who UNDERSTANDS us!"

K'Ragh smiled. "Very well. I will be in touch." The Klingon turned to Saul Moskowitz, "You called it Saul," he said. "An incident involving the USS McGrath."

"Who're you giving her?" Saul asked.

"I want to assign Lt. Colonel Anh Cu'ong as the Neutral, with Colonel Eialu as the KDF representative... to underscore to our Orion allies that it is unwise to risk the Armistice for mere personal matters, I'm sure someone can be found on the Federation's rolls to sit in their seat for the hearing."

"I'll cut the orders modifying the Li Truk Tranh's current mission parameters... have them rendezvous for a Neutral investigation under section 11 of the Imperial/Confederacy treaty." Saul said/ "...You know, I still wonder what's going on on QonoS, first they're happy to have us join them willingly, now they're happy to call us 'autonomous allies'."

"I will get busy speaking with the Imperial Diplomats, to obtain a Federation Representative to this circus," K'Ragh said.

MCDS Li Truk Tranh, 1400 shipboard time...

"We've got McGrath's trail, Ma'am... and there she is." Uziel said.
"You're gettting better, Uziel, but you know, this is directly on the rendezvous vector we were given by MCDF command...hail both ships."

"USS McGRath, OWS Good Servant, I am Leutenant Colonel Anh Cu'ong of the Moab Confederation Defense force, we have been requested to act as the Neutral Arbitrator to your dispute, as is required under Clause Twenty-one, subparagraph three, section nine of the present Armistice Agreement. KDF and presumably Federation arbitrators will await us all... on Moab. I will remind both sides, we don't have an official problem with Orions selling, buying, or owning Orions - we financed our break from the Federation by selling orions to orions, this WILL be a fair hearing."

Ponta felt out of place in the command chair, but nodded. "Very well, we're ready to depart whenever you give the word."

"Matron?" Anh said very formally, "You requested this...are you prepared?"

"Who will be the Imperial representative?" Matron asked.

"I have no idea," Anh stated. "Just like I have no idea whom may be sitting for the Federation in this, except that they WILL be Starfleet on that side, and on the Empire's side they will be serving KDF officers of Colonel's rank or higher."

She pursed her lips while a slave applied a dermal regenerator to her injuries. "Very well... we are prepared to proceed."

"Five Kilometers minimum separation, you two, and match course with us, it's about nine hours from here, to Moab at Warp 6...engage."

USS Wolfram, on Patrol in Eta Eridani...

As the Wolfram cruised through Eta Eridani on a patrol, Nanoha mused on the happenings of the past few months since the Battle of the Gate.

The ship had pretty much ended up returning to her usual duties... which were about as varied as the title 'Multimission' in the ship's name suggested.

And after they'd unloaded their passengers and everyone returned to duty, things were pretty much unchanged... aside from Raging Heart.

Nanoha had decided to inform all of her senior officers about the AI's newfound free will, and surprisingly they all took it remarkably well, all agreeing to help the AI learn how best to use her new freedoms, and to help her develop as best as they could.

Things were going rather smoothly, which had Nanoha worried. Usually things going too smoothly was a sign that something was about to happen-

"Captain, we've got a priority message coming in, your eyes only," came the report from Lagran.

Nanoha sighed. Well, it looked like something was happening. "I'll take it in my Quarters," Nanoha said, getting up from where she was having lunch in the mess hall. It took only a few minutes for her to get there, and she took her seat at her desk and then called up the message.

Admiral Sandra Fitsimmons looked back at her on the com, the admiral looking like a cat that not only got the canary, but also had a big saucer of cream to dunk it in. "Hope I did not contact you at a bad time Captain, but it seems, well, there's a possible armistice violation, and the Klinks, or more specifically the greenskins, want arbitration."

"You are to proceed to Moab III, where you will be the Federation's representative in this matter. Naturally we're looking to avoid an escalation, so if you do feel it's best to give the Orions what they want, it's fine by me."

Nanoha nodded in acknowledgement. "I'll be underway as soon as I can," she replied. "Rest assured I'll pursue what I feel is the best option for the situation."

The Admiral just smiled. "I'm sure you will."

USS McGrath, Quantum physics lab

The second thing that Ponta did, after the change in command was official, and she had some privacy, was have Thag send a message to Ferasa. She still fretted about the possiblity of interception, but every time she had brought the question up to Thag or Schrodi, they simply gave her the look. Ok, maybe you needed to be a super brain to crack it, fine. But this was going from bad to worse, and it was pretty much completely out of her hands. She was still doing what the first thing she did after it was made official however, cursing.

She was pacing back and forth in Schrodi's, er, her ready room when the transporter room sent a message. "Commander? We've got a request from the Li Truk Trahn, there's a doctor Zimehoz wanting to beam over to talk with you?"

That got her to stop her cursing. She knew him of course, strong telepath, maybe he could help Schrodi. She thanked her family gods that there was someone nearby that both she and Schrodi trusted. "Bring him over, and send him to the Ready Room."

There was a pause on the other end "Sir, it shows that he's a Lethean on the sensors-"

"And he's on an MCDS Ship - they're neutral for all intents and purposes. If it makes you feel better you can escort him up yourself and wait while we discuss the situation." She knew the schedule of course, one of her tasks as XO, well former XO was approving the duty roster...

"He's on his way up," the tech said, not wanting to spend the rest of his off time standing guard.

A few minutes later, the door chimed. "It's open," she said, then immediately winced, that shirt was probably a war crime somewhere...

"Nice shirt!" Thag said from where he was sitting with a grin. " have most excellent taste Sir." Between the two of them their shirts could blind at fifty meters.

"As do you,, where is your Caitan-I'm actually here on business for the Confederacy, not just a social call." Zimehoz said, "Also on behalf of the House of K'Tirr."

"She's in her lab on deck 18" Ponta said "It's kind of a refuge for her, between that and engineering she'd pretty much retreat there whenever things went wrong" The Tellarite sighed as she stood "I don't know how to get her out of this one. I know she had..well you've heard reports of the Terran Empire. They treat non humans, rather badly. I think what happned to the Matrons daughter, hit a bit close to home for her.."

"Indeed." Zimehoz said, "I need her deposition. Getting her out of this should not be too difficult - you did hear who the KDF representative is, right?"

"That we didn't," Thag said. He probably could have gotten that information, but he was slightly distracted by all the goings on.

Zimehoz smiled around his beak, "General K'Ragh tapped Colonel Eialu to oversee the dispute from the KDF perspective," he said. "The infamous 'Butcher of An Loc' is hearing the case."

Fortunately Ponta had just swallowed her tea, she still sputtered and coughed. "no way!" she said, cackling. "Ok, we can get her out of this without letting the Matron make a rug out of her, her career on the other hand..."

Zimehoz chuckled. "Caitans are specifically sensitive to Orion Pheremones-but the reactions of that sensitivity are... unpredictable. I have, available to me, several experts on Orion Physiology who can testify to a belief that she may have been biochemically provoked."

"And psychologically as well, given her history, but hopefully won't have to drag that out, being it didn't happen in this universe." She stood and led them out to the turbolift, fortunately the bridge crew knew enough not to pay any attention.

The lift wasn't 100 percent secure either, though Thag always has a portable jammer on him, paranoids did have enemies after all "here we are." The lab was big, taking up a good portion of the deck, probably at one time a materials fabrication section. there were replicators, odd equipment here and there... "Why is there a watermelon in that hydraulic press?" Thag asked curiously.

"Hell if I know..." Ponta said as she looked around. It was quiet. "Schrodi?"

She sighed "I don't have time nor energy to go hunting again, Computer! Where is Captain, er Doctor M'Chelle Schrodinger?"

There was a pause. "Dr Schrodinger is not on board."

"Oh F**k..."

Can I play with madness?

Give me the sense to wonder
To wonder if I'm free
Give me a sense of wonder
To know I can be me
Give me the strength to hold my head up
Spit back in their face
Don't need no key to unlock this door
Gonna break down the walls
Break out of this bad place

Can I play with madness?
The prophet stared at his crystal ball
Can I play with madness?
There's no vision there at all
Can I play with madness?
The prophet looked at me and laughed at me (ha ha) He said:
Can I play with madness?
He said you're blind, too blind to see

Said you're too blind to see

I screamed aloud to the old man
I said don't lie, don't say you don't know
I say you'll pay for this mischief
In this world or the next
Oh and then he fixed me with a freezing glance
And the hell fires raged in his eyes
He said you wanna know the truth son?
Lord, I'll tell you the truth
Your soul's gonna burn in a lake of fire

Iron Maiden Can I play with Madness

Teena Yoann Memorial Hall, Vin Drin Lap, Moab III...

"The panel will sit at the end, here, on this dais. The plaintiffs will each sit opposite, facing the Hearing judges, if it goes to physical, the floor opens - we drained the swimming pool, so there's ample room for two idiots to go at it until one of them is either dead or unconscious." Anh said. Nanoha and Eialu walked with her. "Honestly never thought I would have to make USE of those legal extension courses."

"I'll do what I can to help," Nanoha replied. "I've been running through all sorts of sims with Fate-chan - she was always better at legal matters, while I was better at the practical aspects."

Eialu was quiet a moment longer. "I can't wait to question that idiot. I can't name four actual Orion Scientists - as in with new theories or discoveries, in the last thousand years, and that stupid, shortsighted **** cut the brain out of the first one in Centuries."

Nanoha nodded. "I just hope we can get Captain Schrodinger out of this with her life and career intact," she said. "Admiral Fitsimmons may have asked me to give the Orions what they want if I feel it necessary to prevent a war, but there is no way I'm throwing Schrodinger to the wolves for her."

Eialu shrugged. "We'll see what comes out, but I know this - Aunt D'Moj has an interest in the outcome, and I'm getting pressure from Melani Di'an's office to find in favour of Schrodinger - a finding in the court will lead directly to a council of Owners for this Matron."

"Wouldn't she be able to claim property rights?" Anh said. "It's starting to sound like I may be the ONLY Neutral in the room... no offense. I personally LIKE Captain Schrodinger, but..." she sighed. "There is Noahide Law to consider - and she DID violate customs of hospitality. Unless your side can provide evidence of extenuating circumstances."

"Well, let's just hope we can find something-" there was a beeping from her commbadge. Nanoha tapped it. "Takamachi here."

There was a momentatry squeal as the encrypted signal handshook. "der Trys on the McGrath here - we've got a problem."

"What is it?" Nanoha asked, hoping it wasn't anything too serious.

"Sometime in the last four hours, we, uhm..." there was just not sugar coating this. "She's gone, and so is the Stalker in shuttlebay 3."

Nanoha paled, and then facepalmed after a moment. "Just what is she thinking, pulling a stunt like this?" she asked, more to herself than anyone else, though Anh, Eialu, and Ponta all heard her. "Understood. Do you have any idea where she may have gone?"

"Negative, though I can guess... probably somewhere she shouldn't be."

"Roger, stand by," Nanoha said. She turned to Anh and Eialu. "Can I trust you two to stall things for a bit? I'm going to lead a team from the Wolfram in search of Schrodi. If needed, Fate-chan can take my place here - like I said earlier, she's better at legal matters than I am."

"We're kind of tied here, though I've got a couple of folks that know her pretty well that can go with you, they're not required for the hearing or anything. Just make sure you keep the short one away from anything explosive. Or flammable."

"You mean, we lost the defendant... excellent," Eialu said. "I think, Anh, that we need to go over some protocols? Say, over lunch? Also, I have a meeting with my unit Chaplain that I simply can NOT get out of..."

Anh shrugged. "I'll contact Ariel, have some of the kids see if they can find her using OUR methods, in the meantime, the hearing's got an extension."

"Thank you," Nanoha said to the two of them. "der Trys, have your people beam over to the Wolfram - my team will launch from there."

"Roger, they're on the way. McGrath out."

"Takamachi out," Nanoha said before tapping her commbadge twice - first to close the channel, the second time to open a new one. "Takamachi to Wolfram. Fate-chan, you'll be receiving a couple of visitors from the McGrath. Make sure they're well received, and have them meet Sobaru and Team One at the Hangar Bay. They're going on an expedition, and I'll be going as well. In the meantime, you're in charge, and you're also my stand-in if I can't make it back in time for the Arbitration."

"Roger that, Nanoha," Fate replied. "Just be careful."

"Understood," Nanoha said. "Beam me up whenever you're ready." She turned to Eialu and Anh and said, "I'll see you when I get back," before she vanished in a swirl of lights as the Transporter whisked her back to her ship.

Somewhere in the Hromi sector, Orion Corvette "Bountiful Plunder"

It was a decent haul, the Matron would be pleased. Civilians, many with saleable trade skills, farming equipment. Probably former Moabites, being over half of them were human, or human-ish, that were looking for somewhere else to rest their heads. Too bad they were all slumbering away at the moment thanks to the anethizine gas they had pumped into the ship. The one advantage to hitting small would be colonists, is more than likely, no one would ever miss them. Especially as they didn't have any of the jewelry or other markings that the poor souls who nabbed the wrong folks in Drozana learned about the hard way. no one would touch any with a six pointed star on them for a long while. "Any high value stuff?" Toreg asked.

"Nah," His second just shook his head. "Not even a handful of latinum in the captain's safe." He just sighed, cant have everything one supposed. "Alright, we need to get the stock out and be on our way-"

There was a metallic clang from somewhere on the hull. "What the hell?"

"@#%! I knew we should have hit that Gorn transport!"

"Relax, it's too small," Toreg was patched into the sensors on the Corvette, they had gotten a glimpse of something about the size of a small fighter. "Though if it is one of them..." the pirates looked at each other and nodded. There was only one way in to where they were, they were prepared for anything.

He saw what looked like something moving, humanoid. He was about to take the shot when whoever it was just stepped out into plain sight. "What the frickin?"

He didn't see many Caitians in this part of the galaxy, she was wearing what looked like a black body suit, and a long leather-ish coat over it. Not one of the ones with the cards at least, they were human. Well, looked human, some said they were demons that walked like men. Toreg had been one of the ones who had to help clean up the mess on Drozana... one reason why he and his crew were out in the middle of nowhere.

"I don't know what you want, but show me your hands or I'll burn you down where you stand. your pelt will sell for more than you will alive, makes no difference to me."

She just raised her hands up... she's smiling... Why is she smiling like that? he wondered, as the small objects in her hands fell to the deck, the micronized chroniton generator activating when it hit the deck...

He couldn't move it seemed, well not fast enough. His disruptor fired, but she moved out of the path of the beam, her own weapon leaving a trail of ionized plasma as it hit Kern. Another fired at her, as she seemingly avoided the beams, not realizing that the chronitons slowed time for him, while she'd spent the last few minutes hidden in the ships FTL computer core, speeding her own reactions up, by the time he aimed she was a meter away from him. He saw the fist coming in seeming slow motion, when it impacted it was anything but, sending him crashing to the decking, slow motion screams of his crew fading from his hearing.

He awoke. He wasn't expecting that to be honest. He wasn't on the freighter any more, it looked like the bridge of the Bountiful Plunder... though from the damage, and the bodies... he tried to sit up but could not move, something was tying him down? No, some sort of field, he could barely breathe, and if felt like he weighed tons.

There was movement out of the corner of his eye. It took all his strength, and he felt like he was going to pass out but managed to turn his head just enough to see. It was her, the feline. She looked over and noticed the movement. "oh , you're awake! and moving at 15 g's too, rather impressive," she said, as she carefully stepped around him. "We're going to have a chat, you and I."

Surprising himself, he managed to actually snarl at her. "I have level six conditioning, it can't be broken! Just kill me now."

"I could," she said, "but that would be too easy," she held up what she was working on, it seemed like a collar of some sort. "And everything breaks, you just have to know the right point to push. It's a simple thing really, part of my job as science officer on the Tirpitz was keeping the Agonizers working, and some on hand for all species the Captain might run into."

He looked at the collar and laughed. "That won't fit around my neck."

Schrodi just smiled sweetly. "Oh it doesn't go there, that's not where the most sensitive nerves are!"

She was right. everything broke if you just knew where to push.
"It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier."

Last edited by knightraider6; 10-09-2013 at 04:30 AM.
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 628
# 6
10-08-2013, 10:18 PM
More problems with Non-Forum Friendly Punctuation--I think you might have copied it from the doc before I did the final formatting. *sigh*

Oh, well--these things happen.
Originally KiraYamato before the Account Linking - True Join Date August 2008

"Close Air Support covereth a multitude of sins." - Maxim 4, The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 256
# 7
10-09-2013, 04:13 AM
Originally Posted by takeshi6 View Post
More problems with Non-Forum Friendly Punctuation--I think you might have copied it from the doc before I did the final formatting. *sigh*

Oh, well--these things happen.
fixed, again. arg.
"It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier."
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 256
# 8
10-09-2013, 09:26 PM
Stage 4: Hands on Therapy

A certain measure of innocence
Willing to appear naive
A certain degree of imagination
A measure of make-believe

A certain degree of surrender
To the forces of light and heat
A shot of satisfaction
In a willingness to risk defeat

Celebrate the moment
As it turns into one more
Another chance at victory
Another chance to score

The measure of the moment
In a difference of degree
Just one little victory
A spirit breaking free
One little victory
The greatest act can be
One little victory

A certain measure of righteousness
A certain amount of force
A certain degree of determination
Daring on a different course

A certain amount of resistance
To the forces of the light and love
A certain measure of tolerance
A willingness to rise above

Rush One Little Victory

Outer Edge of the Moab system

The shuttle dropped out of warp silently. Not just silent as in because it was space, but with minimal EM emissions, the usual flash of light when a ship drops back to normal space damped somehow.

"Well we're here, now what?"

"Сейчас? Теперь мы приветствуем Макграт, и посмотреть, если мы можем получить координаты шаттлов ".

Schrodi sighed. "We're going to have to get you a translator you know, not everyone speaks Russian." She was dressed in something semi casual and better suited for the climate of the Fersan Highlands instead of Moab, but then this trip was hastily thrown together. Would have been nice to have the Herdthinner, but he had to meet with the General.

The large muscular feline at the helm just chuckled and shook her head. "Нет, это не моя вина, что они не говорят на цивилизованном языке."

"You both are nuts, did anyone tell you that?" The human looking woman in the jump seat said, shaking her head. "Fraking nuts. We haven't even tested the FTL fully, and you want to make a jump into the shuttle bay so no one will notice you're showing up here?"

"You're the one who built it based on what they used in your reality," Schrodi replied. "If you think you didn't do it right..."

Michelle just shot her a dirty look. "It's not that, it's the fuel. That stuff was rare enough back home, here, hell finding Latinum is easier. I just don't want to waste it to show off."

"У нее есть точка ..."

"Fine, sheesh, never let me have any fun." She muttered as she keyed up the encrypted com

Transporter room, USS McGrath

Thag was waiting for Heiki, as usual. He had all the gear he'd need for a remote operation readily packed in his quarters, all he had to do was drop in, grab the pack, give Mel a hug (which took at least seven minutes, fortunately he'd been working with the green munchkin long enough that he knew he'd still beat her to the transporter room) and wait for the rest of the away team. There was a sliding, no, dragging sound coming from the hallway outside, the transporter tech looking up curiously. "What the hell is that?"

The door slid open , but other than a pile of weaponry, munitions, and explosives no one could be seen except for two largish green ears poking up behind the pile, and muttering as it slowly inched forward.

He just ran his hand over his face, shaking his head. "Just what do you plan to do with all this?"

"Never know when you might need something!" Heiki squeaked cheerfully as she clambered over the pile.

"Is that a quantum torpedo?" Lt Steyr asked wide eyed, looking a shiny casing at the bottom of the pile.

"It would not surprise me," Thag said with a sigh. "Heiki - you can't take this much. We're not going to blow anything up, we're just going to track the cap'n down and bring her back."


"No, and I can already hear what the CO of the Wolfram will say when you beam over with this. No."

She pouted, and dug in the pile, finally ending up with a backpack that was almost bigger than she was. "Ok fine, sheesh." she said, as Thag's com beeped.

"Two seconds," he said to her as he replied. "Please tell me that's you boss."

"It's me, but not the me you're looking for. Schrodi replied.

"Wait, what? Why are you out here?"

"To try to make sure someone with a possible agenda doesn't start a war. I need secure co-ords to come over."

"We're about to transport to the Wolfram, we're going with a team thats going after you, well not you."

"That works, when you get over there, ask their captain to depressurize their shuttle bay, but not to open the doors, and need the coordinates as well."

"Roger that cap'n. I'll get back with you." He closed the call, feeling better than he had all morning "Come on, squirt, lets get over there."

The two took their positions as they signaled the Wolfram they were ready for transport. "Hey, what about all this crap!" the Lt shouted as they were beamed away... he just sighed, @#$% civilians...

USS Wolfram

Nanoha, Fate, Sobaru, five of the Wolfram's best security people, Thag, and Heiki were currently waiting outside the Wolfram's main Hangar. The bay had been cleared of all Delta-Class Shuttles and personnel per the request from Thag, and now Thag was taking pictures of the bay.

"Just why did you ask the bay to be cleared in the first place?" Nanoha asked.

"Well, I didn't, Dr Schrodinger wanted it. It's a Science Experiment." he replied as he sent the coordinates. There was nothing for a second, then a flash inside the bay - it looked like a standard klingon Toron shuttle, assuming they had small stub wings, and other bits added here and there, just suddenly appearing, the navigation lights blinking serenely as it unfolded the landing pads and settled down onto the deck.

The Wolfram personnel all blinked. "What the hell?" Nanoha asked.

Thag just grinned. "Science!" Through the viewport of the shuttle, a big feline was shutting down the engines, that definitely looked like Schrodinger though in the other forward seat.

Fate blinked once again. "What's going on here?" she asked confusedly.

Thag realized just then that none of the Wolfram people knew about the multiverse Schrodingers. Thinking fast, fortunately, was something he was good at. "Few years back, Dr Schrodinger managed to snag her counterpart from the Terran Empire. It was either grab her or let them brainrip her for intel on dimensional technology. so..." he said, letting them hopefully draw the correct conclusion as the bay pressurized. If they bought it, the cap'n would so owe him big time.

Nanoha smiled a bit. "So, is the Schrodinger we're searching for our universe's Schrodinger, or the Terran Empire Schrodinger?" she asked, signalling for the bay to be repressurized.

"That explains the incredibly traumatized reaction in the Orions' evidence submission," Dr. Zimehoz stated, still maintaining the fiction that this would be a 'surprise'. He waited patiently for the lady of his Liege Lord to disembark.

The first one off was the pilot... of course if she was going to bring someone, she'd bring her 'sisters'. fortunately they were vastly different, the pilot was close to eight feet tall, heavily muscled and patterned like a snow leopard, wearing a standard jumpsuit, with a red star on one shoulder. Her companion was human, at least looked that way, hard to tell sometimes, about five fix, dishwater blonde hair, and curiously the same blue eyes as Schrodi as she got off the transport. "Told you it would work!"

The human just muttered. "Yeah but we're stuck with warp drive till we can refine more fuel, in a year or three."

"Details details," she said as she headed towards the waiting party.

"Greetings, Doctor Schrodinger," Nanoha replied. "Thag just gave us a quick briefing on some events a few years back... so, I have to ask, are you our Schrodinger or the one rescued from the Terran Empire?"

Zimehoz removed his headgear, and bowed to Schrodi. "My Lady, I trust your journey from Ferasa was not too terribly inconvenient?"

"Yes, thank you," she answered , returning the bow to Zimehoz. She smiled at Nanoha. "And actually, yes to that question as well. There was a quantum computer core accident, and I ended up merging with my counterparts in alternate realities for a time until we managed to separate ourselves again."

Zimehoz straightened, turned to the 'human' Schrodi, and said, "Welcome, sister of my lady..." and then he repeated the same greeting to the large, snow-leopard Schrodi-in slightly baltic sounding Russian.

Michelle just smiled. "Good to see you, too," she said, while Miska just smiled and scooped the Lethean up "Zimehoz Дарлинг Так рада тебя видеть!!" she said, giving him a big bearhug.

Nanoha watched in slight surprise. "So..." she said, "are you here to cover for the Schrodi facing arbitration while we search for her?"

Zimehoz, once released from the bear hug, handed Miska a small device. <This will translate for you - most people do not speak Russian here.>

"Yes, so that the Matron won't blow a gasket so to speak should she find out she went missing. I really think though an apology and a chance for her to vent will be enough, because, correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't there an optional trial by combat that either side can ask for under Imperial law?"

"Yes. The decision MAY be appealed in a trial-by-arms by either side, however the requirement is strict - only the plaintiff and defendant may participate," Zimehoz stated. "No Champions and no proxies."

She nodded then blinked in surprise when Misha clipped the translator to her uniform "What, you'll put one one for him but not when we ask you to?"

The big feline just smiled. "He asked me nicely"

"I try not to be Nekulturny," Zimehoz clarified for the two NON-Misha schrodis.

Schrodi just rolled her eyes. "Fine. so, do I need to report to the brig or something?"

Zimehoz coughed for a moment. "You have accomodations on the surface," he said. "Per the Armistice, the Neutral acts as the holding agency-in this case, the MCDF Fleet Base at Xiao Loc-visiting officer's quarters." He tugged his uniform jacket straight. "I, of course, arranged for your guard detail - they are... reliable... and Discreet."

She nodded. "Right, well, she's still blocking us from locating her, but we've got a general idea at least of where to start. I don't suppose someone can show me where I'm supposed to go? Never been down there before."

Zimehoz nodded, "I will bring you to your quarters, and arrange quarters for your sisters - as well as discrete costumes so that they can blend in."

"They're not going with me - they're going with whoever you've got looking for her."

"That would be me," Nanoha said, stepping forward. "I'm also taking along my security chief and five other officers, and Thag and Heiki are coming along, as well."

"So, Captain Nanoha, who will be taking your place as Federation representative? It requires an officer of your grade," Zimehoz pointed out.

"I was planning on Fate-chan," Nanoha replied as her wife nodded. "She's honestly better at legal matters than I am."

"Is Fate a Captain in pay-grade?" Zimehoz asked.

"I technically am," Fate replied. "However, that's only when on Nanoha's on long-term missions - I willingly downgrade to Commander when she's onboard, since it's a little unusual to have two Captains on the same ship, even a Training Ship/Testbed Platform."

"Anyway, Milady, if you will accompany me to the transporter..." Zimehoz said. "We can let the diplomats sort out the positioning of the judges."

She nodded and followed Zimehoz, pausing by her sisters "good luck" she said, before exiting the shuttlebay.

"Fate-chan, you can head down, too," Nanoha said. "I'll do my best to be back soon."

"Sure thing, Nanoha," Fate replied. "And try to stay out of trouble."

"You know me, Fate-chan," Nanoha said with a chuckle.

"I do - that's why I said that," Fate replied, before exiting the shuttlebay as well.

Nanoha chuckled, slightly embarrassed, before she turned to the assembled individuals and ordered, "All right, suit up and prepare to move out!!"

"Yes, Ma'am!!" came the reply from Sobaru and the Security Officers.

Xiao-Loc, Moab III...

Schrodi and Zimehoz stepped off the transport platform into the burning bright of mid-day in what had become the largest military base on Moab. "There used to be a city here," Zimehoz said, "Someday, there will be again." Young soldiers marched in olive-drab uniforms behind guidons, singing cadences in Viet, and Hebrew, English, German, and Klingon, under the strict eyes of drill instructors. Others ran in groups, sweating under Moab's twin suns and the weight of helmet and field gear.

"I've seen the images," she said quietly, as she watched the soldiers training. "What happened here is why I'm doing what I'm doing, with her on the McGrath, and me in the empire, to make damn sure this never happens to another world."

Zimehoz beckoned for her to follow. "I know, it is why Lord K'Tirr encouraged me to emigrate here... your guard detail are members of Haganah and Irgun, they are discrete, if you need them to 'look away' they will, but otherwise, they will be very, very, alert to any threats to your person."

She just smiled. "I'm alert to any threats, myself," she chuckled. "I've actually become pretty good with a blade, there's an old master not far away from the household that I've taken up sparring with. Besides, we both know he would have more people watching if he did not think what we have here could handle things." She paused for a second then shook her head, laughing "Geeze I'm even starting to sound like a Klingon now."

They reached a three-story building that had two levels of porching, and a row of doors. Two guards stood at one of the doors. "This is your day-shift visible team, Uziel, and Zarah," Zimehoz said, gesturing to the young soldiers - the girl was small, and unusual for Moab, ash-blonde. The male was of that wiry stock, with the hawk-nosed alertness of an ancestry in the eastern mediterranean. Both bore disruptor rifles and their fatigues were pressed, starched, and parade-ground ready.

Sxhrodi noticed that the female wore a bajoran-style earring - but this was a six-pointed star. The male had a similar star pinned to the collar of his undershirt-just visible at close range.

Zimehoz said something in Hebrew, and the male opened the door with a nod. "You'll pardon - they both speak english, but it is not their first language," Zimehoz told her as he led her into her room. The door closed, and Schrodi caught a scent... the chair turned around, revealing an old man that part of her... recognized. "You took your time, Zimehoz." Ariel said, "Hello, Doctor Schrodinger, and welcome to Moab, though I do wish your visit were under less unpleasant circumstances."

"Thank you," she replied. "I wish it was as well" she said, peering at the old man, her tail twitching a bit. He did look familiar.

"Zimehoz asked for me to provide you with protection, I needed to meet you for myself," Ariel said, somewhat apologetically. "Our resources are spread rather thin these days - much further than anyone anticipated... did you know, Zimehoz, that an Orion Raider party is missing?" the old man smiled a crooked smile, "It would seem that a Pakled transport carrying Federation colonists was hit - but nobody was taken..." and the crooked smile revealed crooked teeth, "Of course, we didn't have anything to do with that - but we have gotten the blame after the ...punishment at Drozana."

She processed that information quickly, her eyes losing focus for a few seconds. "it's her, it has to be," she said. "She needed information, and any Orions out there dumb enough to be raiding are probably tied in with the Matron."

Ariel laid a hand on the table, and left two Isolinear chits. "Our information networks are, of course, still quite strained, perhaps you will enjoy the reading... now, having met you, I must bid you good day." With that, the old man's chair turned, and wheeled for the door.

As soon as the door was closed, she let her tail start moving again. "Whatever happens, we can not get on that man's bad side," she said as she picked up the chits. "And probably should pass this on to the search party."

"THAT would be one of the reasons I was hoping Michelle would be coming down," Zimehoz said. "Ariel rarely makes personal appearances, and I'm... conspicuous."

"Well, she has been looking for someplace where she'd be useful, I'd say I think we found it," she said. "Besides, the climate is kind of similar to her home, she really hated where she was when she first got here."

"They could certainly use more hands," Zimehoz agreed. He gestured to the chits, "We can't transmit those-I will have a courier run them up...unless you can call Michelle down here."

{on the way}

"She's coming down, will be here shortly," she said with a grin. "Though we should have brought a bigger shuttle, with the number they've got going, it will be a tight fit. if you think that we need her here more, that will free up more space."

"It's always good to have friends... especially when the Admiralty is trying to throw you to the Orions." Zimehoz mentioned. "Fitzsimmons."

"Now why am I not surprised? I swear that woman shouldn't be in any fleet, much less an Admiral in one." She sighed. "And I have no clue why she hates me so much either. Sometimes I wish I did."

"I would tend to agree, however, I also know from communications intercepts that she practically ordered Nanoha to throw you under the bus when she assigned her to serve as the Federation judge in the matter," Zimehoz stated. "WHICH is amusing, considering who General K'Ragh tapped for the KDF representative - Colonel Eialu, whom would dearly like to string the Matron up by her thumbs for ruining a rare and precious treasure."

"Hell I'd like to string her up by her neck myself for that. But at least I'll get to see the look on her face when Eailu walks into the room and sits down. The only way it could be more perfect is if D'Moj had gotten the job... but then she'd probably be just as likely to kill her herself."

"Yes, it will be quite amusing... Colonel Eialu's reputation as the Butcher of An Loc will probably draw at least a squeak of protest-but the Matron can blame herself - she insisted on an Orion," he said in an ironic tone.

"Be careful what you wish for. The one good thing about this whole mess? The McGrath was supposed to head back to Earth before long, there's a threat conference on the Borg. I, er, She was supposed to give a briefing, as well as a certain Odyssey captain that I would love to drag his guts across the floor," she said, her tail thrashing a bit. "So if this drags on for bit before it's cleared up, won't have to worry about murder charges," she growled feraly.

"There are many who would like to... explain the facts to that Odyssey captain," Zimehoz said. "I will be available if you need me, but I must return to my regular duties now."

She just nodded. "You know where to find me, I'll keep my nose clean while this is going on."

With Nanoha and the Search Team

Michelle had gotten back up with the info very quickly, and the team had since moved out. It had taken a bit of work, but all eleven of them had managed to fit into the shuttle the Schrodis had come in on, and they were now nearing the attack site as provided in the data.

Nanoha was near the front of the shuttle, clad in the armor she'd had custom made. It was based on the Basic Tier Armor used by MACOs, only colored pure white with mostly blue and black trim, with a bit of red on the chest armor. She entered the cockpit, and looked out at what was apparently the attack site.

"Looks like they're still here" Michelle said as she brought the shuttle in closer. "Probably stripping the Frigate for parts, not that I can blame them under the circumstances. Hopeflly they'll let us board if you ask nicely," she said, deferring back to Nanoha. She was the Starfleet captain on board.

There was a bit of grumbling from the Pakled captain, but after a few moments (and reassurance that despite the Klingon made shuttle, they weren't pirates either), they were allowed to dock.

Seeing the uniform calmed the Captain a bit. "Thank you for checking in on us, but we should be mobile shortly," he said, the human and other species colonists watching warily, clutching the weapons their would-be captors had on their ship.

While she calmed the Captain, Thag found one of the ships consoles, and in a few moments pulled up the security footage. "I think you're gonna want to see this," he said quietly. "It's definitely our girl... daaamn..."

"That... that's not possible," one of the Security Lt's said as he watched the video, wide eyed. "There were a dozen of them, they had her dead to rights - did she just dodge disruptors?!?"

Michelle pulled out a tricorder, and scanned the area where the caitian on the recording dropped the device before things went surreal. "She didn't - I'm reading chroniton radiation here, though. Those were chroniton grenades basicly, they slowed the pirates reactions so that by the time they aimed, she'd already moved out of the line of fire. Like they were moving in slow motion compared to her."

"But..that's not possible either. Yeah you can have chroniton mines and torpedoes, but grenades?"

{Great, now they'll try to do that, now that they know it's possible...}

She just shrugged at the Lt. "She's a quantum physicist, probably something experimental," she said. The monitors showed her heading to the Orion ship next after taking down the boarding party. The deck and walls, well where they weren't half disassembled by the Pakled, still showed dried orange blood here and there. "Please tell me you haven't salvaged their computer core yet?"

They hadn't, it only took a few minutes for Thag to find the relevant files... which he immediately wished he hadn't. Just about every male who could see the screen winced as she questioned the Orion captain...

"That was... rather brutal," Nanoha remarked. "Still, I imagine she likely got what she wanted. Now we just need to know where she went from here."

"After looking at some of these 'interrogation' files," Thag added, "I'd dare say he deserved everything she did to him, and more. And it looks like I may have an idea on where to go next."

"how can you tell?" Heiki asked, the short green girl looking a bit queasy from some of the files.

"Because," Michelle said, pointing at what looked like gibberish written all along the walls of the bridge, "she left us coordinates. Three phase trinary, not many use that notation."

"Try 'almost nobody'," Sobaru remarked. "I know I can't make heads or tails of it."

"She left it for us," Miska said with a low growl. "No one else could read it."

"So where is it then? And what is it?"

"It's about 23 light years from here... and," Michelle ran her finger down one of the walls, reading "Human, age 12. Human, age 31. Human, age 19. Klingon, age 29. Gorn, Age 29. Ferasan, age 13." She looked at the others. "It's an inventory list," she said, looking at the notation going on down the wall. "Partial list, this goes on a ways down this wall, and along the hallway."

"More than likely being held wherever she's going," Nanoha said. "Either she's suicidally trying to rescue them all herself, or is wanting us to help her."

"So what do we do, Captain?" Sobaru asked.

"Even if she didn't ask, we'd help," Nanoha replied, determination in her eyes. "Back to the shuttle. We're going after her, and once we get there I'll show those Orions why even my enemies call me 'Devil'."

"Nyet," Miska shook her head. "Guns blazing will get us and them very dead. We go in smart." The big feline just grinned, her very sharp teeth gleaming in the night. "Is never wise to, how is the saying, 'piss off' scientists."
"It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier."
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 256
# 9
10-11-2013, 11:41 PM
Stage 5: Confessions and acceptance

We go out in the world and take our chances
Fate is just the weight of circumstances
That's the way that lady luck dances
Roll the bones

The planet was probably populated at one time, thousands of years ago. A long lost Orion colony world perhaps, now nothing but a polluted and irradiated cinder, slowly spinning around a fading sun. The ships in orbit, however, were newer, and in much better repair as well. Well better compared to the planet, the few Orion Marauders in orbit looked as if they'd been used as a chew toy by someone fairly recently, work ongoing to repair the damage. "Looks like they're taking their time, it was how many months ago they got chewed up?"

"Several," Michelle replied. "But then, this place doesn't look like they've got any facilities here. Except for maybe that station there."

"What sation, in the rings?"

"No, it is the ring." She increased magnification - it was definitely artificial, with evenly spaced orbital elevators going from the station to the surface. At least at one time, most of it was dark, and there were chunks missing here and there. "Probably hundreds of thousands of years old, if not more."

"An artifact of the ancient orion culture, of immense technological and archaeological importance... and they're using it for a brothel/slave trading station..." Thag sighed as he managed to hack in to the chatter between the ships in the system.

Fortunately the shuttle packed a cloak, unfortunately as of yet there was no sign of Schrodi or her fighter. "Nothing happened to her, did it?" Heiki asked worriedly.

"Nyet, we would know if something that bad did," Miska said as her claws left small grooves in the duraluminum alloy of the shuttle's panels, the feline worrying as well despite her answer"Still, waiting out here increases our probability of detection. The cloak on this old shuttle may not keep us hidden for long..."

"There - There's an opening in the elevator pylon 20 klicks from here, and ..yes, there's power and atmo. but no life signs. And just big enough for us." Michelle brought the shuttle around, coasing in slowly, it almost seemed too good to be true. Fortunately it wasn't "there's a compatible docking collar here. Reading ..of course."

There was one life form, and a Caitian Stalker fighter parked in the opening as well, leaving just enough room for the shuttle.

Mishka went first, mainly because she was closest to the door, she had to be the first one into the lock. The atmosphere was good, if a bit stale... and not smelling too good.

"I was beginning to wonder if I'd have to put a neon sign outside saying, 'Secret sewer entrance'."

"Really? Sewers? Why can they not... what is the word, replicate it into something useful?" Miska said as she carefully stepped over the muck on the deck as the others emerged.

"Because Orions are cheap, and they dump it in the old space elevators. Replicators take power they don't have around here," She jumped down from her perch, still in the black bodysuit she was seen wearing on the security monitors of the Orion frigate.

"Do you have any idea what kind of ruckus you stirred up?" Michelle grumbled as she climbed out of the shuttle, trying to keep from stepping in... something.

"Not has as big as the one I'm going to stir up. Recognize any of those ships out there?"

Thag just nodded. "I think the Nighthawk got a piece of that one Carrier, I think I recognize the scorch marks."

"I think we might have taken a piece out of some of them as well," Nanoha remarked as she looked back out at the ships.

"If you're leaving scorch marks, you need a bigger gun!" Heiki chirped as she climbed out as well, balancing on one of the shuttles nacelles. "good to see ya bosscat!"

"Good to see you, too, shortstuff. I see someone kept you from bringing your usual toybox" she chuckled. "which is good, hard to rescue slaves if they're on fire."

"But...the Orions can't touch them if they're on fire..."

"She's kidding, isn't she?" one of the Wolfram security people asked Thag

"Sadly, no."

"So, we're going to be rescuing slaves, huh?" Nanoha asked. "Sounds good to me. Do you have a plan? And, just because I'm curious, why did you run off like that?"

Her ears folded back a bit. "When I went to the lab to think, I did some checking. Both the Empire and the Federation tolerate Orion slavery, when it's only Orions. Whenever they start grabbing from either side, those responsible get smacked down pretty quick. Yet they showed zero hesitation in pulling Miller and Sovrok in as well."

"Which means, despite the Matron's protests to the contrary, this faction is still happily collaring everyone they can."

"Exactly. It took a bit of sensor work and checking records, there have been a lot of small merchie's lost out here of late, on both sides."

"So. you just jumped and ran to follow a hunch," Mishka's tail twitched angrily, "without telling us-Боже мой! She is sitting in the dock in your place, with that зеленый сука wanting to have her beheaded over what you did!"

Schrodi's head was hanging down. "I know I ****ed up... I was still in panic mode when I figured out what was going on. It wasn't until I was on the frigate and snapped out of it that I realized what happened... thats when I left the notes, and triggered the transponder."

"Which Ariel's network intercepted, and passed on to me," Michelle nodded. "Still, you could have contacted us, we're a bit faster than subspace, you know..."

"I... I wasn't sure after how bad I messed things up this time that you'd want me back..."

Miska just sighed and shook her head. "нет. You are family. We fixed the universes from colliding. We rescued you and many others from worlds where our knowledge would have been used to oppress the people. and you destroyed the Gate. M'chelle was affected by that Orion *****'s smell."

"Wait, I thought she kept going?" Heiki said with a blush, remembering Eiral ordering her to shoot Mary in the back...which she did. Stunned only but still...

"No. She was enthralled as well, but there was more than one of us there with her in her head, and we all knew what to do. So I, uhm, pushed her out of the driver seat so to speak and kept going."

"And saved the Galaxy." She blushed at that as Thag continued, "well it's true, Mary was down, we were drooling following her greenness's every command. And you told her off, flipped the switch, flipped her off then beamed us all out of there. So I'm sure you've got a most cunning plan to rescue the slaves from under their green noses, and bring em all home. So what do you need us to do, Cap'n?"

She raised her head and took a deep breath, Squaring her shoulders, she pulled out a padd with what she'd learned of the situation so far. "The slaves are held here on the Carrier/Brothel. Its engines are currently down, seems someone shot a hole through them a few months back... no idea who could have done something like that. Anyway! Here's what we're gonna have to do..."

Bridge, OWS Lovely Angel

Things were going bad again, he could feel it. First the Matron had agreed to lend some of her ships to Eiral Masaana... only a few had returned from that fiasco. Then she'd gotten caught replacing her stock with Federation slaves. With their current mood, he'd have thought she'd just accept the scratches from the captain who lost her crew as getting off easy. Now however... the Klingons were involved too. They had already suffered greatly at the hands of those... barbarians, and now this.

Narev sighed. Still, he could not, would not abandon her. She was his owner, it was the way of things, how things everywhere should be. But he still had questions.

"Uhm... Sir?"

The fear in the science slave's voice caught his attention. "Yes, what is it?"

"I'm picking up two, no three, now five... Sir, multiple warp signatures at the edge of the system."

"What? Show me." He stalked over to the sensors position, looking at the scanner. Federation ships, damnit. She had stuck her hand in the hive after the last drop of honey, now we were going to be stung. "I'm counting six warships, ranging from Nova class up to a Sovereign, make that two Sovereigns..."

"What are they doing?" he asked, bringing what could laughably be called a 'fleet' to alert.

"Nothing at the moment Sir, just waiting."

Jefferies tube, sub level 3, OWS Lovely Angel

"They're buying it, they're going to alert," Thag had the whole side of the tube pulled out, his portable system interfaced with the Orion computers, using information from it's own files to fill in the details. "Just hope they don't get too close and recognize that some of those ships have the same names. Changed their transponder codes, but not enough power to do visual."

"If they follow protocol, it should be enough, though I don't think six ships will cause them to flee.

"No... but I never said I was done..."

Yoann Teena Memorial Hall, Moab III

"Attention! This court of inquiry is now in session, the Truth will come out, the guilty will pay, The Judges are present."

Three hooded figures sat at the end of the table, one in a white hooded robe bearing the Federation's logo and the logo of starfleet, one in a black hooded robe bearing the trefoil of the Klingon Empire, and the third, in brown wool.

"Is the Plaintiff Present?" the center judge asked with a quite, high, feminine voice.

"I am," Matron Reli Katarm said from her (unaccustomedly low) seat at the Plaintiff's table.

"Is the Defendant present as well, as is required under the treaty?" the center judge asked.

"I am present." Schrodi said.

"Very well. This is how things run here..." the judge pulled her hood back, revealing Anh Cu'ong's face. "In this court, a judgement of two votes out of three can convict, or acquit. The Federation has a representative on my left, the Klingon Empire a representative on my right. It is the right of either party to know who sits in judgement here, as under the Armistice agreement that allows this proceeding to occur, rulings determined here are binding to the governments involved. Each side may present witnesses and evidence, questioning and cross-examination will be by members of the three judge panel. This is a court of Fact, similar to the Holocaust courts of twenty-first century earth, legal trickery will not be tolerated, and half-truths will be treated as lies when they are discovered. Do you have any questions before we begin?"

Schrodi frowned and raised her hand. "What about presumption of innocence?" she asked.

"This hearing is to determine what the facts are - the facts are in doubt," Anh stated bluntly. "One can not presume guilt if the facts are in doubt."

The Matron beckoned for attention, "What about punishments?" she demanded.

"Punishment will be meted based on the severity of the facts uncovered." Anh stated, "We are holding this under the 2409 post-independence revision to the Noahide laws, a severe enough factual breach can result in beheading, a mild enough one will result in a small fine. in between scales with the offense, per the original complaint made, should the defendant be found guilty, three cuts to her face and someone screaming at her for several minutes, accompanied by a public beating will probably be enough - it isn't like she killed any of your crew... as we are also tributary to the Empire, any ruling made here may be challenged in trial by combat-especially as the initial complaint included a charge of assault upon the plaintiff's person - be aware, that any trial by combat may not be conducted by champion, but only between the plaintiff and defendant, and the Judicial panel will determine the conditions of victory - which can range from best of three falls, to death, depending on the panel's judgement - which can NOT be appealed regarding those conditions."

Schrodi raised her hand. "I would like to know who sits in judgement, please the court."

The Federation judge pulled her hood back, and Fate Testarossa-Takamachi nodded down to Schrodi.

The Klingon Empire judge pulled her hood back, and Colonel Eialu Masaana nodded to the defendant - and Matron Reli shrieked in outrage. "THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!!! The Butcher of An Loc sitting in judgement! Over ME!!"

Eialu looked at the Matron. "You asked for an Orion judge," she said. "One that understands our customs and culture...who did you expect? D'Moj?? There are only two flag-ranked Orion officers within forty light-years who aren't either under investigation for sedition, or actively being hunted as traitors to the Empire - be happy that I'll at least listen to your grievances - D'Moj would have already asked for a preliminary finding of fault against you for breaching the Armistice accords and begun the process of petitioning Melani Di'an to have your House Stripped for crimes against the Race."

"I will caution the KDF judge that discussions of externalities involving offsite officials are irrelevant," Anh announced. "I will also caution the Plaintiff in that she already exercised her first refusal rights by requesting 'an orion' judge, you asked for this hearing, you made your complaint, you made your demands, you will accept the plate set before you, or you will be found in breach with a summary ruling against you and a fine levied on your house, plus any additional punishments for wasting this court's time that I so determine are appropriate." Anh then smiled, "Which would likely include asset forfeiture equal to the value of MY time, plus equivalent values for the Federation and Empire's time setting this up... and believe me, we are superb accountants, it would break you financially, and every jot would be published in both the Federation, and Klingon Empire... which would break your House's prestige. So, you WILL behave in a dignified manner here."

"We will begin with the Matron Reli, you will present for this court your version of events, you will present any evidence you are ready to present, you will submit to questioning from each of the judges, and to cross examination, then you will present your witnesses. After which, the defendant may offer their own version of events, including rebuttals and any claims of extenuating circumstances. They will be questioned by the court and cross-examined, after which, the Judges will question each of you, and render a verdict appropriate to the finding of fact."

Bridge, OWS Lovely Angel

This was not good. There was a federation fleet on one side of the system, and what looked like Klingon forces coming in on the other side. This was fast turning unprofitable for the syndicate. "I said prep every ship that's mobile, we are leaving. No, we're not taking the stock-there are two very angry looking fleets out there, and there is a good chance that they are here because of the stock." Part of him hated the idea of abandoning them, especially that young blond half human girl, but...his responsibility was to his Matron. Protecting her assets while letting the two forces out there argue over their scraps was his main imperative at the moment. It was too bad the flagship was too badly damaged, however he would not let them get their hands on it, or the stock on board... "Computer. Auto destruct, time delay."

Engineering, OWS Lovely Angel

They were in. The ship seemed deserted at this level, of course from the looks of things they'd just gotten pressure back to these compartments not too long back, the bulkheads still bare metal, the section deserted, work left half finished as if the skilled slaves were called away.

"You do realize. that we're still reading 270 Orion life signs aboard right?"

"Along with six hundred fifty two assorted other species in what used to be the hangar decks," Michelle replied sourly. "You'd think they'd be running for the doors by now."

"It's possible they don't know what's going on, that they're being abandoned, or that there's not room for them." They could hear the alerts, telling the crew to report to transporters and hangar decks.

"And we need to rescue those people, get them onto what craft we can, and get out of here before the Orions either realize they've been had, or simply decide to blow the ship up to prevent others from getting it... if they haven't already," Nanoha remarked.

"Yeah, and we don't have much time," Thag said. "They'll start to wonder before too long why they're not being hailed, or why the ships aren't entering the system. Only hacked into their long range sensors, if they were to come into visual and someone was to so something simple like look out a window..."

Bridge, OWS Lovely Angel

Something felt wrong. Yes there was chatter between the Federation and Klingon task forces...probably arguing over who got credit or who got to attack first...but why aren't they moving? Most of the ships were away, heading out on opposite vectors from the incoming threat, a course that was risky through the asteroid belt in the system, but so far they hadn't lost anything yet...

"Any response to the Hails?" Narev asked. He was waiting until all the Matron's other assets were away before leaving. He was entrusted with their care, he would insure she had the maximum he could save.

"Negative Sir, our 'comrades in arms' aren't responding to us." replied the old science slave at communications. Which was odd as well, most times one could never shut Klingons up...

"Signal the Tamar's Pleasure, have them get a look as they go by - they're also in the best shape, and may even lead a few of them off." He said as he took one last look around the ship. Sighing he headed for the transporter and his own escape.


"That's not a good sign..."

"What isn't? The 'autodestruct' warning, the warp core non-functional, or the Orions asking one of the outbounds to eyeball the 'fleet'?"

"Crap... nuke the coms. Captain, we're going to need to hold this compartment - fortunately Marauder carriers aux control is in engineering. WE can lock them out and control from here..."

"Control to where? The engines are down, we're severely outnumbered, the core's still on autodestruct, and if we're lucky they won't turn around and all come back once they realize they've been had."

Michelle and Schrodi looked at each other. "No way. It's in a shuttle, it's not rated for a hull this big!

"Well, we could cross feed the intermix, which would bring the warp up,but it would have to be handled manually."

"You mean manual, from the console here?" Heiki asked as she started pulling weapons out of her backpack.

"No, as in manually feeding in the antimatter mix into the injectors by hand."

"Th... that's Insane!"

Schrodi grinned. "Yes, it is, isn't it. Thats why it's going to work."

Nanoha drew her Pulsewave Rifle. "We'll hold them off. Just do what you need to."

Transporter room, OWS Lovely Angel

He swore - it was a trick! there was nothing there at all "Call back all ships immediately!"

There was no response from the coms - he watched in frustration as ship after ship went to warp, leaving just his handful and their shuttle. "Well whoever they are, they're not going to get away with this..."
"It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier."

Last edited by knightraider6; 10-12-2013 at 12:25 PM.
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 628
# 10
10-12-2013, 09:00 AM
Still a few problems with non-forum-friendly punctuation - I've corrected all the problems in the Google Drive document, along with a few grammar problems.
Originally KiraYamato before the Account Linking - True Join Date August 2008

"Close Air Support covereth a multitude of sins." - Maxim 4, The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries

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