Captain
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,450
# 81
10-23-2013, 05:26 PM
Yes yes yes! I'm more eager than ever before for your next chapter. You know exactly how to give a reader exactly what interests/excites them the most story-wise without sacrificing any quality.

Well, if you ever decide to submit this to CBS/Paramount and they reject it as a TV series, suggest it to them as a book (or two or three). And then let me know when it'll be in the bookstores offline and online. I want a hardback copy of it. This is Star Trek! This is what the movies and TV series should've been and quite honestly weren't. Maybe they didn't have the budgets, maybe they didn't have good enough writers. Whatever. I'm not overpraising you, Shevet. I'm being dead honest. When someone asks me what is Star Trek, I'll tell them to read your story (and if they're ready for more, Starswordc's story). If only I could write half this well, I'd be ecstatic.

Last edited by philipclayberg; 10-23-2013 at 05:29 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 624
# 82
10-24-2013, 02:36 PM
"Gateway is powering up, sir," Tayaira reported.

Klur stood, a faint smile appearing on his face. He had been in a better mood, Tayaira thought, ever since the signal had come in... the signal, at last, from their unknown backers. Still unknown to her, since the message had been in some private code... but Klur was confident, almost happy, and the mood aboard the ship was lighter because of that. Now, he strode across the bridge to her tactical station, observed the readings on her screen, and nodded approval.

"They will be here soon," he said. "We will hold station here, though, for the present."

"Do you anticipate any... difficulties, sir?" Tayaira asked.

"Difficulties? No. But it may be as well to remind our allies of... certain realities in our relationship."

He could only mean the freighter. Tayaira felt a chill as she considered the freighter. It lay there, silent in space, some four kilometers away.... "Do we continue preparations for loading, sir?"

"For the present. I will decide what is to be done, once our allies and I have conferred." He turned and stalked back to his command chair. "Visual on the gateway."

At this distance, the transwarp gate appeared only as a tiny hexagonal shape; Tayaira moved to step up magnification on the viewer, and then stopped as her readings changed. "Transit complete." The little hexagon on the screen flashed bright for an instant, then dimmed. "Reading... three ships."

"Three?" Klur frowned. "They promised me five.... Well, perhaps they encountered difficulties. Put them on my tactical display. Stand by hailing frequencies."

The view of the gateway vanished, to be replaced by the crisp red schematics of the tactical display. Tayaira watched as the three dots representing the ships separated themselves from the marker for the gateway. For a moment, they were simply dots, and then Tayaira's heart sank as the computer, imperturbably, made its identifications and put them on the screen.

IKS Garaka. USS King Estmere. USS Virtue.

Klur's oath echoed across the bridge. "Those fools!"

"Our allies encountered... more difficulties than they could cope with, then," Tayaira said, with a mouth suddenly dry.

"Fools," Klur spat, again.

"Sir, what are we going to do?"

Outnumbered, three to one, she thought. They could flee at warp speed... and those ships would follow, would track their warp signature to the ends of the universe... and others would come, too, Starfleet forces had to be converging on all the gateways. There was no chance, no hope -

"Wait," said Klur, softly. "Wait...."

His eyes were intent on the screen. She followed his gaze, trying to see what he saw.

"The Orion's ship is at full impulse," Klur said. "Starfleet is following at lesser speed.... There will be a gap. In... perhaps two minutes... perhaps a little more.... Sound red alert! Bring the ship to full impulse, course..." he paused, calculating "... three two seven mark three seven three. Execute!"

"What of the freighter, sir?" Tayaira asked, even as she slammed the commands into her console.

"Forget the freighter! First, we must survive! Send the code to activate the gateway!"

The QIb laH'e' surged forwards, the gonging sound from its drive reaching a deafening pitch. Tayaira saw, now, what Klur hoped to do. Their oblique course would carry them in a curve, around the approaching Garaka, and through the space between her and the Starfleet ships. There was room - just room - for them to pass outside the weapons ranges of both KDF and Starfleet. And if the Starfleet ships were too slow - if they failed to realise the full implications of Klur's maneuver - they could reach the gateway.

She checked the command codes. "Gateway powering. Backup capacitance is not engaged, sir - if we can reach the gate, there will be some time before our pursuers can power it up again."

Klur nodded. "Once we are through, send the command codes for cold shutdown. The Virtue has codes to override that, too, of course - but it will buy us more time." His tone of voice grew reflective. "Time we shall use to reach the gateway to the neutral zone... and that I shall use to compose a message for our allies." He snarled, a deep animal noise in his throat. "In payment for their incompetence, I shall demand nothing less than a seat on the High Council myself!"

Tayaira's eyes widened. "Can they grant that?"

"I think so." Klur laughed. "If our relief force has failed to arrive... then there should be a vacancy to fill!"

More icons appeared on the tactical display. "The enemy carriers have launched fighters," Tayaira said.

"That extends their radius of action," Klur said thoughtfully. "We are likely to come under fire from the fighters, even if we are out of range of the carriers themselves. Ignore it. Our shields can absorb a few hits from fighter weapons." He seemed to be counting down, inside his head. "Time to come about. One eight one mark one four. And give me everything the impulse drive has."

"Garaka is coming about!"

"Yes. She has seen her folly - but too late, my impatient Orion friend, too late." Klur's face was exultant. The QIb laH'e' swung around, her engines throbbing louder still.

An alarm sounded. "Incoming fire," Tayaira said. "Plasma weapons - King Estmere's Scorpion fighters. At extreme range... shields holding."

"Incoming hail on Starfleet frequency," the comms officer reported.

"Ignore it," said Klur. "We have heard all they have to say."

"Picking up antiproton fire from the Garaka's S'kuls," said Tayaira. "Not enough to worry about... shields at ninety-six per cent."

"At full impulse, we will lose them soon enough," said Klur.

"What concerns me," said Tayaira, "is what awaits us on the other side of the gate."

Klur shook his head. "They have committed their full force," he said. "Even at the fastest possible warp speed, no other Starfleet ships could have reached the transwarp nexus yet."

Unless they got lucky, and had ships close by already, Tayaira thought, but she said nothing. Now was not the time to contradict the captain - if there ever was a time for that.

The display changed yet again. "Virtue is turning."

"So I see. Too late." Klur's lips twitched. "I had not expected even that much good sense from the Virtue's commander... that one is unhinged. Time to gateway?"

"Three minutes at current speed and vector. Sir, the Virtue might just make it to weapons range -"

"Stand by to reinforce rear shields if necessary. We do not fight. We go."

"Yes, sir." Tayaira allowed herself to feel a fleeting moment of hope. Was it just possible that they might survive this?

The impacts on the shields stopped; they had outdistanced the fighters. The enemy carriers were turning, but too slowly, now... the more agile Virtue remained the only threat -

"Virtue has stopped! No impulse signature. Coasting on inertia only."

"Battle damage," Klur said. "That ship's emissions profile showed some odd spikes, consistent with damage to her engines... the stress must have overloaded them once again." He smiled in satisfaction. "We are certainly safe now."

"Should we stop and destroy her, sir?"

"Tempting," Klur said; then he shook his head. "Tempting, but no, not now. No delays, take no chances. We cannot risk combat with both those carriers at once. If they come up on us while we are finishing the Virtue - No. Proceed to the gate."

"Yes, sir." The gate, which had been a tiny shape on the screen, now filled it, huge and almost reassuring. "Stepping down from full impulse. Gateway is fully powered and ready for transit. Synchronizing driver coils."

They were there. And the Starfleet ships were too far distant to stop them. They had made it, Tayaira thought. She reached for her console, keyed in the command sequence, engaged it in the instant Klur yelled, "Go!"
Captain
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,450
# 83
10-24-2013, 04:40 PM
Shevet: Either Klur's instincts are right on the money (Klingon Marks, I assume) or he's been outflanked ... if the latter, by whom? I feel like I'm waiting for the next issue of a pulp magazine from the 1930s and 1940s, burning to know what will happen after each cliff-hanger. Don't worry -- I'll keep a fire extinguisher handy and a tarp to jump down onto.

Speaking of which: You're really good at balancing humor and dramatic action, which is something not all authors are good at. (The Harry Potter books, for instance, managed the humor/drama balance quite well in the first three books, but after that it got too dark for me and the humor was fleeting whenever it did manage to pop up.) I confess that I miss the Borg's dryly factual comments, especially on what number each species mentioned is, calculations, etc., and Vice-Admiral Ronnie Grau's (I think she's the one with the Borg as part of her?) not always appreciative reactions to it. I can only hope that those aren't gone for good in the rest of your story.

Qa'pla!

P.S.: Thank you (and Starswordc) for inspiring me to get back to work on my own (so far, nameless) story. First two pages typed up. Not quite sure where it'll go from there, but it's interesting again. Which I guess is what's important. Not sure how to link up any new post to the last one on Sept. 12, though, since it's been over 30 days since then. Any suggestions?

Last edited by philipclayberg; 10-24-2013 at 06:54 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 624
# 84
10-26-2013, 05:28 AM
Ronnie

"Do you think they bought it?" Tylha asks.

"Why not?" I say. "We made it look good, didn't we?" I stand up. I'm feeling restless, I've had enough of the centre seat for the moment, I want to move around. */*endocrine balance unstable---readjust---switch to regenerative mode*/* No thanks, Two of Twelve - like I said to Tylha, sleep is for tortoises.

"I just hope he buys the rest of it," Tylha says. Her face is dour and pessimistic on my repeater screen. Behind her, the weird bridge of the King Estmere looks busy. And weird. Shalo's face, on another screen, is in close-up, so I can't see anything going on behind her. Typical KDF paranoia.

"It doesn't matter about Klur," I say. "We're never going to get any answers from Klur, are we? And you and big-ears gave us the right way to get the answers."

The freighter. Part of the freighter's job is to act as insurance for Klur - proof, if he needs proof, that he was acting on his backer's instructions; a means to drag them down with him if he's caught, so they have to make sure he doesn't get caught. Typical... not just KDF, but specifically Klingon */*species 5008*/* paranoia. */*inefficient---diverts resources to counterproductive ends---share information freely among the collective*/* - yes, and there are worse things than Klingon paranoia.

"Do you have anything on scan?" I ask Shalo. Our little staged "tactical error" put her further out from the gate than the rest of us... assuming Klur came from roughly the direction of the freighter, then she should be first to spot it. Of course, when you assume, you... oh, forget it, Ronnie.

"I have a contact on sensors," Shalo reports. Funny, really. It should feel weird, working with the enemy - but, so often, the KDF isn't the enemy, anyway. It's like war on alternate days of the week. Tuesdays and Thursdays, fight along side them in Orellius, Gamma Orionis and Tau Dewa; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, blow their brains out in Pi Canis and Eta Eridani. It's a funny way to run a war.

"When you think about it," I find myself musing aloud, "the mere fact that we're having this war means the Klinks have won it. They got what they wanted, honourable combat, an outlet for their warrior classes, a way to obey their martial cultural imperative. But, then, I suppose that means the Federation wins, too, because we're letting them do it, respecting their cultural values within the framework of Federation exploration and expansion. So everyone's a winner. Kind of a shame about all the dead people, but hey, at least the cultural principles win out, and that's what matters." I find a quotation to finish on. "The first thing a principle does is kill somebody."

Tylha stares at me, but - unexpectedly - Shalo says, "Curiously enough, I was thinking the same myself only recently." Then her face changes. "I have the freighter. I -" She stops. Her jade-green complexion turns a much lighter shade of jade. "Tayaira told us," she says, "that Klur and Talakh did something on the freighter. And of course -" she swallows audibly "- they would have needed to make sure it did not get away from them."

"What did they do?" Tylha asks.

"From the readings I have here," Shalo says, "they must have overriden the safeties and turned off the internal radiation shielding."

"But that freighter was loaded to the gunwhales with tricobalt," I say.

"It still is," says Shalo. "The radiation levels - The crew must have died quickly, there is that, at least. But after such a death, Gre'thor must seem welcome."

"All right," says Tylha. "Looks like this is my job, then. Back off to a safe distance and I'll take King Estmere in."

"Hold on," I say. "Since when are Andorians immune to radiation?"

"Since we got all the hazardous environment gear out for the relief mission to Bercera IV," says Tylha, "remember? I'll take a shuttle in close, space-walk the rest of the way in my EV suit. Don't worry, it's Nukara-rated."

*/*hazardous environment---recommendation---send disposable drones to secure beachhead---replace with other disposable assets as needed*/*

No thank you, Two of Twelve. That's the bad sign. When you start thinking of people as... disposable assets... that's when you lose your soul.

Oh, really, Ronnie? another voice in my head says. And how many people did you dispose of at Aznetkur? How many empty berths on the Virtue now, how many died on the Ytsay and the Adderbury and the others? Did they matter to you, Ronnie? Did you say a prayer for each one?

I don't like the sound of that other voice. The worst thing is, unlike Two of Twelve, I can't tell it to shut up. Because I have a terrible feeling that it's the real me.

---

Tricobalt radiation isn't visible. It's only my imagination that's making the freighter glow.

It looms over Tylha's shuttle, a gaunt grey row of massive cargo modules, strung together, engines at one distant end, command module here at the other. "All right," Tylha says over the comms link. "Radiation levels within tolerances. Decon gear ready. Depressurizing shuttle and opening cargo doors. And I'm patching through my helmet camera now." Another screen comes alive, showing Tylha's viewpoint.

"Good luck," I say. The side of the freighter looks even more enormous in this view. Then it expands, suddenly, vertiginously, as Tylha cuts in her suit's thrusters.

"Aiming for the starboard side personnel lock," Tylha says.

"You're on target," Shalo answers. She, of course, is the expert in Klingon freighter designs. Or the best we have to hand, at least.

The airlock door is just another slab of grey metal; the picture bobs and wavers as Tylha finds the external control panel. "Standing by with security code overrides," Shalo says.

"No need." Tylha's voice. "No security lockdown. Klur must have reckoned the radiation was enough of a 'keep out' sign. Opening the lock."

Inside, the personnel lock is large enough to house a regiment. Tylha moves through it with what seems to me a nightmarish carefulness, scanning and checking as she goes. Well, of course, she's the one risking her blue hide in there....

"Cycling lock," she says, finally. I think I hear the air hissing into the chamber - but, of course, that's my imagination again. "Radiation levels... within my suit's tolerances. Nothing on volatiles scan."

"Tricobalt isn't volatile," I say.

"Tricobalt wasn't all they used at Bercera," says Tylha, and I decide to shut up.

The inner airlock door opens, on an interior corridor of blocky metal and exposed pipes and dim reddish light. There is no one in sight. On a comms panel nearby, an alert light is flashing on and off, constant, repetitive, and futile.

"Bridge is two levels up and four bulkheads forward of your current position," Shalo says.

"I don't want the bridge, first," says Tylha. "For what we're looking for, the place to be is the quartermaster's or the supercargo's office."

"I'm not sure I follow," says Shalo. I'm not sure I follow, either, but I'm damned if I'm admitting it.

"Records," says Tylha. "Records of loading, handling, transshipment.... With the sort of stuff they're using, here, you have to know everything about it. Not just what it is - when it was made, how it was made, how it's been handled since. You have to have all the details, or it just isn't safe to touch it. This ship has got to have all the records we need, and they don't dare edit them. That is all the proof you need to take to the High Council - and that I need to take to the Federation."

"I see," says Shalo. "In which case... supercargo office is ahead some fifty meters, one level down, one bulkhead aft."

The view changes as Tylha plods forward. She reaches a door, opens it, goes through and turns... and there is a dark shape lying on the deck before her. The first body. There will be others, probably many others.

"Klingon," Tylha says. "Looks like standard issue uniform... there's some insignia here, I don't recognize it."

"House badge," says Shalo. "House of T'llan.... It may mean nothing, of course."

"Might confirm with biometric ID," says Tylha. The view changes again, as she bends closer to the shrivelled face. "Might not be easy... I'll take a scan." By now, the radiation will have unravelled all that poor devil's DNA, leaving only gross physical characteristics - height, body mass, length of bone - for checking. Inconclusive, yes. Anyone could put a House badge on....

Tylha continues on, down the passageway, clambering down a ladder rather than taking any risks with a turbolift. Once more, she comes to a doorway; once more, she opens it. Beyond is a small, sparse office, with a single Klingon seated behind a desk. Tylha takes one look at his face and turns the camera away.

"Terminal here," she says. "Going to need some override codes now...."

"Downloading to your tricorder," says Shalo.

"Get ready for a data uplink, too," says Tylha. "If I can, I'll capture all this stuff and transfer it for analysis." Red-orange tlhIngan Hol characters glow on a display screen before her; I see her gloved hands at the edge of the frame, tapping in commands with infinite care.

Do your stuff, I say inside my head to Two of Twelve.

*/*working---
prepared for visual data capture---
translation routines online---
datarecord parsing and analysis routines on standby---*/*


And nothing more to do but wait, as Tylha finishes the laborious process of accessing the records - and they scroll up the screen, to be captured instantly by the pitiless implant that covers my left eye - and Two of Twelve reads them, and digests them, and serves up their meaning to me -

I tell the others. Shalo has already had time to gather some of it, to confirm it.

"So," she says, "now, we know."
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 624
# 85
10-26-2013, 05:30 AM
I figure there are five more scenes to go, btw.
Captain
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,450
# 86
10-26-2013, 07:52 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by shevet View Post
I figure there are five more scenes to go, btw.
I wish you hadn't said that. Especially after this chapter (your best yet). Couldn't you just stretch it out some more without hurting the quality? I guess not. Will there be a sequel or another non-sequel story from you? Because this group of characters is great to read about.

Btw, thank you for bringing back Two of Twelve's commentary, both the (for a Borg, unintentionally) humorous and the (intentionally) serious. The humorous parts really made me laugh, which I needed this morning.

Also btw, Amazon has a pay-per-printing setup that you could look into for selling copies of your story (which I would buy in a heartbeat, if it's affordable).
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 624
# 87
10-27-2013, 04:09 AM
The Powers That Be would come down like a ton of bricks on anything that smacked of unauthorized commercial exploitation of the Star Trek intellectual property. (And, let's face it, quite right too, really.) Fan ficcing on a message board, they might wink at, but printing it out and selling it would cross a line!

As regards the ending.... I'd feel a bit presumptuous, offering writing advice, but I have heard some good advice in my time, and there's no harm passing it on. One piece of advice I've taken to heart is know where your story is going. If you're writing with an end in view, you know what decisions you have to make, what twists the plot can take, how the characters have to develop, in order to get to that end. It brings the whole process into a sharper focus.

I don't start a story without a clear view of how it will end. A story has to end, sometime - if it just goes on and on, petering out when writers or readers lose interest in it, it's not a proper story. (In my opinion.) The final scenes are already clear in my mind... though, as a matter of personal discipline, I haven't actually written them yet. I write in order, starting at the beginning and going on until I reach the end. It's not everyone's way of working, but it's best for me - if I wrote out of order, I'd just end up doing all the fun scenes first, and then writing the rest of it would be a chore, and it'd probably never get finished. A better writer, or a better person, might find all the scenes to be fun scenes, but I'm no better than I ought to be.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 624
# 88
10-27-2013, 04:11 AM
The atmosphere aboard the QIb laH'e' was one of gloom and despair. Tayaira paced endlessly around the bridge, pausing once in a while to look at the two things no one else dared look at: the viewscreen, and the empty command chair.

A trap. Nothing but a trap. Artfully planned, with one end in view; to get them away from the freighter. By now, Starfleet and the Garaka had to have found it. And the QIb laH'e' was stuck, here... with only one way out, and that blocked by the three enemy ships.

Oh, they could flee at warp speed... and, as before, it would gain them nothing. The transwarp nexus was in clear space, their warp signature would stand out like a neon sign - no way to hide it, even if they did not blunder straight into an approaching Starfleet task force.

And no suggestions from the Captain, and that hurt morale worst of all. He had stormed, raging, off the bridge, once they had emerged from the gateway and seen -

Tayaira looked up at the screen. It made perfect sense in Starfleet terms, she thought. Machines, objects, were cheap, too cheap to be reckoned in the Federation's post-industrial economy. So destroying the transwarp gates was a perfectly logical step to take. She could see, in one corner of the viewer, the regular gleam as one broken section rotated, slowly, the light of the nearest star glinting off it as it turned.

Within hours, she thought, she herself would be wreckage revolving lifelessly in space. Or, perhaps, consigned to some Federation prison camp, to emerge in a few decades as some "rehabilitated" shadow of her former self. No other alternative, no way out. She knew it. So did everyone on the ship. The sense of defeat was overwhelming, palpable.

She resumed her pacing, stopped at her tactical console. It mocks me, she thought. Status displays still showed for the gateway network, registering all the gates at zero power. Well, of course they are, if they are destroyed, she thought.

It took another circuit of the bridge before she stopped, again, at the console, and frowned.

The twelve gates all registered the same. But eleven of them were different, surely? They were destroyed, their control circuits inoperable... how could they transmit a status code, even? All right, perhaps the control circuits remained sufficiently intact, even though the gates themselves were destroyed... but for all of them? Not one of the control computers was sufficiently badly damaged that it did not register?

She shook her head. Federation deception, perhaps? Had they rigged the gateways to register as intact, even after their destruction? It seemed likely -

Tayaira caught her breath. Or the Feds might have tried some other sort of deception -

She strode to the main science console. "Scan," she ordered.

The science officer was some junior whose name she didn't know. He stared up at her with sullen eyes. "What's the use?" he said.

"I gave you an order!" Tayaira snarled. "I want scans of that debris!"

For a moment, she thought he would still disobey; something in her face, though, must have convinced him that she would kill him if he did. He turned to the console, slow and resentful. "Setting up scan. What are we looking for?"

"If I knew that, I wouldn't need you. Commence full sensor sweep. Slow and careful."

"Working." She watched over his shoulder, reading the displays. "Fragments. Metals, high durability alloys... ceramic fragments, too, looks like ablative armour from a warship hull...."

Tayaira's eyes narrowed. "Where are the high-density exotics?"

"Sir?"

"From the warp coils of the gateways! There should be hundreds of tonnes of exotic alloys out there!"

The science officer adjusted something on the console. "There are," he said. "I'm reading... twelve large concentrations. It's heavy material, it can't have drifted far from the sites of the destroyed gateways...."

Tayaira swore sulphurously. "Destroyed, hell!" She stabbed her finger down on the displays. "Everything here is consistent with destroyed ships -"

"Yes," said the science officer, "they fought off our backup here, destroyed them... blew the gates, and came after us. We know that."

"They faked us out once. Why couldn't they do it again? Scan for holo-emitter signatures!"

"You think -"

"The gates register as functional on the command network. Our eyes tell us they're gone. One of the two has to be wrong. Why not our eyes?"

The science officer's eyes came alive with sudden hope. "On it," he said.

"Keep at it. I'm going to get the captain," said Tayaira grimly.

She raced off the bridge, down the corridors, into the labyrinth that was the Kar'fi carrier. She passed a number of Klingons, some of them apparently wandering, aimless, under the influence of drink or worse... that was a bad sign. But there was no time now to discipline them. She reached the captain's quarters, hammered on the door.

There was nothing but an incoherent sound from the other side. Tayaira swore again, opened the emergency panel by the side of the door, and cranked the manual override. A few furious turns of the wheel, and the door was open wide enough for her to edge through.

Klur was sitting on his bed, his face lit only by the flame from his souvenir trinket. He turned towards her and spoke, blearily, "'s you."

Drunk, again. Tayaira looked about. There was a bottle, somewhere - round red pills, she had seen him use it before -

"All gone," Klur mumbled. "Did everything they said to, an' it didn' work. Did that T'Jeg his favour -" he hissed the word. "Talakh, Kysang, they had to die clean. No questions. Bad for me too, he said, if there were questions. An' the others, they made sense. Step it up, the war, I mean. Proper victories, real victories, do enough damage to the Feds, Feds 'll run. Made sense. Only, didn' work. We ran, instead. That's wrong. Doesn' that seem wrong to you?"

A bottle of round red pills. Tayaira's hand closed over it gratefully. She shook out two of them, held them out to Klur. "Take these, sir."

"Don' wanna," Klur slurred.

"Sir. Take them."

Klur struck out, a petulant, childish gesture, knocking the pills out of Tayaira's hand. She took a deep breath. Then she slapped Klur across the face, as hard as she could.

The captain subsided onto the bed, his face a mask of astonishment and affront.

"Sir." Tayaira put as much command as she could into her voice. "I serve the captain, but I speak for the crew, and your crew needs you now." She shook another two pills out of the bottle. "Take them."

Staring at her as if hypnotized, Klur reached up, took the pills from her hand, and swallowed them. Tayaira kept her eyes on him, watched him wince as the alcohol antagonist began to work, as his eyes and his expression began to clear.

"Waste of good bloodwine," Klur said in a rasping voice.

"The Feds faked the destruction of the gateways," Tayaira said.

"What?"

"The only real wreckage is from the relief force. I have science, now, trying to pinpoint the holo-emitters -"

Klur sprang up. "Are you sure about this?"

"I -" Tayaira swallowed hard. "I believe so, sir."

"If you're wrong," Klur said, "I will kill you three times over before I die."

"If I'm wrong, sir," said Tayaira, "I'll welcome that."

Klur strode to the door, reactivated the mechanism, and was through it at a run. Tayaira followed.

On the bridge, the science officer was alternately whooping with laughter and working feverishly at his console. "I have them, sir!" he shouted as Klur charged towards him. "I have them! She was right!"

"Show me," Klur demanded.

"Emitter signatures - here, here, here -" the science officer pointed. "Every gateway has them! I've been working it out, we can channel a tetryon pulse through the main deflector and burn them out with a single energy spike -"

"Do it," Klur said.

He stalked to his command chair. Tayaira watched as the science officer's hands flew over his console, programming the sequences. "Ready, sir!" he shouted. "Energizing now!"

A deep muttering grumble came from power sources in the bowels of the QIb laH'e', and the screen cleared. Like magic, Tayaira thought. The drifting debris faded from sight, the gateways reappeared, intact, pristine.

"It's like coming back to life," she whispered, inaudible in all the joyful shouting on the bridge.

"We're not home yet," said Klur. "Bring the ship to alert status! And power up the homeward gateway!"

Tayaira turned to her console, to enter the commands, and stopped. The status display still showed the power levels for all twelve gates. Eleven were powered down, cold, inert.

One was at maximum power already. Ready for transit.
Captain
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,450
# 89
10-27-2013, 08:18 AM
Shevet: Hmm. I'm curious to see how Klur and crew get out of this (if they do) through that one powered-up gateway. Because Klur doesn't just have the Federation after him, he has the Klingon High Council as well. Whoever is backing him had better have enough firepower and clout to keep the overall plan from falling apart. A cornered rat is one thing, a cornered rat that knows it can't fight its way to freedom might act like a Klingon who believes that death (even kamikaze-style) is the only solution. Hopefully Klur is smarter/wiser than that.

Copyright-wise, I can understand. But that's why I suggested submitting to the copyright-holder, in this case CBS Studios. Your story isn't just some fan fic written by a teenager with little or no story-writing experience. Your story quality is far better than that. At worst, CBS Studios will reject it and then I guess it'll have to just stay a fan fic. But what if ... what if they actually accept it ... and what if they not only accept it but pay you for it ... and what they want more from you? Isn't it worth risking that rejection? */*probability of rejection is high, but definitive result unknown unless attempt is made*/* (as Two of Twelve might say)

Story-structure-wise, you think like my late father did when he was composing music. He always had a goal in mind, what he needed to accomplish as a whole. I'm an improviser. I make it up as I go, and try to fix the earlier structural problems once I figure out what their solution is. Sometimes I get lucky and I think of a temporary goal to aim for (such as right now in Chapter 20, where the main character fell through a gateway or wormhole inside an artificial satellite in 2409 and ends up inside a Federation starship in 2152; when I started working on Chapter 21, I didn't know why Chapter 20 happened the way it did until I did some research three days ago on the year 2152 at Memory Alpha's website, and saw a possible reason; of course, this happened after 4 1/2 weeks of brainstorming and several failed attempts). I've learned the hard way with my own creativity that if I know where I'm going to end up too early on I get bored and give up. Outlining stories is even worse; that's killed off more of my ideas than I care to count. I want to be surprised. I want to be interested. I want to stumble onto something at about the same time the reader(s) will. Maybe it's alot harder this way, but it seems to be the only way it works for me right now. Kind of like a rat in a maze, trying to figure it out as it goes. Maybe I should use a "cheese" reward to get me more story-goal-oriented.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 624
# 90
10-28-2013, 03:19 PM
Tylha

"Launching Alpha," says Anthi. "Launching Bravo."

I check. Everything is in place; our three ships have come through the gateway... towing the fourth... and our quarry, finally, is right there.

"Switch tractor beams to repulsor, then disengage," I order. Giving the dead freighter a shove away from the battle zone seems the safest bet. Though we've already transmitted our findings, it's still best not to give Klur a chance to destroy the physical evidence.

If that's what's in his mind. The QIb laH'e' is turning, S'kul fighters spilling from its launch bays - just as Shalo's fighters are streaking out from hers, and my Scorpions from the King Estmere.

"Sir -" Kluthli says.

"You don't have to watch this," I say to her. "Stand down."

"I - yes, sir." And she leaves the bridge at a run.

"Launching Charlie. Launching Delta," Anthi reports. Two more flights of Scorpions out there. "Three kilometres to engagement range." Not even a chance, now, for Klur to flee. Power is building up on the gateway to Klingon space, but too slowly, and he will have no time to reach it in any case.

"Try and open a channel," I say to F'hon.

"Already trying, skipper. But he's not responding."

What do I want him to say, in any case? I wonder. Surrender? He won't do that. Bluster, explanations, some attempt at justification? He can't do that. Then why do I want to speak to him? Some atavistic urge, perhaps, to look into my enemy's eyes, as I destroy him? Perhaps it's better this way... that we say what must be said with the fury of energy beams and torpedoes, not with words.

"S'kuls coming for us. Our fighters moving to intercept," Anthi reports.

"Shalo?"

"Her fighters are moving in to cover us. Virtue is heading for the QIb laH'e'." Ronnie can't guarantee her IFF system will distinguish quickly enough between Klur's S'kul fighters and Shalo's... so the Chimera's firepower will be targeted at the mother ship, instead. Both the Virtue and the Garaka are surging forward to engagement range now....

"Incoming fire! Antiprotons, and - tricobalt device!"

Tricobalt. Of course, that would be Klur's choice. "Try and kill that thing before it hits!" I order. "And if we can't - brace for impact!"

The fast-moving spot of light expands on my screen, disruptor fire crackling around it, but failing to reach it -

King Estmere rocks, and damage messages flash on my console.

"Forward shield down to thirty per cent," Anthi reports. "Minor impact damage, forward sections. Rotating shield frequencies and reinforcing forward shield."

Klur has picked us as his priority target. It makes sense; King Estmere is the strongest individual ship in our little group, and there's a lot to be said for taking out the toughest opposition first. But, while Klur sends antiproton bolts and tricobalt missiles at us, our disruptor cannons and plasma torpedoes are firing back at him - and my torpedo officers can send four or five balls of plasma out for each tricobalt warhead he can throw. And that's not counting the firepower of my two consorts, here -

On the viewer, the QIb laH'e' is haloed in multicoloured light, green from my and Shalo's disruptors, orange from Ronnie's phasers, the eldritch violet nimbus of a Hargh'peng torpedo, flashes of red as Shalo's S'kuls join the fray... Klur's first wave of fighters has been overwhelmed already; will he get a chance to launch another?

"Tricobalt warhead inbound!"

This time, a fighter from Delta flight wheels round, picks the device off two kilometers away from our forward screen. The antiproton barrage from the QIb laH'e' is not lessening, though, and that shield is weakening.

"Sir, should we come about and use the plasma hyperflux?" Anthi asks.

Tempting. But my disruptor cannons are the most powerful weapons I have, and I will keep them bearing on Klur as long as I can. "Wait. Keep hitting him. He can't keep this up too long."

"I'm not so sure we can," Anthi mutters. "QIb laH'e' launching fresh fighters."

My Scorpions spin around, sending plasma fire scorching into the new targets. Another salvo of torpedoes shrieks out of my launchers. There is no subtlety to this fight, no clever tactics - just a single immense slugging match, my ship and Klur's pounding at each other with all their titanic weaponry.

"Tricobalt warhead -"

Anthi doesn't have time to finish the warning before King Estmere's deck bucks beneath us; lights flicker, and there is a burst of sparks from some console on the bridge. "Forward shield down to eight per cent!" Anthi yells. "Sir, we can't take another hit like that."

I spit. "Come about," I order, "ready the hyperflux -"

"She's going!" a voice cries - I don't know whose.

It happens suddenly. On the screen, the QIb laH'e' is surrounded by coloured light - and then a white light glows inside her, shining through the roundels and the strange runic markings on that blackened hull, then tearing and burning that hull apart, shattering it into a myriad glowing fragments as the warp core breaches.

The QIb laH'e' burns and bursts asunder, and slowly fades, Klur and his ship and all his villainies turned to ashes and dust, to drift forever between the stars.
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