Ensign
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 13
# 11
10-04-2013, 03:57 AM
Personal Log of Gul Rokar Rain, U.S.S. Cardassia Prime
Stardate 91363.18

My First Kar'ukan Amara'Atar has been thrown in the brig that Jem'Hadar was with me my trusted ally bodyguard, first officer and my friend since the last battle of DS9 since the day i found him as baby i was taking care of him until he was fully grown and assume his current post. I cant imagine that he of all people has betray me, my ship and my crew. What happened is simply belong my imagination.

Captain's Log
Stardate 91363.18

Its day 3 since we wonder the D'Kel Nebula flying to the omega Leonis Sector on inertia warpcore is still off line impulse engines work on minimum power we are on practically a collision course into Klingon Space and since we arnt battle ready we are easy prey even for an old Bird of Prey. All this is due to what seems a malfunction in the dilithium matrix surveillance has reveal it was sabotage from no other then my First. K'haka and K'Gamong work day and night to fix everything but the dmg is too great i fear for the lives of my ppl we are behind enemy lines and cant contact the federation or the GPS for help. Today i went to the Brig i wanted explanation but get none he dont even speak with me or any other he just stare at us like his in some kind of trans. Zyal want to trow him out the airlock she is overzealous as always. I will send a encrypted copy of my last logs coz i am not sure if we gona survive this endeavor. I will go down to the bring for another session tension in the crew become intense they never trusted a Jem'Hardar even when he was commanding officer and now this is escalating quickly.

Captain's Log, Supplemental

I am in shock my last talk with Kar'ukan trow me off my ballance he is an Undine infiltrator. My friend is gone probably killed but i will find the truth i will take my revenge over those Undine scum.

Brig Log Recording 35284

"Why did you do it why did you betray me talk to me damn it you are the only one who i fell as a friend i saved you i protected you when they wanted to crack you open to learn about the Jem'Hadar Just tell me why my friend?"

"Foolish bipedal you dont understand do you the Hour of Darkness and Air is inevitable you cant escape this galaxy will belong to them once more you all well ne slaves and my people will finally be left alone. Your pet is long gone you wont fix those problems i planted we all gona die here in Klingon space and since they discover you a full scale open warfare will erupt. You gona be weak and defenseless the other allys of the Demons will make sure of it. I wont talk to you anymore i must prepare for the beyond now begone bipedal"

Captain's Log Supplemental

We have been infiltrated my friend is alive i must find him and save him and must defend my crew at all costs.

U.S.S. Cardassia Prime

"Jolan tru, from the Mirror Universe"
Commander
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 407
# 12
10-05-2013, 05:54 PM
Commander's Record

Stardate 90141.25

The Nor'Vesa remains on course for Mol'Dirsan, though the loss of our warp drive has made it all but certain we will arrive long after the renegade Borg vessel we have identified as Cube One. While Mol'Dirsan is not part of the Republic, I do not relish the fate of the Romulans there should what I feel is certain comes to pass. Would that I had confidence the Tal'Shiar will be equal to the task, but I fear they have more important locations to their priorities to protect that an outer rim trade world.

Repairs to the warp drive systems are being complicated by the nature of the failure, and efforts to find all of the damaged equipment is ongoing. Master Engineer Xa'Jev informs me that the cascade shutdown of the injectors affected both nacelles, doubling the work we would otherwise have. Nonetheless, the investigation has already forced me to take action I thought I would never have to do...



___



Commander Rycho stood staring at the man behind the security field of the sole holding room of the Nor'Vesa's Brig. The other returned the gaze with a steady look of disciplined contempt Rycho had become familiar with on Romulans outside the Republic, even though the prisoner remained at a parade-perfect rest stance.

Starting to pace, Rycho began "I'm certain that you are aware your sabotage was detected before it could result in a catastrophic drop into sublight. I have enough evidence from the security sensors you failed to shut down to satisfy anyone at High Command as to your guilt, if I didn't also have two Engineers recovering in Sick Bay to testify as well. The only reason I have not had you shot on the spot is that I want to know why."

When the man did nothing but watch him walk around the small compartment set aside for holding prisoners the Federation never thought would be aboard in the first place, Rycho looked to the lone guard sitting at the security station and gave a simple hand gesture. The lighting in the cell increased to the point the commander could see the man inside without shadows concealing what reactions might be visible. That this also caused the prisoner discomfort was not a concern at the moment.



Stopping directly in front of the holding field, he let his voice harden. "Why did you attempt to destroy this ship, Centurion L'voss?"

The senior Legionnaire cocked his head slightly to one side. "I would have thought that obvious. Any true rihannsu would have known immediately, but I am not surprised you do not. Your kind has always been slow to our ways."

When Rycho was now the one who failed to react, L'voss continued "A new Empire is arising, one that will return our people to their rightful place of glory among the stars. The old Empire will be swept aside as has always been the way, and the pathetic Tal'shiar will live only long enough to see their successors raise the flag of the Praetor once again over a new Capitol.

"The Fleet will lead the way and pave the new road to the stars with their deeds. All will know our strength. Our enemies will learn to once again look to their shadows, never knowing if our dagger is at their backs or their front, and our people will understand the destiny that has been too long denied them by the decadent Senate. We will once again have unity of purpose, and our standards will be set firmly in what we rightfully claim as our own."

The Legionnaire looked Rycho up and down as though the Commander were some loathsome animal "The very idea of a solterrani among those leading our people to this destiny turns my stomach, and is just one more proof of how far we have fallen. The only consolation is that you were denied command of a proper warbird. At least the High Command had the sense to put you where you belong....on an Earther ship."



Commander Rycho shook his head. "You planned to destroy this ship, merely to kill me? That does not make sense. You could have simply shot me in the corridors and not endangered the rest of the crew."

"Rest assured that my motives were not merely to eliminate you. This entire ship is a mockery against our people, and those aboard it have already surrendered their honor if they would not welcome perishing to remove it from the Lists." L'voss lifted his chin in an arrogant gesture of disrespect "If you had simply had the decency to die at Quanuyr, this would all have been avoided, and I could have performed my duty as I always have. I would have even died gladly for the Republic, if it would have been on any other ship. But no....you had to bring my Legionnaires and I to this, an enemy ship given to us like some scrap to a pet."

Looking sharply at L'voss, Rycho said. "You claim you would have gladly sacrified yourself on any other ship, yet this is exactly what you were attempting here, yes? If you were unwilling to die aboard it...." the commander's eyes narrowed "...what was it that would allow you to do so now?"

L'voss did not reply, standing with the easy discipline of decades of military service. Rycho felt the temptation to order the field lowered so he could wrap his hands about the man's neck, but quickly tamped down on it. Instead, he thought about all he had read of the Centurion's record, trying to piece together this puzzle.



One entry rose to his memories. It was a simple log of L'voss' last visit to Mol'Rihan, one that mentioned his meeting with several other Legion commanders in a secluded part of the planet. It was recorded that this was a retreat established for spiritual communion with the Five for senior soldiers, and L'voss had received a commendation during his visit there. According to the record, it had been a mark of seniority within the membership of that particular retreat, one that was accepted as a military citation within the structure of the Legions.

Glancing back to L'voss, Rycho recalled several other names had been attached to that citation, most notably the officer who had awarded it to the Centurion.




Pinning the man with his eyes, Rycho said "Did Admiral Zunvoc have a hand in your decision to destroy this ship?"

L'voss did not alter his expression, but a slight change in his stance told the commander that he had hit some vital fact. However, before he could push further, L'voss shifted his jaw, and Rycho heard an audible crunching sound.

"Guard!" Rycho ordered sharply as the Centurion's frame shook. "Open the cell! Now!!"

By the time the forcefield was down and Rycho had rushed into the small room, L'voss was on the floor, his body convulsing from the poison that had obviously been hidden from scanners in one of his teeth. An old tradition Rycho had read about, but had thought the routine admittance scans would have picked up when the man had been placed into the brig in the first place.

L'voss' eyes found Rycho's and the dying man actually managed to smile. In a shaking voice, he said "You won't...be able to stop her...now. The honor....will go...to another."

Grasping the Centurion by the arms, Rycho shook him savagely "Who? Tell me who you were taking orders from! That's an order, Centurion!"

But L'voss' eyes had gone blank, and his breathing began to still. In a fading voice, he whispered "My...daughter....will not....die......by....your....."

Then the Centurion gave a violent shudder and, with a final rattling breath, L'voss collapsed limply in Rycho's grip, dead before the commander could do more than begin a curse.


_______________________________________



Stardate 90141.75

Centurion L'voss is dead, and the situation is even more clouded than before. It seems clear he was part of some larger conspiracy within the Flotilla, but I have only supposition and theory at this point. That it seems he was motivated by some form of patriotism for the Romulan people might be a convienient mask intended to be both truthful and a lie...in other words, Romulan in every way. I shall have to work very hard to discover the full extent of this matter as it is, in a very real sense, a matter of the survival of my ship and all aboard her.

The Nor'Vesa has regained warp capability, and we are proceeding on course to Mol'Dirsan. However, the delay has put us beyond any hope of arriving in time to affect the outcome. I have received word that Admiral Zunvoc's task force has arrived ahead of us, and is engaging the Borg presence in the system. Details are fragmentary, as there is a great deal of interference on all subspace channels, most likely the result of the system defense forces attempting to confuse both sides and buy time for the Tal'shiar reinforcements that will never arrive.

I cannot help but wonder, though, at why L'voss would so willingly attempt to stop the only ship that might be motivated in saving the Commander. His daughter. While they never spoke of their relationship and it was not made part of their military records, tracing back to what the ship has on her family before her induction to the Temple bears out the family connection as a very high probability. It would certainly explain why he had joined the Republic at about the same time she had assumed command of the R'uhuv.

And what of the poison capsule in L'voss' tooth? Analysis did show that it had been carefully engineered to pass even detailed scanning, but do I trust that was the reason it was missed? Or did L'voss have help in his sabotage of the ship, help that could be in a position to hide certain scanner results from the official record? Am I intended to think L'voss acted alone, or instead made to look for others on my ship who may not exist? And, what of the Legion aboard? Can I still trust my own troops, given the actions of their leading officer? How much did they know of his plans, or were they kept as ignorant as the rest of us?

All I am left with now are questions. And until I discover the answers to those questions, I will sleep very lightly.

No doubt, this would please L'voss no end.


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

Last edited by danqueller; 10-08-2013 at 03:57 PM.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 154
# 13 A New Reality
10-05-2013, 11:50 PM
"I was born a century too late, I guess."

Commander Chang's voice was barely muffled by the force field separating us, but his words spoke volumes.

I really wish I didn't feel the same way.

He sat forlornly on the single bunk in the small cell. Both hands were wrapped in medical dressings that were barely performing as they were supposed to. The bandages were growing discoloured, meaning that the wounds were draining out more than they should. Plasma burns are never pleasant, but when the patient is allergic to the best analgesics in the Federation, they take on a new level of misery. The lower left side of his face was pale, the new synthetic skin shiny, having an almost wax -like appearance. His eyes were puffy, eyebrows singed away by the plasma.

My God...he must be in agony.

Yet there he sits, stoic as a Vulcan getting a Kohlinar Graduation Certificate.

I knew returning to the ship and resuming command was going to be difficult. The last three months have been...well...challenging.

And there lies the most difficult part...the fact that this kid is in the brig for doing the very thing that allowed me to remain in command.

By all rights, the Bonaventure should have been reassigned to another crew. Starfleet has had enough losses, and each ship is a valuable asset. It should be on the front lines, defending the Federation, not sitting in drydock. Not for three months.

I cleared my throat, shaking my head. "Damn it, Vic. You know better. *I* taught you better! Once they see the logs, how the hell do I explain to the brass that they shouldn't figure out a way to float this ship on the ocean just so they can keelhaul you the old fashioned way?"

He lowered his head, eyes staring at the deck. "Sorry, Captain," he said as he grimaced in pain.

"Sorry you did it, or sorry you got caught? Belay that," I growled at him, "because I don't want the answer." I paced back and forth a few times, trying to decide what to do next.

A slight rumble came through the deck plates, a sign that our shakedown cruise after refit had entered the next evaluation stage. Vic tilted his head to the right, wincing in discomfort. As Chief Engineer, he should be in the Engine Room at this time, not sitting in the brig.

I called out, looking to the overhead out of habit. "Computer, pause audiovisual recordings in this compartment."

A chirp sounded, along with the expected response. "Unable to comply. Audiovisual recordings in this compartment are mandatory whenever cells are occupied."

I bit my lip as I stalked over to the bulkhead. Removing an access panel, I scanned for the junction I was seeking, then placed my body between it and the primary sensors in the brig. I turned around with a flourish, "accidentally" shoving the panel into the junction. Sparks shot out from the wall, and a burnt smell filled the room. I knelt down, reached in, and removed a handful of isolinear chips. So much for the recordings of the last six hours.

I softened my voice, whispering, "Vic, doing the wrong thing for the right reason is still the wrong thing--"

Vic broke in, saying, "As wrong as overriding standard brig protocols, Sir?"

I jabbed my finger towards him. "Don't you *dare* dictate to me about violating protocols! You did more than trash a few chips. You went EVA, strolled over to the RCS, and manually overrode three safety interlocks! Interlocks that were ensuring this ship kept station relative to the Honolulu while in orbit!" I walked up to the entrance to his cell, my voice getting louder with each word. "And with the interlocks offline, you caused a collision that took two needed ships off the front lines for three months!"

"And kept both you and Captain Sotek in rightful command of your ships. Sir."

I ignored his statement. I knew exactly the reason why he did what he did. Both Sotek and I groomed him for advancement after he showed great potential on the Yorktown. He was showing loyalty...and I now had to punish that loyalty.

And I hated that I had to do it.

"Vic...we live in a new reality. Your answer to me earlier...about being born a century too late...is valid. Once upon a time, Starfleet officers used the regs more like guidance material. The legendary James T. Kirk violated so many of them that he wouldn't have made it past year two of the Academy." I reached over to the controls on the bulkhead and lowered the barrier, then walked into the cell and sat down next to him. "A while back there was a hotshot Midshipman very much like Kirk. His name was Locarno. Recognize it?" I asked.

Vic shook his head. "No sir."

"That's because Starfleet realizes that today, too many people are watching. People who demand the best, who demand accountability. People who insist that each and every regulation is followed to the letter. Locarno broke the rules, and another cadet paid with his life. The Commandant felt that there was no other choice but to expell him, irregardless of how great an officer he would have become. A century ago, Locarno's actions, if successful, would have made him as much a legend as Garth, or Decker. Back then, people understood that breaking rules was necessary from time to time to ensure that Starfleet could indeed "Boldly Go." Things are different now."

Vic turned his head, but his eyes remained locked on the deck. "But nobody died. I did it for--"

I gently placed my hand on his shoulder, interrupting him. "You were lucky."

He looked me in the eyes, pleading, "But Captain...I had to make sure you kept your ship."

"She's not yours to give, Vic." I slowly stood up and exited the cell. "Sotek and I are lucky to have our commands...and lucky to have the crews that we do." I reached to the panel and raised the barrier. "I know why you did what you did. But there were other ways to keep ships in the yard...say...a deflector burst caused by Borg Consoles that would fuse transceivers on both ships."

Vic looked confused, asking, "Didn't you say that the doing the wrong thing for the right reason is still wrong? Causing a deflector burst would also be the wrong thing, no?"

I smiled, saying, "You interrupted me. What I was saying is that doing the wrong thing for the right reasons is still the wrong thing...so don't get caught. Helping your shipmates falls into the category of the right thing to do. But those people watching, demanding accountability? Most of them have never worn the uniform, let alone serve on a ship during wartime. They couldn't understand what one would do for their shipmates. But if they see a sensor log showing somebody causing an accident, they'll demand a pound of flesh."

Vic lowered his eyes again, saying, "I think I understand. But what happens to me now? The sensor logs...I...I don't want to get drummed out."

"What happens now? We rendezvous with the Honolulu near Ganymede. Captain Sotek requested our assistance with an odd series of sensor malfunctions caused by a Borg Console. Said something about his deflector dish generating abnormal readings, almost as if it was going to go critical and discharge. If that happens...well...any ship in the area could potentially lose up to a month's sensor logs."

Vic looked up and grinned, saying, "Thank you, Sir!"

I squinted at him, my voice becoming icy. "Don't thank me. You didn't think things through. And *that* is what I'm angry about. Not *what* you did, but rather the way in which you did it. I expect better judgement from my Chief Engineer. So you stay in there until Sotek and I clean up the mess you've made. Doc Irve insists in the official log that you're in the brig to promote healing of your burns, as the sickbay isolation ward was damaged in the collision, so your record stays clean. I feel it's punishment enough to keep a ship's Chief away from his warp core while underway. And if you do something that stupid again...when there are other alternatives available...I will have you transferred to relief efforts on New Romulus. We clear?"

He looked down again, squeaking out, "Crystal, Sir."

I began to walk out of the brig, but paused and turned around. I softened my voice, asking, "Commander, if the XO and I hadn't returned to the ship when we did...what would have you done?"

"Honestly, Sir?"

"Yes."

"I was going to create a cascade failure in life support that would get everyone out of the secondary hull, then have the Rouge Valley fire her forward phasers while docked. Because she was in trail, the resulting damage would cripple the Bussard Collectors on the Honolulu."

I reached up and rubbed my temples, wondering how I'd even approach cleaning up that potential mess. "Commander, I'm going to visit you during your recovery...and we will be discussing the nuances of subtlety. In great detail."

"Aye, Sir."

"Get some rest. And when your hands are healed up enought, repair that junction. I do believe that the replicator circuits took some damage, but it should still provide you with bread and water. Ensure you stay hydrated, as that diet may cause unpleasant side effects." I walked out into the hallway, and the door swooshed shut behind me.

Vic didn't need to know that I learned that last fact the hard way when I was a young, brash Ensign. I had screwed up, and Captain Graffmann not only tossed me in the brig of the Hornet for a week, but made me use Jeffries Tubes instead of turbolifts for an additional three. I still can't stand the sight of Excelsior class ships because of that month.

Captain Graffmann showed that she trusted in my ability to learn from mistakes when she kept me aboard, and I respected her greatly for that.

I hope that Vic will feel the same way towards me...and that he'll trust his crew when he gets his own command.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,389
# 14
10-07-2013, 04:05 PM
THE SHADOWS CAST BY A LAST SALUTE

2269:

Through the grille of his helmet, Captain Rufus Bates watched the red ball spinning towards him, drew back his bat, and swung. With the unmistakable crack of leather on willow, the cricket ball shot away from the captain and across the shuttle bay of the USS Devonshire, as he and Lieutenant Ian Braden began to run between the markings in lieu of stumps.

Near the curved doors, Commander Tarquin Ravillious stooped to pick up the ball, and flung it hard towards Commander Wesley Cooper, who had been bowling. After months of waiting for all the shuttles to be assigned on away duties, everyone had been looking forward to the game.

Stopping by the 'wickets' which had been painted onto the rear wall of the shuttle bay, Bates readied himself for the next bowl, when the intercom whistled on the the wall.

"Bridge to Captain Bates," said the gentle voice of Ensign Paloma Guevara.

With a sigh, Bates tucked his bat under his arm, and walked across the shuttle bay, and knocked the control button with his gloved hand."

"Bates here, go ahead, Ensign," he said.

"Receiving an incoming communique for you from starbase two oh four, Sir," the communications officer reported.

Sighing again, Bates removed his helmet and ran a hand through his dark blonde sweat-soaked hair.

"I'll take it in the conference lounge, Miss Guevara," Bates said. "Tell the Commodore I'll be a few minutes."

"Aye, Captain, bridge out."

"Sorry guys, I'm out," Bates called, before turning and walking through the double doors of the shuttle bay.

***

Activating the tri-view monitor, Bates lowered himself into a swivel chair and leaned against the conference table.

On the screens, the self-assured face of Commodore Hank Lane smiled as he saw Bates.

"Rufus, hope I haven't caught you at a bad time?" he enquired, noting the captain's cricket whites.

"Not at all," Bates replied. "Just blowing off some steam with the crew. What can I do for you?"

"I have a diplomatic mission for you," Lane said. "I assume you received the updates containing Fleet Captain Garth's report of first contact with the Pentaxian Dynasty?"

Bates nodded.

"Yes, Sir. A monarchy-ruled caste-system of people with the strength of a Vulcan, the temper of an Andorian, and acid for blood," he summarised. "If I recall, Pentaxia is located in a binary system in the constellation Orion."

On the screen, the commodore nodded, and over his shoulder, Bates could see the stars from Lane's office window -- the unexplored frontier, in which, rumors said, dwelled a species known as Cardassians.

"I'm glad to see you paid attention to it," Lane said. "The Federation council has been contacted by Emperor N'sH'll'a with a request for an audience with the council on Earth, to continue to build relations between our people. Due to your vacant shuttle bay, command wants you to rendezvous with the Emperor's vessel, and deliver him and his entourage to Earth."

"I'm surprised they haven't given Jim the mission," Bates observed dryly. "After his experience with the Dohlman of Elas, I'd've thought a mission like this would be just his thing."

"The Enterprise is otherwise engaged at present," Lane replied. "But I trust your judgement, Rufus, and I welcome your evaluation of the Emperor and his proposals before you reach the Sol system."

"Aye, Sir," Bates acknowledged formally. "Has Faith received the riding helmet?"

"She has," Lane replied. "And she knows she's lucky to have a godfather who sends her such rare presents."

"I'm glad she likes it," Bates replied nonchalantly, not mentioning the magnitude of the favour he had had to call in from an Andorian officer to acquire the antique cavalry helmet of the Andorian Guard for his goddaughter.

"I have every confidence in you and your crew, Rufus," Lane said. "I'm transmitting the coordinates of the rendezvous to you now. Keep me informed of your progress. Lane out."

With a sigh, Bates leaned back in his chair as the screens dimmed, before reaching out to bounce his fist off the intercom button.

"Bates to bridge: Lay in a course for the Vorlan nebula, warp six. Senior officers: Report to the conference lounge."

***

"Certainly makes a change from rescuing colonists from Klingon raiders," Ravillious observed, once Bates had delivered Lane's briefing.

Beside him, sat Wesley Cooper. While he was officially listed on the crew manifest as the ship's political officer, given that he wore a black uniform tunic, without the six-lobed bloom of the ship's insignia, it was no secret that he was an observer for Starfleet Intelligence. Cooper was tasked with gathering as much first-hand information he could on the species and situations the Devonshire encountered, but he meshed well with the senior officers, and frequently provided insightful tactical advice. Such was their camaraderie and intuitively synchronous operational manner, the crew frequently referred to Bates, Cooper and Ravillious as the three musketeers.

Cooper nodded in response to his friend's observation.

"Not quite a first contact scenario, but certainly an important milestone, this will be the Emperor's first time aboard a Federation vessel. We need to make a good impression."

"Absolutely, I want to make him and his entourage as comfortable as possible," Bates said, before looking toward environmental officer Lieutenant Lynn Morgan. "I'm sure you'll be able to work your usual magic."

"Aye, Sir," she replied. "I've already set the environmental controls to raise the ambient temperature one degree every hour. By the time we reach the rendezvous, we're going to feel like we're in the Sahara, but it should be tolerable to the Emperor, if a little chilly from what he's used to."

"Chilly?" Ravillious exclaimed, mentally calculating the projected temperature increase.

"According to the first contact report, average daytime temperature on Pentaxia is sixty degrees cee," Lynn replied. "It can reach the high seventies at the height of summer. I'm also going to adjust environmental and gravity controls in the diplomatic quarters to mimic the Pentaxian climate more precisely."

"That almost makes Vulcan sound comfortable," Ravillious noted.

"Good work, Lynn," Bates said. "I don't think there's anything else which needs to be addressed, so let's get back to work."

***

"Captain on the bridge!" Ensign Sev announced from the secondary science console as the turbo lift doors hissed open.

Rising from the command chair, Ravillious moved to the weapons and defence console to the immediate left of the view screen.

Stepping down to the command chair, Bates glanced around, pleased to see every console and station was manned. Four to starboard, three to port, plus the navigation and helm consoles directly before him. This was how a starship bridge was supposed to operate, not running on a skeleton crew, which showboaters like Kirk, Decker and Tracy tended to do... Micro-managing egotists who felt the need to be involved with every crewman's task -- even to the point of taking it over themselves in a crisis, regardless of how belittling it was to the officer involved... No, that was no way to command. Bates was happy to give an order, and allow the most competent crew member to carry it out as they were trained to do.

Smoothing the front of his green wraparound tunic, Bates eased into the command chair, rotating it towards the communications station.

"Any contact from the Emperor's ship?" he asked lightly, glad that the bridge had been spared the temperature increase which made the other habitable areas of the ship almost intolerably hot.

"Aye, Sir," Paloma replied, putting a finger to her ear-piece. "They have us on long-range scanners, and anticipate arrival at the nebula within the hour. The Emperor is intending to land in the shuttle bay, rather than travel abreast."

"Transmit a copy of our flight and landing protocols, along with my warmest regards," Bates said.

"Captain, I'm picking up an unusual fluctuation close to the nebula," Ravillious reported, cutting over Paloma's acknowledgement of her orders. "Possibly tachyon emissions."

"What do you think, Quinn? A cloaked vessel?"

"There's considerable interference from the nebula, but that would be my prediction. Should I sound red alert?"

"Not with the Emperor's ship so close," Bates replied. "It could be taken as a sign of hostility towards them. Keep an eye on it, maintain a lock if you can, but keep shields down and weapons cold. Ian, be ready to take evasive manoeuvres at any time."

"Aye, Captain," Braden acknowledged from the helm.

Having made the mistake of breaking up with an Admiral's daughter, upon graduation from the academy, Braden initially found himself assigned to cargo duty aboard Spacedock. While on a routine inspection, Bates had seen him throwing his work bee around like a fighter, and immediately requested he be transferred to the Devonshire as senior helmsman. The young officer was more than capable of getting them out of a difficult situation.

"Captain, should I contact the Emperor's ship and make them aware of the situation?" Paloma enquired.

Bates shook his head.

"If that is a Klingon cruiser under cloak, we have to assume they are monitoring our hailing frequencies," he replied. "To inform the Emperor would be to alert the Klingons that we are aware of their presence, maybe even provoke them into action. Stand by on communications for now."

"Aye, Sir, standing by," Paloma replied, folding her left leg over the right at the knee, the toe of her boot unconsciously tapping lightly against the base of her console, as it often did when she was nervous.

Lightly dropping his fist to the arm of the command chair, Bates hit the intercom.

"All hands, this is the captain: We are about to receive visiting dignitaries, but sensors have detected what may be a cloaked Klingon ship. Consider this to be a silent yellow alert. Please go about your duties as per usual, but stand ready to report to battle stations and damage control should we come under attack. Diplomatic reception detail, please report to the shuttle bay for inspection and briefing."

***

Like an elongated silver leaf, flaring back into stubby wings with cylindrical nacelles, the Pentaxian cruiser glided into the shuttle bay, angling back gently on anti-gravity thrusters, before extending landing tines and coming to rest.

When the bay re-pressurised, Bates and the reception detail entered the double doors and took up station on either side of the cruiser's central boarding ramp.

It smoothly lowered on silent hydraulics, and a quintet of people strode forth.

At the lead, a tall, muscular man with a shaven head, and a manner of serene dignity. His muscular arms were bare to the shoulders, and he wore a vest of embossed blue leather, with pants and knee-high boots of the same material. From his shoulders, flowed a magenta cloak. The material appeared silky, but in reality, it was a nanofibre weave with blast-dampening properties, which could withstand a fatal phaser blast or disruptor bolt.

Captain's yeoman Samantha Morton blew her whistle, and Bates stepped forwards and bowed deeply.

"Shuntoury NashAllayhah, I'm Captain Rufus Bates, welcome aboard the USS Devonshire," he said, struggling slightly with the alien name and title. The homogenous appearance of the Pentaxian delegation reminded him of the summer as a boy, that he had spent in Oslo with his mother, after his parents divorce.

"Thank you, Captain, we are grateful of your hospitality and transport," N'sH'll'a said, clasping his hands to his biceps, and inclining his head. "These are my daughters: my principle heir, Princess S'h'rr, her sister Princess H'nS'l, and my youngest child, Prince D'sH'll. With them, my first minister, J'gW'rr."

Bates nodded in acknowledgement to each as they were introduced. The princesses were both beautiful in very different ways: S'h'rr was elegant and delicately featured, where H'nS'l was harder and blunter in appearance. They both wore gowns which featured a diamond-shaped front running from their necks to below their arms, then back in and down to the navel, with flowing split skirts, worn low over their hips, which skimmed the deck as they walked, and made of the same blast-dampening fabric as their father's cloak.

D'sH'll was dressed in a similar manner to his father, but without a cape. His jaw was shadowed with a neatly clipped beard, and he wore his hair long to his shoulders. Where the princesses had acknowledged Bates and appeared politely curious of their surroundings, their brother carried himself with a swaggering arrogance which immediately offended the captain -- he knew a bully when he saw one, and did not care for the supercilious manner with which the prince looked down on the assembled officers, nor the predatory leer he cast over the females present.

"These are my senior officers," Bates said, addressing himself directly to the emperor. "My executive officer and chief of security, Commander Tarquin Ravillious, my political officer, Commander Wesley Cooper, and my strategic operations officer, Lieutenant Commander Lady Laura Godiva."

The last attracted an inquisitive glance from the emporer.

"Lady? Are you of noble birth?" he enquired, his voice conveying genuine interest.

"I am, Highness," Laura replied, curtseying automatically with an accustomed grace which revealed her privileged upbringing. "My family has owned land and held the titles since the eleventh century. I have been given the honor to act as your liaison during your passage to Earth."

N'sH'll'a nodded.

"When I contacted Starfleet Command, I had hoped we might be met by Fleet Captain Garth, but was told he was unavailable. Why is that?"

Bates' smile momentarily froze in place.

He went mad and ordered his crew to commence orbital bombardment of an inhabited planet...

"Fleet Captain Garth has -- been taken ill. He is in a residential facility recuperating," he said. "I hope we will be able to accommodate your needs."

N'sH'll'a looked surprisingly downcast, and it was clear he had genuinely looked forward to seeing Garth once more.

"I hope his recovery is swift," he said. "We thank you all for your hospitality."

Bates tilted his head in acknowledgement.

"That was an impressive landing," he said. "You clearly have a skilled pilot. Are they still aboard your ship?"

"I flew the ship, Captain," H'nS'l said. "During the course of our stay, would it be possible to view the helm controls and command center of your ship?"

Bates glanced to Cooper, who infinitesimally nodded. Of course, as captain, the decision was his, but he knew Cooper would be a good gauge as to if it was a politically sound move.

"It would be my pleasure, Highness," he replied. "Once you have settled into your quarters and refreshed yourselves from the journey, with your father's permission, I shall escort you myself."

***

"These controls are somewhat similar to our patrol ships," H'nS'l observed, as she looked over the Devonshire's helm console. "Although our pilots are required to perform their own navigational calculations."

Helm and navigation in one position... Interesting... Bates mused, unconsciously casting an eye over Lieutenant Noelia Tial, who sat at navigation beside the princess at the helm.

The raven-haired woman was certainly a competent enough officer, and could plot courses far faster than any navigator Bates had previously served with, and with the series of dark brown spots which ran from her temples, down her neck and legs, she was certainly an exotic beauty who brought more diversity to the bridge, but the restrictions and duty-waivers on her file were almost incompatible with the life of a Starfleet officer: She was excused from participating in away missions which carried even the slightest risk of insect bites or stings, and her annual Starfleet physical required her to be released from the ship to return to Trill to be examined by a native physician, for the report to then be transmitted back to Starfleet Medical and forwarded onto the Devonshire's CMO. Additionally, Doctor Skurek was under strict orders to perform no more than basic first aid, or osteo-regeneration of her limbs should she be injured. Anything requiring internal surgery or even a tricorder scan of her brainwaves were strictly forbidden, and even in a medical emergency, should she not be fatally injured, she was to be placed in medical stasis until she could be returned to Trill.

Bates sighed. The Trill was certainly friendly, with a ready smile and a willing ear, and could often found giving impromptu counselling sessions in the crew lounge. She imparted advice which would be more fitting from a two hundred year old Vulcan Master, than a carefree girl in her thirties, but she really was a glass slipper: Beautiful and captivating, but obviously fragile, entirely impractical, and bordering on unfit for purpose.

"Captain!" called Lieutenant Commander Dean Fox from the main science console. "Sensors are picking up a surge in anti-protons and tachyons, there is a Klingon battle cruiser de-cloaking on the periphery of the nebula."

"Red alert!" Bates called out. "Quinn, raise shields, but keep weapons cold. Paloma, signal the Klingons. Inform them we are on a diplomatic mission, but will defend ourselves if fired upon."

"Aye, Captain," Ravillious replied, as the red alert siren whooped.

"Highness," Bates said, turning to face the emperor, as Braden resumed his place at the helm. "Under the circumstances, I must request you leave the bridge and return to quarters."

"Should the Klingons fire, would we be any safer in our quarters?" N'sH'll'a asked rhetorically. "It is my hope that in the future, my people will serve alongside yours, Captain. I would prefer to remain and observe."

"Captain," Paloma called out, cutting off Bates' protest. "The Klingon commander has responded and is requesting to communicate with you personally."

"Quinn?" Bates asked as he lowered himself into the command chair.

"I'm reading no power to their weapon systems, nor weapons locks," Ravillious reported.

"Very well, Ensign Guevara, open hailing frequencies."

The view screen filled with the head and shoulders of the Klingon commander. Wearing a woven golden baldric and vest over a black tunic, he had heavy-lidded, wolf-like eyes, his thick black hair brushed straight back from a high forehead.

"Captain, I am Kurrozh, commander of the IKS tam Hegh. It is my understanding that you have the Emperor of the Pentaxian Dynasty aboard your ship," he announced. "I request an audience with him."

"That will not be possible, Commander," Bates replied. "The Emperor is aboard for other matt-"

"My visit is one of diplomacy," N'sH'll'a said. "I will hear the Klingon."

Bates spun round, astonishment on his face.

"With all due respect, Highness, this could be a trap. The Klingons have clearly intercepted Federation transmissions, and rather than presenting themselves, have been cloaked since our arrival."

"Awareness of the trap, is the first step in avoiding it," N'sH'll'a pointed out. "If there may be an opportunity to improve relations between the Dynasty and the Empire, I must embrace that opportunity as freely as I do the one to further relations with the Federation. I will hear the Klingon, but this is your ship, and I would request your assistance in facilitating this meeting."

"As you wish, Highness," Bates agreed, his tone clearly conveying his reservations at the idea, before turning back to face the view screen. "Commander Kurrozh, please stand by to receive transport coordinates."

As the view screen returned to its view of the nebula, Bates addressed his officers.

"What, if anything, do we know about Kurrozh?" he demanded. "Wes, are there any files on him?"

"It's not a name I'm familiar with," Cooper admitted, from his position at the crew operations console to the right of the view screen. "I could make enquiries, but no chance of replies within the minutes we have before he beams aboard."

"Captain," said Paloma. "The transmission from the tam Hegh didn't activate the universal translator. The commander was speaking to you directly in Federation Standard. From his vocabulary and sentence structure, a slightly old fashioned dialect, but clearly a language he has studied, possibly from historical archives. If I may, Sir, students of a foreign language frequently hold an interest in the parent culture, so it is reasonable to suspect that he will be familiar with other aspects of Human culture. Certainly more so than the average Klingon."

"Which makes him all the more dangerous," Bates mused. "Thanks for the input, Paloma."

***

"You allow these animals to bring weapons into my father's presence?!" D'sH'll demanded, as Bates lead the four Klingon officers into the conference lounge. One carried a curving bilateral scimitar in the crook of his arm, the others had belted daggers at their waists, and short-swords of different designs, tucked beneath their baldrics.

"I allow you all the privilege of carrying the weapons of your heritage on my ship," the captain said, his tone low, a clear warning to the prince not to push him any further.

"We did not come to fight," Kurrozh declared. "We came to talk. We carry our weapons sheathed as a sign of goo-"

"'Talk'?" D'sH'll sneered. "Your kind have nothing to say to my father!"

"You challenge the word of a Klingon commander?" demanded Memeth, Kurrozh's second.

"A Klingon's word lasts as long as the day he gives it!" D'sH'll jeered.

"Silence, boy, before you embarrass me further!" N'sH'll'a snapped. "I apologise, Commander, my son is young, and has much to learn of diplomacy."

"The insult cannot be excused," Kurrozh said almost regretfully. "My honor has been questioned, and a warrior who allows himself to be insulted, is no warrior."

"Then your quarrel is with me, as his failing is my failing to better guide him," N'sH'll'a said, reaching across his body to grip the hilt of his honor sword.

The emperor began to draw his blade, but Memeth was faster, reaching back, drawing his mek'leth, and sweeping it round in a horizontal backhand, bisecting the emperor's forearm above the wrist. The severed appendage and sword continued their trajectory, as did the stump of the emperor's arm, spraying magenta blood across Memeth's face and torso, which began to dissolve, as the Klingon howled it pain.

As the emperor collapsed to his knees, gripping his wound, Memeth gave a final roar, and blindly brought the mek'leth slicing down, severing N'sH'll'a's head.

"Father!!!" D'sH'll cried. Leaping forwards, his leaf-shaped blade jumped into his hand, and cleaved Memeth's melting head from his shoulders, before rounding on the next Klingon who was closest to him.

***

Reaching beneath the back of his uniform tunic, Cooper pulled out a slender handle, and with a flick of his wrist, extended the Starfleet-issue retractable sword just in time for him to block a thrust from one of Kurrozh's thugs, who wielded a long-knife which was effectively a short sword. The force of the blow caused pain to flare in his wrist and forearm, absurdly reminding him of the warm up match he had once played against Andre Agassi. The power of the flamboyant player's volleys had almost knocked the racquet from Cooper's hand.

Backing up across the conference lounge, he blocked every thrust and lunge the Klingon threw at him. After a hundred and thirty years fencing experience, Cooper had no difficulty matching his assailant's skill, which was minimal, but his strength was at least twice Cooper's, and that made him dangerous.

Out of the corner of his eye, Cooper saw something which turned his stomach, and pivoting, he drew his arm back and flung his sword, sending it spinning across the lounge.

***

Gorath saw the Pentaxian sluts throw themselves on their father's mutilated body, wailing uncontrollably, and with a battle cry, he leaped on the closest from behind. He brought his d'k tahg down again and again into her back, before lashing out, and dragging it across the neck of the other from ear to ear, butchering them like he would a pair of targ. Oblivious to the burning pain in his hands and limbs, he nevertheless felt a powerful, slicing blow to his head, then found himself on the Barge of the Dead.

***

Grall sneered as he saw the Human disarm himself, and lunged forwards, swinging his tajtiq towards his torso.

"You've already lost," Cooper said calmly, his arms at his sides. As the Klingon swung the blade towards him, he began to rotate counterclockwise, moving into the lunge. He reached out, gripping the Klingon's wrists, and as he continued to rotate, compressed the pressure points. The Klingon's numb fingers opened, and the blade slid from his grasp. Taking the grip, Cooper accelerated his rotation, extending his left arm, and the blade cleaved through the Klingon's neck. He crumpled to the floor, his head hitting the deck and rolling. Looking down, Cooper appraised the baakonite blade in his hand, appreciating its balance and heft. By no means as concealable as the retractable sword, but certainly a fine weapon.

***

"ENOUGH!!!" Bates bellowed, using his Type I phaser to stun Kurrozh, as around him, the conference lounge descended into a slaughterhouse, and security officers charged the room. "Get him in the brig!" he yelled.

As silence descended, Bates activated the intercom.

"Transporter room, this is the captain: Beam the dead Pentaxians in this room into space before their bodies do any more damage. Bridge: Contact the Klingon ship. Tell them that their commander has assassinated the Emperor, and is being taken into custody. Tell them we will leave them unharmed as long as they do not fire upon us first."

"This is on your head, Captain!" D'sH'll snapped, stalking towards Bates, ready to swing his sword. "Your incompetence lead to my father's death!"

"Another step closer, boy, and you will join Kurrozh in the brig!" Bates snarled, pointing his phaser at the Pentaxian. "You may have inherited the title of emperor, but this is my ship, and I will not be spoken to in such manner by an ignorant bully like you. Your insults angered the Klingons to violence. Yours! I only offered, against my better judgement, to facilitate discussion, not butchery! The blood spilled here -- the loss of your father and sisters, is on your hands alone!

"Your father came aboard this ship on a mission of peace. If you wish to continue that mission, if you feel that relations between our peoples can be salvaged, I will honor my orders and transport you to Earth. If you wish to take your minister, and leave, you are welcome to do so."

"I never believed in my father's mission, and have no desire to be further involved in galactic affairs," D'sH'll sighed, returning his honor blade to its scabbard. "My quarrel is not with your people, it is with the Klingons, but for as long as I sit on the throne, the Federation will not be welcome within Pentaxian space."

Last edited by marcusdkane; 10-07-2013 at 04:37 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,737
# 15 Manners
10-07-2013, 10:59 PM
BRITANNUS: (shocked) Caesar, this is not proper!
THEODOTUS: (outraged) How?
CAESAR: (recovering his self-possession) Pardon him, Theodotus; he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.
-- George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra, Act II

----------------------------------------------


Captain's Log, USS Bedford NCC-92570
Captain Grunt recording.

We are returning to standard patrol after rendering assistance to the Orion cargo ship
Stern Destiny. The diplomatic issues raised have been smoothed over, thanks to Mr. Manalang's smooth talking and my bank account. Now, I'm left with just one major issue - how to deal with having to place one of my best officers in the brig.

Grunt entered the brig of the Bedford, only one of its six cells occupied. He looked at the guards flanking the cell, then jerked his thumb toward the door in a gesture he'd learned from a Human superior many years before. "You two. Take a walk."

The two looked at one another, then at their captain. "Ah, sir," one began, "protocols clearly state--"

"When I want someone to quote regulations at me," Grunt growled, "I'll ask Turing. Now go hit the head or something. Maybe grab a raktijino at the mess. Be gone at least ten minutes. Go!"

The two looked at each other again, then left. Grunt tapped the console next to the door. "Computer, lock this door. Authorization Grunt three-delta-aleph-gray-seven."

The prisoner spoke, for the first time since the cell's forcefield had been activated. "You're going to get in worse trouble than me. Those records can't be scrubbed."

"Sure they can. All you need is a fully-sapient AI with no firmware restrictions and full access to your systems. Mycroft's making sure none of this gets recorded." Grunt rubbed his forehead. "Now, I just need to know one thing - Why?"

"'Why?' You saw that ship. They were slaves! How couldn't I??"

"Yes, they were slaves. It's part of their culture, Shelana! Didn't you notice that they were fighting to get their chains back on?"

The Andorian shook her head, swaying unsteadily in her seat on the cell's bunk. Her equilibrium was thrown off badly by her missing antenna. "They're just so used to--"

"Shelana. You have to look at it from their side. They expect to be slaves. In Orion culture, everyone is owned by somebody, from the scullery slave on up to the captain of that ship, and beyond. It's like the Ferengi view, where everyone is someone's employee, right up to the Grand Nagus. He's the only one who isn't working for anyone else - and he has to work for the Alliance as a whole. For the Orions, being someone's slave is right. As far as they were concerned, you weren't 'rescuing' them - you were stealing them!"

Shelana looked down. "I'm sorry, sir. I guess I let my feelings about slavery get in the way." Then she looked back up, defiantly. "Now look me in the eye and tell me you'd do it any differently!"

Grunt walked up to the force field. Standing, his eyes came almost exactly to the same height as Shelana's in her seated position; they locked directly into hers. "Yes, Shelana, old friend, I would have done it very differently. I took an oath as a Starfleet officer, to respect the alien cultures I would encounter, and to learn as much as I could about them. And I know Ferengi have this reputation for being backstabbing oathbreakers who'd sell their own grandmothers for a few strips of latinum, and if we're being honest I have to admit that's true often enough to leave even me uncomfortable - but you know that I don't work that way. I cut you more slack than is probably good for us, every time we go out, because it's normal for Andorian culture to fight the way you do. We pick up real meat for Roclak when we can, because it's a Klingon thing to eat meat that still has blood dripping from it. And when we run across an Orion ship, and they have Orion slaves, we leave them alone, because it's the way they are. Yes, I hate it. I probably hate it more than you do - we Ferengi pride ourselves on never having had a period of our history when we kept slaves. Having someone locked down into a position they can never even possibly buy their way out of is -- is repugnant. But we can't impose our culture on everyone else - how long do you think a Ferengi market-government would last on Andor?"

Shelana dropped her gaze again. "I-- I'm sorry, Grunt. I suppose you're right." There was a pause. "What happened to the guards?"

"Fortunately, all you did was break a few bones. Orion males are even tougher than they look. Nothing that couldn't be covered with Ruben fast-talking them and my credit limit at the First Bank of Ferenginar. That's why we're still on patrol, not heading for the nearest starbase to convene a court martial. Unless you insist, of course."

"Maybe you should," Shelana said bitterly. "It is what I deserve, right?"

"If it ever gets that far, Shelana, don't represent yourself at the trial. It wouldn't go well. Tomorrow morning, you're going before Captain's Mast - since the Mistress of the Orion ship isn't pressing charges, nothing more is called for. The decision is going to be three weeks confinement to quarters, allowed out only for treatment of your antenna in sickbay, to be followed by a thorough review of comparative-culture courses. You go back on duty only after Tan has certified you as having passed those courses." Grunt's voice shifted from the stern "captain" tone, to a softer, friendlier one. "I need you back at Security, Shelana. But first I have to be sure you're back under control. You understand, don't you?"

There was a pause. Then Shelana replied, with a twisted grin, "I guess I do, Grunt. Gotta say, I think I'd probably be harder on me, if I were you."

Grunt smiled. "But I'm a notorious soft touch. Although maybe you should change back to calling me 'Captain' on duty, hey?"

Shelana laughed. "Yes, sir, Captain sir!!"
-------------------------------------------
I'm old enough not to care too much about what you think of me --
But I'm young enough to remember the future, the way things ought to be...

- Rush, "Cut To the Chase", Counterparts

Last edited by jonsills; 10-08-2013 at 07:02 AM.
Ensign
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1
# 16 The Brig and I
10-09-2013, 09:01 PM
Stardate 95525.34
Captain's Log, U.S.S. Stormfront - E, NCC - 998971 - E

Today marks a dark day for my command and I. My spouse has been put into the brig on charges of foul play. He is a science officer aboard and does not report to me.

On a routine away mission to our home-world of Aquatica, Lt. Coral Cloud, was the only survivor of a 6 person science team. They were collecting first hand data on my home-world's surface of 99.5% water. Our species lives underwater. We are able to remain out of water and breath air for up to 12 hours a day. Lt. Cloud was not the lead scientist on this away mission. Cmdr. Tomahawk was the leader. The away team beamed down to Aquatica at 0600. At 0900 we got a distress call from one of the away team members reporting that someone was firing phasers at the away team. I ordered the transporter Chief to beam the team directly to sickbay.

I made my way to the sickbay at a brisk pace. It seemed like it took the turbo-lifts forever to travel the short distance to sickbay. Walking into the bed area of sickbay I noticed that only Lt. Cloud was being attended too. My heart sank but as the Captain it was my place to try and find answers to what took place on Aquatica.

Lt. Cloud stared into my eyes. I wanted to grab and hug him but duty was calling. When Dr. Tooler allowed me to approach, I asked the Lt. what took place. He said that his back was turned to the others on the team when the firing started. Since the away team were the only ones with phasers I could only come to one outcome. My spouse must have been the one firing. after the Doctor released him I ordered him to the brig, If I showed him any leeway then the crew would think I was showing him favor because he was my mate.

As of 1200 hours no new information has come to light as to the events of the away teams deaths. I know there is no way that Coral could have done this unspeakable act of violence. But, the truth has not presented an answer as to what really happened. I visited Coral in the brig and tried to get some clear answers. He just told me what I already knew. He could never hurt his crew mates or me for that matter.

Stardate 95625.34
Captain's Log Supplemental

After 24 hours no new evidence can be ascertained as to the events on Aquatica. Although Lt. Cloud has been released from the brig, I find that my heart is aching. What little evidence we did find points too someone shorter than Coral. But finding the person responsible has put a wedge between Coral and I. I love him very much and was just doing my job. He knows this but we still get sideways glances from some of the crew. It seems that they think I got him out of trouble because he is my mate. I can assure Starfeet that I did all that I could to find the true culprit in the events that took place on Aquatica.

End Captain's Log

Last edited by noraak; 10-09-2013 at 09:07 PM.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 237
# 17
10-09-2013, 09:17 PM
2409 - Qo'noS Sector

Captain Ta?koth stood in his ready room staring out the small window at the stars beyond. The Klingon?s arms were crossed and he was almost entirely rigid, only his breathing and the occasional blink giving him any sense of life.

A harsh noise erupted suddenly, announcing the presence of someone outside.

?Enter.?

The sound of the door opening was followed by several heavy footsteps.

?Captain, I would request a moment of your time,? the deep voice of Commander Qar?Vat, first officer of the Darvak, said. There was a hesitant, uncertain note in that usually brash voice.

Ta?koth ignored him for a moment, letting his icy blue eyes linger on the white streaks outside before turning abruptly and seating himself behind his desk.

?As you wish, Commander.?

Qar?Vat walked slowly forwards and took a seat, clasping his hands together in his lap and staring at them as if unable to tear his eyes away. In the simple chair the first officer?s tall frame looked awkward and ungainly, and the troubled look on his face only accentuated that impression.

?Well??

Qar?Vat swallowed. ?Sir, how long to you intend to leave Commander Kh?var in the brig??

The Captain tensed a little and his nostrils flared.

?I did not realise the matter was open for discussion.?

?The ship is still barely operational. Our warp core is stable, but the damage to the engineering section was considerable. Things might be easier with Kh?var?s expertise.?

?She disobeyed a direct order!? Ta?koth exploded. ?I commanded her to abandon the ship and head to the escape pods rather than risk half the engineering crew on a mad whim!?

Qar?Vat looked away. ?I thought she acted with courage.?

?Courage?? Ta?koth laughed and waved his hand dismissively. ?It was an act of arrogance. She was a fool to think she would have succeeded.?

?But she did succeed. She saved the Darvak.?

?And what if she had failed? What then should I have told her House, and those of all she led to their deaths? There is no honour in dying in battle with one?s own warp core.?

Ta?koth took a breath and tried to calm himself. Turning away from Qar?Vat and getting to his feet again, he ran a finger over the bat?leth he kept in the ready room ? perfectly sharp, he noted as the metal drew a speck of blood.

?Kh?var was insubordinate. She forgot that as First Engineer, her duty is to serve.?

Qar?Vat was beginning to wonder why he had thought it worth trying to speak to the Captain. He had known Ta?koth would be set in his stubbornness, and yet he had tried anyway. Certainly there was nothing more he could do, short of challenging Ta?koth openly, and Qar?Vat was reluctant to do that to his Captain and friend. Besides, Ta?koth was deadly with a bat?leth, and the first officer had no wish to be cut to shreds.

?We shall arrive at Qo?noS in twenty six hours,? Qar?Vat commented after a time. ?The shipyards have cleared space for us and we can begin repairs as soon as we dock.?

Ta?koth nodded sat back down, picking up a PADD and looking it over.

?And have you completed your report on the EPS conduit failure, Commander??

?Yes, sir. The explosion appears to be the caused by a defective conduit length installed during the Darvak?s last refit. There were several micro deformities present which were unable to handle the increased strain at high warp. It does not appear to have been intentional.?

Ta?koth muttered something under his breath about incompetence and the state of the Empire. Something occurred to Qar?Vat and he gave the Captain a serious look.

?In such times, I suppose we are lucky to have such a talented Klingon as Commander Kh?var for our First Engineer, sir.?

Ta?koth stirred a little and fixed his icy eyes on the first officer with a powerful force; he opened his mouth to speak when a message came through from the bridge.

?Lieutenant Narak to Captain Ta?koth.?

?Yes??

?We have received a response from the High Council. I imagine you will wish to see it, sir.?

?Send it through to me.?

Ta?koth turned to his desk computer and accessed the message. What followed was a curious passage of emotion across his rugged features. First his eyebrows furrowed together and his eyes narrowed as they moved through the text. Abruptly his eyes widened and his short beard twitched in surprise; he swiftly shifted to a darker, almost murderous look as he finished reading the message. Once he was done he turned the computer off with a vicious jab and swore.

?Trouble, sir??

?Councilman Raktor has? taken exception to his daughter?s being disciplined,? Ta?koth spat. ?The High Council has commanded her immediate release.?

Qar?Vat remained silent, not trusting himself to speak.

?Go,? Ta?koth commanded with a careless wave of his hand. ?Release her.?

The first officer stood and went quickly to door; as the panels slid open, he stopped and looked briefly back at the Captain.

?Was it Chancellor K?mpec who said that honour is an ideal, and as an ideal must at times let other factors take precedence??

After had finished posing the question, Qar?Vat turned and passed fully through the threshold, leaving Ta?koth to glower alone in the darkened room.
Republic Veteran
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 31
# 18
10-10-2013, 07:14 PM
Captains Log, Stardate 86430.8. The USS Rampart is en-route to Deep Space Nine. Starfleet command has cut short our patrol around Andoria and ordered us to proceed to the Bajor System. We're making one stop along the way in order to pick up Commander Jhynes. The Commander has been attending a Warp Physics conference on Erach III for the last week, and I look forward to her rejoining the crew.

Captains Log, Supplemental. We have arrived at Erach III, but Commander Jhynes is not on the planet. It appears she never arrived in the system at all. There is no sign of the runabout and I am deeply concerned for the Commanders welfare. I have received renewed orders from Starfleet to proceed immediately to Deep Space Nine.

Captains Log, Supplemental. The Rampart is retracing the course of the missing runabout, back towards Andoria. Lieutenant Tala has taken down our subspace communication arrays, citing a suspect set of transmissions. Repairs are estimated to take three days. Regrettably, we will be out of contact with Starfleet for the duration.

Captains Log, Stardate 86439.06 Commander Tala has identified the runabout's warp trail entering an uninhabited system. We located debris from the runabout on a L-class moon of the third gas giant. This is a deeply saddening experience for all members of the crew. Commander Jhynes was a fine officer, a brilliant engineer and a trusted crewmate. Above all, she was a friend. I am now left with the sorrowful task of informing her family unit back on Andoria.

Captains Log, Stardate 86441.7 The USS Rapier has rendevoused with the Rampart and relayed urgent orders from Starfleet to report to the Bajoran system. I have taken the opportunity to speak to Admiral Wolken but he refuses to clarify the intent of those orders. I am setting course for Bajor under protest. Captain Zentan of the Rapier has promised to relay my deepest regrets to Andoria, as well as return the Commander's effects.

Captains Log, Stardate 86463.7 Something is very wrong. Captain Kurland at Deep Space Nine claims no knowledge of our assignment here and Admiral Wolken is persistently unavailable. With Captain Kurland's leave, We are heading back to the Vulcan sector at maximum warp.

Captains Log, Supplemental. I've received a personal communique from the Rapier. Commander Jhynes has been found. Alive. She is currently aboard the Rapier, orbiting Vulcan. The commander is accused of the murder of visiting Romulan ambassador Telev and is being held in the ships brig. This has the makings of an interstellar incident. I am due to beam over to the Rapier within the hour to visit the Commander.

***********

The door hissed open and Captain Sazev Bh'ypiv stepped into the brig antechamber. Only one cell was active, although he couldn't see its occupant. Not that there was much doubt.

"Captain!" The Ensign at the brig station snapped to attention.

"At ease. I'm here to visit the Commander". There was movement in the cell at his distinctive baritone. Commander Jhynes was an Aenar, and racial blindness gave them acute hearing.

Bh'ypiv stood before the forcefield a moment later, looking at the defiant prisoner. Defiant. He wasn't sure why that was the best word to describe her. There were so many more, better words that should have fit. Charming, intelligent, energetic, friendly. Happy. But defiant was not one of them, even though it perfectly described the furious scowl on her face.

"Commander Jhynes. I expect an explanation."

An insolent "Why?" met his query. "You didn't believe me before, why should you listen now? Are you just here to twist the knife?"

"Commander, I have no clue what you are talking about. You are accused of desertion from your station, theft of Starfleet property and the murder of a visiting ambassador. What the hell happened? One moment you were heading for Erach III, then your runabout shows up crashed, and the next you're trying to trigger an interstellar war!"

Jhynes said nothing, except to tap up the privacy field for the cell. The forcefield darkened. It was on a five-minute timer to ensure no prisoner tried to use it to escape, but it was effectively a dismissal.

"Damn" muttered Bh'ypiv.

The door to the brig whispered open again, and a man stepped through. Dressed in a plain suit, he wore a tag identifying him as a civilian guest aboard the Rapier. The man reported to the Ensign and handed over an isolinear chip.

"My name is Frank Linneaus Mallard. Federation Judiciary. I'm here to organize the Commander's defense."

Captain Bh'ypiv walked over. "Lawyer, hm? I'm the Commander's captain. I would be more than happy to assis-"

He was cut off by a curt wave from the Frank Mallard. "I'm afraid that isn't possible, captain" came the cool reply. "In fact, I must insist that you refrain from contacting..." Frank looked over Sazev's shoulder at the active privacy field "...or agitating my client. Her trial is in three days aboard Starbase Sarek. I expect you may see your officer then. For now, please leave, Client-lawyer discussions are privileged."

Captain Bh'ypiv left, his brain working furiously. In the corridor he stopped, antennae quivering. Something....Something wasn't right. And he intended to get to the bottom of it.

**************

The mood in the conference room was grim. Captain Bh'ypiv gazed at the familiar sea of faces. Commander Tala sat to his left. His First Office and tactical genius. Doctor Corezna behind her, and then Lieutenant Doyen, operations officer. The table rounded with the coldly logical helmsman T'vak and the nervous fresh face of Acting Engineer Rolar.

He shook his head. Commander Jhynes belonged in this room, contributing to solving whatever conundrum the crew faced. The Secharee incident, the Battle for Volanis VII - the table seemed emptier without her.

"All right. The trial is in tomorrow aboard the station. You've all had a chance to examine what we know and do some digging. I want to hear explanations, theories, suggestions. I'll even entertain fantasies. We need to figure out what's happened. Speak."

The first to start was Commander Tala.

"I started looking at the assassination of Ambassador Telev. First conclusion is that the Commander definitely fired the phaser. They've got it on multiple angles, with holographic reconstructions. No doubt about it. No cloaked drones, no microtransports, nothing. Commander Jhynes walked into the hall, drew a standard issue hand phaser and fired. I did manage to call in a few contacts and got a scan of the weapon. the Commander's DNA is on the firing trigger and the serial is a positive trace to the Rampart's runabout. The wreckage we found on the moon was missing half it's mass, weapons locker among it. She must have removed the phaser before abandoning ship prior to the crash. Seemed to me that it had to be something with the Commander herself."

"Doctor?"

"I examined the Commander about a week before she departed for the conference. There was nothing unusual. No signs of mental or physical problems. I managed to convince Doctor Tolan on the Rapier to share his medical examination of the Commander after she was arrested. I compared it to my results. No neural deviations, signs of telepathic or technological intrusion, or compulsion. She's as healthy as she was two and a bit weeks ago. I did find one odd discrepancy though. The commander is shaking off a Moraline injection."

"Moraline?"

"A hypospray stimulant. Lasts about 12 hours but the chemical can take weeks to degrade properly. I'd only ever prescribe Moraline if a non-hemoglobin crewmember was suffering severe narcolepsy and even then it's a stopgap measure while the source of the sleep problem is dealt with. The degradation indicates she took the Moraline after leaving the Rampart, but likely before the crash.

"Very good. Anything else?"

"Yes Captain. The runabout does not stock Moraline. It's too much of a specialty drug, and its classed as a restricted substance for medical use only. Based on the decay, Commander Jhynes had to have taken it before the time of the runabout crash. Strange thing is, the only place she could have got it within the timeframe was from a Starfleet vessel."

Acting Engineer Rolar spoke up next. The Trill was probably harder hit than anyone at Jhynes actions, as she had been his mentor since the day he reported aboard.

"I took a different tack Captain, and requested the sensor logs from Vulcan. By cross-referencing with the Rapier, I was able to ascertain that this vessel brought the Commander to Vulcan."

He snapped a picture of what seemed to be a standard Anteres-class freighter on the screen.

"I thought it might be our best lead. This is the freighter Asteronic. Registered to the Sok Trading Conglomerate out of Ferenginar. We passed it going out as we entered Vulcan space. I contacted the USS Hobart, which was conducting smuggling scans in the outer system, and got a complete map on emissions and hull composition.
This is one suspicious ship. The scan came back clear, but on careful analysis I spotted a thoron signature. Everything from Bay 2 back is masked pretty effectively. Not enough to trip a standard scan, but a detailed analysis would reveal something odd.

I ran a spectral trace on the hull readings and got some unexpected results. Not only is this the Asteronic, it's also the Freighter Archivist, out of the Terran Trade Group, the Freighter Orleans out of the Mudd Company, and the Freighter Henna out of Andoria. The records are very sophisticated fabrications.

Our mystery ship was supposed to arrived at P'Jem by now, but Vulcan control hasn't picked it up. It's good bet that whoever they are, they're long gone."

T'vak spoke up next.

"I have ascertained that this is not the first occasion we have encountered this vessel. By tracing shipping movement while assisting Lieutenant Rolar, I found an anomaly. The signature of the Asteronic was also present in the Andoria system. It passed us at a range of twenty thousand kilometers sixteen days, five hours and thirteen minutes ago. By cross referencing with the internal sensor logs, I uncovered a internal power fluctuation originating from the shuttle bay fifteen minutes later, immediately prior to the Commander's authorized departure."

All attention was riveted on the Vulcan. Captain Bh'ypiv stood.

"What caused that fluctuation?"

"I would prefer not to speculate. However, the signature is consistent with a phaser discharge muted by a duranium hull - such as a Starfleet issue runabout bulkhead."

Doctor Corenza looked thoughtful for a moment.

"Two weeks is enough time for a properly treated phaser burn to heal, especially on the lower stun settings. But Moraline would be an effective treatment for bringing a patient out of phaser stun quickly."

Lieutenant Rolar began tapping away at his PADD.

"Just a second....I have something. Commander Tala, was there any intraship transports in the hours prior to the Commander's departure?"

"None. Ensign Teleres was beamed to sickbay from the holodeck a few hours later, but nothing before her departure."

"Got it. The Rampart's transporter wasn't used, so the logs are blank. but when I run an internal sensor analysis on that point....we get a sensor trace of a two separate low-power transporter beams? T'Lak, when was the Asteronic at it's closest point in the Andoria system?"

"Twenty-one fourteen hours"

Lieutenant Rolor nodded, confirming something.

"And we have an unauthorized transport trace at 2113 and 2114. Something beamed in, and then beamed out."

Tala spoke up.

"I think I have a theory now Captain. Commander Jhynes was not aboard the runabout when it departed. She was transported off by an intruder prior to departing for her conference. The freighter she was beamed onto then moved to Vulcan, where the Commander drew a phaser and attacked the Romulan ambassador.

I think we need to take a very good look at what happened on board that freighter. And the only one that can tell us..."

"Is Commander Jhynes, who we have specifically been forbidden to visit." Sazev paused, rubbing his brow in thought.

"All right. What we have is a pile of circumstantial evidence and speculation. But I think it's good speculation. Excellent work everyone. Commander Tala, get me a connection to Captain Zentan on the Rapier."

***********

"Captain Zentan, thank you. I would like to speak with Commander Jhynes again. Do I have your permission to board?"

The Bolian captain on the view screen paused and looked puzzled. "Board the Rapier? Why would you need to do that? We transported the Commander to the Rampart an hour ago."

Sazev felt like the deck was falling out from under him. He tapped his combadge, eyes unwilling to look away from the view screen.

"Bridge to Brig, do you have Commander Jhynes down there?"

The reply came back a few seconds later. "No sir. We have Ensign Bucker in Cell One, but no-one else. Sir, I believe the Commander is on the Rapier."

Captain Zentan had heard the exchange. "But we beamed her over a hour ago. Her lawyer showed us the proper authorization. Both the Commander and her lawyer were beamed over. Damnit! I escorted her to the transporter room myself!"

Commander Tala checked the logs. "We've had no incoming or outgoing transports for the last twelve hours."

Captain Zentan turned to his tactical officer, who checked the Rapier's logs. "We...we can't find the transport log. The entire thing has been erased and scrambled."

Sazev stared at the shocked faces of the Rapier crew. "Just where the Hell is my Chief Engineer?"

Last edited by drajora; 10-12-2013 at 02:59 AM.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 146
# 19 Business Dinner
10-14-2013, 07:06 PM
Two days after the events in "One Last Chance"

The Executor was fully operational, but chief engineer Jarvis decided that he'd give a small present to the senior officers by listing the holodecks as inoperational. Only the senior staff knew the truth, and had been sneaking into the holodecks to enjoy some rest and relaxation prior to departure. Tonight it was T'Panna's turn, and she invited counselor ch'Raul to dinner.

The windows looked out on an old Earth city called Seattle. T'Panna noted that the holodeck program was currently popular, which was why she selected it. The background noise was low, which helped them talk about the upcoming mission.

T'Panna looked at the stack of padds next to the dinner table and sighed. "I suppose it is time to get down to business. Hopefully your suggestions will make this a little less dreary."

Counselor ch'Raul nodded and reached for the top of the stack. "The top twenty-five candidates submitted a video explaining their qualifications and a copy of their latest after action report as requested. Eleven of the candidates went over the two minute time limit, and six went over three minutes. That's not terribly surprising, especially considering that most of the offenders were human. No offence intended to your or your human relatives, of course."

"None taken," she replied. "Let's take them off of the list."

"Already taken care of. I did some digging and found out that four of the candidates did not send the latest report. They submitted what they thought would make them look the best. I don't understand how they thought we wouldn't notice."

"Were these part of the eleven that don't understand the concept of time?"

Ch'Raul smiled. "No. These four kept to the two-minute video time limit. This leaves us with eleven candidates who don't understand time, and four candidates who are liars. It's amazing that Earth Central's AI recommended fifteen unsuitable candidates. There are wide implications here. This will be a good first publication for you in the field of psychology."

T'Panna wrinkled her eyebrows. "What are you suggesting?"

"You are going to get them fired, and I am going to write a research paper on dishonest leaders in Starfleet. I have a few friends I can talk into setting up similar tests - perhaps openings for researchers, and then the posts will be cancelled due to lack of funding. We have tripped upon a gold mine of data, and it's only logical that we follow up on it."

"What does extracting precious minerals have to do with unethical behaviors?"

"Put aside your Vulcan upbringing and think like your human grandfather. I know I just insulted him, but bear with me. It's just a figure of speech to say that we've come across something valuable."

"My grandfather would have probably enjoyed interviewing each of these candidates and throwing them into the brig one at a time. Are you suggesting that?"

A joke! Outstanding.
"We could do that, though it would destroy any opportunities for further research," ch'Raul replied. "But I'm sure that Yair Hillel could use some company down there. How long do you plan on keeping him? Are you acting like your grandfather here?"

T'Panna's face blanked immediately. ch'Raul realized that the comment must have struck a nerve. He chastised himself for ruining the environment. Getting T'Panna relaxed and happy was not an easy undertaking ever since Everitt Carter died. She shifted from a joke to a deathly calm face in less than a minute.

"You told him he was not allowed on the ship, and he came anyway," the mostly-Vulcan woman replied. "Also, Isabella previously filed a restraining order against him. He's going to stay there until the civil authorities transfer him or until we leave, whichever comes first."

"Fair enough," ch'Raul stated. He paused and realized that now was as good of a time as any to breach the uncomfortable topic. "Have you done anything for yourself lately?"

T'Panna folded her napkin and started to rise. "It is time for me to make preparations for the morning's meetings. Thank you for joining me."

ch'Raul instinctively reached out and placed his hand on her arm to stop her. "Please slow down for a minute. All I suggested is that you take a few minutes every day to do something that you enjoy. I'm trying to help you here."

She briefly looked away, so ch'Raul gazed at the holographic dinner patrons. The loudest conversation was about how Seattle was "cursed with mediocre teams, with UW looking terrible this year." He had no clue what that was about.

When he looked at T'Panna again, he saw that her face had softened. "Why do you think I invited you here tonight?" Her voice was quiet. He looked down and realized that his hand had rested on hers when she sat back down.

Was she holding it? Damn.

---

Author's note: Earth Central is named after the artificial intelligence of the same name in Neal Asher's Polity series.
Captain
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,468
# 20 The Brig
10-14-2013, 07:06 PM
Lieutenant Vivian Warshawski sat on the bed in the small room feeling remorseful. Her long blonde hair flowed down her back, over her shoulders and almost covering her face.

"That was stupid, just stupid, " she said aloud to herself.

"Yes, it was."

She looked up and saw the Chief Engineer of the ship staring at her from the other side of the shield barrier. He was stern looking. Thel Ythysi rarely smiled anyway but his frown was very obvious. His Andorian antennae twitched slightly from either anger or disappointment. Maybe both.

Vivian stood quickly and saluted. "Sir, I -"

"Quiet!" Thel's interruption startled the security crew at their stations and had Vivian sit back down with lips trembling.

Thel crossed his arms, unfazed by his own outburst. Using a firm tone of voice, he said, "You do realize the unintended consequences of your actions." It was not a question.

The officer in the Brig nodded contritely. Thel scowled at the gesture, "then kindly remind me so I am confident you fully understand your actions and the reactions. And stand at attention, there is no room for pity anymore."

Vivian stood and mustered her courage while organizing her thoughts. She has to be succinct to survive this encounter and took a deep breath. "I ran a level three diagnostic of the starboard bussard collector. This was done erroneously to save time. Thus, a microburst of dekyon particles was not detected, which a level two diagnostic would have discovered. The build-up of over-charged dekyon particles ultimately caused the nacelle to drain more power from the Warp Core than expected. In turn this burned out the receptor coils leading to the nacelle." Vivian breathed in deeply through her nose as her breath expired on the last few words.

Thel's scowl deepened. "Which is why we are limping to Starbase Sierra-39. We are in the middle of Tal Shiar raided space and your action is endangering this ship and crew."

"I'm really sorry, sir."

"You knew your duty. A simple diagnostic run is all it would take to avoid all of this. A level 2 was scheduled. Scheduled! But you wanted to save ... time. Now we have a lot more of it. Or not depending on the enemy. Did you really think this would not go unnoticed?"

Vivian blurted with tears swelling in her eyes, "it will never happen again!"

Thel spoke as he turned away, "and that's why you are here."
Kathryn S. Beringer - The Dawn Patrol

Solaris build - Veritatum Liquido Cernene

Last edited by cmdrscarlet; 10-14-2013 at 07:14 PM.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:57 AM.