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Dingo March 25 2009 09:59 AM

Star Trek: Voyager - Dark Realm
 
Prologues: On the Lower Decks


Author's Note/Disclaimer: I don’t own the Star Trek: Voyager series or any recognizable franchises that will appear in this fanfiction. I'll post more of the story as time goes on. I'm having to post in segments to keep with the < 20,000 characters per post limit.


Summary: Delta Flyer is on an away mission led by Ensign Tom Paris when they find themselves confronting a threat from outside their dimension. On a quest the away team must save Voyager from an old foe and a villain from outside our dimension.


---


Mess Hall, 0830 hours: Tal Celes sat down at the table with Billy Telfer at breakfast that morning. “So how’ve things been with Seven lately?” Billy asked.


“She’s been a little better with me at work.” Celes replied.


“That’s good to hear.” Billy said.


“It’s great she’s not breathing down my neck as much.” Celes added as a dark haired lieutenant with a lean swimmer’s build wearing the blue of the science department carrying a tray with fried eggs and smoked slices of meat together with a steaming cup of tea.


“Mind if I sit down?” an Australian accented voice sounded.


“Of course, Lieutenant.” Billy said.


“Oh for Christ’s sake, Billy. Knock off the ranks and the sodding lot when we’re off duty mate.” The Australian replied.


“Ok Henry.” Billy said.


“Better.” The Aussie replied.


“So how are things?” Celes asked.


“Breakfast actually looks appetizing right now.” Henry Kano replied as he dug into his meal.


“You actually like that stuff?” Billy said.


“Not quite steak and eggs from back home, but in this quadrant I’ll take it.” Henry replied as he dug in.


“You do realize that that stuff probably is gonna wind up clogging your arteries.” Billy replied.


“I stay in shape. And besides it’s not often that Neelix serves anything like this.” Henry replied, “And I wasn’t about to go for wasting replicator rations when a seemingly acceptable substitute is available.”


“Wasn’t that because you used most of them over the last two weeks?” Tal Celes added with a smile, “And you only have two of them left for the rest of the month?”


“Hey. It was that or eating some of Neelix’s more...interesting menu items.” Henry replied, between bites and a swallow of tea to wash them down, “And a steady diet of leola root stew. I really had no desire to munch down on that particular steady diet. Especially that mystery casserole he made three nights ago.”


“Ugh. Don’t remind me.” Tal groaned, “It was enough to induce Billy to have a legitimate reason to visit Sickbay.”


“Hey!” Billy remarked as both Henry and Tal laughed at his expense, “For your information, I’m no longer a hypochondriac!”


“I’m personally glad I replicated myself a nice steak, some sauteed onions and french fries for that night.” Henry said.


“I used my replicator ration that night too. For some hasperat.” Tal replied.


“Too spicy for me personally.” Henry replied.


“Don’t remind me of the time you shared some with Henry, Tal.” Billy replied, “Let’s just say he was smelly and noisy company in the lab. Samantha almost threw him out.”


“How was I supposed to know traditional Bajoran seasoning for hasperat causes serious gastrointestinal discomfort for one in every three hundred humans?” Henry replied.


“Aren’t Search and Rescue Operatives trained in medical techniques and analysis?” Billy countered.


“My primary specialty is security.” Henry replied, “I was part of the Extraction Flight of the 172nd Search and Rescue Squadron. I can stabilize patients and get them ready for transport, but I’m not a medical examiner or physician. That’s the job for the blokes from the Evaluation Flight.”


“Didn’t you cross train with the Evaluation Flight?” Billy asked.


“Yes. But I’m no finished physician. I’ve only got Level III Emergency Medical Certification.” Henry replied, “Most SAR operatives, save the Evaluation blokes have a Level II Certification. Evaluation has to have a Level III or higher.” Henry replied.


“Level III’s about the level of a civilian paramedic. Do you have a higher Certification than Ensign Paris?” Tal asked.


“No. Ensign Paris has a Level IV Certification.” Billy said.


“That’s what again?” Tal asked.


“About the same level as a civilian physician’s assistant or a nurse.” Billy asked.


“And how do you know Ensign Paris’ Emergency Medical Certification?” Tal asked.


“Let’s say I after I sprained my ankle when I fell out of Jeffries Tube 21 he treated me. However I wasn’t about to be reassured when he scanned me for complications. He tried reassuring me by saying he had a Level IV Emergency Medical Certification.” Billy replied.


“And that didn’t reassure you?” Henry replied.


“I sort of wanted a Level V Certified individual or higher treating my ankle.” Billy said.


“That’s a qualified emergency room physician.” Henry replied.

“What’s wrong with demanding the highest quality care possible?” Billy asked.


Tal nearly choked on her raktajino when she chuckled in mid sip. She started coughing as Henry administered a hearty pat on the back until she was able to breath normally.


When Tal regained her composure somewhat she remarked, “You don’t need a surgeon to fix a sprained ankle.”

“It was a broken ankle, not a strained one! Anyway, I believe that was before we visited that Class T cluster.” Billy said, “I’m better now.”


“I do recall you thought you had some rare Delta Quadrant bug yesterday when we were working in the lab.” Henry replied.


“I was running a fever.” Billy said.


“Considering I saw you scanning with a medical tricorder, pilfered from my Level III Medkit, I might add...” Henry replied.


“I was only borrowing it.” Billy protested.


“Sounds like someone should be a little more mindful of their gear.” Tal teased.


“Considering that one of the Borg children made off with your phase modulator in Astrometrics last week, you’re one to talk.” Henry replied.


“Don’t remind me. Seven gave me a very stern talking to about that. Especially when one of the secondary consoles decided to have a malfunction and I needed my phase modulator.” Tal replied.


Henry finished his meal and washed it down with the last of his tea, “I’ve gotta get moving. Me and three of my guys have our annual Level III Re-certification.”


Henry took his tray to the replicator for recycling before heading out of the Mess Hall.


“And how is breakfast this morning?” Neelix said as he approached their table.


“You just missed Lieutenant Kano. He gave breakfast a very enthusiastic two thumbs up.” Billy replied.


“You do a fair raktajino too.” Tal replied.


“I’m glad you approve.” Neelix replied.


“Where did you find the beans for it?” Tal asked.


“I replicated a quantity of them for a Klingon Heritage Day shortly after Lieutenant Torres had that shuttle accident early this year.” Neelix said, “And there were some seeds that we picked up from our last away mission. I’m gonna attempt to see if they’ll be an acceptable substitute. I’ve already started growing the in the airponics bay.”


“Oh great.” Billy groaned.


“What?” Neelix joked.


“Tal’s raktajino habit is gonna rear its head, again.” Billy groaned.


“Oh, I’m not aware that Crewman Celes has a raktajino habit.” Neelix said.


“She used to have one back when we were in the Alpha Quadrant. When we were on replicator rations she could only get raktajino occasionally and not long enough to form a habit.” Billy said.

Tal Celes rolled her eyes, “I have to get to Astrometrics. After a refill of course.”


“Happy to oblige.” Neelix said and refilled Tal’s half-way full cup before she headed out to Astrometrics.


---


Holodeck 1, 1600 hours: The two men grappled while standing. It was when Michael Ayala stepped forward trying to press a perceived advantage that Henry Kano swept his rearmost leg with his own, creating a small destabilizing force.


As they fell, Ayala was quick to get his legs around his opponent in a good guard.


“It’s not like you to make a rookie mistake, not after six years of training. In Jiu jitsu you know that being on one’s back isn’t exactly a disadvantage.” Ayala replied.


Henry merely grunted with exertion as he pushed against one leg at the knee, managing to scramble a knee through, passing Ayala’s guard.


Henry looped an arm behind his opponent’s neck and began to crank on it to the side before he planted his elbow at the side of Ayala’s skull and began to position himself for side control.


Ayala quickly framed by tossing his arms up to keep Henry off at a distance.


“You’re reacting a little slower than usual.” Ayala baited, “Are you sure that Tal Celes doesn’t have anything to do with your state of mind.”


Henry began to keep pushing his advantage as he got a hold of one of Ayala’s arms and began to apply the pressure that was a kimura...


Ayala tapped the ground with a free hand and Henry let go. Henry stood up and helped Ayala to his feet.


“Three out of seven wins isn’t bad, but you’re doing a bit worse than usual.” Ayala said.


“Considering I’ve had less training than you have.” Henry replied, “Compared to the nearly two decades you’ve had.”


“Well my friend. Jiu-jitsu is a thinking man’s game. You can’t fight on raw emotion.” Ayala replied.


“That’s why I like the striking arts.” Henry replied.


“You also lose boxing matches on raw emotion too.” Ayala said.


“It does go a long way towards re-invigorating you near the end of a bout though.” Henry replied.


“Let’s prove your theory. Shall we my friend.” Ayala replied.


“Lets.” Henry replied.


They started in a standing position as they grappled with one another.


“So what is the deal with you and Tal Celes? Any reason you never made your move?” Ayala asked.


Henry angrily swept Ayala’s leg. As he fell Ayala knew Henry would follow him on the fall and try to pass guard. He managed to get Henry in the guard. As predicted he felt Henry attempting to pass the guard again.


It was then that Ayala grabbed hold of one of Henry’s arms and pulled on it before hooking one leg behind his head and the other on that hooking leg’s ankle in a classic triangle choke. Henry tapped Ayala’s side before Ayala released him.


“Told you.” Ayala replied as they both stood up.


“Nice recreation of the old training camp you told me about. The one in Sao Paolo.” Henry replied, “Amazing that after centuries the Gracie clan still maintains the no frills approach it had at their inception.”


“How about the other program this time tomorrow. We’ll roll a couple times and then break out the boards.” Ayala replied, “I’d say I’d be in the mood for a nice shortboarding session.”


“I’d forgotten most Brazilian Jiu Jitsu types were surfers too.” Henry replied, “An agreeable tradition if anything else. But I’d like to break out my longboard from the quiver. The one with the big single fin, glassed on.”


“Got some soul surfing to do?” Ayala said, “Celes?”

“Among other things, mate.” Henry replied.


“So I ask why not make your move with her? And before you mention Leslie, may I remind you that you’ve been single for two years.” Ayala replied.


“A fact I’m forever reminded of.” Henry replied, “Reading that letter. The first letter I received from home in four years I discovered I was single again.”


“You’ve liked Celes practically since you’ve met.” Ayala replied, “You’re single. She’s single. What’s stopping you.”


“It’s a bit more complicated than that.” Henry replied as the two men walked out into the hallway and almost smack into Tal Celes who was tucked into a PADD while walking.


“Oh. Sorry lieutenant.” Celes said, with a mild blush.


“It’s alright. No harm was done.” Henry replied.


“What’s with the funny costumes?” Tal asked.


“This is a jiu-jitsu gi. It’s made of sturdy fabric obviously because jiu jitsu and judo are of a similar vein.” Henry replied, “When Maeda immigrated to Brazil and started the martial art of Brazilian jiu jitsu he brought the traditional judo gi with him.”


“I thought gi’s were supposed to be plain white and so were the belts unless you’re a master or something.” Celes replied, “I mean you’re wearing a red belt and Lieutenant Kano’s wearing a purple belt.”


“Actually there are numerous colors of belt. The white belt is the lowest level of succession followed by the blue, purple, brown, red and black belts. The darkening of the belt suggests the darkening of the belt from age and experience.” Ayala replied.


“That still doesn’t explain why you’ve got a light blue gi with the funny flag on the right shoulder sir.” Celes replied.


“That’s the state flag of Brazil and a homage to my home. And call me Michael, we’re off duty.” Ayala replied with a smile.


“What does Gracie-Barra mean?” Celes said.


“That’s the line of Brazilian jiu-jitsu I trained under. The Gracies were a dynasty of hand to hand combat and arguably the world’s finest ground fighters.” Ayala replied.


“Dynasty? Henry’s mentioned that compared to traditional Japanese martial arts Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a little less concerned with tradition.” Celes replied.


“That’s right. Hence the relatively less uniform look to our gi’s.” Ayala replied.


“And what about the funny animal on your right sleeve?” Celes asked Henry.


“It’s a kangaroo. It’s an Australian animal.” Henry replied.


“Nice match with that giant continent of Australia on the back of your gi.” Ayala remarked.


“Customization of gis goes hand in hand with the relative informality of Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners.” Henry added.


“I’d love to stay and chat, but unfortunately I’ve got to work.” Celes replied.


---


B’Elanna’s Quarters, 1700 hours: B’Elanna smiled when she saw Tom walk through the door. “Sorry I’m late. I was doing a couple more checks on the Flyer.” Tom began.


“I have Ensign Vorik and a work crew on it, they've been working almost non-stop since that away mission gone awry last week.” B’Elanna replied.


“I know. I just wanted to check on a couple little quirks I noticed with the impulse manifolds after the last shakedown flight.” Tom replied as he rolled his sleeves down.


“Getting the Flyer running again is a top priority.” B’Elanna replied.


“Sometimes a pilot likes to get some hands on his ship.” Tom replied, “But I’m so sorry I lost track of time.”


“I forgive you for that.” B’Elanna replied.


“And I’m gonna make it up to you.” Tom added as he guided her into a standing position, took her into his arms, and kissed her at first gently but then deepened the kiss.


As they broke the kiss Tom added, “Consider it a downpayment.”


“You’ll have to do better than that...” B’Elanna said with a toothy grin that said dinner was just going to be a formality.


“And I can.” Tom replied as he held her closer his lips finding B’Elanna’s again.


B’Elanna kissed Tom’s lips hungrily, as she chased Tom’s lips with her own. Dinner forgotten both of them followed a familiar yet well beloved path. Her hands raced for the zipper of Tom’s jacket and tugged at it as she hungrily kissed at his lips and then down to his neck.


As their path continued towards the bedroom of Tom’s quarters more pieces of their respective uniforms lay on the floor.


Several hours later B’Elanna rested her head on Tom’s right shoulder. She lay awake and she could tell Tom was as well. She could feel his heartrate slowing down from their exertions, his fingers tracing the ridges on her forehead.


“So am I out of the dog house?” Tom asked.


“Hmm...” B’Elanna sighed contentedly, “You made it up to me.”


“Remind me to be late for dates more often.” Tom said with a smile.


B’Elanna shifted her position and closed her eyes, her head resting on Tom’s chest, his arm around her waistline still. He pulled the covers up to the underside of B’Elanna’s chin before closing his eyes and settling off to sleep.

---

Coming up, the first signs of trouble and the beginnings of the away mission...

Dingo March 26 2009 05:57 AM

Prologues, Part II
 
Astrometrics, 0900 the Next Day: Tal Celes’ eyes went wide as she stared at her display as she gasped.


“Crewman Celes, elaborate on your cause for surprise.” Seven of Nine began.


“I’m reading a spatial rift opening at Bearing 310 Mark 2.” Celes began, “Distance 3 light years.”


Seven checked the console, “Are you also reading massive gravimetric eddies and distortions?”


“Yes.” Celes replied, “I’m also revealing possible starships emerging from the rift.”


“Possible?” Seven replied.


“There’s too much EM interference to scan from this far.” Celes said.


It seemed silly but she felt a chill creeping up her spine from these readings. It was absurd. She’d seen anomalies before and actually the readings weren’t nearly as complicated as that Class-T cluster.


Before Seven could say anything Celes added, “I’m passing my readings up to the Bridge.”


Seven merely nodded, “I will go to the Bridge. Monitor your stations and inform me if anything changes with the anomaly.”


Seven of Nine walked out of Astrometrics to the nearest turbolift, a PADD containing a snapshot of the last readings on the consoles in Astrometrics in her hand. It seemed that Celes was becoming more competent in her duties but she still required watching. This would be what she had heard Tom call an ‘acid test’, though the correlation between dipping anything in a caustic substance and the competence of an individual crewmember was lost on her. Perhaps speaking to the Doctor about the phenomenon called ‘Slang’ would be helpful for the next social lesson.


---


“Captain. Long range sensors are picking up a spatial rift Bearing 310 Mark 2.” Harry Kim began, “Astrometrics is sending a preliminary analysis.”


“What are they saying, Mr. Kim?” Captain Janeway replied.


“It’s too early to tell, but Astrometrics has reason to believed that at least one ship has emerged from the anomaly.” Kim replied.


At about that same moment the turbolift opened and Seven of Nine walked towards the Captain. “Seven, has this phenomenon ever been encountered by the Borg?”


“No Captain.” Seven replied.


Janeway scanned the contents of the PADD. “It is too early to tell if a ship has emerged from the anomaly. But the preliminary scans appear to show signs of a vessel.”


“Crewman Celes made the preliminary assessment and I concur.” Seven replied.


“Any information as to the configuration of the vessel, Seven?” Janeway asked.


“Again, no, the gravimetric distortions and eddies closest to the rift make scanning difficult.” Seven replied.

“Perhaps a closer look would be best.” Janeway replied.


“I recommend going to Yellow Alert.” Chakotay replied, Janeway turned to glance at him, “Just as a precaution. We might not know if that ship is hostile.”


“Good idea, Chakotay. Go to Yellow Alert. Mr. Paris, set a course for the anomaly, Warp 6.” Janeway began.


“Aye ma’am.” Tom Paris said from the helm and plotted the course.


Voyager turned towards the anomaly.


“I’ll be in my ready room.” Janeway replied, “Seven, keep Astrometrics running scans on that anomaly. Inform me if you’ve found anything more to confirm the presence of a ship.”


Seven left the bridge and Chakotay followed Janeway into the ready-room saying, “Mr. Tuvok, you have the bridge.”


“Aye sir.” Tuvok replied before taking the command chair.


---


“Yes Commander?” Janeway said as she saw Chakotay following her.


“I’m curious as to why we’re heading towards the anomaly.” Chakotay said.


“It’s the first of its kind encountered. And there’s the possibility of a vessel nearby it.” Janeway said, “I want to know if this rift could shorten our journey home and the possibility of making contact with an alien species that could possibly tell us more about this anomaly.”


“That’s what I figured your intent was, Kathryn.” Chakotay said, “But as First Officer I feel it is my duty to advise caution. The last time we encountered gravity fields like this was near the Hirogen relay network.”


“Astrometrics should inform me if the vessel has any signs of hostile activity.” Janeway said, “And that’s why I ordered the approach at Warp Six. It should take three days to reach the anomaly which should give us sufficient time to gather information at a distance and possibly even make contact with the ship.”


“I believe this is reasonably safe.” Chakotay replied, “I just had a couple recommendations.”


“Such as?” Janeway replied.


“Perhaps using the Flyer when we get closer.” Chakotay said, “It’s greater maneuverability would mean it could avoid the gravity eddies easier than the ship could.”


“I’d already planned for that.” Janeway said, “Have the Flyer ready by tommorrow.”


“Also, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have B’Elanna draw up a plan for reinforcing the shields and structural integrity systems.” Chakotay replied.


“Head for Engineering.” Janeway replied.


Chakotay half smiled before leaving the ready room and headed for the turbolift, “I’ll also have B’Elanna


---

Voyager continued on its course for the anomaly. Henry headed for the Mess Hall for lunch. He found Tal Celes and William Telfer already sitting there.


He got his tray from Neelix before heading over to the table and sitting down. “I heard someone found us a nice spatial rift.” Henry replied


Celes’ delicate features flushed noticeably.


Henry couldn’t help but feel a smile creep over his own face at Tal’s blush, something about making her smile or chuckle or anything of that sort made him feel good.


“What are you smiling at?” Tal asked him.


“Oh nothing. It’s an old Australian saying: ‘A good mood is contagious’.” Henry replied.


“That’s not an Australian saying.” Telfer replied.


“Can you prove otherwise mate?” Henry replied.


“So far that’s the fourth saying you’ve claimed is invented by the Australians.” Telfer replied.


“If I remember right there are a lot of cultures on Earth, are you saying the Australians have a monopoly on old Earth sayings?” Tal replied.


“A vast majority of them.” Henry replied.


“Don’t believe him.” Telfer added, “After knowing him for over six years you know he’ll claim everything and every proverb was invented by the Australians.”


“I thought humans gave up on the idea of individual nations centuries ago.” Tal replied.


“We did. But it’s also in our nature for us to be proud of our heritage. I’m proud I’m Australian.” Henry replied.


“So where are you from, Billy?” Tal asked.


“Encino, California.” Billy said.


“So are you proud of your heritage?” Tal asked.


“Proud enough. But I don’t claim California invented everything from the carburetor to every witty saying on Earth.” Billy replied.


Just then the warning for Red Alert sounded...



---

“Report.” Captain Janeway said as she headed for the bridge.


“A Vaadwaur fighter just dropped out of subspace.” Tuvok reported.


“Evasive maneuvers?” Tom asked.



“Not yet. Ensign Kim, open a channel to them.” Janeway replied, “Raise shields and charge phasers.”


“Vaadwaur fighter,” Janeway began, “This is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager. State your intentions...”


“No response, ma’am.” Harry replied.


“Ma’am the Vaadwaur ship’s engines are offline.” Tom replied, “They’re drifting in space.”


“I’m reading at least two hull breaches and severe battle damage.” Tuvok replied.


“Lifesigns?” Janeway asked.


“One, erratic.” Tuvok replied.


“Bridge to Sickbay,” Janeway replied as she headed for her chair, “Doctor we’ve come upon a Vaadwaur ship with one erratic lifesign. We may have a wounded crewman heading your way.”


“Acknowledged.” the Doctor’s voice echoed.


Janeway turned to Chakotay and said, “Commander, take an away team to the Vaadwaur ship.”


“Tuvok, Seven you’re with me. Captain, permission to take members of the Search and Rescue detachment as well?” Chakotay replied.


“Granted.” Janeway replied.


“Chakotay to Lieutenant Kano.” Chakotay began after tapping his comm badge.


“Kano here, go ahead sir.” Henry replied.


“We have an away mission on a derelict spacecraft.” Chakotay replied.


“My team’s already assembled, sir.” Henry replied.


“We won’t need all eight of your team, lieutenant. Meet us in Transporter Room Two as soon as you’ve briefed your team.” Chakotay replied.


“Aye sir, Kano out.” Henry replied.


---


Search and Rescue Team Room, Aft of Astrometrics: “Right,” Henry said as he glanced at his PADD, “We have a Vaadwaur fighter adrift in space, evidence of battle damage. Preliminary scans reveal one lifesign, erratic.”


“Any other sign of Vaadwaur ships in the area?” Chief Kurt Elmore asked.


“None seen so far.” Henry replied, “Commander Chakotay said he only needs half our team. Chief, I’d like to have you along for this one. If I know Chakotay he’s gonna want to see if we can’t exploit some of that Vaadwaur subspace travel technology.”


Henry turned towards a slim blonde female petty officer, “Tarbox, I’d like to have you as our primary medic.”


“Yes sir.” Tarbox replied, “Were there any more life signs recognized, sir?”


“None reported other than the one erratic lifesign, but Vaadwaur fighters can carrry around six people.” Henry replied.


“I am always ready for more than one sir.” Tarbox replied.


Henry turned towards a stocky, muscular fellow, “Tanner. I want you for security on this op.”


“Roger sir.” Tanner replied.


“Back up team?” Petty Officer First Class John Russo, a tall lanky, balding fellow with a manner reminiscent of the cowboys he was descended from.


“Be on ready five.” Henry replied.


“Aye sir.” Russo replied.


“We leave in twenty minutes, Transporter Room 2.” Henry replied.


---


Transporter Room Two: As the away team mustered Henry felt and old and familiar feeling course through him. He checked through his equipment for the hundredth time. Tricorder was functioning properly, as was his light beacon, and his hand phaser was fully charged.


“I want a section by section sweep of the ship.” Chakotay began, “Seven, you, Kano, and Tuvok are with me, we’ll start with the forward section of the ship and work our way aft. Chief, take the rest of the team and sweep the aft section of that fighter and work your way forward.”


“Aye sir.” Chief Elmore replied.


The team materialized onto the Vaadwaur ship. The lights flickered on and off. The passageway was strewn with debris from a nearby console that had exploded and the starboard bulkhead and ceiling looked as if some lunatic with an asteroid mining phaser had gotten a tad trigger happy.


A creature lay dead on the floor, ripped in half from left hip to right shoulder. Standing about a meter tall, it was black as liquid asphalt, with claw-like hands.


Henry took his phaser from his hip and held it out before him.


“Elmore to Chakotay. Aft compartment secured.” The sound echoed eerily through the wrecked forward compartment of the Vaadwaur vessel.


Chakotay tapped his comm badge, “Acknowledged.”
“Looking more like they were boarded every step we’re taking.” Chief Elmore’s voice echoed.


“I’ve got two more corpses just past this bulkhead.” Henry began as they went into the next compartment.


Seven scanned the corpses with her tricorder, “Commander, preliminary scans reveal that this creature lacks a heart.”


Before Chakotay could respond there was a clash of metal against a console. The sound of a panel shattering could be heard in the next room. The door was sealed ahead of them.


Tuvok aimed his phaser at the door, using it as a cutting torch. He’d cut a hole large enough for the team to go in one by one.


Tuvok entered the room, Henry right after him. From an alcove near Henry a creature charged out. The creature was Vaadwaur but at the same time, not Vaadwaur. Half of it’s skin was blackened almost charred but there was no smell of burned flesh. One eye was normal, the other a glowing yellow orb. Half the flesh on its face was blackened, two antennae protruded from its forehead. One arm was normal, save for the ripped sleeve and the many cuts and bruises. The other arm was charcoal black and ended in a twisted claw. Blood and some unidentifiable inky black fluid leaked from wounds on its torso.


The creature let out a roar and charged. Henry fired his phaser, striking the creature in the center of its chest. It only sent the creature to one knee. Henry backed up and luckily managed to dodge a claw swipe that would have eviscerated him had he been standing one centimeter closer to the thing when it lunged. Henry let fly with another blast from his phaser. This time the mutated Vaadwaur crumpled to the deck.


“Kano to Chakotay.” Henry said.


“Go ahead.” Chakotay replied as he walked into the room

“I’ve got one live hostile stunned. Permission to transport it directly to Sickbay.” Henry replied.


“Standby.” Chakotay replied before tapping his comm badge, “Chakotay to Voyager. We encountered a hostile alien on the Vaadwaur ship, wounded. Request permission to beam it to Sickbay.”


Janeway’s voice came back over the comm system: “Granted.”


In the background Chakotay could hear Janeway issuing the orders to erect a Level 10 forcefield around Sickbay and for a security team to meet them.


The creature disappeared in the shimmer of a transporter beam as another report came in over the comm, “Chakotay, this is Elmore. We’ve finished our sweep of the aft section and starting our download of the Vaadwaur computer core.” Elmore replied.


“Alright. Once the download’s complete we’ll head back to Voyager.” Chakotay replied.


“Acknowledged. I’ll inform you when we’re done.” Elmore replied.


“No sign of transporter signatures. But definite battle damage.” Tuvok said.


“Perhaps they were physically boarded. At least one of those hull breaches looks large enough to get one of those humanoids through.” Petty Officer John Tanner replied.


“Perhaps.” Tuvok said, “However there did not appear to be evidence of another vessel in the vicinity of this one.”


“Elmore to Chakotay.” Came the sound over the comm, “Computer download complete.”


“Let’s find some answers. Chakotay to Voyager. Eight to beam out.”

---

To be continued...

DavidFalkayn March 26 2009 12:35 PM

Re: Star Trek: Voyager - Dark Realm
 
An interesting beginning. If I might offer a note of constructive criticism--you might want to spend some time 'scenery painting'. Setting the scene is something that is all too frequently ignored in fan fiction, but it is very important--just as important as dialogue. Little things like clothing--yes, they all wear uniforms but does one character tend to just slough on any old thing without regard as to freshness or is her uniform always crisp and neat? What sort of bric a brac might a character have in their quarters?

Quote:

The creature was Vaadwaur but at the same time, not Vaadwaur. Half of it’s skin was blackened almost charred but there was no smell of burned flesh. One eye was normal, the other a glowing yellow orb. Half the flesh on its face was blackened, two antennae protruded from its forehead. One arm was normal, save for the ripped sleeve and the many cuts and bruises. The other arm was charcoal black and ended in a twisted claw. Blood and some unidentifiable inky black fluid leaked from wounds on its torso.
This is a lot like what I'm talking about--show, don't tell.

Dingo March 26 2009 12:42 PM

Re: Star Trek: Voyager - Dark Realm
 
I'll take that under advisement. I've gotten better with that as time's gone on, but I'm still working at it. Thanks for the review.

mirandafave March 27 2009 12:23 AM

Re: Star Trek: Voyager - Dark Realm
 
Agree with David, there's a lot of dialogue but not much in the way of scenery painting. That siad, I think there are nice touches and the dialogue is good.

But my main point that I would like to make is the fact I love you are doing a lower decks POV by and large. Certainly, they are getting more screen time. If I ever went back to an idea I had to reimagine Voyager this is the approach I would have taken. Now that you are doing it, I don't need to heh heh. Well done for going that route.

I will follow with interest to see where you go with this.

CeJay March 27 2009 09:35 PM

Re: Star Trek: Voyager - Dark Realm
 
I liked the lower decks perspective here as well. I usually don't read fanfic based on an established Trek incarnation but this did have the feel like a real Voyager story.

As for your style, I like dialog, especially when it flows well. It gives your story a great, fast pace.

But yeah, some more description could help give your characters a bit more depth.

Dingo March 29 2009 05:29 AM

Prologues, Part III
 
The senior staff was assembled in the Ready Room as Chakotay began his presentation. “From the data downloaded from the Vaadwaur computer they were attacked by several unknown alien vessels. Shortly after their shields had collapsed they were boarded by an indeterminate number of unknown lifeforms and attacked.”


“From what we’ve seen these creatures may have some ability to mutate other humanoids.” Tuvok replied.


“The creature that attacked Lieutenant Kano?” Janeway asked.


“Yes.” Chakotay replied.


“Status?” Janeway asked.


“It’s behind a Level 10 forcefield in Sickbay, still stunned by the phaser blast.” Chakotay said, “We’ve also got two corpses of the aliens that attacked the Vaadwaur. Ensign Wildman and Crewman Telfer are in Exobiology performing their analysis. They’ll report when they’re complete.”


“Sickbay to Captain Janeway.” The Doctor’s voice sounded.


“Go ahead, Doctor.” Janeway replied, after tapping her comm badge.


“Please report to Sickbay.” the Doctor replied.


“On my way.” Janeway replied as she headed down to Sickbay with Chakotay in tow.

---

The doors to Sickbay flew open as Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay walked through it. “Report.” Janeway said.


“Our guest began to awaken. When I attempted to sedate him I discovered that abnormal adrenaline levels prevent sedation. To sedate him now would be about as hard as sedating a Hirogen.” The Doctor replied as he stood as a discrete distance from the field where the Vaadwaur-mutate was currently throwing itself at the force field.


Lieutenant Ayala felt uneasy as he watched the Vaadwaur mutant fling itself against the forcefield. This was at least the third such attack and each attack caused the lights in sickbay to flicker as the power grid diverted energy to maintain the forcefield to keep the thing confined. That latest assault caused the black, clawlike arm to stick out beyond the forcefield before the energy barrier forced the creature back inside the contained area.


Janeway stepped forward closer to the forcefield. Ayala instinctively maneuvered for a clear line of sight. If that creature got anywhere near Janeway or miraculously managed to break through the forcefield he’d blast it on sight.


“I’m Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager.” Janeway began, “Can you tell us who did this to you?”


The creature flung itself against the forcefield one more time.


“We aren’t trying to imprison you. We want to help you.” Janeway began.


“I cannot be helped!” the Vaadwaur mutate replied.


“We can’t help you if you won’t tell us what happened to you.” Janeway replied, “We know your ship was attacked by these alien lifeforms.”


“We were hiding from a Hirogen vessel that had attacked our sister ship. We hid inside a nebula when we came under attack. But it wasn’t the Hirogen. It was far worse.” The Mutate replied.


“What are they?” Janeway asked.


“We have no name for these creatures. But when they attacked they disabled our shields and boarded us.” The Mutate replied, “They attacked us. Mutating us somehow...I don’t know how but they did. We started to turn on each other.”


As Janeway was about to reply the Mutate stared straight at the ceiling, screaming as it arched it’s back. It clawed at its forehead, red blood mingled with the inky black fluid. The Mutate’s height decreased dramatically. A glowing heart shaped object floated in the air momentarily before it vanished. All it’s Vaadwaur features vanished as it’s body transformed into a meter high alien, with flesh black as midnight, clawed hands, antennae coming from its forehead and it began to vanish in a shimmering blackness.


It reappeared on the other side of the forcefield and jumped atop Captain Janeway. Janeway staggered back a couple paces before hitting the ground and landing squarely on her back. Ayala was fast on the draw. His phaser was off his hip and in his hand faster than he could think. He fired a blast on a high setting that sent the creature flying backward with a hole burned through its side.


Janeway stood up swiftly and said, “Thank you Mister Ayala.”


As they walked out of Sickbay, Chakotay asked, “Are you alright, Kathryn?”


“I’ll be fine, Chakotay.” Janeway replied, “Doctor, be sure you get in touch with Ensign Wildman, compare your findings with hers.”


“Yes ma’am.” The Doctor replied.


---


Exobiology Lab, Fifteen Minutes After the Attack: Samantha Wildman brushed a stray strand of her blonde hair from her forehead. “Telfer, hand me the laser scalpel.” Wildman asked.


Telfer complied and stood back as Samantha performed a standard Y-incision on the creature’s chest.


“This thing shouldn’t be alive.” Wildman noted, “There’s a distinct lack of a heart, only some sort of air-like sack where a lung should be.”

Telfer walked stepped a bit closer peering over Samantha’s shoulder. “Maybe the organ was destroyed by the phaser blast?” Telfer offered.


“No that would have required a more powerful burst.” Wildman replied, as she moved out of the way to give Telfer a better view, “And there’s no evidence of energy damage to adjacent organs the way a high powered blast would.”


“A focused blast then?” Telfer asked.


“I’m still not convinced that the heart was obliterated in it’s entirety.” Samantha replied, “Besides where’s the over penetration consistent with a focused high power phaser blast? The epidermis of this heartless creature doesn’t seem especially tough, I’d say roughly the consistency of moderately tough leather. A focused high power blast would punch all the way through the back of the creature.”


“How does it circulate it’s blood then?” Telfer had asked.


“I’d venture due to the heavily muscular nature of that organ it uses pressure differentials to circulate the fluids through the body.” Samantha said, “And there is evidence of some sort of aneaerobic respiratory process I can’t make heads or tails of.”

“So this thing could survive in a vaccum?” Telfer asked.


“In theory. I’m not certain that it is the case. And at any rate it’s blood, if that’s what this congealed black substance is, appears to have a naturally viscous state.” Wildman replied.


“It’s brain is almost that of a sentient lifeform.” Telfer said, “But the processes that support it would be sufficient for a less advanced lifeform, not an intelligent sentient.”


“There are repto-humanoids out there.” Wildman replied, “The life supporting processes we hypothesize this creature has could plausibly support a reptilian species.”


“It’s possible it’s another type of lifeform entirely.” Telfer replied.


“The Vaadwaur ship’s logs did dictate they were attacked by hostile ships and that these creatures beamed aboard.” Wildman replied, “However it’s possible that these creatures are just bred as foot soldiers.”


“There aren’t really any of the markers that indicate genetic engineering though.” Telfer added.

“The protein structures aren’t consistent with genetic engineering, yes. But we can’t rule it out.” Wildman replied.


“The antennae suggest a hive brain or another means of communication.” Telfer added.


“So based on what we’ve seen we see a creature with standard humanoid intelligence levels. It sounds like a sentient lifeform or maybe a higher order semi-sentient under the thrall of a higher intelligence. A hive mind.” Samantha said.


“Maybe that’s their only method of communication. I mean there’s no evidence of vocal cords.” Telfer added.



“Very good.” Samantha beamed with approval, “Take these to the Captain. I’ll finish up in here.”


“Right away sir.” Telfer replied.


---


Ready Room, 1600 Hours: Tal Celes walked into the Ready Room as she gently pushed a stray strand of brown hair from her face. A small smile creased her features when she saw Henry already there, slouched in a chair and reading from a PADD in his left hand. There was a steaming cup of tea near his right hand.


He seemed engrossed in his reading as she crossed the room and slid a chair beside Henry. The sound of the chair scraping across the deck grabbed Henry’s attention.


Henry turned and smiled when he watched Tal slide her slender form into the chair. She turned to face him, her brown eyes shining. Henry always thought Tal’s eyes were her best feature, they were a rich, deep shade of brown like the best quality chocolate.


“What are you reading?” Tal asked.


“Just some old letters from home, back when we had found that Hirogen communication network.” Henry replied.


“Oh.” Tal replied.


“I was just reading an old letter from my brother about my dog.” Henry replied, “I’ve got a picture actually.”


Henry input a couple things into the PADD, “Here.”


Tal leaned over to look at the picture on Henry’s PADD and as she did so Henry felt something soft and warm against his upper left arm. Her breast.


Hmm, he’s wearing that aftershave again. Prophets, I love that smell. Tal thought.


Tal glanced over Henry’s shoulder and smiled when she saw a trio of pictures of a large gray dog with a white underside and paws. The first was the dog as a young puppy on a grassy knoll, sitting with it’s mouth open. The second was Henry with a somewhat older version of the pup, a juvenile. The third was another picture of the dog with a younger man with an adolescent boy.


“That’s Titus, my dog. I got him about seven years ago.” Henry replied.


“He’s adorable.” Tal said as Henry handed her the PADD.


“Even now he’s practically thirty-kilogram lap puppy.” Henry replied, “Hard to believe this breed of dog was the victim of hysteria and near enforced extinction on Earth over three hundred years ago.”


“What breed of dog is he?” Tal asked.


“He’s an American Staffordshire Terrier, or an AmStaff for short.” Henry replied.


“Why did they want this breed extinct?” Tal asked.


“To know that, you have to know the history of the breed.” Henry replied, “It started over six hundred years ago in the British Isles and Ireland when animal fighting was popular. First they’d have stocky, muscular dogs called ‘Bulldogs’ fighting bulls or bears but then in 1830 animal fighting, or ‘baiting’, became illegal. It was a lot easier to have clandestine dogfights but the large bull-dogs were less inclined to fight each other than larger prey. So people started crossbreeding bulldogs and scrappy hunting dogs called ‘terriers’ to combine the strength and athleticism of a bulldog with the gameness of a terrier.”


“So basically it’s like vole fighting? That’s awful. Is that what Titus...”


“Goodness no. There haven’t been dogfights on Earth for centuries.” Henry replied, “Anyway, these Bull-and-Terriers, or Pitbulls were not just dog fighters. As time went on British and Irish settlers to the United States took their dogs with them. As settlers moved into the unsettled American West the Pitbulls and what would eventually become the American Staffordshire Terrier breed went with them. Yes there were dogfights but they were much more likely to be used as all purpose working dogs, herding semi-wild cattle, protecting their families from human and animal predators, and other such things.”


“When did people start wanting them extinct?” Tal asked.


“That was in the late twentieth century.” Henry replied, “A rash of dog attacks combined with longstanding underground dogfights which sadly Pitbulls were favored for because of their gameness, eager to please attitudes, and strength. Combined with an overly hysteria based news system that sensationalized dog attacks and blamed every attack on a Pitbull and thus it’s cousin the AmStaff there was legislation banning these dogs in many parts of Earth.”


“Why blame the dogs? Why not hold the breeders who bred them to fight and the criminals that organized these fights?” Tal replied.

“I was getting there. Anyway it took nearly two hundred years before bully breeds were able to shake their violent image.” Henry replied.


“Bully breeds?” Tal asked.


“So named because they were derived from bulldog stock.” Henry replied.


“It’s such a confusing history.” Tal said, “And there’s an astounding array of dog breeds.”


“That’s the case. They were bred for a myriad of uses.” Henry replied.


“Where’s he staying now?” Tal asked.


“I had him stay with my parents when I got sent on this assignment.” Henry replied, “He’s been staying with them ever since.”


Tal pointed at the third picture, “Who are they?”


“My brothers. The older lad is Michael.” Henry replied as he indicated the tall, thin young man with curly black hair and a black goatee and mustache.


“And they younger lad is David.” Henry replied, indicating a young man about sixteen years old with a mop of black hair atop his head as well as a delicate little nose, “He’s got a lot more of mum’s features than any of us.”


“Handsome boy.” Tal replied.


“How about your family, Tal?“ Henry asked, “I’ve known you for almost six years but I’d never got around to asking you about your family.”



“Well. I was born on Bajor, but barely remember it. I never really knew my parents because I was adopted when I was three.” Tal replied.


“I’m so sorry.” Henry replied putting a comforting arm around her shoulders.


Tal felt her heartrate go up, the way it usually did whenever he touched her. She hoped that the flush in her face and the heat in her ears weren’t too obvious.


“Thank you. But it was so long ago that I was found at my adopted parents’ restaurant on Tanada Bay on Ajilon Prime.” Tal replied, “Anyway. When I was three I was taken off of Bajor one night and taken to Ajilon Prime. I remember someone left me at a restaurant owned by a Bajoran couple that eventually adopted me.”


“Did you hear from them when we got those letters home a couple years ago?” Henry asked.


“Yes. They’re doing well considering the Klingons destroyed their business when they attacked Ajilon Prime.” Tal replied.


“What?” Henry asked, “Oh the Klingon-Federation War four years ago.”


“Dad insisted Mom take her holiday early and visit her family on Bajor. He was injured in an attack but survived and when he went to see the restaurant, he found a majority of it had been destroyed. Apparently the Klingons had been using it as a barracks. They broke several of our mapa wood tables into kindling to roast meat on.” Tal replied.


“Were the able to rebuild?” Henry replied.


“I think so. When I received my last letter from home they said that they were talking to our insurance agent to rebuild.” Tal replied.


“That’s good to hear.” Henry replied.


“So any idea what this is all about?” Tal asked him.


“Something about an away mission.” Henry replied, “So I’ve heard anyway.”


“Oh no.” Tal replied.


“No worries. Your last away mission may not have been all that great, but this one might not be too difficult.” Henry replied, “I’ve got every confidence in you.”


Tal smiled, “Thank you.”


Henry smiled back and felt that warmth in his body, the way he always felt whenever Tal smiled at him. It was then that William Telfer walked into the room.


Tom Paris walked into the room just then before taking the seat across from Henry. He leaned back in his chair casually as William Telfer walked into the room.


“If it isn’t the man of the hour.” Tom replied.



“What are you talking about?” Tal replied before remembering that she was on duty and added a belated, “Sir.”


Tom smiled nonchalantly, “Well, our good friend Mr. Telfer presented Exobiology’s findings from those strange alien corpses discovered on the Vaadwaur ship. Captain Janeway was rather impressed with Exobiology’s findings, especially the work of Ensign Wildman and Crewman Telfer.”


Billy sat down across from Tal with a shy smile on his face.


A few minutes later Petty Officer Third Class Kenneth Dalby walked into the room. His sleeves were rolled up. “What’s this about? My work crew’s on the Flyer and we’re shorthanded right now.”


“Something to do with an away mission.” Tom replied.


The door opened again and Captain Janeway with Seven of Nine in tow walked into the room. “I suppose you’re wondering why exactly you’re here. Well, you’re here because of the spatial rift discovered by Astrometrics. The gravimetric eddies around the anomaly are too dangerous for Voyager to venture close to. We’ve decided to send the Delta Flyer ahead to monitor the anomaly.”


“Voyager will remain on the outskirts of the anomaly, 3 million kilometers distant.” Seven replied, pointing to a display.


The sound of several chairs shifting so that the away team members could get a better look at the display could be heard.


“We will send the Delta Flyer ahead to gather readings from the anomaly. The Flyer’s greater maneuverability would be an asset in those gravimetric eddies.” Seven replied.


“What about the shields? Shouldn’t there be changes to the shield modulation due to all those fluctations?” Dalby asked.


“I’ve had Lieutenant Torres modify the shields on a rotating band modulation, similar to settings used against the Borg, but adapted for gravimetric distortions. Similar modifications will be performed on the Delta Flyer.” Captain Janeway replied.


“Because of those gravimetric distortions and eddies I want our best pilot on the Flyer. Ensign Paris, you qualify for that in all respects.” Janeway continued, “You have overall mission command.”


“Thank you ma’am, I’ll keep us riding the rapids safely.” Tom replied.


“Crewman Celes, I want you constantly scanning and transmitting your findings back to Voyager. I want you to confirm the presence of alien ships.” Janeway added.


“Yes ma’am.” Celes replied.


“The possibility that the aliens might be hostile exists. Especially if they are of that unknown species that attacked the Vaadwaur fighter we came upon earlier.” Janeway replied, “Crewman Telfer, that’s where you come in. If we make first contact I want you to ascertain anything you can about that species.”


“I’ll do my best, ma’am.” Telfer replied.


“I know you will.” Janeway said before turning towards Henry, “Lieutenant Kano, we are facing potentially hostile aliens, I want you on tactical for the Flyer and to treat any injuries if they do occur.”


“Aye ma’am.” Henry replied.


“Petty Officer Dalby, I want you on the Flyer to handle damage control and the new shield modifications.” Janeway replied.


“Yes ma’am.” Dalby replied with a nod.


“You know your posts, study the mission particulars and get some rest. You leave at 1300 hours, tomorrow. Dismissed.” Janeway replied.


The away team filed out of the Ready Room.


===


To Be Continued: Up next the Away Team prepares for its mission and departs to carry out its task. But all is not what it seems...

mirandafave March 29 2009 01:30 PM

Re: Star Trek: Voyager - Dark Realm
 
The Lower Decks perspective keeps up. two little grumbles, if you don't mind.

One, when Ayala was in the medical bay he had to draw his rifle to shoot the creature. This despite previously stating:
Quote:

Ayala instinctively manoeuvred for a clear line of sight. If that creature got anywhere near Janeway or miraculously managed to break through the forcefield he’d blast it on sight.
I'd have thought at this point he might have drawn his weapon instead of waiting for trouble.

Second grumble doesn't really count either, just this rather important away team is comprised of very junior crew. I'd have expected someone else apart from Paris to come along. However, for purposes of plot and to uphold the Lower Decks perspective we have to forego that detail. Also, that would be a complaint we'd normally have in Voyager, that it was the same away team personnel every time and a case of putting all eggs into the one basket.

Must commend you for Wildman and Telfer scene. The detail and 'science' behind their observations was great to read. It added to the atmosphere and the mystery behind the aliens plus it added to the stock of these characters. Excellent anyway. It's the type of scene detail I like.

Keep trucking.

Dingo March 29 2009 05:29 PM

Re: Star Trek: Voyager - Dark Realm
 
mirandafave,

Thanks, I'm glad my work improved. Regarding your first complaint, perhaps I should've been a bit more clear, Ayala was using a hand phaser, as this line suggests:

Quote:

His phaser was off his hip and in his hand faster than he could think. He fired a blast on a high setting that sent the creature flying backward with a hole burned through its side.
I planned on writing Ayala as being very fast on the draw (I imagine such a skill being supremely important for any Maquis wishing to die in bed at a ripe old age).

Quote:

Second grumble doesn't really count either, just this rather important away team is comprised of very junior crew. I'd have expected someone else apart from Paris to come along. However, for purposes of plot and to uphold the Lower Decks perspective we have to forego that detail. Also, that would be a complaint we'd normally have in Voyager, that it was the same away team personnel every time and a case of putting all eggs into the one basket.
Well, I'm glad your enjoying yourself. I'll keep up the writing and try to show more than tell and keep that good dialogue you like so much with my story.

Quote:

Must commend you for Wildman and Telfer scene. The detail and 'science' behind their observations was great to read. It added to the atmosphere and the mystery behind the aliens plus it added to the stock of these characters. Excellent anyway. It's the type of scene detail I like.
I like Samantha Wildman and thought about including her in the away team, but decided against it. I figured she'd be more useful on Voyager for more study on the aliens and coming to more conclusions.

Thanks for your kind words,

Dingo

Dingo March 31 2009 10:42 PM

Prologues, Part IV
 
Mess Hall, 1800 Hours: Tal Celes sat at the table with Billy Telfer as she ate dinner. “You’ve barely eaten anything.” Telfer observed, “Is something wrong?”


“I’m just a little nervous about the away mission, that’s all.” Tal replied as she moved her fork around the plate, just picking at the meal.



“That’s a Jibelian Berry Salad, it’s not exactly one of Neelix’s more radical concoctions.” Billy said, “If you want I could give you one of my replicator rations and you can replicate yourself some mapa bread or hasperat.”


“Oh no, Billy I couldn’t do that to you. And it’s not what’s being served that’s bugging me, it’s something else.” Tal replied.


“It’s not the away mission, is it?” Billy replied.


“It is and kinda not.” Tal replied.


“So you’re nervous about the away mission. I got you. And what else?” Billy said.


Tal stared at him for a little bit as she lightly chewed on a bit of her salad, should she tell him? Should she say what was written on her heart and mind for almost a year now?

“It’s the away mission. You know how we’re gonna be in close quarters on the Flyer...”


“Henry?” Billy asked gently.


Tal nodded.


“You’ve felt this way about him for a while, haven’t you? How long?” Billy asked, softly.


“Almost a year.” Tal replied.


“Have you said anything to him?” Billy replied.


“No. I mean I’m just not sure I should. I mean he is an officer...” Tal replied.


“First of all, there are no Starfleet regulations that say that you two can’t date each other. And in case you haven’t noticed, Henry’s not like a lot of the other officers.” Billy replied as he gently put his right hand on top of her left hand which was draped on the table.


“It’s not just the legal aspect. It’s just that I don’t know if he feels the same way. And anyway if things go wrong we couldn’t go back to being friends again.” Tal replied as she put her fork down and put her right hand on top of his.


“What makes you so certain he doesn’t feel the same way.” Billy said, “I saw you two making eyes at each other before and even during Captain Janeway’s briefing.”


“Really?” Tal replied.


“Yeah. I’m no expert, admittedly, but like any scientist I observe things.” Billy said, “And I come to conclusions as well.”


“So you think he feels the same way?” Tal said.


“No way to make any conclusions unless you actually talk to him about it.” Billy said.


“I will. But after the mission. I don’t think now’s the proper time.” Tal replied.


“You’re stalling.” Billy replied.


“I am not!” Tal protested, “I don’t think the night before an away mission is the best time to talk about things like this.”


“You promise you’ll talk to him when this mission’s over?” Billy replied.


“I promise you I’ll do that.” Tal replied.

“Don’t promise me.” Billy said with an enigmatic smile, “Promise yourself.”


Meanwhile neither Tal nor Billy had really noticed Lieutenant Ayala standing up and walking out of the Mess Hall, out of earshot but able to sort of lip read words from Tal and Billy from his table.


---


Deck 8, 1825 Hours: “There you are. I was wondering where you’d gotten to.” Ayala began as he partially jogged to catch up to Henry.


He saw the Australian walk out of the Search and Rescue Team Room, his sleeves rolled up. He just finished punching some numbers into a keypad before he turned to face Ayala.


“Just doing some last minute checks on my gear before I go eat dinner and turn in before the away mission.” Henry replied.


“I figured you be eating with Celes and Telfer like you normally do.” Ayala replied.


“Well, Mike, I just had my pre-mission checks to do.” Henry replied.



“Are you sure it isn’t something else?” Ayala replied.


“What do you mean?” Henry replied.


“Tal Celes.” Ayala replied.


“Will you bloody lay off the subject?” Henry replied.


“You seem a bit touchy, at least when it comes to a certain Bajoran.” Ayala replied.


“May I ask why you’re choosing now to bring this up, mate?” Henry asked.


“Well, you to are about to be on an away mission in close proximity to each other.” Ayala replied.


“All the more reason, assuming your assumptions are correct.” Henry replied.


“So you do have feelings about Celes?” Ayala replied


“We’re just friends.” Henry protested.


“Tell yourself that. But has it ever occurred to you that maybe she just might feel the same way?” Ayala replied.


“Look, mate, the night before an away mission isn’t the best time to go and try and find out things like this.” Henry replied.


“Or it could be the best night.” Ayala replied, “Although you two might not get much sleep out of it in that scenario.”


Henry fixed him with a glare.


“I was just kidding.” Ayala said as he held up his hands and took a step back.


“And besides she does mean more to me than just a single roll in the hay.” Henry replied.


“I wasn’t implying you only want her for a one night stand.” Ayala replied, “I know you care about her, and you’re worried that she might not feel the same way. Well, I’ll leave you with this thought my friend: she just might feel the same way about you.”


“You’re kidding me, right?” Henry replied.


“Not necessarily. Think about the differences between the two of you. She’s a crewman, you’re a lieutenant. She’s had some competence issues, you’re a Search and Rescue expert. But you’ve got part of the battle, depending on your point of view, you’re already one of her closest friends.” Ayala replied.


“How exactly are you such an expert on what goes on in a woman’s heart?” Henry replied.


“Hey, you Australians are wilderness savvy, we South Americans are woman savvy.” Ayala replied.


“Anyway I’m off to my quarters. I’m using my replicator rations for a steak and some chips.” Henry replied.


“And risk eating Neelix’s food for another two weeks?” Ayala said.


“Hey. It’s my pre-away mission ritual.” Henry replied as he headed for his quarters.


---


Kenneth Dalby tuned his coil spanner as he adjusted a modulator for the forward phaser array of the Delta Flyer . After he adjusted the modulator he did a check on the track while scan sensor. It was working just fine.


“Lieutenant?” Dalby said as he crawled out from under the Flyer.

“Yes?” B’Elanna Torres said as she poked her head out from the Flyer’s door.


“Phaser array recalibrations are done.” Dalby replied.


“OK. What about the torpedo launchers?” Torres asked.


“I did it during lunch.” Dalby replied.


B’Elanna stepped out of the Flyer and ran a quick diagnostic on the torpedo launcher. “Huh. Good job.” B’Elanna remarked.


“I found out why there’s a launch sequence error after firing a single shot with the torpedo launcher.” Dalby replied.


“Oh?” B’Elanna replied.


“I noticed the reloading mechanism was out of synch so I replaced it with a spare. I’ve got Harren and Chell on that assignment.” Dalby replied.


“Harren and Chell?” B’Elanna asked.


“Well I figured they were up to the task. Given the right incentive.” Dalby replied with an enigmatic grin.


“And just what was the ‘incentive’?” B’Elanna replied.


“Let’s say that Harren would be receiving manual power transfer requests almost non-stop until he helped Chell fix the reloading mechanism.” Dalby replied.


“How did you convince Chell?” B’Elanna asked.


“Well. Let’s just say that I bribed him with a week’s worth of replicator rations.” Dalby replied.


“So you used bribery and an unauthorized deviation from normal power transfer protocols to get work done?” B’Elanna replied.


“Yes sir.” Dalby replied.


“Dalby, a creative approach but try not to get too creative with your approach to problem solving.” B’Elanna replied.


“Well, that’s all the tasks I had to do for getting the Flyer ready for tomorrow’s mission.” Dalby said, “If there’s nothing else?”


“Not at all. Get some dinner and some rest.” B’Elanna said.


“Yes sir.” Dalby replied before gathering his tools and walking out of the shuttlebay.


B’Elanna was about to leave herself when Tom walked in.


“Doing more checks?” B’Elanna replied.

“Yeah.” Tom replied.


“Don’t tell me you’re standing me up.” B’Elanna replied.


“Not at all.” Tom replied as he walked around the Flyer. He examined panels and checked various pieces of equipment.


A moment of realization swept of B’Elanna. Tom was doing checks and to the casual observer they seemed to be genuine. But B’Elanna knew Tom too well to be fooled.


“You’re not doing checks.” B’Elanna finally concluded.


“What?” Tom said.


“I’m guessing you’re here for the express purpose of a little back and forth banter, tinged with more than a little innuendo.” B’Elanna began as she stepped closer to Tom with her characteristic ‘I’m going into Klingon mode right now’ manner.


Tom began to back up, wondering what exactly he did to provoke one of B’Elanna’s moods.


“The goal you have is probably to say yes to a little us time before you go on a potentially dangerous away mission. Well I have news for you. I’m on to your little scheme.” B’Elanna said.


“Damn.” Tom replied.


“I’m not finished yet Tom.” B’Elanna said.


“Ok. Ok. Let me have it.” Tom said. Poor choice of words. He inwardly groaned until B’Elanna spoke again.


“And I just want to say: I’m all for it.” B’Elanna said before taking the final step. The two kissed deeply for a long slow interval before parting for want of air, “I think my quarters are a little closer...”


They walked out of the shuttlebay shortly thereafter, Tom with his left arm around her waistline and B'Elanna with her right arm draped around the back of his neck and shoulders. Tom lightly kissed her as they walked out of the door.

---

To Be Continued...

fleetcaptain April 3 2009 04:57 PM

Re: Prologues, Part IV
 
Interesting story so far. I take it this takes place during season six? Can't wait to read more.

RobertScorpio April 3 2009 05:01 PM

Re: Prologues, Part IV
 
Quote:

fleetcaptain wrote: (Post 2791280)
Interesting story so far. I take it this takes place during season six? Can't wait to read more.

I'm with Captain..I just started reading this a couple days ago and I like this...this is good...keep it up

Rob

Dingo April 3 2009 05:23 PM

Re: Star Trek: Voyager - Dark Realm
 
Quote:

Interesting story so far. I take it this takes place during season six? Can't wait to read more.
Yep. This takes place during Season Six.

Quote:

I'm with Captain..I just started reading this a couple days ago and I like this...this is good...keep it up

Rob
I'm glad you enjoy this. I've got more stuff coming in the next day or so.

CeJay April 4 2009 09:23 AM

Re: Star Trek: Voyager - Dark Realm
 
A lot of flirtations and realtionship issues going on here. Not a bad thing at all especially because your lower decks crewmembers are quite the likeable bunch.

I thought Henry and Tal's conversation about dog breeding was interesting, if not a little bit to detailed. With a segment like that you always risk that people who don't particular care about the subject will zone out or skip it entirely.

Also you might want to have another look at the beginning of the mess hall segement when Tal reveals her feelings for Henry. They appear to be repeating themselves several times. Unless this is on purpose.

Dingo April 4 2009 10:06 AM

Re: Star Trek: Voyager - Dark Realm
 
Quote:

Also you might want to have another look at the beginning of the mess hall segement when Tal reveals her feelings for Henry. They appear to be repeating themselves several times. Unless this is on purpose.
That was Tal beating around the bush, semi-on purpose.

Quote:

I thought Henry and Tal's conversation about dog breeding was interesting, if not a little bit to detailed. With a segment like that you always risk that people who don't particular care about the subject will zone out or skip it entirely.
Well, yes, I'm aware of the risk, but I figured since the topic was about the Bull and Terrier breeds (i.e. Pits) this was something along the lines of a controvertial topic of our century viewed through the lens of a topic that may not be as controvertial in the 24th Century (at least my version thereof).

Quote:

A lot of flirtations and realtionship issues going on here. Not a bad thing at all especially because your lower decks crewmembers are quite the likeable bunch.
I'm quite flattered you think my lower decks crewmembers are so likeable. I'm glad that my writing had its intended effects.


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