After a long hiatus, I am trying to get back into some fan fiction writing. I have three projects on the go, of which this is the newest. For those who have read my Restoration and Star Wars fics, yes I will be getting back to those as well.
This is probably the most out there of the three. Set in a far future of the Star Trek universe where the Federation has spread throughout the Milky Way galaxy and discovered how to build artificial wormholes that have gotten them to a new galaxy.
Arriving in this new galaxy and allying themselves with the spiritual Kalindan race, the Federation found itself caught up in a war between two groups of ascended beings. Towards the end of the war, one Starfleet officer agreed to launch a devastating biological attack on the enemy's capital world. In return, he and his crew were disavowed by the Federation and his ship was exiled to the far side of the galaxy.
I hope you enjoy. Please don't hesitate to comment and let me know what you think and if anyone would like to be kept informed as new chapters are posted, I will PM you.
Without further ado, here are the adventures of the USS Phoenix, their ongoing mission to find a way home...
“Something must be sacrificed if we are to have peace.”
In a tiny pocket of multiversal space, created by a supreme quantum act of will, the enheightened of the Kalindan Expanse gathered. The aim of their discussions were the end of hostilities with the Panthion, a rival group of ascended beings who were the protectors of the nearby Ilonan Cluster. Although in some form of reality the gathering was an accumulation of subatomic particles and seven-dimensional constructs, for the comfort of all those involved a mental framework, a dreamscape, had been developed. It appeared as if, for all intents and purposes, these supremely divine beings shared a table in the den of an expansive rustic lodge.
Sat on the left hand side of the table, the being who - when ascending to the godesshood - had chosen the name of Lydia tried very hard not to grit her multi-dimensional teeth. Although Zeran’s words had been innocuous on the surface, none of them doubted what they meant... nor who they were destined for.
“I assume you have spoken with our... compatriots.” Lydia glanced at Aghos, the Lyridans' head of security and defacto God of War. “Would they be amenable to such a compromise?”
Lydia swallowed a snort. Of course they would be amenable. Her fellow gods and she - assisted by the mortals who worshipped them and, more recently, their allies within the expansive United Federation of Systems - had been, to put not too fine a point on it, kicking the Panthion's collective arse ever since the war began ten years earlier. This latest attack on the Ilonan capital world had only served to emphasize that - though perhaps in a more brutal fashion than had been expected.
Which means that any sacrifice that may be required will be coming from our allies.
From the glance Zeran cast in her direction, he felt the same way. "I have conferred with the Panthion hivemind. They are willing to discuss a cessation of hostilities."
“About time,” muttered Hadran. His 'scape form was the most extravagant - heavily muscled, his red skin seemed to shift and slide with the reflected light of invisible flames. Add the five horns that rose like the tips of a crown from his skull, and he looked like the demon he pretended to be. “After ten years you would think that they’d be sick of fighting this crazy war. They started it.”
Lydia felt that was a bit unfair. Although the Hive attack on the joint Kalindan-Federation colony at Growlash had been the catalyst that set off the war, every single man, woman and ascended being in that 'room' knew that the whole thing had been precipitated by someone sitting around that table.
And whoever that person was, they're indirectly responsible for what is about to happen, Lydia thought sourly.
“In return for the ceasefire, however, the Panthion hivemind require a show of good faith on our behalf.”
Here it comes, Lydia thought. She set tendrils of her own matter stream flexing in preparation for the coming battle. She wasn't going to go down without a fight.
“What kind of show?” Heran, the second most powerful being present, asked. She leaned forward, pressing her ample bosom against his arm. Lydia saw Zeran glance down at the marvels on offer, momentarily going cross-eyed. For fuck’s sake, she thought. Thousands of years of evolution, ascendancy, godhood, and Zeran is still thinking with his dick.
It took the lord of the gods a moment to realise that he had actually been asked a question. When he did, he cleared his throat gruffly, moving away from Heran, and readjusted his robes.
“They have requested a gesture be made to prove our good faith and to atone for the atrocity that was inflicted upon their people.”
More than one set of eyes rolled towards her at the mention of the “atrocity”. She rolled her eyes. A week ago, they had all agreed with her plan to bring an end to the war by forcing the Panthion to come to the bargaining table. The use of the biological weapons against the Ilonan homeworld had been applauded by every single one of them. Apparently, that fact had been quickly forgotten.
She had had quite enough of this shit, she decided. Putting her hands flat on the table, she spoke for the first time.
“So what do they want?”
Zeran turned his snowy old head to face her. He might look like an old man, but his eyes still blazed with the same strength and vigour they had possessed all those centuries ago, when he had been a scientist developing the quantum folding device that propelled them all to godhood. Despite herself, Lydia felt her face burning slightly at the intensity of that gaze.
She fought down the urge to hide under the table like a little girl being scolded by her father and held his gaze.
“What. Do. They. Want? The Panthion. You’ve told us all that they want something. What is it?”
If she had been expecting him to beat around the bush a little longer before answering, she was disappointed.
Lydia held back a sigh. Of course. After her fellow gods approved her plan, she had set the destruction of Ilona Prime in action. As the patron goddess of the planet Thycia – home to the terminus of the artificial wormhole that connected the Federation’s home galaxy with their own - she had the closest relationship with their extra-galactic allies. As such, she could call upon the support of their mighty fleet. A fleet led by the Federation’s flagship and captained by its finest captain. The USS Phoenix and Andrew Lee.
The Panthion were asking her to hand over the Federation’s most lauded officer. It might end the alliance.
She shook her head. “Out of the question. I’m not going to let those insects devour Andrew Lee and his crew and project it into the minds of every man, woman and child in my domain. I’ll have a religious rebellion within days and…”
Although she had a whole speech prepared, Lydia trailed off when she saw Zeran shaking his head.
“They don’t want us to hand them over,” he said. “There will not be any devouring.”
“The Panthion have asked us – have asked you, my dear Lydia – to exile them. The Phoenix and her crew will be sent away, to live out the rest of their days travelling the space ways. An Ilonan minddweller will be birthed in each of their minds, transmitting the thoughts of every single member of the crew back to the Cluster so that the hivemind can share in their despair.”
Lydia blanched. Of everything she had expected... Exile? She couldn’t decide whether it was worse than a summary execution or not.
“How exactly do the Panthion expect to force the Phoenix crew to stay exiled?”
Lydia straightened in her chair as Hadran asked the question. “Exactly! What is to stop them returning? Or even settling somewhere?”
Zeran was shaking his head. “The exile will be permanent. The Panthion have a… a weapon, something they call a Trenchant Wave. Some kind of quantum construct based in multidensional space, equipped with a wavelength identifier that can trace the movements of the Phoenix. Any time they come within a few hundred lightyears of the Kalindan colonies, the Trenchant Wave will throw them back to the Expanse.”
Silence fell over the gathered gods like a steel blanket. “The Expanse?”
Zeran’s expression tightened. Fear. She steeled her own features, fighting back the sudden flutter in her belly.
“They choose the location of the exile. The Borderlands.”
The Darkland Expanse. “Do they know?”
Zeran shook his head. “I do not believe so. They simply chose the most remote location they could find.”
Before any of them could raise any more objections, Zeran pressed on. “As to the crew of the Phoenix settling on a planet in the Expanse, the Panthion have thought of that as well.”
Light flared in the centre of the room, fading to reveal a strange insectile creature – five separate sections, chitinous armour, nine eyes and numerous tendrils extending from a beak-like maw. Lydia wrinkled her nose. Rising, but the Panthion’s creatures made her skin crawl.
“This is a darkeling. A space faring swarm creature evolved on one of the Ilonan colony worlds. The Panthion will direct a group of these creatures to shadow the Phoenix. If they spend more than four solar days in one place, the darkelings will move in.”
Lydia felt sick. The Panthion seemed to have thought of everything in order to keep the Phoenix on the run. She would be sentencing her people to a life of constant pressure and unending danger. They would be hounded from one place to the next, and when the people of the Darkland Expanse learned what they were, they would turn on them. The Phoenix would become a cursed ship, rejected by all and assisted by none.
She realised that her fellow gods were all looking at her. She forced her eyes to focus on Zeran, ignoring all the others.
“Do I have a choice?”
He looked at her with what might almost have been described as pity. “There is always a choice, Lydia. But those choices have consequences. If you refuse, we may be forced to offer them something else. Or we may have to start the whole war up again. You designed the burrowing disease to bring this whole stupid mess to a close, and it worked. What is one ship when compared to the lives of billions?”
What indeed? One ship in exchange for peace. One man in return for billions. She shook her head. There was no way she could say no.
“You need to let me tell them,” she said finally. “And you all need to understand that I will not abandon them completely. If I can find a way to bring them home, I will.”
One by one, her fellow gods nodded. She could see the relief in some of their eyes and realised for the first time that if she had decided to be difficult, this might have sparked off a whole different war. She entertained the notion for a moment, but rejected it almost immediately. She was nowhere near powerful enough to fight against her fellow gods. Not yet, at any rate.
“Of course,” Zeran said for the rest of them. “We totally understand. We are in agreement, though?”
Taking a deep breath, she nodded. Meeting his eyes, she tried to convey that though she was accepting this, she had no intention of doing so indefinitely. One day, she promised. One day I’ll find a way to bring them home. Before that thing we buried in the Darkland Expanse can find them and use them against us.
Zeran smiled at her, the benevolent father once again. “Thank you, Lydia. I will convey this to the Panthion.”
“When will it happen?”
His smile remained fixed on his face and Lydia felt a shiver of forboding run down her spine. “I’m sorry, my dear, I thought you had understood. It already has.”