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Old November 19 2012, 01:48 AM   #67
Rear Admiral
Re: UT: Refugee Crisis/Dark Territory-"Stealing Fire"

Thanks guys for reading and commenting again.

Gibraltar, I'm glad you enjoyed Gedrik standing up for himself. Deoch had been bullying him since the beginning of the story so it was good for him to get his comeuppance. Now we'll see how long Gedrik lasts without Deoch's protection.

CeeJay, in response to your comments, and to somewhat answer my own reply to Gibraltar, Gedrik does have a mean streak and he is fanatically committed to saving his homeworld. But the question remains will that be enough.

I'm finally hitting the homestretch here and I hope you enjoy what I have left in store.

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Shuttlecraft Oyekan

Was the universe spinning or was it just her head, Ensign Kittles wondered as she blinked rapidly and swallowed just as furiously to keep her gorge from escaping her lips. Soiling herself was the last thing she needed right now.

Chancing vertigo, she opened her eyes and peered out of the front window. The galaxy was spinning, the shuttle was out of control. She breathed a sigh that Oyekan was still in one piece before her fingers flew over her terminal, desperately trying to right the ship. The young woman was grateful that her seatbelt was keeping her from being slammed all around the shuttle’s environs.

Karen glued her eyes to the console, her mind racing, her heart thundering, as she scoured the status of the vessel’s systems. It wasn’t looking good. Structural integrity was almost shot, shields were nearly gone, the ship was venting plasma, warp engines were offline, but the warp core was on the verge of breaching. Behind her she could see cosmic tendrils from the sheared ceiling. Only the thin, fading bubble of the shields were keeping atmosphere inside the cockpit.

“I’ve got to right this ship,” she muttered, not caring that she was talking to herself. She would rather hear her own voice than the shrieking of klaxons or the rending of alloys as the integrity field failed and Oyekan folded in on itself.

“What a way to go,” she sighed, crushed inside a can like a sardine. “I’m so sorry Roland,” she shook her head, tears sprouting from her eyes. “I tried,” she blubbered, “I-I really did.” She had almost gotten revenge for Ensign Fryer’s death, she had almost died with dignity. But the pirate vessel shot upwards at the last minute. Unable to stop the shuttle from spinning, Karen devoted some of the ship’s dwindling power to a wide sweep for the marauder vessel.

She hoped that she had clipped something vital at least. “Damn,” she spat, as the scans revealed that the ship was still intact. She quickly did another scan to ascertain its status and was at least pleased to know that she had damaged it enough that it wasn’t going anywhere for a while.

“Maybe I can still make amends,” she thought, inputting the location of the enemy ship into a communications buoy. Kittles grunted with some satisfaction after ejecting it. Perhaps Erickson could finish the job she started.

Her moment of relief was short-lived. Seconds after the buoy plunged into space, a new alarm joined the chorus. The structural integrity field had collapsed.

Karen shrugged, surprising herself at her calm. It was over, truly over, and she hadn’t done nearly any of the things she had wanted to do, she would never sit in the captain’s chair, she would never make first contact with an alien species, she would never become a Starfleet legend. And she would never fall in love or raise a family.

“I tried,” she said, her stoicism starting to crumble, “Damn it I tried.” Another alarm sounded: the shields were gone.

With admirable serenity, Kittles unbuckled her seatbelt, and let icy fingers pull her into their cold cosmic embrace.
************************************************** **************

The Burning Claw
Command Deck

On unsteady legs, Gedrik stepped from away his console. He felt the eyes of the crew on him, the air heavy with expectation. The horned Venturi struggled to meet their gazes. He continued to be drawn to the dark patch where Deoch had just stood, had just been alive, minutes earlier. The man’s anguished screams would echo in his ears forever, as would the horrific sight of the watching him writhe briefly before the beam dissolved him. Later perhaps his scientific mind would look at the event with dispassion, but at the moment his emotions were too raw.

Realizing he was still aiming the disruptor, now at empty air, the former first mate placed it at his side. He didn’t want to put it back in the holster because he might need to wield it again soon. He inhaled, taking in the thick smell of ozone and a whiff of fried flesh. Coughing, Gedrik stepped over to the captain’s vacant chair.

He was hoping that no one else could hear his heart thudding against his chest. It pounded so fiercely that it thought it would rip free from his ribcage. With dark humor, the image reminded him that there were doubtless others among the crew that would gladly do the honors. The scientist stood in front of Deoch’s chair, unwilling to claim it just yet. He had to establish his authority clearly first.

Gedrik pinned his stare on the most likely candidate. “Nadeen,” he injected as much authority in his voice as he could muster. “I want you to rouse the prisoners. Bring the Arkenite to me and then I want you and the Kaylar to retrieve the device.”

All eyes shifted to the hulking Capellan. The dark-skinned woman glared at him. Gedrik’s trigger finger twitched. He wasn’t sure he would be fast enough to get off the first shot; even if she didn’t have a pistol within easy reach, she was lethally fast and accurate with the kligats adorning her belt.

Time stretched into infinity. It started to weigh on Gedrik’s shoulders like boulders. He would have to force a response soon if she didn’t obey. The longer he allowed the silence the deeper, the greater the level of disrespect and insubordination he could expect from the rest of the crew. “Well,” he finally asked. He had been able to hold the woman’s gaze, knowing if he failed to do so he would have no chance to survive the next few seconds, not even contemplating returning to his homeworld as its savior.

The woman silently shrugged and turned toward the bridge’s exit. For the briefest of moments the new captain thought about shooting her in the back. But even among thieves there had to be some honor.

Besides he had just won a victory here, his biggest threat had acceded to his wishes, the mighty, fearsome Capellan had obeyed him. Perhaps… He looked at one of the unadorned Venturi standing idle at a ruined console. “Assist Nadeen,” he commanded, “make sure she cares out my orders explicitly.” The man jumped to attention, nodding as he rushed to catch up with the Capellan.

Gedrik eyed the bridge personnel once more, as if daring them to challenge him. Many broke their gazes, looking down or finding something suddenly interesting on their consoles, even the broken ones. He smirked, the rush of power flowing through his veins like fresh oxygen. So this is what Deoch felt, Gedrik wondered.

But still there was one more threat. He lifted up in his chair and pinned the Dopterian at the communications terminal. There was no need for anyone to man that post. Who were they going to call for help? “I want you to go to Deoch’s quarters, and bring Mavaar here, to me.”

“Aye sir,” the Dopterian replied with an appropriate level of obsequiousness. He scampered from the bridge. Finally Gedrik leaned back in his chair, squeezing the armrests and breathing easier. Soon the device would be his and he would make history.

After that he would gladly give the ship to any of the vultures strong enough to possess it, but not before. First he had to consummate his date with destiny.
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