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Old April 9 2008, 03:39 AM   #136
Zefram_Cochrane
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Mistral wrote: View Post
Well, isn't he a cry baby! "It not the assignment I wanted..." Welcome to StarFleet, buddy boy! Be glad the uniform fits.

So was it an accident or not? Expiring minds want to know.
There's more to it than that, really. And Kestrel's the kind of counselor that's very unlike Deanna Troi or Ezri Dax.. though I think she leans more toward the Dax style of counseling.

As for the 'accident,' we pick that thread up in the seventh episode, "Kessok Nor." I'm not writing episodes, so much as I'm writing serials. Not everything gets resolved in 10,000 words

-- ZC
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Old April 9 2008, 03:41 AM   #137
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
More goodness! Great character interplay aboard the captain's yacht, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Kincaid get his head shrunk by Kestrel. What was he hoping for, a post aboard the Cairo under Captain Jellico?

"Can I get you some more coffee, Captain?"
It's funny you mention Captain Jellico I have plans for the Cairo

-- ZC
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Old April 9 2008, 03:46 AM   #138
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

CeJay wrote: View Post
I liked this, especially the Amazonian yacht. Ranger One, is that a reference to the old Saturday morning cartoon Galaxy Rangers? Man, I loved that stuff. There's a good idea for making an old cartoon into a movie.

As for Kincaid, he seems to be locking horns with everyone. I like it. Nothing makes for better drama than a guy who doesn't even want to be there in the first place.
Something not quite close to it, though I had sketched the use of a childhood show likened to a Sentai show like Galaxy Rangers. It'll be revealed in the next act.

Yeah, Kincaid's having trouble finding his standing position on the bridge, you know? And with the captain away, he's in charge, but he's trying to figure out how to break into the team. He's been watching these people interact with one another so easily, even the new people, and he's feeling like the one kid not invited to the party.

-- ZC
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Old April 9 2008, 11:31 AM   #139
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Act IV is here, and Act V is soon to follow

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

When he felt his helmet tear away from his head, his hands flew around him with his eyes closed while he held his breath. It went against his training, he knew, but the panic within him overwhelmed his training without hesitation. In his panic, he neglected to realize that the freefall sensation no longer existed and someone else's hands were upon him.

"It's okay, calm down," he heard a man's voice. Wait, he knew that voice.

"Lieutenant?" he croaked out. He managed to open his eyes and saw the lighted interior of the shuttle around him.

Greg smiled down at him. "Good to see you, Senior Chief. We've found your signal while we were on our way back to the ship."

To his left, Lieutenant Atherton ran a medical tricorder over him. "For the most part, he's okay. His lungs are going to have to adjust, though."

Tallan waved her off, not caring about the diagnosis. There were more important matters to attend to. "Did you find Ensign O'Day?"

The two lieutenants shared a surprised expression. "He was with you?" asked Greg.

"I'm not sure if he made it off the shuttle," admitted Tallan. "We were taking massive damage because of the field, and the shield emitters overloaded. He rigged the escape transporter while I polarized the hull to give us a little more time to get out of there." He stopped talking to cough as his lungs began to take in a thicker atmosphere than the one he was breathing.

"Easy, Senior," said Atherton. She and Greg propped him up to lean against the couch as the Tallan hacked violently. "You were breathing more CO2 than air in that suit."

Greg pushed for more information, trying to keep the urgency out of his voice. "When was the last time you saw Tommy?"

His voice ragged, but the coughing died down long enough to allow him to answer. "He beamed me out of the shuttle first. There wasn't enough power for both of us to go." Tallan resumed another coughing fit on the edge of his last word.

"We found you floating quite some distance away from the debris field," admitted Greg sadly. "If his distress beacon was active, it would have been picked up on our sensors as we found yours."

"Don't you give up, Lieutenant," coughed Tallan. "Don't you dare." The Andorian pulled himself up from the floor of the shuttle and moved to sit at the co-pilot's console. "Maybe his transceiver was damaged in the transport. It's not outside the realm of possibility."

Greg frowned. "I wasn't saying we give up. Just saying we couldn't find his beacon, is all. I'm not going to give up on Tommy." He sat in the seat next to the senior chief and programmed in a flight pattern.

Atherton reached for the communications controls to the right side of Tallan and opened a channel to Farragut.

---- SCENE CHANGE ----

Kestrel shook her head. "I don't understand. What makes this the wrong assignment?"

Kincaid sighed. "This captain has a reputation. She's well-connected."

"I know."

"So, then you understand."

"Not yet, but keep talking."

He ran his hand along the edge of the desk. "I... want my own command, someday. Soon. "

"Surprise, surprise."

"Are you going to let me talk, or what?"

She raised her hand and bade him continue. "Sorry."

"As I was saying, my intention is to seek a command of my own. I moved from ship to ship, to gain as much experience as I possibly could, and on each ship, I served under captains who recognized my potential and did what they could to give me every opportunity."

"And Captain Leone won't?"

"What? No... well, I'm not sure. But I get the sense that I'm not wanted, here. I see how she and Commander Elannis work together, and I feel like I'm the homeroom teacher trying to keep the class in line." Kincaid checked to see her expression.

"Got any more analogies you want to use?" When he said nothing in return, she asked, "You got all that from two days of service?"

"Actually, it took a lot less than that to figure it out. Plus, with Commander Hargreaves on board, my thinking is that there's more to this classified mission of theirs than they're letting on. I'm not sure I'd want my career to be tied to a captain that's about to be court-martialed."

Kestrel narrowed her eyes toward the executive officer, as he leaned forward with his head in his hands. "I'm not sure whether to counsel you or slap the shit out of you."

Kincaid's head snapped up. "What?"

"You heard me."

His jaw hung open, but it closed shortly after when he mustered up the courage to ask, "W-What kind of Counselor are you?"

"One who dispenses with the psychobabble and talks straight. Get used to it, because you accepted this assignment and you're here for the long haul. Because you and I both know that you don't have it in you to seek a transfer so soon after reporting in," she spat at him. "In short, I'm the right Counselor for this crew. Did you think that we just got jumbled together randomly?"

"What?"

"You could learn a lot from serving under Captain Leone. I've done my homework on her, and there's no way in hell Starfleet hands out a command like this to an officer with less than a stellar service record. Her connections might be formidable, but in the end, they don't pass out the command of a Nebula-class starship to satisfy political gain. She's got skills, and her methods might be unorthodox, sure." She steeped her hands on the desk. "I think it's pretty damned arrogant of you to think otherwise."

He shook his head, "What?"

Kestrel shot up from her seat and slapped her hand against the desk. "Stop saying that! I almost want to relieve you right here and now and put you out of you misery." She muttered, "It's really a wonder how you made it this far with an attitude like yours."

"Are you going to do that?"

"No, but I should. You've given me more than enough ammunition to sink your whole career." She felt the flash of anger within him staved off almost immediately as he realized his misstep. "But, I think this is something you and I can work on."

She didn't need her Betazoid abilities to see the look of surprise on his face. "What?"

"I said, this is something we can work on. When was the last time you saw a counselor?"

Kincaid paused to think about it. "The Academy... I think?"

Kestrel folded her arms. "Too long. I'll set you up with a schedule, and I want you to agree to keep to it as much as your duties permit."

"You know, I'm the ship's executive officer. I'm not sure it's a good idea-"

"Is it not clear to you, yet, that you're not the one giving orders on this issue?"

He sighed, giving in to the idea. "Fine."

She grinned. "Excellent. The first thing I'd like for you to do is-"

"Bridge to Commander Kincaid."

He did not hesitate. His hand reached up to open the channel, immediately. "Kincaid, here."

"Sir, incoming transmission from the shuttle Garrovick. Lieutenant Atherton is reporting the destructions of the Komarov. They have Senior Chief Tallan aboard."

"Patch them through to the ready room, Lieutenant." He reached for the captain's desktop terminal and swiveled it around to face him. The screen powered up to show the Starfleet insignia before switching to Atherton's face. "Report."

"Sir, we found Senior Chief Tallan in an EVA suit floating away from the debris field. He's reported that his shuttle was destroyed by the combination of the bilitrium and trilithium resin. At this time, we do not have a location on Ensign O'Day, though the senior chief is unable to confirm whether or not the ensign made it out in time."

Kestrel moved from around the desk to look at the terminal screen, but remained out of view of the visual pickups.

Kincaid asked, "I assume you've begun search operations for the ensign?"

"Yes, sir. Lieutenant Aspinall and the senior chief have come up with a flight path that will make sure of our limited sensor range," replied Atherton. Her eyes kept drifting off-screen as she spoke.

"Something wrong, Lieutenant?"

"No, sir. We're just coming really close to the edge of the field, now," she told him, though the last three words of her sentence contained interference.

Kincaid's voice hardened. "Maintain a minimum safe distance from the field."

As Atherton made her reply, the visual image on the screen showed severe interference until the signal was lost altogether. The display now exhibited the same insignia as before and a note saying that the transmission ended at the source.

"Damn it," he spat. "Mister Nieves, I want to speak to Starbase 310."

---- SCENE CHANGE ----

"'Starship Rangers?'" repeated Iris. "I remember that show. I used to watch it as a little kid."

Yvonne nodded. "My parents wouldn't let me watch it. It was a little too violent for their liking, so I had to wait until I was older."

"Well," said the captain as she relaxed in her seat, "Ariel grew up on Starship Rangers and is a huge fan of the show. She's actually been to conventions when she has leave."

"I've been to fifty-two," Ariel said proudly. "I've met all the actors, and I have one of the original helmets with all of their autographs in storage back home."

Leone chuckled. "She's a nutty fangirl. Anyway, when we were both serving on Victory, she predicted I would make captain someday, and made me promise that when that happened, she would get to name one of the auxiliary craft after the ship."

Yvonne could not hold in her snort. "That's where you got the name Lydia? That's hilarious!"

Ariel smiled, showing off her teeth. "I've always wanted to serve on a ship named Lydia. It's the reason I joined Starfleet."

"No, it's not," retorted Leone. "Stop making shit up. She wanted Starfleet because she wanted to get away from her mother. She got denied an appointment to the Academy-"

"Hey!" said Ariel defensively.

"She got denied and joined as an enlisted, instead."

"Are we just going to spill out my entire life's history?"

Leone ignored her, "She got her degree by correspondence when she made third class petty officer and then applied to the officer candidate's school and got her commission."

Iris and Yvonne now looked at Ariel with more respect. "Wow," said Iris. "I'm not sure if I would have had the tenacity."

"You would if you had her mother."

Ariel frowned. "I really wanted to be an officer. No offense, Crewman."

McComas shook her head. "None taken, Commander. We in the enlisted ranks do not look down on the commissioned folk. We just know that they need a little more hand-holding than we do."

All eyes were on the captain. She wore a smirk on her lips and levied a pointed glare at Ariel. "Some more than others."

Everyone shared in a relaxed chuckle as a signal caught the attention of Ensign Colby. "Incoming transmission from Farragut, Captain," reported Yvonne.

"On screen."

The face of Commander Kincaid appeared. "Captain."

She recognized the interior of her ready room, but decided not to say anything about it. "Jesse, what's up?"

"Sir, Lieutenant Aspinall is reporting the loss of the shuttle Komarov. They were able to retrieve Senior Chief Tallan, but Ensign O'Day is still missing."

"And they're not equipped for a search and rescue. Contact Starbase 310-"

"I already have, sir."

Leone grinned. "Most efficient of you. What did the admiral tell you?"

"They're dispatching the Excalibur and the Sutherland to assist us. They will arrive shortly."

"We've only finished deploying about a quarter of the hazard buoys, but we can lend a hand as soon as we're done," she said, adjusting her seated position. "Ensign Colby, deploy this next buoy."

"Aye, sir. Buoy is away."

Kincaid added, "I've ordered five of the other shuttles to converge on the Garrovick's present location to aid in the search. That should allow you to finish dropping buoys. Maybe we'll have found him by then."

"I can only hope so, Jesse. Keep us apprised of their efforts, and let us know if they find him."

"Aye, sir."

"Thank you. Lydia, out."

Ariel had the presence of mind to speak after the transmission ended. "Our new XO take the initiative, doesn't he?"

The captain grinned. "It's only fair. I left him in command of the ship, while we're out here gallivanting among the debris. Let's get this done and then join the search."

"Aye, Captain. Coming about."

---- SCENE CHANGE ----

"Where could he be?" wondered Greg as he brought the shuttle's nose around for a third pass of the same search pattern. They'd been at it for over two hours since they brought the senior chief aboard. In that time, they covered the range a suit could make adrift without any thrust. "He couldn't have drifted off too far away from you."

Tallan pushed his lips together with concern while his hands continued to work the console in front of him. "I've done what I can with the shuttle's sensors, sir. But, we might have to face the fact that he did not make it off the shuttle in time."

Greg turn on him, and in a sharp tone, he told him, "You don't know that! His suit could have been damaged."

"If that's true," said Abbey, "then it's possible he's already dead."

Clearly, Greg did not want to admit that. The expression on his face betrayed the thin layer of composure above the depth of anguish over the loss of his friend. "I'm not going to give up on him. Not until I see the body. I say we expand the search pattern a bit more."

Tallan nodded. "Agreed."

Greg's hand moved quickly to enter in the new ranges into the flight controls. "I'm expanding the range another fifty kilometers."

Abbey asserted herself, "I'm the senior officer, here."

Both men turned to look up at her in askance.

"I am," she assured them.

Tallan glanced over to Greg briefly before returning his gaze to her. "I don't doubt it, it's just... you're a science officer."

"And a department head, Senior Chief."

Greg blew a puff of air toward his forehead. "So, what're you saying? We give up?"

"No, I didn't say that. I just mean, there's a protocol to carrying out orders."

"Fine," Greg replied, throwing his hands up. "What are your orders, Lieutenant, sir?"

"Expand the search parameters, and-"

Tallan interrupted her. "We have some incoming ships showing up on long-range sensors, sir."

"Identify them," said Abbey.

"One moment, Lieutenant," replied the senior chief. "Ah, they're ours. I'm reading the shuttles Pythagoras and Scobee on approach."

Greg sighed with relief. "The more, the merrier."

Even Abbey managed a smile. "Assign each shuttle a piece of the pattern and let's get to work. First person to find Ensign O'Day gets a corned-beef sandwich."

Tallan wrinkled his nose. "A what?"

Greg chuckled. "It's an expression. A small prize for completing the task. It gives you incentive."

"Yes, but couldn't you just get one from the replicator?"

"I suppose, yes, you could... but..." Greg's voice trailed off as gazed back at Abbey for assistance. When she offered none, he shrugged. "To be honest, it's from before my time. "

When the senior chief shot a glance at Abbey, she offered no help, either. "Don't look at me; it's something my mother used to say all the time."

Tallan scoffed. With a shake of his head, he addressed the console, "Stupid Terran expressions. If you're going to offer me some incentive, get real."

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

More to come, soon.

-- ZC
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Old April 9 2008, 01:18 PM   #140
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Here, at last, is Act V, which serves as the end of "Eternal Midnight." I'm so glad I finally finished this, because I needed to get to spot where I could move onto "The Better Part of Valor" which is the sixth episode of the series.

Believe it or not, I wrote the last scene first. This was so I knew where I was going with the episode.

Anyway, enough of my jabbering... enjoy!

-----------------------------------
Captain's Log
Supplemental

The arrival of the Excalibur and the Sutherland within the sector has made it easier to ward off traffic until the volatile nature of the field has time to dissipate to prove less of a major hazard to ships passing between Starbase 310 and Deep Space Four. Unfortunately, this will cause a major delay to many shipping and passenger liners that operate this close to the Cardassian border.

The search for Ensign O'Day continues, but Farragut has been ordered to return to Starbase 310 and hand over the mission to escort the freighters to the Excalibur and her crew. Sutherland will continue the search while we return to meet up with Captain Maxwell and the Phoenix to join his task force to patrol the border.

For the time being, Starfleet has yet to make a final determination on what happened to the Shoeless Joe, based partly on the fact that my own officers seem to be unable to put a declarative end to the matter, themselves. I expect that this issue will remain open within the Inspector General's office for some time to come.

Speaking of the Inspector General's office, upon our return, Commander Elannis was called down to the conference room to speak with Commander Hargreaves.
"Please state your name, rank, title, and present assignment for the log."

"My name is Ariel Ivanda Etsuko Katayama Elannis. My rank is Lieutenant Commander. My title is chief of operations. My present assignment is the starship USS Farragut."

Tricia Hargreaves smiled at Ariel. "Thank you for appearing, Commander."

"Oh, it's your pleasure, I'm sure," replied Ariel mockingly.

"I assume, for the record, that you don't want to be here?"

"You assume correctly. For the record, I think this investigation is a complete waste of everyone's time."

Good, thought Tricia. I want her emotional. Let's show Starfleet exactly how unbalanced Leone's closest supporter is. "You were carried on the crew roster as the ship's chief of operations as of Stardate 4322-"

"I was carried as the ship's chief of operations and the acting executive officer," corrected Ariel quickly. "I also supported Captain Leone's actions completely. Are we done, now?"

"No, Commander, I'm afraid we're not," Hargreaves said with a satisfied smile. Her fingers tapped against the surface of the padd, but nothing changed on the padd's display. She merely tapped in a refresh command over and over to give the appearance of recalling information. "On Stardate 43224.3, Captain Leone gave the order to alter the ship's heading to rendezvous with the Kasui fortress. According to the reports gathered from the logs and reports, you were in conference with the captain prior to her order."

"So?"

"Were you included in the discussion regarding that change?"

"Yes, I was."

"Could you tell me about it?"

"Sure."

They sat in silence for a moment, before Hargreaves sighed. "What did you and the captain discuss in her ready room, prior to her issuing the order to alter course?"

"The captain was intent on withdrawing the ship from Tristnor space at the best possible speed."

Hargreaves' jaw dropped. "Excuse me?"

"The captain," she repeated, as though she were speaking to a person of lesser intelligence, "was intent on withdrawing the ship from Tristnor space at the best possible speed."

"Thank you," came the very dry reply. "What I meant to ask was, why was this information not included in the official report?"

"Because the conversation was conducted in private, and Captain Leone stands by her orders. She is a woman of conviction and great passion." Ariel leaned forward and a smirk appeared on her lips. "As you well know."

Tricia cleared her throat. "What did you and the captain discuss prior to the change in her orders?"

"A lot of things."

"Be specific."

"I don't think that's relevant to your investigation."

"I determine what's relevant and what's not. Answer the question."

Ariel rolled her eyes as Tricia postured. She folded her arms and looked up at the bulkhead as though she were trying to recall the salient details of the conversation. "We discussed the situation and how the Prime Directive applied. She was certain that the Prime Directive did apply in this situation, and I played devil's advocate. We often do that when we're trying to dissect the circumstances."

"I'm sure that you do. In this case, it seems that your advocacy of an evil agenda worked on the captain."

"I dare say that it did."

"Pardon me?"

"You heard me. I was the one who convinced the captain to change her mind. If there's any blame to be laid, I think I should be the one to-"

"Hold it right there, Commander. The captain ultimately made the decision to alter course and join the conflict with clear disregard toward Federation law."

"Then I'm an accessory. I supported her orders and I never questioned them once."

"That's nice, but-"

"Furthermore, I led the assault on the facility and was the principle liaison officer coordinating the joint efforts between-"

"Commander, that much is a matter of record, and I have to caution you that by admitting your guilt, you may open yourself up to charges-"

Ariel scoffed, "Where you're concerned, Trish, I'm fucking counting on charges being brought."

"Lieutenant Commander Hargreaves, please. I don't recall giving you permission to refer to me by my first-"

"Oh, shove it up your ass, Trish. We go way back, you and I. All the way back to the Victory, remember? I was there, and I know what happened when Krys found out about your little problem."

Hargreaves shut off the log and fumed. "I would have fixed it, until she went and blabbed to Captain Wainwright-"

"As her duty entailed..."

"God damn you!" thundered Hargreaves, feeling her emotional control vanish. "Both of you! You both think you're so smug, sitting here on your very own ship, handed to you-"

"To me?"

"To her!"

"That's what this is about, isn't it?" asked Ariel, leaning back with her voice level. "You're here for revenge."

Trish slammed her fist onto the table. "I'm here for justice! That slimy bitch weaseled her way up the ranks and managed to use her mommy's influence to gain a starship command she had not business in accepting in the first place!"

Ariel got to her feet so quickly, the chair jumped out from under her and skidded on its wheels until the momentum carried it too far and it toppled to the ground. By the time it did, Ariel had already moved to Trish's side of the conference table, menacingly. "Because we go way back," she said, softly but furiously, "I'm going to give you a few seconds to take some of that back."

Seeing her move as quickly as she did caused a tsunami of fear to well up inside of Hargreaves. "A-Are you threatening me?"

"Not at all," said Ariel with a Cheshire grin on her face. "I'm stating fact. And your time is nearly up, Trish. What's it going to be?"

---- SCENE CHANGE ----

Greg sat alone within the ship's lounge with his drink untouched on the table before him. His eyes stared out at the warp-streaked stars as Farragut made the return trip to Starbase 310 and sighed heavily. Every now and again, he would steal a glance at the chair to his left where Tommy would always sit facing the door to see who would enter and leave.

"Is this seat taken?" said an unfamiliar voice.

He looked up in surprise at the woman, whose blond hair and brown eyes stared down at him over the warm smile on her lips. The seat she touched was the one that Tommy usually sat in, and he was reluctant to offer it to her so quickly.

"It's just a chair, Lieutenant," she told him. "Unless you'd prefer I sat somewhere else?"

He shrugged, unable to trust his voice to speak.

The woman settled into the seat and relaxed in it. "Thank you. It's been a while since I've been able to take a break. With all the shuttles back, it's been quite the madhouse in here." He said nothing to her, but she looked at the full glass. "Something wrong with your drink?"

"Not thirsty," he mumbled.

"Why'd you order it, then? Come to think of it, why did you even come here? People come here to drink and eat, not sit at a table with a cloud over their heads," she told him plainly.

"Should I leave?"

"Up to you. But I think you could use the company, no matter how much you're going to tell me otherwise."

Greg sighed again. "It's a free country. Do what you want."

"Because you're not doing what you want, right?"

"Who are you?"

"Oh," she said, hiding her smile behind a hand briefly. The woman held it out to him. "Caryn Johnson. I'm running this lounge, now. Nice to meet you."

He shook it gingerly, before releasing it. "Lieutenant Greg Aspinall."

"I know who you are. So, I take it whatever's eating at you is behind us, now?"

"I don't want to talk about it."

"Try again."

Greg shot her a baleful glare. "I said I don't want to talk about it."

"Do you mind if I talk, then? I don't have much in the way of friends on this ship besides..." she trailed off, lost in thought for a moment. "Well, actually, I'm so new, I barely know the people working for me."

"Yeah, sure. Go ahead."

Caryn grinned. "You always this cheerful around new people? It's no wonder everyone took off after you entered. It's hard to get used to the chill in the air, y'know? Maybe I should have you come down when there're people causing trouble so I can get them to leave. I could pay you in synthehol. Looks like you don't drink that much, anyway. Works out for the both of us."

As she spoke, the incredulous expression on his face took on more and more definition. Who was she? Finally, he couldn't help but break his dour look with a small smile as he chuckled. "Yeah, I'm sure that'll work out great. Who needs security, right?"

She slapped his upper arm playfully. "Exactly! We could have you come down and spread your sour mood around and people will be running for the doors."

Greg snorted at the thought and the mental image that accompanied it. "Am I that bad?"

"Haven't you noticed my waitstaff cowering in the corner? I had to be the one to come over here and talk to you."

"Sorry."

"So, what's the problem?"

Damn, but she was a tenacious person. Greg shook his head. "I was... disappointed by the orders to end our part of the search and return home."

"Starfleet's not given up hope, yet. Sutherland is remaining behind, right?"

"Yes..."

"You wanted to be the one who found him, didn't you?"

He nodded silently.

Caryn squeezed his shoulder. "I'm sorry, Greg. He was your friend."

"The best."

"I'm sure they'll find him, and he'll be back on board as soon as he can."

"That's the thing..." he said. He felt the emotion welling up inside, threatening to clench his stomach tightly. "We're not entirely sure he made it off to begin with. So, we could be searching for nothing. Er... they could be searching for nothing, I guess."

"Better to try, at least. I know he would want us to."

"I think he would want us to stay on site until we found him."

"I know this is probably a terrible thing to say to a fellow when he's down, but isn't there a limit on time?"

He gave her another slow nod. "If his suit wasn't damaged, which isn't likely, then he has about a day or so before the scrubbers are too saturated with carbon dioxide. Knowing him, he probably turned his suit's life support to minimum to stretch it out, so three days at the most. But if his suit was damaged, then he's on backup or he's..." His eyes watered as he considered the final possibility.

She reached over to embrace him. "I'm sure he's not. I'm sure he's just floating out there, waiting for someone to beam him out."

Greg enjoyed the smell of her against him, and promptly chastised himself for doing so. In the back of his mind, he knew that if Tommy were in his place, he wouldn't hesitate to turn the situation to his favor. The right side of his mouth lifted up with a smirk.

"Something funny?" she asked as she pulled back.

"Just remembering... uh, something he said to me."

"Care to share?"

"Uh, it's personal. Sorry."

She seemed to know, if he believed her smile at all. "I see. Well, keep remembering all the good times, Greg." She rose from her seat and let her hand linger on his left shoulder, before running across his neck and to the right one. "If you need anything... anything at all, come see me."

Before she could move away, he called, "Caryn?"

She turned to look at him. "Yeah?"

"Thanks."

"Anytime, Greg. It's what I'm here for."

---- SCENE CHANGE ----

Rear Admiral Joseph F. Aybar, the Inspector General of Starfleet, stared at Lieutenant Commander Hargreaves over the subspace communications link. His dark hair and eyes always seemed to look right through her whenever they spoke. In his baritone voice, he told her to "Report."

"Sir, I have found sufficient evidence to bring charges against Captain Leone and Commander Elannis," she told him without hesitation. "With your permission, I would like to relieve them of duty and take them into custody for transfer back to Earth for court-martial."

"Permission denied."

She made no secret of her confusion and displeasure. "Excuse me, sir?"

Admiral Aybar leaned forward in his seat and raised his voice, as though she could not hear him. "I said, permission is denied. You will not take either officer into custody, nor will you attempt to relieve them of duty."

Trish sputtered, "B-But why, sir? The evidence points to gross violations of the Prime Directive, and furthermore, I think that Starfleet has a serious case to permanently transfer them both to a penal colony for the rest of their lives."

"The evidence also contains information that has been recently classified by Starfleet Command. In fact, all mission data collected by your investigation has been sealed at the request of the heads of Starfleet Intelligence and Starfleet Tactical," replied the admiral, in a resigned tone.

Although she smiled, her tone dripped with barely-concealed anger, "I must protest strongly, sir. This is a grave miscarriage of justice."

"Be that as it may," he said with a shrug, "I have been informed that information contained within your report touches on too many sensitive topics and cannot be admitted in a court of law under present conditions. Perhaps, with time, those orders might change, but for now..." He allowed his voice to trail off, indicating the unsaid portion of his statement with a wave of his hand.

She could not believe how nonchalant he was acting about the case. Just a week ago, he told her not to leave any stone unturned, and now everything was hands' off? Incredible. "Sir, you realize that this is simply Captain Leone's family manipulating the system on her behalf, don't you?"

Aybar frowned at her. "That changes nothing."

Her frustration threatened to boil over; it took all of her composure to keep herself from exploding before her commanding officer. She took in a deep breath to calm down. "I understand, sir. What are my orders?"

"You will return to Starbase 310 and undertake another investigation," Aybar said, happy to be returning the conversation to something less uncomfortable. "I will transmit the case to you as soon as you arrive."

Defeated, she stood before the admiral and nodded. "Aye, sir." Once the viewscreen powered off, Hargreaves reached for the nearest chair and threw it against the bulkhead with all her might. She watched as it bounced off and fell to the deck in one piece, though the back of it appeared to have been bent by the impact.

It wasn't enough to satisfy her rage. She decided to make use of the ship's holodecks for a while. On her way there, she wondered if it was against Starfleet protocol to create an image of the person you hated most, for the sole purpose of beating the shit out of it.

As far as she was concerned, Krystine Leone may have won this battle, but the war was far from over.

---- SCENE CHANGE -----

The field of stars beneath his feet reminded him of the story his father used to tell him about walking in the Land of Eternal Midnight. As the story went, a guard that lived on a moon in orbit of a world that had a single occupant; a princess for whom he was to watch over and protect from any harm that space might bring. One day, after years of maintaining his vigilant watch over her, he decides to abandon his post to meet her. In order to make the journey from the moon to the planet, he walks within the Land of Eternal Midnight and has many adventures among the stars.

Of course, he felt like the guard, but no adventure other than the obvious one of survival met him as he floated with his limbs outstretched. Vertigo claimed him long ago, as he lost his sense of up and down or left and right. For a moment, he almost reveled in the feeling of being within the hold of nothing, but that moment fleeted away from him just as soon as it had come.

He looked down at the panel on his arm to check the status of the suit's life support system. The numbers on the display reinforced the notion of keeping his breathing as steady as possible to prevent the hoards of panic waiting to bust down his training-instilled control. He knew that his short-range radio call was not likely to reach anyone. He knew that there was a real possibility of dying of asphyxiation before any other demise he could think of. At least, the other kinds would require a ship to drop in, and he hoped that they would have the presence of mind to save him rather than shoot at him.

No matter how hard he tried, sleep did not seem to come to him. The tight fist of freefall clenched at his stomach prevented the natural desire to blissfully carry him off so that he could at least let the time pass by faster than simply waiting in the void for a rescue that may or may not come. He wished he could sleep. His eyelids felt heavy, so he closed them, trying to imagine floating on his back in a pool of warm water and it began to work.

That's right, he thought. That's where I am. I'm in the pool at the Academy, just floating on my back when the days got really rough and I couldn't deal with it anymore. Well, this is one of the rougher days of your life and you could surely use that pool right now, couldn't you?

As Tommy O'Day floated in the Land of Eternal Midnight, he spoke aloud to himself with a slow nod:

"Yes, I sure could."

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

Yes, you will find out what happens to Tommy, I promise. Please keep the hate emails to a minimum.

Next up, the teaser for "The Better Part of Valor."

-- ZC
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Old April 9 2008, 02:06 PM   #141
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

As promised, here is the teaser for our sixth episode, "The Better Part of Valor." This episode takes place about 4 years prior to "Damn the Torpedoes!" aboard the starship Potemkin where Leone and Ariel are serving. Note the stardate pre-dating TNG Season 1.

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

Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead
By Michael D. Garcia

Episode Six: The Better Part of Valor

NCC-18253 (USS Potemkin)
En route to Turkana IV
Stardate 38896.89
Stateroom 06-0018

Lieutenant Ethan "Dawk" Dawkins stepped in through the door from the corridor and took up his customary seat at the octagonal table within the stateroom. "Congratulations on your promotion, Commander."

"Thank you, Dawk," replied Commander Krystine Leone from across the green felt. "Missed you at the Wetting Down."

"I heard all about it from Ted and Oleg. It's all they talked about late last night after I finally got off shift," said Dawkins with a shake of his shaggy blonde hair. "I almost punched them out for bragging about it."

Leone gave her friend a sympathetic look. "I'm sorry you drew the short stick on the shift schedule."

"If you were really sorry, I'm sure you would have arranged it so Ted or Oleg had the duty instead of me."

"Too true." She reached underneath the table and pulled up a tall bottle. "Just so there's no hard feelings, I saved you a little something from the party. Courtesy of the two of us."

Dawkins' eyes lit up as the bottle came into view. "Oh, my... well, I think you're most definitely forgiven, then."

"Just do me a favor?"

"What's that?"

"Tuck that away and keep it out of sight for a while? I think everyone drunk themselves stupid last night and to be honest, I could go a long while without seeing another damned bottle of alcohol."

The doors slid aside to admit two more people as Dawkins' promised, "I'll be sure to keep this in a very safe place, rest assured."

Lieutenant Commander Ariel Elannis grinned as she stepped in. Her eyes were immediately drawn to the tall bottle being placed at the floor near the table. "Oooh... you have a tasty treat for us tonight, Dawk?"

"Sorry, but I'm under strict orders to keep this out of sight."

"Pity. I'm parched."

Leone grumbled, "The replicator is right over there. Dry out a little, you big lush."

"I'm not a lush!" complained Ariel. "Dawk, tell Her Royal Highness that I am not a lush."

"She's a lush," deadpanned Dawkins. When Ariel shot him a dirty glare, he shrugged, "Well, you are. You want me to lie?"

"Yes."

"My apologies." He turned to Leone to tell her in a matter-of-fact tone, "Commander, our operations chief is not a lush."

Everyone at the table chuckled, except Ariel. "I'm not, damn it! Want me to prove it?"

"No!" came the collective exclamation.

Leone slipped a deck of cards from its cover and began to shuffle. "Can we please play poker, now?"

The doors opened to admit Lieutenant Theodore "Ted" Roosevelt and Lieutenant Commander Oleg Johansen. They almost said in unison, "Good evening, everyone."

Ariel slipped into the seat next to Leone and furrowed her brow. "Guys, please tell Krys that I'm not a lush."

"Poker," complained Leone.

Ted and Oleg looked at one another and laughed out loud. Finally, Ted dropped his grin and asked, "Oh, shit, were you serious?"

As he took his seat, Oleg snorted. "You're the biggest lush I know."

Ariel frowned. "You two are worthless."

"Starfleet doesn't see it that way," retorted Ted with a snicker. "You hungover from last night still or something?"

Oleg offered, "If you need the hair of the dog, I thought I saw a bottle of something on the floor."

Dawkins grabbed it away from Oleg before he could place it on the table and cradled it. "Mine!"

Ted asked with a raised hand, "Wait, we need dog hairs?"

Leone pointed to the table and raised her voice above the increasingly loud conversation, "Well, lookie here, folks. A deck of cards. What say we play with them, huh? Maybe a game where we gamble on who has a better hand? Anyone know of a game like that?"

"Krys, sarcasm is unbecoming an officer in Starfleet," Ariel said, grinning.

"Says the bitch who drank the ship dry."

That drew a wince from Ariel. "Touché."

Ted immediately complained, "Hey, how come she gets to call you a lush, and we get yelled at?"

Leone offered a wide grin of her own and started dealing cards. "Because I outrank everyone in this room, so shaddup!" When she was satisfied that she had their attention, she announced the game, "Now, the game is five card draw, jacks to open, trips to win."

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

Act I is being worked on!

-- ZC
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Old April 9 2008, 08:50 PM   #142
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Cool! Reminds me of some of my poker games! (Still wondering about Tomy, though!)
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Old April 10 2008, 03:54 AM   #143
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Mistral wrote: View Post
Cool! Reminds me of some of my poker games! (Still wondering about Tomy, though!)
That poker game is a good amalgam of what I deal with occasionally when I play poker with friends.

Tommy will be dealt with in a later episode. I promise.

-- ZC
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Old April 10 2008, 03:55 AM   #144
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Ok, but what about Tomy?(Jesus, I really have problems spelling, don't I?)
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Old April 10 2008, 04:00 AM   #145
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Mistral wrote: View Post
Ok, but what about Tomy?(Jesus, I really have problems spelling, don't I?)
Can't get that double-M to work, eh?

The plot from Milk Run/Eternal Midnight is all connected, somehow. We find out what happens to Tommy later on in the season.

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Old April 10 2008, 04:08 AM   #146
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

FSA #1 is going live at TrekFiction.com tomorrow!

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Old April 10 2008, 05:11 AM   #147
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

A good look back at some of our character's earlier years. It appears Potemkin has a fun loving crew, at least where promotions are concerned. However, as they're headed for that hellhole known as Turkana IV, I'm guessing some badness lurks right around the corner.
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Old April 10 2008, 05:43 AM   #148
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
A good look back at some of our character's earlier years. It appears Potemkin has a fun loving crew, at least where promotions are concerned. However, as they're headed for that hellhole known as Turkana IV, I'm guessing some badness lurks right around the corner.
I was wondering if anyone was going to pick up on that little tidbit or not Yeah, the mission to Turkana IV was inspired by a line from that episode where they say that Potemkin was the last Federation starship to visit there.

Also, Lieutenant William Riker was posted to Potemkin that year.

As always, thanks for reading,

-- ZC
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Old April 10 2008, 06:06 AM   #149
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

???? Turkana IV? I must be too tired to remember....
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Old April 10 2008, 06:08 AM   #150
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Mistral wrote: View Post
???? Turkana IV? I must be too tired to remember....
http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Turkana_IV

I love Memory Alpha.

-- ZC
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