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Old October 26 2009, 09:08 PM   #451
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Careful, someone just might come along to wipe that smile off your face...

And yeah, that's going to be a really sucky surgery for Iymender to have to go through. Better in his century than ours, for sure--but still NOT fun.
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Old October 28 2009, 11:04 PM   #452
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Do your worst!

I hope he gets that surgery soon tho! Berat will have to teach him the finer points of hospital stays... O.O
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Old October 29 2009, 01:36 AM   #453
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Hopefully Iymender's stay won't be anywhere near as long as Berat's recuperation...given the existence of dermal regenerators and such, I imagine he'll actually graduate to physical therapy a lot quicker than someone in the 21st century.
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Old December 11 2009, 09:23 PM   #454
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

For sure! If he can get to treatment...
Hey! It's been over a month since we got an installment... hasn't it? Or is there a new thread? I was looking for the icon that shows I've replied to a thread...
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Old December 12 2009, 08:01 AM   #455
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

As it happens, I have an installment now. I'd better post this, because the Advent/Christmas season does tend to put me in the mood for Catacombs of Oralius, so you may not be seeing another installment of this story until January. (There MIGHT be a section of "The Desolate Vigil" before then, though.)

There's a "treat" for you at the end of this section, though...

----------

Their liberated ship yearned for open space. And almost as though he were back aboard the Petraeus—he could almost feel it. It was his imagination, he knew, but where he was experiencing it…this phantom sensation...this bond…it stunned him and yet it made every bit of sense. These ships, these Gă’ălour that he now thought of in the plural the same way a Cardassian would…Starfleet had faced them as enemies. His first time aboard one, he had been a prisoner, convinced he was headed for the hideous centers of torment he’d heard described by the veterans of the first war.

But that had never come to pass.

And now…he had trained for this in simulation after simulation on the Petraeus, before the desperate call for soldiers in the Chin’toka system had led to his detachment to the ground units there under Commander Settles. He had done this on the holodeck. He had even fired the Petraeus’ weapons on minimal settings in wargames. But today, for the first time—he had fired a ship’s weapons at full intensity. And that ship was a Cardassian Gălor.

Zopreg pushed the Gălor’s engines. And almost immediately the Jem’Hadar blew past the Sherouk and opened fire at close range directly upon them and the pair of Laghur-class attack cutters.

Spirodopoulos had felt Jem’Hadar fire before, aboard the Petraeus, and just minutes ago aboard the augmented Hidekiy…but never like this. It felt…ironically enough, more like the results of Cardassian weapons fire upon a Starfleet vessel: definitely enough to get your attention, but far from an immediate deathblow.

“Forward shields holding at 92 percent,” Macet called. “But we’re still outgunned. Raxesh!” he called over the open comlink. “Determine what systems and decks we can shut down, and divert that power to disruptor and phaser arrays!

“In the meantime...” Macet glanced over at the tall Bajoran. “Ensign Folani—we need an uplink to the Sherouk.” Folani gave no verbal acknowledgment to the Cardassian gul, but returned a sharp nod and immediately got to work.

Spirodopoulos kept his eyes on the targeting sights. One of the Jem’Hadar ships was hammering relentlessly at…the Romac, he determined, having seen the name on several of the Cardassian officers’ cuirass inscriptions. The Greek officer worked at the alien targeting controls as quickly as he could. The circular crosshairs went red as the ship’s targeting computers augmented his efforts and established a lock. He jammed his thumb into the firing button and the main disruptor lashed out and connected with its target.

Then two things happened simultaneously: the display shifted to add designations to the two Jem’Hadar battle cruisers, and a voice burst over the comm channel: “Macet—all ships—break off! Establish lock on target One-Çolurt immediately! Stand by for targeting coordinates and prepare to fire!



Something read…oddly about one of the Jem’Hadar ships’ acceleration as it jumped to pursue the three liberated Cardassian vessels. To Berat’s trained eye, the ship almost…surged and balked in the space of less than a second as it throttled back from full impulse. “Did you see that?” he asked, turning around and indicating Rota and Mirok with a sweep of the eyes.

Ve’, Gul,” Mirok replied. “Almost looks like they’re having trouble closing their plasma manifolds.”

Berat’s fingers tingled excitedly as he stood. He could feel it, even with his hands still and folded behind his back as they were: could it be? “Mirok—have they fired their maneuvering thrusters?”

“Yes—rightwing side only!” she called back, her voice rising with the thrill of realization.

“Get the coordinates ready, Rota, and prepare to attach it to my next transmission!” Berat ordered.

This was a most adept crew; Berat had no need to state the rest of his plan to them, for they would grasp it just as readily as he did from this cue. Where a terhăn might have stated his plan aloud, even after it was well known, for the purpose of reassuring his crew and ensuring their compliance, there was little need for him to do this among Cardassians. There was a quiet, deep part in them that still read each other’s nonverbal mannerisms much as their ancestors would have, and would assess the tone and posture of a leader with a plan and, augmented by their prior trust of him, respond with obedience. Indeed, submission—however much some other species despised the word—would feel fundamentally right to them in a time like this, just as it had for him on Obrast Nor and the Vrokind.

The Jem’Hadar had engaged their targeting thrusters to compensate for a difference in power output by their left- and rightwing impulse engines: basically, to keep the two sides of the ship from trying to travel at different speeds from each other. If enough ships opened fire on the already-ailing impulse plasma manifolds while the Jem’Hadar ship as it made any significant acceleration or deceleration, they might well be able to punch through the battlecruiser’s shields and hit right when the stresses were at their worst. If they could exacerbate the disparate forces from one side to the other at the right minute, the ship might even tear itself apart as a result. At the least, they could force it to maneuvering thrusters and warp only, leaving them two choices: flee the system in an exceedingly dangerous maneuver, or flounder in orbit of Lessek and wait for the end.

“Macet—all ships—break off!” Berat called once the channel was opened. “Establish lock on target One-Çolurt immediately! Stand by for targeting coordinates and prepare to fire!” Rota’s fingers flashed across his console as he appended this information to his gul’s voice transmission.

“Sent, Gul! Acknowledgments received from all vessels.”

“They’re accelerating again—”

Fire!

Just as with the first cruiser—the Sherouk was the first to fire; then the rest of the Thirteenth Order launched their own salvos. The first to draw within range attacked with phasers and disruptors. As the Jem’Hadar shields weakened, the second wave launched a brace of plasma torpedoes each. Even for a ship of such extraordinary power, the combined barrage eventually pierced the shields.

One of the torpedoes found its mark. The explosion as it smashed into the vessel’s hull wasn’t much to look at, in comparison to the impact of a Starfleet quantum torpedo, but the effect it had was immediate. Lights flickered throughout the ship. Its very bones shuddered as the sudden loss of power to the rightwing side exacerbated stresses that had already begun to accumulate on its frame.

The Jem’Hadar reacted as quickly as they could to compensate with maneuvering thrusters as they throttled back the leftwing impulse engine, but the velocity differential between the left- and rightwing sides of the ship took its toll. Parts of the ship visibly buckled under the strain, especially those closest to the rightwing engine.

With what power they had left, the wounded Jem’Hadar cruiser fired at the Cardassian ships almost blindly. They seemed to recognize their impending demise, Berat thought, and just as a Cardassian might have done under the same circumstances, they were determined to take as many with them as possible.

“All ships—stay on One-Çolurt; don’t let up until they’re space dust!”



If Volet’aval had belonged to a race bereft of the Founders’ gifts, he might have sworn at the ferocious pounding his fellow First’s ship was taking. He ground his teeth at the aggravating necessity to secure permission from the Vorta to fire on the surface facilities that had—despite every warrior instinct screaming within him to take immediate action—cost them the time to deal with the swarm of Dominion-enhanced Hide’eki that had burst from the surface beneath the wings of the ship the dossier named as the Sherouk. At the treachery of the Cardassians.

At the fact that if this continued the way it now appeared to be headed…neither he nor his fellows would ever reclaim their lives.

There had been a part of Volet’aval that had hoped his service to the Founders might have come in the form of living to be an Honored Elder, one who, after his physical prime was through and the Vorta pulled him from the front lines, would share his experience to raise up future generations of stalwart soldiers for the Dominion. No Alpha, of course, was anywhere near that status yet—and it would have been a valuable contribution. He could reclaim his life many times over through the successes of each class of students.

Now, as his ship rocked with the impact of Retek’imak’s destruction, he squared his shoulders. He knew that future would never come to pass. Instead, only one way remained in which he could give glory to the majesty of the Founders.

He considered his potential targets. The Sherouk was the first one to come to mind. Despite the fact that every single other gul here was senior to him, apparently Berat was leading this assault. One small part of him…had to respect—in spite of his complete lack of reverence for the Founders, and the crippling physical defects enumerated in Berat’s dossier—the audacity of that ship’s Cardassian commander. It would almost have been a privilege, he thought regretfully to himself, to have fought at your side, Berat.

The Trager…he knew now that Macet had been at Rondac.

But tactically, the Gălor they had just stolen was the greatest threat—the hardest to take down by conventional means, the one that bore no scars from previous battles. And with it destroyed, the rest…even the Sherouk and the Trager…would soon follow. “Toroma’klan! Set a collision course for the Lessek Gălor, and take us to ramming speed, immediately!”

To the rest of the crew he began to recite just as he had at the beginning of the battle: “I am First Volet’aval, and I am dead. As of this moment, we are all dead. We go into battle to reclaim our lives. This we do gladly, for we are Jem’Hadar. Remember—victory is life!”

Perhaps there was no chance left for the life he had envisioned. Or even the life that would come after one more successful battle. But there was one more way in which the traditional recitation was true. They would be remembered. Remembered as loyal to the very last. And that was why the rest of his crew followed without hesitation.

Toroma’klan laid in the course.

And he, and the rest of the crew echoed back, “Victory is life!
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Old December 12 2009, 05:22 PM   #456
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Victory in death + freedom from Vorta!!

Great installment! But they can't possibly get the ship...
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Old December 12 2009, 05:29 PM   #457
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

AWESOME!!!

I love how you characterized the Jem'Hadar First. He may be the enemy, but he is, nonetheless, a good man, who respects the military ability of Berat.

Oh, and I'd love to have seen the U.S.S. Petraeus in action. I wonder...what class of ship do you imagine that gal to be, Nerys/Noel?
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Old December 12 2009, 05:57 PM   #458
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

The Jem'Hadar have always seemed to have a sense of honor, when compared to the Vorta. Remember the one that decided it was better to die than kill Worf, after Worf had proven himself as a warrior in the ring? That's kind of similar to what's going on with Volet'aval here. Now, Volet'aval does have an unfortunate attitude towards those with disabilities, which I think is in part due to the fact that a Jem'Hadar or Vorta too injured to heal quickly is "euthanized." He doesn't understand how or why Berat would choose to live in his injured body. Yet I do think that at least he recognizes, on some level, anyway, the heart and spirit of a warrior even though the vessel that contains it does not allow Berat to be a warrior in the same way he can.

As to the class of the Petraeus, I picture it as a Sabre-class ship: not one of those ships with an identity crisis between exploratory and military, but a clear military vessel. It's kind of in the same spirit as the Defiant class. It's a little less than half the length of a Galor.

http://stexpanded.wikia.com/wiki/Sabre_class
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Old December 12 2009, 06:33 PM   #459
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Noel Ghemor wrote: View Post
The Jem'Hadar have always seemed to have a sense of honor, when compared to the Vorta. Remember the one that decided it was better to die than kill Worf, after Worf had proven himself as a warrior in the ring? That's kind of similar to what's going on with Volet'aval here. Now, Volet'aval does have an unfortunate attitude towards those with disabilities, which I think is in part due to the fact that a Jem'Hadar or Vorta too injured to heal quickly is "euthanized." He doesn't understand how or why Berat would choose to live in his injured body. Yet I do think that at least he recognizes, on some level, anyway, the heart and spirit of a warrior even though the vessel that contains it does not allow Berat to be a warrior in the same way he can.
Agreed. The Jem'Hadar fight- that's what they're designed for, so being in a body that cannot, makes the Jem'Hadar feel useless, as brought out in Hippocratic Oath. But they can see admiral qualities beyond that. I'm curious about the Elder thing... I doubt they are weak when they get old, but I've always wondered when their "prime" is... I'd say between 4-8... but since they all have died before 30 so far, I guess we don't know yet. I'm hoping Taran'atar will reach it.
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Old December 12 2009, 11:25 PM   #460
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Yeah, that's about it. I don't think he can imagine how Berat is able to find fulfillment as he is. And I can tell you that even though Berat DOES badly miss having the full use of his hands (understandably so, especially for an engineer!), he is also very, very glad to be alive and to have been able to fight for and keep his position.

So as you say, Volet'aval can see that there's something special there, far more than I think a Vorta could see, even though I don't think he really understands what it is that makes Berat tick. (Remember, too, how Janek'ajan, the First aboard the Sherouk, was able to at least entertain the outside possibility that Berat could still present a danger to Dasreen in some way, even though he couldn't figure out how--whereas Dasreen couldn't see it at all. Same deal here.)

BTW, did it sound odd at all to you, as the Jem'Hadar expert, that Volet'aval might not be totally in love with the idea of losing his own life (i.e. hoping that perhaps his service can be teaching others in his "old" age)?
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Old December 12 2009, 11:29 PM   #461
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Noel Ghemor wrote: View Post
As to the class of the Petraeus, I picture it as a Sabre-class ship: not one of those ships with an identity crisis between exploratory and military, but a clear military vessel. It's kind of in the same spirit as the Defiant class. It's a little less than half the length of a Galor.

http://stexpanded.wikia.com/wiki/Sabre_class
(Whistles in admiration)

Nice. Has a "compact" look--even more so than the Defiant-class.
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Old December 13 2009, 05:21 AM   #462
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Yep...it's a fast, maneuverable, deadly little ship very much meant for war. That's why the tactical officer and XO are the same person. Which explains Spirodopoulos' position, why he's a lieutenant commander and not yet holding the tactical post--he's training for a double-post. At least, he was until the war put his normal progression on hold.
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Old December 13 2009, 03:31 PM   #463
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
AWESOME!!!

I love how you characterized the Jem'Hadar First.
Ditto. I've always been fond of the Jem'Hadar, and I enjoyed your characterization of the First, as well as the insights into Jem'Hadar philosophy.
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Old December 13 2009, 04:59 PM   #464
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Gotta say, I'm once again impressed by your level of detail. You don't just tell us that they're targeting their weakest spot, you tell us why exactly it is their vulnerable spot and at what precise moment it becomes one.

Personally I'm more of a pace guy who wants to get to the next page as quickly as possible, but from time to time I don't mind reading something so well constructed and thought-out.
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Old December 13 2009, 10:11 PM   #465
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

saNta and greeD wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
AWESOME!!!

I love how you characterized the Jem'Hadar First.
Ditto. I've always been fond of the Jem'Hadar, and I enjoyed your characterization of the First, as well as the insights into Jem'Hadar philosophy.
Glad you liked it! I thought it would be nice to not have the Jem'Hadar be a total cardboard cutout, since we saw some on the series that seemed to have a bit more depth to them.

CeJay wrote: View Post
Gotta say, I'm once again impressed by your level of detail. You don't just tell us that they're targeting their weakest spot, you tell us why exactly it is their vulnerable spot and at what precise moment it becomes one.

Personally I'm more of a pace guy who wants to get to the next page as quickly as possible, but from time to time I don't mind reading something so well constructed and thought-out.
Well, I'm always glad to get people out of their box!

I tend to be the kind of person that always wants to know more. Things that move at a fast pace are nice, but they feel kind of light to me, like I could watch a movie to get the same effect. I'd rather do what a movie can't do--and that's get in depth, get in people's heads, and really let you see what's going on from the inside.

A lot of Trek battles seem, sometimes, to have no rhyme or reason to them. Now, I LOVED First Contact, but I really wanted to know WHY that spot on the cube was a weak point, what mechanism was still connecting Picard to the Collective, etc. (And for Trek XI, I totally had to explain the red matter, and I actually do think I have a pretty decent working fan explanation. Not having it, or something like it, in the movie was a problem--taking a little time out to explain the damn thing would've gone a LONG way.) I like for the technology not to be magic, but to still have its benefits AND its flaws, ways that it can be exploited. I'm no engineer, granted, but I still like a certain element of sense in things.

Oh...and when the gul in question IS an engineer by background, I think it's important to his character to see how he knows what he knows.
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