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Old October 4 2010, 12:52 PM   #196
kes7
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Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

CaptainSarine wrote: View Post
Is-POOR-ia Hype's-rat. I think... I don't know, how have you all been pronouncing it in your heads?
Iss-pay-OR-ee-ai Hips-rat.

But now I know that's wrong.
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Old October 5 2010, 01:40 PM   #197
tau136
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Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

As I said in another thread, my net time has crashed to nearly zero right now;still at least it means I get to comment on the first twenties together.

They're reading like a stress test for all the characters . . . either forcing them out of character or more into character. You actually say that about Malok - how his even temper slipped and, contrariwise, you have Keene locking onto his core purpose and persona. The same is happening aboard the Onyx too, it seems to me; surely someone of Qwert's antecedents wouldn't ordinarily be so totally stunned by a firefight casualty. Then we have the one's who are being paplpably and comprehensively made over; Sarine most obviously but also Jasto & the Last-Vulcan-Ever. It isn't enough to be rearranging individuals you have to be messing with the species too. Your Kaleidoscope policy is beginning to bite methinks.

Isaporia !! My browser typeface had me misreading that as Isaporial (L) and set me off on a wild lexicographical goose chase for some relative of corporeal / arboreal / etc. Duh
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Old October 6 2010, 09:34 AM   #198
CaptainSarine
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Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

tau136

Thanks for the comment. Much like Kes, I will probably only be posting my chapters in little increments for this chapter, so as of Chapter 21 I'll be back to my normal posting. I'm trying desperately to get this volume finished before next month when I'll be participating in nanowrimo.

As to the stress test of these characters - yes, this is definitely a way of pushing the characters to the limits. I like what you have pointed out here about them all either slipping out of their usual characters or more into their characters, especially where it concerns Qwert. His reaction was out of character, more a reaction to the overall situation: at no point did he expect this mission to spiral so far out of control. I would argue that by the end of the chapter, though, he has recovered from that shock and is back on track.

IE Isaporial - LOL! I love it. Sorry to disapoint.

kes and Gul Spook

The official way to say it (a mix of both) (drum roll please...):

Iss-pah-OH-rah-ai Hips-rat

Hope that meets with your approval
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Old October 6 2010, 09:50 AM   #199
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

CaptainSarine wrote: View Post
when I'll be participating in nanowrimo.
Woohoo! Good luck! I had participated in nanowrimo several times and once I failed, but it was fun nevertheless. Unfortunately I have no chances this year, as I don't have enough time.

What will you write? Another fanfic or some original stuff?

Iss-pah-OH-rah-ai Hips-rat
Oh, yeah, now it's super-simple
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Old October 6 2010, 10:49 AM   #200
CaptainSarine
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Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

Gul Spook wrote: View Post
CaptainSarine wrote: View Post
when I'll be participating in nanowrimo.
Woohoo! Good luck! I had participated in nanowrimo several times and once I failed, but it was fun nevertheless. Unfortunately I have no chances this year, as I don't have enough time.

What will you write? Another fanfic or some original stuff?

Iss-pah-OH-rah-ai Hips-rat
Oh, yeah, now it's super-simple
LOL! Don't hurt yourself!

I LOVE Nanowrimo. This will be my seventh year, and I 'won' five times so far.

I will be writing the sequel to last year's original novel.

In fact, you can find last year's being serialised online at http://soulreaperchronicles.blogspot.com.

Shameless plug? What shameless plug?

Thanks for the comment.
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Old October 15 2010, 09:50 AM   #201
CaptainSarine
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Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

Chapter 21

The battle was turning and not in their favor.

Prin glanced at the holographic screen hovering in the air in front of her, showing the tactical situation around Onyx Station. The blue and green shapes signalling Redemption and her allies were slowly being pushed further and further away from the centre of the system, forced back by the enemy Laurentii forces. Very soon, there would be no point in remaining anymore.

And still the enemy kept on coming.

She watched her viewfinder as Redemption’s phasers and torpedoes streaked through the void, flaring briefly at the heart of one of five tendril ships. The ship flew apart, purple gore congealing in space.

Simultaneously, the four remaining ships fired bright searing beams, striking the nearest Behemoth amidships. The huge living vessel bucked, great stripes of flesh tearing away revealing vivid red flesh beneath. The creature, mortally wounded, began to shut down.

That’s it, Prin thought before she could stop herself. We’re not going to get out of this one.

The view around her shifted as Williams banked, bringing the ship’s belly around. The dorsal phaser banks let rip, keen lances of energy tearing at the oncoming ships. One of them lost all of its tendrils, another one fled the onslaught.

The comm. line buzzed, breaking through the battle induced fog in Prin’s mind. She reached up and slapped her badge. “Prin here.”

“Engineering. I have an idea.”

Kane’s voice and inflection had taken on the emotionless tones of a computer. He must be directly interfaced with the computer. Prin tried to repress a shudder at the thought, forcing fire into her voice.

“You’d better, Kane. We’re getting torn apart up here and I don’t know how much longer we can hold out before we have to run.”

“There is a 95% chance you will not like my suggestion.”

“You let me worry about that.”

“Very well. I have interfaced with the sensor network and correlated the little information our science department gathered before the attack. All current data seems to indicate that the station is a living organism, like all the Laurentii technology. Biotech, through and through, with very few mechanical components. Simulations indicate that what we are calling the interference field is in fact a natural defensive mechanism.”

“Natural?”

“All probabilities indicate that no one over there has any control over it. It is like a second layer of skin, automatically generated when the creature we call Onyx Station feels it is in danger.”

“What’s your idea, Kane?”

“Nanoprobes.”

Prin hesitated before answering, unsure if she had heard him correctly. “Nanoprobes. Borg nanoprobes?”

“You know of any other kind?” he asked, a little of his own personality seeping past the Borg conditioning.

“What by the Prophets are you suggesting?”

“A torpedo loaded with Borg nanoprobes. We fire it at the station, wait for the nanoprobes to infect the station, then use the neural interlink frequency to lower the defences.”

“You’re talking about assimilating the station.”

“Yes.”

“You’re insane.”

“All simulations indicate that it is the most viable option, Commander.”

“I can’t believe that—“

“Commander?”

Prin broke off, looking up at Ianto, still stoo on the edge of the Pit. “What is it Mister Ianto?”

“I think that Lieutenant Kane’s idea has merit.”

Prin couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Merit? We’re talking about unleashing a weapon that was banned by the Dominion. The Dominion!”

“Lieutenant Kane, if my understanding of Borg technology is correct, there is a special frequency that could be used by the Borg to destroy all of the nanoprobes within an assimilated body, is that correct?”

“Yes,” Kane responded. “After various Delta Quadrant races conspired to infect the collective with various biological and cybernetic viruses at the moment of assimilation, a frequency was designed that—“

“So,” Ianto interrupted, cutting off Kane’s robotic explanation, “once the nanoprobes have been used to drop the defences, you could use that frequency to deassimilate the station?”

“As long as the assimilation process has not proceeded too far.”

“Would you have time to drop the interference field before the process goes too far?” Prin asked.

There was a moment of silence. “Kane?”

“Calculating.”

Prin waited for the answer, still not quite believing that she was even considering the plan. Finally, Kane replied.

“There is a 95% chance that I will be able to destroy the nanoprobes before the assimilation goes too far.”

95%. Prin winced. A five percent chance that she could end up with a Borg space station on her hands did not seem like particularly good odds. She had always prided herself on being unshakeable during emergencies, willing to take the time to consider all of the options on their own individual merits, without allowing emotion to take over. She had trained herself so that even when faced with a seemingly insurmountable crisis, a logical part of her brain would detach and allow her to make the right decision.

But all of the training couldn’t help her here. It’s like the Kobayashi Maru, she thought. No win, and a snow ball’s chance of a solution.

Well then, so be it. A snow ball’s chance is better than none. She nodded.

“Alright Kane. Prepare the torpedo.”

“Yes, captain. There is one difficulty. The station is going to be defending itself against anything it sees as a threat. A warhead set to the exact frequency of the interference field would have a chance of getting through, but the field is changing every few seconds. The torpedo would have to be fired from close range and harmonized just before launch. We are going to need to get closer.”

Closer to that? Prin thought. Space around the station boiled with Behemoths, fighters and energy blasts. We’ll be slaughtered.

“I may have a solution to that, Commander.”

Prin looked back up at Ianto. “Mister Ianto?”

“If you reinstate my commission, I think I can fly a shuttle close enough to get off the shot.”

“That would take a pilot with superhuman skills.”

“Or one who can download his personality directly into the shuttle’s computer.”

Prin frowned. “You can do that?”

“Give me ten minutes.”

“Alright. Make it so, gentlemen.”

As Kane cut the comm and Ianto prepared to transfer part of his matrix, Prin turned to Barani. The ops officer had listened in on the whole conversation and her wide eyes told Prin everything she needed to know of how the lieutenant felt about the plan.

“Do you have something to add, lieutenant?”

Barani shook her head, turning back to her screens. “No, sir.”

“Good. Hail the lead Laurentii Behemoth.” Prin looked back at the raging battle. No matter what Ianto said, he was going to need support to get the shuttle that close to the station. Leaving me to convince our “allies” to follow me into the plaktar’s nest.
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Old October 15 2010, 12:06 PM   #202
kes7
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Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

Prin's deadpan "You're insane" made me laugh so hard.

Gotta love the Borg and the android teaming up here. Assimilating Ispaoreai Hyps'rat seems like SUCH a bad idea, but just crazy enough to work. Go Kane! Go Ianto! I can't wait to see how this goes. Great stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed this scene.
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Old October 15 2010, 01:55 PM   #203
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

I can't help but wonder what would happen if the station would be assimilated. A living Borg station!
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Old October 16 2010, 08:50 AM   #204
Gibraltar
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Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

Uh... a Borg station with Laurentii technology and sentience? Of course! What could possibly go wrong with that plan?!?

This had better work, and work correctly, or a Laurentii civil war is going to be the last of the Federation's worries.

Man, I can just see that conversation between Prin and Starfleet Command. "I've... uh... got some good news, and some bad news..."

Set phasers to angst!
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Old October 18 2010, 11:11 AM   #205
CaptainSarine
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Location: Lyon, France
Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

MirrorKes7 wrote: View Post
Prin's deadpan "You're insane" made me laugh so hard.

Gotta love the Borg and the android teaming up here. Assimilating Ispaoreai Hyps'rat seems like SUCH a bad idea, but just crazy enough to work. Go Kane! Go Ianto! I can't wait to see how this goes. Great stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed this scene.
Glad Prin made you laugh. Then again, can't really blame her for her reaction to this plan.

Considering the situation they are in, you need an insane plan to get past the defences. And since Ispaoreai is a living station, assimilating it makes a weird kind of sense.

Gul Spook wrote: View Post
I can't help but wonder what would happen if the station would be assimilated. A living Borg station!
I know! Whether this works or not, I may just have to reuse that idea going forward. A living Borg Station, yay!

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
Uh... a Borg station with Laurentii technology and sentience? Of course! What could possibly go wrong with that plan?!?

This had better work, and work correctly, or a Laurentii civil war is going to be the last of the Federation's worries.

Man, I can just see that conversation between Prin and Starfleet Command. "I've... uh... got some good news, and some bad news..."

Set phasers to angst!
IE the conversation between Prin and Command:

Of course considering the political wranglings and infiltration we have seen so far in this series, maybe the Starfleet of this timeline would welcome the idea. Hell, if they have the technology they could assimilate the entire Laurentii fleet... Ok, maybe not a great idea!

Thanks to you all for the comments!

Joel
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Old October 21 2010, 08:52 PM   #206
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Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

Great plot twist! That was not the way I saw it working out!
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Old October 24 2010, 10:01 AM   #207
CaptainSarine
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Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

Mistral wrote: View Post
Great plot twist! That was not the way I saw it working out!
Thanks Mistral! Glad I surprised you!

Ok, folks, it is bad news, good news time.

The bad news? As usual I will be participating in nanowrimo this year from 1st to 30th November so will probably not be updating much during that time. I'll try to get one or two extra chapters up before then, but I'm not promising anything. So Volume 3 may not be finished before that hiatus.

The good news? For my nanonovel I will be writing Volume 4, the final volume of this part of the story! When I come back off the hiatus I should have a pretty hefty first draft, and so my posting should be much more regular. It is about time I finished this story I started, and this seems like the way to do it!

Wish me luck!
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Old October 24 2010, 10:27 AM   #208
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

Good luck, fingers crossed and - as the Chinese say - add oil!!
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Old December 16 2010, 10:42 PM   #209
CaptainSarine
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Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

Chapter 22

Ispaoreai Hyps’rat (Onyx Station)


Reaching the kruin’s chamber proved easier than Qwert had expected.

After agreeing to accompany him, Lkim had led him to the rear of the yaszmoot chambers. Pressing his hand to the flesh, he had opened a small opening revealing a cramped tunnel behind. Qwert had taken a step closer only to recoil at the stench emanating from the passageway.

“Maintenance veins,” Lkim had said. “They run throughout the whole station, pumping nutrients in and waste products out. They’re mostly abandoned now, though.”

For good reason, Qwert thought as he dragged himself up and out of the last of the veins fifteen minutes later. He was sweaty and covered in viscous, foul-smelling oil that dripped from the veins’ walls and ceilings. Collapsing to the floor, breathing hard, he looked around. Lkim had led them to a small hollow that thrummed with life, lit by the soft green glow that infused the whole station.

Climbing through the veins had been like travelling through Jeffries’ tubes, forcing him to exert himself like he hadn’t in a long time. Of course, Jeffries’ tubes rarely stank like that.

I’m getting too old for this, he thought, then glanced at Lkim. His companion had collapsed to the floor beside him, his chest rising and falling, the breathing flaps beneath his chest quivering softly. We both are, I suppose. This is a young man’s game.

Lkim was the first to recover. After only a few more moments, he managed to roll over, leaving Qwert where he was and crawling over to a small protrusion bulging up out of the fleshy floor. Qwert watched as he pressed his fingers to it, the bulge opening up and swallowing the other man’s hand with a sucking sound. Moments later, a small portal irised open. Forcing himself to move, Qwert joined his companion and looked down at the chamber below.

Glorious Material Continuum, was his first thought.

The kruin’s chamber was spheroid in shape. The walls, ceiling and floor hunkered beneath a complex network of veins. Green, purple and blue liquid pulsed through those veins, bathing the room in multicoloured light. Qwert traced one of the veins with his eyes, watching as it pumped the liquid into an hourglass shape that rose and fell from ceiling and floor. The three liquids swirled and danced within.

His breath caught in his throat when he saw the small figure floating where the hourglass tapered to a point. Body pierced a dozen times by some kind of tendrils snaking from the station’s flesh, the former kruin looked like a puppet abandoned by its puppeteer.

Before he could take in more of the view, a tremor shook the chamber. The floor and ceiling contracted and rippled, while sparks of electrical energy raced along the network of veins. When it reached the hourglass, a shimmer of energy flashed into life, obscuring his view of the kruin.

“What was that?” Qwert asked when the effect had passed.

Lkim wordlessly pointed to the edge of the room.

For the first time, Qwert saw the Laurentii below. Soldiers stood at regular intervals along the wall, claw weapons in hand, eyes scanning the room. Thank the Exchequer, so far none of them had thought to look up.

Lkim, though, was pointing to a clump of Laurentii off to one side, a safe distance from the central core. Qwert recognised Lkinym – the havac was naked, his red-orange flesh seeming to glow beneath the multicoloured light emanating from the veins. A group of Laurentii, their naked flesh the chalky colour of a gravat’s milk, surrounded him, painting his body with what appeared to be blood.

Beside them, a group of soldiers crouched beside a squat machine. As Qwert watched, they pressed their hands to it, fingers passing through some viscous biological component. The machine began to thrum and throb, then emitted an electrical pulse that repeated the same effect as before. Once the ceiling had finished moving beneath him, Qwert looked at Lkim.

“They’re trying to force Ispaoreai Hyps’rat to release kruin Asuph so that they can insert Lkinym.” The disgust in his voice was all too clear. “It is a blasphemy.”

“I don’t understand,” Qwert said, returning his attention to the sight below. “What are they hoping to do?”

Lkim shook his head. “Normally, when a kruin dies, Ispaoreai Hyps’rat maintains his body in stasis within the brainchamber for three days while the yaszmoot chooses a successor. Once that successor has been chose, the Hyps’rat empties the brainchamber, releases the kruin’s body and evacuates it.”

“Where?”

“To the reclamation level.”

Qwert suppressed a shiver. They had visited the reclamation level on the first day. Seeing the waste extracted from the station’s many levels pour into those throbbing pink sacks where the digestive fluids broke it all down into trace elements and nutrients… And they do that to their leader?

“What happens then?” he asked.

“The new kruin enters the brainchamber. If he is accepted by Ispaoreai Hyps’rat, his body is harvested – the cerebral tendrils that connect him to the Hyps’rat inject themselves into his body.”

Qwert glanced back at the hourglass shape. The fluid still swirled within, the old kruin’s body still floated there, and that shimmering shield still protected the chamber from anyone accessing it.

“And they’re trying to force the station using that machine?”

“It would seem so. As soon as Lkinym shot a weapon at the brainchamber, Ispaoreai raised its defences. I doubt even it could lower them now. Still, there must be something they hope to…”

Lkim’s words were cut off by the familiar whine of weapons fire. Qwert flinched away, convinced they had been found. When no energy blasts reached them, though, he moved back to the opening.

A group of soldiers had gathered in a tighter circle around the brainchamber. The weapons fire was directed at the hourglass shape.

“What are they doing?” Lkim asked in shock.

“Looking for a way in,” Qwert replied. “If they can’t get the station to grant them access freely, it looks like they’re prepared to cut their way in.”

“I cannot believe even Lkinym would be capable of such a sacrilege.”

“How long do you think it will take them to get past the station’s defences?” Qwert asked, ignoring Lkim’s shocked words.

The Laurentii just stared at the scene below. Qwert reached out and grabbed his shoulder, squeezing hard. “How long?”

Lkim shook his head. “I am not even sure it will be possible. If it is… At least an hour. Probably more.”

Qwert nodded. If he had been so inclined, it left him with a fair amount of time before he had to move on the renegade kruin. He wasn’t though. Groves and Benjamani, as well as Lkim’s loyalist Laurentii, were still under siege in the yaszmoot chamber. And he had no idea what might be happening out in space. No. He needed to get rid of Lkinym now.

His mind made up, he drew away from the opening. Lkim looked at him and frowned.

“You are not attacking?”

He shook his head. “Not from here. If one of those priests moves at the wrong moment, I might miss him. And considering the number of soldiers down there, I doubt we’ll get more than one shot at this.”

“What then?”

“I need you to get me closer to him. Do these maintenance veins run all around the chamber?”

“Yes, but they are more difficult to access. Lkinym may have them guarded.”

“A risk we’ll have to take. We should be able to handle a few guards. But I need to be closer before I can pull this off.”

Lkim thought about that for a moment, his face tilted away and his eyestrip flickering between dark green and blue. Finally, he nodded.

“I think I can get you closer.”

Qwert shook his head. “Tell me where to go and how to get there.”

“But you will need my help.”

“I don’t need a guide, Lkim. I need a diversion.”

He frowned. “A diversion.”

“Here’s what I want you to do…”

Shuttle Picard

Ianto completed downloading the small part of his matrix into the shuttle Picard and reached out with his new senses.

(0,001% of his cybernetic functions wandered through his memories, fired by the name of the shuttle. Picard. Data’s memories, stored safely in Ianto’s own hippocampian cortex, resonated with the name. Most were happy, others drenched with sorrow. The death of the Enterprise, her captain’s own execution at Jem’hadar hands… The last years of the Federation had been a dark time and his memories were so clear he might as well have lived them himself.)

The shuttle felt like an extension of his self, as much a part of him now as the holographic avatar he had created with Kalara’s help.

(2% of his functions were allocated to constantly monitoring her in the brig. Damien was with her. He wished he could go to her, tell her it would be alright. His conversation with Commander Ly’et had given him hope – if he could prove she was not behind the betrayal, he believed that the Cardassian woman would listen to him. )

He could control the shuttle’s thrusters in the same way he controlled the photonic musculature. The sensors, so many pairs of eyes and ears and noses, drowned him in data from the world around him. Metallic plating became his skin, tractors beams his hands.

(An infinitesimal 0,0000001% was currently sharpening the holographic matrix of his photonic self, and designing a new uniform more akin to the resistance uniform his father had worn than the early Dominion War era one he currently wore.)

Reaching out, he built neuronal links between two parts of his ‘brain’, birthing a new pathway – one that allowed him to perfectly correlate the functions of the shuttle with the feed he was receiving from the Redemption. He would need all of the sensory input for the mission ahead.

(5% of his functions maintained a steady ‘eye’ on all of the engineering systems within Redemption, guarding his second ‘body’ as she prepared to go into battle. 1% ensured that no one on board realised how much control he actually had over the ship’s systems.)

Taking control of the shuttle and connecting both his ‘bodies’ in one smooth neuro-cybernetic stream took all of 2.25469 seconds. The 15% of his cortex that controlled the holographic matrix on the bridge sent impulses through the biomimetic packs he had allocated to control it, straightening his ‘back’ and turning his ‘head’ to look at Prin.

“I am in full control of the shuttle Picard, Commander. Whenever you are ready, we can begin.”

USS Redemption
Bridge


“Whenever you are ready, we can begin.”

Prin nodded, glancing at the hologram standing at the very edge of the Pit. “Thank you, Mister Ianto.” She turned to Barani. “Ops, what is the status of our allies?”

The attractive dark skinned human woman checked her screens, her form hazy through the myriads of flickering screens surrounding her. “Standing ready, Commander. Varec Kh’ylat says that as soon as we gain an opening, they will follow your lead.”

Prin turned back to one of five screens hovering in the air in front of her. Through it, she could just about make out the armada that the Laurentii had gathered - five Behemoths and two dozen smaller craft. On the screen, the positions of the various loyalist Laurentii ships appeared in blue, while the enemy ships had been tagged red. Three of the blue Behemoths had drawn a handful of rebel ships away, the battle between them raging near the system’s innermost gas giant. Redemption and her allies had drawn back, gathering just outside the system. A line of three Behemoths protected them, engaging the loyalist front line and trying to force a breach.

It was obvious to anyone that there were more reds than blues. For the moment, that didn’t worry her too much. She wasn’t planning to launch a full out battle for control of the station - if everything went according to plan it would be more of a lightning raid.

If everything went according to plan.

The Laurentii had been surprisingly amenable when she explained what she wanted to do. Of course, she hadn’t mentioned exactly what the ‘secret weapon’ her people had devised was going to do - the Hegemony feared the Borg as much as anyone else in the galaxy. She doubted any of them would have agreed to have their station forcibly assimilated. If it worked, she would have some explaining to do, but at least she would be doing it with Ba’el, Ambassador Benjamani and Admiral Qwert at her side. If it failed… Well, there would be nothing to apologise for.

On the screen in front of her, the three blue icons representing their outermost Behemoths ran another attack on the rebel front line. There was a brief exchange of fire - little more than distant flashes of lightning on the holographic tactical projection in front of her - and the loyalists pulled back. Prin held her breath, hoping to see the break she needed. After a few seconds, it was obvious that it wasn’t going to happen. The rebels were holding firm. They didn’t seem to have any interest in chasing their enemies - as long as they stayed away from Onyx Station, they were happy to keep them at bay.

Prin studied the situation past the front line. A mass of smaller blue icons buzzed around a core Behemoth just behind the front lines - a vast armada of smaller vessels. They were going to find it hard to push through them, but if they managed to hold on to at least two Behemoths until they reached that point, the larger ships should be able to punch Redemption a hole.

If that worked…

Five Behemoths surrounded Onyx Station at close quarters. Even if Redemption managed to survive past the front defensive line, through that mass of ships and into the relatively free and open space beyond, they would be all alone. Against five Behemoths. The shuttle Picard would be close enough to launch, but Prin wouldn’t be able to protect it.

She shook her head. It was about time she called in her back-up.

Hornet-class Fighter

Gemma Turner keyed her comm as the incoming transmission from Redemption appeared on her screen.

Starburst Squadron had pulled out along with the rest of the Laurentii fleet, and she had ordered her people into a holding pattern around the larger Federation ship. It had been a waiting game since then, watching their Laurentii allies play cat and mouse with their enemies. The comm chatter from her pilots had started out well natured, but she could hear the strain growing in their voices.

This had better be good, she thought as Ba’el’s Cardassian XO - Prin Ly’et - appeared on the screen.

“Commander Turner, we are preparing to make a run on the station,” Ly’et said without preamble. “Once we get close enough, we’re launching a shuttle in an attempt to rescue our people trapped there.”

Does that include your captain? Gemma wanted to ask. But she forced herself to nod. “Understood.”

“I’m sure you can see the odds out there as well as I can,” Ly’et went on. “Getting at the station is not going to be easy.”

“My people are ready to punch you a hole, commander.”

Ly’et smiled. “I’m sure they are, Commander Turner. That isn’t what I want them to do, though.”

Gemma frowned. What exactly was Ly’et getting at?

“I want you and your people to fly as close to Redemption as possible. Stay in the range of our defences while we break through the Laurentii lines.”

“Stay in range of your defences? Commander, that sounds a hell of a lot like hiding. My people aren’t going to like that.”

“I didn’t think they would. And yes, that is exactly what I want you to do. Hide. Stay in our sensor shadow, stay beneath our shields. Stay alive.”

“Commander, that doesn’t make any sense. If you don’t want us in the fighting, we’d be better off in the flight bay. Unless…” Gemma felt her eyes widen as she realised what Ly’et was asking.

“Unless I want you ready to move the moment we break through.”

While Ly’et was talking, Gemma checked her screens again. She zoomed in on the station. She doesn’t think any of our allies are going to make it to the end game. She’s going to throw Redemption against those Behemoths. Which means…

“You want us to protect the shuttle going in.”

“That shuttle is our only chance of getting our people back, Commander. It has to complete its mission.”

Even if that means every member of Starburst Squadron is sacrificed to make that happen. She nodded. “I understand completely.”

Prin took a moment to answer. When she did, her voice - normally so cool - held a myriad layered emotions. Regret. Sadness. Pride. “I know you do, commander. And thank you.”

Turner felt herself sit up straighter. No wonder Ba’el chose her as his second officer, she thought for the first time. Maybe he isn’t the only fleeter who is worth a damn. “We’ll do the job, Commander Ly’et.”

“Thank you. May the Prophets be with you.”

The small screen went dark. Turner stared at it for a moment, then allowed her eyes to slide upwards. She stared through the gathered Laurentii ships, past the ongoing battle, to the small glowing blur in the far distance. You’d better be on that station, Ba’el. And you’d better be alive. Cause I’m coming for you.

Shaking her head to rid it of thoughts of Ba’el Sarine, she activated the comm. Time to tell her people what was coming.

Bridge

Prin closed her eyes as she cut the comm line to Turner. The young woman’s face hovered in front of her eyes. You just ordered that girl to her death, Prin. Her and every other member of her squadron.

It had to be done, she told herself. She believed it too. It still didn’t make it any easier.

Taking a moment, she looked around her bridge. Her bridge. Without even meaning to, she had started to think of it that way. Not that she had any doubts that Ba’el would soon be back in the centre spot, giving the orders, and leading these people home. Not a single one. Still, it was nice for a moment to enjoy the feeling. Her bridge. Her ship. Her crew.

She felt a lump grow in her throat and swallowed hard. In a few minutes, she was going to order all of them into battle. And when she gave that order, she had no way of knowing how many of them would be coming back. She took a breath. She would just have to do her damnedest to make sure that as many of them as possible were still standing when she handed the reins back to Ba’el.

Before her thoughts could distract her any more, L’wynd spoke up from Tactical. “I think we have our opening, commander.”

Prin waved her hand, bringing the tactical display front and centre before her. The three loyalist Behemoths - in blue - were making another strafing run on the Laurentii front line. For a moment, she thought that L’wynd was imagining things. Then she saw it. Three of the enemy ships were slightly out of position compared to the rest. As she watched, they moved even further, attacking the loyalist ships. The three blue dots darted out of their weapons range, but the red dots kept on moving.

Thank the Prophets! They’ve taken the bait.

“Lieutenant Barani, message to all ships. We’re going in.”
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Old December 17 2010, 01:26 AM   #210
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Re: Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

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