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Old April 15 2011, 02:55 PM   #16
david lowbridge
Lieutenant Commander
 
Location: Somewhere in the future
Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

OwN wrote: View Post
Nice Start, I like the time period also, little discussed in trek indeed
thanks, i hope you enjoy the rest of the story

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
Commentary on Chapter 3:

V'ras is an interesting fellow, and quite unconventional, even by Vulcan standards. Dr. Burton, however, seems all too familiar… a physician with little concern for anything that doesn’t immediately affect her or her department. Fortunately, she’s got Nurse Williams there to help keep her grounded and balanced.

I appreciated the interaction between V’ras and the captain, and the patience the engineer showed with the captain mucking about in his business. Good stuff.
Thanks for your further feedback. V'ras is one of my favourite characters, very unique traits to him. Burton certainly has a chip on shoulder, but considering the design of the ship being based around medical, i think she can think its all about here at times. the conversation between vras and wilcox was fun to do, and is something not seen often in starfleet, the captain getting too involved.
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Old April 15 2011, 02:56 PM   #17
david lowbridge
Lieutenant Commander
 
Location: Somewhere in the future
Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

Chapter 7

Captain's Log stargate 53113.1


Captain John Wilcox, commanding officer of the USS Nightingale. The USS Nightingale has made it safely to Starbase one-one-two in less than time than I thought. I am extremely proud of my engineering team in what they were able to achieve in so little time. I am eager to get on with our mission and I have therefore given only four hours for us at the Starbase. I know some of my crew are not so happy about this, but they will have to put up with it, the USS Brave has been missing now for such a long time I am beginning to worry it is too late for them.

I have yet to meet my mission advisor, I have been advised he has moved into guest quarters and it is taking a while to settle him in. I have requested a meeting with the Station commander, a Captain Howard, in order to discuss some of my concerns. I am hoping he will lend me some crewmembers in addition to my mission advisor. Top of my list is some security personnel. I don't fancy taking this ship into a potentially hostile area without some security officers. Perhaps I will be lucky.

The commander should also be providing me with the latest intelligence reports and sensor sweeps of the borders with the Gorn and Geckonians. From what I understand in brief the USS Hood has taken the three days to scan the entire area, trying to cut out some time that we need to find the Brave. At least the USS Hood will be available as backup should the worst happen.

The Brave has been missing now for nine days, it seems almost impossible that the ship wouldn't have been able to get some kind of message out to the fleet. I'm almost fearful that Command is sending us out on a fool's errant, there will be nothing left of the Brave, her crew or any information what has happened to her. To the crew I try to appear optimistic about the situation, knowing full well that deep down I am just as apprehensive as any of them are at this moment.

Stardate: 53113.1 Commander's Office, Starbase 112

John walked into Captain Howard's quarters with a brisk pace, he had little time to worry about edging about. The slightly large man gave a quick look up from his padd he was reading and nodded to John before returning to his padd. John sat himself down in front of the Station Commander's desk and tapped his own padd in his left hand. He looked around the spacious office; he could see models of ships, presumably something that was close to Captain Howard's heart.

"Sorry Captain," he eventually said in an apologetic manner, "I just wanted to finish this intelligence report before speaking to you."

"Not a problem Captain," John replied, politeness in his voice, despite it was the last thing he wanted to be. "Is it anything interesting?"

"Analysis of the latest Gorn fleet movements," the Captain replied, his voice quiet as if it was in the distant, probably along the Gorn border where a lot of troubles seemed to be starting nowadays.

"A lot of movement?"

Howard nodded his head, "it seems that there was a huge build up about three weeks ago and now all the ships have shifted positions, but intelligence is not sure where or who their target is."

"If there is even a target," John added, his voice contemplative, surely the Gorn were not going to start a war so soon after a galactic war that cost the lives of billions, some of which were Gorn.

"Well the Gorn haven't attacked the Federation directly since for fifty six years, it would seem highly unlikely that they would choose now as a time to strike," Howard continued, "how much do you know about the Gorn - Geckonian war?"

"Nothing," replied John, he had heard the name, probably the other day in one of those dozen or so padds that laid across his small desk, but he had never been to this area of space before and so did not know the local problems.

The Captain sat back in his chair and clasped his hands tightly together, "Lieutenant Commander Hans, who I'm loaning you as a mission advisor, he was a Geckonian Infantry officer in the Geckonian - Gorn war twenty years ago," Howard looked out of the window, biting his lip, "I've tried to get him to talk about it, but he won't, I think it was a very brutal, personal war for him."

"Aren't all wars brutal?" John asked, he did not know a war in history that couldn't be described as being brutal.

"This one more so than most," Howard continued, "Eight hundred million people died in the two year war between two races that hold a collective population of sixty trillion, not even our losses in the recent war were that high."

John remembered the Dominion casualty statistics, billions died, a larger number, but the percentage of those killed in relation to population was relatively small compared to that figure, "do we know anything about the war?" John asked.

"The Gorn tried to conquer the Geckonian nation, after the initial success; the Geckonians were able to dig in, caused massive damage to the Gorn fleet, before they had to call a ceasefire and return to their own space," Howard paused, "but as to specific facts I can't offer you anything."

John shook his head, "you can offer me something, even if it isn't information at this moment."

Howard tipped forward, his eye brows raised in curiosity, "what can I do for you?"

"Starfleet sent me out with some crew missing," John stated his voice sad, "I don't have any security personnel."

Howard stood up and walked over to his window, John gave a quick glance and saw his vessel sitting at its port bay, "it's a small ship," Howard remarked, "much smaller than I imagined."

"You know the old saying, all good things come in small packages," John said smiling. It was a nervous smile, a wary smile, just about any smile than a happy one.

Howard turned and face John, his face sour, John was trying to work out whether this was a serious face or an annoyed one. "How many security officers are you suppose to have?" Howard asked, his voice now complete void of cheeriness that he once had.

"Fourteen crewmen and two officers, I have two officers, but both also work tactical," John replied.

"I don't have that many to spare you," Howard replied, "I can spare you a security detail, six men."

John's heart sank, six men was not enough, that would mean only two men were on duty at any one time, barely enough to run the security office, let alone the brig if necessary or respond to security alerts across the ship, he needed the fourteen men, he needed those other eight.

"I appreciate your position Captain," John replied, "but there must be something you can do in order to allow me to get more personnel?"

Howard licked his lips, "I have very few personnel myself," he replied, his voice now sympathetic.

"I understand that Captain," replied John, "but you aren't the one who could be going into a hostile situation with no security personnel."

Howard sat back down in his chair and looked at John, John returned the same cold stare back at his counterpart, one of them would have to budge, and John wasn't going to be the one to do so.

"I can't give you any more security personnel," Howard replied, "but there are currently ninety six marines on station with nothing to do," he paused tapping a communication button on his table, "let's see if we can get eight of those for you."

"Yes Captain." A female voice said over the communication relays.

"Can you get Major Dodd up here Lieutenant," Howard replied smiling at John, "I need him urgently."

"Right away Captain," the response was quick and sharp, something that John recognised as respect and devotion to their captain, something he had not yet earned on his ship.

"Think eight marines as well as my six men would be good enough?" Howard asked.

John nodded, they weren't exactly right, but given the situation they would do just fine.



Moments later a man walked into the office wearing the standard Starfleet uniform with a green undershirt, John instantly recognised the man as being a member of the Marine corps for Starfleet. "You asked to see me sir," the man said sharply to Captain Howard.

"Yes Major Dodd," replied Howard looking at the man, John staid in his chair looking at the marine stood all perfectly at attention just behind his attention, "this is Captain John Wilcox of the USS Nightingale," Howard introduced John, John nodded his head in response to the same welcoming gestured given by the marine, "he is in need of some men, could you lend him a squad of eight men?"

"What would their duties be sir?" asked the Major.

"I don't have a security detail," John said calmly, "I need them to fill in those roles, I could be going into a hostile situation and I need people who are capable to act as my security detachment."

The Major looked at John, something that sent a shiver down his back, "the marines will that job better than you could expect," he said with that same smile, "Section three, platoon A would be the best, Corporal Xon is an excellent squad leader and has worked on a vessel before," he said, "when will you be leaving dock sir?"

"Within a couple of hours," John replied quickly.

"I will have them aboard your ship within thirty minutes," Major Dodd replied, "if I may be excused sirs?"

Howard nodded and the marine left the room quickly, with a spring in his step, John wondered whether he was being given the best unit or one that annoyed the Major. He seemed happy to lose eight men quickly, "are they as good as he says they are?" asked John.

Howard nodded, "the best," he paused for a second getting up to go to the replicator that sat on the far side of the room to the window, "Major Dodd will be jealous that they are going and not him, but I need him here."

"That's understandable," John said, "if you don't mind Captain I would like the scan data the USS Hood took sent directly to my ship."

Howard nodded in response, "consider it done Captain." Howard looked at John and moved away from the replicator with a hot drink in his hand, "Good hunting Captain, try to bring back the Brave and her crew."

"Do you think there is a chance she is still out there?" John asked, his earlier reservations about the mission seeping through the cracks of his composure. He was sure Starfleet was too delayed in launching a search and rescue mission, surely now it was too late, there would be nothing left to find.

"Oh I bet she is still out there Captain," Howard replied smiling, "her skipper won't let that ship down, he's too fond of that ship."

John knew that some captain's could get fond of their vessels, but he had not thought that that fondness was in anyway a contributor to its survival or the survival of the crew for that matter. "I'll do my best," John said, "I do hope we find her safe and well."

Howard nodded and opened the door, "if you'll excuse me Captain, I need to arrange some transfer paperwork for six of my people." John nodded in response. "They will be aboard your ship with Lieutenant Commander Hans in one hour," he announced confidently, John nodded again and walked out of the room, feeling triumphant; he had got everything that he went into meeting to get and hadn't too badly upset anyone.
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Old April 16 2011, 09:02 AM   #18
Gibraltar
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Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

Feedback on Chapter 4:

Wilcox handled Torlik well, given the man’s attitude. Only time will tell if Torlik is willing to allow himself a fresh start aboard Nightingale. The fresh-faced young lieutenant will be a challenge, though in reality she already has more experience than Harry Kim did when he reported aboard Voyager as Chief of Operations.

The ship is understaffed with a largely inexperienced crew under a new captain… I can only imagine the challenges that lay ahead!
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Old April 16 2011, 09:22 AM   #19
david lowbridge
Lieutenant Commander
 
Location: Somewhere in the future
Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
Feedback on Chapter 4:

Wilcox handled Torlik well, given the man’s attitude. Only time will tell if Torlik is willing to allow himself a fresh start aboard Nightingale. The fresh-faced young lieutenant will be a challenge, though in reality she already has more experience than Harry Kim did when he reported aboard Voyager as Chief of Operations.

The ship is understaffed with a largely inexperienced crew under a new captain… I can only imagine the challenges that lay ahead!
Thanks for the feedback as always...it certainly is a tough situation for the new Captain... but it wouldn't be a good story if there weren't some problems.
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Old April 16 2011, 11:02 PM   #20
david lowbridge
Lieutenant Commander
 
Location: Somewhere in the future
Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

Stardate 53113.7. Captain's Office, USS Nightingale

John sat in his office, his now clear of all the intelligence reports that had once lay across his desk in a jumbled heap. He had not tidied them away as such, but had more of shoved them in a place where no one, not even he, could see them. John's basic chair still felt uncomfortable, as if something in it was sticking him in the back, trying to force him to stand. He had spoken to V'ras about it, but the Vulcan engineer had just told him that the chair was optimum for his body shape. Either the Vulcan was lying and having a joke on him, or something else that V'ras could not detect was wrong with the chair.

The new security crewmembers were now aboard with the Marines. The Marines had seemed enthusiastic with their assignment, when asked; one of them just replied that they were glad to get off the station. John wondered what they think they were going to do on a search and rescue ship on a mission to find a missing vessel. It wasn't as if the Nightingale was going to be looking for trouble; John was adamant he was going to try to avoid trouble as much as possible.

John was waiting for his mission advisor. Lieutenant Commander Hans had not reported in as of yet and John was getting impatient with the waiting. It was the Lieutenant Commander that was holding him up from leaving Starbase one-one-two, as soon as he reported in, they were going to leave. John tapped on the small desk top computer and accessed his personnel files. Looking through the list of appraisals that he could access, he saw no problems with his effort, attendance or punctuality, perhaps there was something else going on which was delaying the Geckonian.

Just as John was about to request the computer to locate the Lieutenant Commander the door chimed, "enter," ordered John from behind his desk, his eyes switching gaze from the screen to the door now, his hand pressing the off button on his computer and resting it on the table in a casual fashion.

A tall man, with green scaly skin walked into the room, his bold head feature yellow eyes and small slits for a nose, his mouth was wide, with a natural looking smile. The man's eyes switched to looking at John, "Lieutenant Commander Hans," he announced, "reporting for duty sir." The Geckonian's posture was a pure attention, his eyes now fixed on something on the back of the office wall, he did not move, he was perfectly still.

"Welcome aboard Commander," John said politely, "take you a long time to find the bridge?"

"Sir?" asked Hans, his voice full of surprise.

"You are late mister."

"Sorry sir," replied Hans, "I was merely setting up my quarters. They needed significant changes in order to allow me to live aboard ship."

John sat back in his chair and offered a hand to the chair in front of his desk, "what changes were necessary for you to able to live on the ship, this isn't a pleasure boat mister."

Hans did not move from the spot, his posture stuck in the same position as if he was a statue, one that talked. "I did not suggest that sir," he replied quickly, dismissing the comment from the Captain, John almost took offence and was about to reply when Hans continued, "its just my quarters were not hospitable to my species, I require the ambient temperature to be at forty two degrees centigrade, the humidity to be at sixty per cent, the lighting was too high and the bunk had to be removed."

John sat back, if all these changes were needed for him to survive on the ship; how was he able to survive now, "are those conditions the same as on your home world Commander?"

"Yes sir."

"What about when you are on the bridge, or elsewhere for that matter?" asked John more curious than anything else.

"I wear a special undergarment sir," Hans replied, he pulled up his shirt quickly to show the black vest that was hidden underneath his perfect Starfleet uniform, "it supplied my body with enough heat and moisture to keep me alive in the normal conditions aboard a Starfleet vessel." He returned the uniform into its normal position and stood back to the perfect attention.

"And you can't wear that device all the time?"

"No sir," replied Hans, "the device, as you call it, harms my outer epidermis, I require to undergo rejuvenation every night, and to reduce further damage to my skin, I require spending as much time in my original atmospheric conditions."

John nodded his head, "and you needed to set up that now as you probably needed certain equipment from your quarters on the Starbase."

Hans nodded in response. John sighed, "I'm sorry to have a go at you Commander, if I had realised..."

"No apology needed sir," Hans butted in.

"Commander if you aren't going to sit down, could you please stand at ease, you are making me feel too informal at the moment," John ordered abruptly, he had felt uncomfortable at the sight of the Lieutenant Commander stood in such formal manners, and he wanted to change the subject quickly from his earlier unnecessary scolding. "What is your opinion on the current situation?" John asked quickly.

Hans adopted an at ease posture, something that John seemed to think still looked a little too formal for what he wanted, but as the Geckonian wanted to be like that, it was as much as he was probably going to get. "The USS Brave has gone missing," Hans replied, John raised his eyebrows in astonishment, "I mean sir, I have no more information than you do, Geckonians prefer to speak of facts and not make assumptions."

"Understood," replied John, "let me ask you this, the Gorn, have you seen their fleet move like this before?"

Hans nodded quickly, "When the Gorn attacked my people sir."

"You think they might have attacked the Geckonian Alliance again?" John asked quickly. Hans turned his head and looked at John, then John internally slapped his forehead for such a stupid question, "of course you don't want to say, you don't make assumptions," he sighed turning his head slightly.

"If they have, they have one hell of a fight on their hands," Hans said proudly.

"What do you mean by that Commander?"

"The Geckonian fleet is more than a match for the Gorn military," Hans replied, his face smiling even more, John realised that the Geckonian mouth naturally turned upwards and that when they smiled it looked even bigger, almost creepy.

"Where do your loyalties lie Commander?" John asked, his voice strewed with a serious tone, his eyes fixed on the bright yellow of the Geckonian officer's.

"With Starfleet sir," he replied confidently, "but you cannot ask me not to care about my people," he replied, "I joined Starfleet for my people."

"How?"

"I wish for my people to join the Federation," Hans replied proudly, "I am not the only one, and the motion has been gathering a lot of momentum in our government over the past five years," Hans paused, his bright, forked tongue gracing the outer edges of his mouth, "there were rumours that after the Dominion War that the government would make the official application."

John sat back in his chair, that information alone seemed to draw new light on the situation, if the Geckonians were so willing to join the Federation; that would make it seem unlikely that they were aggressors, if there were any at all. It would have to be either a Gorn attack or a natural event that had affected the USS Brave.

"Okay Commander," John said smiling, "that will be all for now, I've set up a meeting for eight hundred hours in the morning, we should have reached the last known whereabouts of the Brave by then," he paused for a second and looked at his computer, "I want you to prepare a regional briefing," John announced, "I and some of my crew are completely new to this area of space, I spent most of my career near the Romulan border."

Hans nodded a crisp response, John was beginning to get an idea of what made his mission advisor click; he seemed all about duty. He wondered if all Geckonians were the same, or if this was a more dedicated officer than most. John could probably look that up on the computer, it would probably have somewhere in the vast species database a more detailed psychological profile of the species with their generalist attributes, but John preferred to stay away from such stereotypes, as the odd one never followed those traits. John had learnt from experience, thinking you know what your enemy is going to do can be fatal if you act on that presumption.

"Dismissed Commander," John said opening the door remotely from his desk. Hans nodded again, stood to a crisp, parade like attention and left the room in complete silence, but text book perfect.

At the door was Lieutenant Shrak, she waited for Hans to pass her, not a word or a glance switched between the two, though Shrak seemed obviously prepared to return a 'sir' if and when necessary.

"Come on in," welcomed John as Hans moved far enough away to allow the junior Lieutenant into the room, "what can I do for you?"

"Just wanted to report that all the security teams you sent me are doing great sir," she said politely as the door behind her slide quietly shut, "but I do have one problem."

"What is that Lieutenant?" asked John, knowing deep down that it was probably that the number was too short.

"I don't have enough men," she replied her antennae straightening up.

"I could barely ask for the twenty two men that are supposed to be standard Lieutenant," John announced, his voice almost apologetic, yet a sense of seniority stiffening the clear explanation, "we were only going to carry fourteen in the first place, the whole fleet is shorthanded, we can't expect to be only ship to fully manned."

Shrak narrowed her eyes slightly, "how can I expect to keep this ship secure unless I have a complete department?" she asked, annoyance firm in her voice.

"The same as Lieutenant V'ras has to cope with not having fifteen engineers, or that Lieutenant Visitor has to cope with only her and two other helmsmen," replied John, his voice now more dominant that he thought he would have to go with the Andorian, but as Jenkins had said to him, they did like to be a little aggressive.

Shrak stood herself to attention, "yes sir," she said crisply; John thought she might have been a little mocking.

"Don't worry Lieutenant," John added, "we will all help each other," he said smiling, she did not return the gesture.

"I better get back to my station sir."

"Dismissed," John replied opening the door to her. She quickly turned and left the room.

John sighed in relief; he had not thought that Shrak, of all people, would have acted like that, but the stress on the people running the departments were high. He had noted that some of the crew were working double shifts at the moment. Shrak had probably worked even more having just two people and twenty two jobs to do. John imagined bringing it up further when both had calmed down, but then saw his own body probably being all bruised from a confrontation that had gotten out of hand. He decided to leave it be and let her calm down from the problem, her department had just got a lot of people to do the man hours needed, her workload would probably decrease considerably.

John tapped on the comm button and told Dan to make preparations depart. Dan acknowledged the request and said they would be ready to leave in five minutes. John felt he could do nothing useful in that time but still didn't want to enter the bridge so soon. He sat in his chair, the uncomfortable furniture still pushing into his back. After two minutes he decided on giving up and got out of his chair and walked onto the bridge to oversee the departure from the starbase.
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Old April 17 2011, 09:50 AM   #21
Gibraltar
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Location: US Pacific Northwest
Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

Commentary on Chapter 5:

Torlik’s fortunate not only to have an opportunity for a fresh start on a new ship, but to have someone willing to listen to his problems. Granted, he didn’t take the opportunity to share with Paul, but the fact that a fellow crewmember cared enough to offer is something at least.

It certainly appears that the ‘official’ account of what happened aboard Victory has been buried by Starfleet Command. The cover story doesn’t do Torlik justice, and was doubtless put in place to paper over the captain’s cowardice and dereliction of duty. It’s a damn shame that he’s had to live with those nightmares and the stain the incident has left on his professional reputation.

The conversation between Dr. Burton and Commander Hawke finally sheds some light on Burton’s bad attitude. Her fragile emotional state is obviously impacting how she interacts with other personnel, and clearly not for the better.
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Old April 19 2011, 11:02 PM   #22
david lowbridge
Lieutenant Commander
 
Location: Somewhere in the future
Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
Commentary on Chapter 5:

Torlik’s fortunate not only to have an opportunity for a fresh start on a new ship, but to have someone willing to listen to his problems. Granted, he didn’t take the opportunity to share with Paul, but the fact that a fellow crewmember cared enough to offer is something at least.

It certainly appears that the ‘official’ account of what happened aboard Victory has been buried by Starfleet Command. The cover story doesn’t do Torlik justice, and was doubtless put in place to paper over the captain’s cowardice and dereliction of duty. It’s a damn shame that he’s had to live with those nightmares and the stain the incident has left on his professional reputation.

The conversation between Dr. Burton and Commander Hawke finally sheds some light on Burton’s bad attitude. Her fragile emotional state is obviously impacting how she interacts with other personnel, and clearly not for the better.
What happened to Torlik and the events of the Victory will be dealt with in the next book, but his history, and his actions are still important to this story as you need some background to understand him. But for the events portrayed so far, it certainly was an injustice, and something that should never have happened. Dr Burton and Commander Hawke's romance play an important role in this story, it will be an emotional tear jerker for one of the characters. As with much of the crew (and starfleet at the moment) fragile emotional states are rife - the Dominion War took its toll on a lot of personnel. I'm glad you are enjoying the read.
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Old April 20 2011, 03:25 AM   #23
Gibraltar
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Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

Commentary on Chapter 7:

Captain Wilcox is faced with one of the most uncomfortable mission profiles a starship can be assigned... go figure out what made another starship disappear, without allowing the same thing to happen to them. Essentially, the 'go-stick-your-head-in-the-noose-and-see-what-happens' style of mission.

Add to that the fact that he's got an inexperienced crew, an new, untested, and understaffed ship, and that he's likely going to have to take Nightingale near Gorn space to investigate whether they were responsible for whatever fate has befallen Brave.

Now his Security/Tactical chief is getting whiny, and his mission advisor is not only difficult to read, but likely has issues with the Gorn from having fought them previously.

This... is going to be a challenge for Wilcox and his crew on multiple levels.
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Old April 24 2011, 08:21 AM   #24
david lowbridge
Lieutenant Commander
 
Location: Somewhere in the future
Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

Stardate 53115.6: Briefing Room, USS Nightingale

The senior staff all sat at chairs in the Briefing Room, situated just behind the bridge and adjacent to the command and control room. Each of the senior officers had been summoned to the briefing that Captain wanted to hold late last night. Lieutenant Commander Hans was on duty for most of last night, and what would have normally made a human look the worse for wear, Hans looked as fresh as a daisy. Doctor Burton was obviously trying to avoid eye contact with Commander Hawke who was sat opposite her. Her eyes quickly flicking her eyes up to meet his were met by a cold stare from the executive officer. Her only recourse was to stare back at the table and shift her body to redistribute her light weight on the chair.

Torlik was sat motionless in his chair further down on the table, sat next to the chief science officer, Paul Williams, was engaging in conversation with Lieutenant Visitor. V'ras sat ignoring everyone at the table, just reading a data padd. Apart from the conversation between Williams and Visitor, there was little noise being made in the room.

Captain John Wilcox walked into the room, right on the dot of eight hundred hours, looking round at everyone. "Good morning," he said breezily at everyone, there was a reply of greetings that John could barely here. He pulled up to his chair and laid a hand across the back looking down the table. Everyone he saw at the table seemed to want to be somewhere else, even his mission advisor seemed to be somewhere that wasn't on the ship. I'm going to have to motivate these people quickly, John thought to himself, otherwise I have no chance on this mission.

"Okay let's be clear," John said out loud to the room, "we are going to find the Brave."

V'ras gave a quick glance up. John noticed this and moved his head to look directly at the Vulcan chief engineer, "have you something to add Lieutenant V'ras?"

"Captain," he replied dispassionately, "it seems highly unlikely that the USS Brave would survive this long without any word from them." The Vulcan tipped his head slightly, "even the most poorly equipped vessel should have either been noticed or sent out a signal by now."

John shook his head as he pulled out the chair and carefully placed himself at the head of the table. "It all depends what happened to them Lieutenant," John said.

"With all due respect sir," Hawke piped up quickly, turning his attention for the first time since entering the briefing room away from Lieutenant Commander Burton to the Captain, something that John hadn't missed. "Starfleet seem a little late in sending us, what on Earth can we do this late on?"

John gave a stare at Dan, wondering what he was doing, blatantly forming a rigid barrier between the two of them, as an executive officer. He was supposed to be the one that gave alternatives, but at the end of the day supported John and get behind the mission. His outburst was nothing more than a condemning the mission before they had really started it. John didn't need that kind of behaviour from his first officer or his friend.

"Commander Hawke, if Starfleet is sending us, I am sure they think that the Brave is alive and well," John paused for a moment looking down the line of concentrating faces all looking at him. It dawned on him for the first time that he was responsible for all their safety, it was his decisions that would mean they would live or die, it had not occurred to him until this moment that it was on his shoulders that everyone would get home, "we just need to make sure we find her before it is too late."

Torlik sat himself upright, "with our sensors, finding the USS Brave shouldn't be a problem," he announced, "we do have the best sensors in the fleet."

John smiled, at least that was some positive thought, "medical facilities can more than cope with the casualties that are expected from the USS Brave." John looked to his left hand side, where Lieutenant Commander Burton sat; she looked up briefly and smiled at John.

Shrak raised her head and her antennae pointed forward, "Captain, what about combat potential?"

John had tried not to think about combat potential, certainly there was a possibility of it, going near any missing ship's last known position carried certain risks, including combat, but John was still holding out for another solution. Now Shrak had pointed out the obvious, probably what everyone on the ship knew about, John was unable to hide away from the problem, his ship was in no condition for a sustained combat role. If she had to rescue people under fire there would be no hope.

Hans leaned forward, "the Gorn weaponry is inferior to that of Starfleet's."

"It's not a question of whether their weaponry is comparable to Starfleet Commander," replied Hawke looking down the table at the Geckonian sat at the opposite end, "its about the fire power that we can offer in a combat role."

Shrak nodded her head vigorously, "Gorn vessels tend to carry six disruptor banks and multiple torpedo launchers," Shrak looked at Hans with a cold stare, John noted the look and wondered what it was trying to convey. "The Nightingale has only three phaser banks, two forward and one rear, and only two forward facing standard torpedo tubes," Shrak explained.

Hawke looked at Shrak and then shot a look at John. John sighed, "Okay so we are not the most armed vessel in the fleet, but that doesn't mean that we can't handle ourselves, our shields are the strongest in Starfleet."

Shrak nodded, "and our armour is fantastic," she paused for a moment, "but against the standard Gorn cruiser, we would stand no chance."

"We don't know that," John said abruptly, "Lieutenant Commander Hans, you've had the most experience fighting the Gorn," everyone looked shocked and turned to face the Geckonian officer, whose expression did not change one little bit, "what can you tell us about their tactics?"

Hans raised his eyebrows, "the Gorn have developed a rather unique method of attack," he said calmly, "traditionally the Gorn like to board ships, three to four groups of five men and start fire fights across the vessel," he paused for another second tightening his lips, "it is designed to separate a crew from their stations giving their ships an easier target."

Hawke stood up, "doesn't that mean that they lose the men on the ship if they destroy it?"

Hans shook his head, "although the risk is high for the crewmembers that do beam aboard, their losses are generally less than forty per cent, the Gorn will tend to beam back their death squads as the ship systems fail."

"A sure fire way to make sure your opponent is distracted in battle," John said quietly, "what options do we have in order to combat this tactic?"

Shrak positioned herself slightly more forward, "we could just raise our shields should we have any contact with a Gorn ship," she suggested, sarcasm strewn throughout her voice. V'ras raised his eyebrows before shrugging at John, which John thought was about as useful as Shrak's suggestion. John cast his eye down the rest of the table to the quiet group of officers.

Torlik was about to say something, but suddenly sat back in his chair. John waited for a few seconds for the ensign to talk, for the past few days, John had been impressed by the abilities of Torlik. However his attitude was something that needed vast improvements. Even his crew felt that he had a little bit of an attitude problem. "Ensign Torlik," John addressed in a stern voice, the only way that Torlik seemed to respond to, "did you have something to add?"

Torlik looked up at the Captain, a cold stare coming from his eyes like a light from a lighthouse penetrating across the room at John. John felt that uneasy feeling with Torlik again. "No sir."

John contemplated his options, he could dress down the officer now right in front of the rest of the senior crew, his posture and attitude certainly deserved it, but it would not have brought out the best in Torlik, only make the situation worse. He could dress him down latter, but that wouldn't do any good, any inappropriate behaviour or mistakes should be addressed immediately, or the effect of the lesson becomes significantly poorer. In fact if left too long the officer might not take any notice of the message. John decided to take no notice of the officer's behaviour and concentrate on the mission.

Shrak raised his antenna's in a more threatening tone, "what about we shoot first should we find a Gorn vessel in Geckonian space," she suggested with a tone that hid no sarcasm or joking tone, she was being serious, "after all, we all know that the Geckonian and Gorn aren't exactly friends, I would find it hard to believe that a Gorn would be welcome in Geckonian terriroty."

Hans leaned forward, clasping his hands yet again, "The Geckonian government orders all its military officers to shoot on sight any Gorn inside the Geckonian territory."

"Would the Geckonians send out a distress signal if they were under attack by the Gorn?" Shrak asked Hans looking vaguely at the officer.

Hans widened his eyes, had he been mammalian he might have raised his eyebrows John thought, but he was a reptilian and so did not have any eyebrows. His posture was also vastly different to those of other mammalian species, he sat bolt upright in his chair, his head turning slowly rather than at the speed that he would have expected. This was the first time that John had met a reptilian officer in Starfleet and was nervous about some of the problems that could arise from his being on the ship, especially his heat requirements.

"The Geckonian military is a proud organisation," Hans replied, "I have no idea if they would send out a distress signal, it would depend very much on the individual Captain and crew of the ship."

John sniggered silently to himself, Hans had not committed yet again. He was not going to be a useful mission advisor if he could not offer any advice other than information, which would more than likely be limited to the little data that John had obtained through Starfleet Intelligence. John raised his hand and the room fell silent and all the eyes in the room were concentrating on him.

"We'll make this easy," John said, "Lieutenant Visitor please set a course for the last known position of the USS Brave at the position of the Geckonian distress signal," John ordered, the young girl nodded her head in response which John himself replied in the same gesture.

"Have we got permission to enter Geckonian space Captain?" a concerned Dan asked.

"I don't care," John's defiance of the Geckonian borders present in his orders, "one of our ships went missing in their territory; responding to a Geckonian distress call, we will enter their territory."

A sudden hush fell over the collection of the senior officers, John wished he had been a telepath or empathic at this moment, listening to each of their thoughts. It would certainly make controlling easier and not a gamble on their collective and individual responses. "Everyone by Commander Hawke is dismissed," John said looking at his first officer.

Everyone except Commander Hawke stood up and shuffled quietly out of the room. John barely heard Ensign Williams voice just outside of the briefing room pointing out his little involvement in the room, though his comment was not a moan or a complaint as such, it was a simple observation. Commander Hawke stayed perfectly still in his seat, looking impassively at John.

"I thought you were going to be a supportive executive officer," John asked his first officer with an annoyed tone.

"I am a supportive first officer," Dan replied leaning slightly forward.

"You are not," John paused for a moment, his mind filled with anger at the earlier comments his first officer had made, some things which did not support the mission, "we are the command staff Dan, we need to sell the mission to the crew and not damn it in front of the other officers."

"I can't support the mission," Dan replied, "I think Starfleet have been idiots, the USS Hood has been in the area since the Brave has been missing and could have been used to search for the vessel."

John shook his head, "The Hood has not been sat on her warp core doing nothing, she's being conducting scans for us and protecting the border."

"Captain," the response from Dan was sharp, "the crew of the USS Brave are mostly likely dead and you know it."

"That is not for you to say in front of the senior officers, your job is to give me alternatives to plans; give backing to the missions and to carry out my orders," John explained, his voice sounding bossy, "you so far have not done your job."

Dan was about to open his mouth, probably to complain John thought, but said nothing. Instead he stood up, at attention.

"You are dismissed Commander," John ordered.

Dan stormed out of the room, his posture not exactly as John would have wanted from his most senior officer and friend. John wondered what the next problem would be on his crew, what was the next disaster that would completely crash down on him. His fingers tapping on the table he sat at made a relaxing rhythmic tune, but did nothing to alleviate the tension that John felt or solve the impending disaster he foresaw on his ship. For not the first time since getting Command, he wished he was somewhere else, anywhere else, but in Starfleet.
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Old April 24 2011, 10:22 AM   #25
Gibraltar
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Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

Commander Hawke really got off on the wrong foot here. Undermining the captain, who’s also his friend, was a terrible way to support his commanding officer and the goals of their assigned mission. Here’s hoping Dan doesn’t let his relationship troubles influence the performance of his duties. The last thing Wilcox needs in the middle of this mission is an undependable XO.

It seems Nightingale is significantly outgunned by any Gorn warships they may encounter, which doesn’t bode well if the big lizards were responsible for Brave’s disappearance, or if they simply run across Wilcox’s ship while in a particularly bad mood.

Your descriptions of the senior staff and their dismal morale at the outset of the mission was nicely rendered.
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Old April 26 2011, 11:44 PM   #26
david lowbridge
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Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

Stardate 53115.7: Bridge, USS Nightingale

John walked onto the bridge of the Nightingale in a rush. He had been down in engineering looking at the warp core, for nothing more than old times' sake. When he was a helmsman on other ships he use to spend hours looking at the warp core as a way to relax and think of solutions. The core's constantly changing colour scheme seemed to give him inspiration like nothing else could. At the moment he certainly needed the inspiration for a number of problems. The location of the USS Brave, his failing first officer and the crews apparent poor moral was enough to deal with without having the added pressure of a possible problem with not just one but two other nations, the Gorn and Geckonians. Despite Han's assurances that the Geckonians had only peaceful intentions towards the Federation he could not help but feel that they could be partly responsible for the Brave's disappearance.

"Report," he said as he left the turbolift, noticing that Dan was on watch.

Dan looked up to the Captain and removed himself from the Captain's chair, just in time for John to reach the centre piece to the bridge, "we have just crossed into Geckonian space Captain," Dan reported.

John sat down in his chair and rubbing his hands down the arm rests slowly. "Good," he responded, "have sensors picked up any vessels yet?"

Williams, who was at his science station to the port side of the bridge, quickly ran his hands over several consoles, the panel beeping in a merry tune. "Long range sensors have not detected a single vessel," he reported calmly, "however there does appear to be a lot of sensor interference going on."

John noticed Dan sitting down in the chair to his right, John thought about giving a friendly smile at this point, but it was not the right time nor were the two currently on those terms.

"Is the sensor interference natural or artificial?" Dan asked in a commanding voice.

"Definitely artificial," Williams responded confidently, his hands busy over the consoles at his station, "looking at this data I would say it wasn't Gorn technology," he paused slightly turning round from his console to look at the Captain. John could just about hear what was coming next in his head; it was something that he hoped he would not hear. "It seems that the Geckonians are attempting to block sensors from working in their space."

Hans, who was standing at the rail behind the Captain's chair, near a small console walked towards to the science station, "that doesn't make sense," he stated.

"Why not Commander?" asked John watching his mission advisor's puzzled look.

"I have never known the Geckonian military to block sensors," Hans replied, on reaching the science console with Williams in front of him he seemed to look over the readings, "but they are certainly blocking the sensors of all vessels."

John looked at Dan, "why would they block sensors in the area?"

"To stop someone from using them?" Dan replied, his point obvious, but it was the only explanation, "but whose sensors are they trying to block?"

"Perhaps they detected us entering their space and they don't want us in?" Shrak asked, her posture at the tactical station more relaxed than John had seen her for some time; she was probably enjoying the thought of having some kind of action on the ship.

"My people would not have been able to set this up in this amount of short time," Hans replied, "to create a field of this size; it would take hundreds of ships, days to create." Hans walked over to the helm control station where Chloe Visitor was still piloting the vessel, John had noticed that she and Torlik had not joined in the conversation, but whereas Torlik had seemed to be a listener to the conversation, Chloe seemed to be ignoring the conversation completely.

"Miss Visitor," John said, "if we carry on our current speed, how long until we reach the location of the distress signal that the USS Brave responded to?"

Chloe tapped on her console, "one hour sir," she replied with a little hesitation in her voice.

"What is it Lieutenant?" Dan asked standing up joining the mission advisor at the console at the front of the bridge, both of the men scrutinizing the readouts on the console that Lieutenant Visitor was trying to gently use.

"There seems to be some debris slightly closer than that, on the flight path," Chloe replied, her voice uncertain.

"The USS Brave would have flown through that area on the way to the distress signal," Williams added.

Hans looked at the scans on the console and frowned, "I would suggest that we check out the area before proceeding to the distress signal's position." Dan seemed to nod at the suggestion that the mission advisor made.

"Shrak," John tried to regain the attention of his Andorian tactical officer, "do you foreseen much danger in the action?"

Shrak shook her head.

John raised himself from his seat and pulled instinctively down on his shirt. He looked around the bridge and saw a number of the crew, including all the senior officers on the bridge; Commander Walker, Lieutenant Commander Hans, Lieutenants Visitor and Shrak and Ensigns Torlik and Williams, were focusing their attention on the Captain. "Helm, set a course for that debris field," he ordered nervously, "Williams, can you tell if the debris is the USS Brave or not?"

Williams punched more commands into his computer terminal on the bridge. He quickly read out some of the readings under his breath, something that John could not hear and was not happy about hearing.

"I doubt that much of the debris is that of the Brave sir," he said, "half of the hull components seem to be made from Polyduranide," he turned to face Lieutenant Commander Hans who seemed to be nodding.

"Polyduranide is used in the construction of Geckonian military vessels," Hans stated out loud across the bridge, "Starfleet don't construct vessels with Polyduranide." He paused for a second looking at the sensor logs on the navigational computer, "it seems too large to be a single vessel," he stated, "I would say that at least seven Geckonian vessels were destroyed by the amount of Polyduranide at the location."

John noticed something on Hans face; he looked a mixture of sadness and anger. The realisation that the Geckonians had lost some vessels in the area had come to Hans and John. A new question now surfaced in John's head, was the USS Brave responsible for their destruction? John looked across the room at Williams and wondered for a second, "Williams you said half of the debris field was polyduranide," Williams turned his attention towards the Captain, "what is the other half of the debris field made of?"

Williams shrugged his shoulders in a poor gesture for a Starfleet officer, "I don't know Captain," he replied afterwards, "sensors can't identify it."

Hans walked up to the centre of the bridge, standing next to John and Dan. John noticed the warmth from the suit that Hans wore he was that close and felt a little uncomfortable with the temperature that the undergarment was radiating out from his body. "The USS Brave is not there," Hans said his charm for the obvious continuing.

"Maybe so Commander," John said returning to his chair, the snug seat wrapping itself around him like a child's blanket, reassuring and comforting, "but it seems more than logical that the USS Brave was there and that a clue of the events that led up to her disappearance; could help us track her down."

"Course laid in Captain," Visitor stated loudly, John thought she must have been waiting a while for her orders but had been too shy to say something in amongst the other officer's talking about the debris field.

"Engage, warp nine Lieutenant," John ordered.

Stardate 53115.7: Captain's Quarters, Gorn Imperial Cruiser Vor

General Slov sat on the floor of his lavish quarters on the Gorn Imperial Cruiser Vor. One of the latest cruisers to be designed and built by the Gorn Empire, it boasted an impressive military capability. Her seven disruptor banks and five phaser arrays coupled with the three pulse firing torpedo launchers made her one of the most heavily armed vessels in the region. Certainly more than a match for any pathetic Geckonian vessel that patrolled nearby.

Its initial combat had proven its worth in the field, destroying eight Geckonian vessels in a matter of minutes. The weapon banks on the ship tearing holes right through the disgusting Geckonian hulls. But the initial battles against the horrid blood enemy had not all gone great, some were even disasters. The General knew his career rested on the results of one key battle now, the fight for the Geckonian home world. The warm sandy jewel, in the heart of the Geckonian nation, was where most of the enemy fleet had retreated to a couple of days ago. The rest of the enemy vessels; some estimated twenty five had formed raiding parties and were ambushing any of his forces that seemed opportune. Slav had lost two resupply ships in the last twelve hours due to this.

However the raiding parties could do nothing against his main force that was nearing to the Geckonian home system. He had amassed a fleet of three hundred vessels in order to capture the system. But unfortunately, due to untimely circumstances the Geckonians now had two hundred and fifty ships in the system, more than four times than what Slov had intended. The interference of the Federation made his thoughts turn to what else might be in the system waiting for him, a Federation task force perhaps? Just a handful of Starfleet warships could turn the close battle he was now anticipating into a bad bloodbath for his men to endure, something that would certainly end his political career and more than likely his life.

Calling off the attack would be just as dangerous to his career. His enemies back home would use his failure to defeat an inferior neighbour, an excuse to remove him from the ruling council that gave him protection from potential political assassins. There was every right to fear assassins on the Gorn homeworld, political motivated murders were responsible for two hundred deaths and three civil wars in the past decade. Slov himself rose to prominence by killing off his mentor General Ipil when he surrendered his forces during the land assault on Geckonia in the last war. At the bottom of the political ladder murder and assassination plots were events to be embraced, at the top they were something to be feared.

Slov had the reserves of his fleet, including his own flagship, scanning the Federation - Geckonian border. He hoped that any task force that Starfleet sent, he could intercept before they reached the main battle. His hope lay in a couple of facts; the first being the small amount of time that Starfleet would have in getting a task force together in order to aid the Geckonians and the second was the current condition of Starfleet. Slov knew that if Starfleet wanted to help the Geckonians they would have had only a matter of days to piece together a relief force. Given that their commanders would most likely want to keep a strong presence along the borders they shared, Slov estimated that Starfleet would only be able to send ten to fifteen ships. To combat this Slov had thirty ships, he would hopefully outnumber them two to one. It was also no secret that Starfleet was suffering from man power shortages and vessels which were in need of major maintenance. Since the end of the Dominion War, both man power and maintenance were in high demand and short supply in Starfleet, and Slov hoped that this was something still in his favour.

The door to his cabin swung open and in the doorway stood Major Drang, his tactical advising officer. Slov knew that of all the people on the vessel he know had, he was the most likely to attempt to take his life, but he was the best tactical officer around and that made him a valuable officer, for the moment.

"Sensors have detected a Federation vessel entering Geckonian space General," Drang reported, his voice typically slow and the under laying scratching of the back of the throat piecing the air like a dagger, like the one that Slov imagined was poised in his back, held by this man.

"Just one?" Slov questioned, "Starfleet would surely send more than one. Have you checked the readings? The Geckonians are using strong sensor blockers."

Drang nodded confidently, "the Federation vessel is going to same co-ordinates as the previous vessel."

"Why would they go..." Slov quickly paused as he thought about the only explanation, and for the first time he thanked his luck. "The Brave must not have made it back to Federation space," he announced a loud, "which means Starfleet has no knowledge of the war." Slov's voice sounded excited.

"How can you know that sir?"

"Because one ship travelling in the wrong direction is not what Starfleet would do," Slov's career and life might be saved at last, "we need to make sure the vessel does not report what is going on, set an intercept course and prepare for battle," Slov's order was sharp and concise.

His tactical officer gave a wide, sinister smile and left the room. He was more than likely happy to engage the Federation once again. Slov did not matter about such things, his mission was to capture the Geckonian home world, and he would order his forces to engage the enemy, the quicker he did it, the more chance he had at completing his mission, and now it looked more evident that he could do just that.
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Old May 6 2011, 04:24 PM   #27
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Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

Interesting story and surprising that Starfleet is not aware of the 'little war' going on between the Gorn and the Geckonians.... The Nightingale is headed into a blood bath... Let's hope Captain John Wilcox wises up and goes to Red Alert and prepares to deal with a very aggressive Gorn flag officer.. Great Work David Lowbridge! I look forward to reading more about the Nightingale and her newly minted crew!
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Old April 17 2012, 12:16 PM   #28
david lowbridge
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Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

unfortunately due to several problems - people on adastra know that in a year I lost a computer, had to move house, lost internet then suffered from pneumonia and was seriously ill for months. Recently I've picked up this story from where I left it. As such I decided that I will continue this on here as well as adastra.
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Old April 17 2012, 12:18 PM   #29
david lowbridge
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Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

Stardate 53115.8

Captain's Log

The USS Nightingale has arrived at the large debris field that we detected and due to our proximity the field obstructing our sensors is now diminished. We are now able to complete more thorough scans. So far we have confirmed very little, other than there is no wreckage of any Starfleet or Federation vessel, which bodes well that the USS Brave, she may still be out here.

End Log.

USS Nightingale, Bridge

John stood over the science station looking deep within the screen at the scan data that Williams had brought up. There was nothing concrete on what was out there. John had hoped for a little more clarity than he was being given. All he knew was that there was little evidence that the USS Brave was still in the area, in one piece or, dreading the thought, otherwise.

"Definitely a number of Geckonian vessels," Williams replied bringing up a couple of the hull fragments on the computer screen, with the computer showing a mesh of what would complete the ship. "Judging from the hull components we have here, I think we will be looking at about sixteen vessels possibly more."

"Continue with your analysis Mr Williams," John ordered, "Let me know as soon as you've identified the other hull signatures." Williams nodded and continued with some other scans. It seemed almost odd that the computer hadn't figured out what the other ships were, but it was not impossible that these ships were not known to the Federation.

John walked over to navigation at the front of the bridge where Visitor was busy keeping track of the fragments that were far from stationary, making course corrections as she avoided the ship from being struck by large fragments the size of houses, "You keeping on top of the debris?" John asked confidently. Lieutenant Visitor nodded as she instructed the ship on another course correction.

"It would be easier if we kept a further distance sir," she stated.

"I know Lieutenant," John replied placing his hand on her shoulder sympathetically, he knew how hard it was to pilot a ship in these conditions, "But we need to be as close as possible to get better readings with all this sensor interference."

John's internal thought was busy, he knew now that something had happened in the vicinity of the area that was big, sixteen Geckonian vessels had been destroyed, the USS Brave had responded to something and another hull fragment was out there. Was that Gorn or someone else?

Williams suddenly gasped that brought the whole bridge to concentrate on him. John waited a few seconds for the inexperienced officer to compose himself. "Captain," he shouted from across the room, John would have preferred a little more composure than that from a senior officer, "Another vessel is on sensors, approaching at high warp."

John immediately turned to Shrak, the Andorian was already busy on her sensor readouts, "Lieutenant, report, is it a Geckonian vessel?" His quick question seemed to have no effect on the speed of the Andorian's work, she continued at the same rushed pace.

Shrak studied her scans, her antenna twisting and turning in weird and speedy ways that almost gave John stomach ache, "I don't think so," she stated, "it looks like a Gorn heavy cruiser, but I don't recognise the design, must be one of their new ones Captain."

John refocused his attention immediately to the viewscreen which now showed a tactical overlay and pushed his lips together tightly. It felt like it was no coincidence that they turned up just as he arrived, was his initial suspensions correct, but could he be that presumptuous. "Lieutenant yellow alert, keep shields down," John ordered quickly as he walked over to his command chair to press the internal communications button, "Commander Hawke and Lieutenant Commander Hans to the bridge please." Both of his senior officers were in cargo bays studying fragments of the debris field, looking for weapon signatures.

A short buzz sounded to announce the change in alert status, John noted a couple of officers changing stations and Williams changing his posture, to being more alert. Hans arrived on the bridge first; his breathing was rushed, as if he had raced to the bridge.

"Captain," he announced his arrival in his usual unemotional voice, "you asked for me to report in."

"A Gorn vessel is approaching our position at high warp," stated John, "what can we expect?"

Hans walked down to beside the Captain and looked at the viewscreen, where the sensor telemetry was being displayed. "Gorn vessels would never be allowed access to Geckonian space without a challenge, and certainly not freely allowed to roam the space." Hans' cold manner and the way he used the term of Geckonian made him seem unattached, but John suspected that deep in his logic and his thoughts was hatred and anger directed towards the Gorn.

"So what can we expect from them Commander?" John repeated his question as the officer had not given him an answer.

"It would depend on whether or not the Gorn view the Federation as being allies with Geckonia or see your motives here as being anything but neutral," Hans would not speculate as to what this ship wanted, and John realised he was asking the wrong question.

"If they were hostile Commander," he paused for a second, hoping that this might yield some positive answer, "What would they do?"

Hans raised an eyebrow quickly, "If they were hostile," he paused briefly, "they would first board this vessel with a tactical team, designed to draw your attention away from space battle that they would then start."

John immediately saw the threat involved; a boarding party could cause havoc and reduce their ability to return fire should fleet action start. There strategy seemed high risk, but also ingenious at the same time. "We should raise shields then?" John asked.

Hans shook his head, "they would see that as a hostile act and immediately fire."

Commander Hawke walked onto the bridge, "Gorn vessel sir?" he asked.

John nodded and pointed to the viewscreen, "About thirty seconds out."

Hawke joined the Captain and Hans in the centre of the room and gave a look to John that he instantly recognised as a fear of combat. "Are we going to raise shields?"

"No," John replied quickly, "Lets see what they do first. No need to aggravate them now is there."

John watched as the Gorn vessel came to a standstill in front of them. It fearsome bulk unsettling him, it had the look of a warship, a killer and of a predator.

"Captain," Lieutenant Visitor spoke up, "sir with all due respect we are too close to the debris field, should we need to leave, we will be impaired by the hull fragments."

"Noted," John replied, moving the ship might seem like an aggressive act, something he wanted to try and avoid.

"The Gorn vessel is hailing us," Shrak announced from across the room, John looked at her and nodded.
Turning round to the viewscreen he saw the green scales of a Gorn appear, it had been the first time that he had ever seen a Gorn and he was amazed by the instinctual fear that he felt in his stomach, a fear that he should run.

"Captain, I am General Slov, Commander of the Imperial Cruiser Vor and the Gorn fleet in the area," his slow voice irritated the ears of Captain Wilcox, "Are you lost Captain?"

John stood for a moment before stepping forward and distancing himself from the other officers, "I am Captain John Wilcox, Commander of the USS Nightingale, a Federation vessel. Can you explain your presence here?" John heard his own voice, it sounded still enough, despite his internal fear, but was it enough to be convincing to the Gorn adversary.

"You have no jurisdiction in Geckonian space Captain, I do not have to answer to you," Slov replied over the screen, something John knew, but anyone with good intentions would have immediately announced them, which meant that he certainly didn't. "What are you doing here?"

"We are responding to a distress call received from this location," John replied, it was a lie, but the Gorn might believe it, if the USS Brave hadn't of faced them yet.
"We too are responding to a distress call," there was something in the voice that made John not trust the voice; it was too slow, too thoughtful. "It would appear that we are too late, have you rescued any of the survivors?"

The concern did not seem genuine from John's point of view, every moment that this conversation carried on the more troubled John felt. John gave a quick glance over to Hans, who was staring at the screen with despise on his face. John walked over to him and whispered into his ear, "Commander, whatever happened between Gorn and Geckonia you must remain objective."

Hans turned to face John, his eyes now reddened with rage, "Sir," he said calmly, "it is hard to remain objective when you are dealing with that monster who personally murdered nearly a million of my people."
John turned round to the viewscreen, hopefully Slov would assume they were talking about survivors, "What do you mean?"

"He was second in Command of the land invasion of Geckonia," Hans stated, "He executed any Geckonian he found, including civilians."

"I see you have a survivor on your ship Captain," Slov paused for a second and smiled something that gave a further shiver down John's back, "I could take him back to Geckonia to spare you the trouble."

"That is awfully kind of you," John stated as he walked towards the screen again, he hoped that his smile would seem real, but he himself felt like a fraud, "but this is Lieutenant Commander Hans, a member of my crew."

"The Hans?" Slov's voice was higher than normal and bitterness seemed to be embedded in it, "The hero Hans?"

John turned to Hans, who had turned his anger into a defiant look, "I defeated Slov at the Battle of Tumick Pass," Hans stated, "I lost over six thousand men during the battle, Slov lost nearly one hundred thousand. It caused the withdrawal of the Gorn fleet in the first war. According to Geckonian intelligence, Slov lost his rank, his privileges and nearly his life."

"I could have done," Slov added over the viewscreen, "But I am not as soft as any Geckonian, I killed the real culprit of our failure, General Ipil and took his place."

"Must have been hard General for you to kill the person who had mentored you through your career," Hans eyes narrowed, "How dedicated you must be to your cause. Willing to sacrifice your men, your friends. How noble of you."

Slov seemed to shudder, John noted, a kink in the reptilian armour. "You must hand that Geckonian scum over immediately Captain as there are outstanding charges of war crimes against him," Slov shouted down the comm line, John didn't like where this was going.

"There are charges against you too Slov," Hans replied angrily, "the only difference is that yours are real, whereas mine are fabricated."

Slov angrily hit the panel that was resting in front of him, "Turn in that murderer Captain, or I will open fire on another Federation vessel."

John's attention was caught, he looked at the General and using a calmed voice asked the only question that was relevant. "You are responsible for the disappearance of the Brave?"

"Yes," replied Slov confidently, proudly raising his head up a little, "And I will destroy any vessel, Federation or Geckonian that gets in the way of me taking what is rightfully Gorn."

"Cut him off," John ordered sharply, "Red alert, raise shields and power up the weapons."

"Captain," Shrak suddenly shouted from across the room, "transporter signals from across the ship, they are attempting to board the vessel."

John accessed the internal communications on his commbadge quickly, clicking to make sure that all channels would be open, "All hands, intruder alert, arm yourselves."
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Original fan fiction by David Lowbridge:
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Old April 17 2012, 12:18 PM   #30
david lowbridge
Lieutenant Commander
 
Location: Somewhere in the future
Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

Stardate 53115.8

USS Nightingale, Main Engineering

V'ras stood in the middle of engineering. He had heard the announcement from the Captain, he had felt the mix of emotions briefly pass over him. It was illogical to ignore that he had emotions, he had them and they ran deep within him. The only difference between him and the rest of the crew; is that he was able to control them.
"You heard the Captain," he shouted across the two decks of engineering, "Arm yourselves."

V'ras walked calmly over to the emergency phaser locker that was attached to the wall in the corner of the lower engineering deck, using his command code he opened it, flinging the lid downwards and grabbed the nearest phaser, placing it in his trouser holster. He made time to pass out the other three in the locker to personnel standing near him, he was the senior officer, he had a responsibility for the rest of the crew in this area. One of the people close to him was a young human crewman who had only just joined Starfleet. V'ras noted that he looked nervous. "Do not worry crewman," V'ras heard himself say, "concentrate on the job at hand and you will be fine."

The young man nodded and ran back to his station.

"Lieutenant," one of V'ras non commissioned officers spoke up to get his attention. V'ras walked over quickly looking around for the potential of intruders, "The energy beams that are typical of the Gorn transporter system are being deflected from all over the ship."

V'ras took a look at the sensor data. Something did seem to be deflecting the transport locks from across the ship; it was buying him and the rest of the crew some time. "Do you know what is doing it?"
The enlisted man shook his head.

"The debris perhaps?" V'ras quickly bringing up the scan reports, but a quick glance showed nothing unusual from the debris field.

"It looks like it's our own ship," the enlisted man replied, "But I know of nothing on the ship that could do this."

V'ras studied the dispersal pattern on the scan log. "You are correct. This ship is certainly deflecting the beam, not allowing it re-materialise the object. But how is it doing that?"

The senior crewman looked at his readings, "Our shields are up," he announced, "that should stop the beaming in anyway for a while."

V'ras cocked his head, "Its not," he pointed to a signature developing on the deck he was standing on. "They've developed a way in which to beam through shields." V'ras hit his commbadge, "Engineering to bridge, the Gorn have developed a method to beam through shields, I need a security team down in engineering, I've got an intruder materialising."

"Marines under the command of Commander Hawke and Lieutenant Commander Hans en-route Engineering."

V'ras recognised the voice of Lieutenant Shrak, her Andorian accent and way of speaking tearing through the communications channel.

V'ras noted that an energy beam was starting to develop near to the warp core, V'ras quickly thought of his next command, "All personnel take cover, intruder in engineering, near the warp core."

He quickly ducked behind a console that hid him from the intruders. There was nothing they could do; the intruder's beam in point was directly in front of the warp core giving them complete cover at from fire in almost every position. If they attempted to return fire, they risked hitting the warp core and that could destroy the whole ship. The logical move was to allow them to move away from the system and attack them then.

As the figures of ten Gorn appeared, V'ras felt a sudden rush of adrenaline run through his green blood. He felt like he could take them all on, but that was a foolish thought. Immediately the Gorn with rifles slung from the waist, started shooting at personnel who were scattered across the two decks. V'ras hoped his people had found enough cover to protect them. He noticed a couple of his people return fire. He shouted to make sure that the crewmembers knew not to fire, but a couple of more shots made it clear that they didn't understand or some didn't hear the command in the heat of battle.

V'ras' only way to ensure the safety of the ship was to erect a shield around the warp core, allowing any accidental hits to cause little or no damage. But the problem with his plan was the controls to do so were on the other side of the engineering deck. Not a path that would take him close to the Gorn intruders who had taken up defensive positions of their own, but out of cover and a tempting target.

V'ras touched the shoulder of the senior crewmember who was squatted near him, and then to the young crewmember who was next to him. "We need to erect a force field around the warp core. I can do that from over there and it would only take a few seconds, but I need you to give me covering fire."

The two men both gave a reassuring nod. As they lifted themselves up and fired their weapons; V'ras made his move, darting across the room to an exposed console. He noticed a burst of energy hit a nearby console as he tapped on the controls. A moment later, he heard the beep confirming the force field initiating. He looked around to see the blue energy field defending the vulnerable system, knowing his job was done he raced back to the cover he had just emerged from.

As V'ras got down he saw the young crewman lying on the floor. He checked his neck for a pulse but found nothing. Another flash of illogical emotion came to the front of his mind. He quickly pushed it down into the depths of his soul. He would not let anger get a hold of him, not now, not when logic was needed more than ever.

Tapping his commbadge, V'ras gave the order to fire upon the enemy contacts.

Just as V'ras was about fire his own weapon he saw another transporter beam materialise a team of ten invaders. The odds were being stacked against him and his team. He looked down at the body of the young man that lay lifeless on the deck and wondered how many of his people, how many of the crew were now dead.

The ship suddenly shook, now the Gorn had started the space battle. At least they might not be beaming on any more people.

V'ras shot at one of the Gorn aggressors, his reptilian body ducking slowly out of the way. V'ras flinched, it was a bad miss. But looking around his crew's firing was keeping their heads down.

Suddenly a tap on his shoulder was felt, it was Commander Hawke and a team of four marines. V'ras nodded.

"Situation report Lieutenant," Hawke asked as two marines took up positions behind consoles and started firing, the other two knelt close to the Commander.

"We've got twenty hostiles, they've taken defensive positions on the far side of the engineering deck, behind the warp core," V'ras turned round as a shot thundered above their heads, "I've erected a force field around the warp core, so there is no danger of a warp breech."

Hawke nodded, he looked confident, "Commander Hans has four marines and is attempting to attack them from above, is there any escape from that area of engineering?"

V'ras nodded, "A small access tube allows access from there to the corridor in sections 34 and 35."

Hawke nodded, "Marines, we'll take up positions near there, try to take them out if they should attempt a retreat."

The four marines all nodded and evacuated with Commander Hawke the way that they had entered. V'ras noted that they replaced the hatch to the Jeffries tube as they exited. V'ras took up his position again at the console and fired a few shots off, hitting one of the intruders. He suddenly noticed a blue pulse fire from the upper deck. The other marines had arrived.

V'ras watched as two of the Gorn attackers were hit and immediately fell onto the ground, looking as if they had been fatally hit. The concentration of fire had obviously startled the Gorn attackers as they moved towards the hatched that V'ras had told the executive officer about. Hawke was right about what they would do if faced with further fire power. Two of the Gorn were obviously giving cover fire to the remaining soldiers. V'ras counted them in his mind, he counted twelve escaping, two on rear guard positions.

"V'ras to Hawke, twelve should be coming to your position in moments," he noted.

"Acknowledged, we'll be ready," Hawke replied over the comms channel.

V'ras got a shot off at the last Gorn standing as he fell to the ground. The four marines and Hans quickly slid down the ladder and landed on the deck. Two of the marines checked the Gorn for signs of life, while the other two covered their escape route. V'ras thought it most logical behaviour considering the Gorn could easily double back and attack the Engineering room again. V'ras couldn't help but admire the marines and their professionalism.

V'ras engineering crew quickly re-manned their stations, but there were obvious missing personnel. V'ras looked around for who was missing; he counted seven personnel not at their stations. He knew one had died, but how many others.

"You have casualties on the upper deck Lieutenant," Hans reported.

"How many sir?" V'ras couldn't help but ask.

"At least one dead, two wounded," Hans' voice sounded like his own, V'ras thought. In light of the situation it sounded cold and unsympathetic. But to the trained ear, it was nothing more than logical, there was no room for emotions on the battlefield. "Man your station Lieutenant," Hans ordered, "we need engineering to its most optimum."

V'ras nodded and returned to his work.

The senior NCO was already looking up the damage, "Shields are already at fifty percent," he noted towards V'ras, "We've only got a couple of minutes at this rate."

V'ras nodded, "let's divert all power from the non essential systems and route them into the shields."

His senior NCO nodded and was tapping onto his console.

USS Nightingale, Bridge

Captain Wilcox sat in his chair. His thoughts were divided between the battle that was raging on deck six and the space battle that he was trying to manage on the bridge on the ship. He bit his lip making it bleed as the ship shook again from the impact of another volley from the Gorn vessel. "Helm, defensive pattern delta five, attempt to get us away from the debris field and into open space."

Chloe he noted had been able to keep a lot of the fire away from the ship, despite almost being pinned against the debris field. She was certainly as good a pilot as she had been sold to John as. Shrak he noted had also been able to show her professional aggression during combat, something that made her an excellent tactical officer.

Another shake of the ship exploded a console across the room, a crewman fell backwards. John watched as the crewman got back up, with blood on his face and returned to his station. "Lieutenant, you've got to get us out of this kill zone."

"I'm attempting to sir," Chloe replied calmly.

"Situation reports from deck six sir," Ensign Williams reported, he was manning the operations post as Torlik was nowhere to be found, "there is a fire fight in the corridor, but engineering is clear of hostiles, "There is damage to the engineering section, warp drive is affected."

Another shake and Shrak spoke up, "I've lost power to the weapons system sir. Shields are down to ten per cent."
Another explosion hit the bridge throwing sparks in all direction that confused John momentarily. "Chloe can you plot a course out of here?"

Lieutenant Visitor nodded and started to plot a course, "Got one, but it doesn't take us into Federation Space, it takes us deeper into Geckonian territory."

"Do it," Wilcox shouted as sparks flew again, emergency lighting had to be imitated and a beam fell from the ceiling a foot away from him.

Chloe did the command and reported they were now at warp six, all they could manage. Wilcox nodded gratefully at the young Lieutenant and commented on her excellent piloting skills.

"How long until the shields can be repaired?" Wilcox asked Shrak.

"No idea Sir," she responded, "I need to see what damage has been done, looks more damage than a simple power failure."

"Damn it," Wilcox shouted hitting the arm of his chair as he `sat back down, "Helm, is there anywhere to hid at the moment?"

"Yes sir," Lieutenant Visitor reported shouting immediately, "I've got the course to pass near a nebula, class 9 sir."

"Good job Lieutenant," John said.

"Lieutenant Commander Hans to bridge," the mission advisor came over the internal communications system.

"Bridge here Commander," John replied, "Report."

"We've secured deck six and eliminated the threat. I've got three Gorn prisoners," the Geckonian officer reported, but something was hesitant in his voice.

"Casualties?" John asked.

"We've got four dead in engineering, plus two in a critical condition and we have another two injuries in the defence team, one minor, one major," Hans voice seemed even more from its usual calmness.

"Is Commander Hawke there?" John asked.

"He was hit sir," Hans stated, "He is the critical casualty. Sir!"
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Original fan fiction by David Lowbridge:
Star Trek Nightingale
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