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Old July 9 2013, 03:38 AM   #31
Gibraltar
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Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

Kes' plan is risky, as the Kazon are as unpredictable as they are volatile. And it seems she may have designs on the destroyers, but for what purpose?

What remains of the original Kes, as twisted as she's become by circumstance and the mental depredations of Species 8472?

I'm enjoying this battle deep in the Delta Quadrant, pitting old enemies against one another long after Voyager's departure.

More, please!
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Old July 10 2013, 05:42 PM   #32
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

Auxiliary Control, Kazon-Degra Destroyer Skadra
In Orbit of Ocampa V, Delta Quadrant

The destroyer Skadra rocked, the results of a smaller ship exploding to just ahead of them. Jal Mekhad watched the sensor data from where he stood in the auxiliary control room. Though all main ship controls were handled from the bridge, the backup facility was kept manned going into battle and handled support duties, whilst those on the bridge got to enjoy the battle firsthand. All Mekhad could really do was watch as they fought against the single station.

He tried not to look at the desert world it orbited, the memory of his disgrace was still fresh in his mind—which his shipmates would never let him live down. Defeated by an elderly female Ocampa—it didn’t get much worse than that. His skull still ached whenever he thought of that night.

“Have any of you tasted their females?” Hagadd bellowed from the weapons console. His question was met with a number of negatives. Mekhad kept quiet and shook his head. “You don’t know what you are missing! They are sweet and soft, so small and fragile; too much pressure and you might break something.”

Draq!” Tuerk challenged. “You’ve never had one of their females! They are reserved for those closest to the Maje.”

“Guard duty has to have some perks!”

There was a ruckus of laughter. Once again, Mekhad stayed quiet. The other men in the room ignored him, so if he drew attention to himself he would face their scorn and harassment—and he had suffered more than enough since that night.

As the others laughed and goaded Hagadd to give them more details, Mekhad stayed quiet, watching the sensor display, though listened to the intimate description Hagadd regaled the others with, feeling his own interest grow—females of any species were a mystery to him (yet another thing the males around him knew and took great pleasure in belittling him about). The topic of conversation wasn’t a new one, they often gloated about their conquests with the females of the Sect, or others they had seized in raids, so Mekhad knew that they would soon turn on him and start berating him for his lack of experience. He hated to do anything that might attract their attention sooner, but when the sensor readings suddenly changed he spoke without thinking.

“What the vejah?”

“Got something to say little man?” Hagadd demanded.

It was only then Mekhad realised he had spoken, and now faced eight pairs of eyes boring into him. Hagadd and Tuerk moved in closer to him, the fully-grown males looming over him, blocking out his view of the rest of the room. They shoved him into the console and pressed in tighter, almost growing at him, the smell of stale sweat filled his nostrils, and he could hear the others moving in behind the two Dohka—none of them wanting to miss his latest humiliation.

“He can’t be called a ‘man’,” Tuerk corrected, “he still hasn’t experienced the true right of manhood. He is nothing but a boy—how he passed the challenges is a mystery to me.”

“I bet he made himself available to the Maje,” Hagadd grunted with another shove to emphasise his point. “Is that it? Is that why you’ve never bhaked a female? You want to be the one on your back!”

Mekhad shook his head. “No Dohka.” His voice was little more than a whimper, which made his tormentors and their audience laugh.

“That’s no protest!” Hagadd sneered.

“I think you’ve found him out,” added Tuerk. “He is nothing more than a yaniki! Filth!”

With that Hagadd spat on his cheek and slammed him into the console, bending him back until he whined in pain at the pressure of his spine against the metallic surface. The demeaning laughter only got louder.

That was until alerts began sounding from every station. In seconds the auxiliary control room was filled with noise, which stopped their torment. Hagadd released him and as he slumped to the cold deck, went over to the weapons console. Mekhad propped himself up as the others quickly followed their superiors lead and went back to their posts. He saw a look of confusion cross each of their faces.

“What the vejah?” Hagadd said slowly.

Mekhad knew what they were seeing, as he had seen it moments ago. Their assault ships were no longer targeting the station, but rather turned their weapons on one another. The main bulk of their fleet was decimating itself!

After their confusion, it took a few moments before they began angry and panicked. The auxiliary control crew were trying to make contact with their escort ships, demanding answers or telling them to resume their attack on the station. All were met with static. Then started the shouts and accusations over the intercom, no one seemed to have a clue what had happened, but none were willing to suffer the wrath of the Maje.

Mekhad remained on the deck, watching the others pound their controls and shout into the companels. They were all so focused on themselves that none of them noticed the hatch opening. He looked back at the entrance and saw a slim grey figure step onto the deck. She was older than the first time he had seen her, but her eyes were the same, looking from one Kazon to another as though there were little more than tehga flies.

When her steely gaze came to rest on him, he felt his insides go cold. Her eyes bore into him and he knew she remembered him as he did her. He had to get away from her. Glancing at the only other hatch on the door, it wasn’t far but he didn’t know how fast she was—but he had to try.

He clambered to his feet and started edging towards the exit. He had only moved a couple of steps when her voice filled his head.

*I told you to never return!* Her voice was blunt with an edge that was more threatening than all of Hagadd’s bellowing, it stopped him dead. He turned his head away from the exit and back at her. She stayed just within the hatch, but it felt as though she filled the room.

From the corner of his eye he noticed Tuerk turn towards her, as well as a couple of the others. Slowly, one-by-one, they were all looking at her—Hagadd was the last to turn away from his console.

Did they all hear her? Mekhad asked himself.

Hagadd puffed out his chest and narrowed his eyes. “Who are you?” he demanded, taking a step towards her.

“No!” Mekhad called out.

But it was too late. There was a sudden burst of light that forced him to shut his eyes, but a second later he could feel the burn of sun on his skin and the gritty taste of sand on the wind. Opening his eyes once again, he had to shield them for the harsh light in the cloudless sky. He stood in the midst of a throng of Kazon, in an endless sea of sand, with nothing on the horizon but shimmering dunes.

He was back on Ocampa.

* * * * *

Aft Cargo Bay 5, Kazon-Degra Destroyer Draxorr
In Orbit of Ocampa V, Delta Quadrant

Kes materialised into the cargo hold and slouched against one of the containers. After travelling from one destroyer to the next and transporting their crews down to the surface of her homeworld she was growing tired, luckily she was on the last ship. All around her she could sense the minds and thoughts of the Ocampa Tanis had gathered to target the smaller ships. He had managed to find one of his people for each ship, who in turn were targeting all of the Kazon bridge crews, implanting false images and thoughts into their barbarous minds, making them see enemies where there were none.

She had surmised that her idea would work, but she had never expected it to go so well. The Kazon’s natural paranoia and lust for violence were a dangerous combination, which made them highly susceptible to telepathic manipulation, but it seemed almost too easy to turn them against one another. But that wasn’t her immediate concern; she had one last ship to secure. Precognition wasn’t an ability she possessed, but during her time away from home, both on Voyager and after she chose to leave, she had seen much and come to know the minds of many others. She knew that even after today her people wouldn’t be safe, not with the Kazon, Trabe, Vidiians, and any of a dozen other races nearby, each of whom would want the rich minerals her world possessed. All the while her people would hide under the surface of a world that was useless to them—even with Tanis’ help their future was a bleak one.

The destroyer rocked; most likely another assault ship had been destroyed nearby. She didn’t have much time. Taking a deep cleaning breathe, she pushed off from the container and focused herself once more. Though she had manipulated molecules at the subatomic level many times, it always took its toll on her—especially when she was using her abilities to allow her to walk through bulkhead and transport thousands of men from orbit down to the far side of Ocampa. She had chosen the dry seabed as it put the Kazon on the opposite side of the planet from their mines and the subterranean city. The conditions would be brutal, but they may survive long enough for someone to find them—that was if one of the destroyers managed to call for help.

At a steady pace she walked towards the metallic wall and through it into the corridor, blowing out a couple of power lines as went. Her progress remained constant, as she reached out with her mind and located every Kazon in the section she walked into, focused in on each of them and teleported them to the surface to join the rest of their bewildered and furious Sect. They were so focused on the battle and the actions of their other ships that they weren’t prepared for an intruder, as such any Kazon she encountered in corridors or rooms never had time to reach for his weapon before disappearing in a blink of light. That would change as she neared the front of the destroyer, when calls to the engine room or weapons control went unanswered and those still onboard would be ready for something and would shoot at the slightest movement.

Surprisingly, she met little in the way of resistance. By now she knew that the battle would be going very badly for the Kazon: seven destroyers adrift, thousands of crewmembers marooned in the middle of an endless desert, their escort ships destroying one another (most likely they were few still operational on the battlefield), whilst their target remained with only a few cuts and bruises. Kes suspected that the destroyer she stood on was the flagship, as she had yet to encounter anyone with the arrogance of a Maje. If this was his ship, then he would be more focused on punishing his own men’s failures than executing a plan of attack.

There were only a few compartments left ahead of her, only a few dozen men still onboard. As with the other ships, her path from the aft section forward would end on the bridge. Before she got there, she wanted to make sure the rest of the ship was empty, so that she could speak with the Maje in person, to make her realise and understand who it was he was facing. She wanted to teach him that the Ocampa would no longer be slaves or servants to anyone, he would be the last one to make the mistake of thinking they were weak.

She entered the short corridor that would take her to the bridge; the solid doors were sealed ahead of her. On the decks above and below her she sought out the last few Kazon and removed them from the destroyer, leaving just twelve on board all in the one location.

Warping her way through one last door, the first thing she noticed was the smell of unwashed bodies, followed a second later by their hostility and rage. Like the other command centres, she stood on the upper level gangway, where only the ranking officer was permitted to stand (in this case the Maje), whilst the lower level had numerous consoles that faced outwards, with a couple freestanding nearer the front of the deck. It took her only a heartbeat to assess the room with all her senses, long enough to pick out each individual man and focus in on him—except for their leader, a tall and broad man with the same wild, unkempt hair the Kazon favoured.

All of them were oblivious to her entry. That changed after she transported them away, the multiple flashes of light followed by the stillness confounded the Maje.

“What?” he screamed, leaning over the railings of the gangway, his head whipping around, from console to console, trying to find some remains of his crew. He caught a glimpse of her and came to a stop, his sharp green eyes boring into her. In an instant he drew his disruptor.

Before he had a chance to squeeze the trigger, she focused inside the weapon and dissolved its molecular bonds, dispersing his firearm into particles smaller than dust. He looked at his empty hand, as though it would somehow have answers that he didn’t. He quickly fixated on her again. She didn’t need to read his mind to know that he thirsted for revenge against the Ocampa, starting with her.

“I will make you suffer old woman,” he hissed.

Faster than she would have thought possible for a man of his bulk, he launched himself towards her, roaring and snarling, teeth bared as though he were about to use them to rip her throat out. She didn’t flinch as he closed the short distance between them. When he was within a fingernail of her, she gave her hand the smallest of waves and lifted the Maje off his feet and propelled him backwards. He smacked into the console at the far end of the gangway.

Momentarily dazed, he shook it off and got to his feet, his anger building. Another roar escaped his lips, followed by a string of profanities she could only guess at. This time she didn’t let him get as close, stopping him in his tracks before he’d taken five steps. She lifted him clean off the deck and watched him writhe and lash out, barking at her.

“Maje,” she began, “I was willing to overlook all the Kazon have done, if you had simply heeded my warning and never returned to this world. But since you threaten my people, I have dealt with yours. Those who don’t kill each other in orbit have been transported to the surface.

“If you thought my world was difficult at the mining camp, you will find it brutal when cut off from even the most basic of resources you had there.”

“I will not be subjected to this jvatt shuk from an Ocampan rekz! I will slaughter each and every one of you for this! Your people will die screaming in agony, and you will be to blame!”

She stepped closer to him and lowered her voice. “I am willing to let you live on the surface, but threaten my people again and I will not be so forgiving.”

The Maje laughed. “Do you think I am afraid of a pathetic female like you? I will make you watch as I take every female under the surface, drenched in the blood of your men. They will be so ruined that they will beg for death!”

Kes’ eyes looked beyond the surface of the Maje, honing in on all the atoms and bonds that made up the basic elements within his body then, as with his disruptor, she shattered them. Standing alone on the gangway, she slumped against the railing, her body and mind drained. But for now her people were safe.

*Tanis, what’s the state of the Kazon fleet?*

*There are only three ships left operational,* was his prompt response.

*Implant false memories into the crews, then send them away.*

*Kes?*

*There has been enough death today, Tanis.*

*Very well.*

Sighing heavily, she looked at the large viewscreen in front of her. “They’re safe now,” she affirmed to herself.

*But for how long?* a powerful female voice resonated within her skull.

* * * * *
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Old July 11 2013, 07:09 AM   #33
Gibraltar
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Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

Methinks it's time for Kes & Company to get the Hell Out of Dodge (TM).

The Kazon won't be gone for long. Even if this sect has been de-fanged, another sect will doubtless move in on their territory, to include the long-suffering Ocampa homeworld.

Definitely wagon-train time...
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Old July 11 2013, 11:53 AM   #34
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
Hell Out of Dodge (TM).
Was that a working title for the Refugee Crisis?

Unfortunately "Caretaker" never gave any hints as to how many Ocampa there were on the planet, so I'm not sure how they're going to fit the entire population on their seized ships--it's going to be tight, that's for sure.

That'll be the next thing I have to figure out, after checking in with the AQ.
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Old July 18 2013, 02:34 PM   #35
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

Chapter Five


Engine Room, U.S.S. Silverfin
Docking Berth Four, Star Station Freedom, Alpha Quadrant
Stardate: 54576.3 (July 30th, 2377)

Amorin missed the engine room. It had been his domain for many years before his unexpected promotion and in his hearts he knew it was where his true passion lay. When he had been Chief Engineer of the Silverfin he was able to navigate through the room with his eyes shut and without using the echolocation sense Benzenite possessed, simply because he knew the place so well. He could have gone into any of the equipment lockers and find any tool in his sleep. Now though he needed to look for things.

His successor, Elak th’Shaan, has been his assistant for four years so he had known Amorin’s system and methodologies, but once he had taken charge of engineering the young Andorian had down what he could to make the department his own—just as Amorin had done from his predecessor. Though similar, th’Shaan’s organisation was different but no less effective, it just took a little time to get the hang of it.

“I’ve spoken with Syril up in impulse control,” th’Shaan was telling him, as they stood at the MSD looking at the technical diagram of the cutter, “and she has done a full purge and scrub down of the manifolds; with any luck that should be it.”

“I didn’t think you believed in ‘luck’, Elak.”

“Not usually,” he admitted his antennae curling slightly, a sign of his uncertainty, “but we’ve gone over the entire impulse drive and can’t find any sign of what caused that hiccup.”

Amorin scowled, still not convinced. When they had entered the Tamsen System on approach to Star Station Freedom, with the smuggler ship in tow, there was some kind of interruption to impulse engines, which had caused a twenty percent dip in power. Nothing life-threatening and the problem had lasted for only four-point-one seconds, but it was a technical anomaly that neither of them had liked.

“Syril did say that there wasn’t much work that needed doing—seeing as how the impulse drive had been involved in the overhaul in February. But there is nothing to explain the power drop—unless you subscribe to Pedro’s gremlin theory.”

The overhaul they had undergone at the beginning of the year had been fairly extensive, taking over two weeks to complete, and seen them missing out on the Talarian Incursion. Even with the entire crew pulling double shifts to get the work done, they had only been able to launch a day following the attack on the Talarian supply base in the Hedakas System but by then the Talarian advance had halted and the militia was in retreat. They hadn’t been able to do anything more than respond to ships in distress or escorting hospital ships. It was something that still stung for many onboard the Silverfin, as all they had been able to do was listen to the reports coming in of the dozens of ships damaged or destroyed, the hundreds injured and killed, whilst they had been safe in dock.

“As much as I appreciate Crewman De La Cruz’s out of the box thinking, I’m not willing to chalk this up to mythical creatures just yet. Run a level four diagnostic on the entire impulse drive every shift, the last thing we need is for that to happen in combat.”

Th’Shaan nodded. “You got it, Commander.”

“Commander Amorin to the Bridge,” Captain Leijten called through the intercom.

“On my way,” he replied to the CO then looked back at th’Shaan. “Keep me posted.”

“Don’t I always?” th’Shaan asked with a smirk.

Amorin headed up the ladder to the second level, paused for a moment to look back across the engine room then, with a sigh, headed through the exit. From deck six the trip through the drive section, umbilical neck and into the saucer was a short one. He used what time he had to shift his focus away from impulse driver coils and diagnostics, as he once again stepped into his role as XO. They had been briefed the day before on their next assignment, a routine patrol along the border in the Mudor Sector, which was one of the more remote areas within the Third Squadrons operational area. It was a sector that had been ignored during the Incursion, but during the brief Talarian-Orion conflict that had followed it had seen some of the fiercest fighting, so exactly what they might find was anyone’s guess.

Stepping out onto the Bridge, he quickly recalled the duty roster for their next patrol tour. In addition to the senior officers, there were three non-coms on duty: Petty Officers Sa’Qwa and Smith were at the aft console, whilst Crewman Blackwolf was at engineering.

Blackwolf looked up as he entered and gave him a friendly smile. “Good morning, Commander.”

“How are you, Claudia?” he asked, pausing beside her post for a moment.

“No complaints, sir.” She gestured to the console. “I’ve been alerted to the impulse diagnostics, would you like to monitor them from here?”

He shook his head. Blackwolf had joined his crew just a few months after his promotion, so he hadn’t vetted her personally, but what he’d seen of the young woman’s skill was impressive, so he had no problems leaving her where she was to keep an eye on things. “That won’t be necessary. But if anything strikes you as sohhs’pah then let me know.”

“‘Sohhs’pah’, sir?”

Beneath his breather mask he smirked to himself. “It loses something in the translation.”

She smiled. “Got it.”

On his right he looked at Daezan, who flashed him a quick grin before looking back at his displays. Amorin headed towards the command arena, where Leijten sat, legs casually crossed and perusing a PADD. She glanced up as he approached.

“Is everything all shipshape down below?”

“Looks like. The impulse hiccup is still a mystery, but the manifolds have been scrubbed and Elak will continue to monitor. All other systems are in the green.”

Leijten nodded then handed him the PADD she’d been reading. “It’s the latest reports we have on the Mudor Sector. According to Intel it’s been pretty quiet these last couple of weeks. The Thunderbird was the last cutter on patrol out here and they didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary either.”

Taking the PADD he quickly read over the reports and data, noting that all long-range scans of the space beyond the Federation boundary showed no unusual activity, just their Talarian counterparts and the occasional non-aligned ship going about its business—nothing suggesting illicit activity though. During the rest of his shift, Amorin would digest all the information carefully, but to a cursory glance it looked as though their patrol would be uneventful. However experience had taught him that it was on tours where all looked to be quiet that they needed to be the most vigilant.

He then looked at Leijten, who gave him a subtle nod.

Holding the PADD behind his back, he began their normal routine. “All stations report readiness.”

“Tactical sensors, defensive and offensive systems all operational,” stated Ling-Na immediately.

“Computer, communication and sensor systems on-line,” added Daezan.

“Navigational array and inertial dampeners check out, thrusters, impulse and warp ready at your discretion,” Llewellyn-Smyth reported.

“Environmental and power systems are at optimal,” said Blackwolf.

“All auxiliary and backup systems are fully functional,” Sa’Qwa finished off.

Leijten looked over to operations. “Commander, clear our departure with the Dockmaster.”

“Aye Skipper.”

“Secure airlocks and clear all moorings,” Amorin addressed Blackwolf.

“The Dockmaster has cleared us.”

“Airlocks sealed and all moorings have been cleared.”

“Aft thrusters at one half, port and starboard at station keeping, then increase to two-thirds impulse once we’ve cleared Freedom,” ordered Leijten.

“Aye sir,” was Llewellyn-Smyth’s prompt response.

Even though each and every one of the Bridge crew knew what to do, the exercise for departing Star Station Freedom had become something of a ritual. Each of them had their part to play, as a way of helping them to hone their focus on what was ahead of them.


* * * * *


Administration Centre, Ocama City Station
In orbit of Ocampa V, Delta Quadrant

Two days had passed since the Ocampa had defeated the Kazon-Degra armada, a fact that Tanis was still having difficulty processing. They had actually won in a fight against eighty Kazon ships! He doubted there were many in the sector who could boast such a feat. But it wasn’t the time to be complacent, the rest of the Sect could warp in and seek revenge, or another could try and seize the planet for themselves. Given how unstable the Sects were it was best not to think they were safe just yet.

The City Station itself had come through the skirmish with some damage, but it was being seen to. The people were eager to see their home whole once again, so they had been working tirelessly since the battle. He had also dispatched some of his people to ensure the eight destroyers that sat in orbit were truly empty, and a few salvage teams into what was left of the Kazon ships.

All of the Ocampa on the planet were alright; fortunately the Kazon attack on the surface hadn’t lasted long enough to cause much damage to the subterranean city. Given the ferocity of their attack on the station, their own casualties were light—though there were one or two suffering ill effects after being so deep inside the minds of the aggressors, but that too would pass with meditation.

Over the last two days, he had had his crews keeping a close eye on the sensors—for all they knew what they had faced was just the first wave, sent in to soften them up and discover their tactics. But as the days passed he began to ease up a little, though ensured all on duty remained cautious. He was also telepathically calling out to Kes, who he hadn’t heard of since she had order them to stand down. Tanis suspected that after transporting over eight thousand men to the surface of Ocampa five, she had withdrawn once again to gather her strength.

He would give her time to recuperate, but her actions had left him with a lot of unanswered questions, first and foremost being, why did she want those ships left intact? That would have to wait until she returned, and he had more than enough to be doing in the mean time.

Looking down onto the planet, the origin of his species, he couldn’t help but feel a connection to the dusty world. Before Kes’ intervention, he had never given the world a second thought, seeing it as a primitive and backwards place, but after meeting some of the people and learning of what they had done for themselves over the last six years, he found a sense of pride grow within him. Despite all the differences between the two groups of Ocampa, they were more alike than he’d imagined. This of course led to debates and discussions about what they would do in the future. The planet was incapable of sustaining life on the surface, whilst the city was far from self-sufficient, barely able to feed the population let alone build a power plant. They were also defenceless; their very existence was at the whim of whoever was in control of the surface.

The station could stand guard over them, but even then it was just one facility and there were numerous hostile races nearby who would test their strength and resolve. The planet was rich in minerals, which made them a target—That could be why Kes wanted those ships? he mused. The Ocampa could harness those resources and use them for trade, but the logistics of such were vast from learning how to use the Kazon ships, to forging trade agreements with other races.

Then there was the matter of all the developments the Ocampa on the station had over those in the city, from the strength of their mental abilities to the technology they had developed to extend their lifespan, all of which would be useful for those on the surface, but would take time to dispense among the population. He could only hope that before the next crisis emerged that they would have time to bring together the two distinct halves of the Ocampa, to merge them back into a single people. It would take time and involve a lot of hard work, but seeing as how the City Station was now in a geosynchronous orbit around their planet then it only made sense; his people had the technology whilst those of the surface were far greater in number.

“Administrator, can you come here a moment?” one of his aides asked.

Tanis gave a nod and turned towards the younger man, but before he even took a step he felt a familiar prickle in the back of his mind. It was a sensation he hadn’t felt for several days and now found it a strange feeling.

Susperia. She had returned.


* * * * *
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Old July 21 2013, 05:16 PM   #36
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Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

This is good stuff, Bry! - I always enjoy your Silverfin stories. Excellent detail and character work. I've never been a fan of Kes (or much from Voyager) but you've woven an intriguing plot with the Ocampa/Kazon conflict and Kes' "super powers." I'm interested to see where this leads and how the crew of the Silverfin play a role.
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Old July 21 2013, 09:00 PM   #37
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Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

Superia is back? Can't imagine she's going to be too happy to let Kes call the shots. I feel a power struggle coming on.
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Old July 23 2013, 12:20 PM   #38
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

TheLoneRedshirt wrote: View Post
This is good stuff, Bry! - I always enjoy your Silverfin stories. Excellent detail and character work. I've never been a fan of Kes (or much from Voyager) but you've woven an intriguing plot with the Ocampa/Kazon conflict and Kes' "super powers." I'm interested to see where this leads and how the crew of the Silverfin play a role.
Glad you're enjoying it TLR, if it wasn't for your work with the Bluefin then the Silverfin would never have existed . VOY isn't my favourite series either (nothing will beat DS9) but I always prefered the Kes years rather than when Seven took over. It won't be long until everything comes to a head and my Border Dogs will have their part to play.

CeJay wrote: View Post
Superia is back? Can't imagine she's going to be too happy to let Kes call the shots. I feel a power struggle coming on.
Got a few things to work out so not sure what direction things will take just yet.
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Old September 23 2013, 03:54 PM   #39
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Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

I apologise for the delay in getting back to this story, been pretty blocked of late, and this section I was at wasn't helping matters. So I've decided just to try and push my way through and get this story back on track.

* * * * *

Northern Polar Region
Ocampa V, Delta Quadrant

Ocampa five was a dry planet. Whatever the Caretaker and his people had done to the planet had left it barely habitable; unable to produce rain, high levels of UV radiation baked the surface, soil unable to sustain even the simplest bacteria. Plants had died off, rivers and oceans had dried up leaving behind nothing but desert, whilst at the poles all the ice had evaporated and there was nothing but grey rock formations, whilst the temperature was only slightly lower than elsewhere on her homeworld.

Transporting eight thousand, seven hundred and eight-three men from high orbit onto the surface of a planet was more taxing than Kes had expected. So she had taken some time to centre herself once again, but as she tried to meditate she was bothered by the recollection of the Maje’s emotions, the dark and degrading imagery his mind had been filled with was worse than any other Kazon she had encountered.

But even that paled in comparison to the sudden surge she had sensed. She knew it was Susperia, having felt her presence even since she had moved Tanis and his people to Ocampa five, but she had managed to keep the alien entity from making contact to her followers and vice versa. Susperia’s ability to break through her defences showed Kes just how exhausted she was—but then again she had been overdoing it a lot in the last couple of weeks, and even her abilities weren’t infinite. She had known from the minute she had decided to reunite her people that a confrontation with Susperia was unavoidable.

Since bringing the station into orbit, she had erected a telepathic defence barrier to keep Susperia away from them in both mind and body, but now she had found a crack, Kes knew it would only be a matter of time before the entity forced her way through. Before that happened, Kes wanted to deal with Susperia on her own terms. So she lowered the barrier around her, opening up the north pole but keeping the station and the subterranean city safe.

Now she waited, using the techniques shown to her by Tuvok to quieten her mind and focus her abilities.

“Hello Kes.” The voice was hoarse and sounded old, with the slightest hint of menace.

Opening her eyes Kes looked upon an Ocampan girl, no more than half a year old, wearing a lightweight pink dress which fluttered in the breeze. Slowly, her muscles groaning and joints popping, Kes got to her feet, never taking her eyes off the being before her.

“Hello Susperia,” she replied, keeping her tone level. On the edges of her mind she could feel the Caretaker’s mate trying to crack through her own mental shielding, but she kept her barrier firmly raised and held fast. Going mind-to-mind with the alien was something she did not want to attempt as she had no knowledge of just how powerful Susperia was.

The girl looked around at the barren spires of stone and the cloudless sky. “It has been a long time since I was last on your world; it was a different place then.”

“You were here before the Warming?”

Susperia nodded. “It was quite beautiful then.”

“Why did your people experiment on the atmosphere?”

“Merely an experiment we were carrying out—the principles of which are too great for your simple mind to comprehend.”

Kes felt her push a little harder on her telepathic screen. “Trying to anger or upset me won’t work. I fully accept that your science is beyond anything I know, but my mind is far from simple.”

Susperia smiled, which was both sweet and nasty at the same time. “So I see. You have come farther than I ever suspected an Ocampa to achieve. How did you manage that?”

“A species I encountered a few years ago somehow managed to warp my abilities. Since then they have grown and continue to develop.”

“Indeed. I must admit I am impressed. Psionic teleportation isn’t easy, and you did it over eight thousand times—into the middle of a desert.

“Tell me, Kes, have you ever seen someone die from exposure or thirst? A horrible way to expire but it is a sentence you have given each and every one of those Kazon. I would never have imagined such barbarism from you.”

Kes felt a flicker of doubt and remorse and then Susperia pushed. Momentarily weakened, Kes could feel her defences buckle against the sudden and unyielding force. Her head was ringing with pain and every nerve she had felt as though it was on fire.

“Stop,” Kes whispered, her voice lost on the soft breeze.

Susperia pushed harder and deeper. Kes could feel her searching her memories, pushing past every defence she tried to erect, charging straight through every thought maze she tried to hide behind. In her mind’s eye, Kes could see the savage smile on the sweet girl’s face as she searched for what it was she wanted. Kes didn’t know what Susperia wanted, so had no way of protecting the knowledge she was trying to rip from her mind.

“The weak shall perish.”

The triggered memory of Species 8472 brought with it all she remembered on the alien invaders from fluidic space. As soon as it began, Susperia followed the trail of neuro-chemicals an edge of accomplishment tinged her presence in Kes’ mind.

Finally knowing what it was she was after, Kes was able to muster all of her defences, drawing on all the energy her mind could generate, she blocked the memories and pushed back, hard.

“Stop!”

The blast of psionic energy flung the little girl back and into a rocky outcropping, whilst Kes dropped to her knees. Winces of pain shot through her body and she felt blood-soaked fabric cling to her legs. Exhausted, Kes tried to push aside her physical pain and focus on keeping her mind fortified. Slowly she looked over to where Susperia lay prone, but she knew that the being wasn’t quite as fragile as she looked—her mind was proof of that.

As she looked at the girl, she noticed an arm twitch, then a leg moved. Slowly, she sat up and glanced at Kes, who noticed a trickle of blood coming from her nose. She also saw a flicker of apprehension in Susperia’s eyes—she obviously hadn’t expected Kes to be able to stop her, though in truth Kes was surprised she’d been able too. Susperia got to her feet quickly, but Kes stayed where she was, not trusting her own legs to support her weight—even as light as she was.

“When did you encounter them?” Susperia demanded.

Kes shook her head. “I won’t tell you anything.”

“I have ways of making you tell,” she stated, but with the slightest waver of her voice.

Kes smirked. “If that was really true, you’d have taken that knowledge from my mind. I assure you that was your only chance to get inside my head.”

“Tell me what I want to know!”

“Why?” she challenged, pushing past the pain that filled her mind.

“Tell me!” Susperia growled, taking a step forward.

Seeing an opportunity, Kes pushed out with her mind without hesitation. Just as the alien had done to her, she forced her way into Susperia’s thoughts as her defences wavered. The effort was challenging, as the mind was so alien compared to all the others she had touched in her short life, but she kept going. She saw places and events she’d never dreamed of, wonders she’d never be able to put into words and horrors that would stay with her for however long she had. Amongst the chaos of Susperia’s mind she caught a glimpse of Ocampa five before the Warming, and the alien had been right, the world had been truly beautiful and advanced—more so than she had expected, a whole history that had been lost to her people since they’d moved underground.

From there, Kes could feel Susperia’s thoughts branch off in multiple directions, though all in a similar pattern—what happened on her world wasn’t the first time they had interfered with other races. As she tried to push down those memory paths, she could feel Susperia close in on her and trying to force her out. It only took Kes another second to find what the alien being didn’t want her to know, then she withdrew.

Susperia fell back onto the hard rock, looking dazed.

“What gives you the right to play god?” Kes asked, winded from the effort of burrowing into Susperia’s mind. “You have done much good for some of the races you’ve visited, but also much misery and my world isn’t even the worst you’ve done—you created them.”

The little girl focused once again, fear radiating from her.

“You made a mistake, one that made them too dangerous to keep around, so you disposed of them into fluidic space. Why?”

“We were trying to make them better,” Susperia admitted.

“Just like you tried to do here?”

She shook her head. “Our experiments were on your environment, not your people. Once it failed and my mate remained to care for your people, I saw the potential the Ocampa had—so that was why I took those that I did.”

“You were trying going to engineer our genetic makeup, why?”

“To make you more than you were, to exploit your full potential. After what happened to your world, my mate objected to my plan, so that was why we parted company.”

“That’s why you extended their lifespan and enhanced their abilities.”

Susperia nodded. “They developed further than I expected, but you are something truly unique.”

“I’m a monster, no one should have the power that I do—it’s taken a great toll on me.”

“The effects of your aging could be reversed—”

Kes shook her head. “It’s not the aging. I’ve lost who I was. The girl you met before is no longer inside me. It is not something I would wish on anyone, especially not me people.”

“They matter greatly to you.”

“After I started to change, I believed they would be afraid of me and what I could do—I am. But I now know what I can do for them. Their power reserves are almost depleted, this world will never sustain life on its surface and the Kazon will continue to fight over it. Their only chance of survival is to leave here, which was why I reunited them.”

Susperia looked off into the distance, the spires of rock and the deep crevices gave the pole a dramatic landscape, beautiful in its own right, especially in the twilight of the setting sun. There was a long, silent pause. Susperia wasn’t in a rush to speak and Kes wasn’t about to rush her—their previous engagements had taken it out of her and she didn’t believe she had another in her.

“I envy you,” Susperia said still looking out at the landscape, sounding a lot like the little girl she appeared to be. “Returning to your people...even for a short time.”

“Can’t you go home?”

“When my mate and I were left behind, it was not intended for us to return.” She finally turned to look at Kes once more, her eyes on the verge of tears. “I am alone.”

“There are thousands of worlds where what you could offer would be welcomed.”

She paused again for a moment, before walking over to where Kes knelt. They were almost eye-to-eye when the girl came to a stop, a look of sadness on her face.

“A gift for you to help your people.”

With that, the girl touched Kes’ forehead with one slim finger. In the blink of an eye her mind filled with images, of something magnificent—something which would be more than a help, but a lifesaver. When she opened her eyes again, the girl was gone.

Thank you, Kes called out, hoping she would hear.

* * * * *
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Old September 23 2013, 07:38 PM   #40
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Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

Who knew Susperia had any compassion left, or that she'd be so generous as to give Kes something of value?

The revelation that the Caretaker's species were responsible for unleashing Species 8472 onto the multiverse is an eye opening one. If that was an 'Oops', what might they accomplish if they decided to intentionally create a malevolent species?

Great work, I'm eagerly awaiting more!
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Old September 23 2013, 09:08 PM   #41
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Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

I hadn't intended to include that, but the idea just came to me as I was looking at that piece for the 47th time, so I thought 'why not?'

Does open up doors about what else the Nacene have done.
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Old September 23 2013, 09:34 PM   #42
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Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

Great chapter, Bry! As usual you provide vivid imagery and excellent dialogue. The face-off between Kes and Susperia was both well-written and surprising. I truly did not see that outcome.
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Old September 24 2013, 09:10 PM   #43
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Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

First Councillor’s Office, Municipal Building, Ocampa City
Ocampa V, Delta Quadrant

Daggin didn’t know what, but he knew something had happened. He had received a telepathic message from Kes, saying that they needed to meet on the planet, so he had agreed. The inhabitants of the city were still wary after the Kazon attack, so the plazas and walkways were still quiet, the citizens opting to remain indoors—just in case the Kazon returned.

As he awaited her arrival, he tried to see to the duties and tasks that filled his day, but he couldn’t quite focus. His memory dwelt on Linnis, the young woman he had met on the Great Plaza as he’d seen his people to the shelters. There was something about her that was familiar but he couldn’t quite figure out what, but her spirit was virile and refreshing—especially after so long as a bureaucrat seeing to the fears and wishes of a complacent population. A small smile tugged at his lips, but he quickly shook it off after all she was barely one and he was almost six and a half—old enough to be her father.

Suddenly the space just before his desk was filled with light for a moment, quickly replaced by the forms of Kes, Tanis and two other Ocampa he hadn’t been introduced to. With their arrival he stood up to greet them, making sure to keep his private thoughts to himself. Tanis looked a little tired, but that wasn’t surprising after what he and his people had endured in orbit and all the repair work they would need to do. Kes on the other hand continued to age with every time he met her, if he didn’t know better he’d have said she was pushing ten. Despite her advanced years, there was an air of peace to her now, as though a burden had been taken off of her shoulders.

“Hello Daggin,” she said, a soft smile tugging at her wrinkled lips.

“Kes, Tanis. Is everything alright? Have the Kazon returned?”

Tanis shook his head. “Our sensors are clear—it looks like they’ve gotten the message and are keeping their distance.”

Breathing a sigh of relief, he allowed his body to relax slightly. “So what’s this about then?”

Tanis looked from him to Kes and back again. “You’ll have to ask her.”

Both men looked at the frail woman, whose smile grew a little more. Before Daggin could ask her anything there was another pulse of light and his office disappeared, replaced with darkness.

“What? Where? Kes?” he asked, feeling his body tense up again. A chill ran down his spin, wherever they were it was colder than the city, whilst the air was clean—he couldn’t detected a single smell.

“It’s alright,” Kes told them, her voice echoing. A moment later the room illuminated slowly, allowing his eyes to adjust.

They were in some kind of control room, it was long and narrow, the pristine metal shimmered in the light. Looking around he took in the vast array of display screens and instrument panels, and all the chairs that faced outwards. By no means an expert in design, from what Daggin knew of the Kazon, the room seemed too beautiful to belong to them—he guessed they weren’t on one of their ships. His next assumption was that it was on Tanis’ station, but the look of curiosity and awe on his face told Daggin this was a strange place to him too.

“Where are we?” he asked his old friend.

“This is an Ocampan ship,” she told them.

“What?”

She smiled. “Despite what we have been told by others, our race was once quite advanced. Before the Warming, we were once capable of space flight—though lacked faster-than-light technology. Our people had planned to travel to the stars onboard this vessel.”

“A generational ship,” Tanis remarked, looking around once again.

“Yes. But then the Warming occurred, too fast for our people to react to, so when the Caretaker and his mate came offering their help the Ocampa took it. Over time, we forgot our history and what we were once capable of,” she looked around the control room, “and this ship was buried under sand.”

“How do you know this?” Daggin asked, trying to wrap his head around a past he knew nothing about.

“Susperia showed me.”

“She’s returned?” Tanis asked at the same moment Daggin asked, “Who is Susperia?”

“She was the Caretaker’s mate, the one who took Tanis’ ancestors away from Ocampa,” she explained to him, then looked at Tanis with a hint of remorse. “I’m afraid that she has gone, Tanis. I don’t know where.”

He rested a hand on her shoulder, a look of concern in his eyes. “Are you alright?”

Kes nodded. “Yes. She shared with me the knowledge of this ship before she left.”

“Why?” Tanis probed.

“Because she wanted to help give our people the best chance for survival,” she told them, moving towards the front of the room, where there was a single seat in the middle of the deck, above the others.

“I don’t understand,” Daggin admitted. “How is this ship supposed to help?”

Kes turned to face them. “The Ocampa have to leave. Not just this planet or this sector, but the entire quadrant. The Kazon have been frightened off for now, but they’ll come back, and if not them then another aggressive race. This whole region is filled with dangerous species, all of which would either enslave of kill the Ocampa if given the chance.

“I know of a place where our people could find peace and support,” she told them, the faint smile returning to her lips. “However it will take a lot of work and sacrifices to make this work.”

“Kes, what you’re asking is too much,” Daggin protested. “There are those in the city who still believe that the Caretaker will return and things will go back to the way they are, they would never consider leaving.”

“Daggin, our world is dead and our people will follow it shortly. What little power reserves you have left will run out and after that happens there is no light, or heat, or nutritional supplements. Do you have a way of generating your own energy?”

He knew she was right. The Ocampa had been totally reliant on the Caretaker for everything, including their power. Before he had gone they had built up a reserve to last them five years, and through a conservation scheme it had lasted a little longer but they were only a few months away from being powerless, and had no viable means of generating their own—at least not in time and not at the level they would need.

“We don’t, but this is our home. Where would we go?”

“Do you remember the crew of Voyager? I lived and worked beside them for three years, Daggin. I know that they would help us however they could.”

Tanis interjected. “But they are from the other side of the galaxy. How would you expect to get there?”

“You’re station is just like the Caretaker’s, it may have the technology we will need,” Daggin noticed a flicker ghost over her eyes, something he couldn’t quite identify and was gone as quickly as it appeared. “I read up on all the information Voyager had gathered on the Caretaker and his technology, I know what I am looking for and should be able to get it working.

“However, this is a sacrifice your people will have to make, Tanis. The station won’t be able to make the journey, so your people will have to relocate to a ship.”

Though he looked ready to argue the point, they both saw the sincerity in her face. Daggin knew her well enough to know that she had thought this through, and her experiences out in space made her better qualified to know just what was waiting for them.

“How many people can this ship hold?” Daggin asked.

“In total, around one hundred and fifty thousand.”

“That’s only around half our population,” he stated. “Are there other ships we can use?”

“Not here,” she admitted then looked upwards, “but there are eight in orbit.”

“Even filling those ships to capacity, it wouldn’t be enough,” Tanis pointed out.

“Then we will need to find more. There are many places we can procure large ships from, so long as they are structurally intact they will do.”

“How do we go about buying ships? We have nothing to trade,” Daggin asked.

“The cormaline gives us more than enough to barter with, we can either use what the Kazon mined or sell the mining rights. Either way we have more than enough to secure enough ships for our purpose.”

Daggin couldn’t believe just how thoroughly she’d thought out the idea, which led him to suspect that had been her plan ever since she had returned home. It was ambitious (or insane, he wasn’t quite sure) but with their time running out and no other solutions in mind there wasn’t much more they could do. A quick look at Tanis and he knew the other man felt the same way, even with the help of the station, finding a way to keep the city going would take time and their resources weren’t infinite.

Slowly, he nodded. “I will tell our people, so that they can decide for themselves what they want to do.”

“As will I,” Tanis added.

Kes gave them both a sad smile. “Thank you. I’ll start running checks on this ship, make sure it’s fully functional.”

Before they could say anything more, he felt the light envelop him again and was once again alone in his office. He had no idea how he was going to put this to the Ocampa in the city, it would be something the divided them, from those who wanted to escape from the dying city, to those who were adamant that they would be saved once the Caretaker returned. However it was a decision they all needed to make for themselves, it wasn’t one he could make on their behalf as he still wasn’t sure on what Kes had in mind. It was a mammoth task ahead of them, and there was something about Kes’ manner that told him they would have to move quickly.

“I’d better get started,” he mused to himself.

* * * * *
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Old September 27 2013, 04:32 PM   #44
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Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

Tunnel Entrance, Mining Camp
Ocampa V, Delta Quadrant
59th Day of Zei (August 11th, 2377)

The azure blue sky brought tears to her eyes.

She had seen images and tried to imagine it, but nothing compared to actually seeing it. Linnis could do nothing but look upward and marvel. On her skin she could feel the warmth of the sun, as a hot breeze brushed dust over her bare arms and face. She wasn’t alone either, almost all the Ocampa who stepped out from the tunnels were dazzled by the sky and the sun, pausing to soak it in.

It took a long moment for her to finally lower her head and take in the remains of her world’s surface. Barren and dusty, it was worse than she’d expected. The tunnel they had used to leave their subterranean home emerged near the mining settlement the Kazon had used, nestled in the remains of an ancient Ocampa city. Sand had started to bury the Kazon shelters, crates and tools, as though the planet wanted to rid itself of the memory of their presence.

All around the camp sat an array of shuttles, all of different sizes, shapes and ages, but it was towards these that the Ocampa were being directed. She couldn’t believe they were actually getting ready to leave. The last twelve days had been a whirlwind.

It had all started almost two weeks ago, when the citizens of the city had been gathered together on the Great Plaza and Daggin had addressed them all, telling them of just how severe the situation with the city and its energy reserves were, as well as the plan that had been formed as a way to save them.

She had stood and listened, shocked and awed by what he was telling them. She had suspected that things were worse than they’d been told, but she’d never have dreamed it was as bad as it was; but when he’d announced that they could be able to evacuate the city and the planet onboard several ships, which they could then use to travel to a new home, she didn’t know what to think. Logically she knew it gave them a fighting chance to survive, although somewhat preposterous, but other than that she had felt a strong desire to get out from under the rocks and dirt and see the sky.

Even just by looking among the faces, she could see that many of the younger generation shared her yearning to take their wild chance, whilst the elders looked mortified at the thought of it, and those in between were a mixture of both. After the meeting they had been given a couple of days to think it over, assured that whatever decision they reached for themselves would be respected. As soon as the meeting had finished, she had approached Daggin and told him that she wanted to go. He had smiled at her in a knowing was, as though the decision she’d made only seconds earlier hadn’t surprised him in the slightest.

The city was then buzzing with chatter, both verbal and telepathic, as the people tried to decide their own fates. No one wanted to face eminent death but the thought of leaving their home was terrifying for some to comprehend, in time however more and more started to come forward and agree to the evacuation. Of the 335,619 men, women and children on Ocampa V, eighty-five percent of the population had chosen to leave, willing to take their chances in the unknown. Of the 50,441 who had opted to remain behind, only a handful were under seven years old, but all of them were staunch believers that they would be saved by the Caretaker and no one could convince them otherwise.

Daggin had been a man of his word and respected their choice, though not without asking them whenever the opportunity arose if they were certain of their decision. They all stuck by their belief and their choice. So as their neighbours, friends and in some cases family, packed up their possessions and supplies, those who were staying watched them go—however, as the reality set in a few wither changed their minds or were persuaded to leave as well, though not many.

All of that had led to this point. What had been an idea, a wild dream, was suddenly very real and she was beginning to doubt her choice—despite what she knew deep down that she belonged out there.

“Hello.”

The soft, frail voice startled her, never realising her head had craned back up towards the vast blue sky. Looking behind her, she found an old woman, dressed in a simple grey tunic standing, smiling up at her.

“Hello,” she replied, studying the woman—there was something oddly familiar about her. “Can I help you?”

“I’m alright,” the old woman said, then looked up at the sky. “Wondrous isn’t it?”

Linnis looked back for a moment as well and smiled. “It really is. It’s beyond anything I could’ve imagined.”

“I remember the first time I saw it...it was the single most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. But it was only the beginning of something truly magnificent—as it will be for you, Linnis.”

She studied the woman again. “How do you know my name?”

“Linnis!” Daggin’s voice carried over the crowd.

It was after his second call for her that she looked away from the old woman and noticed him approach, a faint smile tugging at his lips. She glanced away from him and back at the old woman, only to find she’d vanished. Looking into the steady throng of people moving around her, she couldn’t see the woman. She was still looking when Daggin reached her.

“Problem?” he asked, a frown on his brow.

Slowly she shook her head. “No, it’s nothing.” Trying to shake the old woman from her mind, she smiled up at Daggin. “Why were you looking for me?”

“I just wanted to tell you there’s been a change in your travel plans. You’re now on the Ocampa ship.”

“That’s very sweet of you, Daggin.”

“What makes you think I had something to do with it,” he protested with a grin on his face.

“Call it a hunch.”

He chuckled. “Come on, the shuttle is over here. Let’s get you settled.”

She nodded, but before she followed after him, she took a moment to examine the crowd again for the old woman. There was no sign of her anywhere, but what she had said stayed with her; this was just the beginning.

* * * * *

Administration Centre, Ocama City Station
In orbit of Ocampa V, Delta Quadrant

The evacuation of the planet—or rather all those who wanted to leave—had been completed. Just one shuttle was left to take the last few from the station, all the others had ferried the Ocampa from either the planet’s surface or the station to one of the thirty ships that now sat in high orbit. In addition to the ancient Ocampa ship and the eight Kazon destroyers, there were six Vidiian medical transports, six Talaxian cargo barges, and nine Illidarian colonial liners. The flotilla was a unique amalgam of ships, but they all had one thing in common, large internal volume, which were now filled with thousands of Ocampa on each.

Through the transparent bulkheads of the Administrations Centre, Kes could see all thirty ships. Even before she sensed him coming, she knew Tanis would come and see her before he left. When the doors opened his footfalls echoed around the dual-level facility and steadily approached her.

She turned to face him before he came to a stop at the display table, his face locked in a serious expression though his eyes belied his concern.

“Kes, come with us. There is still plenty of room on the ships.”

She shook her head. “I’ve told you I can’t, Tanis. I need to operate the wave generator, monitor its output and be ready to correct any fluctuations—no one else can do it except me.”

It was not the first time he had tried to convince her to come with them. Throughout the last twelve days, as they procured additional ships, loaded up those who were eager to evacuate, taught some of the passengers how to monitor the basics of the systems, then transferred a small power generator from the station to the planet (for those who had chosen to stay), he had persisted with asking her to join them.

Part of her wanted nothing more than to go with them, so see all those onboard Voyager once again, to see their homeworlds with her own eyes and the families that were whole once again, but she couldn’t…no matter how much she may have wanted. Just like Tanis and Daggin, she had her role to play and it wasn’t with them.

Tanis paused and turned to look out at the evacuation fleet. She could sense his thoughts storming under the surface, but didn’t push. Instead she looked back out on the fleet, it was a testament to her people and what they could accomplish in a short space of time, and soon they would be safer. It was all she hoped for them, to find somewhere they could call home and truly flourish.

“It won’t work, will it,” Tanis stated, breaking the silence. It wasn’t a question as he already knew the answer. “The wave transporter, it’s not enough to take the entire fleet away from here.”

“No, it’s not,” she admitted. “It could manage four, maybe five, ships. It needs a boost of energy to encapsulate the entire fleet and get them to the Alpha Quadrant, and there is no technology on board that could generate it.”

He turned to face her once again. “Kes, I’ve seen how much your abilities take from you every time you overexert yourself. What will happen to you if you do this?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then don’t do it. We still have time; we can find another way to generate the energy we need—”

She shook her head. “Even if we could, the emitters couldn’t handle it. This is the only way.”

“But it’ll most likely kill you!”

She nodded. “Most likely.”

“Kes,” he began but she cut him off.

“Tanis,” she began, turning to face him once again, her eyes locking onto his, “I always knew that what I had in mind would carry a great cost. So long as our people are safe, my sacrifice won’t have been for nothing. I’m counting on you and Daggin to make sure the Ocampa find a good home. Both sides have much to gain from the other and by unifying, our people will become more than they are.

“Promise me that you will do that,” she asked of him.

He gave a single nod. “I give you my word.”

“Thank you.” She turned away from him again. “You’d better get to your ship.”

“Goodbye Kes.”

“Goodbye Tanis.”

Without another word, he slowly headed for the exit, paused for a moment, looking back at her and then left. It took him a good fifteen minutes to reach the shuttlebay and for the last evacuation shuttle to head for its designated ship. She watched as the little silver dart headed for the single Ocampa ship. As it disappeared inside the transport, she reached out with her mind, touching all those that she knew from her first year in the city, the last one being Daggin’s.

Her eyes moistened as she felt his growing affection for Linnis, the girl that she had once been; all the innocence, wonder, compassion and joy that had once been inside of her given form to live the life that she would never have. A smile spread across her thin lips as tears rolled down her wrinkled cheeks.

She stepped to the display table, which was already set to generate the displacement wave that would carry the thirty ships to the other side for the galaxy. Placing her hands on the table, she began to focus her mind on what she needed to do.

“Tanis to Kes. All ships are secured and report ready. You may proceed.”

“Understood. Standby.”

The Administrations Centre filled with light from within her, growing brighter and brighter until she herself had to close her eyes against its brilliance—just like the first time she had seen her planet’s sun. Around her she heard the wave generator power up, but still she continued to build up her energy. She would only get one chance to do this and she had to do it right.

When she felt herself grow weak she pushed herself further, beyond anything she had ever tried before. She could feel the molecular bonds in her body vibrate as she drew upon every last ounce of strength and energy within her frail frame, until she couldn’t draw on anything more. It was now or never. Before she released her energy into the wave, she called out to all the minds she had touched upon.

*My gift to you.*

Then she simply let go. The last thing she felt was her energy focus into the wave, expel out into space and encompass the ships filled with her people.

* * * * *
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Avatar: Captain Susanna Leijten, U.S.S. Silverfin NCC-4470, Border Service Third Cutter Squadron
Manip by: FltCpt. Bossco (STPMA)
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Old September 28 2013, 10:47 PM   #45
Bry_Sinclair
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Location: Along the border of Talarian space
Re: Refugee Crisis: Border Cutter Silverfin - "Bright New Day"

Chapter Six


Control Room, Listening Outpost T-3
Beloti Asteroid Belt, Talarian Border, Alpha Quadrant
Stardate: 55614.4 (August 13th, 2377)

Anthony Dyson failed miserable to stifle a yawn.

“Are we keeping you up, Tony?” Maggie Halloran asked from the opposite side of the control room, which was only six meters away.

“Sorry, hot date last night.”

Maggie chuckled. Following the Talarian Incursion just six months ago, Starfleet had reactivated the three covert listening outposts along the border. T-3 was secreted inside an asteroid in the Beloti System, which was just within Federation space and no more, and wasn’t much than just a vast bank of sensor and communication arrays, with a sophisticated computer to monitor and maintain the systems. The outpost had a crew of six, none of who were Tony’s type (and vice versa) so what counted as a “hot date” was him in his bunk with a copy of Vulcan Love Slave, Part IV: Logic/Lust.

Work on the outpost was pretty repetitive and mundane, especially for him as the computer tech. With such a small crew as well, protocols went out the airlock pretty quick, so all the crew called each other by name and with next to no privacy then they got to know each other a little better than many would like. So far fortunately, there hadn’t been any fallouts and lingering squabbles, as they were only halfway through their eight month posting—in order to keep the base secret they couldn’t risk rotating the crews out any sooner.

He was fortunate not to be working with Taeda, the systems manager, as she’d keep ribbing him about his night time activities—even though she was no better. Maggie was the sensor operator, and as the oldest on the outpost they all respected her, even Timol—the Intel officer assigned as supervisor. She was good natured with a maternal streak, and liked to joke around as much as the rest of them but knew when to cut the ‘kids’ some slack. They had pulled third watch together, which meant that in a little under two hours they’d be relieved and he could catch up on some much needed sleep.

Maggie’s console started chirping. As the senior non-com quickly responded to it, he quickly looked over the computer systems and ran a level five diagnostic, just to make sure that whatever had registered was actually there and not some kind of glitch. He had just finished when Maggie looked up.

“Long-range sensors have just detected a massive energy wave.”

“The Talarians?” he asked, feeling his stomach tighten.

“I don’t think so. Get the others up here, I’ll start an analysis.”

“Right,” he said with a nod then tapped the intercom. “Stations people, we’ve got something hinky on sensors.”

He then started to run all the telemetry that the sensors were recording into the secure data recorder, as he was supposed to—just in case anything happened to the outpost the recorder could be salvaged and their fate would be known.

T-3 has little habitable space, essentially only two levels that the crew actually used routinely. The bottom level housed their power generator, environmental systems and cargo bays, as well as access corridors and crawlspaces to the computer cores and sensor/communications arrays. The upper level was for the control room, crew bunks, mess hall, transport bay and infirmary. So it didn’t take long for the rest of the crew to begin filtering in.

Timol Ehvan was first; his hair a mess and red duty shirt only zipped up halfway. “What is it, Maggie?” he asked, moving over to her console, just as Taeda Zinn strutted in and took her place at the engineering station.

“An energy wave of unknown origin. Sensors show it to be some kind of polarised magnetic variation; I can’t much more from it than that.”

“See if it matches anything in the databanks,” Timol instructed.

Data analyst Apa-Vou and communications specialist Johplehn V’Durgo entered the control room and took their stations, neither saying a word and were working the moment they were seated. The control room had just the six consoles, including the situation table in the middle where Timol now stood looking at the telemetry for himself, so when they were all called into the cramped room there wasn’t much space to move.

“Timol, I’ve got something,” Maggie announced. “The wave matches one logged by the U.S.S. Voyager not long after it entered the Badlands in 2371, but this one is putting out about fifty times more energy.”

The control room fell silent. The crew looked among themselves before all eyes fell on Timol expectantly. He looked from Maggie down to the table display then back again.

“Are we in any danger?”

“Negative, it’s directed out into unclaimed space.”

There was another beat of silence before the Trill lieutenant squared his shoulders. “Maggie, start gathering all the data you can. Taeda, Tony, tweak the sensors, I want them as accurate as you can make them.” He turned towards the two-headed Malgorian seated nearest the entrance. “Apa-Vou, go through the records from Voyager and get me all you can on the energy wave, where it came from and start devising a way disperse it if we need to. Johplehn, set up a priority one subspace link with Starfleet Intelligence, I’ll brief them of the situation, then alert the Third Cutter Squadron—we could be about to face a whole new kind of threat.”

As one, Tony and the four non-coms confirmed with, “Aye sir.”

Before he could head for his cabin to discuss the matter with his superiors, Maggie stopped him. “Timol, I’m picking up what could be a number of ships within the wave—big ships. At least two dozen.”

“Stay on it. I’ll be back in five.”

All thoughts of sleep had evaporated from Tony’s mind. What had happened to Voyager was well known across the fleet, and now it looked like it was happening again, only this time in reverse.

* * * * *

Major’s Quarters, Frigate Deskott
Routine Patrol, Argaya Sector

Tohr Inahk sat in silence. They were back on routine patrol of a region that bordered unclaimed space, however since there was nothing of strategic or mineral value in the region the Republic had little interest in expanding into it—they would waste more resources than they gained. For Inahk, it proved just how low the Militia thought of him. He had failed to achieve victory and cost them greatly in ships and men, as well as exposing to Starfleet just how strong they had become. Now they had increased the number of ships and their patrols, so the Republic couldn’t use the element of surprise to gain a foothold into the valuable worlds on the other side of the border.

His mood darkened further.

He pounced from his seat and headed to the counter, where he grabbed a bottle of chaarl, deciding that if he was going to be angry and bitter, he might as well be drunk. Not bothering with a glass, he left the stopper on the counter and slowly prowled to the small viewport, swallowing heavily from the bottle every few steps. The chaarl was fiery on his tongue and down his throat, warming his stomach; he had long since become accustomed to the bitter taste.

Today was his eldest son’s birthday. It should have been a day of festivities and celebration—even with the light-years that separated them—as Bken had reached the Age of Decision and was now a man. It should have been a great day for both father and son, but following his failure mere months ago Inahk’s own father had taken Bken under his guardianship, so as to spare the boy the shame of his father’s failure.

He knew that it was for Bken’s benefit, but that didn’t stop it from hurting—for Talarians there wasn’t anything that could surpass the bond between father and son. Since he couldn’t make contact with his son, Inahk hadn’t been able to comm him, leave a message, or even have an appropriate gift delivered. Having his left eye gouged out would be less painless.

“Bridge to Inahk,” came the confident tone of the duty officer.

No one onboard knew what today was to their leader, as he hadn’t told anyone of the family he had once had, so interruptions were to be expected.

“What?” he growled into the intercom.

“Sir, long range sensors picked up a burst of unknown energy fluctuations. They have since dissipated.”

“Then why are you bothering me with this?” he demanded, having no patience for the interruption. He planned on finishing the bottle and spending several hours locked inside his quarters, stewing.

“There is an armada of thirty ships at the exact point where the energy wave ceased.”

That caught his attention. “What kind of ships?” he asked, putting the chaarl down on a low table.

“Unknown sir. They don’t match any records we have, but they are all behemoths—each could easily hold two thousand soldiers, if not more.”

“I’m on my way.”

Grabbing his jacket from the back of a chair, he exited his room and headed through the dimly lit corridors towards the nearest elevator. All thoughts of the chaarl had fallen from his mind, though he could still feel it warming his digestive system. Those unknown ships could be his way back into the Militia’s good graces, especially if there was advanced technology they could exploit—their energy wave propulsion system for one.

It didn’t take him long to reach the Bridge, by which time his jacket was on and he had swept back his shoulder-length black hair. As he entered the command deck the men on duty visible stiffened at their stations, he may have failed during their incursion into Federation space but he was still a Major in the Militia, a rank that demanded respect for all subordinates. He bypassed the duty officer and went right over to the scanner operator, a sub-officer whose name he’d never bothered to learn.

“What’s out there?”

“Thirty ships of five different configurations, we’re too far to identify energy emissions or run a metallurgical analysis. They aren’t broadcasting any subspace signals however, sir.”

“Position?” Inahk demanded.

The sub-officer checked the readouts. “The Argaya Sector, empty space—no systems or spatial phenomena anywhere near them. Vector kahp-three-nine-two sholl-six-nine-four; distance six light-years, sir.”

“Any sign of Starfleet?”

Another glance at the display. “None sir.”

“Helm,” Inahk barked, making the scanner operator jump. “Kahp-three-nine-two sholl-six-nine-four. Maximum warp. Initiate.”

“Aye sir,” was the prompt response.

At warp eight it would take them around fifty-five hours to reach the armada, Inahk had to just hope that by the time Starfleet got itself organised and dispatched a ship to investigate, that it would be too late for them to intercept before the Deskott got there. Those ships could tip the balance of power in the region, and he had to be the one to claim that glory for the Republic—he’d be promoted to Colonel, maybe even Fleet Colonel once again, would have power and authority in the Militia once again, then he could celebrate with his son.

* * * * *
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Avatar: Captain Susanna Leijten, U.S.S. Silverfin NCC-4470, Border Service Third Cutter Squadron
Manip by: FltCpt. Bossco (STPMA)
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