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Old October 4 2013, 08:07 PM   #1
DarKush
Rear Admiral
 
UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

UNITED TREK:
TASKFORCE VANGUARD/DARK TERRITORY:
THE QUALITY OF MERCY

************************************************** *********

State Room
Starbase Bastion
Mid-2378

The transparent aluminum window was frigid to the touch. Captain Banti Awokou suppressed a shiver before removing his hand. The Starship Nimbus, his latest command, floated before him. The moorings entangling the angelic ship didn’t mar its sleek beauty one parsec.

Stretching nearly seven hundred meters in length, the Sovereign-class starship dominated the docking port, as befitting its designation. Uncharacteristically Awokou smiled, thrilled at the prospect of returning to her.

“I don’t believe I have said anything in jest,” Rear Admiral Terrence Glover said by way of introduction. The younger brown-skinned man stood ramrod straight at the entrance to the room. Awokou’s smile quickly morphed into a look of concern.

He always knew that his protégé would one day rise to the admiral’s rank, but he hadn’t assumed it would be so quickly, or under such tragic circumstances. Yet so much had changed in Awokou’s universe since that fateful day in the skies above Lakesh.

The captain put the thoughts of that particular tragic in the back of his mind. “My apologies…sir,” He nearly tripped over the word. It would take him a little while to get used to the idea of Glover being his superior officer. “I meant no offense.”

“None taken.” Terrence seemed oblivious to the fumble, which saddened Awokou. He would’ve thought the Glover he knew would’ve enjoyed showing off his fifth pip to his old mentor.

But a lot of bad things just hadn’t happened to Banti since the Dominion War; Terrence had been drastically changed as well.

The man seemed more closed off, his body language wary, his arms folded across his broad chest.

His expression was mildly impatient, at odds with the recollections of Banti’s wife Rozi, who told him how Glover had spent hours at his bedside while he had been in a coma.

“You wished to speak me with captain?” Glover prodded, gently but still insistent. Awokou’s heart sank further.

“Yes sir, I…I wanted to thank you,” Awokou began, not quite sure how to proceed, and feeling as awkward as he had on his first date with Rozi.

Glover’s head tilted to the side and he gave the captain a look like he was a curious new specimen. “I don’t follow.”

“I know you helped get me the Nimbus,” Awokou said, recalling the scuttlebutt he had heard from some of his friends in the Fleet. “Not everyone thought I was ready for such a prestigious assignment.” He was one of those doubters, but only Rozi knew that.

“It was…a logical choice,” Glover shrugged, coming off even colder than many Vulcans Banti knew. “Your service record was exemplary before your accident.” Banti tensed at how sterile and antiseptic his old friend made it sound. “And with the dearth of skilled senior officers currently in the Fleet, and in light of your previous history restoring the reputation of Phoenix, it made sense to move Nimbus past the Ardana Incident.”

“I see,” Awokou nodded slowly, wondering if these were the same arguments Terrence had made to secure the post for Banti. There was a part of him that hoped that Terrence hadn’t been so dry when making those arguments though.

The captain chided himself. He had no right to criticize the man who had just helped him get a prestige command. Further, Awokou wasn’t taking into account how rough the last several years had been for Terrence, the emotional buffeting the man had received.

He had lost his father and his marriage; and before that his ship. That fifth pip must seem like cold comfort, and something that can’t replace what had been torn away from him.

“Admiral, Nimbus doesn’t push off for another day, if you would like to…tour her, that can be arranged, and then afterwards we could have dinner. Rozi would love to see you.” Banti was a laying it on a little thickly. Actually Rozi was a little peeved at Glover for not showing up while Banti was convalescing after reawakening.

But Awokou had cut the man some slack. Terrence was dealing with his own emotional turmoil and the demands of a new and possibly crushing responsibility. However, Banti also knew that his wife would smother any sharp words she had for the younger man and treat him with the respect he deserved.

The thought of his wife, her graciousness and compassion, made him smile again. “Am I wearing my uniform inside out or something?” Terrence asked, a glimpse of the man’s old mirth breaking through.

Laughing, Banti couldn’t help but give the man a quick once-over. The man looked resplendent in his long black jacket and matching trousers. Glover’s hair hadn’t been touched by gray while Banti’s had become snow-white. Terrence looked nearly the same as when he had commanded the Aegis, though he seemed even sadder now, with bags around his eyes.

The man’s visage was still stern, but he had unfolded his arms at least. Now they awkwardly rested at his side. Awokou had never seen Glover anxious, even when they served on the Cardassian front.

“We’ll have to reschedule I’m afraid,” the admiral replied. “I have business to attend to at Starbase 27.”

“Along the Romulan Neutral Zone,” Awokou pointed out. “Don’t tell me the Star Empire is acting up again? Trying to take advantage of this whole refugee situation?”

“Let’s hope that isn’t the case,” Glover said, without adding more. Normally Terrence would add something, he would drop a hint, but that was the past, and Awokou had woken up to a much different future. Glover nodded respectfully before he turned to make his exit.

The man tried one more stab at it. “Lt. Rojas will also be at the dinner.” Glover stopped, but didn’t turn around.

Banti sought to reel him in. “She was gushing about seeing you again, well, not in so many words, but I could read the excitement on her face when she heard you would be here to review Intercept Group Four.”

Terrence turned around slowly. I think I’ve got the fish on the line, Awokou thought. “I appreciate you also recommending her for flight control officer,” the captain added. “We’re going to need someone with her skills navigating us through the Delta Quadrant.”

“Please send my regards to Lt. Rojas,” Glover said, “But I will have to get reacquainted upon your return.”

“Excuse me sir,” Awokou’s forcefulness erupted from him, “I know you’re grieving Terrence, but that doesn’t give you the right or excuse to turn your back on your friends!”

“I think you need to watch your tone Captain,” Glover’s nostrils flared and his eyes lit with fire. Banti knew that he was risking losing his ship even before he had made himself at home, but there were some things that needed to be said.

“I understand that your schedule is busy, but I really wish you could comprehend how much it would mean to all of us if you stopped by,” Awokou softened his tone, but not his stance.

“There’s no time,” Glover said.

“We could be gone for years,” Awokou rejoined.

“I’m sorry,” Terrence said, his neutral expression not giving a hint to his true feelings.

“It’s almost as if you want to get rid of us, shorn us off like dead skin or something,” Awokou felt his emotions springing forth and the words escaped before he could stop them. Since his awakening from the coma, his emotions had been harder to control.

“I’m an admiral now, things are different,” Terrence offered.

“No, the biggest difference is you,” Banti shot back. “Lt. Rojas had thought you were going to put her on your staff. She did all that extra training at Starfleet Academy to build up her resume and then you pass her off to me. I’m pleased, but it’s not what she wanted.”

“Is this what she told you?” Glover’s expression became hooded.

“No,” the captain admitted, “but sitting in that captain’s chair, you learn something about sapient nature.”

“Perhaps you are mistaken,” Terrence replied.

“Maybe,” Banti confessed, “But my gut tells me otherwise. You don’t have to push us away. You don’t have to do this alone. I can tell you from personal experience that you can’t do this alone.”

“Thank you…Banti,” Glover said. The captain’s voice caught in his throat. Awokou reached out, to grab the man’s shoulder, to pat it for reassurance, but the rear admiral fell back. “It’s going to take time,” Terrence offered.

“Fair enough,” Awokou reined in his emotions.

“Please relay that message to your wife and Juanita,” Glover said.

“I will do,” the captain promised.

“Now sir, am I dismissed?” Terrence asked with the heartening sliver of a smile.

“Yes sir,” Awokou smiled in return.
************************************************** ***************

Last edited by DarKush; October 5 2013 at 12:47 AM.
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Old October 4 2013, 09:02 PM   #2
TheLoneRedshirt
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

You did a great job of writing an awkward encounter between old friends. Banti is struggling to reconnect with his old protege', but the distance between he and Glover seems greater than that of rank. Things have changed for both of them, and not necessarily for the better.

And now, another group prepares to intercept the myriad "invaders" from the Delta Quadrant. Here's hoping their mission goes smoother than the other intercept groups!

Somehow, I doubt that will be the case.
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Old October 6 2013, 06:56 AM   #3
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

Wonderful to see Banti Awokou among the living once again, but distressing to see how strained things are between he and Terrence Glover. It seems Terrence is keeping everyone at arm's length these days.

I can't wait to see the crew this notable captain has assembled for their trip into the Delta Quadrant.
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Old October 6 2013, 10:19 AM   #4
CeJay
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

Another Vanguard story. Nice! Can't wait to see how they'll fare against the approaching hordes of refugees.

Love the fact that you are resurrecting Awokou for this story and that you give us, which presumably is a Terrence Glover cameo, once again stressing how much he has changed recently. At some point I'd really like to delve more into that man and this recent metamorphosis. I doubt this is the story of that though.

Great start, looking forward to more.
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Old October 6 2013, 12:58 PM   #5
DarKush
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

Hey guys,

Thanks so much for reading and commenting. While I was trying to come up with a character to be captain, I finally decided on Banti because of his connections to Gibraltar and Dark Territory, and because I liked the guy and thought seeing him return could lead to some interesting drama. I also wanted someone I could play off Terrence against, but in a neat reversal of their normal relationship.

I want to thank Gibraltar for creating Awokou and for allowing me to use him. Also for the cool Vanguard idea. It took me long time to finally come up with a story so I hope you all like where I'm going to take this.

Hopefully I will be able to delve more into what's eating Glover. But at the moment his presence in this story is only as a cameo.

Author's Note: I amended the time that Nimbus was leaving to several days instead of one. It would give me more time to introduce the crew.


************************************************** **************

The Watering Hole
Starbase Bastion

Lt. Kenule Dryer leaned half-way over the table to hear what the other man was saying even though he was practically shouting. If the music, pounding from archaic audio speakers lined along the bulkheads, wasn’t loud enough, the raucous crowd was.

There was dancing, singing, a lot of swaying, furious games of dom-jot and billiards among others. And the maddening clanging of glass and metal steins; often against rough wooden tables and bar tops as the patrons ordered more rounds. The scantily clad Farian and Orion waitresses were only happy to accommodate them. The gruff Nausicaan tending the bar looked tougher than any of the drinkers-including the Klingon ones, or the aggressive décor.

“Say again?” Dryer asked.

“This is great isn’t it?” Lt. Yori Shibata grinned.

“Huh?” Now Kenule was yelling.

Shibata got halfway out of his chair, and leaned over the table. His lips nearly brushed against Dryer’s ear. Still, the man cupped the sides of his mouth, “This is great,” he repeated.

Kenule winced at the shouted words bouncing directly against his eardrum. “If you say so.”

“Ah come on, don’t be such a buzz kill,” Shibata good-naturedly chided. Kenule had just met the man on the shuttle ride to Bastion. Both were late replacements. Despite Dryer’s desire to be left alone, Shibata had attached himself to Kenule like an Aldebaran mud leech. “This is great, a to the letter recreation of an Old Earth establishment called a biker bar,” Shibata said, clearly impressed.

The words were lost on Kenule and not just because he could still barely hear them. Against his better judgment, which had been happening far more frequently since Shibata had warped into his life, Dryer asked, “What is a ‘biker bar’?”

Shibata’s smile faltered, “Are you serious?”

“I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t,” Kenule rejoined.

“Oh, of course,” Shibata’s smile returned. “I forgot who I was talking to here for a moment. Mr. Uptight.”

“Uptight?”

“Never mind,” Shibata waved the query away. “I bet you never even went to your ship’s recreation lounge.”

“My last posting was at the Daystrom Annex on Galor IV,” Kenule huffed; miffed that Shibata had forgotten that already. “And no I didn’t frequent the recreation establishment there. I…was too busy. I often just ate in the lab.”

“Like I said, buzz kill,” Shibata’s words were belied by his smile. “Got to live a little Ken.”

“Kenule,” Dryer pointed out, not really peeved. He hated being called Ken.

“What?” Shibata asked.

“Kenule,” he repeated. “That is my name. Not Ken.”

“Like I said, way too uptight,” Shibata replied. “Anyway a biker bar is a made for bikers,” he paused, seeing if that would register. It didn’t. Shibata continued, “Bikers were people on Old Earth who rode motorcycles.”

“I’ve heard of them,” Kenule pointed out, a bit too proudly.

“Ah…good,” Shibata said, “Anyway, these bikers would sometimes form clubs and bars like these catered to them.”

“Oh, I get that,” Dryer said, “It’s like a themed-establishment, often like starship lounges.”

“Yes,” Shibata said, “Something like that.”

“Who would want to spend their time or their money in a place like this?” Kenule wondered, looking around again. He held up his golden Tenarian Schnapps, “The drinks are too potent, the food is subpar, and I sense a fight is about to break out any moment.”

Shibata laughed, “That’s the whole point. It’s the spirit of adventure, the unknown, and I mean, that’s what Starfleet is all about, is it not?”

“I suppose,” Kenule offered, starting to regret his decision to leave the comfortable environs of his lab. But Admiral Haftel had literally pushed him out. He said it would be good for Dryer’s career, and that he couldn’t hide forever. “If you wanted some real adventure you should try that Alshain restaurant on the promenade. I would go in there, except I don’t eat meat.”

“Damn, you’re a vegan and you barely drink,” Shibata shook his head, “What do you do for fun?”

“Well, I,” Kenule began, but paused as he struggled to formulate an answer.

“You know, hold that thought,” Shibata said as his head nearly cranked 360 degrees on his neck. Kenule followed his gaze. He saw an attractive blonde, dressed in low cut green blouse with matching skintight pants, making her way to the bar. Shibata wasn’t the only one paying attention.

“Hey, Ken, I’ve already paid for the drinks, so I’ll catch you around,” Shibata said, as he got out of his seat.

“My name is,” Dryer started, but Shibata was already gone. Kenule was both happy and sad that he was alone again.
************************************************** ***************

USS Nimbus

Chief Engineer Silane floated beneath Nimbus’s ventral secondary hull. He wanted to see if the heavy-warp sled had been attached properly. The Mark III Heavy-Warp Sleds could travel at Warp 9.997 for up to five months and should significantly cut down on the voyage to the Delta Quadrant.

For most of that trip the crew would be in stasis, except for Silane. A Medusan, his non-corporeal form wasn’t subject to the ravages of time and space like many of his organic colleagues.

Beside him flew one such colleague. Lt. Selvin piloted the cargo management unit expertly beside him. The Vulcan was his closest friend on the ship. Silane wasn’t sure if it was because Vulcans, with the assistance of a special visor could actually look on his true form without going mad, or if Silane’s emotional spectrum was muted enough not to disrupt the Vulcan’s staid manner.

In any event he enjoyed the friendship and the companionship particularly at the moment. “What do you think Selvin?” Silane asked, though it was really the modulated computer voice from his containment sac.

The yellow-hued organic replied, “The couplings are secure.”

Silane approximated a nod, or at least thought he did, “I agree. I think it’s safe to report back to the captain that the sled has been successfully connected.” Once the sled’s warp coils were spent, it would be converted into a logistic supply node. It was truly a miracle of engineering and one Silane wished he had participated in conceiving and constructing.

“Denizens from Omicron Ceti III have an eatery onboard Starbase Bastion,” Selvin said. Silane tried nodding again. He knew that the Cetians were famous for their vegetarian cuisine, and Selvin, like most Vulcans, was a vegan. “If you are not busy perhaps we could dine there.”

“Unfortunately I have other plans,” Silane said, contemplating whether he should elaborate.

“Understood,” Selvin coolly replied, not quite able to hide the disappointment in his voice. The Medusan was certain he knew the origin for that disappointment. So he no longer saw any concern in spelling it out.

“Dr. Xylia has already asked me to dinner. There’s a new Alshain restaurant at the station. You are welcome to join us.” Even though Silane didn’t eat organic sustenance, he enjoyed observing the process and the camaraderie.

“Thank you,” Selvin began, his words frigid, “But I will decline.”

“You really shouldn’t be that way,” Silane said disapprovingly, “Xylia can’t help where she was born. Or choose her nationality.”

“I am well aware of that Silane,” Selvin replied frostily. “But I can choose who I dine with.”

After a long pause, Silane conceded, “Fair enough. I do want you to know that the offer still stands.”

“Thank you,” Selvin said. Through the workbee’s viewport, Silane saw the man dip his head respectfully. “I shall not keep you from your appointment,” Selvin added. The CMU angled away from the Medusan and puttered back toward the Main Shuttlebay. Silane watched him go, pulsing softly all the while.
************************************************** ***************

Last edited by DarKush; October 6 2013 at 03:10 PM.
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Old October 6 2013, 03:09 PM   #6
TheLoneRedshirt
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

I enjoyed the interplay amongst the Nimbus' crew, particularly the biker bar scene. It's obvious that you're putting together not only a diverse crew but one with some edges to it. It only stands to reason that there would be some challenges as differences in cultures / beliefs are pressed together in the confines of a starship.

I really like the idea of a Medusan engineer. I'd give the idea of a Medusan crew member some thought but never follow-through on it. Glad to see you have given Silane a prominent role. Selvin appears to have some issues he needs to work through.
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Old October 6 2013, 03:14 PM   #7
DarKush
Rear Admiral
 
Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

************************************************** ***************

Conference Room
Starbase Bastion

The conference room, graciously volunteered by the station’s commander, afforded the captains a premium view of all of Intercept Group Four’s ships. Nimbus and Wyoming already were ensconced in their warp sleds while work was proceeding apace on Palomar and Enzmann. Together the quartet of ships would join Everest. The refitted Excelsior-class cruiser was the only surviving ship from the first IG-4.

The other five vessels had been lost in combat against the Kothlis’Ka, one of the species streaming out of the Delta Quadrant. IG-4 had tried failed to prevent the Kothlis’Ka Armada from proceeding on toward Romulan space.

Everest’s captain had refused to return home, but had acceded to Starfleet Command’s demand that she not take the Everest into Romulan territory. A Starfleet vessel anywhere near that infernal horde might trigger a hostile response from the Star Empire.

Command had also allowed the captain to send a warning to the Romulans, though so far neither she nor Command had received a reply, as far as Banti had heard. He suspected that Terrence’s rush to get back to the Romulan Neutral Zone was compelled by the oncoming Kothlis’Ka.

In the borrowed conference room, Captain Awokou held court with the captains of the taskforce he would lead into the Delta Quadrant.

He hated being one ship short for the new intercept group, but with the Satie Administration’s halt on starship construction and their new focus on unmanned warp combat vehicles, the Fleet was spread thin. Not only had a significant amount of men and materiel been thrown into Taskforce Vanguard, but there were still all the ongoing conflagrations that always demanded Starfleet’s time in addition to the standard missions of exploration.

“This business with the Kothlis’Ka is just ghastly,” Captain Blazek, of the Ambassador-class Palomar, shook his elongated, purple head. His bulbous, fire orange eyes blinked spasmodically as he contemplated the enormity of his own statement. “An entire group wiped out.”

“Not entirely,” admonished Captain Stiann, of the Cheyenne-class Wyoming. The brown-skinned Akaali’s skin coloration was darker than Banti’s. With her broad nostrils, full lips, and brown skin, Stiann could easily have passed for a member of Banti’s family, a daughter even, if not for the twin ridges bracing each side of her forehead and stopping just before they touched her eyebrows. “Everest survived,” she pointed out, “And she’s still ready to fight.”

“I think it was a mistake for Command not to recall Everest,” Commander Raul Gomes, of the Miranda-class Enzmann, spoke up. Despite his youthful square face, Gomes’s hair was steel gray. Gomes’s age made Banti wonder why he hadn’t reached a higher rank. Awokou suspected that the man’s long history in Starfleet Intelligence perhaps was the reason. Once he got to know the man, Banti thought he might ask him.

Usually Awokou brought his meetings to a close quickly after the main business had concluded, yet he was allowing this one to wind down naturally. He thought it would be a good thing for the captains to get to know each other better, especially before they all went into deep sleep. Who knew what situation awaited them once they were reawakened.
With a sense of gallows humor, he thought back to his recent return to the land of the living. Banti was still grappling with all of the changes the Federation had undergone in just two short years, as well as how he had changed.

Today he was far more amenable to sitting back and allowing his subordinates to speak their minds than he had been in the past. In fact, the idea that these were his subordinates felt odd to him, more so than it would have previously. They were his equals, all charged with bringing their crews home as safely as possible, and all nagged by the same fears and doubts.

“The pressures, the strains on that crew must be immense,” Gomes said. “I understand the need to tough it out, but can Everest’s crew be truly up to the task after such a harrowing ordeal?”

No one had a ready answer. They all knew that Gomes had been at Wolf 359, and had been one of the lucky survivors. He knew firsthand what it must have been like to fight and survive against an impossible foe.

“I guess we’ll find out soon enough,” was all Blazek could muster.

“There have been some positives,” Stiann pointed out, “There have been some successful contacts, remember the Concorde?” Participating in the refugee side of the undertaking, Captain Selmek had helped repatriate the species he had encountered.

“What about Erickson?” Blazek just had to point out. “Just think what might have happened if the Venturi or the Tholians had gotten their hands on that alien technology?” The Erickson had helped avert a near catastrophe after encountering aliens who possessed a polaric ion generator.

Banti was concerned about encountering such dangers as well, but he didn’t want to encourage Blazek’s pessimism. In the past Awokou might have considered it realism, but now, he wasn’t so sure of that.

“Neither the Tholians, nor the Venturi succeeded,” Stiann said. “I think you are worrying too much. I’m surprised that you signed on for this journey at all.”

“I didn’t,” Blazek replied, quieting the room. “There was a hole that needed filling and I follow orders.”

“Speaking of following orders,” Banti said, only slightly regretting his next words. “I have another engagement to attend to. Please remain if you wish to do so.” He got up from his seat.

He had been so engrossed in the conversation that he had forgotten his dinner date with his wife. While Terrence could blow off Rozi Awokou, Banti had long ago learned that was not the best course of action.

“Plans for dinner I take it?” Gomes asked, grinning. “I wouldn’t be late if I were you sir. Take it from a divorced man.”

Awokou paused and glared at the man. “How did you know I was meeting my wife?” He thought back to Gomes’s Starfleet Intelligence career with some disquiet.

Gomes shrugged, “I know that look sir. It’s a look that many a man has got when they are afraid they have displeased or about to displease their wives.”

Stiann chuckled at that and the tension broke. Banti allowed the tension in his shoulders to ease. “Very apt Commander,” Awokou nodded. “Perhaps we can all meet for dinner, aboard Nimbus, before we set out for the Delta Quadrant?”

There were accommodating nods around the table. Awokou managed a smile. “I will have my first officer make the arrangements.” He looked at each of his fellow captains before leaving, his eyes lingering a bit too long on the still smiling Gomes. Once dinner was over with Rozi tonight, Awokou planned to burn some of his capital to check more thoroughly into Gomes’s background.

Internally, Banti had just gone to blue alert.
************************************************** ************

Last edited by DarKush; October 7 2013 at 01:08 AM.
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Old October 6 2013, 03:23 PM   #8
DarKush
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

TheLoneRedshirt wrote: View Post
I enjoyed the interplay amongst the Nimbus' crew, particularly the biker bar scene. It's obvious that you're putting together not only a diverse crew but one with some edges to it. It only stands to reason that there would be some challenges as differences in cultures / beliefs are pressed together in the confines of a starship.

I really like the idea of a Medusan engineer. I'd give the idea of a Medusan crew member some thought but never follow-through on it. Glad to see you have given Silane a prominent role. Selvin appears to have some issues he needs to work through.
TLR,

Thanks for the message. I missed it when I was posting. I'm really glad you're liking the crew. I'm liking them too. I can't say that for every crew that I've written about before, but this one is starting to come together.

Thanks a lot for complimenting the Medusan engineer. I think I had a Medusan character in a story a while ago, but to be honest I can't remember if I jettisoned that character or not. They are a cool species. Originally Silane wasn't going to be Medusan. I was going to go with a Trek Lit. race, the Nizhrak'a. But once I thought more about it, I thought a Medusan could fit what my plans for Silane just as well. And once I read about how Vulcans can see their true forms, with some help, it just cemented the friendship I wanted between Silane and Selvin anyway.
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Old October 7 2013, 01:08 AM   #9
DarKush
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

************************************************** *************

Promenade
Starbase Bastion

“I can’t believe you convinced me to do this,” Lt. Juanita Rojas chuckled, feeling very underdressed.

“Oh, come on, red looks good on you,” Lt. Veca Ryse stopped and twirled in her own golden 23rd century-style uniform. Unlike Juanita, the tall, lithe fair skinned, violet-haired Farian had the legs for the miniskirt. Completing the twirl, Veca said, “Doesn’t she look fetching Loto?”

Lt. Loto, the third member of their trio, hunched his massive shoulders, an anxious look on his face. The bald headed, tanned Arbazan nervously licked his lips and rubbed his ridged forehead, thinking of something to say or deflect Ryse’s line of inquiry.

“Oh never mind,” Veca blew through her teeth. She pinched one of the man’s massive biceps and the gesture startled him. Ryse was unfazed. “Operations red does look good on you too though.”

Juanita couldn’t help but give a sidelong glance, which she blamed on Veca’s prompting. Loto’s compact, ripped physique in his crimson tunic was very eye catching. If he had been a little bit taller he would’ve put Juanita in the mind of her beau. And she was certain that Tai Donar would not be pleased that she was eyeing another man.

She stopped immediately and forced her eyes forward. From the periphery of her vision she saw that Veca had not. The Farian loved to tease the taciturn Arbazan. They had been at it long before Juanita had joined the crew.

“I can’t believe they have one holosuite dedicated to the missions of the Enterprise-1701 and 1701-A,” Juanita marveled. She also wanted to spare poor Loto.

“Why is it such a surprise?” Veca shrugged, “I mean it’s only the most famous ship in the Fleet. Even the Enterprises-D or E haven’t racked up as many achievements.”

“It’s got to be close by now,” Juanita rejoined, thinking of her dream ship.

“Not by a mile,” Veca asserted, “Besides Picard is too stuffy. He’s not as vivacious as Kirk.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” Juanita shook her head.

“You’ll see,” Veca proclaimed. “Once we’re in the simulation and you see his holographic likeness up close.”

“Okay,” Juanita said, not coating her doubt.

“Which Enterprise captain do you think was the best?” Loto interjected. Juanita was shocked. Not by the interjection but that the man attempted to make conversation at all. He didn’t direct the question to either woman in particular. As it was Veca’s wont, she jumped right in.

“Come on Kirk.” Veca rolled her eyes as if it were a no-brainer.

“Well, I think Picard,” Juanita shot back. “What do you think Loto?”

“Well, there’s Pike, Kirk, Decker,” Loto rattled off the names of each commanding officer, “Harriman, Garrett, Picard, Riker, Picard, Jellico…”

“Seriously, Jellico doesn’t count,” Veca interceded. Juanita playfully jabbed the Farian in the ribs.

“Shush,” she admonished her friend. Now that the Arbazan was talking she didn’t want him to wall himself again.

Loto had continued talking, wrapped in his own thoughts, and oblivious to their offside jibing. “Harriman,” he concluded. That drew surprised looks from both women.

“Harriman?” Veca was incredulous.

“Harriman?” Juanita’s tone was more inquisitive but still she was just as puzzled.

“Yes,” the Arbazan doubled down, still oblivious to the shocks he had generated. “It took tremendous courage to first take command after Captain Kirk and then to retain command after the shakedown cruise tragedy,” the man reasoned. “It is not easy to weather public condemnation.”

That brought Veca up short. She nodded sagely, an old pain etching across her face. Both she and Loto had served aboard Nimbus during the now infamous Ardana Incident. So they knew full well what it was like to keep their heads up while being pariahs.

“Maybe Harriman isn’t such a bad choice after all,” Veca conceded, her normal wattage dimming considerably.

“He’s a great choice,” Juanita said with forced cheer. “Good pick Loto.”

The Arbazan looked at her curiously, “You're…welcome Lieutenant Rojas.”

“While we’re in our costumes, we’re all on a first name basis, okay?” Veca said, her clouds dissipating.

“So, what’s going to be the mission for this program?” Juanita asked.

“I don’t know,” Veca shrugged, “I think Loto should pick.”

“The mission where the Enterprise encountered the planet killer,” the Arbazan surprisingly had one already picked out. Surprising to Juanita because that inferred that he was actually looking forward to the holosuite program. She couldn’t read that in his stony disposition.

“Ooh that’s a good one,” Veca gushed. “I can’t wait to get inside the suite now.”

“Ah, guys, I think we might have to delay our session,” Juanita said, her pulse quickening.

“What’s wrong?” Veca narrowed her eyes, perceptive to the serious switch in tone. Juanita pointed across, to the other side of the Promenade. “Fark!” She muttered as she saw Silane trying to intercede in vain between Dr. Xylia and three angry Klingons. “I see what you’re saying,” she replied. “Looks like someone needs our…”

Before the Farian finished, Loto took off, his sure physical movements speaking a lethal language that Juanita hoped the Klingons heard as loudly as she did.
************************************************** **************

Last edited by DarKush; October 7 2013 at 09:42 PM.
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Old October 7 2013, 06:27 AM   #10
Gibraltar
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

You can't start a dangerous mission into the unknown without a good, old-fashioned bar brawl! It's a rule, look it up!
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Old October 7 2013, 06:55 PM   #11
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

Wow, how come I've never read anything by you before? This is great!! I see you've posted more in this forum, but do you have a place online where your writing is gathered, without posts from other members in between?
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Old October 7 2013, 08:18 PM   #12
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

The classic fanboy argument distilled into an in-universe discussion. Classic. And I love the fact that they settled on Harriman as the best Enterprise captain. Seemingly the most underwhelming choice possible.

It's obvious however that these aren't real fanboys and girls. If they were they would have known that they didn't wear miniskirt uniforms on the Enterprise-A. Honest mistake.

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Wow, how come I've never read anything by you before? This is great!! I see you've posted more in this forum, but do you have a place online where your writing is gathered, without posts from other members in between?
We were working on a United Trek story archive from which any past UT story could be easily accessed from. Unfortunately those efforts have stalled at the moment. With Darkush's permission I can make some of his stories in PDF format available via Dropbox and save the links here for you to download.
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Old October 7 2013, 09:40 PM   #13
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

CeJay,

The mistake was mine about the Enterprise-A. I had meant the Enteprise-1701. I made the correction. Thanks for catching that. However Uhura does wear a miniskirt in Star Trek VI if I'm not mistaken. You certainly have my permission to convert the stories to make them more easier for Mage to read.

Mage,

Good question. Why haven't you? Just kidding. Thanks for commenting. It's always great when anyone posts commentary, and especially when new folks share their thoughts. CeJay has graciously offered to make my stories more easy for you to read. If you have any issues once you get them about the chronology please drop me a line.

Gibraltar,

Of course a good bar fight gets the blood pumping.
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Old October 7 2013, 11:04 PM   #14
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

What I've read so far of this story looks very interesting, thanks for putting it up.

I also am interested in checking out more of United Trek and would love to know where to find it, in particular Star Trek: Lexington. Any guidance would be appreciated, I was able to find a UT site with listings of the stories but not with links to them...
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Old October 8 2013, 04:31 AM   #15
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

Many of the United Trek authors post their stories at Ad Astra, which you can find here: http://www.adastrafanfic.com/
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