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Old October 8 2013, 07:45 PM   #16
Mage
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

CeJay wrote: View Post
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.
If you could, that would be fantastic!!!

DarKush, if you could PM me with the chronological order, that would be very helpful.
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Old October 11 2013, 03:34 AM   #17
DarKush
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

Big Jake,

Thanks for reading and commenting. If you continue to read, I hope you enjoy the rest of the story.

Author's Note: I switched out the Everest for the USS Empress, a ship created by fellow United Trek colleague Galen4. In the finished product of this story, all mentions of the Everest will be replaced with Empress.


************************************************** ***************
Promenade
Starbase Bastion

“I would appreciate it if you would kindly stop doing that sir,” Chief Engineer Silane said, which naturally prompted another poke, this time harder, from the leader of pack of Klingons that had accosted him and Dr. Xylia. His containment sac could withstand the poking, but the constant jabbing was disconcerting…not to mention rude.

“And what are you going to do if I don’t?” The Klingon challenged. Wiry, yet muscled arms sprouted from his rusted metallic vest. His dirty blond hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Surprisingly the man sported no facial hair. His sagittal ridge was also less impressive than his compatriots. The muscle bound heckler with the heaviest forehead ridge had thick metal rings hanging from each ridge in addition to his ears. The third man was heavyset, with his thick hair just as unkempt as his slovenly dress.

None of the men wore Defense Force uniforms, to which Silane was both pleased and slightly alarmed. He was glad that the Defense Force hadn’t stooped so low in their recruiting program, but disquieted by the fact that the Medusan couldn’t fall back on using the shared wartime experience to deflect their anger.

“He’s just going to float away Joqala,” the disheveled one brayed, drawing laughter from the other two.

“B’zeq might be right,” chortled the pierced one, “Or if you poke a hole in that suit, he might just deflate.” The man added, with a dangerously curious gleam in his eye at the thought.

“And in the process drive you and almost everyone else within eyesight insane,” Dr. Xylia said, seemingly unfazed by their sudden admirers.

“Who said you could speak Romulan!” Joqala, the blond, snarled. “My grandparents died on Narendra III!”

“My apologies for your loss,” Xylia said coolly.

“You don’t sound sorry,” B’zeq, the thickset one, lumbered forward. “She doesn’t sound sorry one bit, does she Ch’taak?”

“No,” the ringed man shook his head, causing the metal rings to jingle. “But I got something that might make her feel sorry,” he grinned, and made a show for reaching for the large serrated blade at his side.

“What are you doing with that?” Silane asked, floating closer to Xylia. “You were supposed to hand over all weapons upon entry onto this starbase.”

“And what are you going to do about it?” Laughed Ch’taak. “Report me? You’ll be dead before you touch your combadge.”

“And so would you,” a new, familiar and welcome voice entered the fray. The Klingons turned to see Lt. Loto standing behind them. Lieutenants Ryse and Rojas were bringing up the rear. Silane pulsed with relief. Xylia merely arched one eyebrow.

Loto stood calmly, his arms folded across his muscled chest. His expression was impassive, his voice level. “I would recommend that you gentlemen proceed on your way.”

“No one calls me a gentleman!” Joqala said, pushing past his compatriots to square off against the Arbazan. He glared down at Loto, his nostrils flaring, his lips pulled back in a snarl. “What do you mean by that? Do you think we are soft, like humans?” He gave Juanita a quick glare before returning his gaze to Loto.

The other Klingons moved to flank the stoic Arbazan. Ryse moved to engage them, but Loto held up one hand, and she stopped in her tracks. Lt. Rojas also stood at the ready, both hands curling and uncurling, her body language taut and anticipating violence.

Joqala placed one thick finger in the center of Loto’s chest. “I asked you a question,” he said. “Do you think we are soft?” He repeated, before pressing an indentation into the Arbazan’s chest.

“Grishnar cat got your tongue?” B’zeq asked, and Ch’taak guffawed.

“Perhaps this Arbazan is intimidated by real men,” Ch’taak offered.

“Well, he is wearing a child’s garments after all,” B’zeq declared.

“I heard their kind don’t like seloh,” Ch’taak added.

“Is that right?” Joqala asked Loto, his face contorting in disgust. “Just what manner of ‘man’ are you?”

“One that is about to kick your asses,” Ryse couldn’t help herself.

“What are you doing here Farian?” B’zeq’s fat head turned toward her and looked her up and down. “I didn’t know Federation starbases had pleasure mazes.” All three men laughed at that, and Ryse’s face turned a shade of crimson he had never seen before.

Almost too fast for Silane’s optic receptors to capture, Loto grabbed Joqala’s pointed finger, twisted it until it popped. Joqala squealed in pain before a thrust to the throat silenced him and a chop to the back of his head felled him.

Loto, not slowing down, moved on to a still smirking Ch’taak. The jeweled Klingon was slow on the uptake. Unfortunately for him, Loto was not. Two kicks, one low, the other high, and Ch’taak joined Joqala.

Next, the methodical Arbazan turned toward B’zeq. The hefty Klingon backed away, stopping when he bumped into Ryse. He threw back an elbow, to knock the woman out of his way. The Farian ducked beneath it, and drove her own elbow into his side.

The man crumbled, protecting his side, and left everything else exposed. Ryse made nearly as quick work of B’zeq as Loto had of his comrades.

Once B’zeq had joined them on the ground, all three grumbling an admixture of moans and curses, Loto nodded with satisfaction and Ryse grinned. Loto casually walked over to Ch’taak and extricated his blade. “I’ll be confiscating this. If you want it back, file a report.”

Silane glanced at Xylia. The Romulan’s eyebrow was nearly to the roof, and Lt. Rojas was looking just as stunned. The two Nimbus security officers had taken down the Klingon toughs within seconds, before the station’s security could respond, or even be made aware of a potential hostile situation. Ryse was completely nonplussed. “Now, that we got that little warm up in,” the Farian said, “I’m ready for that holoprogram.”

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

Ready Room
USS Nimbus

“Did I catch you at a bad time Captain?” Captain Banti Awokou asked his counterpart, not attempting to hide his curiosity.

The holoprojector displayed a head-to-toe image of Captain Tan Erasia, of the Starship Empress. A medical apron was draped over the woman’s uniform. “No,” she said, her voice strained, “I have a few minutes before surgery.”

“Excuse me?” Awokou hoped he hadn’t balked, “Did you say surgery?”

“Yes,” the Efrosian nodded, “I was a doctor before pursuing the command track. We lost our chief medical officer during the battle with the Kothlis’Ka Armada. While we still have some talented medical technicians and a functional EMH, I like to pitch in when I can.” The woman leaned close, lowering her voice, more so from habit than necessity, “Besides, I really don’t trust those medical holograms. Too cold and antiseptic.”

“I see,” Awokou nodded, more so to move the conversation along than because he agreed with her. “I wanted to provide you an update on our progress,” he said.

“Could you just send it through subspace?” Erasia asked. “It might take a little while to get here but it’ll arrive certainly before you do.”

“One can hope,” Awokou said. He was hoping to develop a rapport with his counterpart, similar to what he had done with the other IG-4 captains. Banti knew that establishing a relationship with Erasia might be tougher due to Nimbus replacing Empress as the lead taskforce ship. In the first IG-4 iteration, Erasia had been in charge of the taskforce.

Not only had that group been decimated, with Empress incurring casualties and massive damage, but Erasia had been eclipsed by him and the bigger, shinier Sovereign-class Nimbus. Banti hoped that there wouldn’t be any hard feelings, though he couldn’t put it past her if there were.

In any event, he was hoping to clear the air before they arrived in the Delta Quadrant and begun working together. “So, how are things going?” Banti found himself asking. Inwardly he winced. In time’s past he had been more direct.

Erasia looked befuddled. “You didn’t receive our latest report?”

“No, oh no, I’ve read that one and all the ones you’ve sent,” Awokou rushed to clarify. “I meant, how are things…with…well…” He paused, gathering himself, but unable to stop his cheeks from warming, “you and me?”

“I wasn’t aware that we were going steady,” the Efrosian quipped.

“Oh no, not that, I wasn’t asking you…” Awokou grew flustered. Finally he managed, “I’m a married man, a happily married man.”

“Cool your thrusters sir,” Erasia chuckled, “I was just joshing, as my XO is fond of saying; trying to ease some of the tension.”

“I see,” Awokou said, feeling a great burden lifting off his shoulders. He would hate to have to explain this portion of the conversation to Command or his wife. Rozi definitely put more fear into him any admirals.

“I really don’t have much time,” Erasia said, “but I want you to know that I am fine with you taking command. I’m not going to say it was an easy thing to accept…at first, but right now, I have more important things to patch up than a wounded ego. It definitely keeps things in perspective.”

Thinking of his own injuries, Banti nodded in understanding. “It certainly does.”

Erasia smiled, “Well, I guess this is the start of a beautiful relationship.”

“I certainly hope so,” Awokou matched her smile.

“Well then, I guess the only thing left to say is that I can’t wait to see you in the DQ,” the Efrosian said. “Now, permission to go deliver a baby sir?”

“Permission granted,” Awokou laughed.
************************************************** ************
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Old October 13 2013, 10:08 PM   #18
CeJay
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

Well that was a perhaps one of the shortest bar brawls ever.

And an awkward first talk between Awokou and Erasia. I like Empress' captain and the fact that she is not above delivering a new born herself. That's about as hands-on as a captain can get.
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Old November 23 2013, 02:51 AM   #19
DarKush
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

Thanks CeJay. It was the passage above that helped spark the desire to write out Captain Erasia's story more fully in "No Win Scenario". As that's coming to a close I wanted to get back into "Mercy".

************************************************** *************
Captain’s Quarters
USS Nimbus

Captain Awokou stepped into a room filled with laughter. His ready-made apology for being late died quickly on his tongue. His ability to adapt was something he hadn’t lost Banti was glad to realize. The captain’s stomach grumbled as the aroma of the food found his nose.

He headed right into the dining area. His wife was standing opposite their guest. Both were placing dishes onto the table as they finished their laugh. Rozi was dressed in a simple, elegant royal blue dress while their fair-skinned guest still wore his uniform.

“Counselor Antton, dear,” Awokou nodded at both of them. “I’m sorry to interrupt.”

“Oh don’t be silly,” Rozi waved away his apology. “Xars was just helping with programming the dessert, and he was telling me about the first desert he made while a student at the Nausicaan School of Culinary Arts.”

“There’s a Nausicaan cooking school?” Awokou asked, incredulous.

“Oh yes captain,” The Lumerian counselor stood up to his full, imposing height. His thin frame and the twinkle in his brown eyes made him seem less imposing. The marking on his forehead wrinkled slightly after his expression and voice took on a serious cast. “The Nausicaans take great pride in their cuisine and especially their desserts. I can also tell you that failure was not an option.”

“I can only imagine,” Awokou chuckled, “So what was your first dessert?”

“Bloodfruit cake,” Antton looked wistful.

“I take it that since you’re here recounting the story with my wife that it met with approval?” The captain asked.

“Actually the chef hated it,” the Lumerian shrugged.

“Well it is fruit cake after all,” Awokou laughed again and Rozi joined in. Antton looked at both of them, a perplexed look on his face.

“It’s an Old Earth thing,” Rozi explained, “There is an Earth dessert also called fruit cake, which it appeared no one liked.”

“At least according to Old Earth television,” Awokou added.

“Television?” The counselor inquired.

“Ah, let’s save that for the meal,” the captain advised. “And what are we having today?” He asked, as his eyes roved the table. The counselor stood at attention and nodded respectfully in Rozi’s direction before gesturing grandly at the repast. His wife chuckled again.

“I thought it would be fitting to introduce you to the Delta Quadrant before we get there, with a sampling of several dishes,” Rozi smiled.

“I knew you had been dying to try out some of the recipes Voyager sent back,” Banti grinned. Courtesy of Project Pathfinder, the stranded Starship Voyager had sent a lot of information about the Delta Quadrant, including data about its flora, fauna, and foodstuffs.

“To the best of my ability I was able to program the replicator to reproduce Leola rice pilaf, Gabosti stew, Talaxian bread, and for dessert, Jimbalian fudge cake with L’maki nut frosting.”

Plagued with a sweet tooth, Awokou’s eyes went directly to the purplish round cake.

“I had some trouble with programming the L’maki nut, and that’s when our gracious counselor chivalrously offered his assistance.”

Antton bowed. “It was all in the furtherance of greater galactic understanding.” All three laughed.

Once they had settled down, Banti clapped his hands. He was ready to eat, but he was also ready to talk, to relax, and with his wife and the irrepressible counselor as his dinner companions he knew that both were going to be as plentiful as the helpings.
************************************************** **************
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Old November 24 2013, 02:18 PM   #20
CeJay
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

After reading the last installments of No Win Scenario, this is quite a change of pace. Awokou deserves all the domestic happiness he can get after what he's been through but one has to wonder how long this can possibly last if he's on a mission to pick up where Empress and Euraisa have left off.
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Old November 24 2013, 08:54 PM   #21
DarKush
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

Yes, "Scenario" is getting ready to be a bit down beat so I wanted to write something happier. We'll see how long that lasts.

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

Galley
S.S. Gre’thor

Captain Kreng had just finished his bahgol, slamming the empty bowl down with satisfaction. He stroked his full beard, patting the soup stained hair, wanting the rich smell of his favorite dish to seep into the knotted strands. Fresh bahgol was one of the few joys he had left and the Klingon restaurant on this starbase always had some of the best in the sector.

Of course he had never stepped foot into the restaurant. Kreng had sent one of his men to retrieve a month’s worth of soup. He could no longer be seen around real Klingons. Though he hadn’t received a discommendation from the Empire, the loss of his command and the fall of his house as a result of it had felt enough like it.

Kreng had resolved to never return to the Empire or be in the presence of worthy Klingons again until he had recovered his honor.

He touched the eye patch bolted over his missing left eye, rage contorting his face. He had come so close to avenging himself only to lose an eye in the process.

“Ivan Cherenkov,” he seethed, muttering the human’s name that had twice brought him low. “I will have my revenge.” The human had cost him a ship and then an eye. Both times he had shown Kreng the ultimate disrespect by not killing him and allowing him to salvage his honor in the afterlife. The Klingon’s unseemly endeavors were only passing time until he met the human again and then killed him or died in the process; both were preferable to the unending dishonor of his current existence.

The captain’s storm clouds parted as three of his men barged into the kitchen. B’zeq and Ch’taak held Joqala roughly by the arms. The blond man’s legs were dangling as they pulled him along.

Kreng snorted with derision. “A Klingon who can’t hold his liquor,” he shook his head. Unfortunately he wasn’t the only disreputable Klingon in the galaxy. His crew was peopled with exiles from the Empire. “I should end your misery right now,” he reached for the disruptor holstered at his hip. He never went weaponless, especially on a ship like this.

He had handpicked many of these men and knew what they were capable of and apparently not capable of as he sneered at the inebriated Joqala.

“It’s not what you think,” B’zeq said, wheezing with the effort of carrying his compatriot. Kreng spat at the heavyset man. The spittle splashed against his dusty boots.

“Enlighten me then,” Kreng commanded, pulling out his disruptor and putting the pistol on the table.

It was at that moment that he noticed how battered all three men were and that Ch’taak was missing his Chalnoth slicer. It was the ringed Klingon’s most prized possession. One he claimed to have taken off a ferocious Chalnoth in battle. More than likely someone else had done the killing and Ch’taak had reaped the spoils.

“Speak!” Kreng shouted after they hadn’t answered him fast enough.

Ch’taak and B’zeq looked at each other, and Joqala’s head lolled to the side. Kreng patted his disruptor.

B’zeq cleared his throat before he began. He haltingly recounted the encounter with the Starfleet officers. At the end of his sorry tale the hefty Klingon lowered his head, his shoulders hunching as if he expected the disruptor bolt at any second.

Instead Kreng laughed. Ch’taak glanced at B’zeq again and the other man shrugged. Confused and a bit relieved, Ch’taak asked, “What do you find amusing sir?”

“This is perfect,” Kreng grinned. He slapped his disruptor. “Don’t you see? This is our way to reclaim our honor!”

“I don’t understand,” B’zeq admitted.

“Of course you wouldn’t,” Kreng guffawed, “A sniveling petaQ like you, you know nothing of honor. But soon you will.”

“Sir, we are on a starbase, surrounded by starships and Starfleet personnel,” Ch’taak pointed out, an inkling of Kreng’s ideas glinting in his eyes.

“That’s why we aren’t going to strike here,” Kreng said. “We’ll find out what ships they are on and then, if it’s the same ship, we’ll follow it. Absent that, we’ll follow the ship of the one who gave the most offense. We’ll then engage them in battle.”

“But sir,” B’zeq interjected, “Our ship would be no match for many of the starships docked here!”

“That’s even better,” Kreng declared, “We can enter Sto-Vo-Kor in a blaze of glory!”
************************************************** ***************

Guest Quarters
Starbase Bastion
The Next Morning…

This part always made Lt. Yori Shibata nervous. It was always easier to get into situations than to extricate yourself from them.

He propped up on one elbow and looked down at last night’s lover. The stunning blonde was wiping sleep from her olive-green eyes. Both of them were still tangled in a purple bed sheet. “Ah, listen,” he began, a bit reluctantly-he always thought putting a hitch in your voice worked best-“Last night was fun.”

She nodded and smiled. “It sure was.” The woman mimicked him by propping herself on one elbow to face him.

Shibata resisted the urge to reach out and brush an errant strand of hair from over her eyes. What’s wrong with me? He wondered. Attachment scared him, but there was something about this woman.

“I’ve-uh-got to go,” Shibata began, eager to nip whatever incipient feelings might be sprouting for this woman. It wasn’t like he was going to have time for them to grow anyway. The Delta Quadrant awaited. “I’m due back on my vessel. We’re shoving off soon.”

“Oh really?” The woman’s eyes brightened. “So am I.”

“You are?” Shibata’s heart thumped, with both dread and possibility. He hadn’t considered that the woman might be part of Taskforce Vanguard, or even in Starfleet. Admittedly neither had spent much time talking.

“Are you in Starfleet?” Shibata asked. The woman nodded.

“What ship?” he followed up.

“You first,” she said, a playful gleam in her eyes.

“The Nimbus,” he said proudly. It had taken him a long time to work his way up to a Sovereign-class vessel. Even if it did take Command almost a little too long to recognize his abilities.

“Impressive,” she observed. “You’re into communications.”

His eyes widened. Now he was the one impressed. “How did you know that?”

“You’re a good talker,” she smiled. “Seemed like a good fit.”

“Okay,” he nodded. “You got me there. Enough with the mystery. What ship do you serve on?”

“Well, umm,” she grinned, “Oh, I’ll just come out with it; I also serve on the Nimbus.”

“Get out of here,” Shibata tried to control his racing heart. He wasn’t sure why it was galloping. Was it fear or excitement? “Small galaxy huh?” He tried to sound nonchalant.

“You could say that Lt. Shibata,” she replied.

“How do you know my name?” Now confusion was thrown into Yori’s emotional cauldron.

The woman sat up halfway in bed and extended a hand. “I’m guessing we should’ve done this first. I’m Lt. Commander Alex Thayer, first officer of the Nimbus.”
************************************************** ***************
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Old November 24 2013, 10:23 PM   #22
CeJay
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Re: UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

Awkward!

But that's going to make for an interesting work dynamic. Can't wait to see it in action.

And, oh yeah, let's throw some desperate Klingons with nothing to lose into the mix as well and this is promising to be one hell of an interesting story. And we haven't even left starbase yet.
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