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Old January 29 2014, 08:44 PM   #61
CeJay
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Re: UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound

What Zeischt is proposing, a galactic super force intervening wherever and whenever to keep others in check is both incredibly ambitious as well as dangerous. How long until this power is corrupted to turn the Amon into exactly the thing they are trying to prevent?

And could it be true? Is Sandhurst really completely gone? If so how much of him lives on in Zeischt? Not much it seems considering those lofty ambitions.
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Old February 2 2014, 11:32 PM   #62
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Re: UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound

Or rather quite a lot. After all, his policy is based on his own personal principles which are alien to the Amon.

But, as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I've always been of the opinion that the general principle of non-interference which forms the basis of the Prime Directive is a very wise one. For most of us, there is a natural urge to intervene for what we think is right but that rarely ends well, especially if there's a military solution involved.

Obviously, the Prime Directive as presented on the show also has its issues but generally, I think it's better than what Zeischt is proposing.

I notice I haven't yet commented on this story even though I was sure I already had. Riveting stuff, and well written as usual. I'm looking forward to see how this story will progress. At the moment, I really have no idea where it'll go. I certainly didn't expect Sandhurst to be gone so completely.
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Old February 10 2014, 01:24 AM   #63
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UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound (Chapter 6)

Chapter Six



USS Europa


“I can’t fix it.”

The sturdy Bolian was never one to mince words, and these were the first out of Ashok’s mouth after he’d sat down across from Lar’ragos at the ready room’s desk.

Lar’ragos nodded fractionally. “I’d feared as much, Lieutenant. I’m guessing that our Bynars haven’t had any luck in—“

“I didn’t say it couldn’t be fixed, sir,” Ashok cut him off mid-sentence, an unheard of event for the fastidiously polite engineer. “I said I can’t fix it.”

A brief silence passed as Lar’ragos paused to absorb the full weight of Ashok’s revelation. “Then who can?”

Ashok’s bald head tilted slightly, his expression incredulous. “Respectfully, sir, we both know that only one person can make the drive work as designed. Sandhurst.”

Lar’ragos eased farther back into his chair, blowing out a slow breath. “Right. Well, that’s clearly beyond my ability to arrange at the moment.”

“There is one other possibility… though I hesitate to bring it up.” Ashok looked almost pained at his own admission.

Lar’ragos caught a flash from the ether, a split-second image of a face. “Wait… what? Really? I thought he was out. Gone, I mean, on some kind of interdimensional walkabout.”

Ashok’s eyes widened. “Sir, I really hate it when you do that. It’s like having my mind read without my consent.”

An actual blush colored Pava’s cheeks as the captain appeared suitably mortified. “Yeah, sorry… it just sort of happens. So… uh, the boy-genius is back in uniform?”

“The rumor through the fleet’s engineering grapevine is that Crusher’s just finished his academy qualifications. Of course, even if we could somehow get him assigned to Vanguard, it’d be six-to-nine months before he’d make it out here.”

“And even then we’d have no guarantee he’d be able to figure it out.” Lar’ragos drummed his fingers on the table top absently while he mulled that over. “Faster and more efficient to just request his assignment to Starbase Bastion. He can troubleshoot the drive equations from a holodeck there, and we won’t waste half a year with him on ice.”

“Agreed,” Ashok said simply.

“Here’s hoping the wunderkind lives up to his reputation,” Lar’ragos muttered.

Ashok smirked. “He’s actually thirty years old now, sir.”

“You’re all kids to me, Lieutenant.”

“Fair point, Captain,” Ashok allowed. “Permission to take the transwarp modifications offline? Even limited to conventional warp, we’re still one of the fastest starships out here.”

“Permission granted.”

The yellow alert tell-tails began to flash overhead and Pell’s voice called out, "Yellow alert. Senior staff to the bridge.”

Lar’ragos led Ashok out of the compartment and onto the bridge, assuming the command chair as Pell moved to an auxiliary console. The Bajoran reported, “Sensors have detected what looks very much like a Borg transwarp conduit forming one-point-seven million kilometers from Alanthal, Captain.”

“On screen,” Lar’ragos ordered, finding himself looking at a non-descript volume of space after a moment.

“The aperture isn’t visible yet, sir,” the ensign at the Science station noted as Shanthi stepped off the turbolift behind him.

Georgia Kirk arrived and slid into the Ops chair, checking her readings as she ran a series of diagnostics on all sensor systems. Dominic Leone manned the Tactical station just behind Pava’s seat and inquired, “Defensive posture, Captain?”

“Shields up, and bring all weapons online. Warm up one of the Alpha Weapons, one of the gravitic pulse ones…” he brought his hands together theatrically. “…the crushy thingies.”

Leone smirked. “Aye, sir. Withdrawing one gravitic distortive pulse initiator from the armory. I’ll need you and Commander Wu’s access codes.”

“Here,” Wu announced as she exited the fore ‘lift and made a beeline for her seat to the right of Lar’ragos.

“XO, enter our Alpha release authorizations while I coordinate with the Klingons.” Lar’ragos gestured to Ops. “Open a channel to their flagship.”

“Channel open,” Kirk advised.

“Brigadier Gan’Louk, our sensors indicate the likely opening of a Borg transwarp corridor near us in the next few minutes. We’re uploading our telemetry to our joint TacNet. Be advised, this is probably Sandhurst’s tribe, and our goal is to make friendly contact with them. Please order your troops to hold their fire unless fired upon.”

The general’s voice, as gruff as ever, replied, “My men have standing orders to that effect, Captain. No one dares fire without my express permission.”

“Acknowledged,” Lar’ragos replied, “Europa, out.”

A full three-quarters of the Klingon armada vanished behind their cloaking fields as they redeployed in a defensive picket opposing the projected Amon route of advance.

And suddenly, there it was, a mammoth Borg cube that seemed to have extruded into the universe with scarcely a ripple.

“Sensor contact, Borg cube,” Kirk alerted, managing to keep her voice even.

“Cube measures twenty-eight cubic kilometers in volume, sir,” Shanthi called out from Sciences. “By size, it’s identified as a standard assimilation vehicle, but its power readings are several orders of magnitude greater than other observed cubes of this size.”

“How do those readings compare with our logs of the previously encountered Amon cube?” Wu inquired pointedly.

A brief pause followed, broken by Shanthi’s assessment, “Exact match, sir.”

The cube continued to approach Alanthal at sublight, the facets of the mighty vessel radiating a riot of colors bleeding through the superstructure from deep within.

“It’s certainly more colorful than a standard Borg vessel,” Pell noted from the chair to Lar’ragos’ left.

Lar’ragos spared her a disbelieving look. “Really? ‘It’s pretty’ is your contribution to our First Contact assessment?”

Pell grinned. “We haven’t got them talking yet, Captain.”

Kirk touched a hand to the tiny earpiece in her right ear. “Incoming hail from the cube, audio only.”

“Put it through,” Lar’ragos instructed, sharing a brief, hopeful look with Pell.

“Klingon and Federation vessels, our intent is non-hostile. Do not interfere in our recovery operations, and we will leave you in peace.”

Lar’ragos toggled the comms interface on his armrest. “Amon vessel, this is Commander Lar’ragos of the starship Europa. I have been authorized by the Federation to make contact with your species and to open negotiations for a potential pact against the Amon tribe that is carrying out attacks on the Alpha Quadrant.”

A long silence followed.

A sliver of light appeared along one facet of the cube, a growing opening that revealed itself to be a docking bay. “Federation ship Europa, you may dock within our vessel after we have recalled our collection arrays. We will hear your proposal.”

Pell’s countenance was troubled, despite the invitation. “That seemed too easy.”

Lar’ragos nodded slowly. “Legitimate or not, it’s what we came here to do. Get Liu to meet us at Airlock Three.” He stood, making eye contact with Leone. “Dom, you’re coming with. No weapons,” he added.

Leone’s objection died in his throat as Lar’ragos gestured to the outlandishly large cube dominating the viewscreen. “We’re not shooting our way out of this if it goes badly.”

* * *
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Old February 10 2014, 03:08 AM   #64
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Re: UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound

No weapons? I hope Pava has an ace up his sleeve.
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Old February 10 2014, 07:18 AM   #65
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Re: UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound

The wunderkind is not exactly somebody I expected to pop up here. Interesting that he's still around and back in uniform.

Not sure if docking within the cube is such a smart tactical idea. Of course if it really does come to blows with the Amon, God help them all.
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Old July 16 2014, 04:59 AM   #66
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Re: UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound

Wow... it's been five months since I've posted to this story. My life's gone from being turned upside down in February to being increasingly positive today. Again on the upswing, I'm back to writing. Expect updates soon.
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Old July 16 2014, 07:44 AM   #67
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Re: UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound

Awesomeness!
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Old July 16 2014, 07:07 PM   #68
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Re: UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
Wow... it's been five months since I've posted to this story. My life's gone from being turned upside down in February to being increasingly positive today. Again on the upswing, I'm back to writing. Expect updates soon.
I was hoping I'd see you write those words soon. That Mount Seleya air must've done you good. Can't wait to see your next installment(s).
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Old July 16 2014, 07:29 PM   #69
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Re: UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound

Glad things are looking up for you.
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Old July 17 2014, 10:41 AM   #70
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Re: UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound

Welcome back, sir!
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Old July 27 2014, 09:31 AM   #71
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Re: UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound

Amon Homeship Transcendent
In orbit of Planet Alanthal
Delta Quadrant


The swirling holographic sensor display would have confounded the visual cortex of most humanoid species, given the overlapping layers of compressed information contained within its helical pattern.

Zeischt of the Amon experienced no such confusion, and he could clearly discern the positions of nearly sixty percent of the cloaked Klingon warships in orbit of Alanthal. Transcendent’s translation to normal space had caused quite the commotion as the expeditionary force’s ships sought to assemble some kind of viable defense against the threat of Amon firepower.

From behind him, Nestrala whispered, “Your friends, they are on that ship?”

For a moment, Zeischt did not reply. When he finally acknowledged the question, it was as though he’d been pulled away from some matter of great consideration. “Aboard Europa, yes.”

“This will not be easy for you,” she offered, voice laden with sympathy. “They will insist on seeing you as the man you were. It is only natural. They will doubtless try and convince you to return with them.”

“They won’t succeed,” he replied heavily. “That person is gone, irretrievably.”

“That is cause for celebration, not sorrow. The essence has healed the wounds of your past, both physical and spiritual.”

He inclined his head, conceding her point. “Yet it has burdened me with this new sight, the curse of foreknowledge.”

She answered patiently, having long before accepted the role of teacher on the why’s and wherefores’ of life among the Amon for her alien mate. “The life-essence affects every individual differently, and being as you are of an entirely different species, your gift has proven far more accurate than that of native Amon prognosticators. It has been of invaluable benefit to our people. Would that you had possessed it before the betrayal of our sister tribe.”

“Woulda, shoulda, coulda,” he murmured, the merest hint of a smile flitting across his countenance before vanishing. He turned to find her looking at him curiously. “Just something Pava was fond of saying,” he explained.

“You miss him,” Nestrala observed.

“I do. In many ways, he was my mentor.”

She reached out to touch his shoulder gently, their energies merging, intertwining, as they shared thought and emotion in the delicate dance allowed by their mutual dependance on the essence. “Let us hope your mentor is willing to be taught,” Nestrala wished aloud.

"Even if he does agree to the course we've decided, the best-case scenario would involve stranding them so far from home that they could never return."

Nestrala stepped forward to embrace him. "You have told me the final outcome is far from certain. 'Too many variables' you claimed."

"I speak of potentialities," Zeischt corrected lightly. "In many of the streams, all the Starfleet participants are destroyed outright. In all that I've witnessed, the best my friends can hope for is banishment."

"Either is a small price to prevent what is to come, beloved."


* * *

Lar’ragos paused on the cusp of entering the turbolift, casting a look back at Wu.

“The Amon have engaged a tractor beam,” Kirk announced. “We’re being drawn into the docking aperture.”

Wu appeared hesitant to ask the question in front of the assembled bridge crew, but given time constraints, asked regardless. “Sir, why aren’t we simply beaming over? Isn’t going inside their vessel with Europa an unnecessary risk?”

“First, the Amon probably feel safer knowing the Klingons are less likely to attack with us inside,” he replied evenly. “Second, it qualifies as mutual assured destruction. We’ll be within the Amon ship itself with our full complement of Alpha Weapons.”

Wu’s eyes widened slightly as she absorbed the revelation.

Lar’ragos’ expression grew flat, as if he had suddenly banished all trace of emotion. “Commander, if we fail to return, or the Amon attempt to board the ship, I’ve pre-authorized you to detonate every Alpha device in our armory. I’d suggest you start, however, with Weapon Alpha Seven, which is located in cryogenic suspension in Sickbay. Its use may preclude the necessity of the other, more… aggressive options.”

She inclined her head fractionally in response. “I understand.”

“I know you’ll do whatever needs to be done, Wu.” With that Lar’ragos turned and stepped into the ‘lift, followed by Leone and Pell.

Wu walked over to the captain’s chair and seated herself, announcing, “Computer, log a temporary transfer of executive officer authority to Lieutenant Georgia Kirk. Authorization, Wu Epsilon-Sierra-Jyo-Suh-Yee-Uhr.”


* * *
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Old July 27 2014, 09:32 PM   #72
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Re: UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound

Yeah, I'm sure the Amon are really worried about the Klingons. Not.

Hey, great to have Vanguard and this story back. It's been a minute there. So long in fact I had to catch up again by revisiting the last chapter. It all came quickly back to me.

And now the next bombshell: As far as Zeist and his people are concerned, Europa's fate is already sealed. And it ain't a pretty one at that. Damn, what exactly are they worried about? What's coming?

It has to be said though, I miss Sandhurst. I don't know if it is foolish to hope he'll come back by I shall cling to it anyway. Hey, I'm even still holding out hope for Ramirez. I know, silly, right?
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Old July 27 2014, 09:55 PM   #73
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Re: UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound

Yaaaaaaaaaaay....now If we can just get Bluefin "tajectory" back also
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Old August 3 2014, 04:10 PM   #74
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Re: UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound

I have to admit, I'm depressed to think that the Donald Sandhurst that we knew may be gone forever. His transformation seems to be total.

Now Pava must play out this game. He holds some wild cards in the alpha weapons but if he uses them . . . game over. And considering Sandhurst/Zeischt's knowledge of Pava, it seems likely that the Amon would be ready to neutralize the devices before they could be used.

Yep. Everything is just ducky.
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Old August 18 2014, 03:07 AM   #75
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UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound (Chapter 6 cont'd)

Chapter Six
<cont'd>

Amon Homeship Transcendent
In orbit of Planet Alanthal
Delta Quadrant


The incomparable beauty of the Amon ship was beyond Lar’ragos’ wildest imaginings. He had dreaded setting foot inside one of the Borg’s monstrous cubes, perhaps one of the very same that had assimilated his homeworld centuries earlier. Whatever the vessel's pedigree, however, no visible trace of the Collective remained within.

Gardens and forests abounded, interspersed with buildings possessing a grace and symmetry that only accentuated the pleasing aesthetic. Parks and water features glistened beneath the radiant simulated sunlight, while crowds of people shopped, ate, and recreated in an unhurried manner. This was not a vessel that appeared to be at high alert, despite the presence of a Klingon battle fleet surrounding it.

The Federation emissaries had been greeted with polite deference, as honored guests rather than as potential combatants coming to parlay. Led by an unarmed escort to an exquisitely decorated outdoor meeting venue, they were seated around a large, circular table bearing the helical crest of the Amon. Surrounding the conference area were various sculptures and pieces of statuary, nestled among the vibrantly exotic flowers of a dozen different worlds. The works of art seemed to radiate a conscious presence of their own, a subtle emotive aura, at least to those species among Europa’s away team sensitive to such phenomena.

Lar’ragos took his seat, with Pell and Leone seated on either side of him. Next came Counselor Liu and the deceptively youthful looking Dr. Reskos.

The arrival of the Amon negotiators was without ceremony, they simply approached on a stone pathway winding through the garden surrounding the conference table. Sandhurst was immediately recognizable, but Pell emitted a sharp intake of breath at the sight of him. Lar’ragos had very nearly done the same.

Since Lar’ragos had begun serving with Sandhurst some three years earlier, he had seen the captain both overweight, and after the depredations of the Baron, gaunt and nearly skeletal. Sandhurst had never quite recovered physically from that ordeal, and had remained thin and somewhat brittle looking until his apparent defection to the Amon.

Donald was now some fifteen centimeters taller, his body having filled out to embrace that inexplicably larger mass. He was clearly both bigger and more robust, his limbs and torso well muscled beneath the folds of his loosely fitted tunic. His face was full and expressive, his eyes fairly shining with vitality. His hair, which he’d typically kept shaved close to his scalp, was now a wavy brown medium length, bearing not a hint of the grey that had previously dominated his coloring.

With him were two women, one a statuesque brunette, dressed in similar attire. Her hair was cut short on one side in a severe, militant-looking style that clashed with the long tresses flowing from the other side of her head.

The other woman was somewhat smaller in stature, more compact, and clearly Vulcan. Her manner of dress favored darker colors, an almost military-style jumpsuit ensemble, though devoid of insignia. Her dark hair was colored with muted streaks of green, and was tightly coiled into a single braid in back.

Following in her footsteps was Lieutenant Verrik, still clad in a spotless Starfleet uniform, his combadge fairly gleaming in the bright sunlight.

“My friends,” Sandhurst called out in a sonorous voice that was, and yet was not his. “Welcome to the Amon homeship Transcendent.” He turned to introduce the others, “This is BattleLeader Nestrala; hers is a strong voice among our people. And this is Warrior A’lasha of Vulcan, formerly a non-corporeal katric agent of Section 31 who shared consciousness with both Olivia Juneau and Mister Verrik. And of course, Lieutenant Verrik himself, more than ready to be returned to the fold.”

A’lasha directed a mischievous look at Lar’ragos. “Looking good, Listener. Sorry about having to stun you… twice. Nothing personal, you understand, just business.”

For the first time in a long while, Pava Lar’ragos was speechless.

* * *
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