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Old October 12 2011, 04:34 PM   #16
Enterprise1981
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Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"

Chapter Eight (Part One)

A wing of five Galaxy-class starships fired phasers at the Dominion heavy cruiser one at a time in a single-file formation while adding swarms of quantum torpedoes, inflicting damage on the large vessel’s hull. Unfettered, the heavy cruiser continued to fire swarms of plasma torpedoes, one of which tore through the secondary hull of one of the Starfleet ships.

The Vigilant and the Endurance moved in on the heavy cruiser from behind and below, firing phasers. The Vigilant then veered to port while the Endurance veered to starboard as they neared the aft exhaust manifolds, looking to stay in a sensory blind spot.

The bridge of the Vigilant rocked from a swarm of torpedoes. Maxwell kept a close eye on the tactical display on his right while clasping both arms of his command chair and dodging sparks from the ceiling. “Helm, come to course three-six, mark two-one-eight,” he called to Makassa at conn. “Mister Margose, keep targeting a graviton beam at the port nacelle. Signal the Endurance to keep targeting the starboard nacelle.”

“Aye, sir,” chief petty officer Willem Margose answered from the engineering station. “Still no drop in velocity.”

“Ensign Makassa, bring us around for another pass,” Maxwell ordered. “Mister Ren, target phasers on the number four torpedo tube and quantum torpedoes on the port nacelle. Call in Akira and Saber wings three and six to take some of the pressure off.”

Several dozen Akira and Saber class ships moved in on the heavy cruiser firing back and forth spreads of phasers and torpedoes. The heavy cruiser kept firing plasma torpedoes towards all the attacking Starfleet ships. The torpedoes tore straight into the secondary hulls of three of the Galaxy-classes and three of the Akiras. The Vigilant’s port nacelle was clipped by two torpedoes before her phasers neutralized the originating torpedo tube while torpedoes from the starboard side ripped apart the Endurance.

The bridge of the Vigilant rocked hard as it was taking hits from all sides. Explosions at various aft auxiliary stations and the starboard communications station sent three officers to the deck. Maxwell kneeled down next to the male communications officer to assess his condition. He was dead, as were the two Ren checked.

Lieutenant Ren returned to his station to see that ships continued falling at a fast rate. “Ten more ships destroyed, including the Endurance,” he said grimly. “Six others heavily damaged and are in retreat.”

Waves of torpedoes from the heavy cruiser were able to destroy the two Galaxy-class ships on the outer formation. The heavy cruiser rammed through what was left of the other three Galaxy-classes while four more torpedo tubes were neutralized by torpedo blasts from the Akiras and Sabers.

“Sir,” Margose called. “We may have done some damage. The heavy cruiser is slowing to Warp Five.”

Maxwell grinned triumphantly. “Call in the Lambda Paz and the rest of the cavalry, Chief,” he instructed Margose. “Time to lay down the knockout blow.”

***

The Lambda Paz, along with surrounding Luna and Miranda-class ships and fighter shuttles were occupied with squads of Jem’Hadar fighters. The Lambda Paz fired phasers at a trio of fighters targeting the starboard nacelle in a single-file formation. Those three attacking ships swiftly flew by the Lambda Paz and swung back around from behind. Another trio moved in from the port bow.

“They’re coming in for another pass,” Morrison reported from the tactical station. He turned his glance to the mission ops station, occupied by Ensign Sullivan. “Three more coming in from the port bow.”

“Attack pattern lambda,” Kozar instructed Lieutenant Carson at conn. “Target all forward torpedoes, Mister Morrison, on the port ships; dispersal pattern victor. All phasers on the ships from our stern. And fire!”

A concentrated spread of torpedoes tore into hulls of all three of the ships ahead of the Lambda Paz while phasers clipped each of the three ships from her aft. Another spread of weapons fire destroyed two of the forward ships and one of the aft ships.

“They’re moving off and regrouping,” Logan reported from ops. “Incoming message from Captain Maxwell, sir,” he added when the communications boards chimed. “Audio only.”

“Let’s hear it,” Kozar replied.

“We’ve managed to slow down the heavy cruiser’s speed Warp Five,” Maxwell said with restrained elation. “We can still use your help if you can get there in time.”

“We’re on our way once we shake off these pesky bastards,” Kozar replied. “Lieutenant Carson, set a course. Bridge to Tarlazzi, give us everything you can muster.”

“But if you manage to break my engines in the process,” Logan added, “I’m coming down there myself.”

“Do whatever you can, Lieutenant,” Kozar said with a chastising glare in Logan’s direction as he and Carson paced over to the starboard mission ops station.

A readout on the screen indicated various subspace “dead zones” created by a saturation of graviton particles, courtesy of ships on both sides hoping to slow down the enemy. Numerous squiggly lines occupied the screen indicating the best possible courses to intercept Maxwell’s wing with time to spare before the heavy cruiser reached the starbase. “Seems that the Jem’Hadar are also using this same tactic,” Sara remarked, trying to keep her attention on the monitor and away from Morrison, “and with greater success.” Indicating the projected pathways on the screen, she added, “These are the paths we’ve extrapolated where we safely travel at speeds of Warp Six or higher.”

“Ensign Sullivan, plot a course along one of those paths,” Kozar instructed. “And coordinate with engineering to route as much remaining auxiliary power to the nacelle field emitters.”

“Understood, sir,” Rebecca replied with a nod.

Both Rebecca and Sara headed for the conn, again eliciting mixed feelings of both jealousy and intrigue seeing the two women exchanging affectionate grins and playful shoulder tapping. But that was all he could think of so that he was not worrying for the welfare of his current significant other.

###
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Old October 12 2011, 04:43 PM   #17
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Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"

Chapter Eight (Part Two)

Acting captain’s log, stardate 52401.8: The Lambda Paz and the rest of the 250th tactical wing is on course to rendezvous with Captain Maxwell and the 251st. We are under orders to do whatever is necessary to prevent that heavy cruiser from reaching Starbase G-6. All ships being dispatched are considered expendable. I just hope like hell it doesn’t actually come to that.

“You all know your orders, people,” Admiral Jellico stated through an audio channel to all other ships. “I’d quote a famous speech right about now. But all I can say is, as trite as it very often sounds, that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few and that all other immediate concerns secondary. Godspeed, everyone. Fleet command out.”

Kozar took a moment of silence to take in the admiral’s words once the transmission ended. He then headed for the tactical station where Morrison was running final diagnostics on the weapons arrays. “The shield modifications are complete,” Mandel said pensively. “All the ships moving within a range of a thousand meters of the heavy cruiser will be able hold out a lot longer than any other ship has. Are you sure this will work? It’s already failed miserably once.”

“The tactic that Cadet-Captain Watters and the crew of the Valiant had conceived was sound,” Ronnie assured his friend. “The execution of it was not.”

Morrison was already very familiar with a daring plan implemented by a crew of field-promoted cadets had attempted to use a torpedo set to emit delta radiation in order to weaken a Dominion heavy cruiser’s viterium antimatter containment alloy. The plan failed and only three people survived the Valiant’s destruction. “Yes, sir,” he said stoically.

***

The USS Constantinople and Lambda Paz moved in on the Dominion heavy cruiser firing back and forth bursts of phasers and quantum torpedoes, continuing to target the enemy vessel’s warp nacelles and primary impulse drive. The Vigilant and surrounding Akira and Saber class ships then swung around and fired their phasers at the ship’s forward torpedo cannons.

The bridges of all the ships rocked left and right as torpedoes from the forward and aft torpedo cannons clipped the attacking ships. Undaunted, the ships continued firing at their targets doing more and more damage to the heavy cruiser’s engines and weapons. The heavy cruiser was similarly undaunted, quickly channeling emergency power to the weapon cannons. Another spread of plasma torpedoes knocked out the port nacelle of one of the Akiras.

“I have weapons lock on the primary driver coils,” Morrison reported.

“Fire!” Kozar commanded.

“All weapons stations,” Morrison called, hailing all weapon control compartments. “Fire at will!”

Bursts of phasers and torpedoes tore into the aft ventral of the cruiser while the Constantinople continued its attack on the nacelles. The last shot knocked out both nacelles, forcing the ship out of warp. All of the attacking ships also dropped out of warp with the wing led by the Vigilant moving into formation with the Constantinople’s. As expected, the heavy cruiser arched to port and swung around to face the swarm of enemy ships.

***

Jellico was watching the battle transpire on the tactical display of the right arm of his command chair. First officer Keith Ellison gripped the console in front of his chair as the bridge rocked. His tactical display had more detailed readouts of the conditions of each of the ships that were firing and absorbing enemy weapons fire. So far, everything was proceeding according to plan, keeping the heavy cruiser occupied before the rest of the ships from the two wings moved in.

“Mister Jeth’ron,” Jellico called to the Efrosian at tactical. “Call in the reserves.”

***

Nearly a dozen Akira, Saber, Steamrunner, and Miranda-class ships came at the Dominion heavy cruiser from all sides. Their shields easily absorbed the weapon impacts while firing phasers and torpedoes. Three of the ships were destroyed while the remaining ships continued targeting the torpedo cannons.

As all of the remaining ships continued firing, the Constantinople, the Lambda Paz, and the Vigilant swooped in on the aft ventral of the heavy cruiser with phasers firing, hoping get close enough to fire the radiogenic warheads.

“We’re within five hundred meters,” Morrison reported. “Four hundred. Three hundred… target acquired.”

“Fire the radiogenic warhead,” Kozar ordered.

“Torpedo is away,” Morrison said. “Constantinople and Vigilant have fired their torpedoes.”

As had happened when the USS Valiant had attempted this maneuver, the torpedoes plowed into the heavy cruiser, generating a massive explosion that appeared to envelope the entire ship. The bridge crews of these three ships knew not to celebrate too prematurely. The rest of the heavy cruiser then emerged from that explosion unscathed and continued firing from what was left of its torpedo cannons.



Even with only two functional torpedo cannons, the enemy ship’s arsenal still packed quite a punch. Even as the rest of the ships were firing all their weapons, waves of plasma torpedoes were continuing to destroy Starfleet vessels. The Constantinople, Lambda Paz, and Vigilant moved away from the cruiser while taking heavy damage.

“Sir, they’re moving off at full impulse,” Logan said, looking up from his console.

“Pursuit course, helm,” Kozar barked at Carson.

“We only have half impulse, sir,” Carson grimly replied. “Ditto for Vigilant and Constantinople.”

“We’ll make up as much ground as possible,” Kozar insisted. “Logan, channel as much power as you can to the impulse engines, even from life support, and don’t bother me with the details.”

“No problem, sir,” Logan and Carson both muttered. They both exchanged a glance, sharing their annoyance at their captain demanding the near impossible.

“Incoming hails from Admiral Jellico and Captain Maxwell,” Morrison chimed in.

“Pipe it through,” Kozar snapped impatiently.

“Looks like the strategy failed yet again,” Maxwell offered. “You’d think the Jemmies were prepared for it before those upstart kids went through with their fool’s errand.”

“From the sensor data we were able to gather,” Logan chimed in, “it appears that a security program kicks in isolating the remaining antimatter pods and vents the resulting explosion into space. That’s why it appears to envelop the ship from our vantage point.”

“All right, so we need to hit their entire antimatter containment system in one burst,” Jellico replied. “How do we do that?”

“I don’t see that we can,” Logan said. “Not with torpedoes.”

“Some kind of deflector pulse?” Kozar asked.

“Also not an option in the shape we’re in,” Logan quickly answered.

“A warp core explosion then?” Maxwell offered.

“We’d still have move in really close,” Morrison warned the others in the briefing. “If our calculations even slightly off, the explosion could…”

“Understood!” Kozar interrupted, anticipating his tactical officer’s words.

“Then it’s settled,” Jellico cut in. “Let’s get it done, Captains.”

Kozar took a quick glance at Morrison once the transmission ended, then Logan, and finally Carson. “You heard the admiral, everyone. Make it so.”

***

Once the three ships achieved full impulse, they swooped in the aft ventral of the heavy cruiser firing whatever was left of phasers and quantum torpedoes. The ships also had to turn themselves upside down to align their warp cores with the heavy cruiser’s.

“Five hundred meters,” Margose reported from the Vigilant’s bridge engineering station. “Four hundred. Three hundred meters.”

“Now,” Maxwell barked. “Eject the core!”

A hatch on the ventral of the Defiant-class ship opened. Its warp core then slipped through the circular opening. The warp cores of the Constantinople and the Lambda Paz also moved in the heavy cruiser. A huge fireball tore through the hull of the Dominion vessel as the three Starfleet ships moved off. Even as that explosion ripped through that entire section of the cruiser, it was still largely intact, with two torpedo cannons still inflicting heavy damage to the retreating ships, as well as six other surrounding vessels.

“We fried their warp drive,” Maxwell reported to the other captains. “But it ain’t goin’ without a fight.”

“Agreed,” Jellico replied. “They’ll stop at nothing to destroy all the remaining ships and try to carry out its objective.”

“What if we concentrate all our phaser and quantum torpedoes?” Maxwell asked Lieutenant Ren.

“Not enough against their hull armor,” Ren replied swiftly.
Maxwell paced over to his chair, gathered his thoughts, then looked over at Margose. “Mister Margose,” he said calmly. “Can you configure the nacelle field emitters to generate a high level subspace field?”

“I believe I can,” Margose skeptically replied. “But without a warp core…”

“Fine,” Maxwell snapped. “Once that’s done, I want everyone else to get off this ship.” He entered a command on the panel on the chair’s left to manually sound the evacuation alarm.

“What are you getting, sir?” Kozar anxiously demanded, almost certain Maxwell was implying he would lay down his own life.

“I would think that’s obvious, Kozar,” Maxwell countered as he took a quick glance at Margose and Makassa’s progress at the engineering station. “What’s the old saying? ‘Captain goes down with the ship.’ Both your ships can keep a permanent transporter lock on me.”

“That’s still no guarantee you’ll be beamed out in time,” Jellico insisted.

“Where that heavy cruiser is concerned,” Maxwell countered, “there are no guarantees here.”

“We can’t let you do this, Captain,” Kozar replied with a shake of his head.

“I may be on supervised duty,” Maxwell said, “but I still outrank you, son. Besides, only the Defiant-class is designed for what I’m attempting. Maxwell out.”

“Everything is ready to go,” Margose told Maxwell once the captain closed the channel. “The nacelles are ready to generate a subspace field through the auxiliary emitters.

“Controls are routed through the helm,” Makassa added. “All impulse engines will blow within thirty seconds of a programmed collision course.”

“Then you guys get on the last escape pod,” Maxwell instructed of the two other officers left on the bridge. “Hopefully, I’ll see you very soon.”

“Good luck, sir,” Margose said calmly. “It’s been an honor to serve with you. Even if it was for a short time.”

Maxwell’s only response was a nod and a wide smile. He patted both Margose and Makassa on the back as they headed for the port turbolift. He then sat down at the helm prepared to face whatever fate might await him.

###

The Vigilant closed in fast on the Dominion heavy cruiser as the other four ships left standing lay down continuous cover fire.

At the helm of the Vigilant, Maxwell activated the subspace field that could serve as an auxiliary warp drive on Defiant-class starships-- provided a warp core was still in place. The subspace field would then amplify the controlled explosion of the impulse drive.

Maxwell programmed in the collision course, beginning a thirty-second countdown to blow the impulse drive. The ship sped faster and faster towards the heavy cruiser while dodging swarms of plasma torpedoes. It soon crashed into the ship’s aft triggering a massive explosion tearing the heavy cruiser apart.

***

“Target that explosion and fire!” Jellico ordered upon seeing the explosion on the viewscreen.

The Constantinople fired phasers from the ventral of the saucer section while the other five ships fired continuous bursts of phasers and torpedoes until the rest of the heavy cruiser incinerated in a large fireball. This time, nothing reemerged from it.




“Did we get Maxwell?” Kozar asked Logan.

Logan shook his head somberly.

“What about the Constantinople?” Kozar asked Morrison.

“Afraid not?” Morrison replied.

Kozar, Morrison, Logan, and Carson simply stared at the viewscreen, watching debris slowly float by.

“Rest in peace, Captain,” Morrison whispered, lowering his head in a moment of silence.

Benjamin Maxwell, despite his recent disgrace, would still be remembered as a hero of war— especially after he had gone out in a blaze of glory.
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Old October 14 2011, 12:09 AM   #18
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Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"

Epilogue (Part 1)

Mission log, Captain Limis Vircona, stardate 52411.3: The USS Nautilus has dropped off my team and me off at Starbase G-6. The mission was a success on both fronts-- destroying station Sentok Nor and rescuing my son. Let the record show that Corporals Paolo Ortega and Rata Patal gave their lives in the performance of their duties. And despite his betrayal, Lintor Thalek also deserves special recognition for aiding in our escape.

Gul Taolor Lemec has surrendered himself as a prisoner of war. He has informed us that he had his Vorta liaison Kelnor sedated and placed aboard one of the Cardassian warships that withdrew from the Beta Veldonna system for the purpose of preventing Kelnor from triggering his termination implant, and thereby sending out preprogrammed instructions to his next clone to execute Lemec’s family. And for that, I can appreciate Lemec’s ingenuity.

The whereabouts of Doctor Crell Moset remain unknown. We can assume… one can hope that he did not get off Sentok Nor alive.

Limis stepped through a circular doorway leading out into the starbase’s Promenade from a docking bay corridor with Amaros and M’Rev walking behind her.

The week-long journey from Betazed had been quiet and uneventful. She had exchanged very few words with Manuel Amaros and Goris M’Rev during the trip back to the starbase. Her son had also been avoiding her during the past week. Sure enough, Yanith would not immediately forgive her for not coming to his rescue sooner. At least, he was alive and that was good enough for his mother in the short-term.

“I would imagine it was difficult to keep a secret like this,” Limis remarked of Manuel Amaros’s revelation of having killed his cell leader-- something she had heard when she broke into the science lab to rescue him and M’Rev.

“Cal was my friend,” Manuel affirmed. “That was the most difficult part of it. But I serve a higher cause. If he had gone forward with an attack on the Qa’tal shipyards using phase-cloaked explosives, it would have called for massive retaliation. And that would have led to war, which we couldn’t afford at the time. It was technology Cal should never have had. It was damage I was almost responsible for. And I had to undo it, by any means necessary. But for the word to spread that a cell leader’s own right-hand man killed him would be a psychological setback for the whole Maquis and a propaganda victory for the Cardassians.”

“Then you did genuinely cared about the Maquis,” M’Rev offered.

“Of course I cared about the Maquis and its goals,” Amaros countered defensively. “The treaty that left those colonists to fend for themselves was a mistake. But I serve the Federation as a whole, not just one region of it. I did what I had to do.”

Limis flashed a smirk in one corner of her lips. She was not certain whether to admire or condemn this man. She was similarly torn when she learned that her former husband was something of a double agent for both Starfleet and the Dominion. He was still a hero in the Maquis and the Bajoran Underground. That didn’t change because he was a bad husband and a bad father and that he was led down the wrong path. He still gave his life to save hers as an act of contrition. One question she always asked herself was how she would regard him if not for that act. “What about now?” Limis curiously inquired. “With the Maquis virtually gone, perhaps his family deserves to know the truth. You owe that to them.”

“It seemed the right thing to do in order to assure your cooperation, Manuel” Goris chimed in, referring to when he threatened to send a message to relatives of Cal Hudson regarding who really killed him in order to persuade Amaros to join the strike team. “His parents, his brothers, their wives and children, on the other hand, would be better off believing he died a hero, fighting for a noble cause.”

“You can’t be serious,” Limis countered with roll of her eyes. “You’d rather maintain that falsehood?”

“Some legends are more powerful than any truth,” Manuel offered.

Limis nodded in agreement, considering how that applied to her late former husband. “This mission gave me some perspective on things,” she said. “It’s made me see my life and my family history in a different light. It’s made me reconsider whether or not I believe in my people’s gods. Sometimes, it’s better to know the truth.”

“Put that way, I wouldn’t have actually gone through with the blackmail threat,” Goris teased Manuel.

Amaros’s face reddened with anger. Despite having been rescued from captivity and having gotten off Sentok Nor alive, he felt now that his former Maquis colleague put him through this entire ordeal for nothing. “You mean you wouldn’t have done it?!” he growled in a restrained rage.

“I didn’t have the means,” M’Rev explained. “But I gambled that you couldn’t risk assuming I was bluffing.”

Amaros inhaled slowly as if he was about to throttle M’Rev. But then he flashed a wide smile. “Big gamble,” he said with a chuckle. He slapped M’Rev on the shoulder, coaxing him towards the nearby crew lounge. “Klingon blood wine,” Manuel added. “On me.”

Limis smiled while staring at the two old friends as they sauntered towards the crew lounge. While sorting out her thoughts, she caught a quick glimpse of Yanith passing by. “Come here,” she said, gently gripping her son’s left wrist.

He reluctantly walked over to his mother. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and leaned her chin on the side of his neck, her eyes flowing with tears. She held him close for what felt like a very long time as tears rolled down both her cheeks, oblivious to the possibility that one of her officers would sneak up on her.

“Come on, Mom,” Yanith insisted, clasping his mother’s wrists and coaxing her arms away from him. “I’m glad you came to my rescue. You should have come looking for me once I had gone missing, though. I should have been more important than the Maquis.”

“I know should have at least tried sooner, and I’m not going to make excuses,” Limis replied as she brushed the tears from her own cheeks. “But I will try, for the rest of my life if I have to, to make it up to you. You may not forgive me now, but I know you will someday.”

“Someday, but not today,” Yanith said softly. And he walked away without another word.

Limis sighed as she watched her son walk down the Promenade. The relationship was far from repaired, she knew, but she smiled to herself, eternally happy that her son was at least alive and safe.

She was so lost in all the mixed emotions she was feeling that she did not see her first officer approach until he was standing on her right. “Welcome back, Captain,” he said.

“Thank you, Kozar,” Limis replied, without becoming visibly startled. “I understand you had quite a little adventure yourself. At least you kept my ship intact.”

“You sound like Logan worried some crafty maneuver would destroy his warp engines,” the commander retorted.

“I’ll try not to take that too personally,” Limis grumbled with a feeling her life was back to normal. “How bad is the damage?”

Kozar consulted a padd in his right hand and called up the pertinent information. “We’re looking at six to eight weeks. With luck, she should be back in action in a little less than a month, give or take a few repair shifts.”

“This time I might be okay with loafing around on the starbase,” Limis quipped as she snatched the padd from the commander’s hand. “It’ll give me time to look this over.”

“Yes, sir.”

***

Across the crew lounge, Sara Carson sauntered over to a side corridor and towards a holosuite entrance. Sullivan had requested she meet her there. She called up the display on the monitor screen to the right of the door. The readout indicated that the door was not locked and the program running was the facsimile of Janaran Falls on Betazed Rebecca had invited Sara to some time ago.

Upon entering the holosuite, she was awestruck by her surroundings-- tall trees several hundred feet high, some of which nearly blocked out the bright sun. The sunrays that did bleed through the tree leaves were still extremely bright, forcing Sara to shield her eyes. She could hear many different waterfalls in the distance. She walked along the trail up ahead, eventually stumbling upon Rebecca kneeling down at the bottom of a rock face overlooking a nearby waterfall. She was not in uniform, but was instead dressed in a tan spaghetti tank top and thigh length shorts. Her eyes were closed as if she was meditating; her shoulders and chest drenched in sweat.

“Not sure the real Janaran Falls is still this beautiful,” Sara remarked, carefully climbing down the hillside.

“Does that matter?” Rebecca asked with one eye open. “Hearing those waterfalls just makes you forget all your troubles.”

“It has quite a calming effect,” Sara agreed. “Almost like Niagara Falls or rainy summer days in the South American jungle.”

“Come sit down,” Rebecca suggested. “Sunset makes for one of the most beautiful sites in the quadrant. Aren’t you a little uncomfortable in your uniform?”

“The temperature and humidity levels are not the same as the real thing.”

“Oh, the heat and humidity are quite real. The experience wouldn’t be the same without those parameters.”

“Now that you mention it,” Sara said, tugging at her collar. She then unzipped her black and gray jacket and red tunic revealing a sleeveless gray tank. She slowly slipped them off, and threw the garments on the ground.

“Computer, switch to dusk,” Rebecca instructed the computer.

Per that order, the color of the sky changed from a light blue to varying shades of yellow, orange and red with the blazing yellow sun still peeking over the horizon line. Apparently, the rays of the sun reflected off high mountain peaks of multicolored crystal. This effect created one of the most beautiful sites in the entire Federation.

“Amazing,” Sara gasped. “Makes one forget that the Jemmies may have razed this part of Betazed. The war seems light years away right now.”

“Don’t you just feel like you can freeze this moment in time?” Rebecca said, gently stroking Sara’s hair with her left hand.
Sara clasped Rebecca’s free hand. Their eyes met, and they stared for a very long moment as if seeing through windows into each other’s souls. They could not sense each other’s thoughts with the clarity of two Betazoid lovers, but Rebecca could sense that Sara was afraid to kiss her.

Rebecca slowly removed a pin holding Sara’s hair in place. She stroked the hair with both hands, allowing it to flow more freely. Her lips met Sara’s in a quick and tender kiss.

Sara’s dark eyes were still wide with awe as she watched beads of sweat trickle down Rebecca’s forehead. She placed her hands on Rebecca’s shoulders and ran them down Rebecca’s arms. Without putting much thought into it, she kissed Rebecca’s lips. Neither wanted to let go this time.

Rebecca slid her arms underneath Sara’s shoulders and planted her hands on her upper back as Sara arched herself backward. Rebecca slowly came down with her, their lips still pursed together in a warm and passionate open-lip kiss.

This moment was one they could freeze in time. This moment was one the two women wanted to savor and hold onto as long as possible.
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Old October 14 2011, 02:58 AM   #19
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Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"

Epilogue (Part 2)

Aurellan Markalis lent a hand in the starbase’s infirmary with all the casualties the Lambda Paz had taken during the last few skirmishes with the Jem’Hadar. She handed a padd to a nurse attending to one of the still critical, but stable, patients when she saw Morrison enter. She immediately knew who he wanted to see the second he stepped into the primary intensive care unit. “May I see Lieutenant Neeley?” he asked half-sarcastically. “Or are you going to insist she shouldn’t have any visitors?”

With a grin, Markalis replied, “She is awake. But it is my medical opinion that you keep any sexual activity in your respective quarters.

Morrison and Markalis were about to go their own separate ways when Mandel stopped to consider the doctor’s words. “Was that a joke?” he asked with a teasing smirk.

“I am capable of making jokes, Mister Morrison,” Aurellan countered with the same grin. “But this one has some truth to it.”

“Whatever you say,” Mandel retorted with a nod. He then walked over to Neeley’s cubicle where she was reading mission status reports on a padd. She was dressed in a turquoise surgical gown while leaning back against the biobed’s headboard while a sheet was tucked up to her waist. She threw the padd aside and smiled as he stepped inside the cubicle and slid the privacy screen shut.

“Markalis tells me I was actually dead for about a minute,” she remarked.

“And for a dead person, you look very lively,” Mandel retorted.

“All that oxygen being pumped in my blood stream didn’t kick in until after I was flat-lining. It was a lucky break, considering the limited resources at the good doctor’s disposal. And you didn’t give up on me, I’m told. But I think it was just an excuse to touch my breasts one more time if I didn’t make it.”

“Lisa,” Mandel breathed, his voice breaking, as his eyes were brimming with tears. He clasped her right hand with both of his. “I already lost one MACO chief on my watch. If you died as well…”

“Whoa,” Lisa interrupted, removing her hand from his grasp. “Are you falling in love with me, Lieutenant Commander?”

“Of course not,” Mandel insisted while inhaling slowly to fight back the tears in his eyes.

“I’m just reminding you of our arrangement.” Indicating her body with her hands from her bust downwards, she added, “Because if you are in love with me, you can never have this again.”

“I understand perfectly,” Morrison plainly stated.

Neeley smiled and turned her attention to a more serious matter indicating by the diminishing facial expression. “I heard about Maxwell,” she said. “You have my sympathies for that loss. Just tell me you’re not going to be moping around insisting you didn’t do enough to prevent his death.”

“He died a hero even if his legacy was tainted by his more recent misdeeds. Too bad we can’t say the same about the folks on the Paracelsus.”

“Look at it this way. We have a better understanding of those pesky Houdini’s. And we know that the Dominion is more determined to try to use them to discourage us.”
Morrison smiled. He leaned over to Lisa, but then stopped himself from kissing her on the lips. “You’re a good friend, Neeley,” he said, upon composing himself from that moment of embarrassment.

“‘Friend’ being the operative there, Morrison,” Neeley countered with a wry grin.

###

Erhlich Tarlazzi entered one of the Lambda Paz crew lounges to find the whole room dark and unoccupied. Rather than the vast field of stars normally seen through the viewports, dry dock struts and passing work bees occupied the transparent aluminum alloy. He made a mental note of that while pacing over to the replicators and decided he would sit somewhere facing away from a window. It was all he could do not to remind himself of how much more repairs needed to be done during his hour off work. After ordering a cold glass of water from the replicator, he walked over to a table on the far side of the lounge while calling up the latest Captain Proton novel on a padd in his right hand.

He sat down at the chair facing away from the window while taking a sip of water. He did not realize that someone was already sitting in the other chair until he set the padd down on the table.

Shinar sh’Aqba imbibed the contents of a shot glass. Four other shot glasses filled the table along with five bottles of different alcoholic beverages that gave off very strong odors. “I am such a fool,” she said with slurred speech. “I didn’t want to go through with the shel’treth. But I may have condemned myself to a worse fate than being in a loveless marriage.”

Shel’treth?” Erhlich repeated. “The Andorian mating cycle.” He then recalled when he propositioned her before the battles at Zhamur, only for her to reject him out of hand. “I’m the fool,” he lamented, “for not knowing that you were married, engaged… whatever your race calls it.”

“Only because I never told you,” Shinar countered through a maniacal snicker. “I didn’t want to go back home to make babies with people who mean nothing to me even when I was experiencing shel’laat. But in satisfying my urges, I have broken one of Andor’s strictest taboos.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Erhlich interrupted, remembering Rebecca’s suggestion that sh’Aqba was experiencing the Andorian version of the Vulcan pon-farr. That did explain her recent short temper; but as a matter of decorum, he kept such a supposition to himself, and so was surprised and embarrassed that an inebriated Lieutenant sh’Aqba was sharing very personal information with him. “I really don’t need to know about your issues.”

“I slept with Karlek,” Shinar said, leaning against the table and letting her elbows prop up her head. “Mating with off-worlders is frowned on. That archaic taboo and arranged marriages are only delaying my species’ inevitable extinction. And Klingons take these kinds of things very seriously, too.”
Shinar buried her face in her hands before letting her head land on the table top. Erhlich worried that she would hit her head and give herself a worse headache than the one all that alcohol gave her. But he let out a sigh of relief that her forehead didn’t land that hard.

“Shinar,” Erhlich said calmly, “you’re drunk and you have some major issues you need to work out. Let me take you to your quarters so you can sleep this off.”

“That’s very kind of you, Tarlazzi,” Shinar replied lifting her head and looking at Erhlich with a sad-eyed gaze.

Erhlich left his seat and held his hand out for Shinar. She clasped his open hand and lifted herself upright. She stumbled and fell to her knees. He grabbed her free hand with his and helped her back into a standing position. He then held her right hand with his left hand and escorted her out of the crew lounge.

###

“Bajor?”

Hasin Yanith was beside himself with surprise hearing his mother ask him to take the next transport leaving Starbase G-6 for Bajor. He had been freed from Moset’s chamber of horrors just a week before and now Limis was sending him away again as if his presence was an inconvenience. “You’re sending me away again, mother?” he asked indignantly. “After all you did to rescue me from that witch doctor?”

Vircona raised her hands and held them together at a loss for words. She had this conversation with her son before. At times, her work was more important than her own child. He understood that it came with the territory of being a single parent even if knowing that did not make him any less resentful. She stood up from the sofa in her quarters and stroked his cheeks with both her hands. “Starfleet has a stricter policy against keeping family on their ships right now,” she said as tears trickled down her face. “And you’ll be safer on Bajor than on a starbase in the middle of a war zone.”

“You said that about Tevlik’s moonbase, Mom,” Yanith snapped, freeing himself from her grasp. He turned away from her, sniffling and brushing away his own tears.

“We had no way of knowing that would happen to Tevlik’s moonbase, son,” Vircona implored, choking back a sob. “And Bajor may be the front line of another Dominion attack. For right now, though, I’d rather you stay on Bajor. I have leave time coming. I want to spend it with you as soon as I can get away. Just know that I love you, my son. Never doubt that.”

Yanith looked back at her resentfully. As much as he wanted to be angry with Vircona for abandoning him and sending him away again after saving him from certain death as if he was too much of a burden, he understood the logic of what she was asking of him. He shook his head dejectedly. “Whatever,” he said as he stormed out.

Vircona just stared at the closed door, her face becoming red and swollen from crying. At least he was alive, she kept telling herself. Alive and out of danger, but with the relationship between mother and son far from mended. She walked into her bedroom and took a long look at the lit candle she had left on the ledge in front of the wall-mounted monitor as a vigil for her son. She picked it up and stared at the flame. After setting it back down, she grabbed a lighter and lit a second candle.

She raised her hands, pointing them straight at the ceiling, and did something she thought she’d never do.

Limis Vircona prayed to the Prophets.
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