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Old January 19 2012, 11:23 PM   #1
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Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Across Two Universes"

Historian’s Note: The main events of this story take place concurrently with “Especially the Lies,” which takes place shortly after “The Siege of AR-558” (DS9).

Chapter One

Limis Vircona ran down a corridor, occasionally stopping to turn around and fire her phaser at pursuing Jem’Hadar troops. Her son, Hasin Yanith stopped at an adjoining hallway and fired a Cardassian disruptor pistol in the direction of the two Jem’Hadar, managing to harmlessly clip one of them in the shoulder. Limis clasped the young man’s right arm to coax him to keep moving. The last thing she wanted to come all this way to space station Sentok Nor and rescue her son, only to see him killed in a firefight with enemy soldiers.

A Cardassian soldier came at the two of them from the adjoining corridor with his disruptor pointed at them. Limis aimed her phaser, but Yanith felt he had a clearer shot and fired point blank into the man’s chest. The two Jem’Hadar were still giving chase and the two Bajorans kept going. After numerous twists and turns through the station’s habitat ring, they eventually took refuge in vacant crew quarters. Limis entered commands to lock the door while Yanith was catching his breath. His mother had come to his rescue after several months in custody of criminal scientist Crell Moset, but from what she told him, they were far from safe from danger. That much was obvious having to evade security patrols. Officially, Limis was on a mission with six others to destroy the space station orbiting the Dominion-occupied Betazed from within. It seemed like an impossible task, but Yanith knew his mother had the courage to carry out such a mission after similar victories for the Bajoran Underground and the Maquis.

Yanith gasped at the sight of an Orb housed on a metal stand in front of the cabin’s viewport. He was always curious about the Tears of Prophets, which appeared in Bajor’s sky millennia ago. Too bad most of them were in the possession of the Cardassians during his own lifetime. And his mother did not believe in the Prophets, yet that did not curb his curiosity about these Orbs. He tapped Limis on the shoulder as she was making sure all the locking mechanisms were in place and pointing at the Orb.

“The Orb of Souls,” Limis said, at a loss for further words. According to Moset, this particular Orb could serve as a doorway to parallel universes. Moset had hoped to use a genetic turn-key Yanith had inherited from previous generations in order to trigger the Orb and open a door to a reality where Benjamin Sisko was unable to convince the entities residing in the wormhole to stop a Jem’Hadar armada from entering the Alpha Quadrant. Even Moset admitted it was wishful thinking, but a daring chance worth taking to achieve victory over the Federation and its allies. Limis agreed since rumors she had heard about the Orb of Souls indicated that the Orb could only transport an individual’s consciousness to another reality for a brief period. She wasn’t sure if those rumors were true since the Orb of Time was able to transport her back to the present when she was stranded seven-hundred years in the future. It even transported an entire starship and its crew a century into the past.

The moment of awe was interrupted when Limis heard the sound of a laser torch right outside the door. She nudged her son’s shoulder coaxing her into the adjacent room while gripping her phaser. The two pursuing Jem’Hadar effortlessly pushed down the door and raced into the cabin firing their plasma rifles without regard for whether they would hit the Orb box. Limis dove behind a sofa firing her phaser, forcing the Jem’Hadar to take cover. When she emerged from the other side of the sofa, she fired another shot, killing the Jem’Hadar on her left. She quickly dove back the way she came as the other soldier continued firing.

He then climbed over the sofa and grabbed by her collar and shoved her against the wall. She quickly propelled herself upright, lunging at the Jem’Hadar. With her phaser out of reach, Limis was not in much of a position to defend herself, but she had to try while hoping her son could now come to her rescue this time. She grabbed both of the Jem’Hadar’s wrists to stop him from digging his claws into her skin. The Jem’Hadar still had the strength to drag her across the room. From the other room, Yanith peered through the door waiting for a clear shot with his weapon.

In the midst of this struggle the stand housing the Orb gave way, sending the box the floor and propping it partially open. A beam of light came Limis’s way, briefly diverting her attention from her attacker. The Jem’Hadar used that distraction to deliver a backhanded hook to Limis’s face, which sent her the deck. He then removed his disruptor pistol and was ready to fire when Yanith fired a lethal blast at the Jem’Hadar.

“Thanks for coming to my rescue,” Limis said as she propped herself back upright.

“No problem,” her son replied. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, son. We need to keep moving though.” She then noticed the Orb had fallen on the floor while scuffling with one of the Jem’Hadar. “First, help me pick this up,” she added, noting the Orb. She closed the box while her son lifted it upright.

“Shouldn’t we take it with us?” Yanith inquired, trying to lift the Orb off the ground, but was unable to do so.

“Ideally, yes,” his mother answered while surreptitiously sticking a transporter tag on the box, “but practically, no.”

Limis headed for the doorway with her son right behind her. The furthest thing from her mind was the bright light from the Orb of Souls.
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Old January 19 2012, 11:30 PM   #2
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Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Across Two Universes"

Note: James Cawley is the name of the actor who plays Captain James T. Kirk in the online fan film series Star Trek: The New Voyages.

Chapter Two

A Starfleet armada was in fierce combat with Jem’Hadar and Cardassian warships in the vicinity of Sentok Nor. Two Galaxy-class ships were firing phasers at two Galor-class warships, laying down cover fire for a squad of Miranda and Saber-class ships led by the Miranda-class USS Nautilus, charged with extracting the strike team from the station. The Nautilus fired both phasers and quantum torpedoes at the Galors and a pair Hideki-class fighters while swerving away from squads of Jem’Hadar fighters.

In the midst of all the ship-to-ship combat, Sentok Nor was falling apart. Ships on both sides were quickly moving away from the station before it exploded in a blinding fireball.
Limis and her team materialized in a cargo bay aboard the Nautilus. She quickly took in her surroundings and then embraced her son. Two years of not knowing whether her child was dead or alive and all the worry and fear that came with it now gave way to elation and tears of joy. She quickly composed herself, not wanting to be so emotionally vulnerable around subordinates, moving her head off Yanith’s shoulder while still stroking his hair.

Also in the cargo bay were Goris M’Rev and Manuel Amaros, along with Starfleet Marines Sam Bowers and Mik Tannin. Gul Lemec had also been brought aboard, as were individuals of various races who were Doctor Crell Moset’s experimental subjects. Medics entered the bay to attend to them while two security officers had Lemec escorted to the brig. Limis took one last look at the Cardassian she was fighting just a few short minutes ago. Lemec had the same neutral expression on his face, but their long stare was an acknowledgement of Limis’s victory.

Moset himself, however, was conspicuously absent, as were Corporals Ortega and Patal. The worst-case scenario was that they were killed in action. Limis exchanged silent glances with each of her remaining officers. They all quietly the mourned loss of their colleagues, but couldn’t help but celebrate Moset’s presumed death.

Of course, for now, Limis was happy to be reunited with her son and hugged him again.

“Captain Limis?”

A young human male officer cleared his throat, catching the captain’s attention. She patted her son on his cheek, smiled, and gestured for him to go with one of the departing medics. “Chief petty officer Cawley, ma’am,” the young man continued, once Limis had his attention.

The name Cawley sounded vaguely familiar. Aside from her captain, Limis was not too familiar with any of other crew aboard the Nautilus. Yet, she could swear that Cawley had thick dark curly hair with stubble around his lips. Instead this person was a clean-shaven blond-haired man. Maybe, she was thinking of someone else, not that it really mattered at this moment.

“Welcome aboard the Nautilus,” Cawley added. “As you have already noticed, we were able to beam most of your team aboard safely-- save for two people unfortunately. All of the cargo you had tagged is back including the Orb.”

“Thank you, Chief.” Limis turned around and saw the Orb box she had stumbled across back on the Cardassian space station. Two engineers in gold technician’s jumpsuit had just placed anti-gravity clamps on it and were about to carry it to a more secure location, Limis asked them to leave and come back in a few minutes. She stared at the Orb of Souls for about a minute, considering its tremendous power, especially this one’s ability to contact spirits of the dead. She had considered opening the Orb in the hope that she could tell her dead former spouse that their son was alive and safe. But then she reminded herself of her own agnosticism and thought that these “prophets” wouldn’t waste their time with a non-believer. After all, what good could come from it if such a plan actually worked?


###

The USS Lambda Paz was housed in a dry dock in the vicinity of Starbase G-6 undergoing major repairs after the ship’s most recent confrontations with the Dominion. Work bees landed on various portions of the hull with engineers in pressure suits applying laser devices to reinforce the hull.

Inside the ship, first officer Ronnie Kozar and tactical officer Mandel Morrison briefed Captain Limis on the latest battle reports in the wake of Sentok Nor’s destruction. Limis took a small sip of iced raktajino while listening to the first officer give quick synopses of continuing battles in the Chudala and Zhamur system and the Amducro field while indicating a star map on the briefing room’s display screen. “We continue to chip away at the enemy forces in the outer star systems of the Kalandra sector,” he said, indicating a pentagonal arrangement of Starfleet deltas. “Wings from the Sixth, Eighth, and Ninth Fleets are backing us up at Zhamur, while the Fourteenth is committing ships to the defense of Starbase G-6. With its strategic significance and proximity to the Briar Patch, we can imagine the Dominion will make future attempts to destroy the base.”

Limis studied a padd containing additional details on the Kalandra Campaign, including the Seventh Fleet’s plans to move deeper into the sector while attempting to cut off the enemy supply lines from the Argolis Cluster. “What about Betazed?” she asked, looking a little perturbed that more recent battle data was not immediately available. “Have they tucked tail and run?”

“Not just yet,” Morrison answered, setting a padd on the table and inputting new data on the screen readout. “A majority of their forces stationed there have fallen back to the Chudala system.” A new star map appeared to the right of the star map Kozar had earlier described. Arrows from both sides of the screen indicated the entry of Dominion and Cardassian cruisers from Kalandra and Argolis. “The Tenth and Twelfth Fleets continue to hold off any strike forces. My guess is they are hoping to fall back while holding off any additional offensives into Kalandra in the near future.”
“It says here that the Seventh took heavy losses this morning at Chudala,” Limis added, while continuing to consult her padd. “Number One, advise Commander Selek to expect three more wings of Klingon ships from the Moreska system.”

“I’m sorry,” Kozar interrupted. “Who?”

Limis could barely contain her surprise that her first officer that her first officer was not familiar with that name. Prior to receiving a post-captaincy aboard Epimetheus, Selek was the Lambda Paz’s gamma shift watch officer. Morrison also had a similar look of confusion as if he did not know the name either. “Lieutenant Commander Selek, captain of the Epimetheus,” she persisted.

“Sir,” Morrison said, while exchanging bewildered glances with Kozar, “Commander Terlo th’Murrell commands the Epimetheus.”

An Andorian? If she had mistakenly identified a lower-ranking officer with whom she was unfamiliar, as had been the case with Chief Cawley, she could understand if her memory was playing tricks on her. But she knew Selek very well, having attended many fleet briefings with him. “Of course,” she relented after a long and awkward silence, not wanting to give her officers the impression she was crazy when the first and second officers seemed to believe what they were saying. “I must have been thinking of someone else.”

Kozar and Morrison continued to look bewildered, still not certain how their captain could so easily mistake an Andorian starship commander for a Vulcan in the same position. “We’re under a lot of stress right now, sir,” Kozar offered. “Perhaps you should take a day or two off.”

“I’ll take that into consideration, Commander,” Limis replied half-dismissively while taking another sip of coffee. “Now that you mention it, I do intend to recommend shore leave over temporary reassignment for much of the crew during the layover.”

“A lot of us would welcome that,” Morrison retorted with yawn. “Right now, I could use a few cups of coffee.”
Limis snatched her mug off the table upon seeing Morrison leering at it. “Get your own,” she insisted.

***

After concluding the fleet briefing, Limis headed for her ready room. She was absolutely certain that a Vulcan named Selek was post-captain of the USS Epimetheus, not the Andorian Morrison spoke of. Yet, he still believed this Terlo th’Murrell person, of whom Limis had certainly never heard, commanded that ship. They both could not be right, yet there had to some explanation in the middle. Considering her encounter with an Orb that could supposedly act as a doorway to alternate realities, nothing was out of the realm of possibilities. In the words of a famed Vulcan scientist and diplomat, “If you eliminate the impossible; whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

“Computer,” she said, sitting behind the desk. “Search the Starfleet central database for active personnel of Vulcan ancestry by the name of Selek.”

“There are no active personnel of Vulcan ancestry by that name,” the computer quickly replied.

“That was fast,” Limis quipped. “Any inactive Vulcan Starfleet personnel by that name?”

“No inactive personnel of Vulcan ancestry by that name.”
Limis shook her head in an expression of both frustration and certainty the computer would give that response. “Computer, search the Federation database for any Vulcan citizens named Selek, living or deceased.”

One biographical capsule appeared on the desktop monitor with a familiar face pictured on it. The individual pictured looked exactly like Ambassador Spock, his jet black hair having gone completely gray. But according to the displayed data, his name was Selek and he passed away in the Earth year 2306. “Computer, display biographical profile of Ambassador Spock and compare with last search.”

The biographical capsule of Federation Ambassador Spock appeared next to that of Selek. The ambassador’s appearance was consistent with how Limis remembered from Federation records-- jet black hair in the standard Vulcan matte, a larger than average nose, slanted eyebrows, and parched skin indicative of a Vulcan approximately one-hundred forty years of age. But something was different about this Spock, something Limis could not quite place.
“Computer, biographical data on Mister Selek.”

“Selek was the leader of a pilgrimage seeking a new homeworld following the destruction of planet 40-Eridani…”

“Stop, computer. Destruction of Vulcan? Explain.”

“Planet Vulcan, destroyed on Stardate 2258.42 by an artificially formed quantum singularity; perpetrated by Romulan war criminal Nero intent on targeting Federation worlds.”

It all made sense now. Somehow, the Orb of Souls had transported her to a parallel universe, just as Moset had told her. Another light flashed in her mind regarding why she thought Chief Cawley’s appearance was not consistent with how she remembered. “Computer, access genealogical records of chief petty officer James Cawley.”

At the exact second the computer processed the search request, the comm channel chimed. “Red alert,” Kozar called. “All hands to battle stations. Captain to the bridge.”

Limis rose quickly rose from her seat without bothering to instruct the computer to cancel her last search request and bolted for the bridge.
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Old January 20 2012, 08:29 PM   #3
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Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Across Two Universes"

Chapter Three

Ships in dry docks dispersed around Starbase G-6 were moving out of dock as a large wing of Jem’Hadar fighters, attack cruisers, and battleships were closing in on the starbase. Twelve of the fighters on the outer formation broke into squads of three and fired at the starbase in a single-file attack formation. Three Akira-class and four Saber-class vessels moored at the starbase undocked and swiftly approached the enemy fleet with phasers and quantum torpedoes firing. The starbase’s weapon ports opened and began firing swarms of quantum torpedoes at the larger battleships.

A Galaxy-class and two Excelsior-class ships backed quickly backed out of the starbase’s inner docking bays and moved forward towards the enemy ships firing all weapons.
Limis entered the bridge of the Lambda Paz, having already seen her ship moving out of dry dock from the ready room viewports. Officers were scrambling towards various auxiliary stations throughout the bridge while Kozar was barking orders to Morrison at tactical, Sara Carson at conn, and Willis Huckaby at ops.

“What going on, Number One?” Limis demanded of Kozar who was just seating himself in the first officer’s chair.

“The station is under attack,” Kozar replied as he called up the tactical display on a panel on the left of his chair. “All available ships in dry dock have been ordered to lend support while the ships moored at the starbase ferry the civilians out and clear out civilian ship traffic.”

The bridge shook when it was clipped by enemy weapons fire. Limis was fortunate to land in the captain’s chair. “Shield status, Mister Morrison?” she asked while accessing the tactical display on the right of the chair.

“Back up to seventy-three percent,” Morrison replied, clasping both sides of his console as the ship rocked from another hit.

“Transfer as much power as you can spare to engines and weapons, Mister Huckaby,” Limis instructed while glancing at her tactical display. “Morrison, target the lead ship in front of us. Carson, move us towards the battleship at zero-three-five mark one-one on my order.”

Phasers plowed through the forward section of center fighter while the ship dodged enemy fire from the other two in the squadron. As she moved closer to the targeted ship, the swarm of phaser hits eventually destroyed the Jem’Hadar. The Lambda Paz swooped through the explosion and arched upward towards one of the battleships.

The viewscreen zoomed in on the ventral of the battleship as the ship got closer. The bridge rocked back and forth as the ship continued taking hits from enemy weapon fire. “Two thousand meters and closing,” Carson reported.

“Not yet,” Limis replied, clasping her arms of her chair.

“Fifteen-hundred meters.”

“Not yet.”

“Captain,” Kozar and Morrison both interjected, not yet certain whether a maneuver effective against smaller fighters would be as safe against a battleship.

“One thousand meters,” Carson said, sounding more nervous as the ship kept getting closer. “Five hundred.”

“Fire quantum torpedoes,” Limis snapped. “Helm, move us off.”

A spread of quantum torpedoes plowed into the ventral of the battleship, inflicting heavy damage to its ventral impulse drive while the Lambda Paz veered away while taking some of the brunt of the explosion. As the Lambda Paz exchanged weapons fire with a second battleship, the Sovereign-class Constantinople swooped in and scored a direct hit against the battleships starboard warp nacelle.

A squad of three battleships closed in on the starbase firing spreads of plasma torpedoes while phasers and torpedoes inflicted minimal damage to the attacking ships’ shields. Additional ships entered the battle, spreading out in groups of three and four and targeted ships still in dry dock. Those ships were effortlessly destroyed while the attacking vessels then moved back towards the starbase with all weapons firing. The Starfleet ships defending the base were powerless to stop those ships hammering away at the primary target. Starbase G-6 erupted in a large fireball, with attacking Jem’Hadar still firing in relentless determination to finish what they started.

The bridge crew stared at the viewscreen in shock as they saw the destruction of Starbase G-6 right before their eyes. Each of the senior officers were called back to reality from the ship-to-ship comm-channel chimed. “All ships to fall back at the transmitted coordinates on the edge of the Briar Patch,” came the voice of Admiral Edward Jellico.

Limis saw a set of coordinates appear on her display screen. She acknowledged receipt of the coordinates and transmitted them to the helm. “Set a course for those coordinates, Lieutenant,” she instructed Carson. “Warp eight.”

“Aye, sir,” Carson somberly replied, turning her attention back to her console and entering the new course.
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Old January 20 2012, 08:35 PM   #4
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Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Across Two Universes"

Chapter Three (continued)

Seven Days Later

With the fall of Starbase G-6, the Seventh and Tenth Fleets were forced to fall back to one of the starbases situated in the core systems. The enemy continued to advance, intent on launching a final assault, so protecting the core systems became increasingly important with tighter ship formations. The ships previously operating out of G-6 was now consolidated with the First, Third, and Eleventh Fleets at Starbase 14.

A number of familiar faces were at the mission briefing from Captain Lenaris Holem of the USS Derna to Rear Admiral Edward Jellico of the USS Constantinople. Commander Keith Ellison, Jellico’s second-in-command aboard the Constantinople was also present. Throughout the briefing, Limis could not get used to the presence of an Andorian thaan rather than the Vulcan who commanded Epimetheus in her universe. Even though the first clue that she had stumbled into a parallel universe was that Commander Terlo th’Murrell commanded that ship in this universe, Limis could never get used to seeing an Andorian in this group of ship captains.

Vice-Admiral Arthur Bellamy chaired the mission briefing. He was a human male of advanced middle age, although his dark blond hair showed no signs of graying. As a sector commander, he was responsible for every Starfleet ship in the region of space that surrounded Starbase 14. He was in the process of presenting a bold plan that involved pushing deep into enemy territory with the Federation Alliance barely holding the line in the Chin’toka and Kalandra sectors.

“What exactly do we hope accomplish hitting Cardassia Prime?” Limis skeptically inquired. “We’d need at least four times the amount the ships in the Seventh Fleet ships to break in that deep. Not to mention the kind of resistance we’ll face when we get there.”

“Our hope is to rattle the enemy,” Bellamy explained. “We’ll let them know we’re just as capable of striking their central base as they are of hitting Earth. The Seventh Fleet is the linchpin of a major offensive to which other fleets are crucial.”

Jellico keyed a sequence on the monitor to zoom out the display of allied and enemy fleet deployments. “The Eighth, Ninth, and Thirteenth Fleets will split off into battalions to launch a series of offensives along the outer reaches of Dominion-held space,” he added, indicating border sectors on the right and left sides of the star map “The Twenty-First, Twenty-Third, and Thirty-First Fleets will clear a path for the Seventh straight to the Cardassian system with hit-and-run strikes along the core systems.”

“Timing will be of the utmost importance,” Bellamy continued. “The Seventh will taking up a position in the Rolor Nebula waiting for the Tenth, stationed at a set of undisclosed coordinates, to relay an all-clear signal.”

“The idea will be to put them on the defensive,” Lenaris offered. “At the very least, it would slow their advance.”

“Assuming the Jemmies take the bait when phases one and two get underway,” Limis added, much to the annoyance of Jellico. While her universe’s Admiral Jellico had little patience for challenging decisions once they were made, he greatly valued Limis’s input from time to time. This Jellico seemed to have little tolerance for her plain speaking, as he had rolled eyes in frustration. “In all likelihood,” she added, “the Seventh Fleet won’t even make it to the Cardassian system.”

Jellico gritted his teeth resisting the urge to shout Limis down. Bellamy shot him a disarming glance and turned his attention to Limis. “I’ll grant that the chances of success are slim,” he said. “Considering that the Dominion is constantly in a position to threaten Earth, we don’t have the luxury gradually chipping away at enemy territory.”

Limis just gave a quiet nod. She had been in this situation too many times to count. In this universe, the situation was far more desperate without a planet Vulcan in the way of Andor, Tellar, Alpha Centauri, and even Earth itself. Anything was better than waiting for the Dominion’s final strike. Ideally, she would seek a way back to her proper universe, but backing out of the war effort would arouse suspicion among her surviving Maquis colleagues. The war was more of a priority even if it was a war being fought in a parallel universe.

###

Within an hour of the fleet’s departure Limis had been taking a stroll around her ship, inspecting major facilities, consulting with various department heads, and even speaking to junior officers with whom she rarely interacted. Her stroll had taken her to one of the catwalks overlooking the deflector. After a brief greeting to one of the passing engineers, Limis stared down at the work bees welding pieces of metal into place. It was like clockwork, much like the timing of the upcoming mission.

She then wandered into an adjoining corridor and over to an officer attending to a control console and adjusting a circuit housing. Something about the readout on the screen caught her attention. Though lacking a strong familiarity of astrophysics, Limis recognized the equations on the screen as being in regard to controlling the gravitational output of a quantum singularity. It was something one was likely to find in a Romulan engine room rather than a Federation starship’s deflector controls.

“Excuse me,” she said to the officer, a young pale-skinned human male with shiny light blond hair. “What exactly are these modifications for?” she asked the technicians. She made a beeline for the door leading to the deflector’s central matrix in order to see what exactly was going on, but the technician she addressed stepped in front of her to block her path.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” he said plainly, “but those modifications are classified.”

Like hell. “I should have the right to know about everything happening on my ship,” she sternly replied. “Now step aside, Crewman.”

“I’m under strict orders not to let in anyone in but the assigned work crews.”

“Orders from whom?”

“Commodore Jellico, ma’am.”

“‘Commodore’ Jellico,” Limis derisively muttered. As far as she knew, no Starfleet officer in her universe held the rank of commodore. It seemed like a defunct title in the 24th century Starfleet. But it seemed fleet commanders of this universe still held that rank. No matter. She would find out what exactly was going on from the Commodore himself.

###

Limis entered the ready room of the Constantinople without bothering to ring the doorbell. Commodore Edward Jellico sat behind the desk reviewing tactical status updates on the desktop monitor. She knew from previous encounters with the admiral in his office-- at least in her universe-- were rarely ever pleasant. They did find some common ground between each other when the two of them wound up discussing the lengths they would go to for the welfare of their respective children. But that was the exception to the rule thus far. And this Ed Jellico had what could be described as a cold demeanor rather than a stoic one. The Jellico of her universe was at least known to make pleasant conversation here and there and get to know his subordinates on a personal level. But seeing this man’s pensive stare indicated the upcoming conversation would be far from pleasant.

“Sir, why am I being kept in the dark about modifications to the deflector?” Limis nervously, but sternly, asked as she approached the desk.

“Come in, Captain,” Jellico snidely replied as he turned off the monitor. “I’ll come to right to point here,” he continued, rising from his seat. He did not even address Limis by her given name, as he so often did, nor did he ask her to have a seat. “Bellamy wanted to keep you and your senior staff out of the loop. I’m only sharing the full details of this mission now because of your recent… dealings… with Section 31.”

That last statement caught her attention. Limis had a feeling that Jellico suspected that she was an operative of Section 31. While she outwardly claimed to despise what Section 31 represented, she did not hesitate to accept the Bureau’s help when it was offered. “I don’t follow,” she said with feigned ignorance, which Jellico could see right through.

“Ever since the destruction of Vulcan over a century ago,” Jellico began as he sat back down in his chair, “Section 31 had done its own research on creating quantum singularities using red matter.”

Limis heard no hint of pleasantness in Jellico’s voice. He was coldly logical, almost like a Vulcan, but with a cavalier demeanor that would even make a Vulcan cringe. Having read the classified portion from the file on Vulcan’s destruction, she asked, “Why do I feel as if I’m not going to like what you’re about to tell me?”

“Our target is Cardassia Prime,” Jellico continued as he reactivated his monitor and called up a tactical schematic. “Section 31 had decided that using the drill that Nero had deployed on Vulcan and Earth to be rather inefficient. And the raw materials required to build the Xindi planet-killer made that approach unfeasible. The Constantinople and the Lambda Paz will send out a pulse similar to one emitted by the Xindi prototype that will cut a large enough hole in the planet’s surface. The Lambda Paz will then drop the red matter. Now if you have any objections…”

“You’re damned right I object,” Limis snapped with gritting teeth. “Billions of innocent lives will put in danger if we actually go through with what you are planning.”

“I have a responsibility to protect innocent Federation lives, Captain,” Jellico shot back while standing back up. “And I would think you would be all for this given your planet’s history. The Dominion has already targeted Alpha Centauri and Earth three times in the last year and a half. And they are expected to try again soon, and there may be no stopping them.”

Three times, Limis thought to herself. In her universe, the Dominion had attempted to attack Vulcan three times in that span. It made sense that Earth would be more vulnerable without the planet Vulcan as an obstacle. Her mind then went back to Jellico’s tug at her heart with an invocation of the Bajoran Occupation as she slammed both her hands on the desk. “The Cardassians had invaded my home planet,” she snarled. “And we killed civilians, yes. Starfleet sympathized with our plight. And not every Starfleet officer’s attitude towards the Maquis was entirely black-and-white. But would you sympathize with the Bajorans or the Maquis if we had targeted innocent lives on Cardassia?”

“Most likely not,” Jellico conceded. “You’d have been no better than the masterminds of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. But these are more desperate times. We are in a full out war and these are hard choices that have to be made.”

Limis huffed and then headed for the side entrance. During her seven days in this alternate universe, she had chosen not to volunteer too much information in case events transpired differently here, such as the aborted biological attack on Ventani Two, home of the founder of the modern Cardassian Union, by a group of human augments. It was a line that the Section 31 of her universe was unwilling to cross. But knowing of an attack plan, courtesy of this universe’s Section 31, she could not, in good conscience, allow such a cataclysmic plan to go forward. “The Edward Jellico in my universe has a ‘get-it-done’ mentality as you do,” she said, turning back to face the admiral. “But he is appalled by the very notion that the Federation has its own Obsidian Order. Maybe the Limis Vircona who belongs in this universe would be okay with this. But I want no part of this.”

Jellico gave no visible hints of surprise that Limis claimed to be from a parallel universe. She had not volunteered such information until now. Instead, he plainly stated, “I’m not concerned with how things are in another universe. I’m only concerned with this universe. And in this universe, the Federation is on the verge of defeat. So we are justified in doing whatever is necessary to survive.”

“Even if that means trampling on its principles?” Limis said with a disgusted sigh. “No. I will not participate in a mass slaughter of this scope. I am resigning.” Starfleet officers often punctuated their intended resignation by setting his or her combadge down on a tabletop. But in this case, Limis was so filled with cold rage, she removed her insignia and hurled it in Jellico’s direction.

Jellico ducked out of the way and stared quietly as Limis stormed out of the room.

“If you have any objections… said a distant echo of Jellico’s voice.

***

Limis suddenly found herself back in the Jellico’s ready room. She had imagined telling off the admiral in that manner. It was something she had longed to do ever since she first time she described of him as a “pompous windbag”. That would have to wait, though. In no way did she wish to participate in such a mass slaughter. On the other hand, knowing what she knew, playing the role of conscientious objector and stepping down was not an option either. As had happened more than a decade earlier when she caught Section 31 attempting to unleash a biological weapon against the Cardassians, she felt she had to do something to prevent this atrocity. And that could not happen if she revealed her true origins.

“I’ll note them in my log,” Jellico continued. “And I can even offer to relieve you of command.” He then saw that Limis was lost in a thought and leaned over his desk. “Captain?” he asked more firmly. “Do you have any objections?”

“Of course not,” Limis answered coyly. “We need to do whatever we can to win this war.”

“Good,” Jellico said with a nod. “Because we’re going through with this one way or another. And Cardassia Prime will only be the first target. For centuries, Earth historians have debated whether the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki using the atomic bomb were the morally right. But it was done and it ended one of the most devastating conflicts with far less fatalities. And we intend to the same.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Limis replied with her best poker face even though she was not nearly as well versed about that period in Earth history or the long-term implications of how that war was ended.

“Then I’ll let you get back to your ship.”

Without another word, Limis nodded and headed for the ready room’s side entrance. Now the hardest part of this mission was ahead of her. Ideally, the affairs of this universe were of no concern to Limis. Then again, not winding up in one of these parallel universes either by accident or on purpose was an ideal scenario as well. The question now was could she live with herself knowing what was about to take place. While higher-ranking Starfleet veterans would disagree

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Old January 20 2012, 08:42 PM   #5
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Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Across Two Universes"

Chapter Four

The senior staff was gathered in the observation lounge for the morning briefing. Limis had noticed a few differences in personnel aboard the Lambda Paz of this universe. For one, Rebecca Sullivan was the operations officer on the alpha shift. Shinar sh’Aqba was a lieutenant commander and had been the chief engineer since the ship’s maiden voyage. Aside from those minor differences, the other familiar officers were part of the briefing-- Kozar, Morrison, Carson, assistant chief engineer Erhlich Tarlazzi, and chief medical officer Aurellan Markalis.

Limis did her best not to give away that she belonged in another universe by giving simple responses to the reports from each officer without offering suggestions. After an awkward silence once the others had said their piece, Limis said hesitantly, “So if there’s nothing further, I have have some additional matters to discuss with Kozar, Morrison, and sh’Aqba. The rest of you are dismissed.”

Tarlazzi, Carson, Sullivan, and Markalis slowly sauntered out of the briefing room. Erhlich and Rebecca looked back at Limis with concern, indicating that they were her close friends in this universe as well. Once they were gone, Limis added, “Computer, seal the doors and disable all audio sensors.”

Kozar, Morrison, and sh’Aqba all exchanged befuddled glances in reaction to the order. Limis swiftly sauntered across the room and keyed a set of commands to display classified data on the monitor. “What I’m about to show you concerns some sensitive modifications made to our navigational deflector and our torpedo launchers,” she announced to her remaining senior staff. “Please do not share it with anyone who doesn’t have Alpha-One clearance. Am I clear?”

“No problem,” Kozar said eagerly. His tone seemed to indicate both confusion and an eagerness to learn exactly what these modifications were for.

“Jellico said they involved weapon and navigation upgrades,” Morrison added. “But the work crews wouldn’t let in me or anyone of my staff.”

”Now that I think of it, those engineers were instructed to do a job,” Limis retorted, “no questions asked.

“Our deflector has been modified to drill a hole deep into a planet’s crust a lot more expediently than our phasers and quantum torpedoes could,” she added. “Once that’s done, we will be launching a red matter device at our target.”

“Why would we need to form a quantum singularity?” sh’Aqba asked, hoping the answer to that questioned wasn’t what she thought it would be.

“Commodore Jellico intends to destroy Cardassia Prime,” Limis explained. “Other planets are being targeted in the same manner.”

“Doesn’t sound like the man who led us through the Cardassian wars,” Kozar offered. “Is he seriously authorizing this?”

“I wish I was wrong about this,” Limis said, slowly walking back to the other end of the meeting table. “But he told me this straight out. And I can see why he ordered me not to discuss this with the crew. He must have known how all of you would react.

“I’ve contacted the Federation Council and Starfleet Command to verify the authenticity of these orders. They have not yet sent a reply. And they probably won’t until after this mission is complete, now that we’re on radio silence even with all the other ships in the fleet, minus Constantinople. But even if they did approve such an operation, these are still illegal orders. And when given an illegal order, we have an obligation not to follow that order. Given the billions of lives at stake, I cannot simply walk away from this.”

“The crew will support any action you take, Captain,” Kozar confidently stated. Then looking across the table to Morrison and sh’Aqba, he asked, “Agreed?”

“Agreed,” the lieutenant commanders answered almost simultaneously.

“Dismissed,” Limis directed the three subordinates.

The other officers slowly filed out of the room. Limis had momentarily forgotten to unseal the doors until she saw Kozar and Morrison still standing at the bridge egress and sh’Aqba waiting at the side entrance behind the display monitor. She entered a set of commands to unseal the doors at the head of the table. Once both sets of doors parted, the three of them departed leaving Limis alone with her thoughts.

She stared out at the stars while considering the slim chances of success. Of course, Jellico’s plan had a slim chance of success. But any chance of success in wiping Cardassia Prime and other planets off the map was too high. She had to try to stop it. The slim chance of success was in no way a deterrent in either scenario. Her mind went back to the ransom demand the Section 31 of her universe made more than a decade ago. They had requested she provide them with rhodium nitrite, one of the primary ingredients of a chemical weapon deadly to Cardassians. Once she had come to their hostage’s rescue, she had the canister destroyed. They could have easily obtained more rhodium nitrite from somewhere else, but at least Limis was no longer a participant in Section 31’s plans. And in this case, she could not single-handedly save every planet being targeted. But she had to save the one the Seventh Fleet was targeting.

Ordinarily, Limis would not become involved in the affairs of parallel universes. Making sense of everything happening in her own universe was hard enough, she always said. From what Limis knew of the Federation’s frontier days, the famous James Tiberius Kirk often found himself in these kinds of moral quandaries. While he strongly believed in Federation principles, Captain Kirk had a knack for ignoring the Prime Directive when he found it inconvenient. And that included when he accidentally wound up in a parallel universe. Never mind the possibility of a court martial in his own universe, Kirk had to survive assassination plots from his own crew for ignoring the Terran Empire’s orders to destroy the Halkans if a suitable trade agreement could not be reached with them. Maybe Limis wouldn’t have to face such harsh reprisals in this universe, but the price of failure would be a steep one, but a price she was willing to pay before trying to return to her own universe.

***

“The guards presently assigned to deflector control are Jellico’s people,” Limis told a group of security officers and Starfleet Marines at a later briefing in the ship’s main armory. “They’ll take orders only from him or his first officer. You’ll have no choice but to incapacitate them.”

Two human male security officers burst out of a crawlspace access hatch from the ceiling, immediately knocking the guards off their feet. Before one of the attacking officers could get all the way back on his feet, the human male guard was slugged in the left cheek with a right hook. The other attacking officer had his phaser karate kicked out of his hand by a female guard a half-meter shorter than him. She then grabbed the man’s arm and attempting a throw-down maneuver, but he held his balance and knocked her off her feet with a quick leg-lock.

Two Marines then entered from a perpendicular corridor and stunned the female guard and the male guard, who was still in a scuffle with his opponent. The two security officers and the two Marines bound the legs and wrists of the guards they had just incapacitated. One of the Marines then tapped his comm-badge and signaled, “All clear.”

Four Starfleet Marines then materialized on the catwalk up ahead. They rappelled off the overhang and laid down cover fire hoping that would keep the guards stationed below from getting a clear shot at them while they were also scrambling for cover. Once the Marines had gotten to the deck and four others from other side of the spacious area of the secondary hull, they were in one-on-one hand-to-hand combat with guards stationed there.

“Won’t the failure of the guards to report in at regularly scheduled intervals arouse suspicion?” one of the Marines asked.

“Absolutely, which is why precise timing will be important,” Limis replied. She recognized the Marine as Les Galloway, a man who died on a failed mission in her universe. It presented an odd feeling of morbidity standing in the presence of a person who was supposed to be dead.

Once the security alarms are disabled,” Limis added, “Tarlazzi will then take a team into deflector control and disable the modified circuitry.”

***

Erhlich Tarlazzi and a team of three engineers and four technicians waited at a crawlspace junction waiting for their go-ahead. Tarlazzi paced back and forth, impatiently waiting for the go-ahead, although there was little room to be pacing. In fact, his pacing was making his crew more nervous than him even as they were huddled against the walls.
The sound of the comm chiming caught Tarlazzi’s attention mid-step. “You have clearance, Lieutenant,” Galloway informed him.

Tarlazzi then entered a code to unlock the door to the Jeffries Tube. Once the doors parted, he shouted to the rest of his team, “Let’s go!” He crawled in first, followed by the other seven on his team.

Once they reached the inner half of the ship’s deflector dish, the engineers began removing panels and conducting preliminary scans of the circuits they were sabotaging. Tarlazzi then applied an ODN decoupler to the circuit housing he had opened. Almost instantaneously, something caught his attention that made him wince. “Oh, crap,” he muttered.”

***

Limis paced back and forth on the bridge in front of the command chair while staring at the viewscreen. The ship was still at high warp. That hadn’t changed much in the last twelve hours as the Seventh Fleet was bound for Cardassia. She was almost yearning for the tactical sensors to signal of approaching enemy ships to alleviate the collective feeling of boredom throughout the bridge.

“Tarlazzi to bridge,” came a voice on the comm, which caught everyone’s attention. “We have a problem.”

“What kind of a problem?” Limis asked while looking to Kozar, who was leaning halfway out of his chair.

“These circuits are rigged with alarms,” Tarlazzi explained. “We don’t dare try to disable them. A security team from Constantinople would be here before we could even finish.”

“Stand by,” Limis sighed, chastising herself for not anticipating that. She then walked over to Ops where Rebecca Sullivan was monitoring ship-to-ship communications. The gold collar on her uniform, which was red in Limis’s correct universe, still threw off her concentration but not by much. “Rebecca,” she continued as she silently cleared her throat. “Those alarms must be tied into at least one of our communications transceivers. We have to find them and disable them.”

“That could take a while,” Rebecca reluctantly replied. “Especially considering access to these modifications is highly restricted.”

“Do what you can,” Limis suggested. She stepped over to the Ops and console entered a set of commands. “Hacking into restricted information was one of my specialties as an Intelligence field operative. Morrison, give us a hand.”

Morrison motioned for an officer at one of the secondary stations to take over tactical, and then walked over to the other side of the bridge. Rebecca then took over to the port mission ops station while Morrison lent the captain a hand at the primary ops station.

After about ten minutes of searching through the ship’s circuitry schematics, Limis finally found which communications transceivers were tied into the modified deflector control circuits. Now the task was to surreptitiously bypass those transceivers without raising any suspicions. “Rebecca,” said Limis, “Try to bypass those transceivers. But reroute power one EPS relay at a time. Make it look like we’re compensating for an unexpected malfunction.”

Rebecca did not answer. Instead, she kept her focus on the mission ops console.

“Rebecca?” Limis repeated with a look of worry.

“Sorry, Vira,” Rebecca answered. “Can’t help you.” All the primary and secondary consoles, with the exception of Mission Ops Two, blinked out. Rebecca then turned around to face her captain and the rest of the bridge crew with a phaser in her hand.

Limis stood in silent shock. Despite knowing that even the smallest details would be different in this universe, she never, for one second, could foresee that Rebecca Sullivan would be the person to betray her. The next move on Limis’s part would either foil whatever Rebecca was planning or completely derail her plans to stop a genocide. She knew she would have to shoot Rebecca, yet Limis could not bring herself to even remove a phaser from the Ops console, much less shoot one of her dearest friends even if this Rebecca Sullivan was a completely different person. Morrison and Kozar, however, had drawn phasers and were pointing them at Rebecca.

“Step away from the console, Ensign,” Kozar firmly ordered.

“I could do as you order, Commander,” Rebecca retorted. Her hand hovered over the console, ready to enter one last command. “But just one command,” she added, “and I can send the commodore all the details of this entire operation.”

“But why?” Limis asked, unable to hide feeling betrayed by the one person she trusted the most.

“You said you wanted to make the Cardies pay for allying with the Dominion in order to destroy the Maquis,” Rebecca calmly explained, even though the hand holding her phaser was trembling. “You were there when those Jemmie thugs murdered my husband. I thought you would be for this, Vira. But Jellico sensed you had reservations the last time you saw him.”

“This isn’t the solution, Becca,” Limis insisted. “If we carry out the destruction of Cardassia Prime, we’d not only be wiping out Dominion headquarters, we’d be killing billions of innocent civilians.”

“No one of them are innocent,” Rebecca hissed. “They let it happen. Those spoonheads left your home planet in ruin, Vircona. They were all guilty as far as you were concerned. Why would you want to save any of them?”

Not wanting to argue the issues regarding the Occupation of Bajor, Limis just took small steps towards her friend, hoping to coax the phaser out of her hand. “Put down the phaser, Becca,” she implored.

Rebecca fired her phaser, clipping Morrison in the left shoulder, which sent him to his knees. She then fired in Kozar’s direction, but he quickly ducked out of the line of fire. She then lunged towards the console, ready to transmit her message. Limis grabbed Rebecca’s left wrist and yanked her away from the console. Kozar then fired a point blank shot, stunning Rebecca.

Limis just stared at Rebecca’s unconscious form while Morrison was directing two security officers. The two junior officers then propped Rebecca upwards awaiting orders from any of the three senior officers in the immediate vicinity. “Throw her in the brig,” Limis ordered them without much hesitation. She still felt a strong wave of guilt at having to subdue one of her long-time friends.

“Hey, it had to be done,” Morrison quietly assured her.

“I know,” Limis said somberly. “Now we just need to release the bridge lockout.”

***

“We’ll be closely monitoring all communications between us and Constantinople,” Kozar told an engineering team led by Shinar sh’Aqba during the initial briefing. “As soon as they attempt to contact their security teams stationed here and get no response, they’ll send teams stationed here. We’ll use that opportunity to beam security and engineering teams to Constantinople.”

A team of Starfleet Marines led by Lisa Neeley materialized on one of the catwalks outside of the Constantinople’s deflector control, along with sh’Aqba and her engineering team. Almost immediately, the twelve-person team came under fire. Each of the troops on both sides pinned themselves against the walls firing back and forth volleys of phaser fire.

“Tyson, Hawkins,” sh’Aqba barked at two male technicians. “Move out. Some of us will cover you.”

“Bowers and Mason, go with them,” Neeley whispered to two of her troops.

Sergeant Sam Bowers and Corporal Eric Mason accompanied the engineering technicians by darting down the corridor towards one of the entrances to the control center. Bowers readied a stun grenade while Mason stood ready to open the door at the sergeant’s command. Bowers gave a nod instructing Mason to open tap the panel to open the door. Once the doors slid open, Bowers lobbed the grenade through the opening. The grenade flashed almost a split second after it left Bowers’ hand, stunning a four-person security team. Tyson and Hawkins then darted through the door while Bowers fired his rifle, stunning two security officers entering the control center from the other entrance.

“Fall back,” Neeley shouted to the rest of her troops. “Sh’Aqba, you’re clear.”

The Marine troops obligingly retreated backwards into the adjoining corridor. Sh’Aqba then motioned the rest of the engineers to head into the control center.

“They’re in,” Bowers informed Neeley once the four engineers had safely entered the control center with no further resistance.

Neeley gestured for Mason, as well as another human male soldier by her side to accompany the engineering teams. The rest of the Marines then charged back the way they came, firing blindly at the troops in front of them and below them off the catwalk. They managed to take some of them out who were caught off guard by the appearance of the engineers on the inner catwalks. But others were prepared for that tactic and held their ground, continuing to shoot at Neeley’s team.

***

“Neeley to Lambda Paz,” came Neeley’s voice on the bridge comm.

“Go ahead,” Limis eagerly replied, leaning forward in the command chair.

“Mission accomplished,” Neeley reported. “They put up more of a fight as if they knew we were coming.”

Limis turned to Kozar, but he remained silent. They both deduced that either Rebecca had gotten out a partial message to the Constantinople or the security teams there had better prepared for an intrusion once the officers stationed on the Lambda Paz were out of contact. Either way, it wasn’t much of a surprise.

“We found the same alarm system Tarlazzi found,” sh’Aqba added. “But it doesn’t matter now that they have a better idea of what the hell’s going on. We’ve locked down the pulse emitters and they’ll need at least two hours to reboot.”

“We’ll get you all back to ship then,” Limis replied with a triumphant smirk.

A tactical alarm chirped, catching Morrison’s attention. “That’ll have to wait,” he said. “A large Dominion armada is approaching. Twelve-hundred thirty ships.”

“Battle stations,” Limis snapped. “All weapons to full.”

The red alert klaxons sounded and various officers throughout the bridge scrambled to their stations.

Outnumbered almost three to one, the Seventh Fleet prepared to fight its way out of enemy territory now that the planned attack on Cardassia Prime was derailed.
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Old January 20 2012, 08:46 PM   #6
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Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Across Two Universes"

Chapter Five

Swarms of Jem’Hadar and Cardassian warships swooped in on the combined fleet of Starfleet, Klingon, and Romulan vessels. The Jem’Hadar heavy cruisers fired flurries of plasma torpedoes, destroying several Miranda-class Starfleet ships and Klingon and Romulan Birds-of-Prey on the outer formations one at a time.

Squads of Morgai and D’Deridex-class Romulan warbirds, Vor’cha-class Klingon cruisers and Galaxy-class Starfleet ships took on the heavy cruisers and battle-ships, flanked by smaller attack cruisers and fighters. Two of the Galaxy-classes inflicted minor damage to one of the heavy cruisers in the center while the port and starboard vessels fired torpedoes that plowed through the Klingon and Romulan vessels.

The Lambda Paz took several hits from Jem’Hadar and Cardassian fighters. The shields absorbed enemy disruptor fire while a spread of torpedoes clipped the forward saucer.

“Shields are holding,” Morrison reported from the tactical station.

“Keep our starboard bow on the Cardassians, helm,” Limis barked while observing her own tactical display. “Morrison, target the Jem’Hadar fighters coming around for another pass with both phasers and quantum torpedoes.”

“Aye, sir,” Morrison responded as he keyed a new targeting sequence. His communications board then chirped. He took a quick glance and refocused his attention to the firing sequences. “Commodore Jellico is hailing us.”

“What a surprise,” Limis sarcastically answered. She rose from the command chair, and then tugged her uniform jacket while taking two steps closer to the viewscreen. “Put it up.”

“You did this,” Jellico sneered while the bridge of his ship exploding all around him. “Your treachery will result in billions more deaths. Their blood is on your hands, Captain.”

“That’s why you’re contacting me now?” Limis retorted, not at all fazed by her superior’s words. “To lay a guilt trip on me?”

Jellico derisively glared.

A starboard console exploded, sending an officer to the deck. Kozar gripped the arms of his chair while staying focused on his tactical display. “Keep firing, Morrison,” he snapped. “Helm, attack pattern delta.”

“One question, though,” Limis jovially continued. “You could have sent a team to commandeer my ship once you knew what was going on. Why didn’t you? I guess you knew it wouldn’t make a difference once you realized how we crashed our deflector’s pulse emitters.”

Jellico was about to open his mouth to speak, but Limis continued. “No matter,” she taunted. “We need to concentrate on getting out of here with our hides intact. You’d rather hang me for treason and mutiny than throw me to the wolves. Screen off.”

The transmission was already blinking in and out when the viewscreen finally shut off and replaced the image of Jellico with the battle out in space. “Helm,” said Limis, “plot us an escape course.”

“They’ve have us surrounded, Captain,” Carson grimly reported. “There’s not much wiggle room.”

“We have to try,” Limis insisted. “No sense in all of us dying here on a ‘failed’ mission. Mister Morrison, try to clear us a path out of here.”

“Easier said than done,” Morrison replied. “They’ve got us boxed in pretty tight.”

“Then let’s try to punch a few holes in their lines.”

A line of Sovereign and Luna-class ships, including the Constantinople and the Lambda Paz charged a line of Dominion heavy cruisers and battleships and fired a flurry of quantum torpedoes. The weapons fire inflicted heavy damage on two of the battleships and destroyed four of their flanking fighters. Wings of Akira and Miranda-class ships on the outer formation swung inward and fired phasers and torpedoes, knocking out corresponding fighters on the enemy’s side, which allowed a few of the larger vessels to squeeze through. A swarm of torpedoes from one of the Dominion heavy-cruisers plowed into the two of the Lunas and blew off the aft portion of the Constantinople’s starboard nacelle.

The Lambda Paz also took heavy weapons fire, as indicated by the explosions all over the bridge. Two officers fell to the deck from their consoles on the starboard side, while another officer at the port engineering station dove out of harm’s way when some of the ceiling gave way. Two technicians entered the bridge port turbolift with fire extinguishers and quickly put out a fire erupting from one of the port auxiliary stations.

Swarms of Jem’Hadar and Cardassian fighters were firing disruptors at the Starfleet ships trying to squeeze between the larger ships. The enemy fighters that took the most damage plowed into the ships they had been targeting, enveloping ships on both sides in massive fireballs. Torpedoes from the heavy cruisers did even more damage to the escaping ships. Three more Lunas were destroyed while two of the Sovereigns took heavy damage. The Constantinople was at point, but another swarm of plasma torpedoes blew it to bits.

“The Constantinople is gone,” Kozar reported, looking up from his tactical display.

Good riddance were the first words that came to Limis’s mind in reference to the mastermind behind plans to destroy Cardassia Prime. But then she silently paid her respects to the officers who were completely ignorant of Jellico’s plan, as well as to the her own crewmembers who were probably left behind there. Of course, the time for memorializing was very short, as the bridge was rocking back and forth again.
“Forward shields are down to forty-seven percent,” Morrison shouted. “Aft shields at eighteen percent. And our aft torpedo tubes are out.”

“Impulse engines and maneuvering thrusters are gone,” Carson added after the ship took another hit.

“Deploy the red matter device,” Limis said with no hesitation.

“Captain?” Kozar gasped.

“It’s our best option,” Limis added. “Once the red matter device is forty thousand kilometers away, fire a spread of torpedoes.”

“Aye, sir,” Morrison reluctantly replied.

With the aft torpedo tubes out, the Lambda Paz had to swerve around to use the only other working torpedo tube against the Dominion armada. The red matter device swirled out of the forward torpedo launcher. Soon afterwards, three torpedoes erupted and plowed into the red matter, igniting it.

A black cloud suddenly erupted from the explosion sucking in any and all matter that had surrounded it. Several dozen Jem’Hadar fighters were sucked into the newly formed singularity. The gravimetric sheer tore apart the hulls of ships that tried futilely to escape.

“Helm, warp eight, any heading,” Limis barked. “All remaining ships, let’s move out.”

“Engines are engaged,” Carson replied, “but the gravimetric forces are too great.

Limis wanted to curse herself for having ordered such a maneuver. It had to be done, she kept telling herself, just like Kozar having to shoot Rebecca. But what of the ships on her side that would have absolutely no chance of escaping the singularity? It seemed selfish of Limis to want her ship to escape while others were beyond saving, courtesy of the Dominion or that black hole out there. No sense in dwelling on that now. It might be a suicide that takes an enemy with us, but we need to get the hell out of here and soon.

“Can we try combining our warp fields?” Kozar suggested.

“It’s possible,” Carson reluctantly answered. “But we’d need a lot of ships and we don’t…”

“Never mind the probability figures,” Limis snapped. “Just get it done.”

“Aye, sir,” Carson relented.

A few more smaller Starfleet vessels and Klingon Birds-of-Prey were torn apart. However, the melding of surviving ships’ warp fields was able to disperse the singularity’s event horizon. The ships were able to inch further and further away from the event horizon and eventually streaked into warp.

###

While the Lambda Paz was back on course for Federation space, Limis retired to the ready room. According to the casualty reports, more than a hundred ships were lost. A few escape pods did get off the Constantinople. But who was on board was unclear. So for all she knew, the Lisa Neeley and Shinar sh’Aqba of this universe were among the casualties.
The sound of the doorbell had Limis hoping for better news on the other side of the door. “Come in,” she said.

“More damage reports,” said Kozar after he stepped into office. He then set a padd down on the desk.

“Of course,” Limis said with a sigh before she accepted the padd.

“There’s one other item of interest in there,” Kozar added. “When we were poking around in their files, we found Constantinople sent out an anonymous transmission to Cardassia Prime. The plan was to lay blame on the Dominion. Possibly making it look like retaliation for the failed attack on the Founders’ planet. Not that it would have justified the murder of billions of innocent people.”

Limis quickly found what Kozar was referring to on the padd. After skimming through the file, she shook her head and rolled her eyes. “The Jellico of my universe may be a pompous ass,” she scoffed, flinging the padd down, “but he’s not stupid.”
“I’m sorry?” Kozar asked, thrown by the captain’s last statement.

“I somehow slipped into this universe from a parallel universe,” Limis explained. “The Orb of Souls got me here. It should get me back.”

“The orb you retrieved from Sentok Nor?” Kozar asked.

“Exactly,” Limis said with a nod. She then stood and extended her right hand. “And while you may get the me who is indigenous to this universe back, it’s been an honor serving with you and the rest of the crew.”

Kozar was at a loss for words. He simply stood up and accepted the handshake.

Limis felt a smirk in one corner of her lips, thinking that maybe her counterpart’s working relationship with this Ronnie Kozar was more cordial. It was a thought she quickly dismissed. After all, if the Lambda Paz was outfitted to carry a massive laser drill and a red matter device, then that Limis Vircona would have gone along with it and Kozar would have tried to stop her by any means necessary.
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Old January 20 2012, 08:50 PM   #7
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Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Across Two Universes"

Chapter Six

What kind of hell was this?

Limis kept asking herself that question over and over again while on a runabout bound for Bajor. She had been able to come to her son’s rescue in two different universes, only to wind up in a parallel reality where the Federation and its allies were on the verge of defeat. She had understood the value of bending the rules here and there. She had been doing that since her time in the Bajoran Underground. And since the beginning of the Dominion War, she had done things she wasn’t proud of. As much as she tried to rationalize torturing a prisoner to death, breaking a convicted criminal out of prison, and accelerating an officer’s death so that he could send a distress call in the hope of escaping an inhospitable planet in enemy territory, she still hated herself for taking those actions.

She had once been duped into doing some of Section 31’s dirty work. They had crossed lines even she was unwilling to cross even in the most desperate of situations. And now to top that all off, the Starfleet of this universe was even more of an arm of Section 31 rather than the other way around. In her mind-- unless maybe the target was the Borg, the Founders, or the Jem’Hadar-- no situation in any universe could justify what Commodore Jellico was actually planning.

Limis had planned on making up for a lost time with her son by visiting him on Bajor. But now, this trip had served the purpose of finding a way back to her own universe. And the Orb of Souls had to be the key to doing just that. A computer chime suddenly caught her attention. She keyed a command sequence to receive the newest Federation News Service bulletin. That reminded her she forgot to tell the computer to discontinue receiving any FNS bulletins about the war. According to this bulletin, Dominion forces had recaptured Betazed and were advancing towards Andor. The affairs of a universe where she did not belong were no longer her concern, she reminded herself, and she immediately deleted the message. As of now, her main priority was try to use the Orb of Souls to return her correct universe.

###

As she stared at the Orb of Souls, Limis wondered if the entities residing in the Bajoran Wormhole in this universe were the same as those of her universe. It was a philosophical question she had never asked herself in regards to whether or not these entities were indeed Bajor’s Prophets. All that was really known to most modern science was that the Wormhole, or the Celestial Temple, or whatever one chose to call it was a realm that transcended time and space. Perhaps that was how a lot of the ancient prophecies had a way of coming true. But that was still a long way from assuaging her skepticism.

A Bajoran monk opened the box revealing the Orb. Limis stared at the spinning Orb as she was bathed in the bright light. Tendrils arced out of it, encasing her in a bright flash. She was now standing in an endless expanse of white light with memories of her life flashing in front of her.

Barely a second later, Limis was back on the bridge of the Lambda Paz staring at the viewscreen. A Starfleet shuttlecraft crashed into a Jem’Hadar battleship, destroying both vessels. She was remembering the Siege of Sector 21607, one of the earliest battles of the war. Her former husband had participated in a plan to lure Starfleet into an ambush in order to avenge the mass slaughter of the Maquis. As an armada of Starfleet and allied ships were being massacred by an armada of twice as many ships, Hasin Arnit eventually chose to sacrifice his own life to save hers.

His death hit Limis very hard even though she had divorced him more than a decade earlier. Maybe it was being reminded that the man she once loved was now dead. Maybe it was all the crises they had weathered together as members of the Maquis. Whatever the reason, it left her doing a lot soul searching, having watched Arnit’s death amid thousands of other deaths.

In this vision, the bridge was empty, though, except for Limis and her dead former husband. “It was one of the hardest decisions I had ever made,” he remarked as he sidled up to her from behind.

Limis turned around to face a man who had been dead for a year and a half now, not knowing whether to be excited or intimidated to see him. “I keep asking myself why,” she said glumly.

“You can ask away,” Arnit retorted. “I was so consumed with anger and hate. True, the Jem’Hadar pulled the collective trigger when they were determined to destroy us all, but it was the Federation who left us to the slaughter with their bad diplomacy.”

“Don’t try to rationalize it to me, Arnit. You’re still getting your revenge with all the destruction the war has wrought. You wanted Starfleet to experience the kind of massacre the Maquis experienced. You said all this before escaping arrest. But why save me and my ship?”

“Because whatever awful I might have done, especially to you and our son, I never stopped loving you, Vira. If nothing else, please believe that.”

“Not likely,” Limis scoffed, looking away from Arnit. “Is your sacrifice supposed to make up for having collaborated with those murderers?”

“But what is important is that I eventually chose an act of contrition. And you chose to stick to your moral beliefs despite those who tried to sway you to do otherwise.”

“So this was all a test? And I wasn’t really in this other universe?”

Arnit suddenly disappeared in a quick flash, as did the bridge of the Lambda Paz. Limis was again by surrounded by nothingness with many unanswered questions to consider.

###

“Mother?”

Limis suddenly found herself back in the vacant crew quarters on Sentok Nor. Yanith had just closed the Orb box, bringing his mother back to reality. “Are you all right? You seemed to have spaced out there for a minute.”

“I’m fine, son,” Limis replied, clasping her son’s shoulder. “We need to keep moving though.”

“Shouldn’t we take it with us?” Yanith inquired while his mother was making a beeline for the door.

“Ideally, yes, but practically, no.” As she had done before, Limis surreptitiously placed a transporter tag on the Orb box, hoping to have it beamed aboard the ship sent to extract her and her team.

***

Limis sat in her guest quarters aboard the USS Nautilus, silently contemplating the last two weeks. What was the most bizarre part of the experience was that less than a minute had passed in her reality. It was like waking up from a bad dream, but still learning a valuable lesson from it. As had happened when this whole scenario began, the Orb of Souls had been stored in a safe location for transport back to Bajor after the Nautilus dropped Limis and her team off at Starbase G-6. Hearing that was enough of a clue that the Starbase G-6 of this universe was still intact. But there were a few matters she had to attend to in order to put her mind at ease.

“Computer,” she said, looking up at the wall-mounted display screen. “Display service record of Rear Admiral Edward Jellico.”

The official Starfleet profile of Edward Jellico appeared on the screen. He was, in fact, a rear admiral according to the capsule. And he was listed as alive.

“What is the current status of USS Constantinople, registry NCC-79233?”

USS Constantinople, NCC-79233, is currently in active service as flagship of the Starfleet Seventh Fleet.”

“Who is the commanding officer of USS Epimetheus?”

“Lieutenant Commander Selek,” the computer replied, as Limis had hoped.

“Display biographical file.”

The biographical capsule of Selek appeared on the display screen, which including a photograph of a middle-aged Vulcan with streaks of graying hair. At least this Selek looked nothing like the famed Ambassador Spock. She smiled, as this was the first sign that her world was back to normal.
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