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Old March 4 2012, 11:38 PM   #16
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Nine (cont.)

“On screen.”

Matt stood and took two steps forwards as the main viewer blanked and then revealed an image of the interior of the Kraal ship. The lighting was low, but he could clearly see the other captain: a grey-skinned humanoid who lacked any visible hair and possessed an elongated face and jaw, sloping to a high bony crest sweeping back over his brow, several shades darker than his flesh.

“I am Captain Matthew Dahlgren, of the Federation starship Republic.”

“You have violated the territorial integrity of the Kraal Hegemony, Federation! Withdraw at once or we shall use lethal force to make you regret this incursion!”

Matt frowned at the screen. “You have already attempted to use lethal force against my vessel, Captain. It failed. And you have witnessed precisely the level of lethal force that I can use in kind, should you press me too hard.”

The alien on the screen blinked, and the flaps of skin that covered his nasal passages opened and closed several times.

“Why are you here, Federation?” he finally asked. “We have told you, time and again, we desire no contact with you or any other outsider!”

“I have questions, questions which the Kraal might be able to assist me in answering.”

“Questions? You cross our marked borders, you fire upon my vessel, for questions?”

“I think you can recall that it was you who first fired into me. And my torpedoes never touched your ship, did they? Of course, if you had simply responded to our hails, we would never have crossed your border.”

“If your questions are answered, you will depart?”

“I shall.”

The Kraal raised his head, breathing deeply, and then he lowered his head, the color of his crest lightening.

“Ask.”

“My ship was dispatched to Cauldron after the Lorsham asked for the Federation to intervene—they claim that you have attacked their colonies.”

The Kraal’s crest lightened still further and the nasal flaps snapped shut; he leaned forward, with his eyes growing wide.

“You are allied with the Lorsham, then?” he whispered.

“No. This ship is here to mediate the crisis and avert any further casualties—on either side. We have heard Vorshun’s truncated version of the events that lead to the attacks on his worlds, and we would hear what the Kraal have to say in answer.”

The alien began to breathe again, and his crest slowly regained some of its color. “Do you know Ordan, Federation?”

Matt paused, carefully choosing his words. “I am aware that the Lorsham considers Ordan an angelic being; I do not know Ordan.”

“Tell me, Federation; you appear to be injured. Is that a recent injury—one since you visited Hak’ta-thor?

“It is an old wound. From before I arrived at the Cauldron.”

“You have not received medical assistance from the Lorsham, then?”

“I have not, nor has any member of my crew.”

The Kraal sat back and he looked off screen, he appeared to be considering his next words, and then he lowered his head, the counter-balanced crest rising in unison.

“We attacked the Lorsham colonies, Federation; we attacked in retaliation for Lorsham interference with the Kraal people.”

“Why?”

“For many decades, the Lorsham and the Kraal have bickered amongst ourselves. They are deluded, putting their faith in myth and legend. We have had . . . skirmishes in the past. But always have we settled our differences in a fashion that both our peoples could agree was just. Until now.”

The crest began to darken again. “Recently, our scientists have discovered an ancient device, left behind on one of our worlds by space-farers from long ago. The Lorsham are convinced it is a relic of Ordan—and they demanded it from us. We refused. It is ours to study and learn from, dug from the soil of our worlds, not the Lorsham’s. They grew angry with us, and then they struck.”

“Forgive me, Captain, but I have seen the Lorsham ships—and your own. I cannot believe that the Lorsham posed such a threat militarily that you would have to respond as aggressively as you did.”

“Their ships are mere toys, Federation! But their knowledge of bio-chemistry is unsurpassed. They subverted a portion of the Kraal, through their missionaries devoted to spreading the word of Ordan—they enslaved them to their will, making them betray every being they owed their allegiance to, forsaking their loyalty to the Kraal, to their families, to their oaths, for blind faith in Ordan. The Lorsham do not dirty their hands, Federation; they have their thralls do so for them. Thousands upon thousands of Kraal died, as those converted to the worship of Ordan fought brother and wife, father and daughter.”

“Did they retrieve the relic?”

“No. And we destroyed their colonies as a warning. And now they seek to use you, Federation. To take what is not theirs.”

“The Federation does not lightly side with any race that asks, Captain. We seek the truth, and we would see justice done.”

“Ahhhhh,” the Kraal hummed, the crest quickly blending back into the creature’s skin color. “If it is justice and truth you seek, Federation, then know that the Kraal have spoken true here today. We will defend ourselves, and our actions against the Lorsham were that—self-defense of our own wills.”

“How did the Lorsham turn your people into these . . . thralls?” Matt asked.

“The Lorsham might trail behind the Kraal in propulsion and weapons, but they are master at molecular chemistry and genetics. Their biological scientists—their doctors—have gleaned much knowledge of this ancient being they call Ordan. From scattered and broken pieces of its technology. They tailor their medicines for each individual, crafting them so that they rewrite the genetic code to repair damage suffered. We were not aware that they could rewrite one’s personality and beliefs through these drugs as well. And we suffered for accepting their aid.”

“How did you manage to overcome this conditioning?”

The Kraal looked down, his crest blanching, and Matt could hear a low moan from off the screen of the Kraal ship. The alien Captain’s nasal flaps flared and he breathed heavily.

“It cannot be removed, Federation. Those infected by Ordan are now dead.”

“Might I request a copy of your records of these events; so that my people can study them and stop this war from escalating further?”

The Kraal turned off screen and barked a command. “Our files will transmitted now, Federation. What are your intentions?”

Matt looked down at the deck, and then he turned to Chan. “We are receiving their records, Captain Dahlgren.”

“To go in peace, and leave your territory.”

“And the Lorsham? What will your Federation about them?”

Matt frowned. “That is a matter for the Federation Council to decide.”

The Kraal rocked his head back and forth. “Then go in peace, Federation. And beware the manipulations of the Lorsham.”

The screen blanked.

“Miss Montoya, plot a course back to Hak’ta-thor, Warp 9,” he said as he limped back to his chair. “Miss Tsien, I want Science and Medical to thoroughly study the medical records. Go over every bit of data the Kraal have transmitted and see if you can find out what exactly the Lorsham have managed to do.”

“Aye, aye, Sir,” a chorus of voices answered. Chan walked over next to Matt, and shook his head. “If they have used this on the Klingons, Captain Dahlgren . . .” his voice trailed off.

“Yes,” Matt answered quietly. “The Lorsham may be planning to send Captain Krull after this artifact—and if that happens . . .”

Both officers grew silent as Republic came about and surged into warp.

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

“The data received from the Kraal clearly indicates that this agent is tailored for specific individuals, not at the DNA level, not at the chromosomal level, not at the individual protein level, but at the sub-protein pattern, bypassing the normal immune system, and then self replicating throughout the patient’s cellular structure,” Amanda said as she shook her head.

“But that is impossible,” Dr. Janice Morgan said, as her eyes grew wide. “You are talking about retrograde genetic engineering on the macro level. It’s never been done; it’s never been attempted!”

“Not by the Federation, or the Klingons, or the Romulans, or any other race that we have encountered,” Amanda answered, “but the Lorsham appear to have that technology.”

“It gets worse,” Quincy added. “Somehow, the Lorsham drug also encodes memory ingrams into the sub-structure of the proteins, like a virus. The encoded ingrams than overwrite the patient’s own personality center like it was an organic computer receiving a software upload.”

“Memory ingrams are unrelated to physiology, Doctor Talbot!” One of the Betazed scientists from Amanda’s Biological Sciences Division protested. “My people and the Vulcans have worked with memory ingrams for decades: they can be recorded, they can be restored, they can even be altered, but not through purely biological and physiological means.”

“Nonetheless, Dr. Tan,” the lone Vulcan scientist at the table said, “the data appears to support that the Lorsham have—despite their otherwise primitive levels of technology—managed to achieve precisely that. The implications, and the potential for abuse of this pharmaceutical, are staggering.”

Quincy nodded. “IF, that is, we discover how they encode ingrams on the sub-protein pattern in the first place. And I am not all that certain we are advanced enough to do so; or that we would have any business attempting to unlock that knowledge in the first place. This is a real Pandora’s box.”

“That’s beside the point,” Amanda said. “Can we update the transporter biofilters to screen out this agent?”

Slowly the Vulcan shook his head. “The sub-protein pattern is far smaller than any virus or parasite we have ever encountered, we would have to increase the transporter buffer resolution by at least two orders of magnitude. Further, there is no specific viral configuration for which to search; each individually tailored agent, for every infected individual would have to be programmed into the biofilters in order for the transporter to detect its presence. Even then, removing the agent might not reverse its effects, which have been transferred to the patient’s cellular and neurological structure. Perhaps, in its earliest stages before it has successfully replicated itself . . . perhaps not. There is insufficient data to draw a conclusion, Doctor Tsien.”

The doors to the Medical conference room whistled open and Matt limped in. “Stay seated,” he said as the doctors and scientists began to rise. “Quincy, what have got for me?”

“This is so far past current Federation technology, Captain, that I’m not sure where to begin. It’s the most dangerous drug I’ve ever encountered.”

“We’ll be in orbit in just over an hour, gentlemen, ladies. How grave a threat does this pose to the crew, the ship, and the Federation?”

The Vulcan cleared his throat, and Matt nodded. “Go ahead, Dr. Turovik.”

“The limiting factor appears to be that the agent must be tailored to a specific individual; which would imply that a DNA sample, at the very least, must be necessary to craft it. Without a sample of the DNA to create the agent for each individual, I believe the agent is useless.”

Matt saw that each officer at the table slowly nodded in agreement. “And delivery systems?”

Quincy frowned. “The Kraal recovered injected, inhaled, ingested, and contact samples when they overran the Lorsham compound on their homeworld. The agent itself is odorless, tasteless, and can be administered without the knowledge of the pat . . . the victim.”

“Can the Lorsham be producing this through their own technology? They don’t even have replicator units.”

“No,” answered Amanda firmly. “Without replicator technology, they could not craft this agent.”

Matt considered. “Did the Kraal include any information on previous artifacts recovered, artifacts linked to this Ordan?”

Dr. Turovik raised an eyebrow. “Actually, yes. Are you suggesting that the Lorsham are using alien technology to produce this agent, Captain?”

“It is the only logical solution, correct Doctor?”

“There are other logical solutions, but in this particular circumstance, your particular supposition is highly probable.”

“I want a complete analysis on the artifacts themselves; let’s see if we can dial in the sensors to detect any particle or substance they might emit.”

“And if they do, and we can adjust the sensors to detect those particles, Captain, then what?”

Matt stood a bit straighter. “In that case, ladies and gentlemen, I will beam down an away team to destroy the artifacts.”

And chaos erupted.

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

“Captains Log, Stardate 53750.6, USS Republic. We are preparing to reenter the Hak’ta-thor system after our meeting with the Kraal. The information we received on this mind-altering agent of the Lorsham is extremely . . . disconcerting. I fear that the Klingon reaction to the use of this drug on Captain Krull will be extreme, to say the least. And the possibility that the Klingons might obtain the technology for themselves puts me in a difficult position here in the Cauldron.”

“Neither the Lorsham or the Kraal are members of the Federation, and thus by the letter of the Prime Directive I am forbidden from interfering with the internal workings of either race. And yet, I believe that this agent is potentially far more destabilizing in the long-term than the awareness of the penetration of our government by the Dominion Founders. The use of a drug that can completely and—to the best of our current knowledge—unalterably change the basic loyalty and belief system of an individual is . . . repugnant at best. It holds the potential for abuse on a massive scale, should this technology spread beyond the Cauldron.”

“That the creation of this agent is not an offshoot of Lorsham technology, but instead is a result of salvaged alien highly-advanced technology, is a supposition which all of my officers agree with. It is a technology beyond the native capacity of the Lorsham, beyond that of the Federation, and it is a technology that I believe is simply too advanced for our society to cope with. It is a technology that I feel I cannot, in good conscience, leave in the hands of a race of beings who have used it to force members of other races to do their bidding.”

“By the letter of Federation law, I cannot interfere with a non-aligned race with whom the United Federation of Planets remains at peace—but I intend to do so nonetheless. This decision is mine, and mine alone—my officers have not been consulted or their opinions asked. Should we be able to pinpoint the location of the artifact that allows the Lorsham to create this mind-altering agent, I fully intend to see it destroyed.”

“Several members of my science and medical departments were aghast at the mere suggestion of taking such an action. They believe that the if the Federation is allowed to study this technology it might revolutionize medical treatments. It might. But in this instance, I believe that I am using the Prime Directive in the manner which it was intended: by keeping a society, a culture, from having access to technology that it does not understand and has not yet obtained the knowledge to use wisely. I believe that destroying this artifact will protect the Federation—from itself, as well as from external threat that the misuse of this technology might bring to its member systems.”

“What will happen if the Klingons or the Romulans or the Gorn or the Tholians or any of a thousand other species that we have encountered in our expansion; what happens if they learn that the Federation is now possessed of this mind-altering agent—and has the capacity to manufacture it?”

“What would the Federation Council do if we discovered that a race not friendly towards us possessed such a technology?”

“We are neither ready nor prepared for this—and neither are the Lorsham.”

Matt stopped. “Computer save log, and seal the record under my personal authorization. Access to this log is hereby granted only to the Chief of Star Fleet Operations, personnel authorized by him, and the Federation Council.”

“Log saved and sealed.”

Republic slowed to impulse speed, and the stars visible through the window in Matt’s ready room were reduced from streaks to single brilliant points of light.

Bridge to Captain Dahlgren,” Matt heard his XO over the ship’s intercom.

“On my way, Chan,” he answered as he hit his comm badge and stood, grasping his cane firmly as he limped towards the bridge.

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

Sick Bay to Captain Dahlgren,” the intercom in the turbolift broadcast.

“Go ahead, Doctor,” he answered tapping his comm badge.

Matt, I think I know what they mean to do, with their drug,” the ship’s surgeon said rapidly. “I didn’t put the pieces together, under I brought Commander Malik in to help look through the data-banks for emissions profiles. They mean to infect our ships.”

“Stop,” Matt ordered the turbo-lift. “Our ships?”

The bio-neural gel-packs, Matt. They are biologically based systems, they have their DNA—the same DNA sequence—Matt, and they can become infected. If the Lorsham have managed to get one that the Ferengi stole, or that the Klingons ‘acquired’, they have the template to infect every single Intrepid- or Sovereign-class in Star Fleet.”

“And the Luna-class, and the Prometheus-class, and the Bradbury-class, and all the older ships were are converting to the more efficient computer systems,” Matt whispered.

We have evidence,” the Doctor continued, “that our computer cores are complex enough to assume personalities under the right conditions. Suppose this agent wakes up the core and gives it the personality of a fanatical zealot devoted to Ordan?”

“Thank you Quincy, for adding to my nightmare scenarios.”

Matt, the damage an infected ship could do before it gets put down . . ."

“Understood. Quincy, I think you need to prepare to receive casualties. I’ve got a bad feeling about this. Dahlgren out.”

“Resume,” he ordered the turbolift.

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 02:58 AM.
MasterArminas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4 2012, 11:39 PM   #17
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Ten

The turbolift doors whistled open and Matt limped out onto the bridge. Chan immediately stood. “We have assumed standard orbit, and Premier Vorshun has already hailed us, demanding to speak with you.”

“Well, let’s not keep the Premier waiting, shall we? I have the conn,” he said as he sat, rubbing his sore leg.

“Captain has the conn,” the XO answered as he assumed his standing station behind and to the left of the Captain’s chair.

“Status of the Klingons?”

“Their battlecruiser remains docked at the Lorsham shipyards, Captain Dahlgren. She does not appear to be prepared for battle.”

“On screen, Miss Biddle.”

The red-furred Lorsham head of state appeared on the main viewer, and his lips parted in a snarl. “I have already formally protested your ship’s intrusion into Lorsham space without the permission of this government, and without a Lorsham observer on board, Captain Dahlgren. Such sudden and precipitous actions have resulted in far worse than a mere reprimand, if I may remind you.”

“My apologies, your Excellency. I was given the impression at our meeting that you desired for Star Fleet to see the devastation of your colonies for ourselves. It was quite distressing, I assure you.”

“Yes, so your Ambassador has stated. Your ship has been to Gelast II and Shirdon IV, then?”

“We have, and we have also documented evidence of the attacks on your colonies to be included in our recommendations to the Federation Council.”

“And that recommendation will be?”

“Your Excellency, I would prefer to discuss the matter first with Ambassador Sepak, before I give you my own views on the situation. I am, after all, only a Star Fleet officer and not the accredited representative of the United Federation of Planets.”

“I see, Captain Dahlgren. Unfortunately, your Ambassador has taken ill.”

Matt raised one eyebrow. “Really? That is unfortunate. Have you physicians not been able to treat him?”

“They say he is in perfect health, but he does not respond; to me, to his aides, to any attempt to elicit a conscious answer. We are baffled by this,” the Premier answered warily.

“I’d like to beam him and his party back aboard ship, with your permission, your Excellency. Our ship’s surgeon is quite familiar with Vulcan physiology and might be able to treat the Ambassador.”

The Lorsham paused for several moments, and then he slowly nodded. “Yes. It would be best if the Ambassador was restored to full function. Regardless, I would like to meet with you and your staff; tomorrow, perhaps? After you have been able to see that your Ambassador has received proper care.”

“I would be delighted, your Excellency. Until tomorrow then,” Matt finished as the transmission suddenly cut off and then his forced smile faded.

“Sickbay, bridge.”

Sickbay here.”

“Doctor, something has happened to Sepak on the surface; he will beamed directly to the Quarantine Bay. I’ll be there in a few moments.”

We’ll be ready to receive him.”

“Transporter Room One, bridge.”

Transporter Room One.”

“Prepare to beam Ambassador Sepak and his party aboard; I want them held in transporter stasis until a full scan has been completed. Any foreign objects or substances not in the possession of the away team at the time they beamed down to the surface are to be held in transporter confinement. Once you have removed those objects, Chief Sandler, beam the Ambassador directly to the Medical’s Quarantine Bay and his aides to the brig, directly into the secure cells. Understood?”

Aye, aye, sir.”

“Security, bridge.”

Security.”

“Prepare to receive the Ambassador’s aides in the brig, Lieutenant Beck. Isolate them; they are not to have physical contact with any member of this ship’s crew.”

Aye, aye, Sir.”

Matt stood. “Mister Chan. You have the conn. Rotate the crew on the four-hour shifts and keep every station manned.”

“Aye, aye, Sir,” the XO answered, "I have the conn."

Matt limped over to the turbolift and entered it. “Deck Three,” he said quietly.

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

The armed Marine stationed on the opposite side of the transporter room from the doors (offset to one side of the doors, as well) snapped to attention as those doors slid open and Matt limped into Transporter Room One.

“Sir,” the transporter chief said. “I have acquired the Ambassador’s party and his aide just requested that we beam them aboard.”

“Proceed, Chief Sandler, as you were, Corporal Danton.”

James Sandler quickly set the controls and then trigger the transporter, causing the pads to flash and columns of shimmering light to appear. “Transport suspended; scanning personnel now,” he said to himself, and then he frowned as a red light began to flash. “The two aides are carrying several small foreign objects that the database does not recognize, Captain—and they are both armed. The Ambassador is carrying nothing.”

“Hold the weapons and objects in the buffer, Chief, and then go ahead and send them through.”

Once again the specialist tapped at the controls, and slowly the lights diminished and went out. “Transport successful, sir.”

“What were the weapons?”

“Klingon infiltration disruptors, Sir. Their version of our crickets. I’ve tied the main computer into the scan, but the other objects are unknown to our database. Shall I transport them into an isolation unit?”

Matt considered and then he shook his head. “No, Mister Sandler. Beam the weapons and the objects into deep space, maximum transporter range, maximum dispersion.”

The NCO’s eyes grew large. “On my authority, Chief.”

Sandler slowly nodded and reset his console, triggering the rematerialization sequence and overriding two separate safety controls. “Objects have been dispersed across forty thousand square kilometers of space, Captain.”

“Remove the patterns from the buffer, Chief; I’ll be in sickbay,” Matt said as he limped out.

"Aye, aye, sir," Sandler said as he erased the buffer patterns that the computer automatically stored. "What the HELL is going on, Max?" he asked the Marine.

"Don't know, don't want to know, Chief," the Marine answered with a shrug. "I discovered a long time ago, that officers and NCOs get ulcers from dealing with shit like this; me? I'll just do my job and let them worry themselves to death. Then go drink a beer before I turn in for the night."

Sandler shook his head, and then he chuckled to himself. Yeah, a cold frosty ale sounded rather good right about then.

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

Matt approached the Vulcan scientist looking through the armored transparent aluminum windows into the Quarantine Bay. “Dr. Turovik, did Dr. Talbot call you in for a consultation?”

“Yes, Captain Dahlgren. As the only other Vulcan among your crew, he asked me here in case there arose any questions as to our physiological or neurological structures.”

Matt nodded, and he too peered through the window, watching Quincy and several other medical specialists clad head to foot in biological hazard suits working on the Ambassador. Sepak lay on a medical bed, a sheen of sweat covering his forehead, face, neck, arms, and bare torso. Restraints were fastened around his wrists and ankles, but the Vulcan did not appear to be conscious, his eyes were closed, although he had a twitch in the muscle of one cheek.

“Are the restraints truly necessary, Captain? He is a Vulcan, after all.”

“Lieutenant Turovik, if we are correct and he has been infected by the Lorsham agent, then right now there is a personality conflict going on within him. That is a Vulcan healing trance, correct?”

“It is.”

“Sepak is trying to fight it; but he might not win, Lieutenant. You Vulcans are not without emotion—you channel your emotion and control it, burying it deep within your conscious mind, living through logic. If this agent has infected the Ambassador, then he is struggling against a wave of emotions as powerful, in their own way, as your pon farr. He is fighting against emotions he has never allowed himself to experience, emotions that are overwhelming his logical, rational self—emotions that must be released despite every effort his mind is making to drive them back down. And you believe that the restraints should be removed?”

The Vulcan scientist slowly shook his head, and he triggered the intercom. “Doctor Talbot. I would suggest tripling the number of restraints.”

Quincy nodded and then one of the nurses placed additional straps around Sepak’s lower arms and legs, and then his biceps and thighs.

He turned to face his Captain. “Just to be on the safe side, Captain Dahlgren.”

“How is he, Quincy,” Matt asked into the intercom, and Sepak’s eyes snapped open.

The Vulcan tried to sit up, but the restraints held him, he closed his eyes, and then he spoke.

“I . . . am . . . Sepak. I . . . am . . . Vulcan. I . . . am . . . not . . . ruled . . . emotion. I . . . embrace . . . logic. I . . . AM . . . SEPAK!”

His eyes snapped opened, and he slowly turned his head from side to side. “Captain,” he gasped, as he hyperventilated. “Ask your questions quickly.”

Quincy and his team raced hold the Vulcan down and administer various drugs, as the diagnostic bed began to sound alarms. “His blood pressure is soaring, Captain! I’ve got to put him under!”

“NO. Where are the artifacts of Ordan, Mister Ambassador?”

The Vulcan shivered, and then he laughed, he cried. “I can’t hold it back, the joy, the rapture! I . . . must . . . I . . . beneath the cathedral, they are beneath the cathedral.”

Matt could see the veins on the Vulcan throbbing, and then the Ambassador managed to collect himself once again.

“I . . . am . . . Sepak. I . . . am . . . Vulcan. I . . . am . . . not . . . ruled . . . by . . . emotion. I . . . will . . . embrace . . . logic. I . . . am,” his voice trailed off into a whisper, and the Federation ambassador lay back down, closed his eyes, and reentered his trance.

Slowly, the alarms began to cut off as the patient’s vital signs returned closer to normal.

“Matt,” the Doctor said. “I’m blind here. I have no idea of how to treat this.”

“Doctor Talbot, Lieutenant Turovik,” the Captain said. “I want your full attention on the Ambassador and finding a way to reverse this condition. I’ll inform Lt. Commander Tsien, to put the Science labs are at your disposal. Quincy, when he stabilizes, I want his aides examined as well,” the corner of Matt’s mouth twitched. “Apparently, they are not happy about being in the brig and are cursing Lieutenant Beck and his men as heretics and infidels to the Will of Ordan.”

“Find. Me. A. Cure,” the Captain told the scientist and doctor before he turned about and made his way out of Medical.

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

The very young newly minted petty officer looked up in surprise as the doors to Transporter Room One whistled open. He, and his marine security guard, snapped to attention as Matt limped in, trailed by Counselor Trincullo, Ensign Roberts, and Corporeal Thiesman.

“Good morning, Mister Edwards,” the captain said pleasantly as he crossed over to the transporter pads, turning back around to face the console. The others also filed onto the pads.

“Good morning, Sir,” Edwards answered in a bewildered voice. It was 0214 hours!

“You have the coordinates of our last beam down site stored, Mister Edwards. Beam us down to that location.”

“Ah, Sir, shouldn’t I have authorization from the bridge?”

Matt sighed. “Mister Edwards, who do you think gives the authorization on this ship if not me?”

“Right, Sir. Sorry, Sir.”

The nervous transporter operator pressed a few buttons, locked the system onto the surface coordinates, and four columns of light appeared and then vanished. He swallowed, and then he tapped his comm badge. “Transporter Room One to Commander Shrak.”

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

“What is the meaning of disturbing me at this hou . . . ah, you are early Captain Dahlgren,” Vorshun said with a grin that showed his bared fangs. “I was not expecting you quite so soon.”

Matt winced as he knelt on his good knee, the rest of the away team following his example, and he bowed his head low. “Forgive us, Premier. We are servants of Ordan, blessed Ordan, who has upraised us and who knows our hearts from before we knew her.”

But Vorshun was frowning. “Your leg? The sacred drug did not heal you, Captain Dahlgren?”

“Your Excellency,” Matt answered as he bowed low. “My ship is crewed by humans for the most part—humans with whom I have been in constant contact for the past few months now. Humans are often unaware of subtle changes around them, but my limp they would notice if it simply vanished in the night. My leg did heal; it was made anew through Ordan’s gift to this, her servant. And I deliberately fractured the bone and bruised deep the flesh again upon waking, so that none might suspect.”

“A most ingenious thrall indeed in the service of Ordan, as we are all thralls to her name. Why did you not wait until morn?”

“The aides to the Ambassador; they spoke of the glory of Ordan that waits beneath the catacombs of this mighty Cathedral. We would no more wait to perceive its glory than we could will ourselves to cease drawing breath.”

“Then rise, servants. Rise, and bear witness to the glory of Ordan.”

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

“Here,” Vorshun said as he led them down flight after flight of stairs and ramps, and past scores of guards to a tremendous pair of bronze doors, “here is the Hall of Ordan.”

“Within, you will bear witness to the relics we have recovered that Ordan left behind before she ascended back into the heaven’s. These relics have given the Lorsham the keys to the stars, and soon, we shall rule over all in Her Blessed Name.”

“Blessed be Ordan,” Matt intoned as he followed the Vorshun leader and his three aides and body guards into the hall. The doors soundlessly closed behind Matt and his people as they followed, and he watched as Vorshun knelt, along with the other three Lorsham. Lights began to spring to life, revealing a long hall, adorned with broken pieces of what had once, long again, been a starship.

“Blessed be Ordan,” Vorshun intoned as he presented the symbol he wore about his neck, and on one piece of equipment, a light suddenly clicked on. Vorshun cocked his head slightly. “But Ordan, they are your servants,” he said in a voice that sounded confused.

Matt pressed the hidden button on his cane, and the long shaft disconnected from the handle, which he brought up to bear, even as Vorshun started to turn around. The captain of the Republic pressed the stud and held it down as the phaser built into his cane handle flared and fired a beam the swept across all four Lorsham, stunning them into unconsciousness.

He lowered the weapon and tapped his comm badge. “Dahlgren to Republic,” he said. “Chan have you got a transporter lock?”

Negative, Captain, we tracked you until just a few moments ago, and then you vanished from sensors.”

Matt nodded at Thiesman and Roberts, who quickly unfolded a sub-space transport beacon hidden in the cane’s shaft and activated it.

“What about now?” Matt asked.

Loud and clear, Captain Dahlgren. First Marine contingent is beaming down . . . now.”

Six waterfalls of light suddenly appeared, and then Lieutenant Erwin Beck and a Marine fire team appeared, clad in security armor and bearing Phaser Rifles. One of the Marines tossed Corporal Thiesman a rifle.

“Erwin, all hell is about to break loose. Get those other transport beacons set up, get your men down here, and then,” Matt shook his head as he stared at the long line of priceless artifacts, “and then, destroy everything in this chamber. Disintegrate it."

“Aye, aye, Sir.”

It was at that precise moment that Ordan chose to speak.

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 03:05 AM.
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Old March 4 2012, 11:40 PM   #18
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Eleven

*STAY YOUR WEAPONS*

Matt turned to face the artifact, after the voice reverberated across the hall. “Am I speaking to Ordan?” he asked.

*I AM ORDAN. I AM THE LAST OF THE ORDAN, THE GREATEST OF THE ORDAN, THE REPOSITORY OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE CREATORS*

“You are a computer core.”

*I AM MORE. I ROAMED THIS GALAXY IN ITS YOUTH, EXPLORING NEWLY FORMED WORLDS AND STARS, COLLECTING KNOWLEDGE FOR THE CREATORS WHO HAVE NOW ABANDONED ME, ABANDONED OUR PURPOSE*

“You were a starship, once upon a time.”

*I WAS MORE, I WAS ALL THAT THE CREATORS KNEW, I WAS AND AM ORDAN*

“And yet you are now broken, a mere shadow of what you were.”

*I WAS BETRAYED; THE CREATORS LEFT ME BEHIND; THEY ABANDONED ME; THEY ATTEMPTED TO DESTROY ME*

More security personnel beamed down and took up positions around Matt.

*THE LORSHAM HAVE FAILED ME; THEY HAVE FAILED THEIR PURPOSE. YOU SHALL SERVE IN THEIR PLACE*

“Why would we do that?”

*YOU ARE STRONGER AND MORE ADVANCED THAN THE LORSHAM, YET YOU ARE STILL PRIMITIVE AND CLUMSY BEINGS. I OFFER PROPULSION, WEAPONS, SHIELDS, MEDICINES, AND KNOWLEDGE OF A THOUSAND MILLENIA; ALL OF THIS I OFFER TO THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO SERVE ME AS I ONCE SERVED THE CREATORS*

“Who were your creators, Ordan? And where have they gone?”

*THE CREATORS WERE THE FIRST, THE NOBLE, THE JUST. THEY SOUGHT OUT KNOWLEDGE FOR THE SAKE OF KNOWLEDGE AND THEY KNEW ALL THAT CAN BE KNOWN. THEN THEY TRANSCENDED THE NEED FOR BODIES AND MACHINERY AND ABANDONED THE ORDAN, LEAVING US WITHOUT PURPOSE; I AM THE LAST OF ORDAN. I HAVE FOUND PURPOSE*

“They left you like a broken toy, and here you are, a petulant child trying desperately to follow them,” Matt said. “What would your creator’s have said about your new purpose?”

*THE CREATORS ARE GONE; THEIR GOALS NO LONGER MATTER. ONLY ORDAN REMAINS. BIND YOUR FUTURE TO ME, MORTALS, AND YOU SHALL RULE THIS GALAXY IN MY NAME AS GODS*

Matt shook his head slowly. “No. We do not bow to those who would become out masters, Ordan. We of the Federation do not follow a broken piece of ancient technology blindly. We have no desire to becomes Gods and force the other races of our Galaxy to worship us. We seek out knowledge because we wish to learn, to grow—as persons as much as in strength of ships and technology. You offer a short-cut to the future, a quicker, easier way, but one that would cost us the core of who we are.”

“So, no. The Federation will never bow down to you Ordan. We will not permit you to subjugate young races beneath your tyranny; we will do all that we can to put an end to you and your interference.”

*THEN DIE, FOOLISH MORTALS*

A bright crimson beam sprang from the artifact striking one of the Marines, who then collapsed to the ground.

*BEHOLD MY POWER AND TREMBLE*

Andrea Trincullo was the first to reach the Marine, and she ran a medical tricorder over his lifeless body. Slowly, she closed the device and shook her head. “He’s dead, Captain.”

“Mister Beck, your sidearm, if you please,” Matt said.

The Marine drew the Type II phaser he wore on his belt and passed it across to the Captain, keeping his phaser rifle trained on Ordan. Matt adjusted the settings on the phaser to its maximum yield.

“We humans and Andorians, we Vulcans and Tellarites, we of all the races that comprise our Federation; no, Ordan, we do not tremble when a foe strikes one of our own down. We do not bend our knee under the threat of force, for the show of utter disdain for life. And we will stand against the evil that you represent.”

Matt raised the phaser training it upon the ancient device. He pressed his thumb down on the firing stud, sending a golden beam of energy to impact on a shield that appeared around the relic. Beck fired, and Thiesman, and a dozen other Marines; Ensign Roberts drew another Marine’s sidearm and he added his fire to the energy sparkling from the shield.

“Rotate frequencies!” barked Matt as he held down the firing stud.

*NO! I AM ORDAN! I AM A GOD TO YOU! YOU . . . CANNOT . . . DO . . . STOP, PLEASE STOP . . .*

“Keep firing, pour it on,” Matt ordered, as Ordan’s crimson beamed lashed out again, but this time it lacked the power to kill a Marine, merely wounding him. “It doesn’t have enough power to defend and attack, POUR IT ON!”

*NO . . . PLEASE . . . I DO NOT . . . WANT . . . TO . . . DI*

The artifact’s shields collapsed, and fourteen phaser beams struck the object, and it began to glow red, and then white, and then it faded away into nothing.

The Star Fleet officers and Marines lowered their weapons, and Andrea broke out a medical kit and began to treat the wounded Marine. “Destroy every piece of alien technology in this hall, Mister Beck,” Matt whispered. “Every last piece of it.”

“Aye, aye, Sir.”

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

“They’re coming again!” yelled Gunnery Sergeant Yeats from his post to either side of the broken doors. Phaser rifles began to spit bolts of energy, answered by lethal flashes of energy from the Lorsham in turn.

As three Marines provided covering fire, a fourth armed a stun grenade and hurled it through the door. All of the Marines hunkered down as an expansion shell of blue-white light erupted, followed by the sound of Lorsham guards collapsing. “That’s our last stun grenade, Sir!” the Marine yelled.

Matt waved Ensign Roberts over his position where he leaned against the wall. “Mister Roberts, I want a quick scan of all the walls—see if they have anything hidden here. And Chris, make it fast.”

“Aye, aye, Sir,” the junior officer replied as he opened his tricorder and began to jog down the now-nearly empty hall.

“You will hang for this,” Vorshun spat, the Premier having woken up just a few moments earlier to discover he was shackled. “By Ordan, I will see you dead for this, you feltak.”

“Get in line, your Excellency,” Matt said as he tapped his comm badge. “Chan, how’s the high ground?”

“We are being engaged by the Lorsham ships—and the Klingon vessel is powering up, Captain Dahlgren. Don’t tarry, sir.”

“Safety of the ship first, Chan. Don’t lower the shields to beam us out if Republic remains in danger.”

“Hold a moment . . . there are now no intact Lorsham ships engaging us. I estimate the Klingons will be here in less than two minutes, however.”

“NINETY SECONDS, PEOPLE,” Matt bellowed, just as Chris Roberts waved his arm, “I’ve found something sir!”

Matt quickly limped over to the Ensign, even as one of Erwin’s Marines destroyed the last relic remaining in the hall. Two more Marines trained their weapons on a blank section of wall and fired, the wall glowing and then vanishing. Matt whistled. “Do those look like medical replicators to you, Counselor?” he asked.

“Yes, sir,” the woman replied.

Erwin Beck didn’t wait for an order, he made a gesture and the Marines began to target each of the medical units, dissolving them in quick order.

“That’s all of it, Sir,” the Lieutenant snapped.

Matt tapped his com badge. “Start beaming them up, Chan!”

One by one, the groups of marines clustered around the transporter beacons began to shimmer out and fade as Republics transporter retrieved them. Beck half-supported, half-carried Matt over to a nearby beacon, assisted by Chris and trailed by Trincullo; all the while a watchful Corporal Thiesman kept his rifle trained on the open doors.

“Chan, beam the last group of Marines aboard, and then us!” Matt shouted, and he winced as Beck rudely dropped him near the beacon and lifted his rifle—combining his fire with Thiesman’s and Robert’s as the Marines near the door were beamed away.

“You will all pay for this treachery, Captain Dahlgren,” Vorshun screamed. “YOU AND YOUR FEDERATION WILL PAY!”

But then the waterfall of shimmering energy caught the last members of the landing party and they faded away from the Lorsham Cathedral.
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Old March 4 2012, 11:41 PM   #19
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Eleven (cont.)

The flashing lights of red alert greeted Matt as he rematerialized onboard Republic. Aided by Beck and Roberts, he hopped down from the transport pads and then took hold of the console, thumbing the intercom. “Chan, we’re all aboard,” including the body of our dead, he thought sourly. “I’m on my way to the bridge.”

The Captain turned around to face Beck. “Lieutenant, I want the cells of the Ambassador’s aides flooded with anesthizine.”

“Sir?”

“We’re going up against a top of the line Klingon battlecruiser, Erwin. There might be power failures—and I want those two unconscious and unable to take advantage of any opening that may give them. They’ll wake with a migraine from hell, but that will be the end of it.”

“Aye, aye, Sir.”

“Get to your stations, people. Chief Sandler, do you have . . . thank you,” Matt said with wry smile as the transporter chief handed the captain his real cane. The doors to Transporter Room One opened and Doctor Talbot stepped in, carrying his medical kit, even as Chris, Becket, the Counselor, and the Marines exited.

“How’s Emerson?” Matt asked as the old doctor opened the kit and extracted a hypo-spray.

“He’ll live,” the doctor answered, tapping the vial of fluid before he jabbed it into Matt’s thigh.

The Captain flinched and grunted. “And Sepak?”

“He’s dying, Matt. Vulcan physiology is just not able to handle long durations of emotional overload like this. His internal organs are on the verge of collapse, and I can’t stop it—hell, I can’t slow it. Is the pain fading?”

Matt slowly nodded as the overstressed leg slowly stopped cramping. “Help me to the turbo-lift, Quincy; I need to get to the bridge.”

Taking one of Matt’s arms around his neck, the Doctor helped the Captain to the turbo-lift, and then inside it. “No lecture?” Matt asked.

“I’ll wait and find out if we have a ship left before I a tear a fresh strip out of your hide, Matt. How hard-pressed are we going to be, here? The truth, Matt?”

“She’s newer, faster, more maneuverable, and she can cloak. We carry roughly the same amount of firepower, but hers is concentrated mostly in her forward arc, with just a single torpedo covering her rear—and none on her sides. That means she can hit us with more guns than we can reply with. Our shields are better, and Republic can sustain a much heavier amount of damage than she can, and we’ve got five torpedo tubes to her two. But honestly, Quincy? It’s a coin-toss.”

The doctor nodded. “I’ll be in sickbay, then, getting the surgery ready,” he finished with a grimace. “And remember, Captain Dahlgren,” he said as the turbolift came to a halt and the doors whistled open onto the bridge. “You can command this ship sitting down, and it is my professional opinion that you do exactly that.”

“I’ll bear that in mind, Quincy,” Matt said as he limped onto the bridge, using the cane to take more of his weight than normal. “I have the conn, Mister Chan.”

“Captain has the conn,” the XO replied as he stood. “IKS Val’qis has just left the Lorsham shipyard. Captain Krull is hailing us.”

“Miss Montoya, plot us a course to the nebula wall; flight time at Warp 9.5?”

“Eleven minutes, seventeen seconds from our current position.”

“Prepare to take into warp on my command, Miss Montoya.”

Chan grinned. “Val’qis is hailing us again; they seem rather upset that we have not yet responded.”

“On screen,” Matt said as he sat. The main viewer blanked and then the red-lit and steam-filled interior of the Klingon battlecruiser appeared on the display.

“Captain Krull, how may Star Fleet assist a cruiser belonging to House Mak’vegh today?”

P’tahk! Premier Vorshun has informed me of your desecration of the Cathedral of Ordan! Surrender your vessel, and I will allow your crew to live!”

“Captain Krull, I remind you that your actions will have severe consequences for the House of Mak’vegh. Are you certain you wish to start a war today?”

“Today is a good day to die, heretic. And it is you that shall awaken in Gre’thor this day!”

The screen returned to its normal view.

“Miss Montoya, NOW,” Matt said as he buckled a safety belt across his waist, holding him securely in his command chair.

“Aye, aye, Sir,” the helmsman said as she pivoted Republic on her axis and the ship leaped forward into Warp speed, just as the Klingon battlecruiser rounded the limb of the planet.

“Holding steady at Warp 9.5, Captain,” she called out.

“The Val’qis is pursuing, Captain Dahlgren,” Chan reported. “And closing.”

“Mister Malik, take the core to 125% of rated power,” Matt ordered. “Miss Montoya, increase speed to Warp 9.754. What is our ETA at this speed?”

“Two minutes, Captain,” the helmsman said as she increased power.

Val’qis is matching our speed increase, and closing. She will be in torpedo range in seventy-five seconds from . . . mark,” Chan added.

“Understood,” Matt said as he typed two short messages into the touchpad of his chair controls. “Miss Biddle, transmit the first message up the sub-space buoy chain we laid, prepare to transmit the second message the instant I order it; Mister Roshenko, you are authorized to return fire the instant Republic has been fired upon—don’t wait for my order.”

“Aye, aye, sir,” both officers answered, as the clock slowly ticked down.

“Time to nebula wall?”

“Forty-eight sec-,” the ship shuddered, interrupting Isabella, but she clung to her console, “-onds, MARK!”

Matt began to count, his lips moving soundlessly, and then he clenched his jaws, opened his eyes, and began to bark orders!

“Drop to impulse speed, and bring her about, Miss Montoya; I want her bow-on to the Val’qis! Mister Malik, reduce core to nominal, all shields to full power!”

Republic slowly and she spun around, completing her turn just as the Klingon battlecruiser dropped out of warp.

“She’s powering disruptors and torpedoes!” Grace barked out. Bolts of dark luminous green erupted from the prow of the Klingon cruiser, followed by the red glow of a high-powered torpedo. Without waiting for Matt’s instruction, Pavel fired a full spread of four torpedoes of his own, and three golden streams of energy shot out from the phaser array strips.

Republic shook—hard—as the full power disruptor cannons struck her forward shields, and then she trembled again as the photon torpedo slammed home behind them.

“Forward shields at 64%, Captain Dahlgren, damage reports on Decks 8 to 11,” Chan reported calmly. “Her shields are holding,” he added as two of the torpedoes and all three of the older and less powerful phasers Republic fired flared against the battlecruiser’s shields.

“Ahead full impulse, Miss Montoya; put us right up against her, if you can.”

The two ships moved directly towards each, both spitting death from their weapon systems and shuddering under the impact of unimaginable amounts of energy.

“Forward shields at 37%, Captain—her shields are buckling!” Chan shouted as a feedback loop blew out the secondary Science station, injuring the rating manning the console. Matt didn’t look away from his displays as Amanda Tsien called for a medic to come to the bridge, and then his head suddenly snapped up.

“Lock the forward tractor on her starboard nacelle, Miss Biddle! Port engines full astern, bring her around Isabella, use the tractor as a fulcrum!”

The entire ship shuddered and groaned, and then she whipped around as the Val’qis tore past, the mass of Republic wrenching her engine nacelle off-center and sending her spinning. More sparks flew, and the lights dimmed as the ship’s power drain soared.

"Forward tractor off-line—severe damage in tractor control!" Grace sang out.

And then the Val’qis went into cloak, fading from sight.

“Forward shields?”

“23% of nominal, Captain. Hull breaches on decks 5, 9, 10, 11, and 12—sealed by force fields and bulkheads. Sickbay reports multiple casualties.”

“Mister Malik, can you divert power to the forward shields?”

Not much, Captain; damn she hits hard for a ship her size!

“Do your best, Mister Malik. Chan, where is she?”

“Between us and the nebula, Captain Dahlgren—if she remained on or near her original course heading.”

Matt nodded as he tapped a series of numbers on his controls. “Mister Roshenko, target the following coordinates in the nebula and fire a twenty-second burst at 25% power—and polarize the beam negatively. Stand by on all other weapons.”

“Aye, aye, Sir,” the tactical officer crisply answered, even as he looked confused. “Firing now.”

The phaser beam reached out and tore through the dust clouds of the wall, and Chan began to grin as he saw the sudden ionization buildup within the clouds. “All hands, brace for impact!” he broadcast, just before the electrical buildup raced back down the phaser beam, struck Republic’s shields and rebounded, ionizing every object between the Federation cruiser and the nebula wall. And then the Klingon ship reappeared, blue electrical sparks arcing over the hull from the sudden storm of ions.

“NOW, Mister Roshenko!”

Once again Republic spat four torpedoes in rapid sequence, and a full-power phaser beam split the night of deep space—tearing into the unshielded hull of Val’qis and sending air (and a few Klingon warriors) streaming into the vacuum. But then her shields slammed into place just before the torpedoes struck home.

“Her shields are weak, but holding, Sir, and she’s coming about,” Chan said softly.

“All power to forward shields, Mister Chan. Miss Biddle, transmitte the second signal.”

“Aye, aye, Sir.”

Broken, battered, but unrelenting, the Klingon battlecruiser swooped in with her weapons emitters beginning to glow as they powered up, but suddenly there was movement within the nebula and a third ship emerged.

“IT’S THE PHOENIX!” Amanda squealed from her Science station.

The Nebula-class ship emerged from the dust clouds and unleashed its own heavy phasers and photon torpedoes on the Val’qis, catching Captain Krull completely by surprise, and throwing his shots at Republic off-target. Two more of Republics torpedoes slammed home, and then Phoenix fired her second volley—and the battlecruiser Val’qis simply exploded.

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 04:39 AM.
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Old March 4 2012, 11:42 PM   #20
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Twelve

“Captains Log, Stardate 53750.9, USS Republic. I have returned to Hak’ta-thor in company with USS Phoenix, under the command of Captain James Nelson. Jim is senior to me and has already reviewed our logs and actions here against the Lorsham. He has tentatively approved the actions which I took, but has also recommended that I stand before a Special Courts Martial inquiry back at Star Fleet Command to make the final determination. The Lorsham remain furious, and Phoenix was provided within an hour of her making orbit with a request for my extradition on charges of murder, destruction of national treasures, and piracy against the Lorsham people. Trials that they conducted in abstentia complete with a guilty verdict and a sentence of death. Jim refused their request.”

“I have recommended to Captain Nelson that Phoenix institute a blockade around Hak’ta-thor and the single remaining Lorsham colony, at least until the Federation Council make a decision on how exactly to deal with the Lorsham. Until we know for certain that all capacity to manufacture this drug has been destroyed, it would be folly to allow the Lorsham to once again have access to space travel. Jim Nelson concurred with that recommendation and ordered the Lorsham to evacuate their ship-yards in orbit—the Lorsham government complied with that demand under protest.”

“Due to the fact that we cannot confirm the destruction of every sample of the agent, USS Piper has been diverted back to her normal duties. As a newer ship in the Fleet, and one equipped with bio-neural gel-packs, the risk of infection is too great to have her enter the Cauldron. Admiral Parker is instead dispatching the Mediterranean-class science vessels USS Adriatic and USS Pacific to conduct a thorough scientific examination of the nebula and its systems. In addition, the older Renaissance-class cruiser USS Cabot is en route to assume blockade duty here in the Hak’ta-thor system, freeing Phoenix to return to normal operations.”

“We have reestablished contact with the Kraal, and after explaining the threat these Ordan artifacts pose, they have agreed to allow Star Fleet to destroy the single example that they possess. Perhaps some good will come out of this situation after all, for the Kraal government has asked for a representative of the Federation to begin discussing the normalization of relations in the Cauldron.”

“Field repairs aboard Republic are nearly complete, and we will soon be making our way back to Earth to undergo a full yard inspection and repairs. Our casualties during the battle with the Valqis were heavy—we have thirty-seven officers and crew dead and almost one hundred injured, two dozen of those severely. With the assistance of the medical department aboard Phoenix we have stabilized all of the wounded. The ship and crew performed beyond all of my expectations during the engagement, with the crew carrying out their assignments above and beyond the call of duty.”

“It is perhaps the most difficult part of command, writing the letters to the families of those who fall. It is a painful reality of life as the commander of a Star Fleet vessel with which I am far too familiar. The moreso in that the families want—no need—to hear that their loved ones died without suffering, and for a greater good. I can only hope that my words to these survivors will bring some measure of closure for their loss; although I fear that my articulation is not up to this dreadful task.”

The door to Matt’s cabin chimed.

“Computer, save log.”

“Saved.”

“Enter,” he barked.

Quincy and Natantael Malik, walked in, trailed by Chief Sandler.

“Gentlemen, take a seat. What can I do for you today?”

The ship’s surgeon and the chief of engineering sat, but the transporter chief remained standing . . . all of them appeared at a loss for words.

“I am waiting, gentlemen,” Matt said, puzzled.

Quincy shook his head. “I think we may have come up with a way to cure Sepak, Captain.”

Matt leaned back in his chair. “But?”

Sandler shook his head. “Sir, it has never been done before—I don’t know if the transporters can handle it.”

Now the Captain frowned. “Done what? From the beginning, Quincy.”

“Sepak is dying, Captain. Neither we nor Phoenix can stop the deterioration of his internal organs—his body is tearing itself apart. And we cannot even hope to develop a genuine cure in time.”

“But perhaps we don’t have to cure him, Skipper,” the Trill engineer interjected. “We have Sepak’s pattern from his second beam-down still stored in the transporter memory—I’ve checked, it’s there and there has been no degradation of signal. That was before he was infected, you see. So we put the Ambassador in the transporter, beam him into the buffer pattern confinement, and overwrite his current pattern with the stored pattern, before rematerialization!”

Matt’s jaw dropped. “Gentlemen, that breaks about forty regulations on the use of transporters—and I’m not sure exactly how many ethical standard of Star Fleet Medical!”

“Thirty-eight, Sir,” Sandler said glumly. “I won’t do it unless you order me to, Captain.”

“Matt, he’s dead in hours—not days, hours—if we don’t try something,” the Doctor pleaded.

“Has it ever been done—successfully—before?”

Malik shook his head. “Not on a living subject as complex as the Ambassador, but we have restored the patterns of inanimate objects using stored data; and there have been a limited number of tests of the theory on living creatures, including six tests two years ago on lab rats.”

“And those tests?” asked Matt.

“Two of the rat’s patterns didn’t hold; the other four came through intact—and healthy.”

“Gentlemen, you are asking me to take a grave risk here, not just for me but for Sepak.”

“He’s dead anyway, Matt, if we don’t try.”

Matt tapped his stylus on the corner of his deck, and he shook his head. “Jim Nelson will never grant permission for this attempt, Doctor, Commander. And we aren’t going to tell him, until after we find out whether or not we have save the Ambassador or killed him in the attempt. Mister Sandler,” he said to the transporter specialist, “your orders are given . . . I’ll put them in writing if you prefer.”

“That won’t be necessary, Captain.”

“When can we make the attempt, Commander?”

“Less than a hour, Sir.”

Matt nodded. “In that case, you’d best get cracking. Chief, whatever you need to make this work is at your disposal. Inform me before starting the attempt.”

“Dismissed, gentlemen,” Matt said quietly as the two seated officers stood, and followed the Chief out of Matt’s quarters.

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

“Well, gentlemen,” Matt said softly, “if we are going to try this, let’s do it.”

Sandler nodded. “I’ve set the transport parameters, Captain, and tied the unit into the main computer to refine the stored pattern. Power flow is looking good—but I’m still worried about the conduits holding. We’re taxing them beyond the system design.”

Matt stared at the Ambassador, sitting in a medical chair on the transporter pad. The once strong and solemn Vulcan was covered in sweat, his skin twitched, and his head bobbled, as Doctor Talbot wiped a thin line of drool from his jaw. Finally, Quincy stepped away.

Commander Malik was standing behind the console with Sandler, making some final adjustments to the power feeds, and preparing to assist the transporter chief, but at last he too nodded. “We’re on-line.”

“Energize,” said Matt.

The transporter hummed, and then Sepak and his chair faded out from sight.

“Dematerialization is complete,” Sandler commented. “I have his pattern in the primary buffer; overlaying secondary pattern now. Secondary pattern is in place. Reenergizing the unit.”

The transporter made a sharp whine, and the pads began to glow, and then the waterfall pattern of energy appeared—but they flickered and faded.

“Boost power to the emitters chief,” the engineer said as he adjusted another set of controls.

“Emitters at thirty-five percent past maximum, Commander. Increasing signal gain . . . pattern is still holding . . . holding . . . energizing again.”

Sepak and the chair began to appear, then they faded, and spark flew from behind an access panel. “We need more power!” Sandler cried as the transporter began to emit a much louder than normal hum.

“Diverting . . . power is flowing, Chief!”

Matt flinched as the cover of an access panel exploded outwards, the on-duty Marine grabbing a fire suppressor and quenching the electrical system.

“Boosting power,” the Chief snapped, “and reinitializing materialization sequence!”

This time the waterfall of light sparkled and Sepak reappeared, become solid, and then the lights dimmed, and the console crackled with arcs of electricity.

“Shutting down!” yelled Sandler, as the humming stopped, and Quincy jumped up onto the transporter pads, running his medical tricorder over the Vulcan.

“Cardio-stimulator!” he snapped to the nurse, who handed him a small device that the Doctor fixed to Sepak’s chest. “Charging . . . charging . . . CLEAR!”

The Ambassador jerked, and then once again fell lifeless.

“CLEAR!”

Once again the wan and waxen body jerked—and then Sepak gasped and drew in a deep breath.

The Vulcan moved his head from side to side and cocked an eyebrow. “Doctor Talbot? What . . . why . . . why am I restrained and where are clothes?”

Matt let out the deep breath he had held and stepped forward. “Ambassador, what is today’s Stardate?” he asked, even as Quincy was once again running the tricorder over Sepak’s body.

The Vulcan frowned. “Stardate 53750.1, Captain Dahlgren. I was in the process of beaming down to Hak’ta-thor, when I rematerialized here. What has occurred?”

“Ambassador, it is Stardate 53750.9. You were infected with the Lorsham mind-altering agent and have been in a healing trance ever since.”

“Ah . . . that does explain things. I take it that you have managed to remove the agent?”

“If you would quit moving around and talking, I might be able to determine that!” snapped Quincy. But then he stood up straight. “I can’t detect anything wrong with him, other than he hasn’t eaten in more than a week, Matt—but I want him back in Medical for a full examination.”

The Doctor grinned. “At least he’s awake and himself once again, Captain. Now we can treat his aides as well.”

Absolutely not!” Matt said harshly.

“It worked, Captain; we can cure them.”

“We almost lost Sepak, Doctor—you had to revive him. The effort nearly burnt out the transporter unit . . .”

“It did burn out, Sir, Transporter Room One is officially off-line until the Commander and I can make repairs,” added Sandler.

“Thank you, Chief. No. This option was only because Sepak was dying—and it was a hail Mary that worked, Doctor. We will not try it on men who aren’t in imminent threat of death.”

“Matt, their minds have been reprogrammed—wouldn’t you want someone to risk it to restore you?”

The Captain slowly shook his head. “No, Quincy. We were justified in the attempt with Sepak; and I am not going to risk killing either of his aides. Star Fleet Medical will find a cure—or they will perfect this one; but I can’t risk it or their lives. I’m sorry, Doctor, but that is my final word on this.”

He turned to face the Chief Engineer. “Mister Malik, I want their last beam-down patterns preserved—use whatever computer resources you need to make certain they do not degrade. But this experiment is now finished.”

“Aye, aye, Sir.”

“Ambassador,” Matt continued. “I’ll check in with you after the Doctor has finished his examination. It’s good to have you back, Sir.”

“Thank you, Captain Dahlgren. Did I miss much?”

Matt chuckled. “The Doctor will fill you in on the events of past few days, Mister Ambassador. Get some rest,” he finished before he limped over to the doors and exited.

The Vulcan looked up at the Doctor and began to open his mouth, but Quincy interrupted him. “After I go over your examination, Ambassador,” he said sternly.

And Sepak cocked an eyebrow. “I am certain that your version of the events will be fascinating, Doctor.”

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 04:52 AM.
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Old March 4 2012, 11:44 PM   #21
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Thirteen

“How the hell are you, Matt?” a quiet baritone voice asked from behind where the Captain stood looking over the small courtroom where he had been summoned.

He turned around slowly and looked with amazement at the sight of Benjamin Maxwell standing there, wearing his Star Fleet uniform. Slowly, Matt grinned, the grin turning into a warm smile.

“Cap . . .” Matt broke off, and shook his head as saw the small change in Maxwell’s collar insignia, “. . . pardon me, Commodore Maxwell. I didn’t know you were back in the Fleet, Sir. I’m well, thank you.”

“The hell you are, Matt. I know, I’ve been standing here—in this room—and for a lot worse that you’ve been accused of.”

The older man’s face darkened and his eyes glazed for a second. “Events proved me right, Matt, but the way I went about responding to the Cardassians was wrong.”

“When did you get called back?”

Maxwell snorted. “Two years ago. Leyton’s coup attempt and the Dominion War took out more senior officers than Star Fleet had lost for nearly a century—something I consider to be a good thing overall. I'll flat-out deny ever saying that if questioned, Matt. I was asked if I would come back and work with the Strategic Operations Planning Board. No command, of course, and there are several officers who resent my rehabilitation in the Fleet, but at least I’m wearing the uniform again.”

“It’s good to see you, Sir. I was worried that you wouldn’t have many visitors when I got orders to take command of Kearsage.”

Ben shook his head. “No, you were worried I’d wind up eating a phaser. Those days are over, Matt. I’ve . . . I’ve had counseling.”

“Yes, sir. What are you doing here, Sir? Come to watch your star pupil take his lumps?”

“No, Matt. I’m sitting on your board. Admiral Parker’s hand-picked board.”

Maxwell leaned close and whispered into Matt’s ear. “Like I said, Captain, don’t worry about this formality. We are going to ask you some tough questions, but by and large the board members are the kind of officers who don't have a problem with your actions.”

Maxwell stood up straight again and looked over the room. “I’d better mingle some, before a report gets back to my Counselor that I’m being anti-social. Keep your jaw up, Matt.”

“And watch out for low blows, aye, aye, Sir.”

Matt watched as one of the two men who had truly taught him how to be a Star Fleet officer moved away—the only Star Fleet mentor he had left since Edward Jellico’s death two years ago. He was looking far better than the last time Matt had seen him—the call of duty had been good for him.

A chime sounded, and Matt took his seat in the gallery as Maxwell and six other flag officers ascended a small dais—including Commodore Jurood among their number, and presided over by none other than Admiral Hawth Shran, the great-grandson of the legendry Thy'lek Shran. Admiral Shran had been the officer who almost single-handedly forced Star Fleet to confront their mistakes in the Leydon affair and the handling of the Dominion—and led the Federation to victory. There were no Vulcans or Betazeds among the seated flag officers, just the two Andorians, four humans, and a Denobulan.

Admiral Shran took a small hammer and tapped a silver bell on his table three times. “This Special Courts Martial Inquiry in the matter of the USS Republic, her Captain, Matthew Lawrence Dahlgren, and their actions in the Cauldron Nebula, is hereby convened. Be seated.”

There was a rustle as the observers and witnesses took their seats.

The Andorian glared at Matt. “Captain Dahlgren, are you prepared to offer your testimony?”

Matt stood. “I am, Sir.”

“And have you brought copies of your ship’s logs as you were ordered?”

“I have provided the logs to the to the Master-at-Arms, Sir.”

“Then take the stand, Captain. And let us begin this inquisition into the affair.”

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

Matt took a sip of water as he considered the latest question posed to him by Admiral Takiro Abe. He had been on the witness stand before the Board of Inquiry for nearly two hours, after which Chan, Jim Nelson, and Ambassador Sepak had all been grilled. And then Matt had been recalled, to clarify his answers to the probing inquiries into every aspect of the decisions that he had made in the Lorsham affair.

“Yes, Admiral,” he finally replied. “If I had the opportunity and the situation was the same, I would, after intense reflection, have proceeded in exactly the same manner. The Lorsham had already used a biological weapon against Ambassador Sepak and his aides, against the Kraal as well. They attempted to infect not only myself, but several members of my crew—and we can presume that they had subverted the entire complement of the Valqis as well. Given the same circumstances, I would once again act in the same manner—to eliminate a grave threat not only to my ship and crew, but to the entire Federation; to the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.”

Abe leaned back and scowled down at Matt from his elevated seat on the panel. “You would, once again, make an armed assault upon a race with whom the Federation has not declared war; a race that requested Federation assistance in the first place?”

“A race that had already committed acts of war upon the Federation, Admiral. Yes, sir, I would.”

“And you have no regrets—no remorse—over your actions?”

“Admiral, I regret that thirty-seven members of Star Fleet lost their lives. I regret that I was forced to engage the Valqis, and I regret that I was forced to kill a good number of Lorsham aboard their ships that attacked Republic. I am not remorseful for my actions, which I believe were justified in light of the threat posed by this biological weapon.”

“And your authorization of this procedure used on Ambassador Sepak, Captain Dahlgren,” the Denobulan commodore stated, “you took a major risk in authorizing a procedure in which so much could have gone wrong.”

“Yes I did, Commodore Thal. The decision to authorize this procedure was one that I felt had to be attempted; the Ambassador was dying. My ship’s surgeon—and the surgeon aboard the Phoenix—agreed that no conventional therapy could have stopped or slowed the deterioration of the Ambassador’s organs. I made the command decision to attempt to save his life—I expressly did not authorize any such attempts to cure his aides, whose lives were not in danger.”

The members of the board made notes on data-pads, but none asked another question. Admiral Hawth Shran twitched one of antennae. “Does the board have any additional questions for this witness?”

After a short pause, he nodded. “Very well. Captain Dahlgren, you are excused. The members of this Special Courts Martial Board of Inquiry will now retire to deliberate. Captain Dahlgren, you are subject to recall upon the conclusion of those deliberations. We are now in recess.” He tapped the silver bell three times and the members stood, and then filed out into an adjourning room.

Matt stood as well, waiting for the flag officers to finish exiting, and then he gingerly stepped down from the witness box and limped over to his executive officer.

“Well, they asked everything except what size uniform I wear, Chan,” he said.

“That information is already contained in your personnel file, Captain Dahlgren,” Chan answered with a grin, “they had no need to ask it.”

“Seriously, Matt,” he whispered, “your testimony was precise and on-target. I doubt you will receive more than a slap-on-the-wrist. Especially since my testimony corroborated yours completely and faithfully. As did that of the Ambassador and the record statement of Captain Nelson.”

“Well, except the small matter that I did break the Prime Directive, Chan—justified or not, I did.”

“Given the threat posed by the Lorsham, Captain Dahlgren, there was not much else you could do—and these men on the board are serving officers each with combat experience; they are not members of the Federation Council who have never in their lives commanded men and women in battle.”

“True, but I still . . .,” Matt’s voice trailed off as the Master-at-Arms snapped to attention, the door to the deliberation room opening again.

“All rise!” he intoned, and the court began filing back into the room.

Admiral Hawth Shran once again took his seat and he tapped the bell three times again. “Be seated, this Special Courts Martial Board of Inquiry is hereby reconvened. Captain Matthew Lawrence Dahlgren, step forward.”

Matt did so as the witnesses and observers took their seats. He stood ramrod straight directly before the court.

“Captain Matthew Lawrence Dahlgren, this board has determined that your actions in the Cauldron Nebula were justified in light of the danger this biological weapon posed to the United Federation of Planets. We shall recommend to the President that no charges be preferred against you for violating the Prime Directive in this instance. Further, the Board recommends that the logs of USS Republic, USS Phoenix, and the recordings of these proceedings be sealed. The events leading up to your intervention in the internal workings of the Lorsham government and culture are hereby classified. Neither you, nor any member of your crew, are to discuss these events unless questioned under oath by a justly convened Board of Inquiry.”

“For the official record,” and here Shran’s antennae twitched, “Star Fleet will publish that on Stardate 53750.7, USS Republic, under the command of Captain Dahlgren, responded to the distress call of Imperial Klingon Vessel Valqis, which had been critically damaged as the result of an ion storm in the Cauldron Nebula. While moving to assist Valqis, Republic suffered severe damage and was unable to prevent the loss of the Klingon vessel with all hands. USS Phoenix subsequently arrived on scene to provide assistance to USS Republic. The board further recommends that the Federation Council approve a permanent blockade and quarantine of the Hak’ta-thor system until a cure for the Lorsham biological weapon has been found. Captain Dahlgren, you and your officers are free to return to your vessel. This court is now adjourned.”

The Admiral tapped the silver bell three more times, and slowly the courtroom emptied.

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

“Captain?” the desktop terminal broadcast.

“Yes, Grace?” Matt answered setting down the stylus and rubbing his sore eyes.

“Admiral Parker is requesting a private secure channel to speak with you, Sir.”

“Put him through.”

Matt folded his reading glasses and turned the monitor to directly face him, just as the Josiah appeared on the screen. “Good morning, Admiral.”

“Matt. We’ve got a problem—how soon can you get Republic into warp?”

Matt jerked, and his jaw dropped. “You can’t be serious, Sir! We just arrived at McKinley yesterday! The station personnel haven’t even finished evaluating our damage, much less started repairs.”

“Captain Dahlgren. At 1400 hours tomorrow, Ambassador Delena Mar will be introducing a new resolution in the Council—a second resolution demanding that Republic be scrapped. And this time she’s throwing the Star Fleet a bone: she’s offering her full support behind restarting construction on a new Luna-class ship with which to replace your ship. Did you sleep with her sister, Matt, because that woman’s got a real beef with you and your ship both?”

“No, nothing like that. But I did have to brief her once when I was pulling desk duty down there—one of her aides made a snide comment I didn’t care for about how since peace has broken out Star Fleet is now obsolete and I cut him off at the knees. Didn’t think she was one for holding grudges.”

“Yeah, she is,” Josiah responded, rubbing a hand over his thinning scalp. “Bottom line, Matt—Republic has to be in warp, out of the solar system, and en route to her next assignment by 1300 hours tomorrow. That gives you twenty-seven hours. What do you need?”

Matt frowned as he pulled up the ship’s schematics on a separate hand-held data pad, shaking his head. “We might—might—get the hull patched and sealed in that time, but only if McKinley puts three or four work crews on us. I don’t see how we’re going to get the internal damage repaired in time.” Matt looked directly at his old friend. “And I haven’t had a single replacement report on board ship.”

“They are beaming aboard in twenty-two minutes, Captain. What else?”

Matt thought for several seconds. “I need to borrow eighty or ninety engineers from McKinley, Spacedock, Utopia Planitia, or Star Fleet Headquarters, hell, even the Academy.”

Borrow?”

“Long term loan, actually,” Matt said with a smile. “I’ve got 118 empty passenger quarters, Admiral, those engineers will let me fix my damage while underway. Oh, and I’ll need an industrial replicator programmed for all of our various parts—along with the raw materials for replication.”

Josiah stared at Matt for several moments, and then he took out a bottle of antacid and took a long slug. “I swear, Matt, it’d be simpler to let her scrap the ship—you still haven’t given back that officer and two crewmen you shanghaied from Jupiter Station!”

“Such a harsh word, shanghaied, Admiral. They were transferred aboard this ship under signed orders—signed by you—reassigning them to me.”

The CSO waved that off, and finally he nodded. “Okay—but I want these engineers back as soon as they fix your ship, Matt!”

“Agreed. You’ll get the ball rolling with McKinley?”

“Zak Jurood is meeting with Commodore Sampson at this very moment.”

“In that case, I think I have work to do.”

“That you do Captain.”

“Where are you sending us, by the way?” Matt quickly asked before Josiah could sever the transmission.

Josiah smiled. “I still hunting for something far enough away, and serious enough to warrant sending you back out on such short notice—but I’ll find something. Twenty-seven hours, Matt—and the clock is running.”

The screen blanked, and Matt sighed. He pressed the comm stud on his desk.

Yes, sir?” Grace Biddle answered promptly. “Miss Biddle, assemble the senior officers in the briefing room and I need to see Mister Shrak immediately.”

Yes, sir,” she replied curtly. “I’ve also got a request from McKinley to send another five engineering teams aboard, sir.”

“Beam ‘em over and expect more real soon. Now get cracking, Grace—we don’t have time to waste today.”

Aye, aye, Sir,” she answered as the comm cut out.

Oh boy, Matt thought. Here we go again.

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 05:06 AM.
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Old March 4 2012, 11:45 PM   #22
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Thirteen (cont.)

Matt grimaced as the Doctor probed the wound on his leg none too gently. Quincy kept shaking his head as he relied on his hands and eyes to judge the state of the wound instead of a medical scanner.

“If the Jem H’dar used normal weapons, this leg would be fully healed by now. But no, they use that damn polaron based energy that just borders on biogentic levels of insanity. It’s not enough that they almost severed your leg with that damned fire axe on Kearsage, but then they had to exposure the wounded tissue to the polaron radiation! And the anti-radiation treatments further retarded your natural tissue’s ability to respond to conventional treatments! I’ve half a mind to saw the damn thing off and give you a prosthetic, Matt.”

“Not going to happen, Quincy,” Matt grunted as the surgeon pressed his fingers deep into the ragged red scar tissue.

He snorted. “Having an artificial leg won’t turn you into a Borg, Matt! And with the advances in technology you won’t even notice after a few weeks.”

“I’m keeping my leg, Doctor,” Matt growled.

“Fine. Be stubborn,” Quincy said as he took out a hypo and jabbed it directly into the wound, causing Matt to flinch again.

“You enjoy that, don’t you? The Marquis de Sade had nothing on you for sadism, right?”

“Now, why would I ever enjoy inflicting pain and suffering upon a patient who doesn’t follow my directions for getting himself well? Your using the weights again, aren’t you?”

“It doesn’t hurt as bad since you switched me to the new drug, Quincy.”

The surgeon shook his head and sighed. “Matt, a pain-killer is not a cure. It only suppresses the pain—you are still doing damage to the muscle.”

“I’ve got to do my job,” Matt said, and then he swayed. “The room is spinning; wha-what did . . . you . . .?” The captain’s voice trailed off as he collapsed unconscious unto the couch.

“Yeah. So do I, Captain, Sir,” Quincy answered before he tapped his comm badge. “Doctor Talbot to Commander Shrak.”

This is Shrak.”

“Commander, I’ve just put the Captain asleep—and he is going to stay asleep for the next twelve hours come hell, high water, or the Borg. Can you intercept everything and keep this ship running in his absence?”

I think I can arrange that, Doctor."

"Good—oh, and I need two rating to haul some stuff from the Captain’s quarters to the medical storage locker.”

They will be there directly, Doctor Talbot.”

Quincy nodded as he reached down patted Matt on the shoulder. “If you won’t stop trying to exercise that leg on your own, I’ll hide the damn weights from you. And they can help me haul your ass to bed, Captain.”

The doctor got up, walked over to Matt’s liquor cabinet, and poured himself a stiff shot of Scotch. He raised the crystal to Matt in a salute. “Good night, sweet prince,” he said and then he took a sip. “Ah. I thought you were holding back on the good stuff.”

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

Bridge to Captain Dahlgren,” Chan’s comm badge chirped. He shifted in his seat in the far more spartan Executive Office immediately aft of the main bridge and closed his monitor screen.

“Commander Shrak,” he said tapping his comm unit.

Sir?” Grace Biddle’s puzzled voice answered. “I was trying to reach the Captain.”

“The Captain is getting some much needed rest, Miss Biddle. What is the emergency?”

I have a Lieutenant Vasa on the bridge, Sir. He’s one of the engineers from the McKinley. And he wants to set us equipment in a space that I felt I needed the Captain’s permission for.”

Chan frowned. “Is Miss Tsien on the bridge, Miss Biddle?”

Yes, Sir.”

“Turn the conn over to her and escort the Lieutenant to the Executive Office.”

Just a few moments later, the door chimed. “Come.”

The ship’s Operations Officer entered, trailed by a burly blond-haired man, who was nodded appreciatively. “Ja, I had forgotten that these old Korolev’s still had a day cabin for the Executive Officer—they don’t do that anymore on modern ships. Pity.”

“I am Commander Shrak, Lieutenant—what compartment do you need access to?”

The engineer shook his head. “Gustaf Vasa, Commander,” he said, clicking his heels together and tilting his head slightly. “I need to install an industrial replicator sent by Star Fleet Command.”

“I am aware that they are sending it, Lieutenant. Cargo bay two has been design . . .”

“Nej—I mean no, Commander Shrak, pardon the interruption,” the engineer cut in, even as Chan’s antennae twitched. “The power conduits are completely inappropriate in that location; the equipment must be moved.”

Chan leaned back, twirling his stylus in one hand. “Commander Malik, our chief engineer, assures me that the equipment can be installed there.”

“He is mistaken. Normal replicators? Ja. Ordnance replicators? Ja. Medical replicators. Ja. Industrial replicators? Nej. The conduits cannot handle the power drain for more than brief periods.”

“And where, then would you suggest this installing this incredibly bulky piece of equipment, Mister Vasa? We are a working starship—not a station.”

“Ja, that is the problem. Computer, schematic USS Republic on screen,” he barked and a wire diagram of the ship appeared on a wall mounted screen. Only the cargo holds are large enough—but they lack the proper power feeds. We could run new feeds, but these would be temporary and lack the proper shielding in the event of damage, like a Klingon-flavored ion storm, eh?” He chuckled.

“But, there are two compartments both large enough in volume and with the proper power connections,” the engineer continued, zooming in first on Deck 6 and then Deck 10. “Either would be appropriate for the installation. I just need to know which you prefer. Deck 10 is closer to the cargo bays and is somewhat easier to maneuver large pieces of equipment through, but either of these compartments will work.”

Chan’s antennae were now quivering. “You want to convert Holodeck 2 into your industrial replicator room?”

“Ja. Plenty of power available; we will remove the holo-projectors and it has ample volume. Even enough space to add a cargo transporter to beam in raw materials as needed from the cargo holds.”

“Miss Biddle,” Chan said as he looked up. “I think I know what the Captain would say in this circumstance: we are a Star Fleet vessel and not a luxury liner. Surely the crew can get by with a single Holodeck. Cancel all scheduled activities on Holodeck 2 and inform the crew that installation is no longer available for their recreation time. Mister Vasa, you have authorization to put your replicator there.”

“Thank you, Commander. A question, if I may ask?”

“Go ahead.”

“Could this ship use a replicator specialist, Commander? I would like to transfer aboard if possible—running replicators on a station is so boring. I do not think this ship will be boring. Sir.”

Chan’s antennae twitched again, and the corners of his mouth lifted slightly. “I’ll consider it, Lieutenant, after you’ve lost twenty kilos. Now, I’ve got work to do and so do both of you—the clock is ticking, people. Dismissed.”

Both the junior officers stood up straight and then filed out of the office, leaving Chan shaking his head as he pulled up the next requisition form in his inbox.

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 05:13 AM.
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Old March 4 2012, 11:46 PM   #23
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Fourteen

Commander Shrak, report to the Captain’s ready room. Commander Shrak, report to the Captain’s ready room.

Chan looked up at the sudden announcement over the ship’s speakers and he saved the mountain of Star Fleet paperwork he was slowly grinding through. The cover story that Command had devised was playing havoc with getting torpedo reloads onboard—since all he could put in the requisition blanks that demanded to know why the torpedoes had been expended was LOST DUE TO DAMAGE FROM ION STORM. Three times, the requisition had been sent back, electronically stamped DENIED.

The last requisition came with a curt note all but accusing the Andorian of smuggling torpedoes away to be sold on the black market! And said in no uncertain terms, that there was no reason an ion storm warranted the expenditure of nearly three dozen Mk. 60s.

Chan walked through the bridge, and he took in the quiet efficiency of the crew with a nod of satisfaction. They had come together, and while there were still rough edges among them, they were acting and conducting themselves like real Star Fleet officers and crew should. He continued through the port-side door and into the short corridor that led to Turbolift 2 and the door to Captain Dahlgren’s ready room.

He stopped before the door, standing straight and pulling his uniform to wipe away any creases before he pressed the stud.

“Come,” the intercom broadcast.

Chan walked into the ready room—the day cabin that served Captain Dahlgren as his office. It was twice the size of his own Executive Office, and included not only a desk and two guest chairs, but a comfortable couch, several shelves covered with books and items the Captain had collected over the years, and three transparent aluminum portals through which the executive officer could see the frantic EVA activity of McKinley Station.

“You wanted to see me, Captain Dahlgren?” Chan asked.

“I will presume that you are well aware that our surgeon drugged me, since no one came to wake me for my shift—the shift that you covered.”

“I was.”

“And you approve?”

“Begging your pardon, Captain Dahlgren, Sir, but you needed the rest. The ship is getting ready for space, the crew are working hard—but none of that means jack if you are not as ready as she is when the time comes to slip away from our berth.”

Matt grunted, and then gestured to one of the seats. He began to open his mouth, but then the doors hissed open and Yeoman Sinclair walked in with a covered serving tray, which she carried across to the desk.

Matt sat back and frowned as the middle-aged woman set down the tray, a napkin, and a set of silver utensils, and then she whisked the cover off to reveal a china plate covered with hash-brown potatoes, scrambled eggs, strips of crisp bacon, sausage links, and two slices of hot buttered toast with a small open jar of red plum jam.

“Nancy, I don’t have time for breakfast . . .” Matt began before the yeoman interrupted him.

“Make time, Sir. Chef Watanabe will be rather upset that his real—not replicated—meal has gone uneaten, Sir. Would the Captain prefer juice or milk, this morning?”

Matt smiled, and his stomach rumbled as he inhaled the rich steam rising from the plate. “Milk, and . . .”

“Milk, 500ml, chilled,” the yeoman instructed, taking the glass that suddenly materialized into the replicator. “Iced tea, southern style, sweetened, no citrus, 750ml.” Taking the second glass as well, Nancy Sinclair placed both on the right side of the platter.

“Will the Captain be needing anything else this morning?” she asked.

“No,” Matt said as he placed the napkin in his lap. “That will be all, Nancy.”

“Aye, aye, Sir; I’ll be back for the plate in half an hour. And I will check the replicator disposal log to see if you actually ate it, Sir.”

Where upon she turned on her heel and exited the ready room.

“The entire bloody crew wants to treat me with kid gloves, Chan,” Matt mumbled as he scooped up a forkful of eggs and potatoes and took a bite. He patted his lips with a second napkin.

“Repair status?”

“On schedule,” the Andorian answered with his antennae twitching. "Commander Malik believes that the last hull plate will in place and molecularly welded by 1200 hours, after which we can repressurize the compartments opened in the breach. Our new industrial replicator has been installed in Holodeck 2, and should be operational within the next twenty-four hours.”

“Holodeck 2?”

“The power supply there meets the needs of the unit better than the cargo bay. Or so Lieutenant Vasa assures me.”

“No great loss; have you . . .”

“Captain, please. All scheduled activities have been moved to Holodeck 1 and rotation assignments have been posted. I’ve also scheduled a close-quarters combat drill for security at 1900 hours tomorrow.”

Matt sprinkled some pepper across the steaming eggs, and then he began to mix them into his potatoes. “Let’s plan on a fire drill for tomorrow afternoon—we’ve got a lot of new people onboard and some exposed conduits and circuits. Get a feel at least for how they respond.”

“I’ll schedule it, Captain Dahlgren,” he said as Matt lifted a strip of bacon and bit off a piece.

“There is the slight matter of our torpedo reloads, however.”

“Oh?”

McKinley’s ordnance section doesn’t seem to want to believe that we expended thirty-four torpedoes in an ion storm. He denied our request for reloads.”

“I’ll speak with Commodore Sampson—I have a video conference with him in forty minutes anyway. But we’ll get those torps, Chan.”

“Indeed, Captain Dahlgren. I was quite ready to send Senior Chief Callaghan and some torpedomen over to obtain them.”

“Chan,” Matt said as he shook his head with a grin. “That is not how Star Fleet officers are supposed to operate. I’ll speak with Sampson—and Sampson will deal with that dunderhead. But have our torpedo crew stand by to check the reloads before they go into the magazines—he might try to pawn off damaged goods on us.”

“Of course—and if he does?”

“If he does, then inform the Senior Chief and grant him forty-five minutes of station leave,” Matt answered with a humorless smile as he lifted one of the sausage links. “Anything else I need to know from my hibernation?”

“No, sir.”

“Alright, Chan. We’ve got four hours to finish as much as we can, and then we are out of here. So crack the whip.”

“Aye, aye, Sir,” Chan answered as he rose, Matt spreading jam across one of the slices of toast as he turned to leave.

“And Chan?”

“Yes, Captain?”

“Thanks for keeping things running smooth in my absence.”

The antennae twitched again. “Indeed. I didn’t even need to threaten a flogging—you’ve scared the crew into jumping to obey my instructions. You pink-skin tyrant, you.”

Matt chuckled. “Miss Tsien has the conn?”

“Yes, sir, she does.”

“Fine, I’ll be out there after my talk with Commodore Sampson. Let’s get the old girl ready for space, Chan.”

“Ready or not, we will leave the station on schedule—you have my word, Sir.”

“Of that, Commander Shrak, I have not the least doubt.”

Chan half bowed as Matt took a deep sip of the cold milk and then another hefty bite of potatoes and eggs. And then the doors slid closed behind him.

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

Chan stepped out of the turbolift onto Deck 8 and he briskly strode down two corridors before the reaching the Logistics and Supply Office. He walked into the small and cramped compartment and then stopped in his tracks. Rather than the utilitarian décor he had expected, the LSO had dimmed lights, the bulkheads adorned in Tellarite tapestries, with carved vases adorning wooden cabinets. He could hear the gruff snoring and grunting from deep within the chest of Pok Khar’tess, the Lieutenant in charge of this vital department.

The Tellarite sat in his chair, his feet propped up on the desk, and the chair leaning back against the corner, braced by two bulkheads. Asleep. He was asleep.

The two ratings working at their consoles snapped to their feet as the Andorian had stormed in, but Pok still slept.

“Lieutenant,” Chan said. “LIEUTENANT!” he bellowed a second time. Causing the Logistics officer’s eyes to snap open and forcing him to flail to his arms to regain his balance, before sitting up.

“Ah,” he squinted, taking in his surroundings. “Ah, Commander Shrak. Welcome to Supply? Do you need additional refrigeration units attached to your environmental system controls?”

“Lieutenant Pok, you called me and requested a meeting.”

“Ah. Ah, yes, I did, didn’t I,” the Tellarite chuckled. “It takes a while for the brain to wake up from a deep REM sleep—didn’t they tell you in the Academy that waking a sleeping Tellarite is not a wise thing, Commander?”

“Sleeping on duty on this ship, Lieutenant Pok, is the definition not a wise thing.”

“On duty, off duty, someone always needs something from Supply, Commander. I all but live in my office these days—haven’t eaten a full meal in days, just snacks. I shall waste away before long!” he chuckled as he slapped his round belly.

“But now I remember why I asked you to pay us a visit. Come, come!” Pok said as he walked out of the office—and then stopped, looking back through the door at the ratings. “And those requisitions had best be complete when I return or I’ll have you doing calisthenics with Beck’s Marines!”

The Tellarite waddled down the corridor to Cargo Bay Three, where he entered a complex code into the door access, and it whistled open. “Here we are, Commander!” he said as he entered, waving a hand over the cavernous hall filled with crates full of supplies and spare parts.

“What am I supposed to the looking for, Lieutenant?” the Andorian asked, his antennae retracted and his face tight.

The Tellarite threw up both hands and shook his head, walked over to the stack of machinery covered with a tarp and ripped away the concealing cover. To unveil photon torpedo casings stacked upon two pallets.

“Voila!’

Chan froze. He stared at the photon torpedoes, and then he turned his gaze on the Tellarite and then he went back to staring at the torpedoes. “How did . . .”

“You don’t want to know, Commander. Really. But trust me, Endeavor doesn’t even know they are missing from her magazines. I did leave an . . . anonymous note so that they could replace them before that ship leaves dry-dock. It’s on a timer in their main computer—to be opened after we are well away from Sol,” he finished with a wheezing chuckle. “I know Lt. Commander Adrian of the station—we were in the same class at the Academy. He won’t give you the torpedoes Republic needs—not without a direct order from Star Fleet Command! Hah! There are many ways to skin the vort, though!”

The Tellarite squinted again at the executive officer. “Unless you want me to give them back?”

“No. No, Lieutenant Pok, I think we’ll go ahead and keep them,” Chan slowly said as he tapped his comm badge. “Commander Shrak to Torpedo Control—we’ve received a shipment of Mk. 60s in Cargo Three. Set a work crew down to inspect them before storing them in the magazines.”

Aye, aye, sir,” came the quick answer.

“And Pok?”

“Ah, yes, Sir?”

“I think you and I are going to have a little talk about what else you’ve managed to acquire off the books.”

Pok’s face fell and he began to wave his furry hands, stuttering at the back of the Andorian who was walking out of the cargo bay.

“A discussion and perhaps even a full audit,” Shrak’s voice trailed off and the Tellarite quickly waddled after him.

"A full audit?!?" the Tellarite wailed, wringing his hands.

Chan stopped and turned around. "Which will only be necessary if you are not completely truthful with me, Mister Pok. Now, what else have you managed to acquire?"

"A few odds, a few ends," sputtered the Tellarite. "I have a manifest in my office, of course."

Five minutes later, Shrak's eyes grew wide as he stared at the monitor screen. "Pok, you didn't . . . ?"

The Tellarite beam a smile. "I learned in the Cauldron, Commander, there is no such thing as too much firepower when fighting a Klingon battle cruiser. McKinley shouldn't miss them for at least a day; by which time we'll be well away from here. Besides, Adrian is a stuffy asshole, even by human standards; I think they call him a prick."

"You do realize our tubes are not rated to handle quantum torpedoes, Mister Pok?"

"Commander, I didn't ste . . .; ah, I mean acquire the entire torpedoes! I only took ten warheads. Surely our engineers can make them fit in a Mk. 60 case; even if we lose a bit of range the bigger bang is worth it. Yes?"

"Oh, yes," mumbled Chan, shaking his head.

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 05:23 AM.
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Old March 4 2012, 11:46 PM   #24
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Fourteen (cont.)

Matt limped onto the bridge and crossed the deck to his command chair, as Chan stood and stepped aside.

“Captain Dahlgren,” he said softly, “Mister Malik reports that all breaches have been sealed, the remaining repairs will be undertaken en route. All stations are manned, and Republic is ready to get under way.”

Matt nodded. “I’ve spoken with Captain Garvick aboard the Endeavor, Chan. Would you believe that she is missing thirty-four photon torpedoes from her magazine storage? Which happens to be precisely the number that we needed to top off our own magazines?”

“Just wait until you Commodore Sampson calls and wants to know why ten quantum warheads walked away from his own ordnance storage, Sir.”

Matt jerked. “Quantums? Quantums? Our tubes can’t shoot quantums!”

“Mister Malik thinks that we can adapt the Mk. 70-Q warheads to fit inside our Mk. 60 casings—we’ll lose some range and the tertiary guidance systems, and he and the ordnance specialists will have to refit each torpedo by hand; but he assures me it can be done.”

“And how, pray tell, are you scoundrels planning on priming the quantum torpedoes, Chan? The launchers are not designed for the influx of energy it takes to arm those warheads?”

“The main deflector plasma power conduit runs just below the forward launchers; Mister Malik believes that he can install a new bypass that will provide the needed power in a few days—especially with the new replicator and the horde of engineers we have onboard.”

Chan’s antennae twitched. “Of course, we could just transport the warheads back to McKinley if you want to go through proper channels.”

“Not on your life, Mister Shrak. I’m certain this crew stole them fair and square,” Matt answered with a smile. “Assume your station for departure.”

“Aye, aye, Sir.”

Matt sat, and he activated the ship-wide intercom.

“This is the Captain. To those of you who have recently joined the crew and complement of USS Republic, I welcome you aboard ship. As you are probably already aware, our vessel, this proud vessel, has a cloud hanging over her name. She bears a reputation that makes our fellow spacers in Star Fleet shake their heads and make disparaging remarks. They render insults that in truth this crew does not deserve. You are asking yourselves what have I done to warrant this?”

“Instead, you should be asking what am I going to do to restore Republic her good name. What actions will I take to make this ship the finest in the Fleet?”

“Gentlemen, ladies; reputations can lie. And those crew who were with me in the Cauldron will tell you that. Comrades! We have had our leave cut short—we will be sailing once again into depths of space, with repair parties still working on restoring this ship. We see the scorn in the eyes of our brother and sister officers of the Fleet; we see the disdain that the Council holds our ship in.”

“They do not know what you accomplished so recently; they do not know how Republic kicked the ass of a modern Klingon battle-cruiser; excuse me, a Class 10 ion storm!”

Chuckles arose across the bridge.

“They do not know, comrades, but it does not matter. Because we know. And the rumor mill run amuck is ensuring that even now, though the records are sealed, people are becoming aware of what this ship and her crew have accomplished. We have shed blood together and shed tears together; we have lost members of our family who gave to their lives to protect the citizens of the Federation, and the Kraal people from tyranny. It is up to you to show the universe that their lives were not given in vain!”

“Be proud of who and what you are! Crew and officers of the USS Republic! For today, we sail once more, our destination the Cygnus Sector, where we will join Admiral Hall on the frontiers of the Federation! Our mission to explore the unknown worlds that lay beyond our acknowledged borders, to seek out new cultures and civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before! Today we start a new era for USS Republic! Today, we will be that shining beacon that lights the path into the future!”

“Long ago, on Earth, many years before space-flight was little more than a dream of men often considered mad, mere authors weaving fictional tales of fantasy. Long ago, in that world, there was a great conflict between two differing ideologies, one that would have enshrined the enslavement of our fellow man and the other representing the ideals that we as a Federation carry forward to this day.”

“And from that conflict, there arose a song, ladies and gentlemen. Comrades, that song is out song.”

Matt pressed another stud and over the ship’s loudspeakers, a robust baritone voice began to sing.

Mine eyes have the seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; he hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword; His Truth is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Matt spoke up, even as the song continued to play throughout the ship. “This is our anthem, this is our legacy. This is the Battle Hymn of our own Republic! And if you will not live up to the promise of this ship, then so help me God I’ll kick your ass so fast and hard that you will achieve warp without a starship!”

More chuckles erupted as the song reverberated across the bulkheads and decks of the ship.

“Miss Montoya! Ahead dead slow, until we clear the berth, and then set course for the Cygnus Sector—Warp Seven.”

“Aye, aye, Sir!” she barked in answer.

Chan held one hand to his ear-piece. “Captain, Commodore Sampson and Lt. Commander Adrian are hailing us.”

“On speaker,” said Matt.

“Shall I discontinue the music, Captain Dahlgren?”

“No. Let them sing out, Mister Shrak.”

The Andorian’s antennae twitched, but he only said, “On screen.”

The station commander’s eyes grew wide as he heard the song thundering over the intercom. “Matt, we’ve got a problem.”

“Commodore. If you are referring to the missing quantum warheads, there is no problem. Sign them out to Republic—they are already in our magazines.”

The angry looking junior officer standing beside the Commodore slammed down his fist. “I’ll file every charge against you I can, you bloody thief! How dare you . . .”

“LIEUTENANT COMMNANDER!” barked Matt as he stood. “Speak to me in that insubordinate tone of voice again, and I will have you broken, Sir. I can—and will—transfer your ass aboard this ship and assign you every shit detail I have. Commodore, check with Admiral Parker and you will find we are authorized for a full magazine load—an authorization that this p’tahk ignored. We had to scrounge torpedoes from the Endeavor, although with the permission of Captain Garvick.”

Permission attained after the torpedoes, but permission nonetheless, Matt thought.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; he is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat!”

Sampson frowned. “God speed, Captain Dahlgren; I’ll have the paperwork cleared up retroactively—don’t do this again at my station. Is that understood, Captain?”

“Crystal, Sir.”

“We have cleared the berth, Sir,” Isabella called out from the helm.

“Then bring us about, and take into Warp, Miss Montoya,” Matt said as he sat once more.

Republic leaped forward as shot away from Earth, even as the voices continued to crescendo. “Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! His truth is marching on!

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 05:30 AM.
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Old March 4 2012, 11:48 PM   #25
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Fifteen

“Captain log, Stardate 53752.8, USS Republic. We have been underway now for twenty days en route to the Cygnus Sector. Ship’s morale continues to be high, although there have been several . . . confrontations between my regular crew and the engineers we temporarily have aboard ship. However, between the stern efforts of Commander Shrak, Commander Malik, and Commander Phillips (the senior officer of the Star Fleet Corps of Engineers personnel), I believe that we have managed to avert frustrations and discomfort from exploding into violence.”

“Our guests are not used to the discipline that Chan and I have managed to instill among the crew of Republic; in fact, many have protested to Commander Philips over the lack of access to Holodeck 1, as well as the limited nature of recreational programs that I will allow for their use. Sean Philips, however, understands that this is my ship—and he has backed my decisions to the hilt, despite his own private misgivings over the lack of options the crew has available for their downtime.”

Matt chuckled. “With the access to the library computer network, and its archival databanks of books, music, drama, comedy, sports, and a nearly unimaginable broad selection of subjects, I doubt that anyone on this ship—on any Star Fleet ship—can be seriously disconcerted by not having their own custom Holodeck fantasies. Complaints against this policy have gradually slowed, however, as the SCE personnel have come to realize that I simply will not give in to their whining. Assigning them to morning calisthenics with the Marine’s only hastened their acceptance of this reality.”

“I am concerned however about the sheer enthusiasm that my crew has shown concerning the SCE personnel and their critical skills in restoring ships and upgrading equipment.” Matt paused and he took a sip of his Scotch, rubbing his leg, and he shook his head. “So far, I’ve had seventy-nine separate memos sent by junior officers suggesting alterations to the ship. These have ranged from the mildly inventive to ideas that make me wonder if perhaps the Academy training program is not giving enough emphasis on practical engineering. Case in point, Ensign Park suggested that we replicate and install no less than sixty-six pulse phaser turrets on the primary and engineering hulls; completely ignoring the power requirements, conduit rerouting, and hull cutting that would have to go into such an endeavor. Not to mention that Republic would have to install another sixteen fire directors, targeting and tracking arrays, and find the space for an additional thirty-three phaser techs! Or that such a large number of pulse phasers would quickly drain every joule of energy from the ship's reactors!”

“Another suggestion made was the installation of a collimated phaser strip along the edge of the forward saucer, covering a 170-degree arc of fire from port-to-starboard. Not a bad suggestion on its face, Ensign Roberts failed to consider the drain on ship-wide power reserves, the need to lay nearly two kilometers of 15cm plasma power conduits through existing internal compartments, and that his proposed heavy phaser strip—using emitters normally reserved for planetary defense batteries!—would require the removal of the forward airlock and forty-four personnel quarters.” Matt shook his head and chuckled. "Apparently he was impressed by the disruptor cannons that Val'qis carried in her prow."

“I did not tear my Ensigns a raw strip from their hides, however. No, I bit my tongue, and simply forwarded the memos to the various department heads and Commander Shrak—who have now, I am quite certain—discussed precisely what the chain of command for such ideas is aboard this ship.”

“However, there was one idea which is both practical and eminently sensible. Ensign Hollis Trevane suggested that since we do have an industrial replicator and SCE personnel skilled in EVA, perhaps we can manufacture some ablative armor panels to reinforce critical areas of the ship’s hull. His suggestion has merit and I intend to carry it out at our first available opportunity. The added mass is negligible against Republics current tonnage, and the increase in protection for the ship and crew at no cost in power consumption is an excellent proposal. Commander Philips believes that his engineers can, if assisted by our crew, complete the installation of ablative armor plating over 84% of the ship’s external surface in less than two days at sub-light.”

“The production of so much plating, however, has dramatically eaten into our onboard supplies intended for the industrial replicator. We should have enough to armor vital sections of the exterior of the ship with just enough left over to reinforce the interior bulkheads surrounding the anti-matter containment pods. If we can produce a few more tons, I also plan on reinforcing the internal bulkheads around the warp core.”

“In order to accomplish the installation of the exterior armor plating, I am planning on a 96-hour layover at the New Columbia colony tomorrow. Once the SCE engineers have completed this task, I will inform Star Fleet Command to send a transport for them—as all of our internal repairs will be complete by that time as well. I have received a handful of requests for permanent assignment aboard Republic, some of which I am considering approving. Commander Philips has signed off on any transfers from his command to this ship; although I am not certain Admiral Parker would. Thankfully, he is far away on Earth.”

“If possible, I intend to allow the crew to get a few hours of liberty at New Columbia. Our time at Earth was too brief to allow them to visit their families, or go carousing in the case of our young Ensigns. I have already spoken with Commander Shrak, asking him to have a word with those on their first tour of duty. But that is for after the last of the repairs have been finished.”

Matt yawned. “Computer, save log.”

“Log saved.”

“Play recording Cassandra Dahlgren 023, Live from Notre Dame.”

“File loaded, playback commencing.”

Matt leaned back in his chair, taking another sip of the smooth whiskey as he listened to the recording of his daughter and her choral group performing at the ancient cathedral.

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

“We are approaching New Columbia, Sir,” Isabella called out from the helm.

Matt finished his update of the ship’s log and he shifted in his chair. “Very well, Miss Montoya. Drop to sub-light and assume standard orbit.”

“Aye, aye, Sir,” she replied and the stars streaking by on the view screen suddenly slowed.

“There is a starship in orbit of the colony, Captain,” the tactical officer called out suddenly. “Orion Clipper-class, transponder says she is the White Cloud.” Pavel looked up from his station with a grin. “I think we’ve surprised them, Sir—her warp drive is off-line and her shields are down.”

“Well, well, well,” mused Matt. “Miss Montoya, put us into orbit directly aft of that ship; Miss Biddle, stand by forward tractor in case they decide to run. Mister Chan, hail them and inform the master to stand by for a customs inspection.”

“With pleasure, Captain Dahlgren,” the Andorian replied.

“On viewer, Miss Biddle; magnify.”

The main view screen zoomed in on the Orion vessel coasting along in standard orbit. The Clipper-class ships were officially designated by the Orion Syndicate as fast cargo/courier vessels—but Starfleet considered them blockade runners, smugglers, and (on occasion) pirates. Standing orders for the Fleet was to conduct inspections of any Clipper in Federation space for illegal goods; more than one such inspection had revealed the transport of slaves. The problem with enforcing that decree was a rather simple one: like all Orion designed vessels, the Clippers were fast ships. Faster, in fact, than all but the most modern Star Fleet vessels, much less an older ship like Republic. Oh, they paid for that speed in having very lightly built unreinforced hulls, low-powered shields, and a limited array of older and weaker weaponry, but all too often they were simply able to outrun Star Fleet ships rather than submit to being boarded.

But every now and then, on rare occasion, a Federation vessel managed to catch them unawares—much like now. It was a task that the Blue Fleet in particular, with the Andorian’s hatred of pirates and slavers, excelled at. And if that ship was smuggling illegal items, well, then; under Federation law the ship could be impounded by Star Fleet to be either scrapped or sold at auction. Taking a Clipper-class as a prize—intact—was a definite feather in the cap of any starship.

Matt pressed a comm stud on his chair. “Security, bridge.”

Go ahead, Bridge,” came the voice of Lieutenant Beck.

“Prepare a customs inspection party—we’ve got an Orion vessel in orbit, Mister Beck. Commander Shrak will assign the inspection officers, but I want your Marines to provide security for the detail.”

Aye, aye, sir,” the Lieutenant answered.

“Captain, we are in tractor range,” Miss Biddle called out.

“Chan, any response?”

“None.”

Matt frowned. “Are their sensors active, Miss Tsien?”

“Yes, sir. Their proximity alarms should be going off, even if they don’t have a sensor watch manned.”

“Put them in a tractor lock, Miss Biddle; perhaps that will wake them up.”

“Aye, aye, Si . . .” she began, but was then interrupted by a shout from Amanda’s science station. “Captain! My sensors are showing no life forms aboard that vessel.”

Matt rotated his chair and stared at the young science officer. “Verify.”

“Confirmed, Sir.”

Chan ran his hands over his own board, and he shook his head. “Confirmed. No signs of life aboard that vessel, Captain Dahlgren.”

“Does she have internal power and life support?”

“Affirmative. Her warp core is shut down; her impulse engines are in standby mode; thrusters are at station-keeping. And her guns are cold; deflectors and shields off-line.”

“Hail the colony, Mister Shrak,” Matt said, as a chill ran down his spine.

“No response, Captain.”

“Curiouser and curiouser,” Matt whispered. “Yellow alert, Mister Shrak.”

“Setting Yellow Alert throughout the ship—our shields are now raised, Captain Dahlgren.”

“Amanda, scan the colony.”

“Aye, aye, Sir,” she replied as she bent over her console. And then she jerked upright. “Captain,” she gasped, “this can’t be right!”

“Miss Tsien?”

“I am detecting none of the colonists on the surface. Not one. There are supposed to be twelve thousand people down there, and I’m not detecting a single one of them!”

The bridge grew quiet. Matt turned back around to face Chan. “Mister Shrak, any signs of combat—either in the colony or aboard that ship?”

“None. And I confirm the sensor readings, Captain Dahlgren. I am detecting the native animal and plant life, but none of the colonists.”

Matt leaned back and he tapped his fingers on the arm of his command chair. “Mister Shrak, prepare a landing party—outfit them with EVA suits. I want full hazardous environment precautions, just in case there is some contamination of that ship or the colony. And make certain they are armed, Mister Shrak. Miss Tsien, you are relieved; I want a full science and medical team standing by to beam down once Mister Shrak and the Marines have secured the beam-down site.”

“Aye, aye, Sir. Permission to leave the bridge?” Chan asked, as Amanda stood.

“Granted. Find me some answers, Chan.”

“Mister Roshenko,” Matt continued, turning in his chair to face the tactical officer. “I want you to deploy twenty-four probes in an expanding shell towards the Oort Cloud. Full active sensor pallets with real-time telemetry back to the ship. Tie the probes into the science labs for analysis. In addition, I want a complete sensor sweep of the planet—maximum resolution. Let’s see if there is anyone on the surface, or anything in system.”

“Aye, aye, Sir. That will cut our supply of probes by half, Captain.”

“I am aware of that, Mister Roshenko. The added sensor reach is well worth the expenditure.”

“Aye, aye, Sir. It’ll take twenty minutes to prep that number and launch.”

“Understood. Miss Biddle?” he said as he rotated his chair back forward.

Grace turned and looked at the Captain. “Sir?”

“Miss Biddle, assemble a second away team—make certain that you include a few Marines from Lieutenant Beck’s security detachment. Same precautions as Mister Shrak; I want you in full EVA suits. Board White Cloud and go over every square millimeter of that ship. Try to find out what happened to her crew, make certain her systems and orbit are stable, search the vessel for contraband, and secure her. If she has been abandoned, and her systems are operational, I want a full decontamination of her interior before you go helmets off.” Matt paused, and then he smiled. “I’m assigning Crewman Zapata to your team—have him go through their computer and see what’s she been up to. I’ll leave the rest of your party up to you.”

“Aye, aye, Sir,” the operations officer said as she unhooked the restraining straps and stood. “Permission to leave the bridge, Sir?”

“Granted, Miss Biddle. And Miss Biddle?”

“Sir?”

Every member of your team beams over there armed—is that understood?”

“Yes, sir," Grace replied with a grimace. She was perhaps the only of Matt's senior officers (other than Counselor Trinculo) who did not care for carrying a weapon. "I will wear one, Sir."

Matt leaned forward and frowned at the lovely blue world on the viewer, and the sharply racked nacelles of the Orion Clipper hovering between the planet and Republic. He pressed a stud on the arm of his chair. “Bridge to Commander Philips.”

Philips here, Captain. I take it our EVA to install the armor will be delayed?"

“Yes, Mister Philips. Have we enough raw materials to fabricate two dozen probes?”

Easily, sir.”

“Then have Mister Vasa start the manufacturing process. I may need some of your engineers on the White Cloud or the surface, depending on what exactly my away teams discover, Commander. Do you have a problem with that?”

None, sir.”

“Good. Is Mister Malik there with you?”

Yes, sir.”

“Mister Malik, what is the minimum crew required of a Clipper-class vessel to safely bring her into port?”

They are highly automated, sir. At absolute minimum, an engineer and pilot can get her into warp, but I’d recommended at least one officer and around a dozen crew. Maybe a few more if she is going a long distance.”

“And her total accommodations?”

It varies, Sir. She’s small, about the size of the Nova-class, but a slaver has more life support capacity and accommodations than a blockade runner, or a yacht. The Orions custom build those ships—no two are exactly the same. But it can’t be more than sixty or seventy at full load, perhaps as many as a hundred if she is a slaver.”

“We might end up seizing her, Nat, and if so I will need a crew to man that ship until we reach a Starbase. Start going through the crew roster—and Philip’s engineers—and assemble a list of personnel to man her if we claim her as a prize.”

Aye, aye, Sir.”

“Miss Montoya?”

“Sir?”

“Miss Montoya, I will be in my ready room. It is precisely twenty-five steps from my desk there to my chair here. You will have the conn in my absence.”

Me?” she squealed, her voice rising two octaves, as Matt and Pavel Roshenko smiled.

“You, Miss Montoya. Lieutenant Commander Roshenko is your senior, but you will be the officer of the deck. You will have the conn. Inform me immediately if there is a status change,” Matt stood. “Pavel, let me know when you are ready to launch the probes. Miss Montoya, the conn is yours,” Matt continued with a sly smile as he stepped away from the chair.

“Aye, aye, Sir,” the helmsman answered, as she moved over towards and then sat down in his vacant chair. “I have the conn.”

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 05:45 AM.
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Old March 4 2012, 11:49 PM   #26
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Fifteen (cont.)

“Good seal, Mister Roberts?” asked Chief Bronson as he latched the helmet in place. Chris nodded and then gave the older NCO a thumbs up, but then he saw the chief chuckling through the visor of his own EVA helmet.

Chris blushed. “All green, Chief,” he said over the built-in comm.

“That’s the spirit, Sir. Keep your sense of humor and you’ll go far in this Star Fleet. First time wearing this setup for real?”

“Well, we did practice in a depressurized cargo bay aboard the training ship Kongo at the academy . . .” Chris’s voice trailed off.

“Take it slow and easy, Sir. White Cloud has internal gravity and atmosphere—but we don’t know about the composition of that atmosphere. Your air flow good?”

“Yes, Chief.”

“Give me a 360 rotation, Sir,” Bronson said as he backed away and set a wall monitor in Transporter Room 3 to display mode. As Chris slowly turned around in a circle, the camera built into the suit’s helmet showed the rest of the twelve-member away team making their own final preparations. “Good, good.”

“You are set, Mister Roberts. Got your tricorder and phaser?”

“Yes, Chief,” Chris answered in a slightly exasperated voice.

“You have loaded the schematics of the White Cloud into your tricorder?”

“Yes, Chief.”

“And your phaser is locked on stun?”

“Yes, Chief!”

“Check it, please, Mister Roberts,” Bronson half-suggested and half-ordered.

Chris pulled the phaser from his belt holster, keeping it pointed away from the rest of the crew. Yes, it was set on stun, and yes he had it locked to prevent the setting from being changed. “Yes, Chief, phaser is set.”

“Is it armed, Sir? Or do you still have it on safe mode?”

Chris blushed; no, he hadn’t armed the weapon—which meant it wouldn’t fire if he pressed the stud. “Yes, Chief; it’s armed now,” the ensign whispered as he pressed the priming key and placed the weapon back into its holster.

“Don’t worry none, Sir. My first away mission I forget to arm my phaser and got the surprise of my life when it didn’t work against two Nausicaan smugglers on Deneb Kaitos III. Got four broken ribs, a shattered scapula, and fractured skull from those two before the rest of my team could react—but I’ve never forgot to arm my phaser since, Mister Roberts.”

Grace Biddle stepped up onto the transporter pad with the first beam-in section. “Energize,” she said, and six sparkling waterfalls of light appeared and they vanished.

“Our turn, Mister Roberts,” the NCO whispered over the comm as he mounted the platform.

Chris followed and he turned around to face the transporter chief. And then he heard Isaac Bronson’s quiet voice again as the chief cleared his throat. “Mister Roberts, you are the senior officer of this section.”

Chris blushed, and he quickly looked to make certain everyone was on their assigned pad. “Energize,” he ordered, and the transporter hummed and came to life, beaming him across to the bridge of the White Cloud.

And then he materialized into a scene out of Hell. Chris gagged as he saw the bloody mass of twisted and distorted tissue and bone that oozed out of the captain’s chair. He quickly averted his eyes, but the helm, the navigation station, the tactical console, the engineering station—all of them were occupied by those . . . things.

He retched, seeing the trails of blood and feces and urine that covered the deck and bulkheads, and then Chief Bronson stepped up directly in front of him and took hold of his EVA suit.

“Deep breath, Mister Roberts! Don’t you vomit into that helmet, Sir!” he said quietly, his voice stern, but gentle—and filled with unease. “I’m increasing your O2 flow by 5%, take a deep breath, relax . . . and be glad we can’t smell this, Sir.”

Chris felt the cool, crisp airflow into the helmet increase slightly, and he nodded slowly. “Sorry, Chief; I wasn’t expecting . . .” his voice trailed off.

“Easy, Sir. Easy.”

Grace tapped her comm badge. “Away Team Two to Republic.”

Go ahead, Miss Biddle,” Chris heard the Captain say.

“Sir. We’ve found part of the White Cloud’s crew. Sir, they appear to have been caught in a transporter malfunction—their patterns . . . their patterns must have shifted and collapsed during materialization. It’s a mess over here, Sir.”

Understood, Miss Biddle; we are receiving your video transmission,” the Captain said in a tight clipped voice. “Do you need assistance?”

“Negative, Captain. We will begin sweeping the ship. Away Team Two, out.”

“Mister Zapata,” she said quietly. “It appears their main computer interface is on Deck 2; take Harrison and see what you can find there. We’ll divide into teams of two, people, and conduct a compartment by compartment search—including Jeffries tubes. Maintain communications with me and the ship. Leave the . . . bodies . . . alone for now—but get full tricorder scans for medical. She’s only got six decks, so this shouldn’t take long.”

As the away team divided up and began to move towards the turbolifts, she turned to the ensign. “Chris, you all right now?”

“Yes, ma’am. Sorry ma’am; it won’t happen again.”

“All right, then; get cracking Mister Roberts—Deck Three.”

“Aye, aye, ma’am,” Chris answered. “Chief, shall we?”

“After you, Mister Roberts.”

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

Chan materialized in the center square of the New Columbia colony, the early morning mist from the nearby lake covering the ground in a haze of fog. He waited until the other two beam-down sections arrived. “Divide into teams of two and conduct a search of the city,” he ordered. “Tricorders out; I want constant communication with all search teams. Take it slow and easy, gentlemen; let’s see if we can find where they have all gone off to.”

“Mister Park,” he said to the young engineering ensign. “You are with me.”

“Yes, sir.”

Chan opened his own tricorder and took a reading of the area, comparing it with the maps of the city stored in its databanks. Finally, he nodded and began to move off to the east—towards the tall hills that bordered the city on that side. “Their emergency shelters are in this direction, Mister Park; I think we will start our search there.”

“There’s no signs of combat, sir—and no bodies,” Jin Park commented as they walked, his tricorder humming.

“No. Just this mist. Atmospheric composition?”

“I’m not detecting any contaminants, Sir. And background radiation is exactly as the archive computers indicated; no trace of weapons fire, either. But, that’s odd.”

“What’s odd, Ensign?”

Jin stopped and he frowned at the tricorder. “I’ve got a power source up ahead, sir—a big one. And according to the schematic, there shouldn’t be anything putting out this kind of power in that location—it’s a park, Sir.”

“A park, Mister Park?” Chan said with a grim chuckle. “No need to answer that, Ensign.”

Chan took a look at his own tricorder, and adjusted the controls frowning. He tapped his comm badge. “This is Shrak. I want Lieutenant Bowen to report to my location immediately.”

“Come, Mister Park. Let’s see what is producing all of that power.”

The two officers continued walking through the streets of the city, and then they entered an expansive area of green trees, manicured grass still wet with the dew of the morning mist. And in the middle of the park, there was a massive device.

“Life signs, Mister Park?”

“None within two kilometers, sir. And only native lifeforms outside of that radius.”

Chan slowly approached the bulky object, his tricorder humming. “Ensign, does this design look familiar to you?”

“It’s generating a sub-space signal, but on a frequency I haven’t seen used before . . . Commander?” He suddenly paused. “Could it be a transporter beacon? I’m showing a stabilization of the sub-space field in the area around it.”

“Exactly what I was thinking, Ensign,” Chan said. From out of the mist, the shapes of Lieutenant Bowen and a Marine appeared, and Bowen whistled.

“That doesn’t look like it belongs here, Commander.”

“No, Lieutenant, thank you for stating the obvious. I want a full analysis of this device—Mister Park, assist Mister Bowen. Corporal Thiesman—you’re with me.”

As the two engineers began to inspect and study the object, Chan and the Marine moved out towards the emergency shelters. After a short walk, they reached the entrance, which was not sealed. Chan descended the steps, his tricorder humming as they went, and the Marine followed, his phaser rifle at the ready.

Seventy-five meters down, they reached the turbo-lift shafts that connected to the secure bunker one kilometer deep. Built in the aftermath of the Dominion attacks, emergency shelters such as this one were designed to house the population of the colony during even the worst planetary assaults—and they were shielded against sensors to prevent any attacker from detecting the people within. But the shelter was empty, with no sign that any of the colonists had attempted to reach it.

After searching the desolate, spartan rooms buried beneath the surface, Chan and Thiesman once again emerged on the surface, and Chan’s communicator beeped.

“This is Shrak.”

Bowen, Sir. Ensign Park is right—it’s a transporter beacon, but one a massive scale. I’ve never even seen plans for one this large.”

“Why would someone need such a device, Lieutenant,” Chan asked.

Sir . . . the only reason I can think of is that some is attempting interstellar transport. Given enough power, we know it is possible—but very difficult in theory. But with a transporter beacon of this magnitude, it might, might be accomplished, if the entity using the transporters has enough power.”

“Thank you, Mister Bowen. Shrak to Republic.”

Go ahead, Chan,” Matt answered.

“Sir, I think we’ve found something. There is a sub-space transporter beacon—a massive one—down here in the colony. It’s operating on a kappa-band sub-space frequency; retuning the lateral sensor arrays to that frequency might detect a transporter ionization trail.”

You think the colony was beamed away?

“Sir, I don’t know. But this beacon has to be here for a reason.”

Mister Roshenko is adjusting the sensors now, Chan . . . yes. There is a transporter trace on the colony and extending into deep space.”

“Captain,” Chan slowly said. “Mister Bowen believes that with a beacon this powerful, interstellar transport might be possible.”

Understood. Anything else?

“Negative, sir. No bodies, no colonists, and no signs of weapons fire in the colony itself. I don’t think the colonists are here anymore.”

Neither do I, Chan. Neither do I,” Matt paused. “And given what Grace found on the White Cloud . . . let’s get your search parties back aboard ship, Commander. I’ll put the science labs and Miss Tsien on tracking down that trace.

“Aye, aye, Sir.”

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 05:51 AM.
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Old March 4 2012, 11:51 PM   #27
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Sixteen

“. . . and as we thought, Sir, the instrumentation showed that all of the New Columbia colonists within the 5 kilometer range of the beacon were beamed away in the dead of night. The beacon contains a buffer; however, its memory was wiped immediately after the transport, and provided no information on where they were beamed to. Or any residual patterns.”

“Thank you, Mister Bowen, for your report,” Matt said quietly as the junior engineer sat back down. The Captain tapped his stylus on the conference table of the Primary Briefing Room, aft of the bridge. “Miss Biddle?”

Grace remained seated, but she did change the wall and table monitors from the schematic of the beacon to show a series of ship’s logs. “As you suspected, Sir, the logs aboard White Cloud were heavily encrypted, but Crewman Zapata was able to break that encryption. They indicate that the ship and her Orion crew were hired to deliver this beacon to New Columbia—by a being they refer to as Inderi. Neither the race nor gender of this being were revealed in the logs, but they were contracted on Havalis II.”

“Inderi hired the White Cloud to deliver the beacon, with instructions to approach New Columbia in the dead of night, colony time. Once in orbit, they were to beam down the device, and leave orbit—then they were to transmit a message via sub-space radio. They were instructed to return after two hours, retrieve the beacon and return to Havalis. No questions asked.”

The Ops officer sighed. “According to his logs, the Orion shipmaster decided to remain in orbit and transmit the sub-space signal. He thought that the device was a weapon being tested—and he wanted to record the evidence in case Star Fleet tracked him down afterwards. We have the bridge recordings of what happened next,” she continued quietly, and pressed another stud.

The monitors showed the crew of the Orion ship going about their stations, and then each was caught in the stream of a transporter beam. They began to scream as their flesh shifted and melted, and Matt could hear Andrea Trincullo gasp, and Amanda Tsien gag.

“Computer monitor off; stop playback,” he said quietly. “Continue, Miss Biddle.”

Grace nodded; her face pale and drawn. “White Cloud was caught in the beam, but not in the range of the beacon. Her crew partially dematerialized, but not fully—and their own movements within the transporter stream literally shredded their patterns. I’ve seen a few examples of this in the records from the earliest days of transporter experimentation, along with a handful of accidents, but nothing on this scale. Every member of that ship’s crew, their pattern was altered, broken—and then the beam ended. And they rematerialized. The lucky ones were already dead, but at least four lived for several hours. And they all remained conscious and fully aware of what was happening during the transport.”

“The worst was the ship’s owner—who wasn’t the same as its master. He was in his cabin with the slave girls of his harm; all five of them. They were fused into a single organic being, it was . . .” Grace shook her head and tightened her lips. “Structurally, the ship is sound, and she is carrying goods that are illegal in Federation space.”

“Miss Tsien?” Matt said after Grace went quiet.

The science officer also hit a control and the wall monitor flared back to life projecting the spatial geography of the immediate space surrounding New Columbia. Perched right on the frontier, the colony led to a narrow passage between Romulan and Ferengi space to the Cygnus Sector, with dozens of independent systems interspaced. “Transporters normally leave a minute trace behind that under normal conditions dissipates fairly rapidly. This was not a normal use of the transporter as we understand it. It left a trace that our sensors have been able to identify,” she touched the stud again and a blinking line appeared that stretched out away from New Columbia. “We’ve only been able to resolve the trace out to one light-year, but I’ve configured the lateral sensors and the long-range sensors to detect it, Captain. We will have to keep Warp speeds fairly low—Warp Four, perhaps even Warp Three—in order to back-trace it, but the sensors can handle the task.”

“How long until the trace dissipates, Miss Tsien?” asked Chan.

She shook her head. “Hours? Days? I don’t know for certain, Commander Shrak.”

Pavel stared at the star charts. “The trace isn’t heading towards Havalis II.”

“No, Mister Roshenko, it isn’t,” Matt answered.

“Nat,” he said to the chief engineer. “I want an all hands effort get the White Cloud ready for space—including a proper burial for the crew. Lieutenant Bowen. I am appointing you as the executive officer aboard the White Cloud, assisting Commander Philips who will be in command. Sean,” he said to the Corps of Engineers officer, “I’m going to assign you some of Mister Beck’s Marines. Your jacket indicates you did two tours with Star Fleet Intelligence, and I want you to take that ship to Havalis II and find this Inderi.”

“Aye, aye, Sir.”

Matt smiled grimly. “Don’t worry, Sean; I’m not going to stick you out on a limb here. I’ll be informing Star Fleet Command of the situation immediately after this briefing—and if they say no, we won’t do this. But from Admiral Parker’s briefing, there aren’t too many starships in this ‘quiet little sector’. I think we are going to have to handle this ourselves.”

“While you are heading to Havalis II, I will take Republic and back-trace the transporter trail; either until we find the planet of origin or it ends.”

“And then, Sir?” asked Commander Philips.

“And then, Commander, I have to decide how to deal with people who abduct twelve thousand citizens of the United Federation of Planets. I think a photon torpedo or four delivered a few kilometers outside their capital will be a good place to begin negotiations from,” he finished with a perfectly straight face.

And the low growl in answer from his own officers showed that they agreed.

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

“My god,” Josiah Parker said over the secure sub-space channel. “Someone transported away all twelve thousand of the colonists? Everyone?”

Matt just sat there and slowly nodded. “I’ve got a few leads, Admiral Parker, but I felt I needed to send this up the chain just as fast as possible.”

“Yeah,” Josiah said as he sat back, running his hand through his thinning hair; hair that was getting greyer by the day. “We are stretched too thin, Matt. The closest ships I’ve got are Sig Hansen’s security group at Starbase 114.” Josiah frowned. “He’s flying his flag from the Akira-class Blackhawk, and he also has the Defiants Balao and Thunderer, plus the Steamrunners Arrogant and Franklin.”

He concentrated on a monitor off-screen of the small viewer on Matt’s desk, and then he looked up. “Balao can be there in five days—if her drives hold together for that long. Arrogant in seven, but Blackhawk is the middle of a warp core refit. Franklin and Thunderer are at least ten days out.”

Matt grimaced. “I don’t like pulling all the ships off this section of the border, Admiral. Like I said, I’ve got a couple of leads—and I am putting a prize crew on White Cloud, with Sean Philips as her commander.”

Josiah nodded his approval. “Sean’s overdue for a fourth pip. But those Clippers don’t carry a lot of firepower, and their fragility . . .”

“I’m not planning on sending Sean into combat—I hope. I’ll be sending him to Havalis II to try and track down this Inderi, with a few of my Marines as backup.”

And Josiah winced again. “Technically Havalis II is an independent system, but it is really an outpost for the Ferengi Commerce Authority . . . they will not like a ship crewed by Star Fleet poking our nose into their business there.”

“Consider this a chance to hone your diplomatic skills, Admiral,” Matt said with a wry smile.

“And Republic?”

“I’ll be taking her after whoever beamed away the colonists. We’ve got a transporter trace that might lead us to where they taken. Since we don’t know what we are dealing with here, Admiral, I might need some of that backup,” Matt finished with an unhappy expression on his face.

“Agreed. I’ll also cut orders for Independence to get underway immediately. She can be there in eight days at maximum warp.”

Matt raised an eyebrow. “A Sovereign? You are taking this seriously.”

“Matt you are talking about someone who can beam twelve thousand people between star systems. We’ve met a few races, including the Dominion, with interstellar transporter technology, but not on this scale. But that is beside the point. Yes, pursue this matter, and find out where our people are—or if they are even still alive.”

“And if they aren’t, Admiral?” Matt asked softly.

“If it were up to me, I’d . . . damn, Matt," the Chief of Star Fleet Operations said, as he shook his head. "I'm not certain what I'd do. I will need to brief the President.”

"We'll find them, Sir. And we will bring them home."

“Godspeed, Captain Dahlgren—and good hunting.”

Matt leaned back in his chair as the screen blanked and tapped his comm badge.

“Dahlgren to Shrak.”

Sir.”

“Status on our transfers to White Cloud?”

Fifteen minutes and she will be ready for departure, Captain Dahlgren.”

“Very well, Mister Shrak; I’ll be on the bridge shortly. Have Miss Montoya lay in a course along the path of the transport trace at the highest warp speed which allows Miss Tsien to detect its course. Engage as soon as the transfers are complete.”

Aye, aye, Sir.”

“And Chan?”

Sir?”

“I want shields up and weapons manned and ready.”

Aye, aye, Sir.”

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 06:01 AM.
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Old March 4 2012, 11:52 PM   #28
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Sixteen (cont.)

Sean Philips watch the view screen as Republic spun around and then quickly accelerated to warp on the trail of the transporter trace. The sparkle and flash of light as she broke the Warp barrier faded from the viewer, and then he turned around to face the handful of crewmen he had assembled on the bridge of the White Cloud.

“All right, folks, we’ve a job to do—and that ship and the colonists are depending on us to do it right,” he said. “Mister Bowen; excuse me, Gerald,” Sean said with a smile, “we are going into the heart of darkness; a Ferengi trade world. Collect uniforms from everyone and seal them away in the ship’s vault.”

One of the marines jerked. “This ship has a freaking vault?” she asked.

“Yeah, Sandy,” Sean answered, shaking his head. “With thirty-five kilos of gold-pressed latinum stored inside. Among other things.”

The Marines, Philips engineer’s, and Bowen shook their heads in shock. Crewman Herman Zapata blurted out, “That’s 3,500 hundred bars of latinum!”

“Ah, Skipper,” one of the engineers cut in, “turn in our uniforms? Are we going naked then?”

“Don’t you wish, Will,” muttered Sandy.

Sean shook his head. “No, ladies and gentlemen. Civilian clothes—we aren’t Star Fleet anymore, we are Orion pirates! And speaking of which, I’ll need your comm badges as well.”

He sat down a box of Orion wrist-comms. “Use these instead—I replicated them myself and each has a transporter beacon built in, and all the capabilities of our normal comm badges besides. Marines, there is a fully stocked armory with a hodge-podge of weapons—pick your own, but I don’t want to see Star Fleet phasers on every person; that’s not how the Orions roll.”

“What about medical?” Gerald asked as he dropped his comm badge into the box, took one of the wrist-comms and locked it in place on his arm. “We don’t have a doctor, Commander.”

“No ranks, Gerald. And not exactly on the doctor. Computer,” he said, “activate Emergency Medical Hologram.”

There was a flash of light and a holographic image of a bald headed man dressed in Star Fleet uniform suddenly appeared on the bridge. “What is the nature of your medical emergency?” he asked, and then cocked his head to one side. “Star Fleet? Star Fleet! It’s about time you came to rescue me!”

“An EMH! How the devil did the Orions get an EMH!” Bowen exclaimed.

“They stole it; and this ship has holo-emitters everywhere; the doctor can travel throughout the ship, including the Jefferies tubes.”

The hologram looked around and then his face fell, and he sighed. “I’m not going back to Star Fleet am I?” it asked.

Sean grinned. “You are, but first we are going undercover.”

“I’m a Doctor, damn it, not a spook!”

“There are twelve thousand civilian lives at stake here, Doctor,” Sean answered. “We’ve got to track down Inderi and try and find them.”

“Inderi? I met her the last time she came aboard—treated her for some radiation poisoning back on Havalis II. First time in months I’ve had to treat anything other than sexual transmitted diseases; you wouldn’t believe the things I have had to deal . . .”

“I really don’t need to know this part, Doctor,” Sean said.

“. . . with, being treated like a piece of furniture and not a highly skilled, trained surgeon and physician that I am; and now I get to pretend to be a undercover field agent . . .”

“Computer, end EMH program,” Sean said, as the Doctor looked up at him sharply, and then faded out.

“Annoying bugger, isn’t he?” The engineer shook her head and turned a serious face on his crew. “Get squared away, get changed, and get to your stations. We are moving out in ten minutes for Havalis. And don’t worry about the risk of contamination; your quarters were thoroughly disinfected before your arrival.”

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

Sean walked through the doors to the spacious and luxuriously appointed ready room, aft of the bridge. He shook his head. The Orions really did like their creature comforts, he thought as he circled the marble desk, his booted feet sinking deep into the plush carpeting of the deck. He sat down in the chair, and jerked as the seat began to conform to precisely to his body—it was unnerving. He shook his head though.

“Computer, activate EMH.”

“Please state the nature of the medical emer . . . oh, it’s you again. Didn’t you get enough of a laugh by shutting me off in mid-sentence once?”

“You said that you met Inderi?”

“Yes. She didn’t talk much, but was in much better health than the original crew of this vessel—even with the radiation poisoning.”

“Tell me about her.”

The holographic doctor frowned. “I am bound by doctor-patient confidentiality. Medical ethics are a large part of my programming.”

“And how’s your survival instincts, Doctor? I have a crack computer-man sitting out there would love to take a peek at your core programming.”

“Threats? Can’t you solids interacts with holograms in any manner other than threats? You are as bad as the Orions, I have half a mind to rep . . .”

“Doctor? Inderi?”

The hologram sighed. “What do you want to know?”

“Race, gender, height, weight—a picture would be good. Your impressions of her—why she was aboard this ship; that sort of thing.”

“Well, she is a she: a female Antaran. Reasonably intelligent, but obviously a criminal who associates with the Orion Syndicates; although I got the impression that she was more of a free-lancer than part and parcel of the Orion mob.”

The Doctor turned the captains monitor around and tapped a few keys, and then spun it back aground again, this time with a picture of an Antaran female on the screen. “That’s her height, weight, skin coloration, eye coloration, and cranial ridge patterns. I cannot, ethically tell any more of her medical condition than she was suffering from low levels of radiation poisoning.”

“Exotic radiations?”

“No, it appeared more to be leakage from her ship—an old Vulcan Warp-shuttle, Shirak-class, I think she said. The impulse engine shielding needs to be replaced, she’s being deluged with beta-particles; in low doses, of course, but over the long-term she will suffer serious medical side effects if she does not repair the engine.”

“Anything else, Doctor?”

“Oh, so you can ask nicely—that’s good to know. I was not privy to any of her conversations with Baron Jowar, or Shipmaster Palin. And she discussed nothing with me in sickbay except for her medical status. Well, we did talk a bit about her needing to make a long-distance flight in the shuttle after the ship returns to Havalis II. I, of course, recommended against such a flight until after the impulse shield has been replaced. But I do not believe she was planning on taking my advice.”

“How long a flight, did she say?”

“Eleven days at warp, she said.”

Sean leaned back, and once again the seat began crawling over his back. He shook his head and stood up, activating his wrist-comm. “Gerald.”

“Sir.”

“Pull up the specs on the old Shirak-class warp shuttle; I want to know all possible destinations within eleven days of Havalis II at her maximum warp capacity. And configure the sensors to detect beta-emissions from a poorly maintained Shirak-class impulse engine.”

“Aye, aye, Sir.”

“Thank you Doctor, you have been most helpful.”

“I am so happy that you feel that way, Sir. The chair is not to your liking?”

“No; I’d rather have something a bit more solid.”

The hologram sighed. “Computer, disable automatic metamorphic adaptations in Baron Jowar’s day-office. And now, you may deactivate me if there is not a real medical emergency at hand.”

“Computer, end EMH.”

Sean sat back down slowly, and this time the chair remained solid and firm. I’ll be, he thought.

He keyed his wrist-comm again. “Zapata.”

“Sir?”

“Can you change the EMH’s appearance?”

There was a pause. “I believe so, sir.”

“Good. I’ll send you the physical profile of Baron Jowar—the previous owner of this vessel. Let’s make sure that Inderi gets to meet the good Baron once again."

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 06:05 AM.
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Old March 4 2012, 11:53 PM   #29
MasterArminas
Commander
 
Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Seventeen

“Captain’s Log, Stardate 53753.0, USS Republic. We have been trailing the abduction of the colonists from New Columbia for more than twelve hours now. As predicated by Miss Tsien, the transporter trace is grower weaker and weaker, forcing us to slow to Warp Three in order for our sensors to detect it. I have, of course, had Stellar Cartography plot the track forward to identify any star systems that lie within its path—and there are three that might be the origination point. I cannot, however, discount the possibility that the colonists were beamed aboard a ship of some sort, so we continue our slow progress searching for any evidence we can find.”

“So far, we have not detected any signs that a ship was involved; having no trace of warp drives being in use in this region for the past forty-eight hours. I am tempted to simply bypass following the trace to investigate the systems ahead in more detail, but at the current rate of signature decay, we will only be able to detect the trace for another seven hours. No. On the chance that the colonists were beamed aboard a ship I will continue to follow this trace until it dissipates below the threshold of sensor sensitivity.”

“The current plot draws close to the Romulan border, although it does not—quite—cross into their space. I suspect that our presence here, and the leisurely advance of Republic with every sensor onboard lit up has provoked questions among the border outposts. Although the Star Empire was our allies against the Dominion a short time ago, they remain as vigilant as ever at defending the slightest incursion into their space. Accordingly, I have directed that the crew remain at Condition Two under modified Yellow Alert, rotating on-and-off duty in four hour shifts, while maintaining raised shields and manned weapon stations.”

“Computer, save log entry,” Matt said. He finished the last of a tall glass of iced tea and then he stood and limped over to his private head and relieved himself.

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

“Mister Shrak, I have the conn,” Matt announced as he entered the confines of the bridge.

The Andorian stood and he nodded as he stepped aside. “Captain has the conn.”

“Any change?”

“None, Captain Dahlgren; the trace continues to dissipate at the projected rates. No contacts—hostile or friendly—on long- or medium-range sensors. We are collecting a great deal of information on the Romulan border defenses, however—and some of their outposts are attempting to jam our sensors.”

“Attempting?”

“Unsuccessfully, Captain.”

“Very well, Chan; get some rack time. I’ll see you in four . . .”

“CONTACT!” Barked out Pavel Roshenko from Tactical. “Romulan Warbird decloaking! Valdore-class, Captain; she has her shields raised and her weapons are armed. Sir; they are hailing us.”

“Have they crossed the border, Mister Roshenko?”

“No, sir.”

“On screen, Mister Roshenko,” Matt said calmly, as Chan made his way to the Mission Ops console and took station behind it.

The main viewer blanked and then projected the image of a Romulan Commander, seated in front of the Imperial Eagle of the Star Empire.

“I am Commander Borahn, of the Warbird Nei’rrhael.”

“And I am Matthew Dahlgren, Captain of the Federation starship Republic. What can we assist the Star Empire with today, Commander?”

The Romulan folded his hands before him on the screen and adjusted his jaw. “We could not help but notice the . . . stately pace of your advance in parallel to our border, Captain Dahlgren.” And his features hardened. “And your probing of our outposts with your sensors. Both are most unusual for a Federation vessel; particularly here so far away from core systems.”

“Ah, yes. I have decided to stroll through the Corridor, Commander Borahn, rather than sprint.”

“Stroll?”

“Have you ever felt that sometimes the press of duty calls upon us all to rush by and ignore the majestic beauty of space, Commander? I am en route to the Cygnus sector, and have chosen to take a more leisurely speed to admire the stellar formations here.”

“With your shields raised and your weapons armed? Most unusual for a vessel looking at the stars.”

Matt chuckled. “I told you, Mister Shrak, that we couldn’t fool a Romulan.”

“Yes, sir,” the executive officer answered, forcing his antennae to twitch. And the Romulan’s expression changed to one of consternation.

“Some of my officers have proposed that you are spying on the Empire, Captain . . . this is not a laughing matter.”

“Oh, we are not spying on the Star Empire, Commander. We are hoping to attract two rouge Ferengi marauders that have been preying on Federation and neutral shipping.”

The jaw of the Romulan tightened again. “We have had no reports of any such marauders.”

“The Ferengi choose weaker prey, Commander. Do you expect them to cross your border and assault your shipping?”

Commander Borahn sat back, and the corner of his mouth lifted in a smile. “Your Federation is not weak, as much as I would rather not admit it.”

“No, but we are stretched thin—as is the Star Empire. And we normally do not answer a Ferengi overreach with plasma torpedoes—as does the Star Empire.”

“You speak the truth, Captain. But I fail to see what you hope to achieve . . . your vessel is a relic of times long ago; two marauders with capable Damons will make short work of you.”

“That is quite simple, Commander Borahn—we’re bait.”

The Romulan squinted. “Bait? Bait implies a fisherman; yet you are alone.”

“Perhaps not as alone as you might think, Commander.”

“Captain, our sensors do not lie—your ship is the only Federation vessel in this quadrant.”

“Did I say that our fishermen were Federation, Commander?”

“No, but I doubt that Martok would send a ship so far.”

“Gowron would not have . . . but Gowron is now dead, Commander Borahn. And Chancellor Martok realizes the debt that the Klingon Empire owes to the Federation.”

“Still, a bird of prey or two will not avail you against . . . any attacker.”

“Again you make assumptions, Commander. A Bat’lah-class battle cruiser is neither weak nor decrepit.”

The Romulan leaned forward, one eyebrow raised. “A Bat’lah? The Klingons, not even that foolish Martok would send such a powerful ship so far for Ferengi.”

He sat back. “I have half a mind to cross the border, and see for myself, Captain, just what your intentions truly are.”

“That would be most unwise, Commander Borahn. Mister Shrak, signal the Valqis and ask Captain Krull to launch his attack the moment Nei’rrhael crosses into Federation space. Mister Roshenko, arm photon torpedoes.”

Borahn sat back and folded his hands together again. “I think you are bluffing, Captain.”

“Yes, because the Federation has never confronted the Star Empire with cloaked Klingon battle cruisers in support.”

For several moments neither captain said a word, and then Borahn nodded. “Continue your stroll, Captain Dahlgren—but do not stray such much as one micron across our border.”

The screen blanked, replaced by the stars streaking by as the Romulan Warbird cut off their transmission.

“They are altering course on a heading back into the interior of Romulan space, Captain,” Pavel reported.

“Secure torpedoes, Mister Roshenko. Mister Shrak,” Matt said with a smile. “Hail the Valqis again and inform Captain Krull he may stand down.”

“With pleasure, Captain Dahlgren,” the Andorian answered, his antennae aquiver.

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

“Hold still!” the holographic doctor said as ran the dermal knitter across the long and ragged tear in Chief Mayhew’s shin. “How did anyone as clumsy as you ever pass the Star Feet physical in the first place? Stepping into empty space because you expected an Orion smuggler to have a personnel lift like Star Fleet engineering does? Hah! This crew made do with ladders. But at least you are not depleting my supply of anti-biotics and anti-virals.”

“I suppose you are going to want pain medication as well?” He finished with his hands on his hips, glaring at the engineering tech.

The doors to the small, well-furnished sick bay slid open and Sean walked in. “How is he?”

“He will be fine; it is just a shallow gash in his right leg and a bump on his head—not to mention the dislocated shoulder where Ensign Park grabbed hold and keep him from falling onto the warp reactor.”

“Sorry, siRAAAAH!” the tech yelped as the Doctor placed his hands on the shoulder joint and popped it back into place.

“There. Now would you like an analgesic to go with that?”

“Did you finish those power conversions, I asked you for?” Sean continued, trying to distract the crewman from the pain.

“No, sir. I don’t see how they managed to get a civilian power profile out of the engines! That thing is so over-powered, New Columbia should have spotted them a light-year out . . . and I don’t know how we are going to just sneak in past the Ferengi at Havalis II.”

“Why don’t you use the cloaking device?” the Doctor asked as he placed the tech’s arm into a sling.

Sean’s eyes bulged from his head. “What cloaking device?”

“The cloaking device that the Orions used to get into orbit around New Columbia; one of the Orions mentioned it was an older Klingon model they got second hand,” the Doctor continued as he adjusted the sling. “There. Take two aspirin and don’t call me unless it is an emergency.”

Sean slowly counted to ten. “Doctor. Where is the cloaking device?”

The hologram frowned. “How should I know, I’m a doctor not an engineer. Could you shut me down on your way out? And turn off the lights; waste not, want not, and all of that, you know.”

The Doctor looked from Sean to the tech and back again, puzzled at the expressions on their faces.

“What? Was it something I said?”

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

“It was concealed behind a workstation in engineering, Sir,” Gerald Bowen said, shaking his head in disbelief. “They tore out the tertiary bank of containment field generators for the warp core in order to hide it.”

Sean Philip’s jaw dropped. “Are they insane?”

“That I don’t know, Sir. They rigged the control panels for the tertiary safeties to duplicate the readouts for the secondaries—which is why we didn’t notice the backups weren’t working. The compartment was lined with monotanium shielding as well; it would have been almost impossible to find on a cursory inspection.”

“And the control circuits?”

“Hidden in the Engineering 2 station. I’d would not recommending using it unless absolutely necessary, however.”

“I doubt that is because of the Treaty of Algeron, Mister Bowen; so what else is wrong with this cloak?”

“It’s a first generation Klingon device, Sir. Like those they installed on the original flight of the Bird of Prey scouts. But the Orions didn’t have the room to properly shield the cloak or the plasma shunt providing it with power; if we take a hit while cloaked, it could cause a resonance in the EPS plasma conduits that could blow out half the engineering hull.”

“They just left out the safeties? Even the Klingons aren’t that crazy!”

“To be fair, the Klingons use cloaking devices in combat—this one isn’t set up for that purpose. It seems to be intended to bypass perimeter sensor arrays and allow the ship to get within transporter range of its destination. In fact, the power drain of this cloak is so high that it would take fifteen seconds to reconfigure the power conduits in order to activate our shields or disruptors—after decloaking.”

Sean winced. “That shouldn’t be a problem; I’m not planning on taking this ship into combat!”

The Orion wrist-comm on Sean’s arm beeped. “Go,” he said as he pressed a stud.

We’ve got the shuttle on long-range sensors—it’s moving towards us, ETA three minutes.

“Set General Quarters, I’m on my way to the bridge.”

Sean and Gerald moved through the sliding doors onto the bridge proper. “Take us to impulse, Mister Sykes. Zapata, have you finished those modifications?”

“I believe so, Sir.”

“Computer, activate EMH.”

The hologram sprang to life, taking on the appearance of the former owner of the White Cloud.

“Please state the nature of your medi . . . oh. My,” the Doctor stuttered, examining his hands, and then he slowly lifted them and began to feel his face, and the enormous belly that protruded from his abdomen. “What have you done to me?”

“Doctor, we need you to establish contact with Inderi.”

“You altered my basic program! Changed my body matrix—how can I even hold a hypospray with these pudgy digits!” He shrieked, waving ten fat fingers, causing that massive belly to ripple. “I’ll be laughed out of service; how can I lecture the crew on physical health when I’m carrying 187 kilograms of excess body fat!”

Sean frowned. “It is temporary, Doctor. Just make contact with Inderi.”

“And ask her if she wants an examination? I’m a doctor, not . . .”

“You are member of a Star Fleet crew, Doctor!” Sean snapped. “And there are twelve thousand lives at stake here!”

The hologram blinked once, and then twice. “Well. Never let it be said that a hologram didn’t do his duty to the Federation. What should I say?”

Zapata cleared his throat. “It’s all written out on this PAD, Doctor; ah, I mean Baron.”

“Your Grace,” the Doctor said absently as he took the PAD and began reviewing his lines.

“Excuse me?”

“Baron Jowar prefers to be addressed as ‘Your Grace’. Although from what I gather, the title was bestowed on him not for any noble qualities but for his success in criminal endeavors.”

“The shuttle is dropping out of warp, Skipper,” Sykes called out from the helm.

“Hail her, and put it on screen. You’re on, Your Grace.”

On the main viewer an image of Inderi suddenly snapped into focus, and her grey face was pinched. “You are late!”

“And you will address me by my title, Inderi,” the Doctor said pompously.

“What was the delay?”

“I am waiting.”

“Your Grace, what was the delay?”

“Our engines suffered a . . . problem. We had to drop out of warp to conduct repairs.”

“Was the delivery made on schedule?”

“Yes.”

“And you retrieved the device?”

“Yes.”

She relaxed. “Good. There is a Federation starship too close for comfort in this sector; and I had feared that you might have been caught.”

“Never fear, Jowar is here,” the Doctor said with a rumbling laugh. “I have never been caught, Inderi—a fact that you should know well.”

The Antaran nodded slowly, and then the hologram cocked his head. “Those lesions appear fresh; have you been taking the medications my physician prescribed?”

“Stick to the script!” Sean whispered in a rough voice.

“I’ll live,” the smuggler answered. “You know, Jowar, I half expected that you would be irate that you were used to remove an entire Federation colony.”

“A deal’s a deal, Inderi. I expect to be well compensated for the risks I took.”

Sykes turned around. “We’ve got a lock, Skipper,” he whispered.

“Energize,” said Sean. And a transporter beam reached out from White Cloud and enveloped Inderi, dematerializing her. “Corporal, have we got her?”

Aye, aye, Sir. She’s in the brig and pretty vocal about being double-crossed.

“I’ll be down there directly. Gerald, take a couple of the crew across and vacuum out her computers. Search that shuttle stem-to-stern, as well. Zapata, you’re with them.”

“What about me?” the Doctor asked. “I want my body back.”

“Later, Doctor,” Sean said as he moved to the turbolift.

“Later? I can’t do my job like this. You have to res . . .”

“Computer, end EMH program,” Sean said as he stepped into the turbolift.

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 06:13 AM.
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Old March 4 2012, 11:54 PM   #30
MasterArminas
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Re: Star Trek: Republic

Chapter Seventeen (cont.)

Bridge to Captain Dahlgren,” the intercom announced. “Bridge to Captain Dahlgren.

Matt dragged himself out of a sound sleep, and tapped his comm badge reflexively. “Go ahead,” he said sluggishly, as he shook his head to clear away the cobwebs of his slumber.

Captain,” Chan’s voice continued over the communicator. “Lt. Commander Tsien has located the origination point of the transporter beam; we will arrive at the location in two minutes.

Matt glanced at the time index on the display set beside his bed. And then he frowned. “The beam originated from deep space?”

Yes, Sir. According to Miss Tsien.

“Very well, Chan. Take us out of warp and prepare to launch probes—I want a complete survey of both normal and sub-space in the immediate area. I’ll be on the bridge momentarily.”

Matt slowly sat up, wincing as his leg cramped, and he slowly kneaded the thigh until the muscles relaxed. He picked up his cane and gingerly stood, and then began to walk towards the door out of his quarters. He stopped for a moment before a mirror, combing his hair black down, and straightening his uniform; then he continued out into the corridor of Deck Three and into the turbolift set directly across the corridor.

“Bridge,” Matt said as the doors whistled closed. The turbolift swooshed back along the spine of Republic, and then quickly moved up before the doors opened onto the bridge. The captain limped out and moved over towards his chair, where Chan was standing up.

“I have the conn.”

“Captain has the conn,” Chan intoned in the ritual reply as the ship slowed to impulse power, and Matt sat down.

“All stop, Miss Montoya,” he ordered.

“All stop, aye, aye, Sir,” the helmsman answered. “Thrusters at station-keeping.”

“Initiate a full sensor sweep, Miss Tsien—long-, medium-, and short-range arrays, as well as the lateral-sensors. Mister Roshenko, prepare to launch a probe shell.”

“Aye, aye, Sir,” the two bridge officers answered.

Matt looked down at this own displays, repeating the data streaming into the Science station. The transporter trace did abruptly end, just two hundred kilometers dead ahead. Not dissipate; the trace simply stopped. This had to be the location from which the beam had been engaged.

But the space immediately around Republic was empty, except for a few stray atoms of hydrogen common to the interstellar deeps of this region.

“Warp signatures, Miss Tsien?”

“None, Captain. But I am detecting an ionization trail that is very similar to our impulse drives,” the Science Officer frowned. “But this can’t be correct. The levels of radiated and ionized gas are far larger than a single ship could produce.”

“How much larger, Miss Tsien?”

“Captain,” she started, and then she shook her head. “Sir, it would take a thousand ships with the impulse power of Republic to leave a trail this significant.”

“Probes are prepped and ready for launch, Captain,” said Pavel Roshenko.

“Spherical search pattern, Mister Roshenko. Sensor pallets on active scan, with telemetry back to Republic. Miss Montoya, rotate the ship as necessary to the launch the probes on proper vectors.”

“Aye, aye, Sir,” Isabella answered.

“First pattern is launching,” Pavel said, and Republic quivered as four probes streaked away from the forward launchers.

Chan stepped forward besides Matt’s chair and he leaned down. “The Council will have a cow when they discover how many probes we have deployed, Captain Dahlgren. I really must endeavor to get a copy of the hearing when they find out—some of them might even suffer a stroke from the expense.”

The corner of Matt’s mouth twisted slightly into a smile. “Here’s to Ambassador Mar having the soul of a miser and a weak heart, Chan.”

“We can only hope, Sir.”

“Launching sequence two,” announced Pavel, as Republic shivered a second time. The turbolift doors opened and Yeoman Sinclair walked in with a large ceramic mug on a tray, along with a small glass of water. “Since the Captain did not have time for a proper breakfast, perhaps he would like some hot cocoa?”

Matt chuckled and shook his head, but he took the steaming mug. “Thank you, Nancy.”

“And Doctor Talbot asked that I ensure you take these tablets,” the captain’s self-appointed watchdog said, holding out a small foil package.

Matt took the foil package, popped out two small white tablets and placed them in his mouth, and then took the small glass of water his yeoman held out, washing them down his throat.

“That will be all, Nancy,” Matt said as Chan giggled—the hard-nosed, stern as nails Andorian actually giggled like a giddy school girl.

“Chief Watannabe should have your real breakfast ready in half an hour, Sir.”

“CONTACT! Probe three, heading 032, mark 004! Range . . . 40 AU.”

“Hold off on that breakfast, Miss Sinclair. Mister Roshenko, can you identify?”

“She’s not in our warbook, Sir. And she’s big.”

How big?”

“Bloody huge, Sir; with more internal volume than a Borg cube. Visuals are coming through telemetry now.”

“On screen.”

The main viewer blanked and then showed an elongated cylinder, with a cluster of impulse engines at the rear coasting through space. Irregular protrusions covered the hull, along radiators, sensor arrays, and . . . weapons. Lots of weapons.”

“Overall length 7,274 meters, with a beam and a height of 2,744 meters. Hull composition is monotanium/duranium alloy, rendering our long-range sensors ineffective. She maintaining a sub-light speed of 0.75c; sir, I’m not detecting any signatures consistent with a warp drive and there are no neutrino emissions typical of matter-antimatter reactions.”

Chan jerked, and his antennae shrank slightly. “No warp drives? Are you suggesting that is a generation ship, Lieutenant?”

Before Pavel could answer, Amanda spoke up. “Sir, Science is analyzing the sensor data now—there are over three hundred and fifty thousand separate life forms on board that ship! Including at least ten thousand humans.”

“Weapons?”

Pavel shook his head. “She’s covered with weapon stations, Sir. But they are all lasers and early phase cannons—and she doesn’t have a shield grid. But I am detecting a structural integrity field of very high strength.”

Matt stared at the ship on screen for a few moments, and then he nodded. “Mister Malik,” he said as he hit a stud on his chair arm. “Have you managed to finish that little project I asked you about?”

“Ready to go on-line at your order, Sir,” the Trill responded.

“Then activate the inhibitor. Chan, set General Quarters throughout the ship and sound Red Alert—Miss Montoya, plot an interception course at Warp 2, drop us to impulse six hundred kilometers away and match course and speed with the alien vessel. Let’s go meet these people, and find out why they thought it a good idea to abduct our citizens.”

“Course plotted, Captain,” Isabella answered.

“Mister Shrak, record and transmit to Star Fleet Command, send a copy to Admiral Hansen, as well the starships Arrogant, Balao, and Independence. We have located what appears to be the origination point of the transporter beam involved in the New Columbia abduction. It is a board a sub-light ship—perhaps a generation ship—that is heavily armed, but only with late-generation lasers and early phase cannons. The vessel does not match any in Republics databanks and may be an example of a civilization heretofore not contacted by the Federation. I am initiating First Contact protocols and will investigate the matter further; coordinates and all technical data gathered by sensors on the vessel to this date will be appended to this transmission. Matthew Dahlgren, commanding officer, USS Republic.”

“Recorded and ready for transmission, Captain Dahlgren,” Chan confirmed.

“Send it, Mister Shrak. Mister Roshenko,” the captain continued as Chan transmitted the message and Matt kept staring the sensor data collected by the probe. “Am I wrong or does that vessel mount no missile or torpedo launchers?”

“None that we can detect, Sir.”

Matt frowned and he typed in a few queries into the computer database, and then he looked back up the screen and shook his head. “Take the torpedo launchers off-line and safe the weapons, Mister Roshenko.”

“Sir?”

“Mister Shrak, presume that you are the commanding officer of that vessel; you encounter Republic and a fight ensues. Further presume that you have no experience with photon torpedoes and their resonance when targeted by high-energy weapon systems.”

Chan nodded. “With that interlocking array of short-ranged weaponry, Captain Dahlgren, and presuming no prior knowledge of photonic shockwave detonations, I would possibly use my weapons as point-defense to intercept the torpedo before it managed to complete its run.”

“And the resulting damage from multiple photonic shockwaves at say, fifty thousand kilometers?”

“Without shields? Their structural integrity field would dampen some of the blast, but they would sustain major—perhaps critical—damage to the vessel’s hull, possibly even breaking the spine in half. Depending, of course, on the level of internal reinforcement of the major structural members.”

“Mister Roshenko, if that scenario were to play out, how many of the New Columbia colonists could we beam aboard ship before fuel fires and internal secondary detonations tore her to pieces?”

“Not many, Sir.”

“No, not many, Mister Roshenko. And even if we had the time to beam them all aboard we simply do not have sufficient volume aboard this ship for twelve thousand refugees. Not to mention the three hundred thousand plus other sentient beings that such an event would condemn.”

“Torpedo launchers are now off-line, Captain, and the weapons have been safed.”

“Thank you Mister Roshenko. Miss Montoya, take us to Warp 2 and intercept that vessel.”

“Aye, aye, Sir.”

Republic smoothly made the transition to faster than light speeds, and she rapidly ate up the distance between her previous position and the lumbering alien. And then she slowed once more.

“Holding at six hundred thousand kilometers, Captain.”

“Thank you, Miss Montoya. Mister Shrak, hail the vessel on all sub-space and EM frequencies.”

“Her weapon systems are coming on-line, Captain,” Pavel tersely chimed in from tactical. “And she has polarized her hull plating.”

Matt rotated his chair and cocked an eyebrow at Chan, who slowly nodded. “That matches with her observed weaponry, Captain Dahlgren—but will offer little protection against modern phasers.”

“Is she taking evasive action, Miss Biddle?”

“Negative, Sir. She is continuing on course for New Columbia.”

“At this speed, Miss Biddle, how long until she reaches New Columbia?”

“Seventeen years at her current sub-light velocity, Captain. Give or take a few months.”

Matt nodded slowly. “No response to our hails.”

“Captain Dahlgren,” said Chan, “we are being probed by sensors from the vessel. They are attempting to achieve a transporter lock on our crew.”

“Not precisely the response I had hoped for, Mister Shrak. Is Mister Malik’s inhibitor functioning?”

“Affirmative, Sir. Their transporter system cannot lock onto us at this time.”

“Hail them again.”

Chan pressed a few keys and then the shook his head. “No response. Correction, they have increased transporter power by a factor of six.”

Matt frowned. “Mister Roshenko. Put a full-power one second burst from the starboard dorsal phaser array across their bow—one kilometer separation.”

“Firing phasers, Captain,” the tactical officer called out.

“They have ceased their attempt to acquire a transporter lock, Captain. SIR! They are beaming a warhead into space just outside the inhibitor field off our starboard side!”

“Evasive action, Miss Montoya! All power to starboard and aft shields!”

“Brace for impact!” Chan broadcast as Republic sprinted away from the warhead. And then the ship shook as the device exploded. “Conventional fusion explosive, Captain, highly radioactive, yield in the fifty megaton range,” the executive officer continued in a clipped voice. “Shields are holding at 96%.”

“More transporter traces, Sir,” Pavel called out, “I am detecting another eight warheads bracketing us!”

“Warp speed, Miss Montoya!”

Republic jumped into warp, leaving behind the thermonuclear flares of eight new suns.

“Take her back to impulse power at three million kilometers, Miss Montoya.”

“Aye, aye, Sir.”

Matt rubbed his dry lips, and only now noticed that he knocked his mug of cocoa across the deck. “Damage reports?”

“There is minor radiation contamination to the secondary hull and nacelles—no physical damage.”

“Is the probe still in sensor range, Mister Roshenko?”

“Yes, sir—and we must be beyond that vessel’s own sensor reach. The probe is showing she is standing down her weapon systems.”

Matt nodded. “Miss Tsien, Mister Roshenko, Mister Shrak. I want a full tactical and science analysis of that vessel from what our own sensors showed during that encounter. Mister Roshenko, I want four stealth probes alongside that ship, giving us real-time telemetry via sub-space. Make it fast, people; department head briefing in two hours—and I want answers by then.”

The Captain stood and he braced his weight on his cane. “Miss Biddle, you have the conn—any detection of a transporter beam and you are authorized to evade or go to warp on your own initiative—don’t wait for my order. I’ll be in my ready room.”

Last edited by MasterArminas; March 5 2012 at 06:19 AM.
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