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Old August 7 2015, 10:29 PM   #1
Rear Admiral
Bry_Sinclair's Avatar
Location: Deep Space 9
Shadow Of The Past

My fourth sampler for you to enjoy, this one is a little different in that it features canon characters (four of them).

Starting off in 2295, it looks at of one of Trek's most underused characters, Nyota Uhura, as she assumes command of the Constitution-Class U.S.S. Ranger to answer a mystery that has been with her since the early days of her career.


* * * * *

Star Trek: Ranger

Shadow Of The Past
Brydon J. Sinclair

“It can’t be!” Nyota Uhura stated vehemently.

“We have tripled checked the signal and it is legitimate,” assured Admiral Ethan Tanner. “We can’t localise the precise location, due to subspace interference, but it is coming from deep within Sector Sigma-1009 on the specified modulation. It is the Wentu.”

She had believed that she would live out the rest of her life without ever hearing that word again, but there it was. A dark moment from her life, one she had tried hard over the last forty years to forget, was rearing its head again. The meeting, with some of the most important members of Starfleet Command, meant that they were seeking her input for whatever operation they were going to launch—though she didn’t know what else she could tell them that wasn’t on the official record, which had long since been sealed and classed as classified. She told the three Admirals before her as much.

“You misunderstand,” stated Fleet Admiral Margaret Alexander, clasping her hands on the tabletop and leaning forward, “you aren’t here to debrief us, we are here to brief you on this mission.”

“Brief me, sir?” she quizzed the Director of Starfleet Operations.

“You will be leading our investigation into Sigma-1009, Captain.”

“But I’m not seeking reassignment; co-ordinating Fleet Logistics is quite satisfying. Besides, I stepped down from active fleet service when the Enterprise was decommissioned.”

“Be that as it may,” began Admiral Gramel chim Trog, “you are the last surviving member of the Diana’s crew to have any direct contact with the Wentu, which makes you the closest thing to an expert we have.”

“This is also a direct order for the Commander and Chief, Captain. A ship is being prepared and due for launch in ten days,” said Alexander, sliding a datapad across the table. “Effective immediately, you are to be her commanding officer.”

Uhura’s head snapped up. She scrutinised the highest ranking officer for a long moment, before dropping her eyes and looking at the display. Transfer orders from the head of Starfleet himself, relieving her of her position on Earth and reassign her to assume command of the U.S.S. Ranger. With that facing her, there was no way she could refuse, not without resigning her commission—though the prospect of facing the Wentu again did make her consider it for a second.

With a sigh she nodded, knowing that this was something she wouldn’t be asked to undertake if it wasn’t crucial. She could only hope that the outcome of this mission was better than the one of the Diana.

* * * * *

Though her orders had come through three days ago, it had taken time to hand over the reins to her successor, transfer over all the classified information she had been privy too, special communication codes she had needed at Fleet Logistics, before getting to packing up her life on Earth and readying herself for life on a starship once again.

Uhura arrived at the landing bay to find a familiar figure standing next to the steps of her shuttle. A pair of technicians loaded up the last of her personal things, before disembarking and heading back to control tower.

“Christine,” she said with a smile.

“Nyota, it’s good to see you again,” replied Christine Chapel with a wide smile of her own.

“Not it’s not good to see you, Christine, but what are you doing here?”

“I thought I’d see how you were doing, given the assignment.”

“How did you hear about it?” Uhura asked, given the sensitive nature of the mission, it would remain classified.

“A request came through the Surgeon General’s Office, needing a new CMO for the Ranger as soon as possible to embark on a top secret mission. I was given access so as to help narrow down a list of suitable candidates, which is very difficult given how little we know of the Wentu. But I managed to find a good candidate I think you’ll like.”

“I’m glad to hear it. This assignment is going to need a lot of good people to see it through,” she admitted, before glancing around the pad. “Are they onboard already?”

“They will be soon. You know, we really should do lunch more frequently.”

Uhura raised an eyebrow, about to point out the difficulties, given their distance, when realisation hit her. “You’re my new doctor.”

Chapel gave her a grin. “I was wondering when you’d twig.”

She shook her head. “Christine, this is going to be a tough assignment. It’s not something to be taken on lightly. You did read the medical reports from the Diana.”

“I did and I assure you I’m not being flippant about this. There aren’t many with the necessary skills and experience for a mission like this, very few of whom could be here before the ship launched. I do and I’m here already. Besides, I know you’ll need a friend—given all you were put through.”

Uhura felt tears prick her eyes. She was truly touched by Chapel’s concern for her. Though she had never spoken of the incident with anyone, orders having forbidden any of the original crew from discussing it with anyone, she had been able to tell Christine a few of the broader strokes—things that had affected much about her ever since, specifically her physical health. She managed to blink back the tears as Chapel rested a supportive hand on her shoulder.

From the shuttle, a tall, strikingly handsome, bald man emerged. “Captain Uhura, Doctor Chapel. Are you ready to depart?”

“Yes, Lieutenant?”

“Ollen, ma’am, the Ranger’s chief helmsman.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Lieutenant. We’d better get going.”

Ollen nodded and returned to the cockpit, Uhura and Chapel followed. As the doctor sat in one of the rear seats, Uhura took her place at the co-pilot controls. After a few seconds, Ollen had clearance and the shuttle lifted off the landing pad and accelerated up into the atmosphere.

“Captain, might I say that it is an honour to be serving with you.”

It wasn’t the first time that she’d had a young officer gushing over the fact they were serving with a ‘living legend’ (a phrase she had quickly grown to dislike), and she suspected there would be a lot more of it in the days and weeks to come.

She gave him a polite smile. “Thank you, Lieutenant. Though really you don’t need to.”

“I apologise if I have made you uncomfortable, ma’am. I typically have the opposite effect on people,” he said with a flash of a smile.

“That I can believe,” mumbled Chapel from behind her.

“It’s just; I had a cousin who once served on the Enterprise, she inspired me to join Starfleet. I had always hoped to serve alongside some of those she did on her last mission.”

“Ilia,” Uhura said softly, noticing a few faint familial similarities with the Deltan navigator.

He nodded. “She was so excited to get onto the Enterprise, her last message home she couldn’t stop smiling, she was so happy.”

“She was an exceptional young woman,” she told the helmsman, remembering the exotic beauty she had only served with briefly.

The cockpit became quiet, only the thrum of the impulse engines and chirps of the sensors keeping it from becoming an oppressive silence. Ollen kept their ride smooth and straight as they left Earth behind and headed for the San Francisco Fleet Yards, where the Ranger was berthed undergoing routine maintenance and upgrades. Uhura watched the planet fall way and then looked ahead at the shipyards, an orbital office complex with ten web-like berths encircling it, half of them holding a ship safely inside.

Their course took them towards the largest. A design that looked oh so familiar, a type of ship she thought she would never set foot upon again.

“She looks just like her,” Chapel said softly, leaning forward as she looked out the viewport.

Uhura nodded as she looked upon the Constitution-Class starship, unable to see any differences other than the name and registry number. It was eerie, especially knowing that of the two Constitutions she was so familiar with, one was little more than dust where the Genesis Planet had once been and the other was a museum piece at the Fleet Museum orbiting the Moon.

Ollen wasted no time with a flyby, taking the shuttle straight to the hangar at the rear of the engineering hull. A brief conversation with the control room and the doors opened, allowing them access. There were six people waiting on their arrival. With grace, he touched them down on the deck without so much as a jostle, and then started powering down the shuttles engines and systems. Uhura stood up and headed for the exit, Chapel beside her.

As she stepped down the boatswain’s whistle sounded, filling the cavernous bay, whilst the assembly stood at attention. She looked at the line up of three officers and spotted two more familiar faces.

“Captain Uhura, welcome aboard.”

“Thank you,” she quickly noted the bars on her epaulette, “Commander Saavik. It’s been a while.”

“Indeed, Captain.”

“I didn’t realise you were assigned to the Ranger.”

“The Ranger was in need of an executive officer; my transfer request was approved at twenty-one hundred yesterday.”

“I’m glad to have you. Have you managed to catch up with mission briefing and ship’s status reports?”

Saavik nodded. “I have, though the mission briefing has yet to be fully declassified for ship personnel. Starfleet Intelligence informed me that they would release the full file once we were en route.”

“I’ve been asked not to discuss specifics until that time as well, in the interests of security.”

“Understood.” Saavik turned to the two officers beside her. “You may recall Lieutenant Commander Morris Foster; he was in my class at the Academy.”

“Mr Foster,” she said with a smile.

“Captain, it’s a pleasure to see you again.”

“And this is Lieutenant Cornelius Wong, science officer.”

“Everyone calls me ‘Eli’, Captain. Welcome to the Ranger.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant.” She looked back at Saavik. “Are the rest of the crew aboard?”

“There are several other crewmembers yet to report aboard, including Doctor Jast, however they shall all be onboard by Tuesday.”

“Good, I’ll leave you to keep on top of all new arrivals. I’d like to arrange a briefing for eighteen hundred, and tomorrow we’ll run through the ship’s complete cargo inventory—we won’t have much chance to restock once we get to Sigma-1009.”

Saavik nodded. “Of course, Captain.”

“Gentlemen, I’d like your full analysis of the region, as well as how to counter the subspace interference that the Diana experienced. The last thing we need is problems with our sensor or navigational arrays. That will also apply to communications.”

“A new communications chief has yet to be selected, Captain.”

She smiled to herself. “I think I’ll start there then.”

“I thought you might, so took the liberty of uploading the candidates to your database.”

“Nicely done, Commander,” she told her new XO, then looked at the three officers. “If there is nothing else, you’re dismissed.”

Saavik, Foster and Wong headed for the exit, ready to tackle their assigned duties. They were followed by Ollen and the non-coms, carrying out her and Chapel’s belongings, giving the two older women a moment alone.

“Who is Doctor Jast?” she asked her old friend.

“Lieutenant Halem Jast is a psychiatrist, one of the best at Starfleet Medical. Given the detrimental psychological effect the Wentu have on some races, I thought it prudent to have an expert onboard who can help those who may suffer the ill effects.”

The memory of Captain P’Kehl’s descent into madness flashed to the forefront of her mind. He wasn’t the only one, but he had been the worst—something that would stay with her until her last day. All of the crew who had contact with the Wentu had suffered to some extent, herself included though only very mildly, any more and she doubted she would’ve been able to stay in Starfleet all these years. The thought of facing them again, not to mention knowingly exposing everyone onboard to the same thing, was a bitter pill to swallow. She could only hope that the benefits outweighed the risks.

“A good idea, Christine, though I hate to think how busy he may be.”

“Prepare for the worst but hope for the best, Nyota.”

“I don’t know if there’s anything that can prepare anyone for an encounter with a Wentu.”

* * * * *

“Me sir?”

“Yes you, Lieutenant.”

Lieutenant JG Taman Kol looked flummoxed at her offer to make him the new chief comm officer, his crimson cheeks clashing with his purple hair. It hadn’t take Uhura long to go through the files of the most suitable communications officers onboard, all with their own strengths and weaknesses, in that regard Kol was no exception.

“Technically you are very proficient, you also have a solid background in decryption and mathematics. Granted your linguistics lets you down, but on this mission we need someone practically minded not a linguist, besides after forty years wearing the earpiece, I think I have that covered.

“Lieutenant, I understand that you may feel unprepared for this, I doubt anyone is ever truly ready for their first time supervising others, it’s a learning curve, but it’s one I need you to get on. I’ve read over your file and the type of work you did on the Xenophon is what I’m looking for here, if it wasn’t for your quick thinking the ship would’ve been lost.”

The young Catullan still didn’t look convinced, the self-doubt clearly visible across his face. He took a deep breath and squared his shoulders, putting on a brave face. “I...I’ll try not to let you down, Captain.”

“I’m sure you won’t, Mr Kol. Now, Commander Foster is waiting for you in sensor control. He’ll explain your job when you get there.”

“Aye sir.”


He turned on his heel and marched out of her quarters. Alone once again, she took a breath and took stock of her new crew. They were an interesting mix of experience, skills and personalities, most having worked well in the past—her predecessor, newly promoted Commodore Rehtar, couldn’t speak more highly of them. The established crew would have to get used to a new command team however, not an easy thing to adapt too, especially when the stakes were this high.

Saavik had flourished from the young trainee Uhura had met at the Academy ten years ago, she was now a well-regarded and much sought after officer who had been in line for a post on the next Excelsior-Class to come off the production line, but turned it down to report aboard the Ranger. Christine Chapel was just who she needed in sickbay, equal parts researcher and physician, but a friend she could also seek advice from. Morris Foster had been one of the best and brightest in Saavik’s class, he wouldn’t have been assigned on the Enterprise training cruise had he not been, and a dependable choice for second officer. Lieutenant Commander Xalis, her Orion chief engineer, was an oddity, with an exceptional mind for warp drives but almost painfully introverted. Eli Wong was friendly and welcoming, which masked his sharp intellect (two doctorates and four masters across four scientific fields); he was definitely going to be of great use once they reached Sigma-1009. Ollen was confident and daring, with a confident swagger and suave demeanour, he lived up to all that Deltans were said to be—she had needed to double check that his Oath of Celibacy was actually filed. Security Chief Tahani zh’Shanna took her role very seriously, ever since the crew had been apprised of their mission she had started running every drill imaginable on her teams, putting them through their paces and then some.

Then there was Lieutenant Halem Jast. Though technically outside the command staff, his role onboard was of great importance, he would be taking the mental health and wellbeing of the four hundred and eighty people onboard into his hands. Unlike any normal deep space cruise however, there was a high probability that someone would suffer a serious mental breakdown, even descend into madness or worse. Of course, given the nature of their mission, rumours were spreading like wildfire, with some comparing the psychological effect of the Wentu to that of looking upon a Medusan. In reality, it was far, far worse; in most cases those that looked at a Medusan could eventually recover. Deep under Elba II, in a specially designed cell that had only been opened a handful of times, Captain P’Kehl, formerly of the U.S.S. Diana, had spent the last forty years screaming as he clawed at his own skin.

That was what her crew could face, except no one but she would ever know the full risks. Unconsciously, she rested a hand on her stomach as the dark memories plagued her mind—after so long buried, they had been impossible to keep hidden after the first time Admiral Tanner had said their name.

But what did they want? Why were they sending a signal? The last time the Wentu and the Federation had met, it had been such a disaster that they had severed all contact and forbidden any Starfleet ship from entering their sector. Now they were beckoning for them. The entire situation didn’t make sense to her.

Her terminal chirped, making her jump.

She stepped over to it and tapped a panel, which brought up a message awaiting her. She smiled as she read who it was from, before pressing play.

“Nyota,” began Hikaru Sulu, “I’ve just heard of your new posting and wanted to congratulate you, the Ranger is a fine ship and I know you’ll make a fine CO, after all we learned from the best,” he said with a wide smile. It didn’t last for very long as he leaned in closer to the monitor.

“Though I’m not privy to all the details, I did hear what your assignment was. Be careful out there, Nyota, I’d hate to have to attend another friend’s memorial so soon.

“Be in touch when you can and stay safe. Sulu out.”

She reached out and placed her hand on the face of her friend, feeling a sad smile curl the corners of her mouth. She had been so caught up in the whirlwind of activity surround her new command, that she hadn’t had time to compose messages to those nearest and dearest to her. With less than a week to go before they departed, she didn’t have much time to send them messages, if she hoped to hear back before they departed dry-dock.

The next item on her calendar was an inspection of engineering, but that wasn’t until the late afternoon, which gave her a couple of hours to herself. Settling in at her desk, she started to record personal messages to those closest in her heart who were still of this world, not knowing if what she was making would be the last time she would get to speak with any of them or not.

* * * * *

Commander Austin Harris, First Officer, Deep Space Nine (by FltCpt. Bossco)
8.01 - Darkest Before Dawn (Chapter 8 added, 12/09/2015)
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Old August 11 2015, 01:07 AM   #2
Count Zero
watching the wheels
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Location: Procrastination Plaza
Re: Shadow Of The Past

The premise sounds quite intriguing. It may be a bit of a cliché but I like a good space madness story. The text became a little exposition heavy at one point but overall you managed to keep the balance. I'd love to read more about this mission. Will you continue the story or is this it for the foreseeable future?
"I'm creating a (free) universe, just a hobby, won't be big and professional..."
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Old August 11 2015, 03:29 AM   #3
Rear Admiral
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Location: Deep Space 9
Re: Shadow Of The Past

I'm experimenting with different crews and stories, testing the waters as it were, to see what comes up and if it'd be something worth developing and pursuing further.

The Adventures of Captain Uhura is definitely one that I had only a basic idea for (a signal from a disastrous mission from her early career sees her assume command of a ship to investigate) so I wasn't quite sure where it might go, but I have to admit even I'm intrigued to see what might happen. Besides, you can't beat space madness
Commander Austin Harris, First Officer, Deep Space Nine (by FltCpt. Bossco)
8.01 - Darkest Before Dawn (Chapter 8 added, 12/09/2015)
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