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Old September 21 2014, 11:07 PM   #1
DarKush
Rear Admiral
 
Star Trek: Four Years War-USS Kelly/USS Endurance

STAR TREK: FOUR YEARS WAR
PICKING UP THE PIECES

USS Kelly

Captain Percival Stone strode into the ready room. He had kept his expression neutral as he had toured the wrecked starship and made his way to the bridge. Within the privacy of Captain Fonseca’s office he allowed a glower to come over his features.

“There aren’t many survivors,” he informed his counterpart, though he was certain she already knew that.

“Without you here, and your medical team, there would be even less,” Captain Fonseca said standing up. She was an attractive woman, her rich brown skin melding well with the gold of her command uniform. Like him she kept her hair short and natural.

“We are at your disposal,” Stone offered. He had ordered as many of his crew to the surface as possible to assist in rescuing survivors from the attack. He had accompanied an engineering team aboard the Kelly to help patch up the battered starship.

“Damn it Percival, I just wish we had gotten here sooner,” Fonseca had never met him before, but he didn’t mind the usage of his given name. He knew the woman was under a lot of stress and a fellow captain he understood they shared a special bond.

“Captain, there was little you could’ve done to prevent what happened here,” Stone offered.

“He gave his word, his word, that Klingon bastard!” Fonseca slammed her desk. “But he was only fooling me, toying with me, giving me false hope. I should’ve atomized that ship when I had the chance.”

“From the reports I’ve read you were outnumbered and outgunned,” Stone replied. The Marklins weren’t the hallmark ships of the Fleet by any means, and even without as skilled a commanding officer as Fonseca it would be a miracle if one survived an engagement against a D’aka class vessel. And Fonseca had brought her ship through such a crucible mostly intact.

“Your actions helped the outpost commander evacuate a lot of civilians,” he said. There had been reports already coming in that some had made it or were in route to Caleb VI. The unfortunate souls that had sought refuge at Caleb II had run into the same Klingon marauders. Why the Klingons had attacked Caleb II and IV, yet left Caleb VI unmolested made no sense.

“I can’t figure out the Klingons’ actions for the life of me,” Fonseca’s words mirrored his thoughts. She shook her head and wearily sat back down. She offered him a seat. He thought about refusing but then reconsidered. It might take some of the tension out of the room if he also took a load off.

“The goal was to attack the outpost, of which they were successful,” Stone said.

“Simon,” Fonseca shook her head again, referring to the deceased Commander Drexler.

“But why they moved on to Caleb II, yet skipped Caleb VI remains a mystery,” the captain concluded.

“It wasn’t about territory, the attack force wasn’t big enough for that,” Fonseca said. “This was about brute force, naked aggression, this was meant to intimidate us, to scare us.”

Unbidden and before he could stop himself, Stone asked, “Are you frightened?”

Fonseca looked at him squarely, “No, I’m mad.”
************************************************** **************

USS Kelly

Commander Hiram Song stepped carefully over the tangle of cords. Around him, buzzed a welcome din as the crew of the Kelly worked to put their engine room back together. Hiram had brought a team along to assist them.

He cleared his throat, regretting a little distracting his fellows from their work, “I’m looking for Chief Engineer Tanvi.”

One of the engineers looked up long enough to chuck a tentacle toward a female posterior, admittedly a shapely one. The woman had been swallowed by one of the consoles circling the intermix chamber.

Song made his way to her, his crew following closely behind. He lightly tapped on the terminal above the woman. After a few moments of increasing louder rapping, the woman slid out of the console. She cocked an eye up at him, wiped her hands off and stood up.

Black marks ran down her smooth blue face. Hiram held out a hand. She grasped it firmly. “Hiram Song, USS Endurance,” he introduced himself.

The woman smiled, “Tanvi, I’m guessing you’ve already become a bit acquainted with the Kelly.”

“Not as much I would like,” he replied, which produced a brighter smile from the attractive woman. He wet his suddenly dry throat. “We’re here to help, in any way we can.”

“More hands are always welcome,” she said. “Our latest big problem is loose plasma coils. The radiation isn’t at dangerous levels yet, but the sooner we can head that off before it becomes a concern the better.”

Hiram looked back and nodded at Mr. Dooley. The eager young man stepped forward. Tanvi directed him towards a bank of terminals.

“I could use your assistance with the intermix chamber,” Tanvi said, “During the battle a plasma feedback caused a malfunction that is preventing sufficient pressure from building. In short, we can’t generate a warp field.”

“That is a conundrum,” Song couldn’t hide the smile on his face. Realizing he was doing so and understanding how inappropriate that was, he apologized. Which gratefully prompted a smile in return from his Andorian counterpart.

“We can never stop being engineers,” she offered, “Don’t apologize for it. Especially at a time like this, it’s good to wrap your head around a problem you can understand,” the laughter fell from her eyes, “after what just happened.”

“After what is happening,” seethed Lt. Wallis. “The Klingons are on the march, and all we seem to be able to do is fall back.”

“They took us completely by surprise,” Crewman De Luca spoke up. The two were threatening to revive the argument they have been having since the captain had informed the crew about the first wave of Klingon attacks. “We are doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing, protecting the innocent as best we can.” Lt. Wallis’s expression was exasperated. She opened her mouth to retort.

“That’s enough you two,” Hiram usually allowed his team to express their opinions and blow off steam, but now wasn’t the time or place. He turned back to Tanvi. “Sorry about that.” He glanced back at the two engineers and to their credit both had their heads down.

“It’s okay,” Tanvi said, her expression impassive. “Emotions have been running high. These attacks have everyone reeling, trying to make sense of it all.”

“Agreed,” Song said.

“Perhaps your two passionate young engineers can work out some of their energy on our fuel inlet servos and swirl dampers. They’re affecting our fuel injectors.”

“Get to it guys,” Hiram said. Both of the younger engineers nodded tersely, now all business. Tanvi directed them where to go.

Now relatively alone, Tanvi smiled again. “Ready to get a dirty Mr. Song?”

He grinned, “Absolutely.”

Tanvi pointed to the tool kit beside the console, “Grab a hyperspanner and dig in,” she said. “And after we’re finished perhaps we could have a drink. I’ve got some Nelag, 2151, that is begging to be tried.”

“Nelag?” Song asked, unfamiliar with the beverage.

“It’s an Andorian spirit,” Tanvi said, “You’ll like it.”

“Well then, I guess it’s a date,” Song said, before he could catch himself. “I’m sorry, I meant, er…ah…”

Tanvi laughed. “A date it is.”

Hiram felt relieved. “Well, let’s hurry along then.” He said, getting down to work.
************************************************** **************
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Old September 21 2014, 11:12 PM   #2
DarKush
Rear Admiral
 
Re: Star Trek: Four Years War-USS Kelly/USS Endurance

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

USS Endurance

Lt. Commander Joan Lockhart had never felt so small sitting in the center chair. She enjoyed the times she got to occupy the captain’s chair. It puffed her up, made her feel a fraction of the weight on Captain Stone’s shoulders. But now she realized how terrible that weight had to be.

On the view screen before them was Caleb IV. Deep gouges had been scored into the planet, the handiwork of Klingon disruptors. It reminded her of old footage she had seen of the Xindi attack on Earth.

If it looked bad from above she could only imagine how horrific it must be below. She had wanted to go down with the rescue teams, but the captain had ordered her to remain aboard. While he was on the Kelly, and a good chunk of the senior staff were on Caleb IV, he didn’t want the ship to be completely vacant of senior officers.

Joan had drawn the short end of the stick, though deep down, she was a bit relieved. Lockhart knew it had to be a slaughter on the planet’s surface. The Klingons were sweeping across the Federation and weren’t taking many prisoners. The planets and systems they weren’t annexing they simply immolated.

Her great-grandmother’s tales of the Romulan War hadn’t been this bad, or at least it seemed so to her.

Lockhart realized that she would soon truly find out. She was pondering that sobering thought when the communications officer thankfully drew her back from it.

“What’s happening Mr. Glover?”

“Sir, a hostage situation has broken out on the surface!” The young man nearly shouted.

Lockhart shot out of her seat. “Inform the captain. I’m heading to the transporter room. Lt. Zapata, you have the conn.”
************************************************** **************

Federation Outpost
Caleb IV

Dr. Theriac swallowed involuntarily, feeling his own scalpel pressed against his throat. It wasn’t enough to draw blood, but the intent was very clear.

The man’s grip was strong, the stench of fear and anger roiling off him nearly overpowering. Theriac hissed. The captor’s grip grew tighter and he roughly pulled the medic closer to him.

“Put the scalpel down,” the Kelly first officer demanded. The large, brown-skinned human was crouching, ready to pounce. Theriac gingerly nodded for the man to desist. He didn’t want to set off his captor. Things were already tense enough as it was.

A ring of people, survivors from the Klingon assault and crews from both Kelly and Endurance were watching raptly. Included among them was the Kelly’s Dr. McLaren and Endurance’s Security Chief, Agnes Hart. Lt. Hart was shifting her phaser, trying to get a good shot. The medic also noted that a dark-browned skinned member from the Kelly, dressed in security colors, had his phaser out as well. The man’s eyes were locked onto the captor. The Saurian medic noticed that some among the crowd shared the same desperation and anger that the man holding the scalpel did.

“Where were you?” The man demanded; his breath hot against Theriac’s cheek. “You left us to die down here.”

The Kelly XO looked stung. He shook his head vigorously. “That’s not true. We went to meet the Klingons, to prevent them from reaching Caleb IV.”

“Bang up job you did there!” Someone shouted from the crowd. The Kelly first officer lowered his head.

“We barely survived too!” One of the Kelly crew shouted. The Kelly executive officer rounded on the man and stared him back into silence.

“You’re here, my friends aren’t!” Someone else retorted.

The Kelly man held up both hands. He addressed the crowd. “We can’t begin to truly fathom your loss, but please understand that we loss crewmen too. There was a lot of loss today and there will be more tomorrow. The Klingons are just getting started and the last thing we need to do is fight amongst each other.”

“Nice speech,” the captor spat, “but it doesn’t bring my wife back!” The blade cut into Theriac’s flesh. Hart’s finger tightened on the trigger of the phaser.

Before the woman fired the air charged and a shaft of light emerged, particles taking shape within. Seconds later, Commander Lockhart appeared. She immediately took in the situation.

“I’m Lt. Commander Lockhart, of the Starship Endurance,” she said gently, “Please put the scalpel down.”

“I’m not a member of Starfleet, I don’t take orders from you,” the man shot back. It was true. He was dressed in civilian garb, a ragged brown coat and singed pants.

“It’s not an order,” Lockhart said, her expression sympathetic. “We can work through this.”

“No, no we can’t,” The man shook his head, before he began sobbing. “Somebody has to pay for what happened here. Someone has to be held to account.”

“And you think it should be a person who had nothing to do with this?” The Kelly first officer was exasperated. “And innocent man who is just trying to help. And you’re preventing him from saving lives right now.”

“Well, I,” the captor paused, and his grip loosened slightly. Theriac was hopeful that the words had broken through to the man. His hopes were short-lived; seconds later the man’s grip grew vise-like once again. “I’m not going to let you fool me again, not like you fooled us into thinking you would protect us!”

“There are no guarantees in space,” The Kelly first officer was losing his patience again. This wasn’t going to be good. “Drop the scalpel. This is your last warning.”

Lockhart gave the man a sharp look. She clearly was hoping to continue the soft approach. To the Kelly officer’s benefit, he had spent more time dealing with the captor and had surmised that the man wasn’t going to be dissuaded with sympathetic words.

“Drop him Mr. Gupta,” the Kelly first officer said.

“Belay that!” Lockhart shouted, but the Kelly security officer had already fired. He hit the man square in the forehead. The captor jerked, the blade falling from his hands. Half in shock Theriac fell to the floor.

Lockhart and Hart rushed to him. Hart began checking him while the Lockhart asked if he was okay. He was pretty shaken up, and it might take him a moment to recover, but Theriac knew there were lives that needed saving, people that needed help, and he put his own troubles to the side.

Clearing his head, he turned to the downed scalpel-wielder. The Kelly first officer and Security Officer Gupta were standing over him. Gupta had his weapon trained on the man. Kelly bent down and carefully turned him over. He checked his vitals.

Theriac took his own scanner and ran it over the man. “He’s suffered a mild concussion.”

“He’ll live,” the Kelly exec said gruffly.

“Just what the hell was that?” Lockhart demanded. The Kelly first officer held his ground.

“Saving your man’s life, is what I would call it,” the other man said hotly.

“You could’ve have just as easily gotten him killed!” Lockhart said. “What if your man had missed? What if the man had jerked and opened Theriac’s throat?”

“Mr. Gupta doesn’t miss,” the other man said matter-of-factly, to which Gupta nodded with confidence. “And the fact is, your doctor is safe and sound. You should be thanking us.”

“I’ll be reporting you instead,” Lockhart replied. The other man shrugged.

“Do what you feel you have to do, and we’ll do the same. The universe just changed Lt. Commander,” the Kelly officer said, “There isn’t time to talk things through anymore. Sometimes you’re going to have to take the shot.” He nodded at Gupta. The security officer pulled out his communicator and seconds later a beam encapsulated both Gupta and the hostage-taker. The Kelly first officer turned away from them and made his way back toward the crowd, which was parting for him.

“Just because we are at war doesn’t mean we abandon who we are,” she shot back, loud enough for him to hear. The other man didn’t turn back around.

Once the hubbub had died down and people went back to picking up the pieces and grieving in silence, Theriac went to work patching and mending bodies, but unfortunately doing nothing for their minds or souls.

After several grueling hours later, back onboard the Endurance, he found the first officer morosely nursing a glass of ironically Saurian brandy. He ordered one for himself and then sat down.

She pushed an errant strawberry blonde lock from over her eye. Her look was hard, her expression stricken. He greeted her but it took her moments to respond back.

“More bad news?” He asked. He had been elbow deep in his duties that he hadn’t been keeping up with the latest reports.

“Yeah,” she said, “Archanis IV,” the woman said no more, merely shook her head.

“What if he’s right?” She finally said.

“Who are you talking about?” Theriac asked.

“Commander Ruddy, of the Kelly, what if that jackass is right?”

“About what?”

“That we have to abandon our principles in order to win this war,” she said softly, a bit ashamed.

“If we do that then what’s the point of fighting them?” Theriac asked, “Because we’ve already lost.”

“At least we’ll survive,” Lockhart replied.

“And what kind of life will that be?” Theriac rejoined, “How could we live with ourselves?”

“Maybe we could just learn to,” Lockhart shrugged, “I don’t know.” She shook her head again, took a drink.

Theriac looked at the bar, wondering where his own drink was. He had never seen his friend so down before, and he wasn’t sure what to do about it. In fact the entire mood in the recreation lounge was somber, funereal even. The mirth was gone. He wondered if it would ever return.

“Are you going to report Commander Ruddy?” Theriac asked, hoping to get the conversation back onto work topics.

“No,” she shook her head. “The fact is, they did save you, even if it was in a reckless manner. I think Command will be too busy prosecuting this war to worry about a little matter like this.”

“I see,” Theriac said, not sure how he felt about that. He didn’t like the idea that rules would be bent or certain rules would no longer apply now that there was a war on. That being said, he also didn’t agree with Lockhart’s initial threat. Ruddy had saved his life after all. He was willing to cut the man some slack.

“Are you going to press charges against Mr. Collins?”

“So, that’s his name?”

“Yes, Barton Collins is a trader in rare items, like Tholian silk,” she said. “He was visiting Caleb IV with his wife when the Klingons attacked.”

Theriac lowered his head. “A shame.” The waiter had finally brought his drink. He took a sip.

“Yeah,” Lockhart took another drink. “One more tragedy to add to the pile.”

“Don’t be that way,” Theriac looked up. “Don’t allow this to turn you hard hearted.”

“I’m doing what is necessary,” Lockhart didn’t deny it.

“You don’t have to lose your way,” Theriac nearly pleaded.

“Run that by me again once this is all over,” Lockhart downed the rest of her drink and left him alone. He stared out the viewports at the battered Kelly.

Soon the Endurance would bare similar scars, or worse. He shook his head at the thought of all the bodies he would be mending in the future, of the friends that he would lose. Theriac cursed the Klingons for bringing this war to them.

The boatswain’s whistle drew him from darkening thoughts. The ship’s intercom came on and Captain Stone’s sure voice issued from the speakers.

“All hands, this is the captain,” Stone began, “We’ve just been issued new orders. We are to proceed at maximum warp to the New Aberdeen Shipyards in the Aldebaran sector. We will be joining a taskforce defending the shipyards from Klingon attack. This goes without saying that much will be expected of you in the coming days. I have every confidence that you all will not only meet those expectations, but exceed them. Stone out.”

The mood shifted at warp speed within the recreation lounge. Theriac could only imagine it was doing so across the ship. The somber cloud was now laced with crackling tension and in some anticipation. He saw eager, vengeful gazes among some of his fellows, the hard words they had for the Klingons. Some of them were spoiling for a fight, some of them wanted revenge.

All Theriac could see were patients filling his infirmary. He didn’t finish his drink. Instead he decided to return to Sickbay and prepare for the influx.

THE END

Last edited by DarKush; September 22 2014 at 10:05 AM.
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Old September 22 2014, 01:48 AM   #3
TheLoneRedshirt
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Re: Star Trek: Four Years War-USS Kelly/USS Endurance

A sobering reminder that many times the scars of war are not physical but emotional and spiritual. Here's hoping the valiant Starfleet crews caught up in the desperate fight against the Klingons won't lose themselves to win the war.
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Old September 22 2014, 05:48 AM   #4
Bry_Sinclair
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Location: Tactical withdrawl along the Klingon border
Re: Star Trek: Four Years War-USS Kelly/USS Endurance

A great little piece, especially loved the Lockhart/Theriac scene in the mess hall--just what will Starfleet be willing to risk to fight an enemy that craves war, victory and honour above pretty much everything else?
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Old September 22 2014, 08:41 PM   #5
CeJay
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Re: Star Trek: Four Years War-USS Kelly/USS Endurance

There's nothing quite a desperate war to test ones's ideology. It's all pretty neat and easy during peace, but how you comport yourself in war, when the chips are down and everything's on the line, that's when one shows their true colors.

And as you poignantly display in the story, it's pretty easy to cast aside your ethics or your moral code in those situations.

Nicely done.
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Old September 27 2014, 03:41 PM   #6
DarKush
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Re: Star Trek: Four Years War-USS Kelly/USS Endurance

Thanks guys. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. The psychological costs of this war, how it will change the Federation and Klingons is something ripe to explore.
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