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Old August 17 2007, 04:33 AM   #46
DavidFalkayn
Commodore
 
DavidFalkayn's Avatar
 
Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 7

Meet the Lady: Part 7

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

Wesley

Colors and shapes swirled before the commodore’s eyes, slowly coalescing into forms—objects…patterns—until finally the images took form becoming so vivid to Robert that he wanted to reach out and touch them, but somewhere, deep in his mind, he knew that he shouldn’t—that to do so would shatter the illusion.

“You sure you can take him, Bob? After all, he went three rounds with the Vulcan champ…”

“Yeah…” Cadet Robert Wesley grinned as he threw all his weight into his next punch, forcing back both the bag and the man holding it, his best friend and fellow cadet, Matt Decker. “He’s fast and nimble, but can’t take much punishment.” Wesley explained as he stepped away from the punching back. “The only reason he lasted as long as he did against Stylok is that ol’ Sty was toying with him. If he’d have wanted to, Sty could have taken him down in the first round.”

“You sound awfully sure of yourself.” Decker chuckled as he tossed a towel over to his fellow cadet. “Don’t forget…” Matt reminded Robert as the other man turned to walk towards the showers, “We’ve got a date tonight with Ellen and her friend.”

“Awww…” Robert moaned as he balled up his towel and tossed it at the sandy haired Decker, “…why did you have to go and remind me for? You know how much I hate blind dates. I can’t believe that I let you and Ellen rope me into this!”

“I think it had something to do…” Matt rejoined with a laugh as he tossed the dirty towel on a nearby bench, “…with me winning a bet over who would score higher on his quantum theory exam.” His laughter dying down, Decker pleaded, “Come on, Robert. You haven’t been out on a date since you and Gloria split up. Hell, Bob…she’s moved on—she’s dating Chris Pope now—it’s time for you to get on with your life too. Anyway, I honestly think you’ll like Ellen’s friend. She’s smart, funny…”

“Has a great personality…” Robert finished with a scowl.

“And she’s damned good looking too.” Matt fired back before once again making his appeal, “At least give her a chance, won’t you.”

“All right! All right!” Wesley sighed in exasperated resignation. “I’ll give it a chance. What’s her name again, anyway?”

“Her name’s Virginia.” Decker smiled, “And I just know the two of you are going to hit it off.”

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

“I fail to understand.” The voice stated, “You have deep feelings for this individual and yet you did not desire to meet her?”

His face flushing in both embarrassment as well as anger at the probing of his memories by these unknown entities, Commodore Wesley replied, “I did not know her at the time.”

“Ah…” The voice exclaimed, “You live in a linear temporality.”

“That’s correct!” Wesley affirmed, his heart racing now that he had received some small insight into these entities, “For us time is linear—isn’t it for you?”

“Time is much more complex…” The voice responded, addressing its test subject very much as if he were a child. “…than you are at the moment is even capable of understanding.”

Not wanting to let go of the subject, Robert pleaded, “Then enlighten me.”

In response, Wesley heard a rumbling sound that sounded almost like laughter, “Your curiosity is boundless. Very well, we shall indulge you—a little. You think of time either as a river or as a circular loop, but it is neither—and it is both. It is all in one and it is shattered fragments.”

“What sort of answer is that?” Wesley responded, shaking his head in confusion, “It’s contradictory…”

“As is time.” Wesley heard before the mist came for him once again.

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

Aliz

Through the swirling mists an image slowly took shape before the young woman…

“Happy Birthday,Lany!”

“Thirteen years old, Aliz!”

“Happy Birthday to you…Happy Birthday to you…”

“Come here, little one…” Once the elderly voice spoke, the congratulatory shouts and singing slowly died down as the young girl slowly walked up to where her great-grandmother sat. Presenting a silver necklace with round silver medallion with the profile of an exquisitely beautiful young woman engraved on it hanging from it, the Bathory family matriarch placed it around the young girl’s neck. “Wear this always and give it to your oldest daughter when she is of age…” The elderly woman advised, “…and it will protect you from the Dark One.”

“Thank your dedanya and go get some cake, dear.” Aliz’s mother said as she pointed her daughter towards a table with a large white layered birthday cake on it. “Oh Nagyanya!” Aliz’s mother whispered, trying to keep her voice low as she shook her head disapprovingly, “Now what did we tell you about filling our daughter’s head with such nonsense.”

“You young ones…” The old woman sighed, shaking her head, “You’re so sure of yourself—so eager to forget the past.” The Bathory matriarch’s face taking on a grave expression, she warned, “Do not be too smug in your knowledge, young one. The Bathory name is an old one—and it carries a very real price with it. Do not let our little one fall to it just because you have decided to ignore who you are.”

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

“This Dark One…what is it?”

“It’s a superstition that my dedanya—my great-grandmother—believes in.” Aliz replied. “It’s not real.”

“Interesting…” The voice responded, “So, why do you still keep the object if it has no use?”

Shrugging her shoulders, Aliz answered back, “It’s a keepsake—something through which I can remember my dedanya.”

“A remembrance?”

“Yeah.” Aliz affirmed, nodding her head as she touched the medallion, “That’s all it is.”

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

Jennifer

“Now don’t go too far out into the water, Jennifer!” The young girl’s mother called out, “That current’s too strong!”

“I won’t, Mommy!” The little eight year old girl yelled back as she waded into the crystal clear river. Confident in her abilities, Jennifer swam farther and farther out as the current drew her both further away from the shore and further downstream from where her family had set up their camp.

Laughing, the young girl swam confidently until, feeling the current growing stronger, she tried to swim back upstream by the pull of the water. Her heart beating faster as she drifted further and further away from her mother, little Jennifer cried out as she waved her arms frantically, “Mommy…Mommy…help! Help!” Her head falling beneath the rapidly flowing water, Jennifer, panicking as she flailed her arms, gasped for air, calling out one more time before once again sinking beneath the surface, her lungs filling with water.

She floated in a cloudy haze. No noise…nothing…silence. It felt so peaceful…so…right…to the young girl. Then, she heard voices.

“Come on, Jennifer…breathe!”

“My baby…my baby…”

“One cc triox compound…stat!”

Yanked roughly from her peaceful glade, Jennifer coughed as the water left her lungs. Breathing rapidly, she heard a gentle male voice, “Take it easy, little lady. You’re going to be just fine.” She then heard the same voice speaking to someone else, “Mr. and Mrs. Watley, your daughter’ll be just fine. I want to have her transported to the clinic for observation overnight, but I don’t see that there’ll be any complications.”

“Thank God!” The little child heard as she once again went to sleep.

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

Gasping, her heart beating rapidly, the now grown up Jennifer cried out sobbing, her hands covering her face as tears flowed unchecked, “Why? Why are you doing this?”

“We seek understanding.” The voice clinically replied, “You were near the termination of your existence. We wanted to understand how it felt for you at the moment when life and death merged.”

“I don’t understand…”

“Neither do we.”

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

K’Tan

His lips turned up into a sneer as he hefted his mek’leth, the youthful warrior K’Tan, his adrenaline pumping as he faced his first alien combat opponent, wiped the blood flowing from his lips with his sleeve as he hurled a challenge at his adversary, “Come, Romulan Pet’aQ! Are you going to attack or cower in the corner like a mewling, toothless old grishnak?”

Bleeding green blood from his side, the Romulan centurion growled in a low, menacing voice as he raised his dagger, “It will be a pleasure to kill you, Klingon verul!”

The two warriors circled each other warily, each probing for a weakness, that momentary opening that would, with one sudden thrust, end the fight. The centurion, scowling, struck, his movement as fluid as a cobra, his lunge aimed at his Klingon foe’s kidney. However, instead of cutting through cloth and flesh, the dagger struck only air.

Twisting at the last moment, K’Tan avoided his opponent’s strike. With a triumphant shout, the young Klingon slashed his mek’leth across the Romulan’s throat. Splattered with green blood as his enemy fell, K’Tan raised his weapon bloodstained weapon high, drinking in the applause from his fellow warriors gathered around the dueling circle.

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

“This memory pleases you?”

“Of course it does!” K’Tan replied, a proud smile on his face, “That was when I became a true warrior.”

“Because you killed a man?”

“He insulted my name and my house.” The Klingon warrior replied with a scowl, “He deserved death.”

“And had he killed you?”

K’Tan shrugged nonchalantly, “Then I would not be here talking with you now.”

“Interesting…”

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

K’Temoc

“Come, my son!” K’Temoc’s father, Kemoc called, holding his arms out as he knelt down.

Rushing to his father’s arms, the five year old Klingon shouted happily, “Father! You’re home!” Seeing the look pleased look on his father’s face, the young boy asked, “Did we win?”

“Of course we did, Son!” Kemoc replied as he mussed his eldest son’s hair. “The Earthers never knew what hit them! Captain Kor’s plan was flawless.”

“And Kemel? Did he fight well?” K’Temoc asked, referring to his favorite uncle.

“Kemel…” Kemoc replied, his voice filled with pride, “Died gloriously.” Seeing his son’s eyes begin to tear, the warrior father’s voice took on a disapproving tone, “Do not cry for him, my son. Kemel died as all Klingons should wish to die—as a warrior serving the Empire in battle. It was because of his courage and sacrifice that we took the Federation starship’s bridge. Kor himself sang his praises. Do not tarnish his memory with maudlin’ tears as a weak human would. He is in Sto-vo-kor, fighting and feasting with his fellow warriors. One day, my son…” The Klingon warrior said as he looked down proudly on the young boy, “…you and I shall join him—if you become as brave and courageous a warrior as I know you will be.”

“I will be.” The young Klingon answered back proudly, “You’ll see—I will be the bravest and strongest of warriors!”

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

“So…courage in battle is more important than life to you?”

“Of course it is.” K’Temoc replied as if the answer was obvious. “Life is fleeting. All things die. But great courage in battle lives on—through songs and stories, the brave warrior is never forgotten.”

“Your answer now differs from your response to the first test when you made the choice to decline battle. Explain.”

“It is as my captain said.” K’Temoc responded. “It was an unnecessary battle. Had we lost the Earthers would still be here—but we wouldn’t. K’Tan is right…a foolish warrior gets lost in battle, while the wise man sees the greater vision.”

“Most intriguing. You are not what we expected.”

“No Klingon is.” K’Temoc proudly replied as the mist once again took him.

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

Wesley

The mist once again resolving itself into recognizable forms, Robert once again recognized Virginia, only this time looking as she did when they were saying their goodbyes just a few weeks ago.

“So…” Virginia remarked, trying her best to maintain a stoic exterior, “…a five year tour. When do you think you’ll be able to make it back?”

“I don’t know…” Robert gently replied as he caressed his wife’s cheek. “Probably not for at least a year…maybe longer. The Typhon Sector is a long way away and is still mostly uncharted.” Trying to keep his enthusiasm for the coming voyage in check the newly-minted commodore said, “We’re going to be spending a lot of time just seeing what’s out there.”

With a bittersweet quality to her gentle laughter, Virginia Wesley tenderly removed her husband’s hand from her cheek, holding it in her hand. “And you can’t wait to get out there and see for yourself.”

“I’ll miss you…” Robert said softly as he kissed his wife, holding her tightly.

“And I’ll miss you too, Robert.” Virginia whispered back, crying. “Come back soon.”

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

“Why did you not take your mate with you?”

“Because she has her work back home.” Robert replied softly as the recent memory of his wife’s touch lingered in his mind. “And it wouldn’t be fair to ask her to leave it just for me.”

“But she is your mate…”

“She is also her own person.” Wesley protested, “I don’t have the right to make her give up her life to live mine.”

“There is more…” The voice stated, “Tell us…”

“My vessel is too small to permit family members on board.” The commodore quickly responded. “It wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the crew if I was able to bring my family and they couldn’t.”

“You still have not adequately explained your reasons.” The voice answered back, “Tell us…” It insisted, demanding the full truth from the man standing before it.

Sighing, Wesley confessed, “Because it is dangerous out here and I did not want her to be put at risk.”

“So…you leave her behind to protect her? You do not think her capable of surviving away from her home?”

“No!” Robert protested, “Yes…No…I mean…She’s a strong woman…stronger than me in many ways…but…I could never live with myself if I let...if I caused…something to happen to her.” His voice now taking on an angry edge, the commodore demanded, “Are you satisfied now?”

“Almost.” The voice responded, “We wish to see your response to one more set of visions…”

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

Aliz

“Next up on the balance beam, representing Starfleet Academy, Fourth Year Cadet Aliz Bathory!”

Pausing before the beam, the slender auburn haired pixie, wearing the black and gold leotard of the Academy team, leaped up in one smooth motion on the narrow four inch wide wooden board. Her lips turned up in a well practiced smile, she carried out her movements: leg splits, several 360 degree turns, handstands, poses, leaps—a near flawless program. Dismounting, she held her hands up in the air, smiling broadly as she drank in the applause.

“9.9…9.7…9.8…9.9...9.8…9.0…”

“Ignore that last mark…” Her coach grinned as he patted her back encouragingly, “That’s from the Vulcan judge—he never marks anyone higher than 9.4. You’re a lock for the gold, Aliz!”

Sometime later, Aliz, hearing her name called out, stepped up on the center podium. Crying tears of joy the little Hungarian woman stepped up on the podium, bowing as one of the judges slipped the medal around her neck. Taking a bouquet of flowers from a flower girl, Aliz waved to the crowd as it cheered.

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

“I was flying for three weeks after that…” Aliz said with a smile as the images once again disappeared into the fog.

“You take pride in your triumph.”

“Of course.” Aliz replied, “I worked hard for it and I beat some of the finest gymnasts of my class in the Federation. Why shouldn’t I feel good about it?”

“And your opponents? How did you see them?”

“What do you mean?” Aliz asked, confused.

“What did you think of them? Did you hate them? Want to hurt them?”

“Of course not!” Aliz laughed, “Some of them I’ve known for years and they’re good friends of mine. It was a competition—not a war! We didn’t hate each other or want to hurt each other! We all wanted to win—yes, of course—but it’s all in fun!”

“So…” The voice surmised, “You compete with each other for ‘fun’?”

“Yeah…” Aliz answered back, shrugging her shoulders, “It’s a sport…friendly competition…”

“Strange…”

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

Jennifer

“You’ve already got a date lined up?” Jennifer Watley’s roommate on the Lexington, Aliz Bathory shook her head in disbelief as Jennifer primped before the dresser drawr mirror they shared. “We’ve only been here for a week and you’ve already got a date. So…” The auburn haired helmsman asked, “Who is he?”

“He’s the helmsman…Terrence…Terrence Lawford.” Jennifer replied with a smirk. “He’s taking me to movie night tonight—they’re showing a fully restored version of “Some Like it Hot.”

“I thought…” Aliz remarked as she observed her roommate going through her usual predate ritual of make up and combing her thick, luxurious black hair, “He was interested in Cilla Oudekirk…”

“Oh, he is…” Jennifer admitted, “He’s just doing this to get under her skin…”

“And you’re going along with this?”

“Yeah.” Jennifer replied, her lips turned up in a wicked grin. “Leaving out that he’s a nice guy, I’ve decided I don’t like Lieutenant Oudekirk—she’s a stuck up little ice queen.” The olive skinned science officer declared, “And one of these days I’m going to tell her what she can do with that earpiece of hers.”

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

“You hate this Lieutenant Oudekirk?”

“Hate’s too strong a word.” A red-faced Jennifer quickly replied, shaking her head. “I just don’t like her. You don’t have to hate someone not to like them.”

“We do not understand.”

“Look…” An increasingly uncomfortable Ensign Watley sighed, “Most intelligent beings form relationships with each other. Sometimes…we like each other and want to be with each other.

“Like mates?”

“Yeah!” Jennifer answered back with a smile, “Or friends—like Aliz—she’s my friend.”

“But she’s not your mate?”

“No.” Jennifer quickly replied. “I don’t have a mate right now, but if I ever were to have a mate, it would be with a man, not a woman—although I know women who prefer being with women and men who prefer being with men...” She rambled on, “It’s just that my personal preference is for men.”

“What is a friend?”

“A friend…” The young woman tried to explain, “Is someone you like being with, but that you’re not…drawn to. I mean…” She stammered, “…it’s like this. I like going out and having a good time with Aliz, but we don’t see each other as potential mates—we just like hanging out together…”

As the mist once again grew around the young ensign, she could hear the voice responding to her last statement, “We shall have to think more on this…”

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

K’Tan

“Our scoutship has disappeared.” Commander Kalas, the first officer of K’Tan’s new command, the D-7 class battlecruiser, K’Mar, reported.

“Location of last transmission?” K’Tan demanded from the command chair of his warship.

“Here…” Kalas answered back, calling up a display of the area within the Typhon sector claimed by both the Federation and the Klingon Empire. “As you can see…It is within our space. An Earther vessel must have attacked it.”

“I can read a map, Kalas…” K’Tan growled, glaring at his sometimes overly ambitious first officer. “I also know that even though this is our territory, it is mostly unexplored. We cannot be sure that a Federation ship was responsible.”

Wisely taking a deferential posture, K’Tan’s first officer conceded, “Understood, Captain. What are your orders?”

“Set course for the last known location and maintain a close sensor watch.” K’Tan ordered, his lips turning up into a feral grin, “We shall see who appears.”

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

“We seek clarification. Why did you come to the conclusion that the ‘Earthers’ were responsible for the disappearance of your craft?”

“Their ship was the only ship in the area.” K’Tan simply replied, “And I did not know about you.”

“Why did you not try to communicate with the others before attacking them?”

“I would have lost the advantage then.” K’Tan immediately answered back, “In any event, they were intruding into our space—that alone was reason enough to attack them.”

“What makes you think that this is ‘your space’?”

“We were here first, therefore we claim it.” K’Tan declared, his face taking on a menacing countenance, “Why? Are you challenging our claim?”

A rumbling sound once again filling the room, the voice responded speaking as if to a child, “The folly of youth. To think that one can claim the infinite—the unknowable. You are indeed as children. As to whether you will grow up to learn the truth—that remains to be seen.”

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

K’Temoc

“You will have to start your service to the Empire as a common soldier, my son.” Kemoc declared, putting a hand on the young warrior’s shoulder. “It is a family tradition. Our house began as common soldiers raised through our ancestors blood and sacrifice to the nobility. The founder of our house—the warrior raised by the great Kamar himself, decreed that all who would lead our house must prove their worth by beginning in the ranks. If you are able, you will advance soon enough—if not, then your brother shall lead our house.”

Looking his father straight in the eye, the young soldier promised, “I will bring honor to our house.”

“Go then, my son.” Kemoc commanded, his voice filled with pride, “And serve the Empire well.”

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

“Your honor is important to you…”

“Of course it is!” K’Temoc responded, shaking his head in disbelief at the voice’s question. “It is the most important possession a warrior has!”

“Worth more than life?”

“Honor is life!” The young Klingon answered back, “Without honor, life is worthless to a true warrior.”

“And your foes? Do they possess honor?”

“Some do.” K’Temoc admitted, “And those who do, who fight courageously, I respect and honor as fellow warriors and would gladly share a barrel of blood wine with them.”

“You Klingons…” The voice declared in what seemed to be an almost exasperated tone, “Are a mass of contradictions.”

“We are who we are.” K’Temoc answered back as the mist took him.

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

Appearing together once again in the large chamber, Wesley turned towards his young officers, “You doing ok?”

“We’re fine, Sir.” Aliz answered back, Jennifer nodding her head.

“I’m ok, Sir. They…” She stammered, “…they made me remember…”

“It’s in the past, Ensign.” Commodore Wesley consoled as he embraced a sobbing Jennifer. “Whatever it was…you got through it…you survived. Never forget that.”

“Thank you, Sir.” Ensign Watley sniffed as she broke from her embrace. “I’m…better now.”

“And you, K’Temoc.” K’Tan asked, “How did you fare?”

Laughing, the young warrior replied, “They were naught but memories—and memories cannot harm a true warrior…”

“Unless you let them.” The older warrior said, completing the old proverb. “Very good, young one. Very good.”

“You are a most fascinating group of specimens.” The voice spoke, drawing the attention of everyone in the room. “You have given us much to ponder. Now, we are curious as to how you would respond when faced with your possible futures.”

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

Wesley

“I’m sorry, Robert.” Virginia said through her tears, “I love you…and I always will. But…”

“But…” Her husband said softly, his face a stoic mask threatening to crack at any moment.

“But I need my husband…I need him here and I need all of him…”

“Virginia…” Robert pleaded only to have his wife interrupt him.

“Bob…even if you retired, I’d never have you here—not completely. A part of you—an important part—would always be in Starfleet. You know that.”

“When?” Robert asked in a quiet, resigned voice.

“My lawyer should have the paperwork done by the end of the week and the divorce—if you don’t contest it…” She paused, her voice tone rising in pitch turning the statement into a question.

Shaking his head sadly, Wesley answered, “No…I won’t contest it.”

Sighing in relief, his wife responded with a gentle, “Thank you. My lawyer says that it should be finalized by the end of the month. Katie will be starting University this fall. I’ve talked to her and told her what was going on and why I was doing it and she understands. She says she loves and very much wants you to stay in her life—as do I.” She finished, looking up at her husband with pleading eyes.

Smiling a sad smile as he looked fondly down on his wife, Robert’s voice cracked as he spoke. “I have no plans on leaving either yours or Katie’s lives.” Taking a deep breath, Wesley said in a resigned voice, “I’ll move my things out by the end of the week. Don’t worry, I’ll find a place to stay in San Francisco.” Sharing one last long kiss, the couple reluctantly broke from their embrace. Turning away, Robert walked out of the Carolina house that he and his wife had shared for most of their married life. Once he was safely out of sight of any possible onlookers, the newly commissioned admiral sat down on a fallen tree log where he stayed for hours doing nothing but sitting.

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

“Why?” Robert asked, his face red as he tried to restrain his anger and hurt, “Why did you show me that?”

“We seek understanding.” The voice responded, “Why did your mate wish to separate from you?”

Sighing as he willed himself to calmness, Wesley tried to answer back, “I guess…it was because…because she couldn’t take my being absent anymore and decided enough was enough.” Lowering his head in guilt, the suddenly older looking man muttered, “Maybe she was right.”

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

Aliz

Watching the images in the fog, Aliz saw herself, now an old woman, with a group of others gathered around a woman lying in bed with her infant daughter.

“Would you like to hold her, Mama?” The woman in the bed asked as another woman gently taking the baby from its mother’s arms, placed it in the arms of an older Aliz.

“She’s beautiful.” The older Aliz smiled as she looked down on the tiny blue eyed cherub, “Have you decided on a name, Lany?”

“Yes…” The new mother replied, “We’re calling her Elizabeth. Elizabeth Paula Shelby.”

Looking down fondly on her granddaughter, Aliz cooed, “I only wish your grandfather could have seen you, little Elizabeth. Robert would have been so proud…” Her still alert eyes gazing about the room, Aliz asked, “Anna? Where is Philip? I thought his ship was still in orbit.”

“He couldn’t make it.” Anna said with a note of sadness in her voice, “He had to attend an important meeting at Starfleet Command…”

“He doesn’t know what he is missing…” The elderly Aliz said in a slightly judgmental tone as she played with the laughing baby in her arms. “Robert always found a way to make it to each of your births.”

“It helps to be Chief of Staff of Starfleet Command.” Michael Wesley, wearing the burgundy and black uniform of a Starfleet officer with a commander’s rank pin remarked.

“He always made time for what was important.” Aliz said with a sad smile as she handed the tiny bundle back to her mother. “That’s one of the many reasons why I fell in love with him.”

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

“Do you possess these feelings for Robert Wesley now?” The voice asked.

“No!” Aliz vehemently responded, “Of course not!”

“Why not?”

“Well…” Aliz ticked off, “He’s my commanding officer, he’s married, and he’s a lot older than I am…”

“So…you have no feelings for him at all?”

“No…Yes…I don’t know!” A confused Aliz replied, “I respect him. I think he’s a good man…a compassionate man. But he’s still my commanding officer and he’s still married.”

“And if he wasn’t?”

“I don’t know!” Aliz answered back. “Maybe…maybe not. I can’t tell you because it hasn’t happened yet.”

“Most confusing...we shall have to think more on this.”

“Wait!” Aliz begged as the mist began to overcome her, “Answer one question for me…please? My granddaughter? The baby in the visions? What will become of her?”

“The future is always mutable.” The voice responded in what almost seemed to be a gentle tone, “But…should this particular time line remain intact, she will chart her own destiny amongst the stars.”

“I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with that.” Aliz sighed as the mist overwhelmed her.

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

Jennifer

“Hey, Jennifer!” At the sound of her roommate’s thick Magyar accent, a disconsolate Jennifer Watley looked up from the still uneaten salad that she had been picking at for the past half hour.

Seeing her roommate entering the mess hall with a man wearing lieutenant’s stripes on the sleeves of his gold shirt, Jennifer forced a smile to her lips, “Aliz. Who’s this?”

“Hi…” The man, an attractive brown haired man with blue eyes said, introducing himself as Aliz walked over to the food processor, returning moments later with a bowl of soup and iced tea on her tray. “I’m Morgan…Morgan Bateson. I just transferred over from the USS Cody and Lieutenant Bathory was kind enough to give me the grand tour.”

“He’s taking over as senior navigator.” Aliz explained in a soft voice as she took a seat across from her former roommate.

“Terrence’s old slot.” Jennifer whispered as she speared a piece of lettuce.

“Yeah.” Aliz replied, nodding her head. “Look Jennifer…it’s been two months since Terrence died. I can understand why Cilla is still grieving, but you and Terrence haven’t been that close in months…”

“I know, Aliz…” Jennifer sighed, “And you’re right. It’s just that…well…ever since I’ve been back…”

“You’re not sure what you’re supposed to feel…” Aliz finished.

“Yeah.” Jennifer affirmed, nodding her head, “And that makes me feel…”

“Distant?”

“Yeah.”

Feeling uncomfortable at eavesdropping in what was now a private conversation between the two old friends, Lieutenant Bateson stood up, “You two look like you’ve got a lot talk about, so I’d better go.” Looking down on the lovely raven haired science officer, Morgan smiled as he turned to walk away, “I hope we’ll get to see more of each other Lieutenant.”

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

“What does it mean to grieve?”

“Well…” A still shaken Jennifer stammered, “When you lose someone you care about…when they die…you miss them. You want them with you and it…hurts…when they’re gone. That’s grieving—I guess.”

“Do all humans grieve?”

“Yeah.” Jennifer answered back nodding her head, “I guess so…it’s a normal response. But…” She added, “…people grieve in different ways.”

“How so?”

“It’s not easy to explain. Some people cry…some brood…some try to hide their pain or lose themselves in their work or play. There are as many ways to grieve as there are people.”

“You are a strange people…”

“Well…” Jennifer retorted in a wry voice as the mist surrounded her, “You’re pretty damned weird yourselves.”

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

K’Tan

“They proved their honor at Narendra III.” An older, K’Tan, now with the forehead ridges of a true Klingon declared in front of the Klingon High Council. “The Enterprise fought valiantly against at least three Romulan warbirds—sacrificing their lives to buy us the time we needed to send reinforcements to our colony. We have now shed blood together. Starfleet and the Federation have shown that they are worthy allies. I say we affirm the treaty!”

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

Watching himself speak before the High Council of the Empire as a full Klingon, no longer one of the ‘unhappy ones’, K’Tan’s chest puffed out in pride.

“If you hate humans so…then why will you embrace them in the future?”

“If what I will say in the future is true…” K’Tan replied, “Then the Earthers, by giving up their lives in battle for one of our colonies, would have shown themselves as honorable warriors and so fitting allies for our Empire. That is reason enough.”

“But now?”

“Now is now…” K’Tan declared, “The future is not here yet. Now, the Earthers are my enemy. Tomorrow they might become my friend. But it is not tomorrow yet.”

“You continue to surprise us. You speak wisely for one so young. There might be hope for you yet.”

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

K’Temoc

As the mist resolved itself into images, K’Temoc saw an older version of himself with the ridged forehead of a true Klingon sitting in the command chair of a warship. On the viewscreen of his warship he saw ships—strange ships from a race he had yet to encounter.

“The Cardassian convoy is in position, Captain.”

Cha yIghuS!” He ordered.

“Torpedoes readied.” His weapons officer responded

“Decloak and fire!” He commanded as the battlecruiser, becoming visible, launched its lethal packages towards the enemy vessels.

“All torpedoes have impacted successfully!”

“Disruptors and torpedoes—fire at will!”

Smiling as the convoy scattered, the younger K’Temoc’s eyes widened as a second vessel, far larger than the largest Klingon battlecruiser, suddenly decloaked on the opposite side of K’Temoc’s vessel, the ships of the convoy between them. Recognizing the raptor painted on the bottom of the strange craft, the young Klingon cursed under his breath, Romulans. Looking on in astonishment, he saw the strange Romulan craft fire its disruptors not at the ship his older self commanded, but rather at the convoy. Watching in fascination, it appeared to the young warrior that the two warships were herding the convoy but to what? It was then that he saw it—a Starfleet vessel, larger than even one of Starfleet’s dreaded Constitution class ships, but with its two nacelles slung under the saucer section. Gasping at the withering photon torpedo and phaser fire launched by the Starfleet vessel, the young Klingon looked on once again in disbelief as it became apparent to him that his vessel was allied with both the Romulans and the Federation against these unknown aliens. Cheering as the three ships methodically destroyed or disabled the alien convoy, K’Temoc’s attention was once again focused on his elder self as the images of his allied captains appeared on the viewscreen.

The first image, that of the Romulan, was that of a blonde woman, her hair closely cropped, but lacking the prominent forehead ridges and longer pointed ears of true Romulans. The human, also a blonde female, but wearing a uniform that he didn’t recognize at first except for the Starfleet emblem on her chest, smirked. “I told you it would work, K’Temoc.”

His older self laughing, the younger K’Temoc heard him laugh, a deep rich belly laugh, “You did indeed, Captain Shelby. Very well a bet is a bet, you’ll have your champagne…I will personally see to it that it is what you call ‘Kristal’.”

“And I shall deliver the Romulan ale I promised…” The Romulan Commander who called herself Sela declared, “It comes from my private stock. And now…” The Romulan sniffed disdainfully, “I would suggest that we get what we came for and get out of here. We have picked up a Jem’Hadar pursuit squadron on our sensors and I would prefer to be gone when they get here.”

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

The images fading into the mist, K’Temoc asked, “What was this? Who were I and these others fighting? Why am I allied with humans and Romulans?”

“What you see is a possible future.” The voice replied and then inquired, “Does it anger you to be allied in the future with your current enemies?”

“No…” K’Temoc answered surprisingly, “It was a glorious battle fought with courageous allies. Why should I be angry?”

“But they are your hated foes, are they not?”

“Yes…” K’Temoc confessed, “But something must have happened to make us allies—maybe these new aliens forced us to ally together. It is no disgrace to make common cause with former enemies who have proven themselves worthy.”

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

The mist clearing, K’Temoc found himself once again in the large chamber in the presence of his captain and the others. “I had the most powerful vision…” The young warrior told his captain, “But now I cannot remember it.”

“Nor can I…” K’Tan admitted as he gave his Starfleet counterpart an appraising gaze.

“I can’t remember either.” Commodore Wesley declared, answering K’Tan’s unspoken question. Turning towards his younger officers, the commodore inquired, “What about you two?”

As both ensigns shook their heads, Wesley remarked, “Well, it appears that none of us remember…”

“We have taken your memories of future events away from you…” The voice proclaimed. “…for your own protection.”

“It’s probably for the best.” Wesley sagely commented, his lips turning up into a smile as he regarded the two ensigns, “We’ll let the future sort itself out.”

“Wesley is right.” K’Tan declared, putting his hand on the younger warrior’s shoulder, “The future will wait for us.”

“You have given us much to ponder.” The voice said, its sound reverberating through the chamber as the mist once again filled the room, “There is but one more test. It will depend not only on yourselves, but also on those you command. You and they must choose—freedom or destruction.”

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

“Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way.” Talana smirked as the last members of each landing party finished inspecting each other’s kits, “Maybe we can get down to work?”

“Like you…” Lyssan replied with again the faintest traces of a smile, “I am eager to delve into this object’s secrets. You have honored the terms of our agreement and, as you can see, so have we. Let us proceed. I would suggest leaving our pilots behind in their respective crafts in case we need to depart quickly.”

“Good idea.” Lieutenant Commander Zha’Thara agreed, “Two teams of five?” The Andorian science officer suggested, “One headed by you and one by me with each team containing two Starfleet and two Klingon specialists.”

Nodding her head, the Klingon science officer concurred, “That is acceptable.” Pointing towards the open passageway, she raised her eyebrows, “Shall we proceed?”

“Sounds good to me.” Talana smirked, her anticipation at exploring the alien structure growing as the two respective teams sorted themselves out, “I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what’s in here!”

************************************************** **********************
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Old August 17 2007, 09:16 PM   #47
TheLoneRedshirt
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Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 7

To borrow a very old line, "Fascinating!"

Really, this was excellent in several ways. I enjoyed both the flashbacks and glimpses of the future you provide for Wesley, his crew and the Klingons. Certainly some bittersweet glimpses, to be sure.

These beings (Changelings or whatever) are very curious. I am left with the uncomfortable impression that they are looking at amusing bugs under a microscope. Hopefully, they won't see what happens if they start pulling off legs! The beings seem to have the power of the Organians but with less knowledge, although their knowledge is vast. And there was always in the background, a hint of something ominous, vaguely menacing. It was an interesting feeling of being intrigued and uncomfortable at the same time.

A tremendous chapter!
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Old August 17 2007, 09:40 PM   #48
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Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 7

Thanks Redshirt and funny you should mention the aliens pulling off legs... You're going to love the next part...
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Old August 20 2007, 01:07 AM   #49
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Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 8

Next chapter will conclude this story. Hopefully, I'll have it up tonight as well--depends on how good the football game tonight is. I hope everyone has enjoyed this story and I look forward to writing many more tales about the Lady Lex and her crew.

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

Meet the Lady: Part 8


Making their way through the dark alien corridor, their only form of illumination coming from their flashlights and the low pale yellow luminescence emanating from the walls, the combined Starfleet-Klingon expedition came to a halt as the corridor ended in a T-section. “This is where we split up.” Talana said, addressing her Klingon counterpart. “Which one do you want?”

“My team will take this one.” Lyssan decided, pointing towards the corridor to her left.

“All right…” Talana agreed, her antennae twitching as she gestured with her thumb at the corridor on the right, “We’ll go the other way, then. Good luck and we’ll meet you on the other side.”

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

As the two teams advanced down their respective corridors, the illumination from their flashlights became their only source of light as the luminescence emanating from the walls slowly disappeared, leaving only an inky, Stygian darkness. That and the silence broken only by the scuffling of feet, occasional muttered curses from the Klingons in her party, and the low hum of her tricorder caused Talana’s heart to beat harder and faster as she led her team down the corridor. Catching what appeared to be movement out of the corner of her eye, she raised her hand as she whispered, “Halt!” Her antennae twitching nervously, she motioned for one of the disguised security specialists, a young dark-haired ensign named, to move up. Her voice still a whisper, she asked, “Did you see it?”

“See what, Sir?” The young ensign asked as his eyes carefully scanned the area.

Looking again, the Andorian science officer shook her head, “I could have sworn…” Chuckling, she put her hand on the security officer’s shoulder, “I’m sorry…I’ve been watching too many old horror films on movie night. Let’s move on.”

“Aye, Sir.” The mystified ensign replied falling back to the end of the line as the group once again began to move down the corridor. Several minutes later, the ensign, pausing, turned his light on the pitch black wall. Becoming instantly mesmerized by the constantly changing patterns the swirls in the wall made as his light played upon it, the young officer stood in rapt fascination, not even noticing the black pseudopods emerging from the ceiling until they had taken hold of him, yanking him up with a single scream.

“AAARRRGGGHHH!”

Turning about at once on hearing the scream, Talana and her group raced back to where the scream emanated. Arriving mere moments after hearing the cry, they arrived on the scene, finding only the ensign’s flashlight and tricorder on the floor, the tricorder’s flap still open as it continued to scan.

“The coward ran away!” The Klingon declared with a sneer of derision.

Wheeling on the swarthy bearded Klingon, one of the humans, Lieutenant Forrester, snarled as he cocked his fists, “You take that back you filthy Klingon or you’ll be eating through a straw!”

Laughing, the Klingon fell immediately into a combat stance as his companion looked on with anticipation. “I am ready when you are, little man.”

“That’s enough!” Talana’s voice rang out as her antennae pointed forwards. “We don’t have time for this!” Turning towards her junior officer, his fists still balled up, the lieutenant commander commanded, “Stand down, Lieutenant! Now!” Watching intently as Forrester slowly lowered his fists, Talana quickly wheeled on the Klingon. “You too.”

Nodding her head in satisfaction as the crisis, for now at least, appeared to be defused; the Andorian science officer knelt down and picked up both the tricorder and flashlight. Putting the flashlight in her belt, she pressed a button on the tricorder, “Maybe it recorded what happened.” She conjectured as a visual image appeared on the tiny screen. Watching intently, Talana looked on in horror as she saw the two black pseudopods dropping down from the ceiling, grasp the ensign where the arms joined his shoulders, moving so quickly that by the time he realized what had happened, the coils had already tightly wrapped themselves around him, yanking him up so fast that he only had time to utter a single scream as he dropped his instruments. But that wasn’t what caused the color on Talana’s face to fade to a pale blue. It was the look on the poor man’s face—the look of twisted horror as he screamed. Staring intensely at the ceiling, the Andorian woman could see nothing…just inky blackness. Feeling a cold shiver running down her spine, Talana, breathing deeply, forced the bile rising up from her stomach down as, mustering as much confidence as she could; she spoke, “Listen up, everyone. We’re not sure what happened to Ensign Giotto. There’s no sign that he’s been killed, so as far as I’m concerned, he’s alive and we’re going to find him.” Her eyes gazing intently on everyone in her party, she concluded, “Right?” Seeing nothing but a stony expression from the Klingons and nods of assent from Forrester and the other security specialist, she nodded her head, “All right, then. Let’s get going. The sooner we get started, the sooner we find out where Giotto is and what happened to him.”

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

“Gitan!” On hearing his name being called out by his superior officer, the Klingon soldier stiffened his back. “Take the rear guard position.” The Klingon lieutenant commanding the other joint Klingon-Starfleet team ordered as her team paused in the middle of the dark dank corridor they found themselves in. Nodding his head once in acknowledgment, Gitan, assigned to this task by First Officer Kalas because of his lowly lineage, drew his disruptor and watched, counting off the seconds as the rest of his team resumed their progress down the corridor. Counting to thirty and seeing that his teammates had already progressed a good ten meters ahead of him, the soldier resumed his progress, shining his light in all directions: straight ahead, to the left, right, up, and behind him. His senses fully alert, the courageous warrior promised himself that he would not be taken unawares.

Little did he know that he would not fulfill his promise. Watching as the rest of his group turned a corner in the passageway, Gitan cried out in horror as the formerly sold floor, turning into a gelatinous mass, engulfed him.

Hearing his scream, Lyssan wheeled about, charging back the way she came followed by the rest of her team, she encountered a solid black bulkhead sealing them off. “You two!” She ordered, pointing first to Ensign Xylvan, the Vulcan security specialist posing as a science officer, and then to Mira, the sole remaining Klingon other than herself in her team, “Get readings from that.”

Both officers acknowledging her orders, they carefully approached; their tricorders active and scanning. Shaking his head, Ensign Xylvan reported first, “The substance appears to be a composite of organic and inorganic compounds bonded together by a resinous compound.”

“Ensign…” Lyssan suggested, addressing the Starfleet officer, “Do you think that we might be able to cut our way through?”

“Possibly.” The Vulcan answered back, “However, to do so would violate the terms of our truce.”

“I’d say at this moment.” The Klingon woman dryly replied, “We have more important things to worry about than our truce.”

“I would agree.” Ensign Xylvan responded, drawing his phaser from the small of his back as Lyssan drew her disruptor out of its holster. Both officers simultaneously unlocking their weapons, they turned the settings to produce a narrow cutting beam.

“Now, Ensign!” Lyssan ordered as both officers fired in unison, the high pitched whine of the phaser mixing with the deeper pulsing resonance of the Klingon’s disruptor as the blue beam lancing from the Vulcan’s weapon struck the exact same spot as the disruptor’s invisible sonic beam. At first, it looked like the weapons would cut through as the black substance at the impact spot oozed, dripping to the deck like blood. But, Lyssan’s joy proved illusory as the more of the black goo flowed into the hole, filling it in as quickly as their weapons could cut through. Uttering a single, especially vile oath, the Klingon woman shouted as she ceased fire, “Enough! This is useless.” Calming down, she declared, “Our time would be better spent moving forward. Hopefully we will find our answers as to what happened to Gitan there.”

“That would be the most logical choice.” Xylvan agreed. Glancing down at his phaser, he then asked, “What should we do about our weapons.”

Her lips turning up into a crooked grin, Lyssan answered back, “It would probably be best for the two of us to keep our weapons as they are now in case we run into the need to use them at higher settings in the future. I think we can count on each other’s honor not to violate the truce. Now, let us finish what we have started here.”

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

Wesley and the others could do nothing but watch as they saw Gitan and Giotto ripped away from their comrades. Frozen in place, unable to move, the only thing the commodore and his Klingon counterpart could do was speak.

“Why are you doing this?” Wesley called out in his rage as he saw poor Giotto aged, in literally a matter of seconds, from a young man in his twenties to someone who appeared to be in his hundreds and then back again.

“What gives you the right?” K’Tan yelled as he watched his soldier literally transformed from warrior to adolescent to child to infant to fetus before once again being returned to his original age.

“Interesting…” The voice boomed, unconcerned with the righteous indignation expressed by its test subjects. “…the progression of your life cycles. But there is more we need to learn. We shall commence the next series of tests now.”

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

“Still no word from our landing party?” Kalas asked, turning toward his communications officer.

“No, Sir.” The Klingon subaltern promptly replied.

“We have waited long enough. Kalas to D’Kor…” The acting captain spoke into the intercom, “Qapla!”

D’Kor, wearing an armored spacesuit and carrying a disruptor rifle at port arms turned to his warriors who were similarly equipped. “Victory!” He shouted, triumphantly holding his rifle with his right hand over his head. Turning towards the airlock, he punched in the access code. The heavy inner door slowly opening, D’Kor led his warriors into the chamber. Moments later, the noise of the door sliding shut was replaced by a hissing sound as the chamber depressurized. The outer door then sliding open, D’Kor stepped out into space. Tapping the control button for his personal propulsion unit, the Klingon officer felt a momentary lurch as the quick burst propelled him forward. His troops formed up and ready, D’Kor giving them the signal to attack, again tapped his thruster control, steering a course for his prize, the bridge of the Lexington.

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

With Talana at the lead, her team continued its cautious advance until they entered a chamber. As she and her group entered the pitch black room, the walls began to glow a dull yellow, at first very faintly, but gradually providing more and more light until the chamber was fully illuminated. As her eyes adjusted to the light, Talana, her eyes scanning the room, gasped in a mixture of astonishment and fright. In the center of the chamber were two empty slabs. Approaching closer, Talana noticed one of the walls slowly becoming more transparent. Drawing nearer the wall, the Andorian science officer gasped at the sight she saw: Klingons, humans, a couple of Vulcans, and an Andorian were each affixed to a wall behind the transparent chamber wall. Several of the unfortunate bodies had their chests splayed open, internal organs removed. The crowns of the skulls of two of the humans, two of the Vulcans, and the Andorian were cut off, their brains apparently scooped out.

“The crews of the Voltaire and the Klingon scoutship.” Talana conjectured

“My God…” Forrester gasped, “They’ve been…”

“Dissected.” Talana completed, forcing the nausea rising up her throat down.

“Is this what happened to Giotto?” The young science specialist asked as the blood rushed from his face. His eyes widening in growing panic, he cried, “Is this what’s going to happen to us?”

Pushing away her own growing fear, Talana grabbed Forrester by his shoulders. “Lieutenant!” She commanded loudly, “Look at me! Look at me…” Fixing him in her gaze, she lowered her voice, “Giotto’s not here. Until we find out otherwise, as far as I’m concerned, he’s still alive and waiting for us to rescue him. You got that, Lieutenant?”

“Y…y…yes…Commander.” Forrester stammered as regained control.

“Good.” Lieutenant Commander Zha’Thara said, forcing her lips to turn up in an encouraging smile. Raising her voice so that the two Klingons could hear her, she ordered, “All right. Let’s take scans of everything before we move on. And remember, we all stay in sight of each other.”

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

“Sir?” Cilla Oudekirk called out as she swiveled in her seat to face the man currently occupying the high backed center chair of the USS Lexington, “The ‘watchdogs’ have detected movement coming towards us from the Klingon ship.”

“What sort of movement?” Commander Alexei Kuznetsov, the first officer of the Lexington, inquired as his finger hovered over the intercom button on the command chair arm.

“At least twenty human sized figures...” The Dutch communications officer replied, “…if they maintain course and heading they will be on the saucer section near the bridge airlock in no more than three minutes.”

“Damn!” Alexei swore as he punched the intercom button. “Lieutenant Mtolo…get your people on the saucer section at the bridge airlock in two minutes—company’s coming.”

“Aye, Sir.” The Zulu security chief crisply acknowledged from the helmet communicator of his armored spacesuit. “All right, people!” Nealo ordered as he pointed at the airlock, “You know what you’re supposed to do—Let’s get out there and show those filthy Klingons what we’re made of.”

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

Entering a chamber similar in size to the one Talana’s group had entered, Lyssan’s team saw, as the illumination emanating from the walls slowly filled the room, one wall that was transparent, revealing a chamber filled from floor to ceiling with a fluid. Floating in the fluid was, what appeared to the Klingon science officer to be, body parts. Barely restraining the immediate impulse to retch at the sight, Lyssan detected what appeared to be a human leg, an Andorian hand, and a Klingon head.

“Lieutenant!” Ensign Xylvan called out, pointing at the ceiling where two pseudopods, suddenly appearing, were lunging towards her. Screaming, she fired her disruptor at one of the pseudopods at the same moment the Vulcan security officer fired his at the other. Accompanied by a high pitched screeching, the pseudopods, cleanly severed from their host, fell to the floor, still twitching.

Regrettably, because everyone’s attention was focused on the pseudopods attacking Lyssan, no one spotted the pair that grabbed Ensign Maria Sanchez, lifting her up screaming to the ceiling where she was immediately engulfed by the thick black fluid. Watching in horror, Lyssan and the surviving members of her team saw her reappear moments later in the fluid, her face a frozen macabre mask. What happened next was so horrendous that Lyssan and her fellow Klingon, even though they had seen death most of their lives, were forced to turn away. Even Xylvan’s normally stoic exterior cracked momentarily as he also turned away in revulsion at what was happening to his shipmate.

Recovering first, a still shaken Lyssan called out, pointing to the exit, “Get out! Now!” Grabbing her fellow Klingon roughly by his shoulder and shoving him towards the exit, she urged, “Move! Unless you wish to join her.” Turning toward the remaining Starfleet officer, she nodded her head as, recovering just after her; he was already following her orders. Last to leave, Lyssan let out a breath of air as she the chamber door closed shut behind her, not even knowing that that two more of the pseudopods had just missed grappling her as she fled across the doorway. Breathing deeply, the olive skinned Klingon woman gasped between breaths, “We have to continue on…find our way out of here…or find a way to destroy this thing!”

“Agreed.” Ensign Xylvan concurred, his stony mask now back firmly in place again. “What happened here must be reported to our respective superiors.”

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

“And you call yourselves advanced beings!” Wesley’s face reddened with anger as he was forced to watch while young Ensign Sanchez, on her first assignment out of the Academy, was slowly dismembered before his eyes. “You’re nothing more than butchers! You’re worse than the child who pulls the wings off of butterflies—at least the child could claim ignorance. What’s your excuse?”

“We need not justify our actions to you. Do you explain yourselves to those you experiment on?”

“That answer doesn’t cut it!” Wesley riposted, “We’ve reached the point now where we do not have to conduct experiments on live animals as much as we used to—and even when such experiments were common, the experimentation on intelligent beings…”

“…was done. We have scanned your historical databases. We are familiar with the names Joseph Mengele, Colonel Green, Khan Nonnien Singh, Arik Soong, Antaak, K’Vagh…”

“And if you’d have done your research properly…” Wesley countered, “…you’ll find that those names are reviled throughout the quadrant!”

“Yet you still use the results of their research…”

“Because by doing so, we honor the memories of those whose lives were destroyed and ruined by those names you mentioned and others like them.” The commodore replied, “Otherwise their deaths and suffering would have been meaningless.”

The voice, devoid of emotion and even, to Wesley’s ears, empathy, simply declared, “The experiment will proceed.”

“There will be an accounting one day!” K’Tan silent until now warned, “You will pay for what you have done!”

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

“Wait for it…” Lieutenant Mtolo ordered his men, their white and silver suits providing ideal camouflage as the security team blended in with the body of the Lexington. “Let them come closer…”

D’Kor, his hunger for battle overtaking him, urged his warriors on. “A bottle of my best blood wine to the first one who sets foot on the Lexington’s bridge!” His objective in sight, the Klingon second officer, he touched the control panel on his chest. Following a brief hiss from the thruster pack on his back, he sighted the outer airlock door to the Federation starship’s bridge dead center in his helmet display. With his rifle in his hands and his mek’leth secure in the scabbard on his thigh, D’Kor smiled with anticipation as he imagined the glory that he would win in the coming battle.

Mokath, an old grizzled veteran sergeant who had served on many campaigns for the Empire, seeing his superior officer and many of the other warriors rushing headlong towards the Starfleet vessel growled. Holding his hand up, he halted the five warriors under his command. “Wait! D’Kor is leading our warriors into a trap.” He ordered, switching to a different communications frequency from that used by the mission commander. “Watch and learn,” instructed the old hand instructed as his instincts once again proved true.

“Now!” Nealo ordered, firing his phaser rifle as D’Kor and his warriors entered the security chief’s kill zone. Soon after, the rest of Mtolo’s team opened fire, taking the Klingons totally by surprise. The blue beam from Mtolo’s weapon striking true, the warrior next to D’Kor grunted as he passed out of consciousness, the hand that was on his thruster control still pressing the button. His thruster jet now out of control, the felled Klingon impacted on the saucer section of the giant starship, his faceplate shattering under the impact, the warrior died almost instantly, never regaining consciousness.

Watching with alarm and anger as the warrior next to him and another warrior, also hit by the withering phaser fire, tumbled end over end to be lost within the tendrils of the nebula, D’Kor growled as he fired his disruptor. “Kill them!” He shouted, exulting as the body of one of his enemies slowly disintegrated under the impact of his weapon’s sonic disruption beams. Laughing as he heard the poor man’s screams of pain, D’Kor urged, “Close with them! Our blades will drink their blood!”

“Shoot and scoot, people!” Lieutenant Mtolo commanded as, activating his thruster pack, he and the rest of his squad jetted away from the onrushing Klingons, hugging close to the saucer’s hull. Cursing as he saw one of the Klingons grappling with a security trooper who had allowed the warrior to get to close to him, Mtolo snapped off a shot from his rifle, stunning the Klingon. It was too late for the poor trooper though as the Klingon managed to get his mek’leth through a chink in his foe’s armored pressure suit, driving the wicked blade through not just the suit, but also into the flesh of the young trooper. Globules of blood appeared and froze when exposed to the vacuum of space as the air hissed out of the young man’s suit. Soon, the trooper’s anguished cries ended, whether from the blood loss or the loss of air, Mtolo wasn’t sure and, as the disruptor bolt that had just missed him attested, the Zulu security officer didn’t have luxury to consider at the moment as, activating his thruster pack once again, he and his team scooted back from the attacking Klingons.

Seeing and hearing the sounds of battle outside his bridge, Kuznetsov barked, “Get a team to the bridge at once.” Standing up, he addressed his bridge crew, his voice a harsh guttural growl, “Everyone into pressure suits! Now!”

Barely managing to keep his five warriors back from the terrible carnage being played out before them, Mokath waited until he found what he was looking for. “There!” He smiled, pointing at an unguarded secondary airlock. “While D’Kor and our other warriors keep the Earthers busy, we’ll take the prize!” And the glory, the old veteran thought as he and his team, activating their thrusters, skirted the combat area, moving very carefully to avoid attracting any attention as they made their way towards their goal until, reaching it; they crouched low by the airlock door. Signaling with his hands, Mokath set three of his men on watch while he and another began cutting into the airlock with a pair of cutting torches. Soon…Mokath thought…soon and it will all be over.

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

Entering the chamber simultaneously, both Talana and Lyssan observing the losses suffered by their teams, shook their heads sadly. “This must be the central chamber.” Talana noted, seeing several different entrances into the circular room. Her attention then fell upon eight slabs arranged in what almost seemed to be a cross pattern, six of the slabs empty, but the two in the middle very much occupied. “Giotto…” Talana whispered as she saw the withered husk of the young security officer.

“Gitan.” Lyssan then said, immediately recognizing the Klingon warrior, also little more than a husk, occupying the other table.

A table slowly extruded from one of the sides of the chamber. Above the table on the wall, patterns swirled, eventually forming letters. “Knowledge.” Lyssan read before the letters once again became a swirling mass of shapes and patterns. “This must be their database.” Taking out her tricorder, she attempted to scan the console, only to find that her instrument began to grow hot. Quickly dropping the glowing tricorder, the Klingon science officer looked on in shock as it glowed first a dull red, then yellow, and finally blue and white until disappearing.

“I guess they don’t want us scanning it.” Talana wryly observed as the swirling pattern once again transformed itself into writing. “The path towards life or destruction…” the Andorian woman read, “…rests upon your choices now.” Immediately after finishing her sentence, the writing once again became swirling patterns as they slowly reformed once more into letters.

“None all die…” Lyssan read, “One saves some but dooms all…”

“Two of the same dies but ensures triumph for theirs.” Talana continued, “But two that differ ensures both grow.”

“Six saves all but loses growth.” Lyssan finished. Turning to the others, the Klingon science officer pondered, “It seems we have to make a decision…”

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

His pressure suit donned and phaser in hand, The Bear cursed under his breath as he saw the airlock door glowing around the edges. Sighing in relief as the armored security detail he had ordered rushed on to the bridge, the Russian commander barked out orders. “All non-essential bridge personnel…evacuate immediately. That means you G’arv!” Alexei growled as the Tellarite engineer looked about to protest. “I’ll need you in engineering just in case we go down. And you too, Lawford…Senak…” He ordered, turning his attention to the English navigator and Vulcan relief helmsman, “Get down to auxiliary control. Once you leave, I’m going to depressurize the bridge and lock the controls. Now…” He commanded, raising his voice, “Go!”

Seeing the man he assumed to be the commander of the Starfleet forces mere meters away from him, D’Kor, crying out a guttural war cry, fired his disruptor. Growling in disgust as the weapon failed to fire, the Klingon warrior, drawing his mek’leth, launched himself towards his opponent, confident that even should he be stunned or killed, the momentum from his charge would carry his foe with him to a shared death.

Nealo, seeing the onrushing Klingon, snapped off a shot from his phaser rifle. Cursing as the beam missed the warrior, the Zulu security chief knew at once that he would not be able to get off a second shot or be able to dodge the oncoming warrior. Bracing himself, Lieutenant Mtolo saying a short prayer that his magnetic soles would hold fast, grappled the wrist of the arm wielding the dangerous war knife with one hand while simultaneously striking at the Klingon’s chest with the armored glove of his other hand. Releasing his angry opponent with a shove, Mtolo heaved a sigh of relief as he watched the hapless Klingon, his thrusters firing out of control, race tumbling into the heart of the nebula.

“Lieutenant Mtolo…”

Hearing Commander Kuznetsov’s guttural voice through his comm system, the security chief immediately responded, “Sir?”

“Get to the secondary airlock with anyone you can spare, we’re about to be boarded.”

Pointing to the two men nearest him, Mtolo ordered as he activated his thruster controls, “You and you…you’re with me. Move!”

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

“What does it mean?” One of the Klingons asked.

“Count the number of unoccupied slabs.” Talana instructed. “How many do you see?”

“Six.” Lieutenant Forrester immediately responded.

“Now…” Lyssan, interjected, “How many of us are there?”

“Six.” The other Klingon answered.

“Therein lays the answer to the riddles.” Ensign Xylvan observed. “If none of us choose to occupy the beds…”

“Then all die.” Forrester completed. “But does it mean all of us here…the commodore and the rest of them taken…or does it mean everyone on our ships?”

“It would be safest to assume.” Lyssan replied, “The last answer.”

“I agree.” Talana declared, “Someone…or someones…will have to get on those slabs. But who? And how many?” Pausing she pondered the question, until, coming up with the answer, she exclaimed, “I’ve got it! If two Klingons or two of us…” She said, pointing at the Starfleet officers, “…get up on the slabs, those two would die, but their people would gain…probably the database.”

“It would be a worthwhile sacrifice.” One of the Klingons declared, his hand slipping towards his disruptor. “If our deaths result in triumph for our enemies.”

Catching the Klingon’s movements out of the corner of his eye, Xylvan’s hand went for his own phaser. However, before either one could draw their weapons, Lyssan’s voice carried through the chamber, “Hold! We cannot be sure that that is the meaning. Let us hear the rest before doing something that might be foolish.” Nodding her head for the Vulcan to continue, the Klingon science officer kept a wary eye on her charges.

“The next statement…” Xylvan conjectured, “Probably means that if one of each of us gives their lives that both sides would gain the information. The last statement seems to imply that if we all go on the slabs, the lives of all…including, I would assume, our missing people and the crews of both our ships…would be spared, but that we would probably be denied the information on the database.”

“Looks to me like we have the following choices,” Talana declared, laying it out for everyone in the chamber, “One: we do nothing and everyone dies…” Her lips curling up into a wry grin, she quipped, “I think we can safely rule that one out as well as the second option. Next: we fight it out over who goes on the slabs, winner take all, but there’s no guarantee that the winner will get what they’re thinking they’ll get. I know some of us…” She said, looking pointedly at the Klingon whose hand still hovered dangerously near his disruptor, “…think that’s a good idea, but…before you decide to chance it, I want you to consider this: what if we all stun or kill ourselves—it’s awful close quarters in here…can you guarantee that you’ll come out on top in an all out phaser and disruptor fight?” Seeing the Klingon’s hand wavering just the slightest, Talana smirked inwardly, “Our next option: one of each of us sacrifices themselves so that both of us get access to the database.”

“I would be the most logical person to choose…” Xylvan stated in a plain voice, “…as I am the least experienced of our group and am not a pure scientist. You, Lieutenant Commander, are the senior science officer. You are too important an individual to sacrifice. And you…” The Vulcan continued, addressing Lieutenant Forrester, “…are a promising science specialist. While I…” He concluded, am just a security specialist. I can be easily replaced, “…you cannot.”

The other Klingon, a young science specialist from an unremarkable family named Kassan, who had been quiet through much of the mission, then spoke, “I gladly volunteer to sacrifice myself for the Empire. Lieutenant…” Kassan pleaded as Lyssan shook her head, “Allow me to do this. I am not a warrior…my family does not come from noble lineage. Please allow me to do this for the Empire.”

“There is a third option…” Lyssan interjected, rejecting her subordinate’s request, “We all go on the slabs. All of us are freed, our men are healed, and none of us get the data.”

“In other words…a total wash.” Talana declared.

“That would be the safe option…” Xylvan stated, reading at once Kassan’s non verbal cues, “But not the best one. The needs of the many…” He quoted as one hand went smoothly behind the neck of his commanding officer while the other grabbed the phaser concealed in the small of his back, “…outweigh the needs of the few.” Immediately on finishing his statement, Talana slumped to the floor, the victim of a Vulcan neck pitch. Simultaneously drawing his phaser, set to stun, and firing, the young Vulcan watched as Lyssan slumped to the floor. Kassan, striking at the same time, clubbed the warrior standing next to him with the butt of his disruptor pistol, knocking him unconscious.

“We must hurry.” The Vulcan stated flatly as Kassan joined him, "They will awaken soon."

Nodding his head, the young Klingon jumped up on the slab next to the withered husk of Giotto while Xylvan took his place beside that of Gitan. Lying on the slabs, both men closed their eyes as they were encased in black. Moments later, the only sound coming from the chamber was that of screams.

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

“Take your positions.” Alexei ordered as the glowing threads from the Klingon cutting torches finally met at the top. Then, with a boom, the door collapsed, hitting the deck with a great clang. “Fire!” The Bear commanded as he and the security team opened fire with their phasers, bathing the inner chamber with their light.

“Nothing…” One of the security officers, glancing into the chamber, reported glumly. “We didn’t hit a…” Hearing a clanking sound at his feet, the crewman looked down to see a small baseball sized cylindrical object, “Grenade!”

Ducking behind the command chair, Alexei activated his faceplate’s light polarization control as the section around the airlock was bathed in bright light. Growling as he heard the sounds of those crewmen unfortunate to be caught in the grenade’s area of effect, the giant Russian popped his head up to see that only he and one other trooper remained on their feet. “Get ready…” The Russian warned as he heard the sound of metallic soles striking the deck, “They’re coming.”

As soon as Alexei had finished his words, Mokath and his men, brandishing their bath’leths and mek’leths in their hands, rushed on to the bridge screaming a blood curdling war cry. Snapping off a quick shot from his rifle, the Bear smiled grimly as two Klingons went down—the first from his shot and the second from the surviving trooper. His smile was brief though as the other Klingon had eviscerated the hapless trooper and Mokath was upon him. Ducking quickly, the vicious blade of the bath’leth just missed Kuznetsov as he punched up; delivering all his strength into a savage uppercut that struck the giant Klingon in his midsection. His blow staggering the Klingon, Alexei followed it up with a karate chop to the warrior’s side, only to have the grizzled veteran sideslip the blow.

Smiling as he faced the large human before him, Mokath thanked Kahless that this time he was blessed with a worthy opponent. Signaling the surviving members of his team to withdraw, the Klingon declared, “This fight is mine and mine alone. If the human defeats me, then you may attack.” Sizing his opponent up, Mokath’s lips once again turned up into a smile, “Now, Earther…” he said as he held his weapon in the guard let us battle as warriors should.”

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

“Ooooohhhh…” Talana groaned as she struggled to her feet, massaging her neck. “When I get my hands on that…” Falling silent, her mouth agape as her eyes took in the sight before her, the Andorian woman gasped, “You fools…you didn’t have to…”

“What…” Lyssan moaned as she arose from the floor. Her eyes falling on the now healthy appearing Giotto and Gitan lying beside the withered husks of Xylvan and Kassan, she declared in a solemn voice, “These men died as heroes.”

“They didn’t have to die.” Talana flatly declared as both Forrester’s and Lyssan’s tricorders beeped.

“My tricorder…” Lieutenant Forrester exclaimed excitedly, “It’s downloading…”

“Mine is too…” Lyssan interjected as unknown symbols appeared and disappeared on her tricorder screen faster than the eye could see, “It must be from their database.”

Groaning, Ensign Giotto struggled to a sitting posture, his feet dangling over the edge of the slab, “What happened to me? The last thing I remember I was looking at something on the wall…”

“You don’t remember anything at all about what happened to you?” Talana queried as she helped the young security officer to his feet.

“No, Sir…not a thing…” Glancing at the slab next to him, Giotto blanched, “Is that…”

“Yes.” Talana replied in a soft voice. “I’ll tell you about it later.”

“Sir?” Lieutenant Forrester interrupted, pointing to his tricorder, “The download appears to have been completed.”

“I wonder what happens now…” Talana reluctantly ventured as the room suddenly became filled with a bright light. The light, vanishing as soon as it had appeared, left an empty chamber in its wake, the only occupants the two husks lying on the slabs.

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

Watching with both pride and sorrow what he had just seen, Wesley called out, his voice a mixture of anger and anguish, “Are you bastards satisfied now? Have you learned enough? Or are you going to pull more wings off of more butterflies?”

“The experiment is concluded.” The voice responded in a cold matter of fact tone. “You will now be returned to your people.”

“That’s all!” Aliz jabbed, “Not even a ‘We’re sorry for the torturing and killing,’ or a ‘We promise we won’t do it again!’”

“Ensign…” Commodore Wesley warned in a low tone as a bright light filled the chamber, leaving behind an empty room.

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

“Not into fair fights, are you?” Alexei taunted, jerking his head first at his fists and then at the Klingon’s bath’leth. “So much for Klingon courage and honor!” He sneered.

Immediately picking up on the human’s gestures, Mokath called out to one of the Klingons standing watch. “Kamoth—your mek’leth!” Taking the short blade in hand, he tossed it at the human’s feet while, discarding his own bath’leth, he drew his mek’leth from its scabbard. “Now we are evenly matched, human. Defend yourself!”

Picking up the blade, Alexei hefted it, a cold grin on his face. Falling into a defensive stance, he waited, allowing his opponent to make the first move.

Feinting towards the left, Mokath watched with satisfaction as the human, not falling for the deception, maintained his position. “Very good, Earther…” The grizzled veteran muttered under his breath, “It is rare that one finds a worthy opponent.”

The two fighters circled each other, probing for weakness. Alexei, pleased at the balance of the unfamiliar Klingon weapon, carefully kept his guard up, remembering what his old hand to hand instructor had told him about Klingons—that they preferred slashing tactics to simple thrusts. Smiling grimly, the wily Russian decided to take a gamble as, feigning fatigue, he allowed his guard to drop just a touch. Now…if he’ll only take the bait.

Noticing the subtle dropping of the human’s guard, Mokath carefully weighed the action. Was the Earther fatigued? Possible…the combat had been going on for some time and it was a known fact that Earthers weren’t as sturdy as Klingons—even those ‘unhappy ones’ such as himself. Was he feigning fatigue? Again, very possible. Mokath had already gauged this human to be a cunning and cagey opponent and he did not put it past him to set up a deception such as this. The human’s blade was in a poor position to render a successful slash attack but it was, the grizzled veteran noticed, in an excellent position for a quick thrust. You truly are a devil. Mokath smiled grimly as he almost regretted having to kill this valiant warrior before him. We will surely meet again in Sto-Vo-Kor, my friend.

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

Reappearing before their shuttlecrafts, Talana cried out in astonishment on seeing Commodore Wesley and the others. “Sir! We weren’t sure they’d…we thought that…they…”

“I know, Commander…” Wesley replied with a sad smile. “We saw everything…”

“Husband.” Lyssan stated formally as K’Tan approached his mate. “I am honored to report that Kassan died well.”

“I know.” K’Tan answered back, a surprisingly tender smile on the warrior’s face as he regarded his wife. “You performed nobly on your first command, my wife.”

Raising his voice so that everyone could hear him, Commodore Wesley proposed to his opposite number, “Captain K’Tan? I would suggest that we maintain our truce until both of our ships have at least cleared the nebula. Do you agree?”

“Yes.” K’Tan answered back. “Now…let us be away from this Gre’thor.”

“You heard the man.” Wesley ordered, pointing at the Aldrin, “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

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

Smiling as his opponent slashed at his chest, Alexei twisting left, stabbed at what the Russian had figured would be the Klingon’s unguarded kidney. Unfortunately, the blade struck nothing, the wily Klingon, anticipating the human’s move, had pivoted as well. Reversing his arm motion and jabbing upwards, Mokath’s mek’leth struck true, stabbing through the lightly armored portion of the pressure suit that covered the armpit. Withdrawing his blade, the Klingon warrior watched as his opponent sunk to the deck, bringing his blade up in a wordless salute for his valiant foe.

Hearing the air rush out of his suit as the blood escaped, Alexei’s vision grew blurry, the last image being the giant Klingon warrior bringing up his blade in what appeared to be a gesture of respect before seeing bright flashes of light and then…darkness.”

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

Rushing on to the bridge after stunning the large warrior that had stood over his first officer, Lieutenant Mtolo knelt down next to the burly Russian. Acting quickly, he connected the commander’s suit to his suit’s oxygen supply. Then, taking out his spray applicator, he applied a quick acting coagulant gel to temporarily seal the still bleeding wound. Next, the lieutenant applied emergency sealant to the gash under the first officer’s arm, restoring again the integrity of the fallen commander’s suit. All of this taking less than thirty seconds for the quick thinking and quick acting security chief to complete.

Speaking through his suit communicator, Mtolo issued orders, “Medical team wearing environmental suits to the bridge at once. Security teams Charlie through Foxtrot—I want you suited up and outside cleaning up what’s left of that Klingon raiding party. Golf through Kilo—you’re on reserve. Be ready to move at a moment’s notice. Mike through Quebec—I want you in the hangar deck, armored and prepped for action in no more than five minutes. The Klingons paid us a visit—I think it right that we return the favor.” Turning towards his men standing next to the blown airlock, the lieutenant snapped, “You two—see if you can scrounge a plasma torch or two somewhere and seal up those goddamned doors.” Checking the vitals display on the commander’s chest, the Zulu security chief cursed in a low voice, “Don’t you dare die on me, Alexei—Talana’ll skin me alive if I let anyone kill you other than her.”

“D’Kor, you fool!” Kalas cursed as he witnessed his attack fail. Activating his intercom, the acting captain of the K’Mar ordered, “All warriors—prepare to repel boarders.”

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

As the shuttlecraft approached their respective ships, the sights of battle appeared obvious to the two commanding officers. “What the hell did your people do to my ship?” An outraged Wesley demanded of the Klingon captain in the other shuttle.

“It wasn’t under my orders.” K’Tan replied in an angry voice, “Kalas must have ordered this attack.”

Speaking up, Lyssan offered, “Before leaving, I overheard Kalas order D’Kor to choose twenty of our best warriors—those with experience in zero-gravity combat—for a special mission.”

“That qoH!” K’Tan spat out before addressing Wesley once again. “Wesley…I did not know of, nor approve of this attack. I will order the attack called off and I will personally see to it that the one who ordered it is punished. You have my word as a Klingon warrior.”

“That’ll do.” The commodore acknowledged tersely as he terminated his transmission with the Klingon vessel. Opening a new channel, Wesley attempted to raise his ship, “Wesley to Lexington, come in. Wesley to Lexington, if you can hear my transmission, please respond.”

Lexington to Commodore Wesley…” As Lieutenant Lawford’s English accented voice came through the Aldrin’s speakers, Wesley sighed in relief, “Is that really you, Sir?”

“Yes it is, Mr. Lawford.” The commodore replied, “Now what the hell happened to my ship?”

“The Klingons tried to board, Sir.’ The navigator replied, “They broke through the bridge airlock and Commander Kuznetsov has been hurt. Lieutenant Mtolo is organizing security teams for a counter attack.”

Alexei! Robert gritted his teeth as he said a silent prayer for his sparring partner’s recovery. “Belay that attack!” Wesley immediately ordered, and then, switching channels sent the following message in the clear, “Commodore Wesley to Lieutenant Mtolo. You are to immediately abort your attack. Do you understand?”

“Sir?” The security chief responded, astonished by the orders he had just received. “The Klingons have attacked us…killed my people…critically wounded the first officer…”

“You heard me Mister!” Wesley snapped back, not giving his security chief a chance to continue, “You are to immediately call off your attack. Stand the men down. The truce is still in effect.”

“Aye, Sir.” Lieutenant Mtolo immediately acknowledged. Switching to another channel, Nealo ordered, “Security teams—stand down. EVA teams—continue what you’re doing—pick up any survivors you can find and begin cleaning up this debris.”

Hearing the exchange between Wesley and his security chief, Captain K’Tan opened a channel with his own ship, also sending his message in the clear. “Kalas. You will immediately cease all actions against the Lexington and stand our warriors down.”

Cursing under his breath the fact that the K’Mar’s weapons were still off line, Kalas reluctantly complied with his captain’s orders, “All warriors…stand down at once.”

Swiveling his seat so that he faced Petty Officer Miller, Wesley sighed wearily, “Cox’un…take us home.”

************************************************** *******************
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Old August 20 2007, 02:30 AM   #50
TheLoneRedshirt
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Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 8

That was great! Grisly, but great! A little mix of horror with the sci-fi genre. Glad to see that Klingons can be reasonable from time to time. And it's ironic to see that probably the most honorable Klingon was one from a little regarded house.

I've enjoyed reading about Wesley and his crew. You've got some great characters and the story was very well done - a TOS classic! I'm certainly looking forward to more stories about the Lexington and her crew.
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Old August 20 2007, 03:30 AM   #51
DavidFalkayn
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Lexington: Meet The Lady Epilogue

This ends the first adventure of the crew of the USS Lexington. I hope everyone has enjoyed this story as much I have writing it. Thanks to everyone for your kind comments, constructive criticism, and words of encouragement--they are greatly appreciated. I'm going to take a day or two to decompress a bit and then back to work on the next adventures of the Sutherland and Lexington. Thanks again everyone!

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

Meet the Lady: Epilogue

Striding on to the bridge of his ship, Captain K’Tan, flanked on either side by K’Temoc and Lyssan, glowered down on Kalas who was at that moment still seated in the command seat of the Klingon battlecruiser. “Kalas.” K’Tan stated flatly, immediately recognizing the implicit challenge in his first officer not vacating his chair. “On your feet. Now!”

Slowly rising to his feet, the first officer stole a quick glance at the K’Mar’s communications officer as he regarded his captain with scorn. “Why did you call off my attack against the Federation ship?” He demanded, “We would have won!”

Spotting at once his rebellious executive officer’s stray glance, K’Tan signaled his two trusted officers on either side of him. “Fool! I do not explain my actions to the likes of you.” Knowing that his next words would immediately provoke a violent response, K’Tan sneered, “You are relieved of your position and reduced three steps in rank. Report immediately to engineering for your new assignment.” Drawing his weapon immediately on hearing Kalas’ cry of rage, K’Tan fired, the sonic waves from his disruptor hitting his opponent before the former first officer’s weapon even cleared its holster. Hearing a second disruptor fire, the captain wheeled about, smiling as he saw his wife’s weapon pointed at where the communications officer used to sit. “Well done, my wife.” K’Tan praised as he turned towards K’Temoc, who, weapon also drawn, was keeping a wary eye on the rest of the bridge crew. “And you also, my friend.” Addressing his bridge officers, K’Tan spoke in a loud clear voice, “Does anyone else wish to challenge my authority or fitness to command?”

Nodding his head in satisfaction at the answering silence coming from his crew, K’Tan turned once again towards K’Temoc. “You are now my first officer. Learn well from the mistakes of your predecessor.” Pointing at a junior subaltern, the captain proclaimed, “You are now the communications officer. Hail the Federation starship at once.”

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

“Sir?” Cilla Oudekirk announced from her position in the auxiliary control room, “The K’Mar is hailing us.”

“Put it on speakers.” Wesley ordered from his chair.

“Commodore. The one who ordered the attack on your ship has been punished.” K’Tan’s voice, coming in loud and clear through the speakers, declared. “Our terms for maintaining the truce are as follows: First, you will release all Klingons that you are holding as prisoner. Second, we will set and maintain a course that will take us out of the nebula and to our nearest outpost at warp factor two. You will set a similar course to the nearest Federation outpost at the same speed. Finally, neither ship will divert from their course for twenty four Earth hours. These terms are not negotiable.”

“Klingon way of saving face,” Wesley whispered sotto voce to Aliz. Speaking aloud, the commodore replied, “Your terms are acceptable. As transporters are still down, we will transfer the Klingons we are holding to you by shuttlecraft in fifteen minutes and we will comply with the other terms of the truce once our shuttle has returned.” Turning to his communications officer, the commodore ordered, “Have Lieutenant Mtolo transfer all his prisoners to the Cabot.” Addressing K’Tan once again, Commodore Wesley declared, “The transfer is commencing now.”

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

Watching his prisoners, his phaser drawn and pointed at them as the forcefield keeping them in their cells was dropped on his orders; Lieutenant Mtolo motioned with his weapon. “You’re being returned to your ship.”

As the Klingons filed out of their cell, Mokath turned towards Nealo. “The human I fought…does he still live?”

“Yeah.” Nealo snarled, “No thanks to you.”

“He is a valiant warrior.” The Klingon declared, “Tell him that Mokath honors his name and looks forward to the day when we meet again in battle.”

“I’ll be sure to tell him.” Lieutenant Mtolo answered back with a scowl. “Now, move—I want to get you lot off my ship as soon as possible.”

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

“How is he?” Talana asked as she gazed down on Commander Kuznetsov lying on a biobed, the instrument panel above his head sounding a steady rhythm as the indicators, while on the lower end of the scale, were at least remaining stable.

“He’ll make it, Talana.” The Lexington’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Charles Vincent, replied in his usual New England twang as he brushed back what was left of his sandy blond hair. “He’s got a strong constitution and Lieutenant Mtolo did a good job on his wound and getting him here to us in time. He’ll be laid up for a while…” he grinned, “…but it won’t be long before he’s back to his usual self terrorizing the junior officers and making the crew’s life a holy hell.” Giving the Andorian science officer an appraising look, the doctor asked, “Now, how are you feeling, Talana?”

Shaking her head as the experiences of the past several hours rushed through her mind, the troubled Andorian woman replied softly, “Like I’ve been through hell, Charles.”

“Well, young lady…” The doctor declared as he motioned for the lieutenant commander to follow him into his office, “I think I have the perfect answer for that.” Nodding his head in the direction of the chair before his desk, he signaled for Talana to sit down as he took his seat behind the desk. Opening one of the desk drawers, Vincent took out a bottle filled with a blue liquid and two glasses. “Andorian ale.” He grinned as he poured the cerulean liquor into the glasses, filling them. “Here…” He said as he handed one of the glasses to the blue skinned woman sitting opposite him. “Drink…” Charles urged as he took a sip from his glass, “I guarantee it’s good stuff.” Smiling at the pleased reaction on his friend’s face, the doctor gently prompted, “Now…tell me all about it. Start at the beginning and don’t stop until you’re finished. We’ve got plenty of time…” He smiled as he refilled the glasses, “…and plenty of ale.”

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

“Sir…” Lieutenant Oudekirk reported from the auxiliary communications console, “Damage control reports that repairs to the bridge airlock should be completed in twelve hours. Our other systems are fully repaired and operational and the Cabot has returned.

“Good.” Wesley replied as he addressed his helm officers, “Mr. Lawford, plot us a course for Starbase 31. Ms. Bathory, take us out of the nebula at maximum impulse and then once we clear the cloud, take us to warp two.” Rising to his feet, the commodore went from station to station in the small control room, putting his hand on Aliz’s shoulder, slapping the back of the navigator sitting next to the Hungarian helmsman, flashing an encouraging smile at Jennifer Watley currently manning the science station, nodding his head in appreciation at Lieutenants Mtolo and Oudekirk, chuckling at a muttered curse coming from his Tellarite engineer. As he made his rounds, Wesley nodded his head in satisfaction. His young crew did damned good their first time out of the blocks, the commodore thought, damned good.
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Old August 20 2007, 09:39 AM   #52
Dulak
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Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Epilogue

I, for one, was not expecting the more gruesome parts of the story, even after forewarning by TheLoneRedshirt. It made the turn in the story at that point all the more effective. Once again, I forgot I was reading 'fan fiction' and was so immersed that I was just in the experience.

Superb first story for the Lexington
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Old August 20 2007, 12:10 PM   #53
Gibraltar
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Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Epilogue

Absolutely outstanding first mission for the Lexington’s crew, David. :thumbsup: This had it all, super-alien abductors, old school Klingons, tests of intellect and martial prowess, space-battles, shipboard combat, and a nearly limitless supply of classic character moments. *Whew* That was one helluva ride.

I especially liked how you showed us various personality aspects of the major characters, not only through their ordeals with the abductors, but through their interactions with each other and the Klingons. Wesley is a whole different animal than James Kirk, more thoughtful, and certainly more of a teacher to his junior officers.

You’ve expertly captured the flavor of TOS and introduced us to a crew just as unique and talented as that of the Enterprise. I anticipate many further adventures with this group.
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Old August 22 2007, 10:07 AM   #54
CeJay
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Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Epilogue

Congratulations on a terrific adventure which really captures the feeling of the Original Series.

As pointed out before this story really had everything you could want. I especially enjoyed the aliens putting Wesley and the Klingons through tests in order to observe their reactions to certain stimuli. Not only did you provide fantastic insights into your characters it also made for great story-telling. My only point of criticism might be that some of the dialogue felt a tad repetitive but that might be due to the many characters you worked with.

The aliens themselves reminded me a lot of the wormhole aliens/prophets in DS9. Could they be an offshoot?

The segments inside the mysterious space station were downright creepy and it was amazing of Talana and the Klingon officer managed to keep their wits together. The experiments there seemed especially cruel.

One thing I did not quite understand was the necessity of the sacrifice by the Vulcan officer and the young Klingon. Couldn’t they all have survived if they had all lay down on the slabs? I understand that they got information for the sacrifice but is that really worth two lives? I’m not sure if I got this right and if I did how did the Vulcan justify his decision?

I was also a bit confused in the segment in which the Vulcan and the Klingon takes out the rest of their party. (Loved the sly way he used the neck pinch) but wasn’t there another Starfleet crewmember as well? Maybe I missed something.

Sorry for the criticism. Overall I did enjoy this quite a bit. I’ve long yearned for a TOS style adventure and you certainly delivered here. Your portrayal of the Klingons was especially noteworthy by avoiding in making them brainless brutes but still maintaining the most vivid aspects of their culture. As the alien said, they are a race of contradictions.

Very well done, sir!
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Old August 22 2007, 01:15 PM   #55
DavidFalkayn
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Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Epilogue

Thanks CeJay! I wanted you to question the wisdom of Xylvan and Kassan's sacrifice. The reason Xylvan gave for their sacrifice was so that both sides would get the information on the database. Talana and Lyssan, being older and more experienced, were willing to accept walking away with just their lives, letting go information that might be and probably was--but by no means were they certain would be--invaluable--but Xylvan, thinking as an idealistic young Vulcan felt that letting that potentially invaluable information go was illogical--especially when the price tag was one otherwise obscure ensign from security and an equally obscure Klingon from an obscure house. As to whether the information was worth the sacrifice, Xylvan felt that logically it had to be--but was it? Did he make a foolish and unnecessary sacrifice out of youthful rashness? Vulcans can succumb to hubris as well as anyone else. Or, will his and Kassan's sacrifice in the future open up new opportunities--and perils? The sad thing here is that Xylvan will never know.

There wasn't another crewmember--I checked and double checked just to be sure. I think you might be thinking about Miller, the coxswain--but remember, he was left on the Aldrin. If you're referring to Forrester, he was stunned the same time Lyssan was--he got caught up in the same wide beam phaser blast that took her out--that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Thanks Gibraltar and Dulak, I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I had a lot of fun writing it. I think there are a lot of stories to be told in the TOS era and I think I can promise you'll be seeing the crew of the Lexington a lot.

Again, I'm glad you enjoyed the story!
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Old August 22 2007, 02:04 PM   #56
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Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Epilogue

I'll just add my final comments by saying, "Well done!" This was a TOS story in the finest tradition. I really enjoyed the contrast between Wesley's thoughtful command style v. Kirk's more headstrong style. You've developed an eclectic and interesting crew on the Lexington and I look forward to many more adventures for the crew of this fine ship!
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Old August 22 2007, 03:17 PM   #57
DavidFalkayn
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Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Epilogue

Thanks Redshirt! Yes, Wesley is most definitely a different type of captain than Kirk--there's a little bit of Picard in him, but actually I see him more along the lines of a Matt Dillon type figure--the territorial marshal from the Old West who, while not too quick on the trigger, will do what he has to do to get the job done.

And yes--the crew of the Lexington will return for many more adventures--coming up next is a series of vignettes I'm calling, "Downtime" where you'll also get to meet some of the characters--and I mean that in every sense of the word--who inhabit Starbase 31.
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