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Old March 9 2015, 12:52 AM   #1
Sran
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Location: The Captain's Table
Star Trek: Cerulean -- "Ad Astra" (Pilot)

Author’s Note: One of the members of Cerulean’s crew is an established character from Star Trek canon. His presence in the 24th century will be explained as this story—the first to feature his adventures with his new crew—progresses. One of the members of said crew may be familiar to those of you who had a chance to read her interview with the Federation News Service; this story takes place in January 2386, approximately four-and-half-months after her one-on-one chat with Jake Sisko, and roughly coincides with the events of Star Trek: Section 31: Disavowed. Enjoy!

Prologue

Karen Snow backpedaled against three oncoming opponents, wondering for the fifth time in as many seconds if she was making a mistake. The middle opponent—a Vulcan male—effortlessly dribbled behind his back before firing a no-look pass to the teammate on his left. Snow slide-stepped to her right and braced for a collision with a Bolian woman attempting to convert a fast-break layup, the latter’s left hand outstretched as she elevated toward the rim. As she followed her opponent’s mid-air trajectory, Snow realized with a start that the Bolian’s right knee was on an intercept course for her chest. This going to hurt, she thought.

The normally raucous Starfleet Academy gymnasium was suddenly silenced by the ensuing carnage—a collision that saw the human woman knocked onto her back only moments before the Bolian landed on top of her, the ball rolling harmlessly out of bounds. Snow rubbed the back of her head and neck with one hand while probing her chest with other, relieved that she appeared to be in one piece. Hearing the nearest official blow his whistle to signal the play dead, her dark blue eyes darted from left to right, a small smile forming on her face as she saw him signal for both a charging foul and a change in possession, which meant her team had the ball back with only seconds remaining in the game’s fourth quarter, its score knotted at ninety-seven. A second official pointed toward her team’s bench, indicating the use of a timeout.

Snow was helped to her feet by a pair of teammates—a human woman named Regina Andes, her onetime classmate at the Academy, and an Andorian thaan named Juren th’Shan, her current shipmate aboard the USS Cerulean. “Are you all right, Karen?” Andes asked.

“I’m sure I’ll be sore tomorrow,” Snow said. “But I’ll live.”

“Sorry about that pass,” th’Shan offered. "I didn’t realize you were trying to make a back-cut along the baseline."

Snow shook her head. “Don’t sweat it. We got the ball back in time for a last shot.”

The threesome joined their two remaining teammates—a Cardassian and a Romulan--near the bench. A dark-skinned human man in civilian clothing handed Snow a cup of water and offered her a pat on the shoulder before gesturing for the group to huddle around him, a padd with a touch-screen interface tucked under his right arm.

“We’ve got four seconds to get a shot off before the end of regulation,” said Clark Terrell. Taking the padd in his left hand, he began to diagram a play with his right. “Juren, you’ll be our inbounds passer. Decan, I want you to pop out to the elbow and catch the inbounds pass. ‘Gina, when he catches, you cut hard from the top of the circle to the painted area and wait for a bounce pass. Karen, you pop out from behind a screen from Sran at foul-line in case Gina’s cut isn’t there. You’ll be our second option if the defense tries to prevent a lay-up. Sran, after you screen for Karen, head to the weak-side and rebound. We probably have time for one good shot and a put-back if we execute. Otherwise, we’ll have five more minutes to figure out how to wipe that smirk off Bateson’s face.”

The group laughed.

“One more thing,” Terrell cautioned. “This is our last timeout, so we’ve got to make sure we get the ball inbounds.” Everyone nodded their understanding. Terrell offered his hand to the group, four of whom were members of his crew. Each of the five competitors and Starfleet officers placed a hand atop his at the center of the circle. “One, two, three: ad astra!”

To be continued...

Next Time: The game’s conclusion, and the crew’s next assignment.
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Old March 9 2015, 06:11 AM   #2
Sran
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Re: Star Trek: Cerulean -- "Ad Astra" (Pilot)

Chapter 1

Captain Terrell sipped his second cup of tea since returning to the Cerulean as he read through Morgan Bateson’s brief message offering his crew members a rematch the next time they were planetside, a half-smile coating his features. Lieutenant Commander Snow sat on the other side of his desk, her own expression one of curiosity. Both officers were back in uniform—Terrell in red and Snow in blue—having beamed up shortly after the controversial conclusion of their basketball game against Terrell’s erstwhile 23rd century contemporary. “Bateson?” she asked.

Terrell nodded, his eyes following the steam rising from his beverage as it ascended toward the ready room’s ceiling.

Snow’s eyes widened slightly. “Is he gloating or apologizing?”

“Neither. He’s offering us a rematch the next time we’re here. I guess he feels bad the game ended the way it did.”

“That celebration of his sure fooled me. I can’t believe the officials whistled Sran for a moving pick with four seconds left on the clock—before the ball was even inbounds.”

Terrell shrugged. “If he’d kept his cool, maybe we’d have been able to send the game into overtime with a defensive stop.”

“Anger management has never been Sran’s strong suit,” Snow said. “But I agree he should have just kept his mouth shut. Even officials who don’t speak Romulan know when someone’s swearing at them.” Brushing aside a stray lock of dirty blonde hair, she rose from her seat. “I’m due on the bridge. Was there anything else, Captain?”

“No, Karen. And welcome back. We really missed you these last few months.”

The science officer offered her friend and commanding officer a final smile before disappearing through Terrell’s office door. The captain read through several additional messages—deleting some and responding to others—before rising from his chair to return his empty teacup to the room’s lone replicator. He’d elected to give Bateson’s message further thought before answering the other man’s invitation—not because he wasn’t interested, but because he wasn’t sure when the Cerulean would be near Earth next, the vessel’s refit nearly complete after more than three weeks in drydock. The timing of the Akira-class vessel’s return to the Sol system had been fortuitous for both the ship and its crew, as the Cerulean had been overdue for repairs, and the frigate’s proximity to Earth had expedited Commander Snow’s return from a six-month assignment with the Department of Temporal Investigations—a necessity made all the more crucial by the recent promotion of Terrell’s former executive officer; the departure of the now-Captain Michael Flasch had left Terrell without a first officer, a position that Starfleet had assured Terrell would not be filled anytime soon. Admiral Akaar’s office had provided the captain with a list of suitable candidates to replace Flasch; however, the majority were stationed on vessels or starbases far from either the Cerulean’s present location or the route she would take to begin her next assignment, a three-month tour of the Gamma Quadrant, an eventuality that had forced Terrell to fill the void created by the absence of a right-hand man with a right-hand woman—in the person of Karen Snow.

The commander had initially expressed reservations about taking on the dual-role of chief science officer and executive officer, but Terrell—who had served in an era during which combined billets were much more common—had explained to Snow that the assignment would only be temporary, and that it would give her an opportunity to have more control over her own schedule, something she’d grown accustomed to during her work with the DTI.

Terrell suppressed a chuckle. Appropriate that a man out of time should have a crew member who’s studied temporal mechanics. Terrell’s sudden reappearance more than thirty months earlier had surprised many in Starfleet—not only because a man many believed had died roughly a century earlier was alive, but also because of what it implied about Federation security—an implication tested once again tested in recent months by the assassination of President Bacco and the hoax perpetrated by the man claiming to be Ishan Anjar.

Terrell had been the commander of the USS Reliant, the vessel assigned to the then-top-secret Project Genesis, when he was abducted and imprisoned by Klingon Imperial Intelligence in late-2384; his replacement—a Klingon altered to appear human—assumed his post aboard the Reliant, an endeavor that ended with the vessel’s destruction by the USS Enterprise following its hijacking by a genetically-engineered superman named Khan Noonian Singh. The imposter’s mission had apparently entailed his gathering information about the technology used by Drs. Carol and David Marcus to develop the Genesis Device, a mission that ended with his suicide due to the influence of an alien eel native to Ceti Alpha V, where Khan and his men had been marooned for more than a decade.

In a turn of events fraught with irony, Terrell was placed in stasis in an experimental Klingon prison, where he remained for almost fifty years before a raid by Romulans resulted in the prison’s liberation and end of the Starfleet officer’s hibernation. Terrell and a small group of prisoners managed to steal a Klingon shuttle, which they used to return to Federation space—a journey made at high-impulse that created a time-dilation effect; Terrell and his companions reached the nearest Federation starbase nine months after escaping the Klingon prison—and discovered that fifty more years had elapsed in the interim. Terrell was greeted with open arms by Starfleet, which was more than happy to have such a well-regarded starship commander back in the fold. But the captain’s absence and imprisonment made his initial transition to life in the 24th century difficult; he was surrounded by species he didn’t recognize and technology he didn’t understand. Worse, the men and women with whom he’d served—save exceptions like Bateson and Montgomery Scott—were either dead or had long since retired from Starfleet service, leaving the captain feeling out of place and out of touch with his new peers, many of whom thought his leadership skills antiquated, a perception that had left him unable to either obtain a command or earn a promotion. An unhappy Terrell had reluctantly taken a teaching position at Starfleet Academy in the hopes that his experience would prove beneficial to cadets and junior officers new to Starfleet, believing he’d never set foot on the bridge of a starship again.

But fate—and the Romulans—intervened a second time.

Terrell agreed to accompany a group of cadets on a training mission as an observer and part-time instructor, a seemingly routine survey mission that would take the USS Ajax to the edge of the Neutral Zone. He had been on the bridge when the ship’s captain was killed by an exploding computer console courtesy of a Romulan disruptor barrage, an attack that saw Terrell fracture his right wrist. Despite the injury, the captain managed to save the Ajax’s crew and repel the Romulan attack, actions for which he was awarded a commendation for conspicuous bravery. Although the remainder of the mission was scrapped, Terrell’s part in its outcome convinced the admiralty he was deserving of another command; he was awarded the newly-commissioned USS Cerulean a few months later.

More than eighteen months had passed since Admiral Akaar had shaken Terrell’s hand and given him the keys to the most powerful ship the captain had ever seen. Much of his tenure had entailed putting out brushfires and observing first-contact proceedings in and around Federation territory. The upcoming mission to the Gamma Quadrant would mark his first extended exploratory mission since his return to starship command. Whatever obstacles he and his crew were destined to face, the onetime boxing champion was determined to meet each challenge head-on.

The chime of the intraship comm system interrupted Terrell’s reverie, followed by Snow’s voice. “Bridge to Terrell. Engineering reports all system upgrades are complete. Yard command has granted us permission to get underway.”

Terrell stepped away from his desk and strode toward the door. “I’ll be right there.”
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Old March 9 2015, 09:08 AM   #3
admiralelm11
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Re: Star Trek: Cerulean -- "Ad Astra" (Pilot)

I like this. I like how Paul Warfield's character gets resuscitated because he died too easily in TWOK. I can't wait to see where this goes.
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Old March 9 2015, 04:55 PM   #4
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Re: Star Trek: Cerulean -- "Ad Astra" (Pilot)

Well written....

That being said, I know this is fan fiction and anything goes so take this as a friendly criticsm with all possible respect....

This whole story seems written thus far to get Capt. Terril into the 24th century, I felt the reason he was still alive was kinda stretching it at best.....It kinda cheapens his self sacrifice in STII to just write it off as a "Klingon Double". I personally think a just as interesting story could have been written about Terrell Captaining the Reliant pre STII. It would have been Interesting to see the Reliant as a Hero ship among other things. Again, Just my opinion, I did enjoy the Basketball scene and I can tell that you thought long and hard about how to bring Terrell back....it just didn't work for me.
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Old March 15 2015, 10:39 AM   #5
CeJay
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Re: Star Trek: Cerulean -- "Ad Astra" (Pilot)

Not a bad start here. Interested to read more.
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