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Old March 11 2008, 11:04 AM   #76
Zefram_Cochrane
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

CeJay wrote: View Post
Well that was certainly a nice chunk of writing.
Roughly 4.5k words. And there's another 1.5k I haven't uploaded yet. Each episode is 10k-ish. Sometimes I'm over, sometimes I'm under.

CeJay wrote: View Post
Tight and concisce battle sequences and now they really have to scramble if they want any chance at getting home. (Something tells me they'll suceed)

Personally I prefer your character sequences over the battles. My favorite part in this post was Ariel's reaction to the rather insulting Mister Saleb. She does have her pride after all. I find her a very intriguing character.
I prefer the character interaction, myself. To me, good stories shouldn't need this kind of conflict level. And in "Milk Run," I tone it down because we have to introduce Commander Kincaid, Lieutenants Atherton and Otix... there are members of the senior staff who've yet to make an appearance.

CeJay wrote: View Post
I was a bit concerned over Leone's decision not only to take sides in this internal conflict but also actively helping the other side by handing over an enemy vessel to them. You gotta stretch that annoying Prime Directive at times, but I wonder if she isn't overstretching it in this instance.
No, she's stretching, big time. In fact, she's blowing through it to get to her goal. She has to answer for that in "Milk Run" when an officer from the Inspector General's office starts crawling all over her ship.

CeJay wrote: View Post
Looking forward to more.
As soon as I have more, I'll post it I've also got 2k into "Milk Run," so hopefully I can post that as soon as I finish DtT3.

Thanks for reading,

-- ZC
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Old March 12 2008, 08:36 AM   #77
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

This is not the original draft of Act III. I apologize for not giving raw material, but the original Act III went in a direction that totally threw me for a loop and I realized if I didn't constrain myself, there would be a Part IV to Damn the Torpedoes!

I'm hoping the second scene doesn't come off as contrived...
-----------------------

Act III

News of the facility's impending destruction put Ariel and Saleb in with the first wave of troops. Ariel carried a menacing-looking rifle that she called a "Type-3." Saleb wielded a smaller "Type-2." He wondered how small the "Type-1" was, and Ariel shook her head at him.

"Trust me, you want people to know you're carrying," she said as she checked her weapon and stepped onto the transporter platform. "You ready to go?"

Saleb honestly wasn't. Like him, everyone wore a copy of the Starfleet insignia on their chest. Each one prepared to provide the starship's computer system with information on their general health, as well as a position within the facility in case of the need for emergency beamout. The likelihood of that increased exponentially unless he could find and disable the system controlling the power buildup in the facility's reactor core. "I suppose I am, yes," he said, after she fixed him with a glare.

He stepped up onto the transporter pad, grateful that the only Kasui fighting on the facility would be the ones on his side. The Tristnor did not trust the "lower" races with a research project of this magnitude. There would only be Tristnor security forces to deal with, and even then, they would rather rely on their technology than brute strength. Maybe they'd make it out of there in one piece, after all.

Ariel slapped the side of her rifle and let it rest underneath her bosom as the strap went taught over her shoulder. "Fine, stick to me, then. You get me to where we need to be and Bertas' guys will handle the rest."

There was no way in hell he would ever leave her side. "I'll try."

Just before the transporter beam carried them off, she shot him a look. "Don't try. Do!"

The transporter room disappeared and the familiar Tristnor design of the research facility came into view through the blue, shimmering light of the transporter beam. Ariel had her rifle out and ready in a crouch while Saleb felt the fear coursing through every part of his body.

He brought out his phaser, watching at the tip of it seemed to tremble as he pointed it in any direction. He realized it was his grip that caused the phaser's aim to waver so quickly and he tried to steady it as much as he could. It was one thing to talk and think about the situation; quite another to actually be there.

They watched as many of the facility's crew seemed to be panicking. The reptilian-looking humanoids ran to their destinations.

Saleb recognized the multi-colored strip of Tristnor security upon one of them. "W-We need to move quickly!" he shouted to Ariel. "Down that corridor then to the right."

Ariel nodded. She gestured to the platoon leader that transported with them. "Bitras! We're going to need you to clear the corridor from here to the first intersection. Saleb's going to need a lot of breathing room."

Bitras growled, "Understood. First squad, with me. Second squad, bring up the rear. Third squad, guard Mister Saleb." The Kasui troops moved accordingly and they were left with six burly men with huge weapons out of the nineteen that transported with them.

"Lead the way, Saleb!" shouted Ariel. "Can we disable the destruct?"

They ran down the corridor as the Kasui fired clear ahead of them. "I don't know until I can gain access to a terminal," replied Saleb. He pointed as they turned the corner. "Third hatch on the left hand side will be the main testing laboratory!"

"Bitras!" Ariel called.

"I heard! First squad, kick in the door!"

The door was kicked in, Kasui-style. Meaning there was little to no door left when they opened fire. Saleb moved inside after the first squad cleared the room.

Several dead Tristnor lay around, and he shivered at the sight. He worked with nearly all of them, and recognized the Alpha device sitting within the cradle. "They never even tried to save it," he muttered.

"Is that a little odd?" asked Ariel, keeping her weapon pointed toward the exit, along with the rest of the Kasui.

"I'm checking it out."

"How much time do we have?"

Saleb immediately jumped onto an active terminal. The facility's self-destruct sequence was activated on a countdown of nearly eleven minutes, of which close to six were left. He accessed the main computer and requested a complete shutdown of the system, to no avail. "The command processor is not accepting my requests. I think the head scientist might have locked out the processor to prevent anyone from doing what we're trying to do. Do you want me to see if I can kill the main system?"

Ariel shook her head. "Let's grab the device and get the fuck out of here!"
With a nod, he whipped out his Starfleet tricorder and scanned the Alpha device. "Wait," he said.

"Wait, what?" Ariel moved behind him, peering down at the tricorder over his shoulder.

"This is strange. The device shouldn't be giving me..." He looked up at it and then turned to Ariel with an expression of shock. "It's a fake!"

She didn't miss a beat, instead moving closer to him. "Where the hell is it?"

Saleb moved back to the terminal and checked the logs of the research team running the experiment. He had to do a regular expression search on all of the text-based logs before he found the transfer order. "You're not going to believe this..."

"What?" Ariel replied, annoyed. "Cut the dramatics!"

"It's already installed on the test ship. The frigate I told you about," he explained. "They launched it earlier today, ahead of schedule. Probably before we got into sensor range."

"Don't care. Where is it?"

"I'm looking for it."

"Hurry up."

Saleb sighed. She was almost as bad as Belkis. "I have the transponder frequency." He entered in a few more commands. "I'm transmitting it to your ship."

Ariel slapped her commbadge. "Elannis to Farragut."

"Farragut, here. Go ahead, Commander," replied Leone over the channel.
"Captain, the frequency we just transmitted is the transponder of the frigate that presently has the Alpha device."

Like Ariel, she was all business. "Good to know. Status?"

"Do you want us to attempt to find the Beta device?"

"Only if you have time. Wilson says you have less than five minutes to get the hell out of there."

"Indeed, we do, sir."

"Mister Saleb?"

He perked up. "Yes, Captain?"

"How far away is the Beta device from your present location?"

Saleb looked around. "Ordinarily, it would be in the lab, Captain. However, it seems my former colleagues may have absconded with it or secured it in a new location." He turned his attention back to the screen. "I'm attempting to locate it, now."

"The clock is ticking, Mister Saleb."

He sighed, shaking his head as he entered in the necessary commands to scan the new directory. "No one is more aware of that than I, sir."

"Three minutes, and then we're beaming the whole lot of you back," ordered Leone quickly. "Farragut, out."

Saleb opened his mouth to say something derogatory about the captain's impatience, but remembered the altercation in the corridor with Ariel and thought better of it. He placed a finger on his lip, trying to pass it off as a thoughtful look, instead. The scan against the computer's information ran in the background as he starting locking down the communications subsystem access.

Then, the information appeared. "It's three levels down. Straight down."
"Is anyone down there?"

He ran a quick lifeform scan. "It looks like half of the garrison is down there. It's a smaller lab, though. Two points of entrance."

Ariel shook her head. "Not to worry. It's why I brought extras of these," she said, pulling out another commbadge. She tapped it and called to the transporter room on the Farragut. "I need a site-to-site for this signal. Stand by to transport."

"Standing by, Commander."

She walked over to the large platoon leader and pulled two grenades from his belt. "I need to borrow these for a minute."

The Kasui eyed her. "You're giving them back?"

Ariel smirked and walked away. "Chief, lock onto the commbadge. Transport one weapon three levels below us, one meter to port. The other, one meter to starboard."

"Understood."

She activated both grenades, then set the commbadge upon them. "Chief, fire in the hole."

"Energizing."

Both grenades disappeared in a shimmering light. Shortly after, the facility rocked from an internal explosion. She pointed to him. "Scan again."
"No lifeforms, but then you might've destroyed the Beta device."

Ariel shrugged. "Better that they should be deprived of it." She looked up at the ceiling, "Chief, you still with this?"

"Yes, sir."

"Site-to-site, everyone in this room to the lab three levels down. Energize, when ready."

"I have you locked on, already, sir. Energizing."

Saleb's seated position fell out from under him when he rematerialized in the smoky lab. The fire alarm sounded off as he fell to the floor with his balance gone. He got to his feet, coughing through the acrid taste of the burning circuits and scarred flesh that hung within the secondary lab. His watering eyes searched around for the housing of the Beta device.

He found the signage for the device. "It should be right over there, within the reinforced storage..." The lid that secured it appeared to have been torn from its housing completely and the contents, whatever they might have been, were melted into unrecognizable pieces. "It's gone."

Ariel sniffed at it, peering into the box. "'Gone' as in it was taken?"

"'Gone' as in it was destroyed by your grenades."

"Huh." She looked at him. "And it was housed in this? You're sure?"

"Absolutely."

"That's too bad."

"I can only hope that Captain Leone agrees with your assessment."

She smiled sweetly at him. "No sense crying over spilt milk. Let's get back to the ship before this place goes up."

---- SCENE CHANGE ----

Within her ready room, Leone heaved a sigh immediately after listening to Ariel's report of the away mission. Farragut moved well beyond the range of the detonation blast, in pursuit of the transponder signal. "Well, it would have been nice to have that device, certainly... but I'm pleased that the Tristnor were deprived of it, instead."

Ariel turned to look at Saleb, giving him a smirk. "Told you."

Saleb rolled his eyes.

Leone ignored them both. "What about the research? Is it in any danger of being attempted again?"

"The protocol for destruct sequences is all aboard must perish, preventing the research from falling into the wrong hands," explained Saleb quickly. "The frigate was outside the protocol, but it's not likely they were able to communicate the problem to them. The frigate and the facility would have been observing radio silence with one another."

"Any vessels go along for observation?" asked Ariel.

"Maybe one or two shuttles..."

The captain leaned back in her chair. "What I wouldn't give for a cloaking device right now..."

Ariel nodded sympathetically.

"Fine. We're already on course for the transponder signal. If we approach them at high warp, we're going to tip our hand," said Leone, placing her right palm atop the armrest of the chair. "Mister Saleb, how long before they activate the device?"

"Thirty hours, give or take ten minutes," he replied.

Ariel wrinkled her nose. "Give or take?"

"We don't mark time the same way the Federation does."

"Ah."

Leone leaned forward, placing her elbows upon the desk. "We have around ten hours to track them down and get what we need, then get the hell-"
"Bridge to Captain," interrupted Wilson. "Sir, incoming transmission from the Kasui aboard the cruiser."

She touched the panel on the desk. "Patch them through in here, please, Wilson. Thank you."

The desktop terminal's small screen blinked once and the stern visage of Troopleader Bertas appeared. "Captain."

"Troopleader. How can we help you?"

"It is we who can help you, Captain." Bertas swung the visual input wildly until it settled upon a device connected to some sort of massive system.
Saleb nearly squealed. "It's the Alpha device!"

"We thought so, based on the description you provided us," said Bertas. "The frigate must have been a decoy."

"They must've thought we would destroy the ship... or they would destroy us," reasoned Saleb, his tone lessening under the startled looks of Leone and Ariel. "Either way, we wouldn't get the device."

Bertas grunted, "It is foolish thing to underestimate your opponent."

Saleb grinned. "In this case, I think it's more like they had a rather inflated sense of their strength."

"Be that as it may," interrupted Leone pointedly. She addressed the screen once more, "Troopleader, might we trade a tow back to the fortress for that handy little device of yours?"

"Agreed, Captain. After all, you've provided us with a first-hand look at Tristnor ship construction," boomed Bertas with a toothy smile. "This will bolster our side of the war handily."

"Of course." Leone's eyes looked to Ariel.

Ariel nodded, lifting herself out of her seat. "I'll alter course, sir." With that, she disappeared behind the ready room doors to take the conn.

"Creepy, how you two do that," noted Saleb, under his breath.

Leone smirked. "Troopleader, we should be en route to you now."

"Excellent. We await your arrival. Out." The screen cleared to show the Starfleet insignia before shutting down completely. The stars outside the deck-to-ceiling window moved as the ship made its turn back toward
Saleb asked, "Captain, now that you have the Alpha device, will you be returning to your Federation?"

"Of course."

"Might I appeal to you to delay your return?"

Leone tilted her head. "Why?"

He rose from his seat, placing his hands behind his back. "I know this isn't your war, Captain, but we could really use your assistance." She opened her mouth, but he raised a hand, "Now, please, let me finish."

Perturbed at being cut off, Leone pressed her lips together. "Very well."

"Thank you. As I said, your assistance would come during a time when our resources have run very low. Prior to the capture of the Tristnor vessel, the Kasui have been fending off the Tristnor advances through acts of sabotage and terrorism. Now that you're here, you've been able to provide them with the means of a frontal assault. You have successfully elevated the level of warfare against them. I'm sure that's beyond what your 'Prime Directive' entails, does it not?"

"The actions that I've taken, Mister Saleb, were in the best interests of my ship and crew. It was in our best interests to defend ourselves against an attacking ship," she replied, keeping her tone even. "It is not in the best interests to put this ship, with less than a quarter of its total crew, into a war we have nothing to do with."

Saleb's voice raised slowly with each word he spoke, "You have everything to do with it, Captain. Don't you see that, now? You're here. You've destroyed five of their ships! You're in the fight, with us."

"No," she said, shaking her head. "I've bent the Prime Directive enough... to last me more than a lifetime, I'm sure. I don't agree with your logic."

"Captain, I brought you here-"

"Against our will," interjected Leone, her tone making it clear that the conversation was beginning to wear her patience thin.

"Nevertheless-"

"Oh, look at that," she said, looking down at her wrist. "Time's up."

Saleb blinked. "I'm sorry?"

"No, I'm sorry. Look, I appreciate your... position. Under other circumstances, I might even agree with you. I have a duty to Starfleet and the Federation, but my first duty is to my ship," said the captain, rising to meet his gaze. "I realize that we might've blown a few doors open for you guys in the past few days, but at no time did I ever make an agreement that we would provide... quid pro quo."

"Quid pro what?"

"It's a Latin phrase; an old Earth language. It means, 'something-for-something.' In this case, the expectation that simply because we're here, doesn't mean we'll provide you with anything." Leone moved from behind her desk to look out her window. "Needless to say, if anything, I think you owe us for the inconvenience, but since we're going home, I think we'll call it even. You're dismissed."

Saleb approached her. In a pleading tone, he tried again, "But, Captain..."
She fixed him with an angry glare. "I've already extended you the courtesy of discussing my decision. Do not make me regret it."

Defeated, Saleb nodded silently. "I... apologize for pressing the matter without thinking."

Leone's expression softened slightly. "I appreciate that you had to try."

"Thank you, Captain."

--------------------------

So, obviously, they're going home But, again, I feel like this could've been better. Oh, well... that's what revisions are for!

-- ZC
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Old March 12 2008, 11:58 PM   #78
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Just a quick note, to those of you who PM instead of reply to the thread:

Yes, Wilson is staying. Yes, there will be more of him.

I had no idea he was such a big hit with you guys

-- ZC
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Old March 13 2008, 12:02 AM   #79
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

JESUS-you gotta stop posting in 9'x9' chunks! I am sooo far behind on this one......
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Old March 13 2008, 12:03 AM   #80
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Mistral wrote: View Post
JESUS-you gotta stop posting in 9'x9' chunks! I am sooo far behind on this one......
9x9? I don't understand...

-- ZC
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Old March 13 2008, 12:25 AM   #81
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

it was a slight exaggeration regarding the size of these posts - they are huge and they seem to go up pretty fast.
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Old March 13 2008, 12:27 AM   #82
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

I write pretty fast. I have to keep up with the people who keep PMing me for more.

-- ZC
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Old March 13 2008, 09:46 AM   #83
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Act IV, ladies and gentlemen. Please enjoy.

----------------------------------

Captain's Log
Stardate 43233.1

We have completed towing the disable Tristnor vessel back to the Kasui fortress, where it has been accepted with open arms by the Kasui Prime Barris. In exchange for the prize of war, Barris has gifted us with the Tristnor Alpha device we sought from the Tristnor facility. Additionally, Barris has declared a day-long celebration of this victory in their struggle against their oppressors.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Bartlet is overseeing Mister Saleb's sanctioned installation of the Alpha device into our navigational deflector systems. I'm certain that she will be keeping a close eye on him, considering the last time he made such a dramatic alteration to our deflector dish without authorization. It is my sincere hope that we might be able to deliver this device intact following our return, for Starfleet to use as an alternate means of propulsion.

I've authorized the crew to utilize the fortress facilities for the day. I hope to get underway for home, tomorrow morning.


---- SCENE CHANGE ----

"Half of me wishes we didn't have to go back," admitted Wilson. He sat at one of the tables closest to the viewport within the ship's lounge, sitting over a drink he barely touched. His right hand ran through his shaggy brown hair; the strands of his hair even more disheveled than usual.

To his left, Ariel frowned. Her hand ran up his arm slowly as she told him, "You don't mean that."

He looked at her with one of his eyebrows cocked up. "Of course, I don't."

"You don't want to have to leave the ship."

"Yeah."

She sighed, dropping her hand to the table gently. Wilson's intent to become a part of Farragut's senior staff was cut short by Krystine's inexplicable decision to go with another officer. "Do you want me to talk to her for you?"

Wilson shook his head. "No..."

"Okay-"

"Yes?" he said quickly. "I don't know."

Ariel half-smiled. "Make up your mind, Willie."

"I don't want you to talk to her, if you think she's going to think that I asked you to. The last thing I want to do is cause her trouble. On the other hand..."

She nodded. "I know. And I doubt it would be much trouble to her if I pulled her aside and slapped some sense into her. I still don't know what she was thinking when she passed you over."

Wilson waved her off. "She was thinking about the needs of the ship."

"She told me she didn't want you tied to her career."

"But you're here."

She threw her hands up in the air. "That's what I said!"

Neither of them said anything further for a moment, sharing nothing more than a grin as they fell back into their old conversational pattern on the Potemkin. Wilson broke the silence between them with a simple, "It's up to her."

"Yeah," she agreed.

"Don't get me wrong... I think she's a brilliant CO. Born to the captain's chair unlike any officer I've served with."

Ariel snorted, "In some ways, that's literally true."

Wilson gave her a sidelong glance. "I know she was born with a golden commbadge in her mouth, but she doesn't act like it. I've always liked her a great deal. All I wanted was to make sure I'd be there to see her make history."

"Me, too," she said quietly; her eyes drifted down to the table.

He reached out to cover her hand with his. He felt like a heel for having tread on sensitive territory. "You never told her?"

Ariel shook her head and gave him a slight shrug. "What's the point?"

Wilson squeezed her hand. "I've always admired your courage. But, at the same time, I wish you'd find your happiness."

"I will, Willie." When he doubted her with a look, she placed her other hand over his. "I promise you. Don't worry about me."

"I can't help it. You're a friend."

"And you're mine."

He smiled, unable to meet her gaze as she looked at him. "Thank you."

"And as my friend, I'll speak to Krys about finding you a place, here. I think you've proven yourself more than enough these past few days." Ariel patted his hand, but released her gentle grip on him to reach for her drink.

"What about you?"

"What about me?"

"You should be the new XO. Not acting."

"Here, here," said a newcomer, standing over them.

Gregory Aspinall gave them a large grin as he had apparently overheard the last part of their conversation. Off their looks of surprise, he dropped his grin. "Sorry. Should I leave?"

Wilson deferred to Ariel with a glance. She smiled. "No... no, grab a chair."
The lounge was mostly empty, due to the celebration on the fortress at full throttle. With a majority of the crew enjoying themselves, the darkened lounge would have been party central, but not that night.

Greg slipped into a chair, placing his drink on the table. "Thank you, sirs."

"Hey," said Ariel sharply. "There's no rank in this room. You know the rules. You're lucky there's hardly anyone here or else we'd make you buy everyone a round."

"Right, right... sorry."

"I don't know," said Wilson, "I think we should make him buy us a round, at least."

Ariel chuckled. She gestured with her nearly full glass. "He can buy you one, but I'm still nursing this."

"I'll consider it a rain check, then," replied Greg. "Anyway, you guys were discussing permanent assignments?"

Wilson eyed Greg through the bottom of his glass as he tilted it back to drain the contents. "I was just mentioning that our captain should consider removing the word 'acting' from her title."

"I couldn't agree more."

"Aw, boys, you're making a girl blush over here, now," said Ariel, taking on a demure expression by bringing her chin in to her chest. Her raven hair fell over her cheeks to obscure her face, but not her eyes.

That drew a snort from Wilson. "Hah! I'm sure you could tell us stories that would make a Risian blush."

Greg could only nod slowly; his eyes never left the lieutenant commander as she worked her natural beauty before him.

Wilson shook quietly with laughter. "Greg?"

"Yeah?"

"Put your tongue back in your mouth, son."

"What?" Greg leaned back and looked down, while his hand moved up. "Oh... right. Sorry, Commander." He looked like he just committed an egregious sin against her.

Ariel smiled warmly at the young helmsman. "It's quite all right, Greg. Believe it or not, I'm flattered."

"No seducing the help, now," said Wilson, his voice also wavering a bit. For all the chastising he might've given Greg, he empathized with the lieutenant.

With a guilty look, she gritted her teeth. "My apologies, gentlemen, for inadvertently attacking your Academy-instilled sense of discipline. Perhaps I should take my leave you both, and let you drink in peace?"

"No!" said Greg quickly, and a bit louder than he intended. He cleared his throat. "I mean, no... don't let us chase you away from the table."

"Yeah, Ariel. You leave, now, and all I have to look at it his ugly mug," Wilson said, gesturing with his hand toward Greg.

The helmsman rolled his eyes. "You're no prize, yourself."

"All kidding aside," she told them, "I should probably see to the paperwork I've been letting go. We're heading back tomorrow, and no doubt, Starfleet's going to want all their reports in a nice tidy packet to transmit the minute we show up on their sensors."

"About that..." started Wilson.

Ariel tilted her head. "Yes?"

"Do you think... I mean, is it possible that Starfleet might relieve the captain for what she's done?"

She looked at Greg briefly, before giving Wilson a smile. "I doubt it. Too many people want her to succeed to let a little something like a three day trip to the Beta Quadrant stand in their way."

Wilson released a held breath and nodded. "Good to know."

"Even if they did send out someone from the Inspector General's office, I doubt they'd get too far the moment Admiral T'Cirya found out about it."

"If they do," said Wilson softly, "you have to keep that temper of yours in check."

Ariel drew her lips together sourly. "Do I have to?"

"I'm sure it would help her cause if you did. No telling what happens, if you try to shove an IG agent out the nearest airlock."

She pouted. "I guess you're right."

Wilson eyed her. "This is one of those times, Ariel, when I can't tell if you're joking or not."

Ariel showed off all her teeth in a large smile. "With any luck, neither will they. Good night, you two. Don't stay up too late."

Both officers watched her leave, and then shared a worried look.

Greg asked with a scoff, "She has a temper?"

Wilson grinned. "You think I'm joking?"

"Maybe."

"If you think I'm lying, I could arrange a demonstration for you."

"Really?"

"Of course. I've been looking for an excuse to make popcorn."

-----------------------------------

Only one more act and they're home. I really enjoyed writing the banter between Ariel and Wilson. They had served together for four years, and I needed a good opportunity to show their excellent rapport. I'd spent a lot of time on the Leone/Ariel relationship anyway.

Btw, in the original scene, Tommy O'Day joined them, too... but it seemed too much, so I cut him out. Not to worry, folks... Tommy'll be in the next episode for sure, because you all get to meet Lieutenant Atherton.

Night!

-- ZC
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Old March 13 2008, 10:59 PM   #84
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Interesting preview of what is to come. While I like Leone I do disagree with Ariel and think that the good captain does need a stern talking to about her obvious stretching of the Prime Directive. After all captains are suppose to put it before wellbeing of their ship and crew and she clearly made a different decision.

Good thing she has friends in high places.

Excellent banter and it looks everyone on board got the hots for the half-Orion. Well can't really blame a guy, can you?
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Old March 13 2008, 11:10 PM   #85
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

CeJay wrote: View Post
Interesting preview of what is to come. While I like Leone I do disagree with Ariel and think that the good captain does need a stern talking to about her obvious stretching of the Prime Directive. After all captains are suppose to put it before wellbeing of their ship and crew and she clearly made a different decision.
"Milk Run" will hopefully satisfy you on that point. Starfleet's voice will be heard, in the form of one Lieutenant Commander Tricia Hargreaves.

When I original sketched Leone, I realized that I had literally sketched a female version of Jean-Luc Picard. Without even thinking about it, because I was recalling TNG-era thinking and remembering how sterile it felt. I started changing certain things about her... like her personality, and her value structure. She's a child of privilege and politics override morality almost every time. While I think the Federation might have higher ambitions, there's always the lowest common denominator to deal with. A whole race doesn't just 'get enlightened,' otherwise there wouldn't be a need for penal colonies and well... that's where we found Tom Paris, right?

Ariel's served with Leone on two occasions: Once on the Victory, once on the Potemkin. They've served almost 8 years together on two different ships and they're very much in tune with one another. Ariel's an adopted daughter of the Leone family, which I alluded to in the first part of DtT! when Leone mentioned that her mother missed Ariel. So Ariel knows that Mama Leone is actually Vice Admiral Angelina Leone of Starfleet Tactical. And 'Aunt Alynna' is Rear Admiral Alynna Nechayev of Starfleet Command. Those are just two of the friends Leone has in very high places.

CeJay wrote: View Post
Good thing she has friends in high places.
See above

CeJay wrote: View Post
Excellent banter and it looks everyone on board got the hots for the half-Orion. Well can't really blame a guy, can you?
Ariel's behavior stems from an interesting focal point. We find out about that in "The Better Part of Valor," when I take you guys back to when Leone and Ariel met on the Victory. I seriously cannot wait to write that story.

-- ZC
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Old March 14 2008, 10:51 AM   #86
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Here is Act V and final part of Damn the Torpedoes! Part III.

--------------------------

Ariel was right. She did spend more time in the ready room than she did in her own quarters, thought Captain Leone as she stared out toward the stars. She brought the cool glass of iced tea to her lips and took a long quaff from it. The heavy base of the glass felt good in her hand when she brought it back down to rest atop the smooth surface of her desk.

Iced tea first thing in the morning helped shake the cobwebs of a deep sleep, she had discovered during her time as a lieutenant serving aboard the starship Victory. The smell alone woke her up, like a strong brew of fresh coffee. Coffee might have been the first choice of many captains, including her own mother, but it often left Leone with a sour stomach. Tea became her best-tasting alternative.

By the time she finished with the one glass she allowed herself before starting her morning duty, she settled into the chair behind her desk and began to review the reports filed the previous night. Not all of them, of course, but the ones marked for her special attention by her acting executive officer. Every now and again, Leone's lips would curl up into a smile as she read some of the notations scribbled into the reports.

Ariel's wit laced the reports of the chief engineer, who made unofficial accusations of Petra's scrutiny of Mister Saleb's completed alterations to the ship's navigational deflector seem as though she really had the hots for him, rather than contempt for what he had done to her ship. Leone laughed out loud a few times before she closed the file and pushed herself away from the desk to stride out onto the nearly empty bridge.

"Good morning," said a too-cheery Greg, seated in the executive officer's seat.

"Good morning, Greg," replied Leone as she sat next to him. "You know, when you have the conn, you can feel free to use my chair. It's incredibly comfy."
Greg rose from the seat and stood to address her with his hands behind her back. "I'm sure it is, sir, but I wouldn't dare presume sit in your chair while you're on deck one."

"My, oh, my... you are getting very good at this conn-sitting, Greg."

"Sir?"

Leone divided her attention between the right-hand console of her chair and him. "I mean, you outmaneuver three enemy ships with a tractor beam and fancy flying, and then you're acting like a respectful XO keeping a watchful eye on the ship while the captain's amusing herself in her ready room."

"I guess so, sir."

"I meant it as a compliment. You've done really well for yourself since you got here."

"I appreciate that."

"I'm sure you do. So, let me ask you a question."

Greg tilted his head, but nodded. "Of course, sir."

She sighed. "You have four years' service in Starfleet since graduation... why haven't you put your name forth for consideration for promotion to full lieutenant?"

He reseated himself next to her, not wanting the conversation to drift to the operations station, where a chief petty officer sat watch. Lowering his voice, so as not to raise the ears of their comrades, he nearly hissed at her, "Kryssie, why're you bugging me about my career?"

Leone leaned over and smiled as he used her rather ancient nickname from when he was a child. "That's 'Captain Kryssie' to you, young sir." Off of his pained expression, she chuckled softly. "You don't think I'm not going to hear it from your mother?"

"God, leave her out of it."

"Tell her, that. It'll save me a lot of trouble."

Greg raised a hand to his forehead. "I'm not asking for any special treatment, now. I'm just doing my job."

"And doing it really well, Greg. I entrusted you with the ship, and you didn't let me down."

His cheeks warmed and colored red as she praised him. "Do me a favor, please... don't put that in your report. Next thing you know, I'm going to be expected to do that on a regular basis, and I don't think I could handle that kind of pressure."

Leone smirked. "Oh, Greg... if you didn't want that kind of pressure, you're in the wrong place, my friend."

"With all due respect, Captain Kryssie, I think we're all in the wrong place, right now."

---- SCENE CHANGE -----

They said their goodbyes, in spite of their slight bitterness that they would leave them behind to take care of their own war. Prime Barris expressed his sadness to see Ariel leave there part of the Beta Quadrant behind, but she assured him that he would find someone in the future to see his considerable needs. That exchange drew an amused glance from Captain Leone.

When it came time for Saleb and Belkis to bid them farewell, they offered to provide Farragut with extra personnel to see them through the long journey home, but Leone refused. She saw through the obvious ploy to convey refugees safely into the Federation, but enough regulations had been mangled for one excursion.

Barris shook hands with Leone. "While I can't say this for certain, Captain, I sincerely hope this isn't the last time we'll meet."

"With all due respect, Prime," she replied, "we've got our own problems to handle back at home. But, thanks all the same, for your generous hospitality."

"If you should ever pass this way again..." start Saleb.

"We'll be sure to look you up," promised Leone.

----- SCENE CHANGE -----

Petra maintained a vigilant watch on the quantum field generator attached to the deflector. She personally reconfigured her engineering console to provide her with real-time data from the subsystems affected. By the time she finished, the engineering station looked nothing like a standard matter/anti-matter reaction chamber-driven propulsion monitor, as it would under normal operating conditions.

Captain Leone ordered the ship to a safe distance from the fortress, but not too far outside the defense perimeter, in case they should fall under attack by wayward members of the Tristnor Hegemony. In spite of Mister Saleb's constant assurances that the field wouldn't harm the fortress, she did not want to take any chances.

After a small period of system adjustment, Petra announced her satisfaction, "Ready, here, Captain."

"Thank you, Petra," replied Leone. "Wilson, take us to general quarters." She wanted everyone to be alert and ready, in case the worst happened. However, being that they would be inside a quantum field, she wasn't sure if a typical abandon ship order would be carried out while the ship was in a state of quantum flux.

Wilson nodded. "General quarters, aye, sir." The computer made the appropriate announcements and the klaxon wailed twice before silencing.

"Let's get this circus on the road," muttered Leone. "Petra, activate your new toy."

"It's not my-"

Leone raised a hand. "Don't care. Let's go home."

Petra called out, "Aye, sir. Engaging reinforcement of the structural integrity and inertia dampening fields, now. Stand by for quantum field generation."

"All stations secure for quantum field entry," ordered Ariel from the operations console. "Captain, the hatches have been battened down."

"Device online. Quantum field generating from the navigational deflector," reported Petra.

Wilson added, "Confirmed. Deflector dish outputting quantum field, slowly."

"Acknowledged," said Leone with a nod.

Ariel said, "Field stabilization rate at twenty-five percent and rising."

Leone flexed her fingers on the edges of her armrests. "What's our entry point?"

"Ninety-seven percent, Captain. Mister Saleb's instructions were quite clear."

"Call out the rates, Ariel."

"Aye, sir." Ariel's voice continued their count, "Thirty-six percent. Forty-seven."

When the field rose in stabilization to eighty percent, Leone called out, "Here we go, people. Hang on to your asses."

"Field entry in five seconds," said Petra.

Farragut entered the field, losing sensors as it did the first time. The viewscreen deactivated without any relevant data being fed to it, and the expert handling of the ship's systems made for a smoother ride within the field. Leone barely felt the vibrations through the deck of the ship, allowing her to maintain her composure. She waited patiently for the ship to either be destroyed or depart the field.

The field outside the ship dissipated, allowing the sensors to get clear reads on the local region of space. The viewscreen image returned to show stars once more. "Ariel?" she asked, quietly.

"One moment, Captain. I'm scanning," replied Ariel, her eyes moving over the display.

"I just got a Federation timebase beacon," announced Wilson happily.

Ariel nodded, "The computer has confirmed the present star positions as Federation territory. We're three million kilometers away from where we left." She whirled around in her chair, a large grin on her face.

Leone rose from her chair, unable to hide the joy from her face or her voice. "Wilson, all hands, please."

"Aye, sir." Wilson sounded the boatswain's whistle to call the attention of the crew.

"All hands, this is the captain." Captain Leone stepped forward and placed a hand on Ariel's shoulder. She squeezed her gently as she informed her crew, "We're home."

----------------------------------

And there you go. I hope this pilot was enjoyable for you all. Stay tuned for the teaser for "Milk Run."

-- ZC
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Old March 14 2008, 10:53 AM   #87
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

As promised, I've already written the teaser for the fourth episode of Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead.

-------------------

Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead
By Michael D. Garcia

Episode Four: Milk Run

Starbase 310
Near the Cardassian Border
Stardate 43239.47
Observation Deck

With its proximity to the Cardassian border, Starbase 310 served as the way station for civilian and military traffic to all the colony worlds within the sector. Additionally, the Border Patrol ships operating nearby used it as a either their home port or a port of call. Folks were a little more apt to pull out their weapon than to ask questions out here in the frontier of Federation territory, and the type-two phaser sidearms of all the security officers patrolling the starbase made that absolutely clear to everyone visiting.

Commander Jesse Kincaid folded his arms as he stood on the large observation deck of the starbase, watching the ships dance in a traffic pattern around the station. Since his arrival nearly two weeks ago, he waited for the day that his ship would come in with patience and composure, in spite of the opposite feelings he felt bubbling up inside of him.

How could a ship get lost like that? What the hell kind of captain lets something like that happen aboard her ship? He had not yet met Captain Leone, but he knew that she must be one hell of a captain to earn a captaincy in under fifteen years' service in Starfleet. He had only thirteen years' service and barely made commander less than a year ago, while serving aboard the Valdemar.

Scuttlebutt on Leone was she'd been born into Starfleet wearing admiral's pips on her collar. Her mother held the rank of vice admiral, and considered most of the admiralty family, if not close friends. His appointment as Farragut's new executive officer would not be without its opportunities, but also a hell of a lot of pitfalls if he should run afoul of a well-connected captain like Krystine Leone.

A soft, feminine tone brought him out of his thoughts. "Commander Kincaid?"

"Yes...?" he turned to look at a strikingly beautiful Starfleet officer, wearing a tight, wine red jumpsuit over a lithe, but curvy form. "Lieutenant Commander...?"

"Tricia Hargreaves," she replied with a smile. She offered a pale-skinned hand to him, which he accepted lightly to shake it twice before releasing it. "A pleasure to meet you, sir."

"Likewise, I'm sure." Something about her did not sit well with him, in spite of her curled brown hair and deep blue eyes. "Is there something I can do for you?"

Hargreaves shook her head. "No, sir. I just wanted to come down and introduce myself to you. I'm also waiting for Farragut to arrive."

Strange. He didn't recall seeing the name Hargreaves on the list of senior officers serving aboard ship. Certainly, a lieutenant commander would warrant a division officer's position, if not at least a department head. "Forgive me, Commander, if I seem a little confused. Are you also part of the crew?"

"No," she said strongly, almost blanching at the suggestion. "No, sir, I'll just be a passenger for a while."

Kincaid offered no response to that, at first. He tried to read her and failed. She offered him nothing but a pleasant smile and those eyes that hid her true intentions from view. "I take it you wanted to introduce yourself to me, because...?"

"I thought it was the kind thing to do, to meet my future beneficiary."

That was a hell of a thing to say to him. "I beg your pardon?"

She did not say anything to that. Instead, Hargreaves' eyes moved away from him and out toward the stars. "How well do you know Captain Leone, sir?"

"Not very well," he said, honestly. "I was selected by subspace communication. And you, Commander?"

"Oh, I know her very well, sir. But, we've never met."

Kincaid decided to probe her for a little more information. "I hear she's quite an officer."
Hargreaves' smile lessened only slightly, but enough for him to notice it. "If you say so, sir."

"I take it from your tone, Commander, that you don't like her very much?"

"Far be it for me to speak out of turn about a superior officer, sir."

With a wave of his hand, he affected a magnanimous as he could muster, "Consider this permission to speak freely, then. You can start by telling me what you meant by calling me your beneficiary."

Hargreaves winced under his direct scrutiny. "I only meant, sir, that Captain Leone's days in command are numbered. You'll most likely assume command by the end of my trip."

He chuckled. "Is that so? You planning on staging a mutiny while you're aboard?"

She shook her head and continued her smile. In spite of that smile, she spoke to him seriously, "No, sir. I'm an investigator with the Inspector General's office. I suspect that the moment I file my report, Starfleet Command will have no choice but to relieve her of her command and take her into custody."

------------------

Cue evil music. Yeah, folks... we get to see Leone under scrutiny.

-- ZC
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Old March 14 2008, 09:09 PM   #88
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

I finally got caught up! WOOHOO! Loved the story, liked your character interaction a lot. Your two young guys are funny stuff when they're bantering. re Milk Run-just a glimpse and I dislike the IG agent already. Maybe Ariel ought to stuff her out a lock.
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Old March 15 2008, 05:39 AM   #89
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Great finish to a fantastic pilot! You’ve established a very credible palate of characters, imbuing each with a lot of personality. And now, a mystery about this investigator who certainly appears to bear Leone some malice. Looking forward to more.
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Old March 15 2008, 09:22 PM   #90
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

And now for something completely different...

Krystine Leone's biography:

http://stexpanded.wikia.com/wiki/Krystine_Leone

-- ZC
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