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Old March 13 2009, 01:22 AM   #256
Marie1
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Marie1 wrote: View Post
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post

Oh, I think not--remember the expert Berat could call on if you tried to mess with his brain. You wouldn't get far.
Well, I was going to put in on you, Nerys, but I am developping a soft spot for Berat so maybe...
You underestimate him at your own peril.
I thought developing a soft spot for someone was a good thing?

And I don't "underestimate him" I just know his is mortal... or at least, not infallible...
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Old March 13 2009, 02:53 AM   #257
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Ahh...but you threatened to put Vorta equipment in his head! Funny way of showing you have a soft spot...

And yes, he's quite mortal...but he WILL make you fight one hell of an uphill battle to get even near him, let alone what traps he might have in his area.
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Old March 17 2009, 02:14 PM   #258
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

No, in your brain... muhuhahaha

I don't think Berat is the type to fight just for getting near him... look how close the Vorta was before getting what he got... patience... always a virtue.
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Old March 17 2009, 04:38 PM   #259
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Marie1 wrote: View Post
No, in your brain... muhuhahaha
He still won't allow that.

I don't think Berat is the type to fight just for getting near him... look how close the Vorta was before getting what he got... patience... always a virtue.
You don't really think he's going to use the same strategy every single time, do you? It depends on what you try to do, how you try to approach.

And remember, in THAT case, the Vorta didn't know there was about to BE a fight.
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Old March 29 2009, 07:02 AM   #260
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

OK, guys...I know I've kept you waiting, but here's the second part of this chapter!!

(Next chapter will have a drawing delay...dunno if you've seen my work on a Cardassian traditional costume, but it's going to require colored pencil work and that takes me a long, LONG time.)

----------

2375—In orbit of Lessek
Cardassian Union Warship Sherouk

“The Jem’Hadar formation is tightening,” Dalin Rota reported from the main sensor table.

“Put it onscreen,” Berat ordered. Three Jem’Hadar battlecruisers appeared on the monitor, sweeping down for a lower pass at the planet. You couldn’t be more obvious if you tried, he thought at them. Still—if they actually succeeded at what they were trying to do, it could doom the entire planetside team. Their approach angle told him the entire story; almost effortlessly he envisioned the schematics for their sensor arrays overlaid on the actual ship almost as if it were actually displayed onscreen.

The Dominion had installed those very same sensors aboard the Sherouk and Trager, never once believing the Cardassians had it in them to rebel...especially not Gul Berat. He despised the arrogance that made some regard him like a sickly child—but how he had made that supercilious Vorta Dasreen pay for that assumption!

The very night they expunged the Dominion interlopers, Glinn Motreln had torn into the enhancements while Berat observed. And now in his mind’s eye, the gul of the Sherouk saw the scanning pattern the Jem’Hadar hoped to create on the surface below like some swirling, shifting mandala of light to ensure that every area was covered by at least two ships at a time…

“Any change in polaron levels?” he asked, on the off chance that his instincts about this were wrong. Though the Sherouk confined itself to passive scans lest the active sort reveal too great an interest in their adversaries, this would still give sufficient warning whenever the Jem’Hadar prepared to open fire.

“No, Gul—polaron leakage holds steady.”

“Your assessment, Rota?” Berat invited. He knew the answer already—but he knew very well from training the men under him as systems control officer on Obrast Nor that not only did people find it disquieting to deal with someone who acted like a bottomless well of answers, but that was also no way to develop one’s personnel to function on their own someday.

The tactical officer sorted through a few more readouts and then announced, “Looks like a reconnaissance formation. They’re trying to get a read on the base.”

Even in the best-case scenario from Berat’s projections, there was no way the surface teams had made it to the shuttles. But soon, the Jem’Hadar would surely discover the same thing he and Dalin Mirok had: it wasn’t about filtering out the interference. That left the searcher with nothing but fragments and echoes refracted beyond recognition. Rather, it was about learning to read the interference itself for the messages it conveyed about what moved through it, like fish through the clouded swamps of old. And that the Sherouk had accomplished as a single ship.

And then, the Jem’Hadar would spot far too many lifesigns on Lessek and realize what was happening. “Gul,” asked Rota, “should we go ahead and activate the jamming field now?”

“No,” replied Berat without a second’s hesitation, the response emerging before his thoughts even had time to complete themselves. “Not yet—not until they attack.”

A number of the bridge crew silently chafed under this order. Glinn Yejain saw this and spoke up: “‘The responsible citizen never resists a search,’” he quoted in a refrain well familiar to every child past the age of four. “‘Resistance is defiance and defiance is death. He who has nothing to hide has nothing to fear from his protectors.’”

“Some ‘protectors’ the Jem’Hadar make,” Cronath, the helmsman, mumbled.

“That notwithstanding,” Yejain said, “they see themselves that way and they expect us to view them in kind. Any discomfort we show with their actions will only serve as a sign of our guilt.”

A few of the crew shifted uneasily in their seats. Berat, too, cared little for the idea of leaving the team potentially exposed to Jem’Hadar detection—or the mercies of those misguided Cardassians under the spell of the Dominion. And he understood, perhaps more than anyone else aboard the Sherouk, maybe even the entire Thirteenth Order, what it meant to be labeled an enemy of the people by those who were themselves that enemy. “We will do what we can to evacuate our people, if it comes down to it,” Berat assured his crew. “But—the survival of the rebellion comes above that of any man, or even set of men. If it comes down to a choice between losing them and losing the ships, we have to do what we did before…at Septimus. We have to preserve the ships.

“In the meantime, though…I have some ideas for a few more ‘surprises.’ Mirok,” he called to his lead investigative officer, who shared the sensor table with Rota, “you’ll recall those probes we used to tap the planetary satellite grid…?”

“Of course, Gul.”

“The Jem’Hadar still have yet to down them, right?”

“Visual scan confirms,” Dalin Mirok replied. “All probes remain in expected positions; orbital decay rate matches previous readings. We still have at least another month until their re-entry.”

“Well, I’ve just thought of something else we can do with them…”



2375—The Dominion War—The Battle for the Shipyard
Cardassian Rasgălor of Lessek

Macet winced briefly, but accepted the news of betrayal with relative equanimity. He had hoped the sincere love of Cardassia might override the desire for personal gain in all of Iymender’s co-conspirators, but as was most often the case, such was not to be. Ador looked a touch irritated, as one might expect from such a young man—but the Federation noncoms’ reactions seemed rather disproportionate to Macet: could they truly not have expected it?

The Andorian’s ritualistic, Klingon-like society likely did not allow for such conniving, from what Rebek knew: those who did were likely to find themselves facing a deadly ushaan blade. As for Burakgazi—his species’ denial of its own darker side was well established. That famed terhăn naïveté astounded him now that he actually witnessed it firsthand. That so far the Thirteenth Order had held together without betrayal was the exception, not the rule, and every Cardassian knew it.

Ah, hack it!” the terhăn hissed, incensed.

One of Ador’s eye ridges shot up and he snorted, barely suppressing a laugh.

Crewman Burakgazi fixed the ragoç with a frozen glare. This lack of deference to rank rankled with Macet, and he had to remind himself that Federation soldiers took greater license with such things amongst themselves. “And what find you so amusing?” Burakgazi growled.

Macet had heard it past the translator as well—not the literal expression as the translator reported it, which evoked a fittingly gruesome image of dismemberment, but the actual sound of what the crewman had said. It sounded an awful lot like ‘hăcet,’ the Cardăsda word for ‘chaos’…exactly what one of their own would have said under the circumstances. “Perhaps later,” Macet temporized…he doubted the similarities between borderworld speech and Cardăsda were what Burakgazi wanted to hear now—however funny it was.

Macet closed his eyes for an instant and focused the subtlest of the senses upon his surroundings. “The corridor is lined with high-voltage forcefields at every junction and maintenance access,” he determined. “One touch will likely kill. We’re intended to reach the conference room—and we can be fairly certain as to what we’ll find there.”

Burakgazi squinted, straining to hear something just barely above the threshold of his sensitive ears. “Gul Macet—methinks someone comes this way!”

Ador scanned the carpeted floor, searching for something—suddenly he pounced on all fours, fingers prying at a seam between carpet panels. “They forgot the floor,” he grinned as he swung up the trapdoor. “Can’t well electrify our feet if they want us alive, can they?” To illustrate his point, he sat on the edge of the floor, then slid off like a swimmer into a pool.

After a sharp thud, his voice echoed up from the crawlspace. “This way!” zh’Thessel and Burakgazi immediately emulated Ador. Macet dove last, grabbing a handle on the door’s inside and pulling it shut behind them.

Not twenty seconds after, pounding, jogging footsteps rocked the metal hatch from above. The conference room was out—the adversary controlled the space above…there was only one logical place now for Macet to go: straight to the source.



I couldn’t be more perfect for this mission if I do say so myself, thought the compact-bodied gul of the Romac as she crawled through the power conduits in the base’s like a vole…or a vompăt. How I’d love to see that Klingon half-breed try this! That conjured up a lovely image of Duras Sister #3, Gul Ocett, getting her cuirass caught on a plasma node, her braids sticking straight out in the air and sparking at the ends just like they did in the animated features. That satisfying fantasy earned a quick grin—one that evaporated as soon as the flames in her mind leapt out to envelop her own body just like they had on the bridge over Septimus III.

Something that felt disturbingly like a nose nudged her derriere, and she jumped, nearly hitting her head on the ceiling as a muffled grunt issued from behind. Rebek realized she’d come to a complete stop in the middle of the conduit—and that probably had been a nose. The thought of it gave her a chill. And sure enough, the Mathenite apologized.

There was no time to respond. Rebek whispered for silence instead. A triangular symbol floated in midair at the next junction, courtesy of the hunter array, pointing to the right. Sure enough, the door read ‘Computer Core—Access Restricted’ in bold Cardăsda. “Chedrigan,” she whispered, “get ready to blow this hatch—on my mark!”

“Ready!” the Kobheerian saboteur confirmed.

Rebek and T’Ruveh crouched closest to the door on either side.

Text whirled before the gul as she flipped through a series of menus by the movements of her eyes, until—below her unfolded an orange wireframe diagram of the room above whose ceiling they moved, green silhouettes for Jem’Hadar, yellow for Cardassian. “Three Jem’Hadar I can see,” Rebek reported, “two Cardassians.”

Iymender tapped his padd and added, “The last logins were Cronarvan and Nestak. Don’t trust Nestak…and I’m not too sure about Cronarvan.”

“Take no chances, then,” Rebek ordered the team. “We aim to kill.”

Rebek checked her positioning one last time. Nothing but the muzzle of her rifle would peek around the corner—no part of her exposed to enemy fire except perhaps her hand. She’d be able to get off one shot, two if she was lucky: after that, they’d have to drop down to the room below and fight before the Jem’Hadar sounded the alarm.

Now!

The door hissed open. Rebek took aim at one of the green shapes—predictably spinning towards the source of the noise—and squeezed the trigger. Soundlessly the Jem’Hadar body fell. A charred stump smoked above the shoulders where the head should have been.

The Mathenite petty officer’s fur stood on end. She reared back onto her haunches, then charged forward at the opening, launching herself headlong into the room, claws splayed, teeth bared.

T’Ruveh leaped through the opening next. Iymender waited above, as per orders; the programmer had been through the same mental and military training as any of them, but there was no ignoring it—the riyăk’s situational awareness simply was not sufficient against a Jem’Hadar. Chedrigan, too, would wait; his skill was stealth, not confrontation.

Rebek squeezed off one more shot the instant T’Ruveh cleared the door. A second Jem’Hadar reeled back, shoulder burning, but still very much in the fight. It was time to join the battle herself, before the Jem’Hadar could concentrate more fire on the opening. Rebek threw herself out of the maintenance shaft to the floor below.

Ousiçt’uçoum roukel—OUSIÇT’UÇOUM!” someone yowled: Get it off me—GET IT OFF! As she fell, she caught a flash of grey-lavender latched with all claws onto a sprawled Cardassian, powerful, disruptor-bearing tail wrapped round the neck like a legless constrictor măgath, tight enough that Rebek thought the Mathenite might actually stand a chance of snapping it.

She landed hard on top of the second Cardassian, using his body break her fall. Before he could react, she drew back her rifle and smashed it into the back of his head. With a sickening crack, he stopped moving. A thin rivulet of blood seeped from the wound.

Before she could react to what she had done, something flashed boldly in green at the periphery of her visual field; the skin near her left shoulder blade prickled.

Not even pausing to turn her head, she whipped her rifle over at her target. Ghostly images from her rifle sights whirled before her; a Jem’Hadar face came into focus and she fired. Soundlessly the Jem’Hadar crumpled against the door.

The Vulcan lieutenant, T’Ruveh, grappled with the other Jem’Hadar—the same one Rebek had singed with her second shot. Despite his injuries, T’Ruveh still struggled to hold her own against the genetically-engineered soldier. And now he had his hands wrapped around that disturbingly fragile neck of hers.

Rebek dashed forward, but before she could reach T’Ruveh, Te-Mae-Do lunged forward at a gallop. The Mathenite’s prehensile tail snapped over her head, angled towards T’Ruveh, and squeezed the trigger on her disruptor pistol. The wounded Jem’Hadar dropped, releasing his grip on T’Ruveh.

T’Ruveh fell to the ground, gasping for air with an urgency that completely belied her stoic expression. “Are you all right?” Rebek inquired.

The Vulcan raised an eyebrow at her in a manner that felt rather chiding and impertinent to the Cardassian, as if to say, How illogical of you to suggest I should waste breath on a response right now. There was something disturbing about the Vulcan’s manner up close. The stoicism of T’Ruveh’s people was legendary even in the Cardassian Union—but even the most disciplined Cardassians let the steel show in their eyes and their voices.

A decidedly less steely voice drifted in from above. “May I come down now?”

Rebek glanced around. All five of the room’s former occupants lay dead, including both of Iymender’s fellow programmers. “Go ahead,” Rebek decided.

The lanky riyăk awkwardly maneuvered himself on all fours until he sat with his long legs dangling out of the opening. Iymender pushed himself forward like a reluctant swimmer easing himself into the pool—but his legs were far too tense. And even before that awful sound reached her ears, she could see how poorly-aligned he was for impact. He fell headlong to the floor before Rebek could finish her warning: “No! Not like that!

It came as no surprise when Iymender howled with pain. The programmer made no move to rise. His words emerged as a hiss between gritted teeth; in his eyes she read unvarnished shame.

“I’m sorry, Gul—I am so sorry…! My ankle—I think it’s broken…”

Rebek flicked a switch at her right cheekbone, and grimaced. There it was in holographic detail: the bones of Iymender’s right ankle, shattered so severely the bone would likely have to be replaced.
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Old March 29 2009, 01:12 PM   #261
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Another tense segment. When something goes right something else seems to go wrong. Again, the scenes with Macet and Berat in them were compelling and engrossing. The story moves forward even as we learn more about Cardassian servitude and loyalty to their state. Berat allows the Dominion to come ever closer knowing it might very well spell disaster for the plan but to act otherwise would betray the plan. You made a Cardassian virtue a plot device to rack up the tension. Great work.
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Old March 30 2009, 12:49 AM   #262
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Thanks! I've tried to keep that element of chaos in the battle without going to far in either direction. I just try to see where things are obviously going to go wrong. Like when I realized Iymender would also be in the situation of dropping from almost ceiling level--I love him to bits, but I just couldn't see it going well!
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Old March 30 2009, 08:40 PM   #263
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

I'm conflicted- I'm both surprised that there hasn't been more betrayal up til now... and really disappointed that there has been- especially the Cardassians. I had hoped that the good of Cardassia would trump the "good job" pat on the head a Cardassian would get from a Vorta for betraying his people.

I love the humour in here despite the danger- it makes everything better in a bad situation, keeps people... I dunno... hopeful?
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Old March 31 2009, 02:23 AM   #264
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Marie1 wrote: View Post
I'm conflicted- I'm both surprised that there hasn't been more betrayal up til now... and really disappointed that there has been- especially the Cardassians. I had hoped that the good of Cardassia would trump the "good job" pat on the head a Cardassian would get from a Vorta for betraying his people.
Of course, to a pretty fair number of Cardassians, that's exactly how they see loyalty--they feel like they're doing right if they get that pat on the head and they're left alone (i.e. no harassment from Obsidian Order/Central Command). They've been indoctrinated to be that way--the state wants unquestioning obedience. And Dukat, Damar (at first), and now Broca have all been saying that obeying the Dominion is the official party line.

That's why the rebellion didn't happen until someone VERY prominent (i.e. Damar) came out and advocated for it. Even the four guls in my story seem to have given pause about really starting in full force without Damar's orders (though they'd been preparing well before then and I think that they would have eventually done it on their own...though it would've been interesting to see how long it would take).

I love the humour in here despite the danger- it makes everything better in a bad situation, keeps people... I dunno... hopeful?
I think it naturally happens...people do that lest the situation really get to them.
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Old March 31 2009, 06:34 AM   #265
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

"Sigils & Unions" is very good Nerys 64

Better than alot of Pocket Books' TrekLit I've read.

Thor Damar wrote some aficionadofic yes? Never got round to his stories

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Old March 31 2009, 07:58 AM   #266
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Please don't spam the forum with silly smilie-packed posts, Aquehonga. You can make your post without making it hard to read.
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Old March 31 2009, 01:25 PM   #267
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Aquehonga wrote: View Post
"Sigils & Unions" is very good Nerys 64

Better than alot of Pocket Books' TrekLit I've read.

Thor Damar wrote some aficionadofic yes? Never got round to his stories

yes I have, Ten days on Cardassia which is on a hiatus (as you americans might say) and Checkmate; a tale of the Klingon/Cardassian war which I will update in a few days once I've gotten over my writers block.
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Old March 31 2009, 05:45 PM   #268
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

I've just opened a separate thread in this section of the board where I answer about the issues that came up last night/today--I don't want to see my thread do a crash-and-burn, as I think that could be very unpleasant to me and the audience.

Please visit here to continue that part of the discussion: http://trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=87322

Marie1 wrote: View Post
Hmm... good point. Up til Damar's rebellion, they probably would have brushed off the fact they were losing territory til after, thinking everything would be split after complete victory. Or like you say, obedience to the state is so important to them that they are thrilled with any commendation, like the guy that betrayed the Cardassians that Damar, Kira and co were going to meet.
For Cardassians to even think that they wouldn't be victorious seems to have bordered on treason under their system. Remember that even in their literature, Cardassia always wins, whether it be against external enemies (i.e. the discussion of Meditations on a Crimson Shadow) or internal ones (i.e. Shoggoth's enigma tales).

The way Garak and others talk suggest that obedience to the state IS everything to a lot of Cardassians.

I think maybe that's the difference between them, and my four guls (and by extension the crews under them): to my four guls, it's a certain ideal of the state that is key. And because of that...they're able to recognize and oppose deviations from that ideal. Their mindset allows them to take that giant leap, even though it came with great difficulty for them.

Now, that idea is spreading, especially now that Damar stood up in public and though he may not have said it in so many words, he illustrated it to be true...that sometimes you must oppose those in power in order to preserve the ideal.

I love it- don't stop!
And I like this regular humour in a tense situation better then in some shows/episodes where something funny happens exclusively before a tragic death.
That's always a downer.
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Old March 31 2009, 07:04 PM   #269
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

May I please ask that this be moved to the "Reading Preferences" thread that I set aside specifically for this discussion?

Thanks.
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Old March 31 2009, 07:29 PM   #270
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Consider it moved, and I'll move any other posts on that subject that I see over there as well. Notify me if I miss anything.

I apologize. I didn't mean to sidetrack anything.
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