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Old December 2 2009, 12:22 AM   #196
USS Avenger
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Re: Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

Good chapter. It was interesting to see a "lower deck" view of the tension between the UESPA and UEMA crews. You know Polly is right, everyone likes her, she is adorable! It was also good to see the mention of the augments and the idea that Cochrane built upon the work of others.
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Old December 2 2009, 03:36 AM   #197
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Re: Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

The Badger wrote: View Post
Ah, well, I wasn't going to mention it unless it came about naturally in the story, but there's no guarantee it will, so, since you asked...

At Cambridge Trip and Polly did have a relationship for a little while, but it didn't really last. They just weren't quite right for one another, and found friendship to be more satisfying than anything else. In many ways their current relationship is like that between Steed and Mrs. Peel.

And because of his position, Captain Archer consider every member of his crew off limits. This is especially true in the case of Polly. There are those who assume that, as an attractive woman, her success is as a result of sleeping her way to the top. A ridiculous belief that makes no sense, but still prevalent enough that Archer has no wish to fan the flames with anything hinting at impropriety.
Actually I was thinking of Archer having met Polly some years prior to the current mission and her assignment aboard Enterprise. Not that he would allow any relationship to continue under the present circumstances. Interesting about her and Trip as there really isn't any hint of it in the way you've been writing them. Very much a good friend vibe between the two. Was Trip more in sync with Polly's fashion designer friend?

Of course you realize that by taking Archer and Trip out of the running you've cleared the way for Malcolm. The Pacifist and the Marine. Oh, that's an intriguing combination.
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Old December 4 2009, 09:59 PM   #198
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Re: Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

Another good chapter. Great prank, too!
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Old December 10 2009, 10:22 PM   #199
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Re: Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

Just a short piece (by my standards, anyway!) for now. Real life just keeps getting in the way.


UES Enterprise. The Kraltos System.
16th May 2151.
Captain's Office.

A sombre look on his face, Jonathan Archer carefully read the report. Without saying a word, he handed the pad over his desk to Trip. The engineer took it. After his own study of the message he looked up.

"Oh this is bad, this is very bad Cap'n. Total disaster."

Sitting next to Trip, Hernandez looked up from her own pad. "What is it? What's wrong?"

Archer gestured to the pad. "Latest report from the quartermaster. It seems we are running low, excuse me 'perilously low'"--he held up his fingers to form air quotes--"in all forms of alcoholic drinks."

Hernandez snorted. She could never tell if these UESPA types were being serious or not. Based on past experience, it's usually not.

"Not all our fault, Cap'n. I reckon the Ithenites must take summa the blame." Trip said.

Quite apart from the crew of the damaged freighter, Enterprise now played host to the crew of the relief ship that had arrived yesterday, the one the freighter had intended to rendezvous with. It's arrival had been a tense moment. Archer could only imagine how it would feel, to arrive at your destination to find the ship you were expecting to deal with almost destroyed, and a heavily armed craft of unknown origin floating next to it. Unsurprisingly the newcomers had attempted to flee, but using her newly developed fluency Hoshi Sato had kept them talking long enough for Archer to get Captain Karash up to the bridge. He'd calmed them down.

The newcomers hadn't been happy with developments, but a variety of drinks later had improved their mood. The last time Archer had seen Karash he was deep in conversation with Captain Grashie, from the relief ship, about the economic viability of shipping beer from Earth.

"I knew I should'a set up a still in engineerin'" Trip continued. "We may have to get people to open up their personal supplies."

Without a word Archer turned in his chair and, with an exaggerated motion, locked his drinks cabinet.

Trip grinned. "What about you, Commander? You gotta couple bottles o' tequila stashed away?"

Hernandez's voice was stern. "I see. It's like that, is it? I'm Mexican, so I must drink tequila, right? Is that it?!"

"Sorry Ma'am. Didn't mean it like that."

Hernandez glared at him a moment longer before letting the fašade drop. "I've got three bottles left actually but that's not the issue." she said conversationally.

Archer leant back. Interesting that Hernandez was now comfortable enough around them to joke like that. After a rocky start, she's fitting in quite well. He said "Right, we better scrape up all the drinks we can spare, and give them to the Ithenites. We need all the good will out here we can get."

Hernandez lifted her own pad. "Yes sir. I've been looking into it, there's a few things they really do need. The relief ship was supposed to hand over part of it's crew to the freighter, and take some of that ship's crew back home. As things stand now, it'll be carrying more personnel than it was designed for. There's room on board, but it'll place some stress on the life support.
"Now, we've got portable life support systems for emergency shelters. Air scrubbers, water filters and the like. We can spare a few, though they may need adapting to the Ithenites power supply."

Trip nodded. "Could be done. Worst comes to the worst, we can give 'em a micro generator or two. That'll see 'em long enough to get home."

"Good thinking Maria. Anything else?" Archer asked.

"Well, their food supply might run a little low. We could donate some of our stored food, the stuff we got from the Tellarites. We'd have to go back to the re-sequenced stuff, but we can survive on that."

"Yeah," Trip drawled, "but you might not wanna hang 'round when tellin' Polly that."

The door bell chimed. Archer hit the intercom. "Come in."

Haleh Moshiri poked her head round the door. "Ah, I can come back later if you are busy sir..."

"No, no, come in. Have you finished your research?"

"Yes sir. It doesn't look good I'm afraid."

Archer turned to the others. "Haleh's been looking at the star charts, trying to work out where Hotel-2 might have been hiding out."

"Tough job." Hernandez commented. "It could be anywhere."

"Yes Ma'am. Luckily we've got a few pieces of information to help narrow it down a bit. For instance, we know the top speed of a Neptune class ship. We also know how fast the Yridian ship can go. It's a common design in these parts, manufactured by a corporation and sold to a variety of species. The Vulcan database had full details on file.
"Now the Yridian ship left Tellarite station D-4 on the 7th of May. The Neptune arrived here, the Kraltos system, just before we did, on the 11th. That's four days. Four days for the Yridians to get to the Neptune, tell them what's going on, and for the Neptune to get to Kraltos. That limits how far away their rendezvous point can be.
"The trouble is, within that area, there are six possible star systems. One is inhabited, so is unlikely to be suitable as they'd notice any strange comings and goings in their system. Of course they could be involved in the conspiracy, but they do a lot of trade with the Vulcans and probably wouldn't want to pi...to upset them. So that leaves five systems."

Trip cleared his throat. ""What about the exit vectors? We know the general direction each ship went. Can't we just work out where their paths meet?"

Hernandez shook her head. "Not from the Neptune. Assuming it's crew are trained in the same techniques as UEMA personnel, they'll leave along one vector, and once out of sensor range drop out of warp and change course."

"Yes Ma'am." Haleh said, nodding. "Now if, and it's a big if, the Yridians didn't do the same, then there are two systems fairly close to it's exit vector. Unfortunately there's nothing I can find that would help us choose between them. And if the Yridians did change course, it's no help at all. So we really--"

She broke off as Archer's computer terminal pinged for attention. An incoming message. He read it.

"Well, that's almost providential. Professor Partridge has completed her tests on the residue we found on that piece of hull metal. Haleh, have a look at this readout. Do any of the systems on your list have a gas giant with this make up?"

Haleh leaned closer. "Well sir, gas giants are common to most systems, and they tend to have similar compositions. There's only a limited number of ways chemicals can interact, after all. Although..." she pointed at the screen. "Here. This particle dust. I'll have to double check my notes, but I did read about a Vulcan expedition to the Theta Iota system about two centuries back. One of the moons of a gas giant there broke apart due to tidal stress. I should imagine there's a lot of dust of this type still around. And Theta Iota is one of the two candidates if the Yridians didn't cover their tracks."

"Looks like the Theta Iota system is our best bet then." Archer said. "Although there's no guarantee they've been there more than once."

Hernandez said "Actually sir, I've been thinking about that. Lieutenant Moshiri, given the time available, could the Yridian ship have gone to one system in range, any system, then head to a second system, find the Neptune, and give them the information?"

Haleh thought it through. "I don't think so Ma'am. Any diversion would just add too much time."

Hernandez sat back, nodding slightly. "As I thought. Either the Yridians decides to search for the Neptune class, and were lucky enough to find it in the very first system they went to, or they already knew where to find it."

Archer clicked his fingers. "So the Neptune must have a location where it regularly waits."

"Neptunes are not designed for extended duration missions. They need regular resupplies. Based on what we've learnt, I think it likely that the Neptune hides in the upper atmosphere of the gas giant at, what was it? The Theta Iota system. Other ships could bring them supplies. We know the conspirators have access to at least one other ship, that Vulcan cargo ship the Ithenites encountered. And hiding in the atmosphere is simple enough, and gives a bit of privacy in case any one comes along." Hernandez said. She shrugged. "It's not perfect, but..."

"...But it's the best lead we've got." Archer said. "I wish we had more data. I wish we had a better idea. We still don't know who we are up against or why they abducted the Vulcan Premier. Time's ticking away...All right, in the absence of any better ideas, the Theta Iota system it is. We'll get the Ithenites off as fast as diplomatically possible. Hernandez, give them all the food, drink and life support systems you think we can spare. An extra generator too, we can't waste time trying to adapt our equipment to their power supply. Once you've done that, make sure the weapon systems are fully functional. I'd rather not use them, but I suspect we may have to.
"Trip, get your boys and girls ready. We're going to warp as soon as possible. I'll need as much speed as possible for as long as possible, and if shooting starts we'll need as much power as possible.
"Haleh, get a course plotted. Once you've done that go over the database, find out anything about this system that can give us a tactical advantage, however small.
"Unless anyone has anything further to add...no? Very well. Dismissed."

They filed out. Archer looked around his suddenly empty office, wondering why he now felt lonelier than ever before.
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Old December 11 2009, 06:25 PM   #200
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Re: Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

Good to see that Hernandez is getting more comfortable with the squids. I also love the fact that the Enterprise response to a potentially bad situation with a new species is to get them liquored up!
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Old December 14 2009, 10:00 PM   #201
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Re: Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

Short, yes, but it had its moments. I liked Archer locking his cabinet!
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Old December 15 2009, 09:48 PM   #202
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Re: Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

UES Enterprise. En route to the Theta Iota system. Warp 3.89
16th May 2151.

Stifling a yawn, Hernandez navigated the corridors on the way to the nearest elevator terminus station. She'd had a busy day, sorting out the Ithenite's supply problems, and was ready for her bunk. She felt sympathetic for the little fellows. They'd been forced to abandon the damaged freighter. Someday they'd send a ship out to collect the remaining cargo, but the freighter itself was beyond repair. A few parts might be salvaged, nothing more. Despite the aliens' friendly nature Hernandez was left in no doubt that there would be major diplomatic consequences from this.

Ahead of her the sickbay hatch opened, and T'Pol stepped through. Hernandez was mildly surprised. The ambassador's aide had kept herself very much to herself, so much so that Maria had almost forgotten that she was on board. There was a large greenish yellow bruise on the Vulcan woman's cheek, and the residue of Locke's purple healing gel on her hands and forehead.

"T'Pol? Are you all right?"

A slow nod. "Your physician is most capable. My injuries are almost totally healed."

Hernandez asked "What injuries? What happened to you?"

"Several of your Marines expressed an interest in the Suus Mahna, a Vulcan martial art. I displayed a few basic moves, but they wanted a more practical demonstration." She paused. "I am returning to my quarters now."

"I'm heading to mine, too. Shall we continue?" They set of towards the station.

After a moments silence, T'Pol continued. "I of course warned them that, with my superior physical strength, there was a clear risk of injury. They behaved illogically, apparently perceiving my comments as some sort of challenge. They selected one of their number--"

"Let me guess. Corporal James?" Hernandez interrupted. "Short girl, dark hair."

T'Pol said "That is correct. She is a skilled opponent, but inevitably I prevailed. She left sickbay shortly before I did."

Hernandez wasn't too happy about this. She could see the value of learning another species' fighting styles, but not if you risk injuring yourself the day before an important mission. And there'd be hell to pay if an ambassador's assistant were injured by an Earth Marine.

Hey, since when did I get concerned with diplomatic affairs? I've been spending too much time with the Captain!

That reminded her of something. "T'Pol, do you know anything about the Ithenites? Their culture, I mean."

"A little."

Hernandez shot T'Pol a glance, wondering if that were a joke about the Ithenite's short stature. Of course not. "There's something Captain Karash said to us, as they were leaving. Something about a bird, nesting on your planet, or something like that."

"The Great Bird of the Galaxy. A mythological figure common to several species in this area, often invoked as a blessing."

"Ah, a sort of 'May God go with you', then."

"Indeed. Curiously, whilst the Great Bird is invoked in this manner, it does not seem to be worshipped or revered in any way, though it is certainly respected. Members of various religions, even those that deny the existence of other deities, accept it. Most intriguingly, several cultures have historical references to the Great Bird that pre-date First Contact. Exactly how they learnt of it remains a mystery. The anthropologists Seren and T'Lonas speculate that some sort of cosmological event occurred that was visible from these worlds, and resembled a bird. So far, no evidence of such an event has been found."

It looked like T'Pol was going to go into a lecture. Fortunately for Hernandez, they arrived at their destination, and she was able to interrupt. "Going up?" she said, hitting the button to open the elevator doors. It was, she'd be the first to admit, a silly question. The elevator had no where else to go. But it succeeded in distracting T'Pol.

As the elevator began it's journey T'Pol asked "Commander. Do you know if Professor Partridge ever uses an alias?"

"What do you mean?"

"An assumed name, an alternate identity, a nom-de---"

Hernandez waved her hand dismissively. "I know what an alias is, T'Pol. What I meant was, why do you ask?"

Both women grabbed hold of the rail as the elevator flipped to orientate itself to the secondary hull.

T'Pol thought for a moment. "I overheard a conversation earlier. I was not eavesdropping, but my hearing is superior to that of humans." She gestured to her ears. Hernandez nodded.

T'Pol went on. "One of your crewmen was discussing Professor Partridge. He made several references to her skirt, particularly it's brevity, which he seemed to appreciate. His colleague was of an alternate view, claiming to prefer her customary garb, what he referred to as a 'catsuit'. Is that the correct designation?"

"I believe so." Hernandez said as the elevator arrived. The small lobby was empty. She got herself some hot chocolate from the vending machine. "Can I get you anything?"

"No. Thank you. After stating that he preferred the catsuits, he then added that he liked to see someone by the name of 'Camille Towe'. I do not recall---Commander, are you all right?"

Hernandez had spat out the mouthful of hot chocolate, and was coughing furiously. "I'm all right, I'm all right."

"Your beverage is too hot, perhaps?" T'Pol suggested.

"Yes! Yes, that's it, too hot. Yes." She wiped her mouth on her sleeve, and grabbed a paper towel to clean up the mess she'd spat on the floor. That also gave her a few seconds to think. "So, er, 'Camille Towe', er..."

"As far as I can tell that is what he said. 'I like the catsuits. I like to see Camille Towe'. Perhaps I misheard. I did at first think he had said 'Camel', rather than 'Camille', but that makes no sense."

"No! None at all!" Hernandez said quickly. "I'm not sure...I don't know her that well...but I think she may have used an alias when she started modelling. Ah, it was...." Think woman, think! "...ah, yes. When she first started modelling, she was still at university, and didn't want people finding out. Bringing the profession into disrepute. Or something."

T'Pol looked at her silently for a moment, then gave a nod. "Plausible. Enjoy your hot chocolate." Then she left.

Hernandez dropped into a chair and let out a long sigh. I suppose I'd better send Partridge a note, just in case T'Pol asks her. It'd be good to have our stories lined up. Still, it'd be fun just to watch her to try and explain it...

No, better let her know. And there's a couple of other things I want to ask her, too.

Last edited by The Badger; December 16 2009 at 08:17 PM. Reason: Spelling.
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Old December 15 2009, 10:20 PM   #203
Duncan MacLeod
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Re: Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

Camille Towe!

Oh, that was funny.
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Old December 16 2009, 09:47 PM   #204
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Re: Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

Ok, so how am I s'posed to get the soup out of my laptop keys?!?! Camille Towe?
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Old December 17 2009, 08:22 PM   #205
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Re: Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

"The Great Bird of the Galaxy. A mythological figure common to several species in this area, often invoked as a blessing."

Liked this very much. A great nod to Mr R.
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Old December 21 2009, 11:52 PM   #206
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UES Enterprise. En route to the Theta Iota system. Warp 3.89
16th May 2151.

Although the small window inset into the hatches of the personnel quarters were opaque, they were translucent enough to tell if the lights in the room were on or off. Enough of a glow showed at Professor Partridge's hatch to let Hernandez know that the scientist was still awake. She hit the door bell.

After a few moments the intercom crackled into life. "Who is it?"

"Commander Hernandez. Might I have a word, Professor?"

"Just a moment." A few seconds later the hatch opened slightly, and Partridge's blonde head emerged. "What is it? It's very late."

"This will only take a moment. May I come in?" Hernandez asked.

Partridge regarded her silently for a moment, then nodded. She stepped back, opening the hatch wider.

Due to her position as chief scientist, Partridge warranted a room to herself. Unlike Hernandez's, which were maintained in a state of military utility, there was a fair amount of clutter. Framed photographs covered the walls.A glass fronted wooden cabinet seemed packed full of trophies. A fencing mask and foil hung from hooks on the wall, over a large wide leafed pot plant. Instead of the ship issue coverings the bed sported an enormous duvet, almost hidden under a mound of soft toys. There were books everywhere.

"Cosy." Hernandez said, looking round. Her jaw dropped slightly and her eyes widened in surprise as she saw Partridge fully. Up till now she'd been hidden behind the door.

She was dressed in a long quilted blue dressing gown. There was a pink elephant on the pocket. Just showing at her feet were a pair of fluffy white slippers, with rabbit faces and ears.

"Is something the matter?" Partridge asked.

Hernandez blinked. "Ah, that's kind of a different look for you, isn't it?"

"Well, not even I can wear that stuff all the time. I have to be able to breath in occasionally. Just don't tell anyone, please."

"I get it. You have your reputation to consider."

Partridge cocked her head. "Well, there is that. I was more concerned though about the effects on shipboard morale. Most of the men and at least three women would be thrown into despair by the revelation. There would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Tears would flow. Do you want that on your conscience, Maria? Well, do you?"

Hernandez made a zipping gesture at her mouth. "My lips are sealed, your secret is safe. But it's with regard to your dress sense that I've come here tonight."

"Oh?"

Hernandez quickly explained about the meeting with T'Pol, and the Vulcan's confusion regarding Earth slang. As she'd anticipated, Partridge found the story hilarious.

"Oh, Maria Maria Maria, you'll be dining out on that story for years! And quick thinking too, very quick thinking. An alias to prevent my modelling activities bringing academia into disrepute. Marvellous! I'll have to remember that."

There was a moments silence, slightly awkward. To break it Hernandez said "I also wanted to thank you, for that analysis of the particle weapon they attacked us with."

Partridge's face fell. Hernandez went on, in a softer tone. "I know it can't have been easy, given your pacifism, to study a weapons system. But the suggestions you made could save lives."

"Just so you know. I've done all I'm prepared to do. I've deduced that weapon's means of operation, and suggested possible defensive strategies, but that's all. I'm not going to do anything to help replicate it. I won't."

"I understand."

The silence returned, thicker than before. Hernandez was about to make her excuses and leave when Partridge spoke.

"Now. What did you really come here for? No, don't tell me. Let me guess." She paused, then turned and went to the bathroom hatch. "It's up there." she said, gesturing, before disappearing through the hatch. A few seconds later the sound of a running tap could be heard.

Hernandez looked round, where Partridge had gestured. There were several photographs on the wall, but one immediately caught her eye. It showed Partridge, standing tall and proud, in full dress uniform. UEMA, ground forces.

No, no, that's not quite right. Hernandez leaned closer, eyes narrowing. The woman in the photo looked a lot like Partridge, but her figure, whilst impressive, was not as spectacular. On closer inspection she was older too. "Your mother?"

Brushing her teeth, Partridge leant back into view. "Ghats right. Lug a log ligh her, dohn aye?"

"Very similar. Can't quite make out the insignia. She's a light colonel?"

"Wen tha goto wah tagen--- scoose me." She broke off, gargled for several seconds, then spat. "She was when that photo was taken. She's full bird now."

Hernandez's eye was drawn to the next photo, a family portrait. Although in civilian clothing Partridge's mother maintained her erect stance, even whilst holding a baby. Next to her stood a little man in a natty suit and a pork pie hat.

"Mother's family have been in the military practically forever. Aunts, uncles, grandparents...whenever there's a family get together there's an awful lot of uniforms present."

Hernandez asked "And your father?"

"Dad's a second hand car salesman from the East End. Bit of an unusual match, but that's love for you."

"I'm guessing you get on better with your father." Hernandez said. On seeing Partridges quizzical expression she added "You refer to him as 'Dad', and her as 'Mother'. That suggests you are less formal with him."

Partridge nodded. "Well spotted. Yeah, it's fair to say that Mother and I have our differences. She really had her heart set on me continuing the family tradition. Never mind that I've got a brother and sister already in the military."

"So why didn't you? Contrary to popular opinion, smart people are allowed to join up, you know."

"But would they want to?" Partridge asked with a wry smile. "At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, I'm clever. Really clever. I knew my ABC's before I could walk without falling over, and had basic maths by the time most kids have worked out what their favourite toy is. At the age of four I was taken into the institute."

She paused. "Sorry, that wasn't nearly dramatic enough. At the age of four, I was taken into 'The Institute'. Durn durn Durn!!!"

She took a picture off the wall and handed it to Hernandez. It showed a dozen or so kids, ranging from toddlers to teenagers, seated on benches in what looked like a school hall. There were a few adults present, some in lab coats, others suits, all with the look of academia about them. Looking at their faces Hernandez found something familiar about one of them, but couldn't quite place it. Partridge herself, recognisable despite her age, was on the front bench, half turned as if whispering to the boy next to her.

"What do you mean, taken? You were abducted or something?"

"Goodness me no. It's not that dramatic. No. The Institute was a privately funded project to take gifted children and give them the best start in life. The intent was to build a cadre of geniuses to ensure Britain's future prosperity. Those, such as myself, who showed potential were recruited, and given an education specially developed for our individual needs. Experts hired from around the world monitored our progress. Plus, we got to live in a castle in Scotland, which is where the Institute was located. That was fun."

Hernandez asked "And your parents were OK with this?"

"Well, Mother was, certainly. Despite my jokes to the contrary I do know that a bit of brains is useful to the military. She thought that an officer who knew practically everything before even entering Sandhurst could only be an asset. Now as it happens I studied maths and science almost exclusively, but there were military courses available. She hoped I'd go for those."

"And your father? What did he think?"

Partridge said "Ah, he wasn't too happy. Kept saying that he'd 'miss his little princess'. But, truth be told, I was rather a handful at home. I kept taking things apart, to see how they'd work."

"Let me guess, when you put them back together again, they worked even better than before, right?"

"Sometimes, yes. More often than not once I knew how it worked, I got bored and didn't bother putting it back together. So that, and my incessant questioning, about everything, finally convinced him I'd benefit from the Institutes' enhanced teaching capabilities."

Hernandez handed the picture back. "So what happened?"

Partridge looked sad. "After a couple of years the money ran out. The team dispersed, and all us little geniuses went our separate ways. Into 'normal' schools." There was a trace of bitterness as she said those last words. She put the picture back. "I ended up in Mother's old school. Another boarding school. Didn't really fit in though. They all thought I was snotty and arrogant. I can see their point. When you're telling people ten years older than yourself that you've already got an A+ on the exam they're about to sit, and they shouldn't worry because it's easy, yeah, I guess snotty and arrogant is how you come across.
"I tried to fit in. I really did. Joined a few extra-curricular clubs, the ones Mother excelled at. I gave up anything to do with horses instantly. Those things scare me. But...."

She opened up the glass fronted cabinet and took out a couple of trophies. One caught on the chain of an old fashioned pocket watch, almost dragging it out. She casually slid it back in the cabinet, and showed the trophies to Hernandez. One was a first prize for fencing, the other a third for rifle shooting.

"That explains your familiarity with rifles." Hernandez said, thinking back to the ease with which she'd handled the Em-414 down in sickbay.

Partridge was staring off into space. "There was a shooting contest, a little competition with a nearby boys school. Not rifles, shotguns. Shooting clay pigeons. We were doing well. We won, in the end. During my turn, as the clays went up, a bird, a sparrow I think, went across my line of fire. I fired. I killed it. When I realized what I'd done, I was heartbroken, and put the gun down in disgust. Sadly it had been my last shot so this dramatic action went unnoticed. Since then I've handled guns, I've posed with them for calender shoots, hell, I've even played first person shooters. But I've not fired one since then, not even target practice. That's the only lesson I really learned in Mother's school. Guns kill. Guns kill."

Hernandez felt uncomfortable. She cleared her throat. "Sadly, accidents do occur. But what---"

"Not an accident." Partridge interrupted. "That's what upset me so. I wanted to kill that bird. Wanted to feel the power of life and death. And learnt, when you pull a trigger, that you only have the power of death, not of life. There's been studies going back to the twentieth century, that show that the greater exposure to firearms, the greater a persons inclination towards violent behaviour."

She broke off, smiled sadly. "Damn. Sorry Maria, I didn't mean to lecture you. Can I say, for the record, that yes I recognize that there may be circumstances in which the use of guns is justified. And that there are people, like yourself, and Lieutenant Reed and his people, and even my Mother, who I think can be trusted with firearms. But I decided there and then that I would not use them. Nor would I do anything to develop or propagate them. And I certainly wasn't going into the military, even in a non combatant role."

Hernandez stood silent as Partridge returned the trophies to the cabinet, deep in thought. Eventually she spoke. "I've killed. In combat, I've killed intelligent beings. I've been lucky in a way. It's all been ship to ship. I've never seen the enemies face, at the time. Though once I saw the corpse of an Axanar, recovered from the wreckage of his craft. That brought it home to me. So I pray to God for forgiveness, repent my sins at Confession, but I still feel it. A burden on my soul. Maybe you made the right choice."

"But if you were like me, who'd have saved the Ithenites when they were attacked by the Neptune?"

"There is that." Hernandez mused.

Partridge suddenly shook herself. "C'mon, this is getting maudlin. Tomorrow will be busy, we both need to get up early. Scoot! You can hear the details about the rest of my fascinating and fabulous life some other time. Goodnight Maria!"

Hernandez paused as she went through the hatch. "Goodnight....Polly." she said.
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Old December 22 2009, 10:43 AM   #207
Duncan MacLeod
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Re: Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

Very nice character building scene. I take it this is the beginning of Maria and Polly's friendship?
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Old December 28 2009, 03:11 PM   #208
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Re: Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

Once again I must apologise for not updating. It's been a bit hectic. What with work and everything I probably won't be able to write anything till the new year. Sorry.
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Old December 28 2009, 06:50 PM   #209
Duncan MacLeod
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Re: Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

We understand. Real life has an annoying habit of interfering where it's not wanted. As long as you haven't abandoned the story; like some others I could name ... <cough> ... Captain Kirk and HMS Truculent ... <cough> ... we can wait.
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Old December 28 2009, 07:39 PM   #210
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Oh I've no intention of abandoning this. Barring accidents, I'll see this through. Hey, I want to know how it ends!
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