Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by CeJay, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Well it's good to see the Captain has some people on-board the ship she can rely upon! Everyone has so much emotional baggage It'll take a miracle to get them to work together.

    Well written as usual, with a sense of real character and back story. Good stuff.
     
  2. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Agamemnon, 2372


    During his sixteen year Starfleet career Arden Texx had come across a great many fellow officers who had cared little for his relaxed outlook on life and duty. In fact many had doubted that his attitude would serve him well and that he would ever achieve much of anything in his career, that he would even make it past lieutenant someday.

    What these people failed to realize however was that regardless of his seemingly laid back attitude, Texx took his duty very seriously. What they didn’t know was that while he was out having fun during the day, joking around and seemingly letting nothing bother him on the outside, he worked twice as hard during the night, studying for tests and reading up on much more than the required texts.

    It was a work ethic he had inherited from a large Bolian family in which very little was disallowed or off limits as long as you studied hard and brought home good grades.

    He had put his doubters in their place when he had made Lieutenant Commander and was assigned as Agememnon’s first officer at just 34, knowing full well that the brass at Starfleet Command tended to look at an officer’s record and accomplishments and care a lot less about their personality.

    “So let me get this straight,” said Texx, casually leaning against a bridge aft-station as he watched First Lieutenant Beatiar sh’Fane working at tactical. “In order to get one over on our prickly chief of security you have pulled strings behind his back to switch gamma shift with the duty officer so you can brush up on your tactical operations skills.”

    The Andorian shot the man a displeased look. “I am not attempting to ‘get-one-over’ on anybody,” she said sharply. “It is part of my mission on this ship to familiarize myself with all tactical and security systems in case my team or I are required to assist during an emergency.”

    “Right,” he said and then stepped up to the tactical station and next to her. “It just so happens that Lure isn’t aware that you are playing at his station tonight.”

    She took a deep breath. “Marines don’t play, sir.”

    “They just take over somebody else’s station without permission.”

    Sh’Fane took a step back from the console and stood at attention. “I wasn’t aware I required permission, sir. If you wish me to cease my efforts I will do so at once.”

    “Whoa, easy there, Beat. Didn’t mean to stop your efforts.”

    “Lieutenant.”

    “Beg your pardon?”

    She gave him a sidelong glance. “I would prefer if you addressed me as Lieutenant. Or First Lieutenant if you wish to be precise.”

    “I kinda like Be-a-tiar, it’s a really pretty name,” he said with a smirk.

    She kept those intense emerald-colored eyes zeroed in him but didn’t move a muscle.

    Texx raised his arms in surrender. “Lieutenant it is then. Please,” he said and pointed at the tactical station. “Don’t let me stop you.”

    She promptly stepped back up to the console and continued to work on it.

    “And I can assume that you know what you’re doing there, right?”

    The Marine responded without looking up. “I had rudimentary training in starship tactical operations at Marines Command Academy on Andor. However if you have concerns about my abilities, Ensign Goodfeather is available to take over at a moment’s notice.”

    Texx looked around to notice the young tactical officer standing close by. Otherwise there were only two other officers on the bridge, manning operations and the helm respectively. Not at all unusual during the graveyard shift.

    “I see. And I take it that the fact that you decided to come up here and dabble in Mister Mer’iab’s domain has little to do with your ongoing feud with our security chief.”

    At that she did look up. “Marines do not feud, sir.”

    “Right. Other than in combat, perhaps?”

    “We engage in combat in order to achieve an overall objective as outlined by our commanding officers. It has nothing to do with feuding,” she said before returning her attention to the tactical station in an attempt to discourage further conversation on the subject or any other for that matter.

    It was a hopeless effort. “I stand corrected,” he said. “Marines do everything on purpose, properly and without fail. Semper Fi and all that.”

    “That is correct, sir.”

    He smirked at that. “I find that fascinating.”

    Sh’Fane suppressed a sigh but wasn’t quite able to keep a frown off her face.

    Texx pretended not to notice. “I’d love to learn more about Marines. I’ve always found the whole concept interesting. Perhaps we could discuss it further at some point. Like, I don’t know, perhaps over dinner?”

    “Marines do not –“

    “Have dinner? I find that hard to believe,” he interrupted. “You have to eat sometime.”

    She looked up at him. “Sir, am I right in assuming that you are attempting to fraternize with me, possibly suggesting some sort of romantic episode?”

    Texx grin widened. “I usually start with dinner and then see where it leads.”

    “With all due respect, sir, I find this highly inappropriate behavior.”

    “No, that comes later.”

    The look on the Marine’s face was cold as stone, her eyes practically drilling themselves through the Bolian first officer. Texx had no doubt that this death stare was meant to intimidate those poor souls under her command who had failed to perform to her expectations. It didn’t quite work on him though.

    “Cross a line?” he asked innocently.

    She nodded in response.

    “I apologize, Lieutenant,” Texx said, sounding surprisingly formal this time.

    “I’m willing to overlook it, sir, if you do not bring it up again,” she said and went back to her station.

    If she had been holding out hope that Texx would finally drop the entire conversation and move on, she was to be disappointed once more.

    “I have to say though,” he said, not looking at anyone as he spoke. “You are a little bit stiff, aren’t you? Even for a Marine, I mean,” he added and the turned to look at her again. “I say this because my sister is in the Marines and she can be a real riot if she wants to be. Cuts loose like the best of them.”

    Sh’Fane rolled her eyes. “Your sisters’ behavior is her concern.”

    “I’m just saying that –“

    The tactical board peeped urgently, startling both sh’Fane and Texx.

    “What is it?” the first officer asked.

    The Andorian looked puzzled herself as she worked the station with little success. “I am not certain, sir. Something just happened and it locked me out of the system. Then this symbol popped up.”

    He looked over her shoulder to see the blue character on the tactical board which resembled a broken up O with sharp edges turned outwards. “That’s an old Earth letter, I believe.”

    “It’s not just the tactical station, either.”

    Texx looked up and realized she was right. The symbol was now showing on a number of stations all over the bridge.

    The gamma shift helmsman had turned from his station with puzzlement and looked at the first officer. “Sir, we’ve dropped out of warp. I cannot explain why.”

    “What’s happening here?” Sh’Fane asked but not addressing anyone in particular.

    “I take it this wasn’t covered at Marines Command School?”

    Sh’Fane shook hear head.

    “It didn’t come up at the Academy either,” he said. “Unless I was sick that day,” he added and then tried to enter a few commands into the tactical station himself with little success. “ If I had to guess, I’d say the ship is trying to tell us something.”

    “Tell us what, sir?”

    Texx shrugged. “Helm, can you override?”

    The crewmember turned back to his station. “I have access to basic ship systems but not much more. Warp drive and impulse is locked down.”

    “Bridge to engineering,” said Texx.

    “This is Ensign Saarik, please go ahead bridge,” the voice of a female Vulcan officer responded promptly.

    “This is Texx speaking. Ah, we’ve got a little bit of a problem up here with our instruments. Anything out of the ordinary down there with you guys?”

    “All systems are operating within required parameters, sir. We have registered an unscheduled warp shut down command from the bridge approximately twenty-two seconds ago.”

    Texx aimed a quick look at the helmsman who immediately shook his head, making it clear that he had entered no such command.

    “How about your screens?” he asked.

    There was a momentary delay in the young woman’s response and Texx had a good idea why.

    “Sir, could you be more specific?”

    “You seen any out of place lettering of any kind? Odd shapes perhaps?”

    “The computer screens appear to be operating normally, sir. If you wish I can carry out a visual inspection of every monitor within main engineering. However a level four diagnostic should be more efficient,” she said, doing a decent job of keeping any irritation out of her carefully modulated voice.

    “Go ahead and run that diagnostic, Ensign. Bridge out.”

    “Just us then,” said sh’Fane.

    He nodded. “It would appear that way.”

    The turbolift doors opened to allow Amaya Donners to enter. She clearly had gotten out of bed in a hurry, wearing her uniform pants with only a gray tank top. Her long dark and curly hair had only received the most cursory treatment and her eyes still looked tired.

    “Captain on the bridge,” sh’Fane barked and standing at immediate attention, causing both Donners and Texx to flinch noticeably.

    Donners immediately shot the Marine an annoyed look. “Way too early for that,” she said. “And let me be clear right out of the gate, Lieutenant. Please, just don’t do that ever again.”

    She nodded sharply and relaxed her posture.

    Texx turned to Donners with a smirk on his face. “Morning, Cap. As you can see, we’ve got a bit of a mystery here. Didn’t mean to call you up just yet. How did you hear?”

    “Computer woke me,” she said and then looked around the bridge, taking note of the same symbols she had seen in her quarters after being urgently woken by an automated message.

    “Any idea what this is?” he asked.

    “Last letter of the Greek alphabet,” she said. “Omega.”

    “Some sort of design flaw?” asked sh’Fane.

    She shook her head. “No, something else,” she said and stepped up to the tactical station and entered her command code. The computer immediately released the console again and unlocked all the other bridge stations as well. The Omega symbols disappeared to be replaced once more by the default screen output.

    “Well that’s a neat trick,” Texx said. “What’s this about?”

    “I honestly haven’t got a clue,” she said just before the tactical board beeped again, this time with the telltale sound of an incoming message.

    Sh’Fane quickly attended to it. “Ma’am, we’re being hailed by Deep Space Five on a high priority and secure channel. Admiral Glover. For your eyes only.”

    “Looks like you’re about to get some answers,” said Texx.

    Donners nodded. “Pipe it through to my ready room.”

    Moments latter Agamemnon’s newly appointed captain sat behind her desk, looking at the surprisingly grim visage of her former commanding officer of four years.

    Perhaps his mood wasn’t entirely surprising considering that he looked about as tired as she did and Maya was certain that he had been roused as unceremoniously as she had a few minutes earlier.

    “Admiral,” she said.

    “Maya, I’m sorry to have to kick you out of bed like this but we have a situation that requires your immediate attention,” he said with little preamble.

    “I’m going out on a limb here and assume this is related to the Omega symbols popping up all over my bridge,” she said with a little smirk.

    It helped lighten the mood and Glover’s serious visage cracked slightly. “Excellent guess, Captain,” he said and then uttered a heavy sigh. “This is not something I would have hoped to happen to you on your first week on the job but sadly we don’t always get to choose our assignments.”

    “Comes with the territory.”

    He nodded. “Agamemnon’s sensors have detected the Omega Molecule in close proximity to your vessel, automatically initiating the Omega Directive which now supersedes all other orders.”

    The blank look on Donners’ face showed that she had little idea what the admiral was talking about.

    “I know, I know,” he said. “There hasn’t been enough time yet to fully brief you on this so let me give you the rundown. I’m also transmitting to you everything you need to know about Omega for you to review afterwards. In a nutshell, the Omega Molecule is one of Starfleet’s dirty little secrets that we don’t want anybody else to know about because, quite frankly, the powers that be are too scared of what could happen if its existence would become public knowledge.”

    Maya frowned. “We are suppressing scientific knowledge?” she asked. “Does the Council know about this?”

    “Every last member? I sincerely doubt that. But the directive itself has been signed off at the highest levels of the administration and Starfleet Command. Maya, I’m not going to discuss with you the social or political implications of this directive because trust me, I have had this conversation more times than I would care for and it usually goes nowhere. Starfleet has zero tolerance when it comes to Omega. They’ll tell you to follow the orders and shut up or kiss your Starfleet career goodbye,” he said. “I’m paraphrasing.”

    She took a deep breath, not quite having expected something like this so soon in her captaincy. Maya had never had any illusions that there weren’t a great number of things she had never been privy to before joining the exclusive club of starship command but this sounded radical even to her ears.

    “OK, fair enough. I’m going to be a good captain and not challenge the status quo,” she said. “Now, mind telling me what Omega is and what this directive is all about?”

    “In short, the Omega Molecule is the most powerful substance known to exist. I’m not going to bore you with the details, you can read up on it in your own time. Sufficient to say that it is also extremely unstable and in all likelihood will trigger a catastrophe of galactic proportions if not immediately contained,” he said grimly.

    “The end of the universe as we know it?” she said with a smirk.

    Glover was not amused and she quickly wiped that grin off her face.

    “That bad, huh?”

    “Worse,” he said. “The Omega Molecule could wipe-out subspace over the entire quadrant and beyond and do untold damage to regular space just as a side-effect. Every attempt to synthesize the molecule and contain it have failed. Needless to say, if anyone is trying to do so again, we need to shut them down now.”

    Amaya didn’t look entirely convinced even as she still tried to grasp the awesome destructive power of this molecule which hitherto she had never even heard of before.

    “I appreciate that this is a lot for you to take in but as you may have realized, time is not something we have in great abundance. Starfleet Command has already been made aware of this situation and the Volta, – a specialist vessel crewed with a team trained to handle an Omega Molecule detection – is being sent out as we speak to deal with this,” he said and looked at a padd which he kept next to his computer. “But judging from Agamemnon’s sensor reports, you are the closest ship to the source of these readings. I’ve already diverted Cuffe to assist you but Terrence won’t get there for another forty-eight hours or so. I need you to set course to the Iota Crucis system at maximum warp and contain the situation to the best of your abilities until reinforcements arrive.”

    “And what exactly does contain the situation mean?”

    “It means that you are authorized to use whatever means necessary to locate and destroy anything that resembles the Omega Molecule or could be used to synthesize it. Let me be absolutely clear on this, Maya. During the course of this mission, the Omega Directive supersedes every other directive in the book. Without exception.”

    “Jesus Christ, Sam.”

    He nodded, letting her verbal faux pas slide. “As I said, Starfleet is not kidding around with this. And again, I’m sorry it had to be you.”

    Maya took another deep breath, trying to process everything she had learned so far. “Alright,” she finally said. “I take it the information you’re sending me contains everything my crew and I need to know on how to destroy these molecules.”

    “Yes,” he said. “But you cannot share any of this with anyone else including members of your crew. This is strictly captains-only. No one below your position is authorized to be briefed on Omega.”

    “You cannot be serious,” she said. “How do you expect me to handle this if I cannot bring my crew on board?”

    Samson Glover’s facial expression was clearly pained. “I know this isn’t going to be easy but all I can tell you is that the Omega Directive is very clear on this. Whatever you do, you cannot talk to your crew about any of this. I’m sorry. You will have to find a way to handle this by yourself and have your people support you without knowing the why or the what. I’d be lying if I said that this was going to be easy, especially with a crew you haven’t even had a chance to get to know properly as of yet but there isn’t any other choice.”

    She was speechless.

    “Just do what you can until Terrence gets there. Then you can team up and tackle this together. Please be careful and good luck. Glover out.”

    And with that his face disappeared from the screen, leaving Amaya Donners to stare at a blank computer monitor.

    She let her glance wander around the still mostly empty and undecorated ready room, realizing that she had never felt this alone in her entire life.
     
  3. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Oh, yes... absolutely nothing could go wrong with this plan! :lol: Welcome to your first week in command of a starship. By the way, here's an enormous crisis the likes of which we'd hoped you'd never have to face in your entire career. Try not to screw the pooch on this while you're attempting to save the galaxy from a veritable apocalypse.
     
  4. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    BrotherBenny
    You make it sound so easy :rolleyes:

    Seriously, I enjoyed that particular episode of Voyager, and hoped that someone would tackle that demon again. Of course it would have to be Donners in her first week on the job, with an untested crew.
     
  5. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Up until now what we've been getting is mostly scene setting, albeit interesting, very well written scene setting. But now things are beginning to set off and I don't think it's going to be the smoothest of rides for our new captain and her somewhat divisive crew.

    One quibble (sorry). The Agamemnon is apparently the first ship to detect the Omega particle, is certainly the closest to it. But within a matter of minutes, and before contacting Maya, Admiral Glover has diverted another ship to help out. It's possible, it just feels a bit rushed to me.

    That aside, the usual high quality prose and characterisation.
     
  6. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Yeah, no pressure, right? :lol:

    I too thought there was plenty more that could be told about Omega. The implications both of the molecule as well as of the related super-directive are quite staggering.

    Quibbles are great. I like quibbles.

    My view would be that Starfleet takes the Omega Molecule extremely seriously as Adm. Glover explained. Agamemnon is not the first ship to come across Omega (more about that soon) and Starfleet has since instituted a very clear protocol on how to handle something that could potentially destroy society as we know it.

    Within moments of any Starfleet vessel's sensors detecting the molecule, Starfleet automatically initiates this protocol which not only sends an immediate message to the highest ranking officer in the sector (Glover) but also activates a specialist response vessel (Volta). I think of the whole thing like a 911 call if somebody reports a fire. Albeit this is the 24th century so it's a lot faster.

    Glover's first reaction of course is that the nearest vessel is captained by a rookie captain and an untested crew so his very first order is to get the next closest starship (Cuffe) diverted. Then he makes that dreaded call to Donners. Should only take a couple of minutes.


    Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.
     
  7. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Yeah, that makes sense. I'd been assuming Glover had contacted the Cuffe directly and had a similar talk with it's captain before talking to Maya. But if it had been a quick 'text' message ('Divert to Iota Crucis system at maximum warp. Briefing to follow.') then it's certainly plausible.

    And if the Volta is a specialist response vessel then it could be automatically informed as soon as the particle was directed. Glover wouldn't even need to give orders. Though if he's wise, he'd double check to ensure the message was passed along.
     
  8. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    I also really liked the Voyager episode involving Omega. What I'm looking forward to is how it 'should' be handled when one has the full resources of Starfleet.

    I'm also wondering who in the neighborhood has the ability to produce Omega in the first place.
     
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Lexington, 2267


    Lieutenant Commander Talana Zha’Thara stepped onto the bridge and headed straight for her science station only to find it occupied not by the science duty officer but by Doctor Bendes Ketteract who was so engrossed with the readings he was studying, he didn’t notice the blue-clad Andorian step up to him.

    “Doctor,” she said respectfully. For somebody paying attention it would not have been difficult to read the science officer's tone, subtly asking for the civilian to vacate her seat.

    The molecular physicist was not paying any attention at all.

    Kuznetsov however noticed and with an annoyed grunt began to make his way over to the science console, undoubtedly already thinking of a few choice words for the troublesome scientist.

    But the Andorian raised a hand in his direction, telling him to stay put and let her deal with this. Reluctantly the first officer stopped.

    She placed one hand on the back of the chair and then leaned forward until her head was just inches from his. “What have you found?”

    “It’s amazing, it truly is. There is no doubt that we are heading into the right direction, I’m picking up more data by the minute. But most of it doesn’t make much sense to our sensors. Whatever powers we are looking at here, we haven’t even invented a scale to measure it yet. The implications are simply stunning.”

    Talana nodded along but she doubted that he had noticed, in fact he may not even have realized who had posed the question, considering how much he was focused on the screens. She of course couldn’t deny her own scientific curiosity. She understood perfectly well that this wasn’t mere hyperbole, whatever they had stumbled upon here was extremely significant, perhaps even the most significant discovery she had ever been party to.

    “Would you mind letting me have a look?” she said, allowing just a tiny hint of steel in her voice.

    He ignored her completely. “I have to see this – whatever this is – up close. God, this is so much more than I ever could have expected.”

    She rolled her eyes. He was beginning to push it.

    “Doctor,” she said, this time forcefully enough to tear him from his reverie and turn to see her for the first time. “When I was a child,” she said much more softly now, “I had to share all my toys with my brothers and sisters.”

    He looked at her entirely dumbfounded, the relevance of this apparent non sequitur not registering with him at all. “Beg your pardon?”

    She flashed him a smile. “I am not a child anymore, Doctor, and I don’t share my toys.”

    It took another few seconds for the other shoe to drop. “Right,” he said. “Well, I’m almost finished besides I’m not certain that you would fully appreciate what I have discovered here.”

    The insult appeared to have been unintended and more a result of his professional arrogance instead of outright malice or spite and she didn’t let it bother her. “I think I will be the judge of that, Doctor. Now, pretty please, get out of my chair.”

    This time there had been enough unveiled menace in her tone to remind Ketteract that for all her beauty and elegance, this woman came from a race reputed to produce the greatest warriors in the Federation. And judging by the contrite expression on his face, he probably didn’t want to find out just how well deserved that reputation really was.

    “Of course,” he said and stood but stopping short from offering an actual apology. Instead he remained glued to the spot to be able to look over the Andorian’s shoulders after she had reclaimed her station.

    The first officer couldn’t help but utter an amused laugh which it turned out didn’t sound much different to his earlier grunt.

    “Sir, we are approaching the Iota Crucis system,” said Lawford from navigation.

    Bob Wesley leaned forward a little further almost as if he could already see their destination in the distance. “Aliz, slow to impulse power.”

    The Hungarian-born helmswoman acknowledged. “Slowing to impulse, aye sir,” she said and found the bright red button which would shut down their faster-than-light engines.

    Wesley swiveled towards Talana. “Commander, what do we know about Iota Crucis.”

    The science officer had that information already up on the screen. “Eight planets and twelve dwarf planets orbiting a class-three orange giant. Only one planet, Iota Crucis IV, can support live. But barely, it’s borderline class-L. However of its six moons at least three have habitable biospheres. Last Federation survey dated 2263 had this system uninhabited except for indigenous flora and fauna on Iota Crucis IV and its moons.”

    The last statement caught the first officer interest. “Uninhabited? So are we looking for a natural phenomenon?”

    Ketteract was quick to shake his head. “I severely doubt that what we have experienced was natural in origin.”

    “Uh, Commodore, I hate to contradict Commander Zha’Thara’s report but I’m definitely picking up signs of intelligent life within the system, judging by the radio signals I’m picking up,” said Cilla Oudekirk from communications, holding her silver ear piece in an attempt to identify what she was hearing.

    “Could be Romulans,” warned Kuznetsov and glanced at the captain who judging by his serious expression agreed with him. He gave him a nod.

    The Russian knew what to do. “Oudekirk, sound Red Alert and General Quarters. All hands to battle stations. Lawrence, shields to full power. Have phaser control ready and on stand-by.

    And immediately the bridge erupted into a well-practiced flurry of activity. Various officers jumping from their chairs and relaying orders to other parts of the ship, while the slightly accented voice of Cilla Oudekirk was channeled through every speaker on Lexington, prompting the crew to man their stations, batten down the hatches and prepare for battle.

    Within a few seconds the bridge settled down again, the crew now in position and anxiously awaiting a potential confrontation with an enemy. The red alert klaxons silently flashed like an excited heartbeat as silence reigned on the bridge once more.

    It was Lawrence who broke it first. “Reading starship activity close to the fourth planet, sir.”

    The Bear moved to the Englishman’s left. His sensor hood had popped up from his console and he was peering into it. “Give me a reading, Mister. Romulans?”

    “I’m … not certain,” he said with equal part frustration and annoyance, knowing full well that his arduous first officer wouldn’t be satisfied with such a report. “But there are a lot of them. If I’m reading this right, well over a hundred ships.”

    Oudekirk actually gasped at that revelation. Her first thought that they had wandered right into a Romulan trap.

    “Could this be the an invasion?” asked Bathory, unable to keep the fear out of her own voice and then turned to look at the commodore behind her.

    His unfazed demeanor gave her and the rest of the crew comfort. But clearly he needed answers himself as he once more turned his captain’s seat to look towards his science officer. “Commander, what do you make of those ships?”

    Talana was enough of a veteran to not appear fazed by potentially finding herself facing a Romulan armada. Instead she meticulously studied her sensor readings. “If those are Romulan ships, they are of a design we’ve never encountered before. And they’re small. Very small. Maybe ten meters long each.”

    “Some sort of missiles then?” the first officer said.

    The Andorian shook her head. “I’m reading unknown life signs. Unless they are on a suicide mission I don’t think we are looking at projectiles here.”

    “Put them onscreen,” Wesley said and turned back to face the viewer. “Maximum magnification.”

    At first it looked like a cloud of densely packed space debris, swirling in an entirely random pattern. But after his eyes had adjusted, it became more and more obvious that there was clear logic to the movements of the flat, small crafts. And soon enough their dance around each other became almost hypnotic.

    “Reminds me of a swarm of bees,” said Bathory.

    It wasn’t a bad analogy as the tiny ships actually looked black and bright yellow under the bright sunlight from the Iota Crucis star.

    And they all suddenly stopped in their tracks. It startled Lexington’s bridge crew so much that it took them a second to register that they had in fact turned towards them and set out on an intercept course, quickly beginning to swarm again but without changing their general direction.

    “They’ve seen us,” said Lawrence.

    “Da,” the Russian said. “Stand by weapons.”

    But Wesley wasn’t quite ready for the sword yet. “Lieutenant, open hailing frequencies.”

    “Frequencies open, sir.”

    “Attention unknown crafts. This is Commodore Robert Wesley of the United Federation of Planets on board the starship Lexington. We have come for the purpose of scientific study and exploration and we have no hostile intentions towards you. Please respond if you are able,” he said then waited a moment before looking at his communications officer.

    She shook her head. There was no response.

    “Any chance they didn’t get that?” asked the first officer.

    “It went out on all frequencies and they appear to have means to pick-up subspace radio. They got the message but they’re either unable or unwilling to respond,” she said.

    “Here they come,” said Aliz Bathory.

    The ship shuddered as it was struck by weapon’s fire. But instead of being fired upon from a distance, the tiny crafts practically engulfed the entire ship, turning the view screen into a swirling mass of movement.

    “Shields are holding,” said Kuznetsov who had moved to the damage control station. “They are hitting us with a low-yield mass driver. It’s not causing any significant damage to our shields.”

    Bathory shuddered. “Makes me feel like bugs crawling all over my skin,” she said as she kept her eyes on the screen.

    Wesley got out of his chair and stepped up to the railing opposite to Talana’s station. “Any theories on these ships, Commander.”

    “They appear to be simple, one-man crafts equipped with impulse engines and mass driver coils. No warp engines. The life signs are more difficult to identify but I doubt there is more than one person per ship.”

    “Where do they come from?”

    She turned to look at him. “Best estimate, Iota Crucis IV.”

    “Same place were the energy readings originate,” said Ketteract who hadn’t strayed more than two steps from the science console. “These ships are trying to keep us away from it.”

    “Commander, you said that this system is uninhabited. If these ships don’t have warp drive, how did they get here?”

    “I’ve been asking myself the same question, sir,” she said, clearly at a loss herself. “The only possible explanation I can think of is that they have been brought here by other means.”

    Wesley looked back at the screen as if it could provide answers. “Brought here by whom?”

    Bathory shrieked as her console exploded in sparks. The commodore was next to her in an instant, pulling her away from the burning station. A crewman with a fire extinguisher arrived a few seconds later to put out the flames.

    The young woman looked thankfully at Wesley.

    “Shield generator two-four overloaded, causing an energy surge,” explained Kuznetsov from damage control.

    “We’re being picked to pieces here,” said the commodore.

    “Shoot them out of the damn sky then,” said Ketteract but then quickly held his tongue when he noticed Kuznetsov’s scowl meant for him.

    “Even if we tried,” said Lawrence, “there are far too many of them and they are too fast for our phasers. We may take a few down with a couple of lucky shots but that’s the best we can hope for."

    Wesley helped the helmswoman back into her chair before taking his own seat. He seemed to consider his options for a moment. “Back us off, ensign, engines full reverse.”

    “What?” Ketteract, couldn’t believe it. “We’re retreating?”

    “You said it yourself, Doctor,” said Bob Wesley. “They are trying to keep us from their planet. Let’s put that theory to the test.”

    “Engines at full reverse.”

    True enough after a few more minutes of constant bombardment, their ride smoothed out considerably and the swarm seemed to disengage, heading back towards the fourth planet.

    “You were right,” said Lawford. “They are defending Iota Crucis IV.”

    “Aliz, take us within maximum sensor range and then hold our position,” said Wesley and then began to thoughtfully massage his chin.

    After a couple more minutes Bathory confirmed their position and brought the ship to a full stop.

    Ketteract didn’t seem to appreciate the quietness that had once again befallen the bridge. “Now what? We can’t just sit here and do nothing. Those energy readings are coming from that planet.”

    “But it looks as if the natives don’t want us playing in their backyard,” said Lawford.

    “What natives?” the scientist shot back. “You heard the report. This system is supposed to be uninhabited. These … things don’t even belong here. Let’s find a way to neutralize them and get to that planet. We don’t have the time to just sit here and do nothing.”

    But if Wesley shared the same urgency as Ketteract he did a masterful job at hiding it. Instead he turned his chair very slowly until he came face to face with the exasperated scientist. And even then he didn’t speak straight away, only infuriating the man further.

    Then he stood and headed for the red-painted turbolift doors. “Senior staff to the briefing room in ten minutes. Mister Lawford, you have the conn.”
     
  10. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Well, that's unexpected. Lots of mystery surrounding those ships.
     
  11. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    I've an idea regarding the source of the ships. But I'll not say it here, I don't want to spoil things if I'm right, or look a fool if I'm wrong!

    Well written, convincing, and with some nice use of metaphor ('But Wesley wasn’t quite ready for the sword yet').
     
  12. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Good idea on the part of Wesley to back off and analyze the larger picture here. No sense in getting your ship torn up before you’re even sure what it is you’re getting into.

    Ketteract is being his typically annoying self, and seems highly proficient at making already tense or dangerous situations infinitely worse.

    I don’t begrudge Wesley yanking Ketteract’s chain one whit… the insufferable ass surely has it coming. :klingon:
     
  13. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Agamemnon, 2372



    The cup of herbal tea had gone untouched as it sat on the coffee table in front of an obviously distracted Amaya Donners, seemingly too pre-occupied with her own thoughts as she stared blankly into empty space.

    “You want to tell me what’s on your mind?” Vej asked.

    She turned to look at the black-haired Ullian telepath as if she had only just realized that he was there.

    “You know, traditionally that’s how this works,” he said as she still refused to talk. “You tell me about the things that have you worried and I offer my humble and all-too-often ignored advice. After four years of this, I would have thought you understood that process.”

    Maya aimed a displeased frown at the counselor.

    “Unless you would rather have me run this session telepathically,” he added.

    “Don’t you dare.”

    He quickly raised his hands defensively. “Just kidding.”

    Amaya knew that Ullians had a strict code when it came to using their amazing telepathic skills with non-telepaths. They took it as seriously as a Klingon took his honor or a Ferengi is latinum and while it may have greatly restricted his abilities to know what people were thinking at any given time, she had often found that Vej had unique insights into people’s thoughts simply by virtue of having a long and dedicated career in psychology. And of course it helped that as a telepath he had hands-on experience at probing a person’s minds even if it had only been those who had given their implicit approval.

    “But you don’t need telepathic skills to know that you are more preoccupied than usual with your own thoughts. Something specific, I’d say. Maybe something that has come up recently.”

    She focused on his hazel colored eyes. “And you are sure you’re not reading my mind?”

    “If I were reading your mind, you would know.”

    She nodded slowly. He had communicated with her in that manner previously and for no other reason as to sate her own curiosity. And it was true that an Ullian mind probe was usually invasive enough to be noticed. It wasn’t as subtle as Betazoid empathy and while not exactly painful either, it made it difficult for Ullians to read somebody’s mind secretly.

    “So, do you want to talk about it or shall we just spend the next hour in silence? That too can be therapeutic, I’ve been told.”

    Maya uttered a small sigh. “I can’t really talk about it.”

    “Classified?”

    “Yeah.”

    He nodded. “I can understand that. But you realize of course that anything we discuss here stays strictly between us, right?”

    Maya had no doubt of Vej’s discretion both professionally and otherwise. And yet the orders surrounding the Omega Directive had been quite clear. Do not discuss Omega or the directive itself with anyone with a security clearance of level nine and below which practically meant she couldn’t talk about it with any member of her crew and definitely not to a civilian.

    She had spent the hours since getting the shocking orders from Admiral Glover reading through the classified information he had provided and she had started to understand why Starfleet had decided to shroud Omega in so much secrecy. The dangers of the molecule were entirely palpable and Starfleet was right to be afraid of the potential consequences of this information falling into the wrong hands. And yet, she hated the idea of suppressing information. It went against her core believes that any government or organization should keep knowledge away from its own people because of fear of where it may lead. It was a lesson she was now learning slowly, that sometimes reality and practicability trumped idealism. Or did they? Truth be told, she wasn’t entirely convinced yet.

    “I know,” she said after a few moments of considerations.

    “This has something to do with our new orders, doesn’t it?”

    She nodded.

    “Ok,” he said. “I don’t want you to compromise on whatever orders and directives you may have been given by Starfleet Command. That they are serious, of that I have no doubt. You have ordered Agamemnon to change course suddenly and without much explanation and now we are heading towards the Neutral Zone at maximum warp. That’s all I know. And I suppose all anyone on board besides you knows.”

    She nodded again.

    “But sometimes you can talk about things without really talking about things,” he added with a little, almost mischievous smile.

    She leaned back in her chair and considered him for a moment. “I find myself in a situation I’ve never been before. I suppose you could say that for the entirety of the past week though, right?” she said. “I’ve never been a starship captain before either. But these new orders, they are like nothing I would have expected. I understand that my job will require me to make difficult decisions and even keep secrets from my officers or my crew but this – this is different.”

    “How so?” he asked. “Without getting into specifics.”

    “I don’t know if I can do what I’ve been asked to do. And not just morally or ethically. I don’t know if it can be done practically. And I really don’t know if I can do it alone,” she said. “Ideally what I need is to talk to someone who can understand exactly what I’m going through and what these orders mean. But I’m not allowed to.”

    “A peer then?” the counselor suggested.

    “Yes. But Glover has ordered us to strict radio silence and I’m kind of the only starship captain around at the moment.”

    “You were right to say that your new role will require you to make difficult decisions and it strikes me that this would be one of them.”

    Maya shook her head and then leaned forward to take a sip of her tea. “That’s just it. There are no decisions to be made here. They’ve already been made for me. I’m just to follow orders and shut up. Quite literally.”

    “And I never believed that,” said Vej. “No matter what you’ve been told, you remain a starship captain. An individual who Starfleet has entrusted to make important life or death decisions at a moment’s notice. And you have to be free to make those decisions and have the confidence that the people who put you here will back you up on those.”

    “You’re implying I should disregard my orders?”

    “No, not at all,” he said with a quick headshake. “I’m saying that as a starship captain sometimes you will have to make decisions to the best of your abilities and entirely dependent on what you feel is going to be best for your ship, your crew, Starfleet and the Federation. And you will be the only person to be able to make them because you are the only person fully aware of all the factors on the ground. Not some politician or admiral hundreds of light-years away.”

    Maya nodded in silent agreement. She hated the idea of disregarding a direct order but what if matters were made worse because she had decided to stick to the strict letter of the law? After all, the stakes were too high and perhaps sometimes it was necessary to use your own initiative for the greater good.

    “You know Terrence once came to me with a similar conundrum,” said Vej.

    She shot him an astonished glance. “Glover?”

    He nodded.

    She smiled. “You’re telling me that you used to counsel Terrence Glover? Captain Terrence ‘I-know-it-all and never-make-a-mistake’ Glover?”

    Vej frowned at that. “Of course not. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t be telling you about it. He was simply asking for friendly advice and I was more than happy to indulge him.”

    “Even that I’m having a hard time believing.”

    “If you asked him, he’d probably deny it,” said Vej. “But when he came to me for my advice in a similar situation, I told him to try and get some inspiration from people who have done what he did. There is no better way to understand what it means to be a starship captain than to study those who have successfully risen to the challenge in the past. And you know what?” he said. “I think he took it to heart.”

    Maya thought about that for a moment. “I’ve always had a soft spot for Robert Wesley and his captaincy on the old Lexington.”

    “Then perhaps that’s a good place for you to start your search for the answers you are looking for.”


    * * *​


    “Sir, I’d like to volunteer for extra readiness drills with Chief Holly.”

    Commander Texx shot the now seemingly eager lieutenant as sidelong glance as they briskly walked together down the corridor on deck sixteen. “I don’t think so.”

    “How about joining the Marines in their daily training exercises? I could use the practice to brush up on my combat skills.”

    “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you are trying to get yourself out of this assignment,” he said with a smirk as they continued along the corridor.

    “It’s not that at all, sir,” Allenby said quickly. “I just think that my skills would be put to better use somewhere else. There are plenty of technicians on board who would probably be better suited for this task.”

    The Bolian first officer stopped in front of the doors leading to their destination and then turned towards her. “I seriously hope that you are not implying that you consider yourself above configuring the navigational deflector.”

    “Of course not,” she responded with semi-outrage.

    “Good. Because Chen and his people have their hands full finishing up the systems shakedown since we got our new orders and I need all hands on deck. The deflector has been giving us trouble since we left spacedock and seeing that we are traveling at high warp, we can’t afford for it going down now.”

    “I understand. It’s just that – “

    “And as the chief operations manager on this ship, you are more than qualified for this task while the person responsible for piloting Agamemnon will be able to assist you to ensure the navigational components are properly calibrated.”

    “About that. I don’t think I need any input from the pilot on this. As you said, I’m perfectly qualified. It may be a waste of resources to involve –“

    “I’m not late, am I?” Bobby DeSoto called out as he jogged down the corridor to meet up with Texx and Allenby.

    The lieutenant quickly shot the man an annoyed frown but kept her thoughts to herself.

    “Just in time,” said Texx and then stepped into deflector control just beyond those doors they had assembled in front.

    “Hi there,” Bobby said to Allenby with a wide grin.

    She glared at him a moment longer before following the first officer.

    “What?” he asked and then followed suit also.

    “Alright people,” said Texx once they were inside and faced the bulky equipment and the many work stations which made up the main deflector control room. “As you are both aware the navigational deflector needs to be re-aligned. Now, I appreciate that this isn’t an easy task while we’re travelling at warp nine but the captain has made it clear that we cannot afford to drop out of warp to do this. So I need you both to work together and do this as quickly and efficiently as you can,” said the first officer, looking back and forth between the two officers. “I don’t have to tell you that this is sensitive stuff and even more so while it is running under full power, so be careful and get this done right. Any questions?”

    Bobby shook his head. “Not a one. Let’s get started.”

    But Allenby looked almost pleadingly at the first officer. “Sir, I appreciate that this is an important task but can’t we reconsider who is going to –“

    “Lieutenant,” he said sternly. “You are a Starfleet officer, are you not? You’re here to follow orders not question them. Now carry on. I expect you to have this done within three hours,” he said and turned towards the exit.

    But Allenby was not yet ready to give up and quickly intercepted him before Texx had a chance to leave her alone with the young helmsman. “Sir, please. If this is some sort of punishment for going to the captain about DeSoto, there are plenty of much worse alternatives you could consider,” she said, mindfully keeping her voice low enough to keep the ensign form overhearing the conversation.

    “If this were your punishment, Lieutenant, what would make you think that you had a choice in the way it would be administered?”

    She responded with a blank look.

    “Contrary to what you may believe, Tess, I’m not trying to punish you. I need this reconfiguration done yesterday and you two happened to be available. And both Cap and I need to see that you two can work together. Now, stop complaining and get a move on,” he said and this time promptly left the room.

    “Hey Tess, where should we get started?” Bobby asked as he was looking over the computer console. “I think the problem may be with the EPS induction coil from the secondary graviton polarity source generator.”

    Allenby turned slowly to face him and aim a less than pleased look into his direction which to her disdain he failed to notice. Having apparently given up on any chance to avoid working with DeSoto, she slowly approached. “Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat, Ensign,” she said, her voice firm as steel. “You will address me as Lieutenant. Is that clear?”

    He looked up to spot the serious expression on her face. “Sir, yes, sir,” he responded with mock discipline. “Lieutenant, sir.”

    She ignored the jibe and almost pushed him aside as she reviewed the same computer station he had been studying. “We’ll have to take the secondary graviton generator offline and then replace the induction coil. There are enough redundant generators to ensure continued operation of the deflector while we do the replacement.”

    “Still tricky stuff,” said DeSoto. “I don’t know about you but I’d rather not get fried by 800,000 megawatt of raw current.”

    “Just focus on the task and do as I say and we’ll be just fine,” she said without gracing him with another look. Instead she went to work on the station. After a moment they both felt the subtle rumble of the deck plating underneath their boots as one generator powered down and two others came to life to pick up the slack. “Follow me,” she said as she headed for the hatch leading to the induction coil assembly and the deflector dish hardware.

    It was a short trip down a narrow ladder until they reached the parabolically shaped backside of the powerful navigational deflector whose main job it was to keep the ship safe from macroscopic and submicron particles while it traveled through space at faster than light speeds.

    Various conduits connected the deflector to its powerful generators as well as to the long-range sensor array.

    Allenby quickly identified the induction coil leading to the generator she had shut down to affect repairs. “I want you to monitor any residual EPS power flow while I start dismantling the coil itself.”

    “Yes, Lieutenant, sir,” he said.

    There wasn’t much room in the cramped space however and in order to get to the monitoring station he had no choice but to push himself past her.

    “Watch it,” she said as he bumped into her.

    “Apologies, Lieutenant, sir,” he said. “But this is the only way,” he added and continued pushing himself past her, only to leave her even more irritated by the unwanted contact.

    He simply shrugged it off and then attended the console.

    Allenby shot him another glare before she turned towards the coil.

    “EPS power flow to secondary conduit shows at zero. But you might want to give it a few minutes to cool down before you –“

    “Son of a bitch,” she cried out and quickly pulled back from the super-heated conduit.

    “- try and touch it,” he continued with a smirk as he watched her shake out her hand.

    “Wipe that grin of your face, Ensign,” she barked.

    He places his hand over his nose and mouth and dramatically wiped it across his lips, replacing the smile with a more serious expression. “As you command, sir.”

    “This is your fault for distracting me.”

    Bobby gave her a confused look. “My fault? What did I do?”

    “What did you do?” she shot back with a disbelieving tone in her own voice. “You’ve got to be kidding me. Where do I start? You are a hopelessly immature child. You take nothing seriously. You show no respect for the uniform or your fellow officers. You have absolutely no discipline or appreciation for the chain of command or Starfleet in general. And to make things even worse, you’ve had everything you don’t deserve handed to you on a silver platter.”

    He simply stared at her for a moment, clearly not having expected this kind of outburst.

    She paid no attention and turned back towards the coil, now that it had cooled she quickly began to dismantle the induction assembly. But she was far from done putting DeSoto in his place. “When I was in your shoes and I had just graduated the Academy I was thankful for the assignment I was given which I had earned due to hard work and dedication. Not like you. For you everything is just a game, isn’t it? A fun adventure, an opportunity to play silly pranks. Well, let me tell you something. Life isn’t all fun and games.”

    “I think Wayne was right,” he said as he monitored his station.

    “Wayne was right about what?”

    “That you are so mad with me because you secretly like me.”

    “Like you?” she said with disbelieve. “Have I not made myself clear, Ensign? I think you are a disgrace to the uniform.”

    “Yeah, I know,” he said. “And yet you have a total crush on me. Just so you know, I’m fine with that.”

    She whipped around to face him, her jaw hanging open.

    DeSoto looked up and that smirk was back. “Women have always been into me, I’ve gotten used to the DeSoto cure over the years. And if I may be so forward, Lieutenant, you are quite attractive yourself so maybe it’s not a bad fit after all.”

    “You … you may certainly be not, Ensign,” she stammered. “In fact you are way out of line.”

    But DeSoto had noticed something on his control panel. “Uh, Lieutenant, we may have a problem here with –“

    She shook her head with continued disbelieve. “The audacity to suggest that I have any kind of interest in you quite frankly is beyond arrogance. I’ve half a mind to have you put on official report for your continuously inappropriate behavior towards –“

    “Lieutenant, I really think you should step away from that conduit right now,” he said urgently.

    “And stop interrupting me when I’m addressing you, Ensign. I am going to suggest to Commander Texx –“

    “EPS surge, get down!”

    And then it finally registered with her that she was in serious danger. Her eyes grew wide as she saw the flash of an impending power surge. She jumped back but not quite in time to avoid being hit by the powerful discharge cursing through the conduit which promptly erupted with sparks and smoke.

    Allenby was pushed backwards by the force of the explosion and crashed against a nearby bulkhead which she hit with a groan before she slid down to the floor.

    “Tess,” DeSoto cried out and rushed to her side.

    He found her conscious but clearly in pain, holding her left hand which had been badly burned. “Are you alright?”

    She looked at him as he squatted down next to her. “Do I look alright?” she said through gritted teeth.

    “Can you walk? Let me help you to sickbay,” he said and tried to pull her onto her feet.

    But she quickly freed herself from his attempts. “Just stay away from me, ok? Just stay the hell away,” she said and then struggled to stand by herself.

    Bobbie watched her as she awkwardly climbed up the ladder, only being able to use one hand and then disappeared onto the deck above.
     
  14. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Good counseling session for Maya... And those two kids need to get a room and settle this grudge. :cool:
     
  15. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Agamemnon, 2372


    “Red Alert, all hands report to battle stations. The ship is now at Red Alert, all hands report to battle stations. This is a drill.”

    The crew of the Agamemnon hurried back and forth through the corridors, urgently trying to get to where they needed to be. Weapons controls, sickbay rallying point, damage control stations, main engineering, the bridge, the armory or in the case of civilians, to their quarters to be out of the way of those Starfleet officers and crewmen whose job it was to keep the ship and her crew as safe as possible.

    Only two individuals appeared to be ignoring the organized chaos which took place all around them to the steady beat of the monotonous red alert klaxon.

    Texx was looking over a padd with one eye while skillfully managing to dodge crewmembers running past him. “We’ve scheduled six more drills which should bring our total to nine before we reach our destination, with every shift having gone through at least two exercises. Readiness times have been improving steadily and I have to say I’m mightily impressed by Chief Holly. The crew really seems to respond well to his drills.”

    Maya walked at her first officer’s side, equally making her best effort to stay out of people’s way. She nodded. “I’ve given him free reign to make sure the crew is as prepared as possible for whatever we may face.”

    “He’s doing a fine job,” Texx said. “I haven’t seen this kind of dedication and hustle since the height of the Cardassian Border Wars. And the officers and crew are working together more efficiently than I can ever remember seeing on a starship.”

    The captain smiled at that. “It’s very important to me that those two get along and work hand-in-hand. On too many ships officers and ratings are kept so far apart, one could get the impression they’re separate entities all together. I wanted to make sure from the onset that on Agamemnon there is only one crew, working together to achieve one goal,” she said just before she flattened herself against the bulkhead to allow a team of Marines to jog past her.

    “That makes a lot of sense,” the Bolian said. “I remember how much my older brother, a senior NCO in Starfleet for a good twenty years, kept moaning about officers’ inherent sense of entitlement,” he added as he waited for the captain to catch up with him again.

    “How big is that family of yours?” she said when she was back at his side.

    He had a twinkle in his yes. “Oh, we’re just a regular-size Bolian family,” he said. “At last count I had twenty-three siblings.”

    Maya uttered a surprised cough before she focused on the matter at hand again. “Make sure every crew-member gets a chance to catch their breath and decent rack time before we arrive at Iota Crucis. I don’t want anyone exhausted by the time we arrive.”

    Texx made the appropriate notations on his padd.

    Once they reached a more spacious corridor segment, Maya indicated for him to follow her into a far corner and away from the harried bustle of the crew. “How is everyone taking the new orders, Ard?”

    He considered her for a moment. “Well, nobody seems to know what our new orders are exactly.”

    “Yes,” she said and then focused in on his blue eyes. “And I’m fully aware that this isn’t easy on people, especially on their very first mission right out of the gate. If it were up to me, I would brief the crew in full about what we have been asked to do. I don’t appreciate keeping secrets from my own people.”

    “They are professionals, Cap,” he said. “They understand that from time to time their captain will have to play it close to her vest. But they know to follow orders and to give their level best to ensure that whatever the mission may be, the outcome is a resounding success.”

    Maya touched his lower arm. “I appreciate this, I really do. This is not how I had imagined my first mission to go but knowing that my officers and crew are behind me is a comforting thought.”

    “As long as I’m your first officer you will never have to worry about that one,” he said with and earnest expression on his face. “I make you that promise now.”

    She gave him a grateful nod.

    “If however you would like to drop me a hint or two, off the record, about what all this has to do with the sudden appearance of a Greek letter on the bridge, I would make a killing on the ongoing pool,” he said with lopsided grin.

    Maya shot him a mock frown.

    “I thought not,” he added quickly.

    She uttered a little laugh. “Suppose you can’t stop the rumor mill.”

    “On a starship? Not a chance.”

    Donners nodded. “We’ll just have to keep the crew too busy to give the thing too much thought, won’t we? Keep up those drills and keep me updated on performance stats.”

    “You got it, Cap.”

    “And set up a senior officers dinner for tomorrow night,” she said. “I won’t be able to answer questions but it might help to put them at ease a little bit.”

    He made another note. “Done and done.”

    “Good. I’ll catch up with you later,” she said and then headed off into the opposite direction.


    * * *​
     
  16. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    The crew is beginning to gel and Maya's running them through their paces. That's a first step in some of them perhaps surviving the mayhem certain to come with an encounter with Omega.

    Maybe. :evil:
     
  17. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    You really did a good job on the tech-talk in the DeSoto scene. I also liked the feel you created during the drill. It was easy to see in my mind's eye.
     
  18. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Still catching up. But from what I've read thus far, wow CeJay, your character work is excellent. You've got a real feel for these characters, I like all of the distinct personalities and the interactions.
     
  19. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    So the crew is lowly pulling together. Well, most of it. It couldn't be too easy now, could it?
     
  20. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Maya Donners slipped into the main science lab almost entirely unnoticed. Mostly because the team inside was hard at work and focused entirely on the task at hand.

    “Where are we with that positive identification?” asked Wayne Daystrom as he worked at the master control station set up at the center of the lab.

    “Still having difficulties with the interference from the nebula,” responded one of the crewmembers at the opposite end of the room. “Energy transfer to EM flux sensor array only increased resolution point six percent.”

    “That’s below the required threshold to compensate for radiation distortion,” said A.J. Elborough, an attractive, dark-haired ensign, as she walked from one station to the next, making seemingly minute changes to each as she went along.

    “Should we bring thermal imaging online?” asked a Trill petty officer, looking up from a padd. Maya couldn’t remember his name.

    Daystrom shook his head. “Not going to help on a class nine dichromatic nebula with this level of gravimetric distortions,” he said. “Come on people, the bridge needs to know who is using it as a hiding place. We need ideas,” he added without ever looking up.

    “Still looks like a Cardassian Galor-class to me,” said the Elborough.

    “In that soup? It would have lost structural integrity within minutes,” responded the Trill.

    “It could be using metaphasic shielding,” the ensign shot back.

    Daystrom looked up. “Can we get some more hard evidence before we jump to conclusions, please? How do we stand with the gamma ray telescope?”

    Artoss, an Efrosian ensign, manning one of the wall station took this one. “No joy with the current power allocation.”

    “Ask ops to prioritize the telescope. In the meantime we have to find another toy to get what we need,” said Daystrom and attended to the master control station again. “Narrow-angle EM?”

    “That could work,” the Trill said quickly and then began to frantically input commands into his padd. “Can we get the ship to adjust our orientation by twelve degrees.”

    Daystrom quickly put in the request to the helm station on the bridge.

    “Got it,” said Artoss. “Narrow-angle has a lock on our bogey.”

    Daystrom nodded along. “Re-route all power we’ve got allocated to the long range sensors package to the narrow-angle EM scanner. I want it at 110 percent.”

    Elborough stepped up to another station and then smiled. “We now have 113 percent on the narrow-angle.”

    “Analysis going through the computer now,” said the Trill petty officer with clear anticipation in his voice.

    All the science personnel in the room turned to look at their respective monitors, eager to learn what their efforts had yielded. The comely ensign was the first to share. “Definitely Cardassian,” she said with palpable excitement. “Heavy cruiser, Keldon-class,” she continued. “Employing rotating, paratrinic shielding.”

    “Confirmed,” said the petty officer. “Computer has it at 98 percent certainty.”

    Artoss shook his head. “That’s pretty advanced stuff for a Cardassian ship, no wonder we didn’t get a positive ID sooner.”

    “Attention all hands, stand down from red alert. I say again, stand down from red alert,” the voice of Senior Chief Shane Holladay echoed from the overhead speakers. “This concludes this exercise. Response times to follow: Damage control team one: two minutes, twelve seconds. Damage control team two: two minutes, eighteen seconds. Damage control team three …”

    The science team listened carefully until he announced their response time at two minutes and forty-eight seconds.

    Ensign Elborough proudly smiled at that. “We shaved off twelve seconds from the last drill,” she said proudly.

    Daystrom was clearly less excited. “We can do better next time,” he said to the room. “Just because a Cardassian ship with paratrinic shielding is unlikely, doesn’t mean we should count it out. We have to expect the unexpected every time.”

    The science crew slowly nodded along in assent.

    “I for one am very impressed,” Maya said and stepped away from the bulkhead were she had observed the science team from. “That was a good job, people. Good lateral thinking by everyone.”

    “Captain?” Daystrom said and quickly stiffened, not having realized until now that she had been in the room.

    The rest of the twelve-man team in the lab also turned towards her and stood at attention.

    Maya smirked at that inwardly. This behavior was to be expected from a fresh and inexperienced crew which for the most part had only just passed the Academy or basic training a few weeks ago. “At ease, folks,” she said quickly. “Why don’t you go and catch a break after a job well done?” she said and then looked at Daystrom. “If that is alright with you of course, Lieutenant.”

    The young officer seemed momentarily dumbfounded by the captain deferring to him but then quickly nodded when he realized that everyone was awaiting his decision. “Yes, of course. By all means. We’ll have a review session at … eh … 1400 hours.”

    Most of the crewmembers presumably not on shift duty cleared out the lab.

    “The rest of you,” said Maya, “would you mind giving the Lieutenant and me the room?”

    It was phrased as a question only for decorum’s sake and the remaining crewmembers understood this and promptly cleared the lab.

    Once they were alone Maya focused on the broad-shouldered science officer. “I wasn’t just trying to be nice earlier,” she said. “I really did think you did a good job and it reflects on your leadership skills that you have been able to get this kind of performance out of your department.”

    “Thank you, sir. And I still think that we can do even better.”

    “Of that I have no doubt,” she said and then glanced towards the ceiling. “Computer, seal this room. Re-establish access only on my authorization code.”

    The computer chirped promptly in acknowledgment. “Science lab one is now sealed.”

    The junior lieutenant shot Donners a perplexed look. “Captain?”

    “I debated for a long time with myself if I should let you in on this or not, Wayne and just to be clear, I’m probably in violation of a handful of Starfleet regulations by doing this, but I decided that the stakes are too high as not to clue in the one person on this ship who may be able to assist me with what we’ll have to do.”

    Daystrom’s expression turned even more puzzled.

    “What I’m about to show you is for your eyes only and you are not to discuss this with any member of this crew, or in fact any other person period. Is that clear?”

    He nodded sharply. “Absolutely, sir.”

    She raised a padd she had brought with her and quickly established a secure interface with the science lab computer. Within moments the main display showed a computer simulation of a bright blue microscopic molecule blown up a hundred-fold and consisting of thousands of even smaller particles all working in perfect symmetry to make up the whole.

    Daystrom rose from his chair upon seeing this. “The Silentium Particle? That’s impossible.”

    It was Maya’s turned to aim a perplexed look at the man. “The what particle?”

    But the young scientist seemed too engrossed in studying the computer simulation to pay much attention to the captain.

    “Lieutenant?”

    “Silentium,” he repeated without being able to tear away his gaze from the screen. “It’s what I called this.”

    Maya considered this for a moment. “That’s Latin for what? Silence?”

    He nodded absent-mindedly. “Among other things. In a religious sense it can also mean perfection which in a way this is exactly what it is. Perfection. Endlessly powerful and endlessly flawless.”

    “Wait a minute,” she said. “You’re telling me you are familiar with this molecule already?”

    He turned to face her for the first time since having been shown the simulation, his facial expressions once more as quizzical as before. “Of course. Isn’t that the reason you’re showing me this?”

    “Lieutenant, I’m showing you this because our mission is to locate this molecule and because I will require your help with that task. I have been told that nobody in the Federation is aware of its existence other than Starfleet officers of captain’s grade and above, as well as a few high-ranking officials. Why don’t you start telling me how you’ve learned of it?”

    “I practically discovered it,” he said. “Or at least I thought I did.”

    “Go on,” she said and taking a seat when she felt a story coming on.

    She was not to be disappointed. He took a deep breath before starting and it was obvious to her that this was not an easy thing for him to share. Whatever his history with the Omega Molecule had been, it seemed already apparent that it had been a painful one for him. “I came across the theory by pure accident really. I spent most of my early days at the Academy theorizing on a new power source for starship engines like many science and engineering cadets are wont to. I suppose my edge was that I had thousands of pages of notes from my great-grandfather to study. Mostly unpublished work and much of it either entirely outside my understanding or quite possibly nonsensical ramblings of a man slowly losing his grip on reality.

    Either way I did find documents speculating on the existence of a super-particle of sorts which not only could yield nearly infinite power but may also have been a possible linchpin to the creation of the universe itself. He called this silentium on the account of its religious implications.

    I simply took his notes and findings to its logical conclusion and by my third year at the Academy I was ready to unveil these incredible findings as part of my thesis. I really thought I had re-invented the wheel in those days and I was close to dedicated my entire professional life to the pursuit of this new particle.”

    She sensed what was coming next. “I take it the Academy staff didn’t take to well to your research.”

    His facial expressions twisted into an ugly frown, giving proof that he still harbored quite a bit of anger on the subject. “That’s putting it mildly. I was completely shutdown. Nobody wanted to even look at what I had done. I was called in front of the Academy commandant who threatened me with expulsion and criminal charges if I didn’t discontinue my research immediately. The following day my work had been erased from every computer station on campus. Worse, even my personal computer had been wiped clean. I tried to appeal to various civilian and Starfleet authorities but it was made clear to me in no uncertain terms that I would lose on grounds of national security.

    I was outraged, Captain. This could have been my life’s work; my legacy and they simply pretended it didn’t even exist. It took me a long time to get over that. Ultimately my fear of ending up like my great-grandfather convinced me to stop obsessing over it and to try finding a new calling,” he said and then looked back at the screen. “But I was never able to completely forget about silentium.”

    Donners uttered a sigh as she considered the young scientist as he was once more enthralled by the particle on the screen. She had hated the notion of Starfleet trying to suppress the existence of this molecule from the moment she had learned of this practice. Now her worst fears had come true. How many more enterprising scientists had been intimidated and forced to abandon their work because the Federation had been too afraid of its results? Considering the unique manner in which Daystrom had been able to discover it, she truly hoped that it hadn’t been many. But wasn’t one too many already?

    “They call it the Omega Molecule,” she said and Daystrom immediately whipped around to face her. “Starfleet has been aware of its existence for over a century. And you were right,” she said. “It is currently considered to be the most powerful force in existence.”

    The science officer stood, seemingly unsure how to digest this new information. “You are telling me that Starfleet knew about this all along and they just decided to destroy my own work? Why?”

    She tried to make eye contact with him, not able to miss the anger that was beginning to build up there. “The simple answer, Wayne, is that they are afraid of what could happen if its power is unleashed. Omega is extremely difficult to synthesize and even harder to contain. If only one –“

    “This is outrageous,” he barked, momentarily forgetting whom he was speaking to. “It’s censorship of the most ignorant kind. One stemming from fear and narrow-mindedness. It’s not what the Federation stands for and it cannot be allowed.”

    “Lieutenant, I appreciate that this is not easy for you to hear and I’m truly sorry about your experiences at the Academy but we are Starfleet officers and sometimes that means that we have to follow orders for the greater good even if we do not like them.”

    “This,” he said and pointed at the screen with the Omega Molecule, “is the greater good. And Starfleet suppresses its knowledge because they are afraid of changing the status quo? Those are medieval tactics designed to stem progress. This could usher in a new era for the entire galaxy.”

    “I’m not going to sit here and argue Federation policy with you, Wayne. I have my own objections to the way this has been handled but for now we do not have a choice in this matter but follow our orders and locate and destroy the Omega Molecule.”

    “Destroy it?” he said, now nearly being driven to tears. “You cannot be serious.”

    Maya rubbed her forehead for a moment and then looked him back in the eye. “Consider this,” she said. “What if we were talking not about a molecule of immense power but say a biological research facility, designed to genetically engineer a new kind of superior species designed to replace the human race. That too is scientific research and those who dabble in it would argue that it would usher in a new era as well. Would you make the decision to leave this facility alone and let those scientists get on with their work or would you take action?”

    Daystrom visibly calmed himself, but not by much. Just enough to sit back down in his chair. “Why does it always have to be the Eugenics War analogy?”

    “Because it is the best example we have of certain sciences having to be monitored and controlled for the greater good,” she shot back. “Because humanity once paid a heavy price for letting science and progress go unchecked.”

    “But who makes that determination, Captain?”

    She stood and stepped closer to him. “Neither you or I, Wayne, that’s all I can say about that. For now, I need to know if I can rely on you to help me with this mission. We are heading towards an area of space were we have discovered the presence of the Omega Molecule and my orders are to destroy it at any cost. I don’t like those orders but I understand why I must follow them. And now that I know about your unique history with this molecule, I’m convinced I’ll need your help more than ever to be able to do that.”

    She paused and looked him over even as he refused to make eye contact with her.

    “I cannot and will not order you to assist me,” she said. “In fact, I can relieve you of duty for the duration of this mission citing personal reasons if you so wish. I’ll even ensure that it will not negatively affect your record. But I need to know now if you will help me or if you won’t.”

    He looked up at her very slowly and the expression in his eyes was a pained one. Maya sympathized. Here was a man with an almost impossibly large legacy to follow up on. He’d had been given a chance to distinguish himself from his famous forbearer but had been shut down for no fault of his own and now he had been asked to help destroy what he had once hoped would become his own legacy.

    “I am my own man with my own path,” he finally said.

    Maya’s expression turned quizzical.

    He managed a small and humorless smile. “That’s what you told me, isn’t it? And you were right. My path is to be the chief science officer of the starship Agamemnon. Consequently I will do whatever is within my power to help you achieve our mission.”
     

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