Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Zefram_Cochrane, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

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    I actually push it pretty hard. NC-17 hard, so I'll be linking off-site for that one. Just that particular act.

    I'm actually neck-deep in writing, atm. I'm working on an original sci-fi novel for submission to a publisher, plus the third episode of Full Speed Ahead.

    I'll post the third act shortly :)

    -- ZC
     
  2. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Joined:
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    And here's Act III. It's a little shorter, but like I said, there's not a whole lot of word count to go around this time. The second part has more scenes, though.

    Enjoy!

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

    Doctor Sovera adjusted the display on her desktop terminal within the office of the chief medical officer aboard Farragut. Four of the sixteen physicians on her staff had already reported for duty, and of the entire staff, only a quarter had reported in so far. Although she did not feel displeasure at the fact that the rest of her medical staff awaited pick up at Starbase 310, she would have to make do with the four doctors and ten medics.

    The doors to the main area of the sickbay opened and a loud and raucous conversation suddenly occupied her area. Annoyed by this, Sovera rose from behind her desk and began with a simple, "Please maintain a low volume when spea-" She stopped as soon as she recognized who it was. "Captain, my apologies."

    "No, no," said Leone with a smile. "We were just taking a tour of the ship, and I thought I would drop by and say hello."

    "I see."

    "I'm really very glad you were willing to take this assignment."

    "It seemed like a logical choice, Captain, given the list of available officers."

    "It wouldn't have been the same without my favorite doctor. I don't let just anyone work on my person, you know."

    Sovera merely inclined her head.

    Leone gestured to her companion. "You remember Ariel, right? She's agreed to join us as our new chief of operations."

    "Good to see you again, Sovera," said Ariel with a wave of her hand.

    She turned to Ariel and nodded. "And you, Commander Elannis. It is fortunate that you're here. Your last physical was more than twelve months ago."

    Leone chuckled. "You heard the doctor, Ariel. Time for your physical."

    Ariel looked as though she wanted to fight it, but instead let out a breath and nodded. "Fine. Let's get this over with."

    "I'll see you later, then."

    "Actually, Captain," said Sovera, "your physical has been overdue as well."

    "Uh, yes, well..."

    "I would appreciate it if you would please take care of that, now."

    Ariel grinned widely. "You heard the doctor."

    "Yes," Leone said with a hesitant nod. "However, I am going to have to postpone that another couple of days until after I have a chance to see the ship and assume command. Technically, I'm not assigned to this ship, yet."

    "Hey!" said Ariel. "What kind of switch is that?"

    "R.H.I.P, Commander," said Leone with a waggle of her eyebrows. "Enjoy your physical."

    Sovera called after her, "I will hold you to that, Captain." Once she left, she turned her attention to Ariel. "I am expecting to pursue that matter with Captain Leone in two days. Please sit on the biobed, Commander."

    Ariel pushed herself onto the biobed, as requested. "She's just going to shine you on, like always."

    "I do not understand the human compunction for avoiding regular medical maintenance." She picked up her medical tricorder and ran it over Ariel's body. "You are eating too much fat, Commander."

    "Oh, damn, Doctor. Don't sugar-coat it for me."

    "Reduce your intake of foods high in fat, or else you will be in danger of not meeting Starfleet medical requirements for the well-being of its officers." She continued to take her readings. "If you require assistance in this area, I can schedule an appointment with a nutrition specialist once we reach Starbase 310."

    "Yes, sir," replied Ariel. "Hey, what does R.H.I.P mean?"

    "Rank Hath Its Privileges, Commander."

    Ariel snorted. "Figures."

    ---- Scene Change ----

    The liaison officer between the civilian and Starfleet engineers was a young ensign named Thaddeus Symonds. He was not a member of the official crew, but on loan from the yard's engineering pool. His job was to coordinate the activities of the civilian engineers with the Starfleet engineers, including seeing to their housing and other necessary accommodations to ensure they're able to complete their work on schedule.

    Saleb hated him. "He's a humorless man who wouldn't know a good time if it slapped him in the face."

    "I like him," admitted Belkis with a snort. "He knows how to be efficient at what he does."

    "You talk to him, then. I'm sure you'll be the best of friends."

    "Fine by me. At least I know he's not here to do some sight-seeing."

    Symonds saw them approach and he immediately took out his padd. His fingers flew across it as he looked at them expectantly. "Report, gentlemen."

    "Ensign, we have completed our diagnostic on the navigational deflector subsystems," said Belkis. He handed over a padd to the ensign. "Our final report, sir."

    "Thank you, Mister Belkis. I will pass it on to my superior officer."

    Saleb forced a smile on his face as the ensign directed his attention to him. He gave Symonds a little wave, to which the ensign did not respond to. Instead, the ensign sniffed at him and returned his attention to Belkis.

    "Is there anything else we can do for you tonight, Ensign?" asked Belkis.

    "No, Mister Belkis, Mister Saleb. I have you down as part of the civilian detachment to observe the warp trials tomorrow. You may enjoy your evening until tomorrow morning, oh-eight-hundred hours."

    "Thank you, Ensign."

    "Thank you."

    "Thank you," added Saleb, his tone dripping with sweetness.

    Symonds grimaced. "Good night."

    As soon as they were out of his earshot, Belkis grunted. "You shouldn't annoy him."

    "He is in a state of constant annoyance. I'm certain nothing changes before or after I speak with him," replied Saleb, as they moved toward the engineering junction on deck twenty.

    In the opposite direction, a female Starfleet captain entered the junction and passed by them without paying them much attention. Both Belkis and Saleb noticed her, and their formerly jovial demeanor quickly switched to serious.

    When she passed out of range, Belkis leaned in and asked, "Was that her?"

    Saleb's mouth was dry. He didn't realize they would get so close before the time was right. "Yeah."

    "You're sure this is going to work?"

    "Damn. It'd better, right?"

    "For your sake."

    "For our sakes, Belkis."

    They continued down the corridor until they reached a turbolift. They shared a junior officers' suite on deck ten, just a few doors down from the lounge at the bow of the ship. Once there, they felt safe enough to begin accessing the ship's primary computer system, and monitored access to the navigational deflector control computer.

    "I'll take the first shift," offered Belkis. "Get some sleep, and I'll wake you in eight hours."

    "That's right kind of you," said Saleb with a large smile. "Unless you're planning to torture me in your sleep?"

    "No."

    "Thank you."

    "It's better to be awake while your gullet flaps so loud, that I think you're drowning in your own spit."

    Saleb's smile dropped. "Oh."

    "Also, you worked most of the day to secure our little project, and I'm sure you could use the rest. Since I'm still lucid, I trust myself to react quickly to any situation that may come up, while you would be wrestling your own fatigue at the same time."

    "Why, Belkis..." said Saleb, grinning. "You do love me."

    Belkis did not turn his head from the common area, instead he activated the display and watched. "If you're not asleep in the next ten seconds, I'll be happy to help you lose consciousness."

    "Night!" said Saleb quickly.

    ----------

    Thus passes Act III.

    I'm sure one could tell that I'm having fun with Saleb and Belkis. They crack me up.

    Act IV coming soon to a TrekBBS near you!

    -- ZC
     
  3. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    And here's Act IV!

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

    Leone read from a padd in her hands. "To Captain Krystine Leone, from Starfleet Command. You are hereby requested and required to assume command of NCC-60597 (USS Farragut) effective Stardate four-three-two-two-four-point-seven. Signed, Rear Admiral Alynna Necheyev, Starfleet Command."

    Commander Tennyson called out to the air, "Computer, transfer all command code to Captain Krystine Leone. Authorization: Tennyson-alpha-one-one-niner."

    "Command codes transferred," replied the computer. The public address system activated and the computer's voice could be heard on all decks. "Attention. USS Farragut is now under the command of Captain Krystine Leone, effective immediately."

    The assembled group within the ship's large lounge on the forward section of deck ten applauded. Captain Leone and Commander Tennyson both wore their dress uniforms, as they finished the change of command ceremony.

    Tennyson smiled, "Congratulations, Captain. Take good care of her for me."

    "Thank you, Rob," she smiled. "I will." As Tennyson stepped down and left her standing on the elevated platform alone, she began to address them:

    "All hands, this is Captain Leone. I want to thank you for being here on this occasion, and to assure you that I will endeavor to continue the grand tradition set by this ship's predecessors. We will be departing Antares within the hour to begin warp trials, and then we will head to Starbase 310 to pick up the rest of the crew.

    "Until that time, I am appointing Lieutenant Commander Ariel Elannis as acting executive officer. Department heads, make your initial reports to her. Thank you. Leone, out."

    She stepped down from the platform and nodded to the other officers as they extended their hands in congratulations. Leone moved toward Ariel, who embraced her.

    "Congratulations, Krys."

    Leone closed her eyes as she accepted the embrace. She didn't really care if people saw them. Friendship was not illegal in Starfleet, and protocol be damned. She stepped back and smiled. "Thanks, Ariel."

    "Would you care for something to drink?" Ariel asked as she gestured to the flutes of champagne set out by the lounge staff.

    "No, thanks." She clenched her hands in front of her, hesitating to speak with so many people around.

    "Uh oh, you've got that look in your eye. What's up?"

    "I'm itching to get under way."

    "How may I scratch your itch?"

    "Take the conn. Have the bridge seek departure clearance from the Yard Control, and then have anyone staying behind disembark."

    Ariel did not hesitate, recognizing the official tone in her friend's voice. "Aye, sir," she said with a nod, and left without another word to carry out her orders.

    "Sir," said Wilson Nieves, from behind her. "Congratulations, sir."

    "Aw, thank you, Wilson. I'm really glad you were here for this."

    "Like I said, I wouldn't have missed it for anything." He took a sip from his flute and added, "In fact, I'd be more than happy to man tactical during the warp trials. I'm looking for a ride to Starbase 310, anyway."

    With a grin, Leone chuckled. "I'd like that. I'm sure Ariel will enjoy your company on the bridge. As will I."

    His demeanor brightened considerably. "Yes, sir. Thank you."

    When he did not move immediately, she grinned. "Now, please."

    Wilson put his flute down on a passing tray and nodded. "Aye, sir."

    She continued to accept the best wishes of the people assembled there, but she did not want the ceremony to continue for too long, lest they delay their departure. Within minutes, Ariel's voice sounded on the public address system, announcing their clearance for departure and for any personnel wishing to remain behind, to disembark immediately.

    People filed out of the lounge, as did Leone. She returned to her quarters and replaced her dress uniform with the uniform of the day. The two piece Class A Starfleet uniform was a welcome change from the old one-piece jumpsuits they wore only four months prior. Captains were afforded variations on the uniform, being in command as they were, but Leone did not like the jackets or undershirts that came with it. Instead, she wore the same uniform as everyone else.

    "Captain on the bridge," announced the flight controller, Lieutenant (jg) Gregory Aspinall. She knew his name only because of the fact that his mother, Joy, served as the commanding admiral of Starbase Eleven. The Aspinall and the Leone family were cordial with one another, being both Starfleet legacies.

    Leone said, "As you were," as she moved toward the command center. Ariel had been seated in the center seat, but she rose from it to offer it to her friend.

    "Enjoy," said Ariel, sotto voce. "It's quite comfy." She moved forward to assume the ops station from the officer manning it.

    Wilson Nieves called out, "Yard Control signals we can depart when ready, Captain."

    Leone settled into the seat and admired its comfort. Ariel was right. "Thank you, Wilson. Ariel, clear all mooring and disengage the docking clamps." She hit a control on her armrest and said, "Bridge to Engineering. Switch us over to internal power."

    The lights did not flicker even once as the ship began generating power for itself. The intercom sounded once more as the call came from engineering. "Bartlet, here, sir. We're now on internal power."

    "Moorings cleared," reported Ariel. "The airlock has been sealed. Disengaging dock."

    The sound of metal releasing carried throughout the ship, and the viewscreen showed that they no longer had a connection to the drydock facility as the scaffolds moved independent of the ship.

    "Distance to drydock is ten meters," said Aspinall. "Twenty. Thirty. Fifty."

    "Hold position one hundred meters from the dock and then ahead slow on the thrusters," ordered Leone. "Petra, can we go to warp speed once we clear the outer marker?"

    "Yes, sir. Warp speed will be available by the time we reach the outer marker."

    "Understood."

    The scaffolds began to move out of view as the ship sailed forward under its own power for the first time in nearly eight months of refitting.

    "We are now free and clear to navigate, sir," said Aspinall. "Approaching the inner marker beacon for the first turn."

    On the screen, the tiny beacon flashed in the night as it swung into full view. It drew closer and closer, until Leone could read the markings on its side.

    "Entering the departure lane, Captain."

    "Full impulse power, Mister Aspinall."

    "Increasing my speed to full impulse power, aye, sir."

    The little beacon blew by as the ship engaged its powerful sublight engines. The outer marker beacon was a lot larger and prevented use of the warp drive within its boundaries. Farragut, as well as all other traffic, would be relegated to sublight speeds while operating within the jurisdiction of the Antares Ship Yards.

    "We are now approaching the outer marker," announced Aspinall. "The warp drive is now online."

    Leone envisioned the nacelles powering up and coming to life, with the bright red of the Bussard collectors to the bright blue color of the drive assembly. Now her ship was alive, and awaiting the order to leap forth and do what she was built to do. "Engineering, stand by for warp speed."

    "Aye, sir. We're monitoring down here."

    "We're clear of the outer marker."

    "Lay in a course for the trial zone," said Leone.

    Aspinall nodded. "My course is now three-oh-one mark one. Course entered, sir."

    The captain of the Farragut grinned. "Let's stretch her legs, Mister Aspinall. Warp five. Engage."

    ---- Scene Change ----

    "We're at warp!" said Saleb excitedly.

    Belkis nodded with a grunt. Both of them stood before a display of the master situation monitor with a look of anticipation. "Warp five and holding steady. We should reach the trial zone in under an hour at this speed."

    Saleb tapped in commands excitedly and kept himself from laughing out loud as he realized how close to their objective they were.

    "Calm down."

    "We're really going to do it, Belkis. I mean... a shuttle was one thing, but we're going to try it with a starship as large as this. You realize that we're going down in history for this?"

    "One way or the other, I suppose."

    Saleb groaned. "Seriously, Belkis, you need to learn how to have some fun."

    ---- Scene Change ----

    "We are now approaching the warp trial zone, sir," said Aspinall's voice over the intercom.

    Leone spoke to the air. "Acknowledged. We'll be right there." She rose and nodded to Ariel. "Let's get back to work."

    Ariel sighed and gestured to the board as she followed Leone out to the bridge. "Great, now you get more time to plot my demise."

    The captain shot her a devious look as they sat down at their respective stations. Nieves reported from the tactical station that there were no other contacts. "Thank you, Wilson. Signal Antares Yard Control that we have arrived. Helm, slow to full impulse."

    Both officers acknowledged as the viewscreen's stars became dots instead of streaks. "We're now at full impulse power, Captain."

    "Antares signals acknowledgement, sir," reported Nieves.

    "Bridge to Engineering," called Leone.

    "Bartlet, here, sir," said Petra from the turbolift doors. She walked to the aft engineering station and activated it. "I'm ready when you are, sir."

    Leone stood up and announced, "Petra has the conn."

    ---- Scene Change ----

    "Full impulse power- no, they're slowing to an all stop," said Saleb with his eyes locked onto the helm monitor they had established in the shared quarters on deck ten. "We have to move, now. As soon as they slow to stop, they're going to cycle the warp coils for pre-tuning procedures."

    "How long do we have?" asked Belkis. He grabbed the carry-all with their equipment and headed for the exit.

    Saleb replied, "Ten minutes." They exited into the empty corridor and walked briskly for the turbolift. "Auxiliary navigational deflector system, deck sixteen, section ten."

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

    And there's Act IV.

    Thanks for reading,

    -- ZC
     
  4. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Joined:
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    And now, for the final Act of the pilot's first part, Act V.

    I will start posting the second episode, once people have had a chance to catch up.

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

    "Warp coil cycle complete," announced Petra. "Nebula baseline warp procedure loaded and engaged. Helm, zero mark zero-nine-zero."

    Aspinall replied, "Course laid in, Lieutenant."

    "Thank you. Captain, we're going to field saturate the warp engines for-"

    "Sir, the navigational deflector has gone to one-hundred-fifty percent of normal," reported Nieves suddenly.

    "Confirmed," said Ariel. "Forward sensors are detecting a large tachyon surge approximately one thousand kilometers off the bow."

    "Petra?" asked Leone.

    "It's not part of the program, Captain. I don't know why the deflector would be-"

    Ariel called, "A quantum field is forming, Captain."

    A large, blue-green field shifted in and out of visual range, like a ripple against a very dark pond.

    "Shut down the navigational deflector," ordered Leone.

    Petra entered in a quick set of commands from her station, but the console would not let her have her way. "The shutdown command is not being accepted by the control computer, Captain."

    "Then send someone down there and pull the damned plug!"

    "A rift is forming, sir. I'm reading quantum-level manipulation of the space-time continuum through the field," said Ariel in a worried tone. "Gravimetric forces are starting to pull us in."

    "Helm, back us off, full impulse," said Leone, reseating herself in the center seat.

    "Full reverse, aye, sir."

    "No effect," said Petra. "We're not moving away from it."

    "Distance to the event horizon?"

    "Nine hundred kilometers. Eight-fifty," corrected Ariel. "Damn, it's getting stronger. Seven hundred."

    "Petra, can we go to warp?"

    "We need to veer the bow off so we can point the ship away from the rift."

    "Helm, hard starboard."

    "Sir, the helm is not responding."

    "Three hundred kilometers, Captain."

    "Red alert. Shields, Wilson."

    "Shields are up."

    "Two hundred. One hundred."

    Leone called to the ship's intercom, "All hands, brace for impact!"

    ---- Scene Change ----

    The wail of the red alert klaxon could barely be heard over the trembling of the ship's hull under her feet. The comfortable chair she sat in carried those vibrations and massaged her back, but she had no time to enjoy it. The blue-green inferno on the main viewscreen looked like a long tunnel for as far as she could see.

    "Mister Aspinall, reverse thrust!" she ordered, over the din.

    Aspinall turned his head to call back, "Helm is unresponsive, Captain." He tapped in a few more commands, but the console rewarded him with a negative response. "Braking thrusters are offline!"

    "Damage reports coming in sections one through thirteen, decks six through twelve!" shouted Ariel.

    Nieves added, "I've lost weapons, and the shield emitters are offline!"

    "Structural integrity field at seventy percent and falling."

    "Damn it," Leone spat. Her right hand balled up into a fist, and she pounded it against the armrest in frustration. "Petra, divert auxiliary power to the structural integrity and inertial dampening fields!"

    "Aye, sir!" said Petra. "Aux power engaged!"

    The result was immediate. The vibration softened considerably and the background noise level dropped enough to allow the red alert siren to be heard once more.
    From her station, Ariel nodded. "IDF stabilized. The SIF is holding steady at sixty-seven percent, but I don't know for how long."

    "Sensor pod is offline, I'm switching to the lateral array," reported Nieves. The viewscreen flickered as he switched the inputs. A few moments later there was nothing but the inoperative holographic display diodes behind the clear screen, and he added, "Sorry, sir, we lost the lateral sensors, too."

    The ship still strained under the power of whatever it was they were caught inside of. She continued to eye the viewscreen, hoping that outside of her ship, the end of the tunnel was coming soon.

    Suddenly, the hull was calm. She didn't have to wait for Ariel to tell her, she knew they were out of whatever it was they were in.

    "Report," ordered Leone, pushing herself up out of her chair.

    "Reinitializing all key systems," said Petra.

    Nieves called out, "Sensor pod is back online. I'm activating the viewscreen."

    Stars greeted them as the screen came online. A nebula in the distance shimmered and danced before the bridge. In the background, various systems came back online that had been unavailable while they were within the anomaly.

    Leone turned to look at Petra from behind the horseshoe rail. "Petra, what happened? Why did the navigational deflector create that quantum anomaly?"

    Before she could answer, Nieves reported, "Captain, there's a vessel on approach at high speed."

    Leone returned her attention to the viewscreen, trying to see if the vessel was visible. "Yellow alert. Are our shields online?"

    Nieves shook his head. "Negative, sir."

    "Petra?"

    "Sir, I'm trying to reinitialize the emitters," said Petra quickly.

    "We're being hailed."

    "On screen."

    The viewscreen blinked and an angry-looking male face greeted them. "Identify yourselves."

    Leone stepped forward and replied, "My name is Captain Krystine Leone, of the Federation starship Farragut. We mean you no harm."

    "You have penetrated deep into the core of Tristnor Hegemony territory. Your vessel is forfeit and your crew is now the property of this ship. Hold your position and prepare for boarding!"

    TO BE CONTINUED

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

    Cue dramatic music, eh? Damn the Torpedoes, Part II's teaser will go up later today.

    Thanks so much for reading, and I look forward to your comments and/or questions.

    -- ZC
     
  5. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

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    Before I post the next episode, should I create a new thread or keep it going here on this one?

    -- ZC
     
  6. Revdkathy

    Revdkathy BobTheSkutter's wife Moderator

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    Keep it going here for the benefit of people who're following the story and those not yet started who want to read from the beginning. And it keeps the house tidy. ;)
     
  7. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    I agree keep it here. I only started reading this today so please keep it here. Good job by the way
     
  8. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

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    Okay, I'll keep it on here, then. :)

    Thanks for reading, RobertScorpio. :)

    -- ZC
     
  9. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

    Joined:
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    I have started to read the other fan fics here. Haven't had time til now, so i will catch up on the ones I can. So far I have read yours and Gibalters and have been very pleased.
     
  10. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Holy crap! :eek: How quickly things can go from routine warp trials to a life-and-death struggle. Well, as Kirk always said, “Risk is our business.”

    You’ve presented some terrific characters and an engaging plot. I’m eager to see how much trouble the crew of the Farragut is actually in. Well done. :bolian:
     
  11. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Joined:
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    Well, you don't have to wait much longer. Here's the teaser for part II. :)

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

    Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead
    By Michael D. Garcia

    Episode Two: Damn the Torpedoes! Part II

    NCC-60597 (USS Farragut)
    Within Tristnor Hegemony territory
    Main Bridge
    Stardate 43224.75


    The viewscreen blinked and an angry-looking male face greeted them. "Identify yourselves."

    "My name is Captain Krystine Leone, of the Federation starship Farragut. We mean you no harm." She made sure her posture was as non-threatening as possible, keeping her arms at her sides

    He pointed his finger at her. "You have penetrated deep into the core of Tristnor Hegemony territory. Your vessel is forfeit and your crew is now the property of this ship. Hold your position and prepare for boarding!"

    "Sir, we do not intend to allow anyone to take this ship. Nor will I allow my crew to become anyone's property. If necessary, we will defend ourselves against any attack."

    "Your presence here is an act of war!"

    "Our presence here was not by choice! We will depart your space, if you will allow us to."

    "No more discussion! Prepare for boarding!" With that, the viewscreen switched back to the starfield and the nebula.

    "Red alert," ordered Leone immediately. "Someone please tell me what our present location is?"

    Lieutenant Commander Ariel Elannis, the ship's chief operations officer, worked her console quickly. "The computer is attempting to match sensor data to known star charts, sir."

    Leone nodded as she moved behind the ops console and peered over Ariel's shoulder. "Fine. Petra, we're going to need shields and weapons, soon."

    Lieutenant Petra Bartlet called back, "Shield emitters are coming back online, now, sir."

    From the tactical station, Lieutenant Wilson Nieves confirmed, "Shields activated, Captain."

    "Computer's got a location report," said Ariel. "According to this, we're over thirty-five thousand light years from our former location. Near the rim, within the Beta Quadrant."

    Leone could not believe it, at first. She leaned in closer to look at Ariel's console, and there it was in the orange text of the LCARS display. "Okay," she said after blowing out a deep breath. There would be time to deal with that, later. "That settles that."

    Nieves said, "Sir, my contact vessel is slowing to sublight speed."

    "Weapons range?" asked Leone.

    "At present speed, fifteen minutes."

    "Our weapons status?"

    Nieves turned to look at Petra, who gave him a shrug. "I'm working on it."

    "We left the yards with a rather limited store of photon torpedoes," noted Leone.

    "Sixteen, sir,"

    Leone pushed herself away from the ops console and approached her chair. "All right, launcher status?"

    "Fully operational," said Petra quickly. "I'm still working on phasers, sir."

    "I'm getting some sensor data on their ship," said Nieves. "It's some kind of crystalline hull structure. Comparable in size, and I'm not sure what kind of armament they're using."

    Leone walked back to her chair. "I guess we'll find out, soon enough. Propulsion?"

    Lieutenant (jg) Gregory Aspinall replied, "Impulse power only."

    "We're going to have to make repairs to the warp drive," said Petra. "There's no way I'd trust the engines after we passed through the anomaly, anyway."

    "So, now, all we need to know is if our weapons will be effective against that kind of ship," said Leone. "Or if our shields will protect us from them."

    "Not at first," said a new visitor from near the turbolift. "But, with some luck, I'm sure we can help to protect this ship."

    Everyone turned to look at the newcomers on the bridge. One was a large, barrel-chested man; the thin and lanky man stood at his side wearing a peculiar smile given the circumstances. Both wore the civilian engineering jumpsuits worn by those who had stayed aboard to observe the warp trials.

    "And who the hell are you?" asked Leone.

    "We're the ones who brought you here, Captain," explained the lanky man. "You see, we need your help to put an end to this war."

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

    Cue dramatic music, and go to main title sequence. :)

    Thanks for reading,

    -- ZC
     
  12. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    For the record, I have no intention of recreating Voyager. And now, Act I:

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

    Leone raised her hand toward Nieves, as he had a phaser in his hand. "Hold your fire, Wilson." She stepped forward to address the pair. "Who are you?"

    The lanky man smiled. "My name is Saleb, and this is my... companion, Belkis."

    Belkis inclined his head toward Leone, but said nothing.

    "Charmed," said Leone sarcastically. "Now, what the hell is the Tristnor Hegemony and what war are you talking about?"

    Saleb leaned down to reach into his carry-all, which alarmed Nieves enough for him to raise his aim toward them once more. But all Saleb did was pull out a small device with a display on it. "Uh, first things first. Lieutenant Bartlet will need to remodulate the shields to this range of harmonics in order to counteract their primary weapon." He gestured with the device. "May I?"

    "Petra, look it over, and make sure it's on the level, before you make any implementations."

    "Aye, sir." Petra looked at the device and then back at Leone. "Sir, it seems pretty clear to me. We'd just be shifting the shield harmonics."

    "Fine."

    "Reinitializing the harmonics, now."

    "Captain, the target vessel is showing a power buildup in... I don't know. It could be a weapon."

    "It is," assured Saleb. He turned to face Leone. "Hegemony ships are based on crystalline hull designs, which means their weapons are sonic in nature. Ultrasonic, in fact. If they had fired while you were unprotected..."

    "Sonic weapons wouldn't do anything to this ship."

    "It wasn't the ship I was worried about."

    Leone opened her mouth and immediately understood. "They could've knocked us all out."

    "Exactly."

    Nieves reported, "They're firing!"

    Heads turned toward the viewscreen, where the weapon had no visual effect. Or any other kind of effect, for that matter.

    "Damage?"

    Ariel shook her head. "Nothing detectable, sir. Shields are barely registering any impact, if they actually directed their weapon at us."

    "Mister Saleb," said Leone said with a relieved sigh, "your stock just went up."

    "I'm pleased to hear that, Captain."

    "Now, since we've nullified their ability to attack us-"

    "Uh, not so fast," said Saleb. "They have a secondary weapon that might be a little more effective."

    Leone turned. "What secondary-"

    "Sir, I hold a projectile contact dead ahead!"

    "Mister Saleb?"

    Saleb frowned. "Evasive maneuvers are highly recommended, Captain."

    "Mister Aspinall, evasive pattern alpha."

    "Aye, sir." The helmsman's fingers danced across the flight controls. The viewscreen shifted as the ship's course moved as quickly as it could, but the torpedo continued on its course.

    "Hang on," warned Leone, as she held onto the arms of her seat. The torpedo drew closer, and angled around to make contact with their ship.

    The torpedo impacted against the shields, exploding into a million crystal shards. The energy from that explosion carried through to the ship itself, causing the hull to lurch under them.

    "Damage?"

    "Shields holding. Total strength down to ninety-seven percent, Captain," said Nieves. "Shall I return fire?"

    "I don't know," she admitted. "Mister Saleb? Are our weapons effective against them?"

    Saleb looked up from the engineering station, where he had seemingly braced Petra during the explosion. "Your antimatter-based torpedoes will do damage, but I suspect your phased energy weapons may be useless."

    "Let's find out. Wilson, target their weapons and propulsion systems only."

    Nieves nodded. "Target locked."

    "Fire phasers."

    The red-orange beam of energy shot out from the top of the saucer section, as Farragut continued to run through its evasive maneuvers. The beam struck its target, but instead of causing damage as it was designed to do, the beam angled away from the ship as it reflected off of the crystal. And back at them.

    "Cease fire!" Leone ordered quickly. They damaged their own shields! "Damn."

    "Another torpedo inbound," warned Nieves. "Make that two."

    "Can we target their torpedoes?"

    Saleb called, "I wouldn't recommend that, Captain. They are made of the same material as the ship."

    "Ariel, start working on a solution to the problem." Leone weathered the impact of the two torpedoes as they proved too fast for the heavy cruiser to maneuver around. "Wilson, load forward torpedo tubes." Both officers replied and carried out their orders. As soon as Nieves reported that the torpedoes were ready, she hesitated briefly before giving the order to fire.

    Did she really want to drag the Federation into a war?

    "Torpedoes incoming!"

    Leone muttered to herself, "No choice." To Nieves, "Dispersal pattern: Sierra. Fire forward tubes."

    "Torpedoes away!"

    Twin red dots flittered across the top of the viewscreen and toward the multi-angled Hegemony ship. The first torpedo impacted against the forward section and shattered the outer hull, exposing the inner hull to space. The second one followed close behind and penetrated beyond the inner hull, for the entire front half of the ship crushed inward before exploding outward as the antimatter warhead detonated inside the ship.

    Nieves slammed his hand down on the rail in triumph. "Target severely damaged, sir. Reading secondary explosions inside the ship."

    "Hail them, quickly. Let's see if we can render assistance."

    Saleb talked over her. "No, sir. They'll self-destruct with that much damage. Get us out of here."

    Leone barked, "Helm!"

    Aspinall did not wait for the order, "Getting us out of here, aye, sir. Engaging impulse engines to full on relative bearing two-seven-zero mark zero."

    "Reading massive power buildup, Captain," said Ariel. "Estimate twenty-three seconds to critical mass."

    "Petra, reinforce the aft shields."

    "I'm lowering the forward shield and redirecting power to the aft emitters," said Petra quickly. "Structural integrity field to full."

    "Fifteen seconds to critical mass," said Ariel.

    "Are we clear of the blast radius, Mister Saleb?"

    "Since they took massive damage, I cannot say for certain. Were we dealing with a fully powered ship, the answer would be no," replied Saleb. He remained at the engineering console as Nieves shot him a menacing look to prevent him from leaving Petra's side.

    "Five seconds."

    "I guess we're about to see," muttered Leone. "All hands, brace for impact!"

    The crystalline ship appeared to vibrate heavily and then shattered, sending small shards in every direction. The magnitude of the shockwave appeared to be high as some of the shards shattered as they flew away from the ship they previously held together. A distortion ring formed as the energy from the ship passed into vacuum, heading for Farragut quickly.

    The ring reached Farragut and the aft shields took the punishment from it. Some shards of crystal broke up against the barrier protecting the outer hull, while others were deflected away from it. However, some of them seemed to penetrate the shields.

    "The aft shields are destabilizing. The shockwave is acting like a giant isolytic burst; we have to reinitialize the shield harmonics," said Petra. "Some of the debris is getting through!"

    "The starboard nacelle is taking damage," reported Ariel as an alarm went off on her console. "The plasma vents are hit! We have coil damage!"

    "We can't reinitialize the shield emitters or else the shockwave will crush the ship like an empty shell," warned Saleb. "Better we take damage to a section than risk the destruction of the whole."

    Leone grimaced through the ship being overtaken by the shockwave, threatening to rattle the teeth out of her skull as it passed by. Everyone gripped their stations tightly, but Ariel fell to the deck as the shaking grew more violent. Nieves fell against the rail above her; his arms flailed out and nearly slapped her in the face as he did so. Then, it passed and the ship was calm.

    "Full damage assessment, all decks, all sections," ordered Leone as she got to her feet. "Wilson, any other contacts?"
    Nieves returned to his standing position and entered in a few commands. "Negative, sir. But I don't know for how long that'll be."

    "Mister Saleb, any suggestions?"

    "I recommend course one-one-three mark thirty-nine. That will take us to a Kasui-held base that the Hegemony doesn't know about," replied Saleb. "We'll be safe, there."

    "Who are the Kasui?"

    Belkis chose that moment to finally speak, and when he did, Leone thought her had a tuba lodged in his throat. "The Kasui are a race of people enslaved by the Tristnor Hegemony, Captain Leone. We have been fighting for our freedom for the last twenty-five years. They will provide us with supplies, protection, whatever we need."

    Leone considered it, but the anger of having her ship thrown across the galaxy on a whim did not sit well with her. "Will our present course take us deeper into Hegemony space or out of it, Mister Saleb?"

    "Well, we're running parallel to the theoretical boundary..."

    "Theoretical?"

    "The Hegemony believes in manifest destiny, Captain. They believe that their gods have provided the entire galaxy for their benefit," explained Belkis. "They also believe that all other races were placed here to serve them without question."

    "Sounds like a great group of people," snorted Ariel.
    Belkis growled, "I assure you, they are not, Lieutenant Commander."

    "That does not answer my question, Mister Saleb," barked Leone. Realizing that it was futile to even attempt to get a straight answer from either of them, she sighed. "Mister Aspinall."

    "Sir?"

    "Set a course for Earth."

    "Aye, sir. Altering course to three-zero-one mark twelve."

    "That's in the opposite direction, Captain," said Saleb. "We can make repairs at the fortress."

    "I'm sure we could. However, while I appreciate your self-preservation in helping to protect this ship, you still have to answer for stealing Federation property, and taking almost two hundred people away from their homes!" She turned to Nieves. "Wilson, I want a security team on the bridge, with their sidearms!"

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

    Doh.

    Thanks for reading,

    -- ZC
     
  13. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Gah! You’re leaving us hanging?! :wtf:

    On a serious note, you’ve given us a great start to this tale. Compelling three-dimensional characters, an undermanned ship sent who-knows-where in the galaxy at the whim of alien freedom fighters, and a mysterious new enemy.

    Looking forward to more.
     
  14. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    Heh, well, the 'special' act is coming up, so I need to make arrangements to host it offline so I don't get in trouble with the moderator.

    -- ZC
     
  15. HyperionReborn

    HyperionReborn Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Location:
    HyperionReborn
    I concur with Gibraltar - the story is excellent so far. I like your writing style, it's vivid and descriptive. I also like the characters you've given us so far, and especially the interplay between Leone and Elannis. My only nitpick comes at the beginning - it's obviously meant to be a fast paced teaser, and the use of every character's full rank and names drags it down, if only for a second. Other than that, I give you an unreserved thumbs up.
     
  16. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    Thanks for your kind words and I'm glad that you enjoyed the story so far. It's funny you mentioned the teaser, because that actually was a sticking point with another reader (not here) who was wanting to know names and ranks. :)

    I guess I can't please everyone. ;)

    -- ZC
     
  17. HyperionReborn

    HyperionReborn Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Location:
    HyperionReborn
    My thinking is, that's what Act I is for. ;)
     
  18. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I have made some arrangements, and will be posting more of the second episode soon. :) Check back tomorrow.

    -- ZC
     
  19. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    Act IV is the naughty one, and in order to read it, you need to be registered at the HopeStation.net Repository. It's free and they don't sell your info to /anyone/. I can't post it here because the moderator has asked me to consider the ramifications of positing something that might be offensive as per the rules of the BBS. So, I'm warning you up front, now.

    Here's Act II!:
    --------------------------------
    Within the confines of the bridge observation lounge, a majority of the senior staff gathered around the long curved table. Rather than sitting at the end of the table, Leone sat in the middle on the side that faced the viewports. Ariel sat on her immediate left, in her place as the acting executive officer.

    "The debris that penetrated the aft deflector caused major damage to the warp coils, Captain," reported Petra, as she stood in front of the starboard side viewscreen to give her damage assessment. "Luckily, with our scheduled warp trials, we are carrying spares aboard, but I'm not quite ready to sign off on warp drive, just yet."

    Leone nodded. "How long to make the replacements and get us up and running?"

    Petra did the calculations out loud. "Sixteen hours for the coil replacements, give or take an hour. It'll take longer to repair the damage to the plasma vents; an additional twelve hours. I'll say at least a day, maybe a day and a half if we have to fight some more, sir."

    "Start your repairs. Let's not waste any time. Did you find out what our friends in the brig did to the navigational deflector?"

    "The device that was connected to the control computer burned up and left very little to go through, sir. Luckily, there does not appear to be any long-term damage to the deflector itself; we just had to replace a few isolinear optical chips and a stretch of ODN cable."

    "I would say we were lucky, there, but given the nature of our guests, that might have been by design," said the captain. She turned to Ariel, "Given our present position, how long would it take to reach Earth at maximum warp?"

    "Thirty to forty years," said Ariel. "That's if we had the luxury of running at maximum warp the entire time. Which we don't."

    Leone nodded slowly. "So, longer, then."

    "Add another five to ten years to the trip, unless we happen to recreate what they did to our ship, or we get lucky and find a wormhole or some other space-time anomaly that'll help us out."

    "Noted. Doctor, crew status?"

    Sovera replied, "Minor injuries, such as lacerations and bruises were brought to my staff's attention."

    "Nothing more serious than that?"

    "No."

    "Lucky."

    The doctor agreed with a slight incline of her head. "Most fortunate, considering the violent nature of the shockwave's effect." She continued, "I have examined our guests at your request and have found that both underwent extreme dermal alterations to appear human. Mister Saleb is actually carrying an exoskeleton which is covered by a synthetic dermal layer to not show his... scales, so to speak. Mister Belkis, on the other hand, could be considered human, although his DNA has some drift between his species and homo sapiens."

    "They're different races?"

    "That is correct."

    "Did they tell you what race they are?"

    "They did not appear to provide me with much information, other than they are oxygen-nitrogen breathers, same as most carbon-based lifeforms discovered throughout the galaxy," replied Sovera. "Both have declined to be restored to their natural state."

    "Now that the cat's out of the bag, I wonder what would be the point?" asked Ariel.

    Leone ignored Ariel's question. "We'll respect their decision for the time being, unless the doctor believes there is any more subterfuge to be gained from it."

    "The ship's computer can now distinguish their lifesigns. It will be easier for them to be tracked than before," said Sovera.

    "All right," said Leone. "Since our departure from Antares, I've asked Commander Elannis to stand in as acting first officer. As I expected to have at least completed the first day's trials by now, and not halfway across the galaxy, I will need to make further temporary appointments to fill key positions. Therefore, I am designating Lieutenant Nieves as second officer."

    The rest of the table accepted the news with a nod or a quiet verbal acknowledgement.

    "Unless there's any other news...?"

    No one said anything.

    Here's Act II. It turns out I misread the Acts. Act IV is the 'naughty' one. Enjoy!

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

    "Then with the exception of the commander, here, you're all dismissed."

    ---- Scene Change ----

    A four-man security team stood over Saleb and Belkis as they sat within the observation lounge. As a testament to Belkis' formidable presence, two of the security guards were chosen specifically for their strength and ability to contain a larger target. Saleb wore the same little smile he did when he first appeared on the bridge, while Belkis scowled at the fact that he was being handled against his will. Their equipment lay out on the table, out of reach near the head on the starboard side.

    "Let's start at the beginning, shall we?" said Leone, from across the table.

    Belkis and Saleb traded nods of their head, indicating that the other should proceed first. Finally, Belkis growled, "You tell them. It was your idea."

    Saleb grinned. "Yes, it was," he said, proudly. "All right. So, in the beginning, the Kasui were a somewhat underdeveloped bipedal species living on a planet near the edge of known Tristnor space about three hundred years ago."

    "I am a Kasui," announced Belkis. "Twenty-five years ago, following centuries of enslavement and conditioning, my people determined that our existence as slaves to the Hegemony required extreme change. We live in a caste society, and my people are at the bottom of the system. We are bred for service, hunted for sport, raped, forced to perform dangerous labor; we are in complete and submissive service to all of the other races for any whim they desire."

    "Okay, and Mister Saleb is one of the other, less subjugated races?" asked Ariel.

    "No, I am a Tristnor," answered Saleb. "Top of the proverbial heap."

    "How nice for you," Leone commented, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

    "It wasn't, really. The Hegemony may treat the other races like property, but when you're among the elite, they demand much more of you there," said Saleb, his smile dropping somewhat. "I am... was... one of their most brilliant minds in the area of quantum-level propulsion. My studies have led to a breakthrough of a new method of propulsion that the Hegemony is very interested in. A quantum-level manipulation of space-time, which would allow a ship to traverse great distances by way of an anomaly."

    "Prior to that," interrupted Belkis annoyedly, "there was a growing faction of Kasui who had freed themselves and acquired Tristnor technology and ships in order to try and free as many of the Kasui as possible."

    Ariel leaned forward, her interest obviously piqued. "Is the aim of your group to destroy or overthrow the Tristnor?"

    Belkis shook his head. "No. We just want to rescue as many of our people as possible, and find a new place to call home. Someplace far enough away from the Tristnor that would allow us to build our own military and defenses."

    Saleb continued, "As much as I was involved with a number of projects relating to the conquest of other worlds, our goal was to attempt a full systems integration of this new drive system into one of their frigates for testing. We got to the third stage, before I decided-"

    "We," corrected Belkis.

    Saleb gave him a sheepish grin. "We. Sorry."

    "Forgiven."

    "We decided to pull the plug... forcibly. Giving the Tristnor this level of technology would mean that no section of the universe would be safe. And so, it was decided, that we needed to find another more advanced race to help us."

    "The threat of the Tristnor being what it is, I suppose I can see the threat to the Federation. However, what I fail to hear is that you approached the Federation in a more open manner." Leone looked at Saleb with narrowed eyes. "I assume you reached Federation space using your handy invention?"

    "We equipped a starskiff with the beta device." Both officers gave him confused looks. He explained, "It's for ships that might have an inadequate system for generating a quantum field. It includes a quantum field generator."

    "How long ago was this?"

    "We arrived roughly three months ago, and started studying Federation culture with particular emphasis on Starfleet."

    "In your studies, did it not occur to you that approaching us in friendship would be a better option?" Leone's tone turned edgy.

    Belkis cleared his throat. "Do not get upset at him. He did suggest approaching a Starfleet ship under a flag of truce and explaining the situation. I forced him to adopt-"

    "Hold on, now. It wasn't all your idea. I was the one who came up with stealing a ship in refit," complained Saleb quickly. "You were the one who was determined to steal the Enterprise!"

    "The Enterprise?" said Ariel with a blink. "Worf alone would have ripped you two in half, let alone the others."

    Belkis looked embarrassed. "In our studies, the ship named Enterprise is legendary in your history. We thought it was a logical choice."

    Leone and Ariel shared an amused look. "Yeah," said Leone, "they are pretty well-known in our neck of the woods."

    "Being on a deep-space exploration mission, Enterprise was obviously out of our reach, being that we required a vessel powerful enough to help us. We were able to use some techniques to gather information about ship locations and status," said Saleb. "The Nebula-class heavy cruiser is comparable to the Galaxy-class, and luckily we found Farragut undergoing several system upgrades."

    Ariel snorted. "Lucky."

    "Yes, well, er... be that as it may, we felt that it was better... how do you say it... ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. We arranged to have ourselves admitted as civilian engineers on the refit team approximately one month ago. We installed the alpha device the night before launch within your primary navigational deflector's control computer, to run a warp plasma power node through the deflector dish and create the anomaly."

    "So we've seen," said Leone. "And from what I understand, the device is now burnt out and useless. Leaving one hundred seven-four people stranded deep within the Beta Quadrant, involved in a war with a race they know nothing about." Her tone grew in intensity as she laid out the obvious. "You have deliberately plunged the Federation into war with a species it hasn't even made first contact with!"

    "Uh, all circumstance aside," said Ariel, placing a hand on her captain's shoulder and squeezing it gently to remind her of their surroundings, "how did a Tristnor like yourself get mixed up with the rebel Kasui?"

    Belkis chuckled. "Saleb is hopelessly in love with my sister," he said, matter-of-factly.

    Shocked, Saleb turned his head toward Belkis. His mouth hung open and the air of smug superiority vanished completely. "N-No! I mean... how you could possibly know that?!"

    Belkis smirked. He ignored him and continued, "My youngest sister was a lab slave that brought them whatever they needed throughout the day. Her name is Bettis, and Saleb took a strong liking to her."

    Saleb looked down on the table, furious. "Please tell me how you know that."

    Preventing Belkis from speaking any further, Leone said sharply, "Perhaps we could move on to topics that bear directly on our predicament." She placed her hands on the table and looked at the upset Saleb. "Mister Saleb, is it possible to get this ship back to Federation space?"

    In a dejected tone, Saleb said quietly, "Yes."

    "How?"

    Saleb said nothing, obviously upset.

    "Mister Saleb, I require an answer."

    Composing himself quickly, Saleb replied, "The remnants of the alpha device are not useless, as you put it, Captain. They require a replacement of the core crystal that runs the device. It was not entirely compatible with Federation systems, so I had to construct an isolinear-based bridge between the two systems."

    "That must have been what Petra had to replace," remarked Leone to Ariel. "Where do we find a replacement for your device, Mister Saleb?"

    "We find the frigate we were testing and we can replace the whole unit, if need be."

    "I take it that the frigate is not in an area where it could easily found?"

    Belkis looked at Saleb. "What do you think? Stage three?"

    "It would be the right time for it," answered Saleb. "Yes... yes. They would have started back to the first stage with the devices taken." He turned to Leone. "We took both the alpha and the beta from the lab during transfer to the frigate for installation. But, there were backup units built in case the primaries were destroyed during testing.

    "Wouldn't they have been tested alongside the primaries, though?"

    "They were. But we destroyed all of the testing data before we left."

    Ariel asked, "So they'd be forced to start over?"

    Belkis nodded. "It gave us some time to find you and bring you here."

    Leone rose from her seat, satisfied with the information so far. "We've already destroyed one of their ships, and based on the information you've shared with us regarding their technology, they appear to be comparable in technology to the races near the Federation. I'm not sure if they would actually present a threat to the Federation or not, but I agree that an culture bent on total domination of the Milky Way would meet with some resistance where I come from."

    Ariel stood up, as did Belkis and Saleb. Saleb asked, "Can we count on your assistance?"

    "I... don't know," admitted Leone. Off their disappointed expressions, she added, "It's the best I can do. This isn't a decision I can make lightly and I do appreciate that time is of the essence. My first priority is to find a peaceful way to extricate ourselves from this conflict and get my people back home," she told all of them. "Ensign, please see to it that our guests are escorted back to the brig."

    "Aye, sir."

    "The brig!" squealed Saleb as the security team moved to escort them away. "Captain, may we please not be treated like criminals?"

    Leone snapped, "You are criminals, Mister Saleb! Until I make my decision, I want you as far away from computer access as possible." Just before they left, she called after them, "You'll have my decision in one hour."

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

    So, will she or won't she? You know she will. It would suck to be left out in the Beta Quadrant with no friends. But there's that pesky Prime Directive to consider...

    Thanks for reading, and if you can I would great appreciate some reviews at the HopeStation.net Repository. Mistral's posting stuff over there, too. :)

    -- ZC
     
  20. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    This segment provided some timely backstory for our two antagonists, revealing the how’s and why’s of Farragut’s journey deep into the Beta Quadrant. Leone is now firmly lodged between a rock and a hard place. She’s inadvertently entered into a shooting war with an imperialistic species, and has unknowingly aided rebels against that government. How the hell do you talk your way out of that? And how do you keep from having to shoot your way out?

    I guess I’ll have to log in to HopeStation.net to find the answers. ;)
     

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