Star Trek: Pathfinder #1 - The Siren's Call

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by jerriecan, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Teague's just begun ringing the dinner bell. "Come and get it!" :lol:

    Gutsy, to be sure... especially with no backup available. I hope they're up to the task.
     
  2. jerriecan

    jerriecan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
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    So do I. I think so, but we may all be surprised. :rommie:

    Thanks for the kind words!

    Jerriecan
     
  3. jerriecan

    jerriecan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Star Trek: Pathfinder
    The Siren's Call - Part Seven

    USS Pathfinder
    en route to Sector Nineteen
    May 7, 2163


    "We're the bait."

    All eyes in the briefing room turned away from Amara and back to Teague. Beaumont clamped her mouth closed, trying not to utter the words ‘That's insane' out loud, and by the looks on the other officers' faces they were all sharing the same thought.

    "Indeed we are, but I have no intention of getting caught in a trap," Teague said.

    He tapped a few keys and the briefing room filled with the distorted warble of a man's voice, heavily distorted by static. "... stay away from the call," the voice said, and for the second time Beaumont felt a chill. "Whatever you do, stay away from the siren's call..." The voice was obliterated by noise, and Teague cut the playback, leaving the room in silence. "That was the last transmission received from the Roosevelt," he said. "Voiceprint analysis has determined the speaker to Commander Alvin Williston, the Roosevelt's chief engineer. As for what it could mean..."

    Teague's voice trailed off as he tapped another button, and the wallscreen display changed to a waveform analysis of a subspace signal. "Starfleet cryptologists managed to detect a second subspace signal in the background of this transmission, some kind of bleed-through from the original. They think it may be related to the disappearances."

    "A weapon of some kind?" T'Vril said.

    "They're not sure. Nobody seems to have seen anything like it before." Teague gestured toward Kassin. "I want you and Commander Beaumont to process this signal through every filter you can think of. Pick it apart. Starfleet will update us with any progress they make, but..."

    "It may come too late," Amara finished. "If at all."

    Teague nodded. "That's why I want all divisions running combat and damage control drills. Commander T'Vril will coordinate. We're six days from the Roosevelt's last known location. By the time we arrive, I want this crew ready to deal with whatever we might encounter. Make it happen. Dismissed."

    The senior officers quickly departed, leaving Teague alone - save one. Amara remained seated, his arms folded across his chest, lips pressed together. Finally he said, "I don't like this. Feels like some stunt you'd pull back on the front lines."

    "Don't hold back, Rik," Teague said, standing up and returning to the viewport. "Why don't you tell me how you really feel?"

    "It's not funny, Lorrie," Amara said, annoyed with his old friend's gentle teasing. "The war's over, remember? We won. What's the point in sacrificing our lives - "

    "Potentially."

    " - potentially sacrificing the lives of this crew, to say nothing of Starfleet's most advanced starship?" Amara shook his head. "We're part of the largest fleet ever assembled. We have the means to get more ships out here, to make a proper search for whoever - or whatever - is behind this."

    "Which would take days to coordinate and weeks to actually arrive," Teague replied. "Starfleet is already assembling a task force, but pulling a dozen ships from their regular patrols will leave extensive gaps - and that just might be the true goal of whoever is responsible for these disappearances. We can't take that chance, not now."

    "You're worried about public opinion shifting against colonizing the sector," Amara said.

    "It's bigger than that. The Federation is putting its future on the line here. If Starfleet can't even protect a handful of merchant ships in a relatively small area, who's going to believe we can protect the whole Federation?" Teague leaned forward and rested his hands on the table, looking straight at Amara. "Faith in the Federation is tenuous enough. People on all sides are just looking for a reason to back out. I won't give them that, not after everything we've had to endure."

    "Even if it means we have to die," Amara said grimly.

    Teague looked away and stared out the viewport at the stars streaking past. "Let's make sure it doesn't come to that."

    To Be Continued...
     
  4. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Teague summarizes the importance of their situation nicely here. This assignment is as much a vote of confidence in Starfleet and the Federation as it is a recon mission.

    I'm loving the way you're weaving the history of this little-known era at the dawn of the Federation's history. :techman:
     
  5. jerriecan

    jerriecan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Star Trek: Pathfinder
    The Siren's Call - Part Nine

    USS Pathfinder
    en route to Sector Nineteen
    May 10, 2163


    Lt. Cmdr. Andrei Kassin, science officer of the USS Pathfinder, leaned back from the table and rubbed his eyes. "This," he announced, "is a mess."

    For the past three days, he and Commander Beaumont had been in the main Science Lab, breaking down the last signal received from the Roosevelt. They had tried to separate the signal into the main transmission sent by the Roosevelt, the natural noise of subspace, and another signal that was so powerful it has bled through onto the Roosevelt distress call - which was the one they wanted to isolate. Their quarry was slippery, though, and every time they seemed to close in the computer rejected another chunk of it as noise, forcing them to start all over. Worst of all was the nagging feeling that he had seen this signal before, a maddening feeling when he couldn't even separate it from the noise in the first place. On the tablescreen, bits of the signal flashed blue and vanished as the computer determined them to be part of the noise. "It'll take weeks for the computer to sort this out," he continued.

    Reluctantly, Beaumont nodded. Her cortical co-processor was efficiently working through the data, but just didn't have the power to analyze it as a whole. All it could do was provide her with a tiny fragment at a time, which was even less helpful than the main computer's output. "Maybe Starfleet is having better luck. Our systems just weren't designed to perform deep-level subspace analysis."

    In one corner of the tablescreen, the computer was still processing the verbal component of the Roosevelt signal bit-by-bit, and had reconstructed an almost crystal-clear playback. Kassin thumped a switch and cut the quiet words off - listening over and over to the last words of a vanished ship was worse than useless, it was a distraction when they could least afford it. Besides, their target wasn't there - it was buried deeper, somewhere in the noise. "This signal degradation is severe," Kassin said. "Must have traveled several light-years before the repeater picked it up."

    Subspace repeater stations were springing up all across the Federation, mostly along well-traveled routes but quickly spreading into the more remote areas. Their purpose was to pick up subspace broadcasts, amplify them, and send them along to the next repeater, ensuring a minimal loss of quality over vast distances. Many ships - and all Starfleet ships - had their subspace transmitters automatically locate and connect with the nearest repeater as they came into range, eliminating the need to try and locate one during an emergency.

    Beaumont frowned and brought up a graphic of the area where the Roosevelt had vanished. Several dots were flashing blue, each one representing the location of a subspace repeater station. The nearest one to the Roosevelt's last known location was barely half a light year distant. "Why would the signal not have been sent to the nearest repeater?" she said.

    Kassin brought up the signal log, which contained the record of every system that particular signal had encountered. "First repeater contact was here," he said, isolating a repeater six light years from the Roosevelt's last location - and which was almost the opposite direction from the closest repeater. "That doesn't make sense - someone would have had to override the system and choose that repeater manually. They would have known they'd lose signal coherence over that distance."

    "Maybe they weren't worried about the coherence," Beaumont said. Her fingers flew over the controls, and a handful of white dots appeared. "These are all the star systems within a quarter of a light-year of the transmission path from the Roosevelt to the repeater."

    Kassin brought up the details of each of the three star systems. "Not much there," he said. "These two have no habitable planets, and the third, Tau Delta, only has one - and it can hardly be considered habitable."

    Beaumont brought up the details in her mind, the data flowing from the ship to her implant to her brain over a low-strength subspace signal. Tau Delta IV was habitable only by the barest of margins - the planet had an axial tilt of almost forty degrees and wobbled back and forth almost randomly, creating seasonal variations of almost two hundred degrees between summer and winter average temperatures. That alone had made it unsuitable for any terraforming effort, and the lack of any worthwhile natural materials had left the system of no interest to anyone - except someone who didn't want to be found. "I don't think they were worried about the words," she said. "The transmission was a pointer, a guide. It showed the direction the Roosevelt wanted us to go." She pointed at the Tau Delta system. "That's where they came from."

    "Pretty thin logic, Commander," Kassin said. "Whoever overrode the signal could have been impaired, under duress. The Roosevelt's transmitter could have been damaged. Even if an attacker came at the Roosevelt from that bearing, that doesn't mean they came from that system. I could come up with a dozen other reasons to explain what happened."

    "We'll be at the Roosevelt's last coordinates in three days," Beaumont said. "I doubt we'll find anything more than the Vulcan cruiser did, not after so long. I'm open to ideas for some other direction to search - unless you want to sit and wait for another attack, maybe on us this time?"

    Kassin opened his mouth, then closed it again without offering his thoughts. "I'll... keep working on it. Ma'am."

    "Good." Beaumont stood and stretched, her neck aching from leaning over the tablescreen for so long without a break. "I need to stretch my legs. Want anything from the galley?"

    "Just more coffee," Kassin said, pointing at the empty carafe in the corner. Beaumont nodded and stepped out into the corridor, leaving Kassin alone in the lab. As soon as she was gone, he frowned and touched the console, bringing the signal analysis back to dominate the tablescreen. He gazed at the peaks and valleys of the signal, seeing the echoes of smooth curves that the computer had not recognized buried beneath the noise -

    "Achilles," he murmured.

    To Be Continued...
     
  6. ambessalion

    ambessalion Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    love the cover....especially the logo symbol you designed

    love the uniforms and the aliens you created

    great story as well!
     
  7. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Your fantastic work on this tale continues. I love the level of detail you've achieved here.
     
  8. BlackFire3

    BlackFire3 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    DES Pathfinder
    as was said by many others here, your story is very well written. i'll definitely be checking back here for each new instalment you post
     
  9. jerriecan

    jerriecan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Star Trek: Pathfinder
    The Siren's Call - Part Ten

    USS Pathfinder
    en route to Sector Nineteen
    May 13, 2163


    "Dropping out of warp... now."

    The Pathfinder's engines powered down and the warp field dissipated quickly, dropping the ship to below the speed of light. On the bridge all eyes were fixed on their stations, scrutinizing the readouts for any signs of the enemy - whoever, or whatever, it might be.

    Just as predicted, nothing more had been found at the last known location of the Roosevelt. Whatever particle trails that might have been left behind by weapon fire or engine emissions had long since dissipated, and the only debris was normal interstellar dust no larger than grains of sand. Pathfinder had lingered for barely an hour before setting course for the Tau Delta system.

    Commander Beaumont stood beside T'Vril at the tactical station, watching the details of the star system resolve on the screen. Tau Delta was class-K, older and cooler than Sol, with six planets. The three innermost were small, airless rocks, the outer two were gas giants each larger than Jupiter, and the last - the fourth planet - was just barely habitable. Scattered between the orbits of the gas giants was a patchy asteroid belt which spread wider with each pass of either planet. Ultimately the entire belt would vanish, either consumed by the gravity of the giant worlds or flung out of the star system altogether, but that fate was billions of years distant.

    Today, all that mattered was that something could be concealed among those rocks.

    T'Vril flipped a switch on her console. "Beginning tactical scan," she said. From the pod slung beneath the saucer hull, invisible beams sprang forward, looking for anything out of the ordinary - significant masses of refined materials, or high-output energy sources that could be antimatter or fusion powerplants. For several minutes the beams swept the system, until at last the console emitted a muted beep. "No indications of enemy presence, sir," T'Vril said at last.

    "Doesn't mean they aren't here," Teague said. "Lt. Marakis, plot a course that takes within detailed scan range of the gas giants and then to the fourth planet. Lt. Webb, make our speed one-half impulse. Nice and leisurely."

    "Aye, sir," Webb replied, setting the controls. At that speed, it would take the Pathfinder the better part of a day to make orbit.

    Teague looked over at T'Vril. "Commander, suspend active scans. Passive only."

    "Sir?" Beaumont said.

    "Let's make it look like we're sightseers," Teague explained. "Just out on a normal sweep, straight out of the manual. Let's make whoever might be watching us think they have us right where they want us." He leaned forward, eyes fixed on the main viewscreen.

    Kassin was peering into the sensor hood. "No obvious signs of habitation," he said. "No EM emissions of any kind except for normal background noise."

    "Very good. Webb... take us in."

    Slowly the Pathfinder made her way toward the inner system, easing past the outermost gas giant before angling toward the next planet in. A million kilometers from Tau Delta V, Kassin's console chirped. "Contact, sir." He leaned closer to the hood, concentrating on the trace.

    "Source?"

    "In stable orbit around the fifth planet," Kassin replied. He relayed his findings to the main viewscreen. "I'm reading multiple contacts of significant mass, but no traces of power. Readings indicate the ships are pretty much stripped to the frames."

    Tegan shivered as she saw how the ships were arranged. "It's a boneyard," she said.

    "Lieutenant?" T'Vril said.

    "It's a typical Wrecker layout," Webb said, referring to the unsavory individuals who made their living by stealing others' ships - while still being used by their rightful owners. "Seize the ships, then bring them somewhere quiet and strip them to the frames. Whole ships are tough to dispose of, but parts can go through a dozen hands before anyone gets wise to the scheme."

    "What about the crews?" Beaumont said.

    "Some Wreckers press them into service, others dump them off on the closest inhabitable planet. Some just leave the crew where they found the ship - in deep space."

    "I'd say we're in the right place," Teague said. "Tactical alert. Bring weapons and hull plating to standby. Go to active scanning - if they're out there, I want to see them coming - "

    Beaumont's shriek filled the bridge before he could complete the sentence.

    To Be Continued...
     
  10. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    There's a genuine sense of mystery here, a 'what the hell is going on?' that's entirely appropriate to the early age of the Federation, before space travel became routine. They're also playing for high stakes, too...

    As always, extremely well written. :techman:
     
  11. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They've stumbled into trouble faster than I'd imagined, at least that's how it appears so far.

    Heavens help the crews of those stripped and parted-out ships... but I doubt whomever's responsible is terribly merciful.

    Great installment.
     
  12. jerriecan

    jerriecan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Star Trek: Pathfinder
    The Siren's Call - Part Eleven

    USS Pathfinder
    Tau Delta system, Sector Nineteen
    May 13, 2163


    Beaumont collapsed to the deck, hands clasped to the sides of her head, the sound of her own scream lost in the cacophony raging in her consciousness. It was like a thousand overlapping shouts - gibbering, raging, terrified, all echoing through her skull at the same time, unheard by anyone else. Time seemed to distort, words dragging out as each moment became an eternity of agony.

    "Commander!" Webb said as she rose from her seat, but Teague pinned her with a glare.

    "At your post, Lieutenant!" Teague snapped. "Kassin, I want a full scan of the area. T'Vril, tend to the Commander." He slapped his palm down on the comm switch built into the armrest of his seat. "Medical emergency. Medical team to the bridge."

    The gruff voice of Dr. Ranik came through the speaker. "What kind of emergency?"

    "Commander Beaumont is having some kind of seizure."

    "We're already on the way," Ranik said. "Stay out from underfoot."

    "Understood, Doctor."

    Beaumont curled up into a ball as the screams tore at her mind, coming in waves, crashing against her thoughts over and over again -

    In a pattern, she realized.

    Struggling against her own misfiring neurons, Beaumont raised her head, biting back the cries still howling for escape. She looked up at T'Vril, who was kneeling beside her, and tried to speak. "H - help m-me," she said. "Help m-me up."

    T'Vril hesitated for only a moment before looping her left arm around Beaumont's back and under her arm, then pulled the first officer to her feet. Beaumont staggered to the tactical console, gripping the edge of the screen with her left hand while she stabbed at the controls with her right.

    "Commander Beaumont, what are you doing?" Teague said, pulling his attention away from the potential ambush they had stumbled into.

    Beaumont ignored him, focusing on the screen in front of her and the madness in her mind. She tried to focus, to strip out the static, until all she could feel was the frequency of the screams, the pulses that kept repeating. She entered a series of numbers, separating a faint signal from the local background noise, something just barely able to register on the ship's sensors, until she had isolated a ultra-low band subspace frequency - the same one that was playing havoc with her implant. "Jam it," she said, then fell forward, her knees going limp.

    T'Vril caught her with ease and lowered her to the deck as the turbolift door slid open to admit Dr. Ranik and two medics. Over at the communications station, Sarria was looking on in shock at the situation. "Ensign!" T'Vril said. "Initiate a reciprocal signal on subspace band K! Drown out that whole band."

    Kassin was gripped with panic as Sarria snapped back to the moment and worked her console, setting the subspace transceivers to radiate a signal that drowned out the almost undetectable signal that had nearly incapacitated Beaumont. Almost instantly the screams in Beaumont's head were gone, leaving her groggy but able to control herself. Ranik ran a mediscanner over Beaumont and studied the results before grunting. "Elevated norepinephrine levels," he pronounced, "but no indication of neurological shock." He turned to Teague. "It looks a false seizure, a stress response. Whatever was causing it seems to have stopped." He turned back to Beaumont. "What happened to you?"

    "I - I'm not sure. Some kind of subspace interference in the cortical processor, I think." Beaumont shook her head, trying to clear it. "I can barely remember what happened."

    "Commander Beaumont isolated an ultra low frequency pulse on K-band subspace, broadcasting below the calibration threshold of our sensors," T'Vril said calmly. "The signal is no longer getting through."

    "Thank god for that," Webb muttered, keeping her gaze fixed on the helm controls.

    A shrill beep sounded from the science station. "Multiple contacts inbound! They're coming from behind one of the moons." Kassin said as he peered into the scanner hood, hoping that nobody had noticed how pale he had become.

    T'Vril's hands flew over the controls. "Confirmed, sir. Six vessels on an approach vector, closing at full impulse. I'm reading energy signatures - their weapons are charged."

    Teague turned to face the screen. "Battle stations."

    Teague's command was clipped off by the alert klaxon echoing through every meter of the ship. Red lights blinked on as the main lights dimmed, plunging hte bridge into blood-red dimness broken only by the glow of control consoles. Deep within the ship the main warp reactor increased its output, shunting its energy to the many particle and phase cannons mounted within the ship, just waiting for the command to be unleashed against a target. Plasma was diverted to the torpedo bay, charging a quartet of warheads that were soon locked into their launchers.

    "Can you identify them?" Teague said.

    Kassin turned to the captain. "Sir, all contacts read as Starfleet ships. Six short-range warp fighters, one Sigma-class fighter carrier - and a Daedalus-class cruiser. The Roosevelt."

    Teague felt a lump form in the pit of his belly. Pirates and wreckers he could probably handle alone - but this was a small armada, the two largest of which could easily stand toe-to-toe with the Pathfinder's firepower. And if they had control of the Roosevelt...

    "Marakis, plot an escape course."

    The navigator shook his head. "They're coming in on every vector we could use. They'd be in weapons range before we could go into warp."

    So running was not an option, nor was fighting. "Hail them," Teague said, but Sarria was already saying "Incoming hail, Captain," before he could finish the first word.

    "Put it on screen." Teague watched as the visual of the approaching ships was replaced by the image of an aging starship bridge, worn by age and combat. Seated in the captain's chair was a dark-skinned man, a long black ponytail draped over his left shoulder. "This is Captain Lorcan Teague of the Federation starship Pathfinder," he said. "Power down your weapons and let's talk."

    "Or you'll do what, exactly, Captain?" the man on the screen said. "By my math, you're outnumbered and outgunned. Pathfinder may be the most advanced ship in Starfleet, but even the Hero of Hell's Gate can't beat these odds."

    Beaumont slowly stood, her mind clear, ignoring the protests of Dr. Ranik as he continued to scan her. She knew that voice, had listened to it for years aboard the Fearless during the war. On shaky legs she stepped onto the lower deck. "Hello, Isaac. It's been... a long time."

    On the screen, Isaac Proudfoot - former captain in Starfleet, former commanding officer of the UES Fearless - sat back, his expression guarded. "It certainly has, Isobel," he said. "I only wish this meeting could have been under... more pleasant circumstances."

    "More pleasant," Beaumont said. "Sir, what have you been doing out here? What are you trying to do, start a war?"

    Proudfoot shook his head. "Just the opposite - I'm trying to end one." He looked at Teague. "Captain, you have my word that neither you nor your crew will be harmed - on the condition that you send over Commander Beaumont to hear our terms for the Federation."

    "Terms? This isn't a negotiation," Teague said. He knew Proudfoot's reputation, that Proudfoot had once been among the best of Starfleet's commanders. "The Federation won't negotiate with terrorists."

    "I'm aware of that, and I'm no terrorist," Proudfoot said. "I assure you, Captain, you'll see things differently after I've had the chance to explain my side. Let us beam Commander Beaumont aboard. I'll give you two minutes to think it over." He raised a hand in a cutting motion and the screen went dim as the audio was cut.

    Teague looked at Beaumont, his face creased with worry. "Commander, are you all right?"

    "Seem to be, sir. Whatever it was is gone now."

    "I need to check her over down in Sickbay," Ranik said. "There may be damage a hand scanner can't detect."

    "I only wish we had the time," Teague replied. "But Proudfoot has us on a tight schedule, and I don't like the odds. Commander, we need more information about this signal - what it is, how it works. Proudfoot thinks he can get you on his side. We need him to trust you - and we can't let him figure out how we kept his signal from incapacitating us."

    Beaumont hesitated only for a moment. "Aye, sir."

    Teague turned back to the screen and nodded to Sarria. A moment later, Proudfoot spoke. "What's the call, Captain?"

    "No transporters," Teague said. "We'll send Beaumont over in a shuttlepod. She'll be ready to go in ten minutes."

    Proudfoot smiled grimly. "We'll be waiting for her."

    The End

    The Adventures of the USS Pathfinder will continue in...

    [​IMG]

    Coming Soon
     
  13. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Gah, what a cliffhanger! :scream:

    What at first seemed to be some kind of alien incursion or a band of highly organized pirates now appears to be betrayal from within the ranks.

    This Proudfoot character sounds as though he's the Garth of Izar of his day, and doubtless not somone Teague wants to tangle with (at least not with the odds so far against him).

    Can't wait to see how this plays out.
     
  14. BlackFire3

    BlackFire3 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Location:
    DES Pathfinder
    nice ending. i can't help but think of your story as an actual series episode. :)

    can't wait to "watch" the next one.
     
  15. jerriecan

    jerriecan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Thanks for the kind words! I'm glad the surprise worked - I wasn't sure it would be any good for the reader. As for Proudfoot being compared to Garth of Izar, I hadn't considered that. But you're dead on about Teague not wanting to take on Proudfoot's fleet directly.

    Stay tuned for the second part of the story, beginninglater this week. :-)
     
  16. jerriecan

    jerriecan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Glad you're enjoying the tale so far. :-)
     
  17. ambessalion

    ambessalion Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    dude....this is an even better cover!

    and great chapter too
     
  18. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Aaaargh! A cliffhanger! This reminds me somewhat of a two hour long pilot episode, cut in half to fit a regular TV slot.

    Looking forward to the continuation of this. And a fantastic cover too.:techman:
     
  19. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    (From my comments at Tales of the 11th Fleet)

    Jerriecan - I just finished "The Siren's Call." Great story - there aren't too many tales from this era and you've done a bang-up job of putting together a believable crew and an engaging plot. Superb writing and imagery - I'm looking forward to "The Prodigal Captain." [​IMG]
     

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