Star Trek: Republic

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by MasterArminas, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Nineteen (cont.)

    “They managed to breach the inhibitor field by a combination of factors, Captain,” the Trill engineer reported as he shook his head. “First, they massively increased their transporter power—far beyond the amount we had previously witnessed. The good news is that their entire vessels power reserves dropped precipitously when they did this, and based on their observed rate of power regeneration, it isn’t something they can do quickly.”

    “Second, they showed a capacity for using an extremely high frequency of sub-space; a frequency that our inhibitor did not fully cover. Sensor logs from their transport indicate their transporter was refocused into the tau-bands.”

    Chan shook his head in disbelief. “Didn’t the Federation abandon research into tau-band transporter frequencies because of cellular degradation?”

    “Yes, and the surviving Nephkyrie boarders are showing some signs of cellular disruption; their armor incorporates a miniaturized pattern buffer that alleviated the worst of effect, reinforcing their pattern and minimizing the damage. Still, multiple transports in the tau-band will be as fatal for them as it would be for us.”

    “And finally,” Nat continued, “they made no attempt to gain a transporter lock. The boarding party they beamed across was a blind transportation into open compartments their sensors had already identified. Of the one hundred and six Nephkyrie beamed aboard ship, seven materialized either partially or fully within a deck, overhead, bulkhead, or piece of equipment.”

    Several of Matt’s senior officers winced at the thought, but the captain only nodded his understanding. “Mister Malik, how soon can they regenerate their power reserves from this previous attempt?”

    “They will have to spend at least an hour restoring their energy, Captain; that estimate is based only on the power production capability we have so far witnessed. If they have an additional means to produce the power, they might restore it faster.”

    “Mister Beck?”

    “We have all of the surviving Nephkyrie contained in Cargo Four, Sir. Our automated anti-intruder defenses, combined with the rapid reaction teams managed to neutralize their boarding party in short order. From our examination of their small arms, they lack the technology for hand phasers; however, their weapons are an early from of sonic disruptor that includes a stun setting. For the most part, they used the weapons on stun, perhaps in an attempt to gain more human subjects, but there were a few casualties among the crew. Their armor is lightweight and capable of absorbing and dissipating kinetic, laser, disruptor, and—to a limited extent—phaser energy. Tactically, their troops were well-trained in a basic manner, but appeared to lack actual combat experience. That may be due to their cramped conditions aboard that ship—but we shouldn’t underestimate them.”

    “Individually, they are stronger, faster, and tougher than the majority of our personnel. It was their lack of experience in combat situations that allowed us to quickly overcome them. I don’t think they were prepared for our level of resistance, and they had no contingency plans and failed to coordinate their activities across the ship. If I am reading their insignia correctly, their senior officer materialized within a bulkhead on Deck Four, depriving them of leadership at a crucial moment.”

    “Dr. Talbot?”

    “The crew suffered numerous casualties in the engagement; thankfully, most of those are bruises and minor cuts, as well as hangovers from the stun weapons. We had a number of more severe injuries, but none—including Miss Biddle—are life-threatening. Dr. Tsien and I have been studying the Nephkyrie physiology based on our prisioners and we, along with Dr. Woolsey and the Biological Sciences division believe that we might be able to manufacture a treatment for their genetic disorder in a few days. We will have to test the serum to see if it is effective, however.”

    Pavel Roshenko shook his head. “Why don’t they just clone the human DNA in vats; why do they need living, breathing humans?”

    Quincy frowned. “In the short term, that might work. But it is their own cloning and genetic engineering techniques that have led to this problem. And since the majority of their population is in stasis—and according to the sensor scans conducted by Amanda, so are our colonists—they might not have the capacity in their medical labs to clone so much different tissue. I am guessing here, but I’d say, based on what I have seen of their ship’s internal layout, that much of their equipment is stored, to be unpacked when they reach New Columbia.”

    “And their current numbers of crew are not nearly as overwhelming as we first estimated, Captain Dahlgren,” Amanda Tsien added. “Thirty-four thousand of the Nephkyrie are in stasis, along with all of our colonists, leaving around a thousand of them active aboard that ship. Well, less than nine hundred now,” she finished with a sad smile.

    “Miss Tsien, did our scans detect any anomalies in the colonists? Could they have started processing them within the stasis pods?” Matt asked as he tapped his stylus on the table.

    “I managed to get a good look at the colonists, Sir. No. Their life signs matched what the records show; they are in a form of cyro-stasis with their bio-signs within the expected range.”

    Matt nodded. “Doctors,” he said to Quincy and Amanda. “I want you full efforts on finding a treatment for the Nephkyrie—you are authorized to test your serum upon the prisoners. Consider that an order, Doctor Talbot!” Matt barked, cutting off Quincy as he began to snarl. “We have to know if it works. Mister Malik, make your repairs quickly, and remove those fused Nephkyrie from my ship.”

    The intercom whistled. “Bridge to Captain Dahlgren. Bridge to Captain Dahlgren.

    Matt tapped his comm badge. “Dahlgren.”

    Sir. Balao has just dropped out of warp and is moving to rendezvous with us at impulse power.

    “Acknowledge, Miss Montoya. I will be on the bridge momentarily. Hail Captain Carmichael and ask him if he would beam aboard so that I might brief him personally,” Matt turned back to the staff seated at the briefing table. “Ladies. Gentlemen. We got lucky here; these prisioners might give us the means of resolving this situation without any further violence—but only if you can come up with a treatment that works. I have confidence that you are capable of doing so; but I need not remind that time is not our ally in this circumstance. You are dismissed.”
  2. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Phew, just got all caught up with this fascinating story.

    Now while I'm not a huge fan of the more militaristic and authoritarian interpretation of the Star Trek universe, it is a clear testament to your skills as a writer that I got quickly swept up in the tale of Republic and her hard-ass captain.

    The premise is pretty darn good in itself even if perhaps not entirely original. Ship and crew fall into disgrace and the only way to safe the ship from complete dishonor is to bring in a captain who knows how to straighten out a crew which has all but given in to complacency and failure.

    And Dahlgren clearly is the right man for the job. Only barely handicapped by his hopefully temporary disability, this is a man who would feel right at home on a Klingon ship, considering his penchant for total discipline, rousing speeches and blaring battle songs across the ship.

    I thought the story is a bit long overall but that's not surprising considering that you've packed at least three, seemingly independent plots into one story. I suppose I would have expected those to be separated.

    Those stories are compelling however. From the early training sessions and getting to know the crew, to an old-fashioned throw down with a TOS-era like super computer to the current story of the incoming generation-ship, kidnapping humans for their sinister purposes in best Mass Effect fashion.

    And while those stories may have evoked others concepts, you've given them enough twists and details to make them your own.

    My only real critique at this point may be your character's tendencies to explain themselves and narrate events and often give surprisingly detailed orders. While this really creates a sense that Dahlgren is a sly old dog who knows exactly what he's doing, sometimes it feels as if it slows the story down unnecessarily with yet another speech or another plethora of orders.

    I sense that this may be inherent to your writing style however and of course there is nothing fundamentally wrong with that.

    Overall this this is an impressive Star Trek fanfic and the rate at which you seemed to have crafted this is quite mind-blowing. Yeah, I might be little jealous at your prolificacy there.

    Great job.
  3. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Thank you, CeJay. I should have the next section up later tonight; life has gotten in the way so it has slowed down. Frankly, I am surprised by how fast this has written itself: forty days since I wrote the first word. It should be wrapping up fairly soon, though.

    I am glad that you are enjoying my humble attempt to write something for Trek; this is my first story set in the Star Trek universe and it is only with the advice and comments of some local experts on spacebattles that I got some of this technical things correct.

    I do hope that you continue reading to the end (which is coming, I promise)!

    Master Arminas
  4. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    I can't hardly wait. This is some awesome stuff! :bolian:
  5. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Nineteen (cont.)

    The door to Matt’s ready room slid open and Chan walked in, his arm in a sling. Behind him walked a dark-haired human woman who wore the three pips of a Commander on her collar. She beamed a smile as Matt stood.

    “Captain Dahlgren,” the Andorian said, “may I present Commander Samantha Carmichael, the commanding officer of USS Balao.”

    Matt shook his head and he smiled as well. “You may, Mister Shrak. Sam, good to see you again; both of you take a seat,” he continued as he sat back down. “Sam, care for a drink?”

    “No thank you, Sir. I had lunch aboard Balao before we arrived. I see that we missed some excitement.”

    “You could say that, Sam,” Matt answered with a sad chuckle. “But we learned a few things about these Nephkyrie—and we’ve got a few captives aboard as well.”

    “More than few,” Chan chimed in, “we have them packed into Cargo Bay 4 like cattle, Commander Carmichael.”

    “So they gave you Balao? I knew you would get a command, Sam, but I didn’t think they would give you such a . . . little ship.”

    “It’s not the size of the waves, but the motion of the ocean, Sir,” the commander of Balao answered with a bright grin. “She’s got heart and she packs a wallop. On a good day, she can take any ship in the Fleet.”

    “I have no doubt, Sam,” Matt finished as he considered his former second officer—his Operations officer—from the old Kearsage.

    “So how are the kids?” she asked.

    “Cass starts Julliard this fall, if you can believe it. Amanda, she doesn’t like being called Amy anymore she declared in her last letter, has a crush on a young boy in her freshman class and is hoping he asks her to her first dance this fall. And Sarah is as rambunctious as ever.”

    “And Melody?” Sam asked, her smile fading.

    “We talk. Infrequently. I don’t blame her, Sam. It was my own fault for being away for so long; she deserved better.”

    “Begging your pardon, Sir, but she didn’t have to leave you when you fighting for your life in the hospital.”

    “Water under the bridge, Sam. The marriage was over long before I was beached. And she’s found someone who can be there for her, all the time; the way I wasn’t when she needed me.”

    “At least they got you back into space, Sir,” Sam quickly changed the subject. “Even if they had to drag the Reprobate here off the scrap pile.”

    Watch it, Commander. Republic may be an old girl, but she blew the pants off of McHale and Rick Kessler.”

    “I heard. And I’ve also heard some rumors over sub-space about the Cauldron and a mysterious ion storm.”

    “If I told you the story, Sam, I’d have to have Chan jettison you out of an airlock. So stop fishing.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir. What are we facing here?”

    “The Nephkyrie are not quite like anything I’ve ever met, Sam. They have some highly advanced technology, and yet they have only the most basic weapons and warp drive. Chan has a full briefing already laid out for you and your people, but they are full of surprises. Our number one priority is to recover the New Columbia colonists, and I hope that can figure out a means to do that without having to blow that ship to hell. We are working on possible sol . . .”

    The door chime beeped and Matt frowned. “Come!” he barked. The door parted and a grim-faced Quincy stormed in, trailed by Amanda. Quincy nodded curtly at Sam, and then he turned his glare on Matt.

    “What’s the matter, Doctor?”

    “We’ve just discovered something about these Nephkyrie that you need to know right now, Captain.”

    Matt sat back and picked up his battered stylus and tapped it against the desk. “And that might be?”

    “The prisioners—all of the prisioners, Captain—are children.”

    Excuse me? Doctor, they seemed pretty tall and developed for children.”

    “Matt, they are clones. And they have been in stasis for god knows how long. They are children—the last children of the Nephkyrie race, put into stasis and sent thousands of light years to found a new home. Children whose bodies grew up slowly in the stasis tubes, but whose minds are still those of teenagers and goddamn prepubescent children!”

    The ship’s surgeon shook his head, and ran a hand through his grey hair. “They have had all of the Nephkyrie knowledge taught to them in stasis, their minds being impressed with the data of how to operate those ships, but emotionally? Developmentally? Every last one of them is still a child.”

    “And right now, those children, despite the fact that they stand as tall you as you and Chan, are scared. They are frightened, Captain, and they are huddled together and crying in confinement in that bare cold cargo bay. Damn whoever thought it was a good idea to turn them into soldiers, Captain, but they are traumatized! We can’t go back there and kill an entire ship full of children, Matt. We can’t!” the doctor thundered.

    “And we won’t, Quincy. We will find another way,” Matt answered at last. “Computer, adjust temperature and light levels in Cargo Bay 4 to match those scanned on the interior of the Nephkyrie vessel—and play Brahms’s Lullaby on the speakers in that compartment.”


    Matt sadly smiled. "It always calmed my kids, at least."

    “Dahlgren to Counselor Trincullo,” Matt said tapping his comm badge.

    Sir?” Andrea Truncullo’s voice piped up.

    “How are you with children, Counselor?”

    Sir?” her voice pitched up in question.

    “Miss Trincullo . . .” and Matt shook his head. “Just meet me in Cargo Bay 4.”

    Aye, aye, Sir.

    Matt stood, followed by Chan and Sam. “This is where you earn those Captain’s pips, Sam. I want you and Chan to go over every bit of our tactical data—and you two find me a way out of this that doesn’t involve killing thirty-five thousand children. Doctors,” the captain continued as he picked up his cane and limped around his desk. “You two are with me.”

    “Aye, aye, sir,” a chorus of voices answered.
  6. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    I am happy that you are happy, Admiralelm11.

  7. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Nineteen (cont.)

    “Captain’s Log, Stardate 53753.3, USS Republic. The revelation on the nature of the mental and emotional maturity of the Nephkyrie has complicated matters considerably. Through the efforts of Counselor Trincullo and the crew, assisted by personnel from the Balao, we have managed to calm these . . . children taken prisoner. In regards, their mental state has worked to our advantage, as they have provided far more information on the Nephkyrie race and their technology than an adult in a similar position would have. Of particular interest is that not all of their elders are gone: Speaker Typhias and his inner circle are adult members of their race, amounting to less than one hundred aboard this ship alone. According to our POW children, there were several thousands of adults aboard when these ships departed from their home system long ago.”

    “Where have those adults gone? Typhias has never told the children how they died, or why; but our scans of the vessel did not detect any signs of a previous confrontation. No external damage, no weapons scoring of the hull, nothing. We do know that Typhias was not a senior member of the Nephkyrie ruling class when this migration began—but he is now the leader of his entire race; and the children have no knowledge of how this came to pass.”

    “Perhaps it is my own suspicious mind at work, but I believe that Typhias removed the other adults as they lay sleeping in stasis. I cannot prove it, but I have a nagging feeling in my gut that he murdered them. That would explain how a ship packed with refugees had enough vacant stasis pods to house the New Columbia colonists. But as disturbing as the mass murder of thousands of his own peers might be, for now, I am beset with the problem of retrieving the colonists while keeping as many of these children alive as I can. Through subtle questioning, we have a basic idea of the internal layout of that vessel, and the compartment where the Speaker and his council reside. And that information provides us with an opportunity.”

    “USS Arrogant arrived three hours ago, under the command of Captain William Myers. Bill has advocated a full-scale attack on the alien ship by our vessels and Independence when she comes out of warp in thirty-nine hours. Fortunately, I have seniority over Bill and have overruled his proposal. That is not the case with Captain Salok aboard the Independence; and although Vulcans deplore violence, their adherence to logic may lead him into another confrontation with tragic consequences.”

    “Dr. Talbot and the medical department have managed to construct a possible treatment for the Nephkyrie genetic disorder, although its effectiveness has not yet been proven. I have ordered Medical to administer the agent to ten of the prisoners, randomly chosen. If all goes well, we will know in the next 24 hours whether or not we can restore their genetic code without having them harvest the New Columbia colonists.”

    “Commanders Shrak and Carmichael, along with Lieutenant Beck, have finalized plans for an assault boarding of the Nephkyrie vessel in the event that we are once again forced into action. However, this time we will endeavor to avoid the Nephkyrie children and strike instead for the head of this serpent: Typhias. Perhaps it is my sub-conscious desires projecting onto him, but his attitude, his arrogance, his . . . malevolence led me to the conclusion that he, and not these immature Nephkyrie, is the villain in this piece.”

    “Computer, save log.”

    Log saved.”
  8. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    I've read the first three chapters and I'm very impressed! It's refreshing to see a captain who is outside the norm. You've created quite a bit of tension and the Republic is still in spacedock! :lol: Great dialogue and imagery - I'll be following this story closely.
  9. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Twenty

    Matt took one step into sickbay, and then stopped as he heard the raised voices of the two doctors.

    “No, you bloodless, inhuman, piece of technology,” Quincy snarled, “the key is the Xi-227 protein chain! That single segment on chromosome 7 is what locked the changes!”

    “You are mistaken, Doctor,” the holograph answered with a pained look on his face. “Xi-227 is inverted, making it a mirror copy of the Chi-083 chain on chromosome 10! We can’t treat Xi-227/7 without first correcting the engineering to Chi-083/10.”

    Matt shook his head and then he spotted Amanda Tsien sitting on a biobed watching the argument intensely. The captain limped over to her side, and he whispered, “How long has this been going on?”

    “Hours, Captain. I am barely following their arguments, but it is like watching Quincy argue with himself: it’s a train wreck and I can’t look away,” she whispered back, her eyes locked on the two medical professionals and their waving arms and pointing fingers.

    Suddenly the noise level abated, as the scans of the Nephkyrie soldier ensconced in another biobed updated. “Hmmmmmm?” went both Doctors at the same time.

    Matt cleared his throat, and the two doctors—one human and one holographic—looked up.

    “When did you come in, Matt?” asked Quincy.

    “We can call him Matt now?” the hologram interjected.

    “No, you collection of assembled photon particles, we can’t call him that: I can call him that!”

    “There is no reason to be rude,” the hologram replied. “Although considering your lack of overall intelligence, I should have expected it.”

    “Why you . . .”

    “Doctors!” Matt snapped, causing both of the physicians to turn around and face him. “What is the status of your research?”

    “We have . . .” Quincy began, as the hologram uttered at the same time, “There has . . .”

    Both stopped and glared at each other.

    “One at a time, gentlemen,” the captain said gently. “Quincy?”

    “It’s going to take time, Matt. The engineered changes are extremely subtle in many cases and we have to go through and find those changes before we make any recommendations on a treatment.”

    “Having a living Nephkyrie to examine, Captain,” Dr. Woolsey continued, “has only opened more questions. If we try to remove the modifications without examining all of the implications, it might have the effect of causing wide-spread genetic mutation—possibly fatal levels of mutation.”

    “I concur,” Quincy snarled. “And no, Matt, we won’t have an answer before Independence arrives, not without the actual medical data on exactly how the Nephkyrie made these modifications and an example of the pre-modified genetic coding.”

    “We can infer the species original genetic coding through the modification markers, Doctor,” the hologram added, “but it will take time to do an examination of each individual protein chain—the order of modification is more difficult to interpolate and remains quite open to interpretation.”

    Quincy glared at the hologram, but then he at last nodded. “The protein chains are a like a key, Matt; we can pick the lock, but it might damage it at the same time.”

    “How long?” Matt asked.

    “Days? Weeks?” answered Quincy with a shrug.

    “Months? Years?” Woolsey glumly whispered.

    Matt nodded and he limped over to the intercom on the wall, pressing a stud. “Bridge, Dahlgren.”

    Go ahead, Sir,” Chan answered.

    “Plan C, Mister Shrak. Inform Arrogant that she is to accompany us. And patch me through to Sam.”


    “Sam, we can’t count on the medical treatment; so we are going to try the third option. I want you and Balao to remain here on station. Use the probes to keep that vessel under observation and inform me at once if there are any changes.”

    Understood, Sir. Good hunting.”

    Matt released the comm stud and he turned back around to face to the Doctors. “Gentlemen, continue your research; perhaps we will get lucky. Miss Tsien, we will need you on the bridge.”

    And with that Matt limped out, trailed by the Science Officer.

    Robert Woolsey pursed his lips. “He should really consider a prosthetic if the leg is bothering him that much. Why doesn’t he just go ahead and have the procedure?”

    Quincy frowned and he shook his head. “He’s stubborn, Robert. And he wants to keep his natural limb, as irrational as that is when it’s been damaged this severely. We’ve tried every conventional treatment and nothing works: damn the Jem H’dar and their polaron radiation weapons.”

    The hologram nodded. “Have you tried an inverse replication transplant?”

    Quincy stopped in his tracks and he turned around to face the hologram. “That only works on Klingons with their redundant internal physiology.”

    “He has two legs, Doctor. From a certain point of view, he has—in this case—redundant internal physiology.”

    Quincy slowly nodded, and then he shook his head. “We’ll discuss this later, Robert. For now, I want to map out Chromosome 12. Are you okay, son?” the doctor asked his Nephkyrie patient nee guinea pig.

    “This is boring,” the child in a man’s body answered.

    “If you are lucky, then life is boring, son,” the doctor answered. “You get used to it. I’m not so lucky. Start new mapping routine, computer, Chromosome 12.”

  10. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Twenty (cont.)

    “Care for a cup of tea?” Andrea Trincullo asked the nervous Operations Officer sitting in a couch in her office.

    Grace shook her head. “Look, Doctor Talbot has already cleared me for duty, Andrea . . . so why I am here?”

    Andrea picked up her hot steaming saucer and cup and she walked back across the office and sat down on in a comfortable chair opposite Grace. She took a sip of the drink, heavily sweetened with honey, and then she set down the china cup.

    “You know why you are here, Grace.”

    Grace’s face turned red, and she shook head. “Look, I froze, okay? I was surprised and I froze: is that so hard to understand? It won’t happen again.”

    “Are you certain?” the counselor asked. “Was it because the Nephkyrie surprised you—and the rest of the ship, or was it because of what happened on Delta Pavonis II?” The operations officer flinched, but Andrea pressed on. “Isn’t that incident what is really bothering you, Grace?”

    “I don’t want to talk about it,” Grace whispered, as the color slowly faded from her skin, and beads of cold sweat started to appear on her forehead.

    “Of course you don’t. No one wants to talk out things like this, Grace. But whether you choose to talk about it or not, you are still waking up in the middle of the night gasping as you relive your nightmares time and time again, aren’t you?”

    Grace trembled, but she directed her best command glare at Andrea—a glare that the counselor ignored completely.

    “I thought so,” Andrea continued. “And no, no one has spied on your quarters, Grace. I have dealt with other officers going through what you are right now; so I know.”

    “You know? You know? When have you fought the Jem H’dar, Doctor?” Grace spat bitterly.

    “I haven’t. And I haven’t got your experiences to further complicate the situation, Grace. But I read your file, and I know how troubled you are over this—how it is tearing you up inside. And, if problems in dealing with this are interfering in the operations of this ship, then it is my job to make certain you are ready to return to duty.”

    Andrea picked back up the cup and took another sip. She sat it back down in the saucer and wiped her lips. “Are you sure you don’t want some?”

    Grace lowered her head and rubbed her forehead with a thumb and two fingers, and then she at last nodded. “Two sugars and cream. Thank you.”

    Andrea stood and walked over to the replicator and punched in the order, and a fresh cup materialized. She brought the cup of tea back over and set it down in front of Grace, before she sat once again and crossed her legs.

    “The caffeine helps with the headaches, right? And it keeps you awake until you are too tired to remember your dreams—but you still dream. Talk to me, Grace.”

    The blond-haired woman took a sip, and then she sat back, still looking at the floor.

    “I almost resigned, you know,” she whispered. “I had just finished filling out my papers when a friend at Headquarters commed to let me know that I had been selected for this slot here, on Republic. I figured it was karma, the garbage ship of the Fleet for the officers suited only for the trash-bin. I didn’t expect that we would be assigned anything important. I didn’t think we would be out here with a Captain demanding our best—I took this assignment because I thought it was the end of the road, Andrea.”

    The counselor nodded her head, but didn’t say a word.

    “I never thought I would have to pick up a phaser again,” Grace finished as her voice trailed away.

    For several minutes, the two women just sat there, sipping their tea, neither saying a word.

    “It was supposed to a rescue mission,” Grace said bleakly. “Exeter had orders to evacuate a science station that was in the line of the Dominion and Cardassian offensive. All we had to do was get there, beam up the research team, and leave . . . but the Jem H’dar got there first.”

    “I was part of the away team, and we got into a fire-fight with their ground forces—we didn’t know the scientists were already dead. I’ve always been good with weapons, Andrea; I was on the Academy Marksmanship Team, you know.”

    “I know,” the counselor answered. “And you took the Bronze at the Summer Olympics back in ’68 for competitive shooting. Which makes your current aversion to weapons . . . peculiar, to say the least.”

    Grace shuddered. “I hated them, Andrea. I hated the Jem H’dar for all the death and destruction they caused; I hated them and the Founders and the Vorta and the Cardassians for unleashing this senseless, bloody war on us. So my phaser was locked on ‘kill’. Because I didn’t want Jem H’dar prisioners, I wanted them dead,” she said flatly.

    “We were in cover, exchanging fire with the Jem H’dar. And I got a shot at their leader—my adrenaline was high, and I was in the zone, tuning out everything else but my weapon and my target, and I remember, oh God, I remember my feeling of absolute certitude as I pressed the trigger.”

    Grace drew in a deep breath, a tear crawling down her cheek. Andrea didn’t say a word.

    “I didn’t even see Lieutenant Rasgon, Andrea. I was so fixated on my target, I never saw Paul get up and move into my line of fire until it was too late. My phaser beam caught him in the shoulder, and I watched him dissolve away into nothing! My shot killed him. Not the Vorta, not the Founders, not the Jem H’dar; it was my shot that robbed him of his life! And I heard him scream as he was vaporized.”

    Andrea stood up and she crossed over to the couch where Grace sat, and she sat down, rubbing the Operations Officer on the shoulder and back.

    “I don’t remember the rest of the fight,” Grace whispered as the tears fell like rain. “Someone hauled me back aboard, and I came to in sickbay as Exeter was leaving the system.” Grace looked up at the counselor, and her lips twisted. “Did you know that you were sharing a couch with a murderer, Andrea?” she asked bitterly.

    “It was an accident, Grace,” the counselor said soothingly. “You didn’t mean to shot Lieutenant Rasgon, and you aren’t the only one who did hateful things in this war. What we have to do now, is get you to pull yourself together. You can’t change what you did on Delta Pavonis II, Grace. We can’t go back in time and take a mulligan on our actions—we’re only human. No, what we have to do is get you to a point where you can live with yourself, and accept that your past actions aren’t a prophecy for your future.”

    Grace let out her breath, and she sobbed. “In a psych ward at Starfleet Medical, right?”

    “Do you think that you are the only member of this crew carrying baggage from the war, Grace? The Captain alone has many, many dark secrets in his past—and he’s the one who suggested that I have a talk with you.”

    “The captain?”

    “Yes, the Captain. He said to me,” and Andrea sat up straight, cleared her throat, and made a reasonably good impersonation of Matt Dahlgren’s tenor Southern drawl, “Counselor, she’s going through a bad time and she thinks she’s alone. Don’t judge, don’t tell her she should have done things differently; combat veterans don’t want to hear that from head-shrinkers. Just listen to her, and help her recover her own balance. Let her know she’s not alone—that we all did things that we regret, and that we can’t change.”

    Grace burst out with a combination of a sob and a laugh. “That sounds just like him!”

    “Well, while you were training for the Olympics, I was on the Drama Team at the Academy,” Andrea answered with a smile. “And you are not alone, Grace. We are going to get you to the point where you can live with yourself again, where you won’t freeze when you in a situation like the one on the bridge.”

    Grace nodded sadly. “I’ll brief my assistant to take over the department and we’ll get . . .” she began, but Andrea cut her off.

    “Absolutely not. Lieutenant Commander Grace Biddle, you will be resuming your duties on board this ship. We will be meeting twice a week—more if you need to talk—and we will work through this, together. But you aren’t getting off easy with a vacation in your cabin while the rest of us have to work for a living!”

    Andrea extended a box of tissues, and Grace took one and wiped her face. “Thank you, Andrea,” she whispered. “I didn’t really want to leave.”

    “I know,” the counselor said. “And we don’t want you to.”

    Grace stood and she adjusted her uniform. “In that case, Counselor, perhaps I had best report for duty.” She paused, and then she turned back around. “About the Captain? What does he regret?”

    Andrea shook her head. “His confidences are as sacred as yours,” she answered. Or they would be if he had opened up even once to me, she thought sourly.

    The operations officer nodded. “Okay. Do I need to set up an appointment with you?”

    “Check your schedule—it’s already there. And if you need to talk, Grace, at any time, day or night, you just come by.”

    Grace nodded and then she exited the counselor’s office.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  11. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    I'm two chapters in, and I have to say it's a unique take on the Starfleet we've seen in other iterations of Trek. Yes, this captain is an uncompromising hardass, but it appears that's just what this crew needs.

    Great stuff! :bolian:
  12. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Nice break from the story for some good ol' fashioned character development time. I like it.

    I can't speak from first-hand experience (Thank God) but being responsible for a friendly fire accident gotta be one of the worst guilt trips somebody could go through.

    Hopefully Grace can learn to forgive herself. Things like this happen and they usually are nobody's fault. Just the outcome of a series of unfortunate events.
  13. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    I'm up through chapter 11. There's a lot to like here - great character work, engaging imagery and the Captain's hard-nosed but pragmatic approach to the Lorsham situation. Ordan reminds me of Landrieu and the Ultimate Computer from TOS but you added some unique and imaginative twists - particularly its ability to manipulate worship from other beings. I almost felt sorry for the Klingons (nice battle sequence, by the way) and hope that the Vulcan diplomat pulls through.
    The arrival of Phoenix saved the day but now Captain Dahlgren must face the music for his actions. Personally, I think he made the right call. I'll read further to see if the board of inquiry agrees with me.
  14. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Commentary on Chapter 3

    The captain's wrath appears to know no bounds, but we're now getting the backstory of how a ship like Republic and her less-than-stellar crew came to be.

    The senior chief dished out a bit of one-the-spot discipline, quite effectively, I'd add.

    Terrific stuff. :)
  15. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    I am glad that all of you are enjoying it. Someone pointed out that I spelled Jem'Hadar incorrectly (I spelled it as Jem 'dar). It will be fixed on my master copy, but I won't be going back and editting every instance.

    Next snippet should be up later tonight.

    Master Arminas
  16. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Twenty (cont.)

    Matt finished signing off on the final piece of paperwork in the PADD that Yeoman Sinclair had given him as the turbolift doors opened and Grace Biddle walked onto the bridge. She walked across to stand in front of Matt.

    “Permission to return to duty, Sir?” she asked.

    Matt nodded crisply. “Permission granted, Miss Biddle. It’s good to have you back on the bridge—assume your station.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir,” she answered, walking briskly over to the newly repaired Operations console and sitting down.

    “Captain, we are being hailed by Arrogant,” Chan called out. “Captain Myers is asking to speak with you in private.”

    “On screen, Mister Shrak.”

    The Andorian shrugged and he adjusted a few controls, and then the image of Captain William Myers appeared on the main viewing screen. The Starfleet officer frowned as he saw the bridge behind Matt on his own display.

    “Captain Dahlgren, may we speak privately?” he asked.

    “Captain Myers, we will be heading out in a few moments. I don’t have time to waste, not if we are to make contact another Nephkyrie vessel before the arrival of Independence. What’s on your mind?”

    Bill frowned and he sat back in his command chair. “Captain Dahlgren, I wish to log a formal protest of your orders. As difficult as the Nephkyrie ships are to detect and the sheer volume of space we must examine gives us little hope of finding another vessel. Furthermore, even if we do manage to locate one, what makes you think that they will respond any differently than the first one did? Right now, we have a face only a thousand or so awake Nephkyrie—a difficult situation but one that we can handle once Independence arrives. We risk this second ship—if we locate it—providing reinforcements to this vessel, which will change the equation from something we are equipped to deal with to being drastically outnumbered.”

    “Your protest is officially logged, Captain Myers. My orders, however, still stand. Is Arrogant prepared to move out?”

    “We are, but I have an additional . . . request, Captain Dahlgren.”

    “Go ahead.”

    William leaned forward, his expression pained. “I would rather discuss this private, Captain Dahlgren.”

    “Spit it out, Captain Myers.”

    The Captain of the Arrogant sighed and sat back. “I want you to relinquish command.”

    Matt sat perfectly still, and then tapped one finger on the arm of his command chair. “For what possible reason would I do that, Captain Myers?”

    “You have four months seniority over me, Matt. Four months. And almost a year of that seniority you spent in hospital wards and running a desk at Starfleet Headquarters, not sitting in the commander’s chair. You aren’t physically in any condition to deal with the stress of command, and your ship . . .” William Myers paused and he grimaced. “Matt, the only reason Republic is even in service is that they hope you might pull off some miracle of turning that garbage scow into a Starfleet Starship! Between your crew, that relic, and your physical lack of well-being, Sir, I submit that aren’t up to making the hard choices anymore. Hell, Admiral Parker sent you on a two-month trip to the Cygnus Sector, Matt! Admiral Hall doesn’t need more ships out there; he did it to get you and that mutinous rust-heap out of the way!”

    “Are you done, Captain Myers?” Matt asked in a soft voice that made even Chan Shrak shiver with the chill he conveyed.

    “I did ask to say my piece in private, Captain Dahlgren. You forced my hand on this, however.”

    “I will log your statement for the record, Captain Myers, but your request is denied.”

    “Matt, just think about this for a . . .”

    “Captain Myers!” Matt snapped. “You will address me as Captain Dahlgren, or Sir. Do you understand me?”

    “I do,” William replied through clenched teeth. “Sir.”

    “Whether my seniority over you is a matter of four minutes, four days, four weeks, four months, four years, or four decades, Captain Myers, it remains that I am, in fact, senior to you; and the senior officer on this station. Is that not correct, Captain Myers?”

    “It is, Sir.”

    “As I have been cleared by Starfleet Medical, Starfleet Command, and this ship’s surgeon for duty, my physical health and well-being is none of your concern, Captain. I will note your objections and your statement in my log, but just so we are clear on this issue, Captain Myers, do you intend to follow my orders or must I order your executive officer to relieve you of command and place you in confinement within your own brig?”

    William inhaled sharply. “You wouldn’t dare . . .”

    “Don’t think that for one second, Captain Myers,” Matt interrupted. “You and I are both aware that Captain Salok can recite verbatim the exact text of the regulations you are on the verge of breaking, without once resorting to reading the information from a PADD. You know that he will endorse my relief of you—for cause, Captain Myers!—and he will recommend you stand a general court-martial.”

    Arrogant’s captain sat heavily back, but he finally nodded. “I hoped to convince you, for the good of the service, Captain Dahlgren. I will, of course, follow regulations and obey your orders until the arrival of your senior officer, Captain Salok.”

    “Good. Is there anything else you need, Captain Myers?”

    “No, Sir.”

    “Very well. Let me make one additional thing crystal clear to you, Captain. If you ever refer to this ship and her crew in those terms again, either in public or in private, then by god, Sir, I will see you broken out of the service, after which I will track you down on a planet where dueling is still legal, and then God as my witness, I will put either a foot of cold steel or a slug through your heart. Is that understood, Captain Myers?”

    “Yes, Sir,” William whispered as he stared at the screen.

    “Good. Then let us put this . . . conversation behind us, Captain Myers. Have you received the coordinates my helmsman transmitted?”

    “We have, Captain Dahlgren. Why aren’t we splitting up to search for the Nephkyrie ship—and why are we starting so close? Those coordinates are just over a third of a light-year away?”

    “Because we have already located the second Nephkyrie ship, Captain Myers; or did you forget that Republic deployed over two dozen high-speed probes over the past few days?”

    The other captain sat sharply upright. “You didn’t tell me you located them!” he barked.

    Matt stared at the screen in cold contempt until William finally relaxed and uttered one more word. “Sir.”

    “The probes detected the second ship less than fifteen minutes ago, Captain Myers. Right where the children we have prisoner stated it would be, if it were launched four months after the first according to the schedule as they understood it.”

    “But we don’t even know their relative measure of hours or days; how did you . . .”

    “We talked to them, Captain Myers. And we found out how long their hours were, approximately, and how many of their hours were in a day, and how many of their days in a week; in short we used our brains and our humanity to gently ask questions instead of interrogating them as if they were Jem’Hadar shock troops.”

    “I want you to hold Arrogant at two million kilometers, Captain Myers. From there, you will act as my reserve in the event these Nephkyrie prove as hostile and intractable as those of the first ship. Republic will make contact and attempt to initiate a discussion. You are to take NO hostile action, regardless of provocation, unless either I order you to do so, I am incapacitated, or Republic has been destroyed. Is that understood, Captain Myers?”

    “Yes, Sir,” William answered sourly.

    “Very well. We warp out in two minutes, Captain. Get your ship ready.” Matt didn’t wait for a reply and he cut the transmission from his own panel on the arm of his command chair. And then he frowned. He rotated his command chair to look at Chan.

    “Mister Shrak. It appears that this conversation was just broadcast throughout the entire ship—with the exception of the bridge loudspeakers.”

    Chan’s antennae quivered. “I must have accidently activated it, Captain Dahlgren,” he answered with a sly smile. “All-ship broadcast is now terminated.”

    “Thank you, Mister Shrak,” the Captain said as he rotated his command chair back forward.

    “Miss Montoya, is our course plotted?”

    “Yes, Sir, and the engines are ready.”

    “Mister Malik, set transporter inhibitor to full-strength.”

    Full strength, aye, aye, Sir.”

    “Mister Shrak. Sound General Quarters and set Red Alert throughout the ship.”

    “Sounding General Quarters . . . all compartments report secure for action.”

    Matt sat back in his seat. “We will show that son-of-a-bitch just how much difference there is between our Republic and rusting out garbage scow of mutineers,” he whispered just loud enough that the bridge crew could pretend that hadn’t heard him utter the words—but Matt saw the wide grins on their faces.

    “Engage, Miss Montoya.”
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  17. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Twenty (cont.)

    Mister Shrak. It appears that this conversation was just broadcast throughout the entire ship—with the exception of the bridge loudspeakers.”

    I must have accidently activated it, Captain Dahlgren.”

    And with that, the ship’s intercom cut out down in Deflector Control. Chris turned his chair around and looked over the men and women of his section, and then he stared at Chief Bronson, who was chuckling and shaking his head.

    “Damn,” the burly NCO said. “I thought that the Old Man was tough on us! Guess he meant what he said about going to bat for us—and we aren’t going to let him down are we?”

    “No, Chief,” came back a chorus of voices. To which Chris added his own.

    The Red Alert klaxon sounded, and the lights in the compartment automatically dimmed. Chris turned back to his station. “Bring the main deflector on-line, deflection set to automatic, secondary and tertiary systems engaged,” he ordered sharply.

    The replies came fast and furious and Chief Bronson took his seat beside the Ensign. He examined his panel and touched a series of controls. “Dish is on-line and ready, Mister Roberts. Warp engines are warming up.”

    “Mister Roberts?” one of the techs called out from his station.

    “Yes, Thompson?”

    “Mister Roberts, we aren’t going to let Arrogant get away with saying those things about the ship, right, Sir?”

    Chris glanced over at the Chief, who was struggling to control his own laughter and shaking his head. “Warp engines are on-line, bring the deflector to standard power,” the Ensign said as Republic began to surge forward, and then she shot past light-speed.

    The Ensign watched the readings settle down and he nodded.

    “Thompson,” he said, “rest assured that Arrogant and Jupiter Station both will get what they deserve.” Chris smiled. “I heard a rumor that Senior Chief Callaghan has been working on getting back at the Jupiters; I imagine that his fiendish mind went into overdrive upon hearing that broadcast.”

    “Damn,” the deflector tech whispered. “Siccing the Senior Chief on them? Man, it almost makes you feel sorry for them. Almost.”

    “Atrias, watch that intercooler temperature—it spiked last time we had to go to Warp in a hurry,” Chris cut in, bringing his crew back to their jobs.

    “On it, Sir.”


    Mister Shrak. It appears that this conversation was just broadcast throughout the entire ship—with the exception of the bridge loudspeakers.”

    I must have accidently activated it, Captain Dahlgren.”

    “Well, he really isn’t fit for duty,” Robert Woolsey said as he worked at the medical research station opposite of Quincy.

    “Star Fleet Medical says he is, and I say he is. Does he need a good leg to sit in a damn chair?”

    “Technically no, but he can’t pass the physical in his current condition. So technically, he should be relieved and reassigned . . .”

    “Robert, there are times when we go by the book and there are times when we use our own judgment. This is one of the latter. As long as he sits down, he can do his job. Would you rather than SOB Myers in charge? I mean you are now part of this ship—from a certain point of view, he called you a piece of garbage.”

    The hologram looked up in alarm. “Perhaps I should report him for insulting a fellow Starfleet officer. Doctor Talbot, if they scuttle the ship—will they remove me?”

    “Matt won’t let that happen.”

    “He’s only a Captain! He’s doesn’t get to decide these things.”

    “He won’t let that happen.”

    “Tell me again, why are we preparing this solution of Golian Fireseed Extract?” the hologram asked. “Ninety-eight percent of the races in the Federation have a mild allergic reaction to this substance; and it has no medical use. In fact, it can cause severe skin irritation and itching if even a minute effect is ingested.”

    “It’s a special project for Senior Chief Callaghan.”

    “Oh,” the hologram replied. And then he stopped and looked up again. “What does he need this solution for?”

    “Trust me, Doctor Woolsey,” the ship’s surgeon answered with broad grin, “you don’t want to know.”


    Mister Shrak. It appears that this conversation was just broadcast throughout the entire ship—with the exception of the bridge loudspeakers.”

    I must have accidently activated it, Captain Dahlgren.”

    Gustaf Vasa reclined back in his comfortable seat, and he twisted the hairs of his thick blonde mustache. Finally, he nodded to himself. “Computer, load the physical profile for Matthew Dahlgren, commanding officer, USS Republic.”


    Vasa, Lieutenant and Crown Prince of a small Nordic political province on Earth, tapped the console and brought up data patterns on a variety of different instruments. Selecting one he added it to the physical profile of the Captain.

    “Computer, adjust specifications on Replicator Program Vasa 8934-Tau to ergonomically match the physical profile of Matthew Dahlgren. Adjust length, mass, width, and grip to conform to his profile.”

    Adjusting . . . complete.

    Vasa smiled and he sat up and began typing in additional data. No, this ship wasn’t boring by any means, and if his Captain, if Gustaf Vasa’s Captain, was going to vow to fight another Starfleet officer in a duel, then Gustaf Vasa would make certain that the Captain had a sword fit for a King.

    “Computer, commence replication.”

    Replication underway . . . seventeen minutes will required to complete the program.”

    Gustaf leaned back in his chair and he smiled. A sword fit for a King.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  18. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Dahlgren expects fierce loyalty from his crew. Good to see that this is a two-way street.
  19. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Twenty (cont.)

    Republic came out of warp some six hundred thousand kilometers distant from the second of the Nephkyrie ships, her hull barely showing as a small dot in the depths of the view screen.

    “Magnify,” Matt said, as he secured his restraining safety belt. The screen flashed, and the sleeper ship grew much larger.

    “Miss Montoya, match velocity and vector with that ship.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir.”

    The Starfleet cruiser altered her heading and began to parallel the ancient vessel.

    “Captain Dahlgren,” Chan said from his station, “we are being scanned. Their weapons are off-line.”

    “Hail them, Mister Shrak.”

    The Andorian pressed a few controls and then he shook his head. “No response.”

    “Very well. Miss Montoya, take us in to a range of 400,000 kilometers—slowly and smartly.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir.”

    Matt rotated his command chair, to face his science officer. “Miss Tsien. Scan that vessel, stem to stern, if you please.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir. I have altered the sensor beam modulations based on the data from our first encounters; we should be able to get a clearer picture with this one. Configuration identical to the first ship, weapon systems identical, hull composition identical . . . sir, I am detecting close to fifty thousand life-forms, but all of them appear to be in stasis.” Amanda frowned. “Make that thirteen thousand adult life-forms and thirty-five thousand juveniles. The majority of interior compartments are in vacuum, with no power and no life support.” She paused. “Correction, the ship is diverting power and life support to a cluster of compartments—and I am now detecting several dozen active life signs.”

    Matt nodded and he rotated his seat back to face the main viewer. “Let’s give them a moment to wake up, shall we. Miss Montoya, what is the range to that ship?”

    “484,000 kilometers, Sir.”

    “Hold position.”

    “Aye, sir; holding position relative to the Nephkyrie vessel.”

    For two long minutes, there was absolute silence on the bridge, other than the hum of the instrumentation. And then Chan looked up.

    “Captain Dahlgren, we are being hailed.”

    “On screen.”

    The viewer flickered and then the image of a Nephkyrie appeared. “Greetings. I am Shipmaster Voltanis, representing the Nephkyrie Solidarity.”

    Matt unbuckled his belt and he stood. “And I am Matthew Dahlgren, commander of the Federation Starship Republic.”

    Voltanis bowed his head. “Forgive me for asking, Matthew Dahlgren, but my sensors indicate that this ship remains in deep space . . . how did you manage to locate us?”

    “Yours is not the first Nephkyrie vessel which we have encountered, Shipmaster Voltanis. And that first contact was . . . a difficult one which we wish to ask your assistance in resolving.”

    “Difficult, Matthew Dahlgren?”

    “Your Speaker, Typhias, has not been willing to . . .”

    The Nephkyrie jerked on the screen. “Typhias is not Speaker! He is a clerk to the Speaker!”

    Matt waited and then he nodded. “Regardless, he claims to be Speaker of the Nephkyrie Solidarity. The government of races that I represent—the Federation—did not understand your markers, Shipmaster Voltanis, and we placed a colony upon the world which your ships are travelling to, a world we call New Columbia. My ship discovered that Typhias abducted all twelve thousand of our citizens, beaming them aboard his ship, and placing them in stasis.”

    “Has he gone mad?” A second Nephkyrie voice came across through the viewer, and a regally attired being stepped forward. “How may I address, Matthew Dahlgren? I am Belagon, and I Speak for the Solidarity upon Ark Two.”

    “My proper title is Captain Dahlgren, or simply Captain, mister Speaker,” Matt said with a bow of his own.

    “What you say cannot be true, Typhias’s action would never be permitted by those chosen to lead Ark Prime.”

    “Mister Speaker, he did beam aboard our entire colony—claiming that my species was compatible with the Nephkyrie and could serve as a means to cure your genetic damage. Unlike this vessel, there are only a few hundred adult members of your race aboard his ship—and they had sufficient stasis pods to place my people in hibernation sleep.”

    Belagon’s shoulders slumped. “Compatible? He follows the teachings of the Harvesting then.”

    “The Harvesting?”

    “Long ago, Captain Dahlgren, when our race discovered that our genetic diversity had been lost and the damage to our chromosomes proved too wide spread to treat, a small cabal of the Solidarity refused to wait on the advances of science to find a cure. They called themselves the Harvesting, and they took samples from all of the species that surrounded our dying sun. They altered them and they distilled them, and they found a way to negate—for a time—our damage.”

    “But then the Solidarity learned of their methods in finding this treatment, and they were tried as criminals of the first order. We thought them long dead and gone from our society.”

    “Your vessel carries at least as many crew as you claim Typhias has, Captain Dahlgren. And of multiple species, no less. Impressive. Why have you not recovered your colonists from him? Why have you sought out the Solidarity, risking that we would be like him?”

    “His crew consists of only a few hundred adults, it is true. But there are many thousands of other Nephkyrie awake aboard the ship.” Matt paused. “Your stasis pods appear to stop the physical aging process; are they the same as the ones installed aboard your Ark Prime?”

    “Yes. He has waked the children? They children are not mature—surely you can handle them?”

    “Mister Speaker, he has, to the best of our knowledge, changed the pods so that those within still age. Your children on Ark Prime are physically mature—and he is arming and training them as soldiers.”

    “You lie!” Voltanis snapped. “Not even a Harvester would dare do such a thing! It . . . it . . . it is incomprehensible!”

    “I am sorry that I must be the one to convey this information, Shipmaster, mister Speaker. But we have ninety-nine of your children—mature in body, but not in mind—that Typhias trained, armed, and sent aboard my ship to capture it. You are welcome to speak with them.”

    The Nephkyrie Shipmaster began to speak, but Belagon touched his shoulder and shook his head. “I will beam aboard your ship, then, Captain. I will see for myself what horrors Typhias has committed.”

    Matt shook his head. “We are well aware that your race can deliver fusion warheads via the transporters; however, I will allow you to beam aboard one of our shuttles, which will then carry you back to this vessel.”

    “That is a reasonable precaution, Captain Dahlgren. I shall await your shuttle then.”

    The screen blanked, and Matt let out a deep breath, and sat back down, wincing as his leg sent a deep stabbing pain into his thigh. He rotated the seat and faced his executive officer.

    “Mister Shrak. Launch the shuttle Ross and prepare to receive Speaker Belagon. Have a detail standing by to render full Presidential honors, Mister Shrak.”

    “Aye, aye, Captain Dahlgren.”

    Matt punched a stud on his chair. “Doctor Talbot, meet me in my ready room,” he said. He stood up, and took his cane. “Miss Biddle. You have the conn.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir,” she answered as Matt limped across the bridge.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  20. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Twenty One

    Belagon’s face twisted as he stepped into the cargo hold and saw the mass of Nephkyrie children assembled there. The noise of talk and games died down as one by one, the prisioners spotted their elder and each slowly came to his feet, or turned around, their eyes wide.

    “Second Speaker?” one whispered, taking a step forward. “You are dead, Second Speaker . . . the Speaker told us.”

    “Who are you, child?” Belagon softly asked.

    “Talondra Dal, Second Speaker. I . . . I remember you—but you haven’t aged.”

    Belagon swayed, and a tear rolled down his cheek. “Talondra. I remember you, child. You were barely post adolescence, and your father was assigned as Shipmaster Prime.”

    The prisoner nodded. “He was killed in the attack that destroyed the rest of the Fleet . . . but you are here? How?”

    “There was no attack on the Fleet, Talondra. The rest of the Arks are intact. And Typhias . . . Typhias has much for which to answer.”

    “But . . . but,” Talondra stammered, and he too began to cry. “If there wasn’t an attack, then why is Father dead?”

    Belagon’s only answer was to step forward and hold the weeping adult-sized child tightly in his arms.