Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by CaptainSarine, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Chapter 21

    The battle was turning and not in their favor.

    Prin glanced at the holographic screen hovering in the air in front of her, showing the tactical situation around Onyx Station. The blue and green shapes signalling Redemption and her allies were slowly being pushed further and further away from the centre of the system, forced back by the enemy Laurentii forces. Very soon, there would be no point in remaining anymore.

    And still the enemy kept on coming.

    She watched her viewfinder as Redemption’s phasers and torpedoes streaked through the void, flaring briefly at the heart of one of five tendril ships. The ship flew apart, purple gore congealing in space.

    Simultaneously, the four remaining ships fired bright searing beams, striking the nearest Behemoth amidships. The huge living vessel bucked, great stripes of flesh tearing away revealing vivid red flesh beneath. The creature, mortally wounded, began to shut down.

    That’s it, Prin thought before she could stop herself. We’re not going to get out of this one.

    The view around her shifted as Williams banked, bringing the ship’s belly around. The dorsal phaser banks let rip, keen lances of energy tearing at the oncoming ships. One of them lost all of its tendrils, another one fled the onslaught.

    The comm. line buzzed, breaking through the battle induced fog in Prin’s mind. She reached up and slapped her badge. “Prin here.”

    “Engineering. I have an idea.”

    Kane’s voice and inflection had taken on the emotionless tones of a computer. He must be directly interfaced with the computer. Prin tried to repress a shudder at the thought, forcing fire into her voice.

    “You’d better, Kane. We’re getting torn apart up here and I don’t know how much longer we can hold out before we have to run.”

    “There is a 95% chance you will not like my suggestion.”

    “You let me worry about that.”

    “Very well. I have interfaced with the sensor network and correlated the little information our science department gathered before the attack. All current data seems to indicate that the station is a living organism, like all the Laurentii technology. Biotech, through and through, with very few mechanical components. Simulations indicate that what we are calling the interference field is in fact a natural defensive mechanism.”

    “Natural?”

    “All probabilities indicate that no one over there has any control over it. It is like a second layer of skin, automatically generated when the creature we call Onyx Station feels it is in danger.”

    “What’s your idea, Kane?”

    “Nanoprobes.”

    Prin hesitated before answering, unsure if she had heard him correctly. “Nanoprobes. Borg nanoprobes?”

    “You know of any other kind?” he asked, a little of his own personality seeping past the Borg conditioning.

    “What by the Prophets are you suggesting?”

    “A torpedo loaded with Borg nanoprobes. We fire it at the station, wait for the nanoprobes to infect the station, then use the neural interlink frequency to lower the defences.”

    “You’re talking about assimilating the station.”

    “Yes.”

    “You’re insane.”

    “All simulations indicate that it is the most viable option, Commander.”

    “I can’t believe that—“

    “Commander?”

    Prin broke off, looking up at Ianto, still stoo on the edge of the Pit. “What is it Mister Ianto?”

    “I think that Lieutenant Kane’s idea has merit.”

    Prin couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Merit? We’re talking about unleashing a weapon that was banned by the Dominion. The Dominion!”

    “Lieutenant Kane, if my understanding of Borg technology is correct, there is a special frequency that could be used by the Borg to destroy all of the nanoprobes within an assimilated body, is that correct?”

    “Yes,” Kane responded. “After various Delta Quadrant races conspired to infect the collective with various biological and cybernetic viruses at the moment of assimilation, a frequency was designed that—“

    “So,” Ianto interrupted, cutting off Kane’s robotic explanation, “once the nanoprobes have been used to drop the defences, you could use that frequency to deassimilate the station?”

    “As long as the assimilation process has not proceeded too far.”

    “Would you have time to drop the interference field before the process goes too far?” Prin asked.

    There was a moment of silence. “Kane?”

    “Calculating.”

    Prin waited for the answer, still not quite believing that she was even considering the plan. Finally, Kane replied.

    “There is a 95% chance that I will be able to destroy the nanoprobes before the assimilation goes too far.”

    95%. Prin winced. A five percent chance that she could end up with a Borg space station on her hands did not seem like particularly good odds. She had always prided herself on being unshakeable during emergencies, willing to take the time to consider all of the options on their own individual merits, without allowing emotion to take over. She had trained herself so that even when faced with a seemingly insurmountable crisis, a logical part of her brain would detach and allow her to make the right decision.

    But all of the training couldn’t help her here. It’s like the Kobayashi Maru, she thought. No win, and a snow ball’s chance of a solution.

    Well then, so be it. A snow ball’s chance is better than none. She nodded.

    “Alright Kane. Prepare the torpedo.”

    “Yes, captain. There is one difficulty. The station is going to be defending itself against anything it sees as a threat. A warhead set to the exact frequency of the interference field would have a chance of getting through, but the field is changing every few seconds. The torpedo would have to be fired from close range and harmonized just before launch. We are going to need to get closer.”

    Closer to that? Prin thought. Space around the station boiled with Behemoths, fighters and energy blasts. We’ll be slaughtered.

    “I may have a solution to that, Commander.”

    Prin looked back up at Ianto. “Mister Ianto?”

    “If you reinstate my commission, I think I can fly a shuttle close enough to get off the shot.”

    “That would take a pilot with superhuman skills.”

    “Or one who can download his personality directly into the shuttle’s computer.”

    Prin frowned. “You can do that?”

    “Give me ten minutes.”

    “Alright. Make it so, gentlemen.”

    As Kane cut the comm and Ianto prepared to transfer part of his matrix, Prin turned to Barani. The ops officer had listened in on the whole conversation and her wide eyes told Prin everything she needed to know of how the lieutenant felt about the plan.

    “Do you have something to add, lieutenant?”

    Barani shook her head, turning back to her screens. “No, sir.”

    “Good. Hail the lead Laurentii Behemoth.” Prin looked back at the raging battle. No matter what Ianto said, he was going to need support to get the shuttle that close to the station. Leaving me to convince our “allies” to follow me into the plaktar’s nest.
     
  2. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
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    Prin's deadpan "You're insane" made me laugh so hard.

    Gotta love the Borg and the android teaming up here. Assimilating Ispaoreai Hyps'rat seems like SUCH a bad idea, but just crazy enough to work. Go Kane! Go Ianto! I can't wait to see how this goes. Great stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed this scene.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
  3. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    I can't help but wonder what would happen if the station would be assimilated. A living Borg station!
     
  4. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Uh... a Borg station with Laurentii technology and sentience? Of course! What could possibly go wrong with that plan?!? :wtf:

    This had better work, and work correctly, or a Laurentii civil war is going to be the last of the Federation's worries.

    Man, I can just see that conversation between Prin and Starfleet Command. "I've... uh... got some good news, and some bad news..." :lol:

    Set phasers to angst!
     
  5. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Glad Prin made you laugh. Then again, can't really blame her for her reaction to this plan.

    Considering the situation they are in, you need an insane plan to get past the defences. And since Ispaoreai is a living station, assimilating it makes a weird kind of sense.

    I know! Whether this works or not, I may just have to reuse that idea going forward. A living Borg Station, yay! :guffaw:

    IE the conversation between Prin and Command: :guffaw:

    Of course considering the political wranglings and infiltration we have seen so far in this series, maybe the Starfleet of this timeline would welcome the idea. Hell, if they have the technology they could assimilate the entire Laurentii fleet... Ok, maybe not a great idea! :cardie:

    Thanks to you all for the comments!

    Joel
     
  6. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Great plot twist! That was not the way I saw it working out!
     
  7. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Thanks Mistral! Glad I surprised you!

    Ok, folks, it is bad news, good news time.

    The bad news? As usual I will be participating in nanowrimo this year from 1st to 30th November so will probably not be updating much during that time. I'll try to get one or two extra chapters up before then, but I'm not promising anything. So Volume 3 may not be finished before that hiatus.

    The good news? For my nanonovel I will be writing Volume 4, the final volume of this part of the story! When I come back off the hiatus I should have a pretty hefty first draft, and so my posting should be much more regular. It is about time I finished this story I started, and this seems like the way to do it!

    Wish me luck!
     
  8. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Good luck, fingers crossed and - as the Chinese say - add oil!! :)
     
  9. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Chapter 22

    Ispaoreai Hyps’rat (Onyx Station)


    Reaching the kruin’s chamber proved easier than Qwert had expected.

    After agreeing to accompany him, Lkim had led him to the rear of the yaszmoot chambers. Pressing his hand to the flesh, he had opened a small opening revealing a cramped tunnel behind. Qwert had taken a step closer only to recoil at the stench emanating from the passageway.

    “Maintenance veins,” Lkim had said. “They run throughout the whole station, pumping nutrients in and waste products out. They’re mostly abandoned now, though.”

    For good reason, Qwert thought as he dragged himself up and out of the last of the veins fifteen minutes later. He was sweaty and covered in viscous, foul-smelling oil that dripped from the veins’ walls and ceilings. Collapsing to the floor, breathing hard, he looked around. Lkim had led them to a small hollow that thrummed with life, lit by the soft green glow that infused the whole station.

    Climbing through the veins had been like travelling through Jeffries’ tubes, forcing him to exert himself like he hadn’t in a long time. Of course, Jeffries’ tubes rarely stank like that.

    I’m getting too old for this, he thought, then glanced at Lkim. His companion had collapsed to the floor beside him, his chest rising and falling, the breathing flaps beneath his chest quivering softly. We both are, I suppose. This is a young man’s game.

    Lkim was the first to recover. After only a few more moments, he managed to roll over, leaving Qwert where he was and crawling over to a small protrusion bulging up out of the fleshy floor. Qwert watched as he pressed his fingers to it, the bulge opening up and swallowing the other man’s hand with a sucking sound. Moments later, a small portal irised open. Forcing himself to move, Qwert joined his companion and looked down at the chamber below.

    Glorious Material Continuum, was his first thought.

    The kruin’s chamber was spheroid in shape. The walls, ceiling and floor hunkered beneath a complex network of veins. Green, purple and blue liquid pulsed through those veins, bathing the room in multicoloured light. Qwert traced one of the veins with his eyes, watching as it pumped the liquid into an hourglass shape that rose and fell from ceiling and floor. The three liquids swirled and danced within.

    His breath caught in his throat when he saw the small figure floating where the hourglass tapered to a point. Body pierced a dozen times by some kind of tendrils snaking from the station’s flesh, the former kruin looked like a puppet abandoned by its puppeteer.

    Before he could take in more of the view, a tremor shook the chamber. The floor and ceiling contracted and rippled, while sparks of electrical energy raced along the network of veins. When it reached the hourglass, a shimmer of energy flashed into life, obscuring his view of the kruin.

    “What was that?” Qwert asked when the effect had passed.

    Lkim wordlessly pointed to the edge of the room.

    For the first time, Qwert saw the Laurentii below. Soldiers stood at regular intervals along the wall, claw weapons in hand, eyes scanning the room. Thank the Exchequer, so far none of them had thought to look up.

    Lkim, though, was pointing to a clump of Laurentii off to one side, a safe distance from the central core. Qwert recognised Lkinym – the havac was naked, his red-orange flesh seeming to glow beneath the multicoloured light emanating from the veins. A group of Laurentii, their naked flesh the chalky colour of a gravat’s milk, surrounded him, painting his body with what appeared to be blood.

    Beside them, a group of soldiers crouched beside a squat machine. As Qwert watched, they pressed their hands to it, fingers passing through some viscous biological component. The machine began to thrum and throb, then emitted an electrical pulse that repeated the same effect as before. Once the ceiling had finished moving beneath him, Qwert looked at Lkim.

    “They’re trying to force Ispaoreai Hyps’rat to release kruin Asuph so that they can insert Lkinym.” The disgust in his voice was all too clear. “It is a blasphemy.”

    “I don’t understand,” Qwert said, returning his attention to the sight below. “What are they hoping to do?”

    Lkim shook his head. “Normally, when a kruin dies, Ispaoreai Hyps’rat maintains his body in stasis within the brainchamber for three days while the yaszmoot chooses a successor. Once that successor has been chose, the Hyps’rat empties the brainchamber, releases the kruin’s body and evacuates it.”

    “Where?”

    “To the reclamation level.”

    Qwert suppressed a shiver. They had visited the reclamation level on the first day. Seeing the waste extracted from the station’s many levels pour into those throbbing pink sacks where the digestive fluids broke it all down into trace elements and nutrients… And they do that to their leader?

    “What happens then?” he asked.

    “The new kruin enters the brainchamber. If he is accepted by Ispaoreai Hyps’rat, his body is harvested – the cerebral tendrils that connect him to the Hyps’rat inject themselves into his body.”

    Qwert glanced back at the hourglass shape. The fluid still swirled within, the old kruin’s body still floated there, and that shimmering shield still protected the chamber from anyone accessing it.

    “And they’re trying to force the station using that machine?”

    “It would seem so. As soon as Lkinym shot a weapon at the brainchamber, Ispaoreai raised its defences. I doubt even it could lower them now. Still, there must be something they hope to…”

    Lkim’s words were cut off by the familiar whine of weapons fire. Qwert flinched away, convinced they had been found. When no energy blasts reached them, though, he moved back to the opening.

    A group of soldiers had gathered in a tighter circle around the brainchamber. The weapons fire was directed at the hourglass shape.

    “What are they doing?” Lkim asked in shock.

    “Looking for a way in,” Qwert replied. “If they can’t get the station to grant them access freely, it looks like they’re prepared to cut their way in.”

    “I cannot believe even Lkinym would be capable of such a sacrilege.”

    “How long do you think it will take them to get past the station’s defences?” Qwert asked, ignoring Lkim’s shocked words.

    The Laurentii just stared at the scene below. Qwert reached out and grabbed his shoulder, squeezing hard. “How long?”

    Lkim shook his head. “I am not even sure it will be possible. If it is… At least an hour. Probably more.”

    Qwert nodded. If he had been so inclined, it left him with a fair amount of time before he had to move on the renegade kruin. He wasn’t though. Groves and Benjamani, as well as Lkim’s loyalist Laurentii, were still under siege in the yaszmoot chamber. And he had no idea what might be happening out in space. No. He needed to get rid of Lkinym now.

    His mind made up, he drew away from the opening. Lkim looked at him and frowned.

    “You are not attacking?”

    He shook his head. “Not from here. If one of those priests moves at the wrong moment, I might miss him. And considering the number of soldiers down there, I doubt we’ll get more than one shot at this.”

    “What then?”

    “I need you to get me closer to him. Do these maintenance veins run all around the chamber?”

    “Yes, but they are more difficult to access. Lkinym may have them guarded.”

    “A risk we’ll have to take. We should be able to handle a few guards. But I need to be closer before I can pull this off.”

    Lkim thought about that for a moment, his face tilted away and his eyestrip flickering between dark green and blue. Finally, he nodded.

    “I think I can get you closer.”

    Qwert shook his head. “Tell me where to go and how to get there.”

    “But you will need my help.”

    “I don’t need a guide, Lkim. I need a diversion.”

    He frowned. “A diversion.”

    “Here’s what I want you to do…”

    Shuttle Picard

    Ianto completed downloading the small part of his matrix into the shuttle Picard and reached out with his new senses.

    (0,001% of his cybernetic functions wandered through his memories, fired by the name of the shuttle. Picard. Data’s memories, stored safely in Ianto’s own hippocampian cortex, resonated with the name. Most were happy, others drenched with sorrow. The death of the Enterprise, her captain’s own execution at Jem’hadar hands… The last years of the Federation had been a dark time and his memories were so clear he might as well have lived them himself.)

    The shuttle felt like an extension of his self, as much a part of him now as the holographic avatar he had created with Kalara’s help.

    (2% of his functions were allocated to constantly monitoring her in the brig. Damien was with her. He wished he could go to her, tell her it would be alright. His conversation with Commander Ly’et had given him hope – if he could prove she was not behind the betrayal, he believed that the Cardassian woman would listen to him. )

    He could control the shuttle’s thrusters in the same way he controlled the photonic musculature. The sensors, so many pairs of eyes and ears and noses, drowned him in data from the world around him. Metallic plating became his skin, tractors beams his hands.

    (An infinitesimal 0,0000001% was currently sharpening the holographic matrix of his photonic self, and designing a new uniform more akin to the resistance uniform his father had worn than the early Dominion War era one he currently wore.)

    Reaching out, he built neuronal links between two parts of his ‘brain’, birthing a new pathway – one that allowed him to perfectly correlate the functions of the shuttle with the feed he was receiving from the Redemption. He would need all of the sensory input for the mission ahead.

    (5% of his functions maintained a steady ‘eye’ on all of the engineering systems within Redemption, guarding his second ‘body’ as she prepared to go into battle. 1% ensured that no one on board realised how much control he actually had over the ship’s systems.)

    Taking control of the shuttle and connecting both his ‘bodies’ in one smooth neuro-cybernetic stream took all of 2.25469 seconds. The 15% of his cortex that controlled the holographic matrix on the bridge sent impulses through the biomimetic packs he had allocated to control it, straightening his ‘back’ and turning his ‘head’ to look at Prin.

    “I am in full control of the shuttle Picard, Commander. Whenever you are ready, we can begin.”

    USS Redemption
    Bridge


    “Whenever you are ready, we can begin.”

    Prin nodded, glancing at the hologram standing at the very edge of the Pit. “Thank you, Mister Ianto.” She turned to Barani. “Ops, what is the status of our allies?”

    The attractive dark skinned human woman checked her screens, her form hazy through the myriads of flickering screens surrounding her. “Standing ready, Commander. Varec Kh’ylat says that as soon as we gain an opening, they will follow your lead.”

    Prin turned back to one of five screens hovering in the air in front of her. Through it, she could just about make out the armada that the Laurentii had gathered - five Behemoths and two dozen smaller craft. On the screen, the positions of the various loyalist Laurentii ships appeared in blue, while the enemy ships had been tagged red. Three of the blue Behemoths had drawn a handful of rebel ships away, the battle between them raging near the system’s innermost gas giant. Redemption and her allies had drawn back, gathering just outside the system. A line of three Behemoths protected them, engaging the loyalist front line and trying to force a breach.

    It was obvious to anyone that there were more reds than blues. For the moment, that didn’t worry her too much. She wasn’t planning to launch a full out battle for control of the station - if everything went according to plan it would be more of a lightning raid.

    If everything went according to plan.

    The Laurentii had been surprisingly amenable when she explained what she wanted to do. Of course, she hadn’t mentioned exactly what the ‘secret weapon’ her people had devised was going to do - the Hegemony feared the Borg as much as anyone else in the galaxy. She doubted any of them would have agreed to have their station forcibly assimilated. If it worked, she would have some explaining to do, but at least she would be doing it with Ba’el, Ambassador Benjamani and Admiral Qwert at her side. If it failed… Well, there would be nothing to apologise for.

    On the screen in front of her, the three blue icons representing their outermost Behemoths ran another attack on the rebel front line. There was a brief exchange of fire - little more than distant flashes of lightning on the holographic tactical projection in front of her - and the loyalists pulled back. Prin held her breath, hoping to see the break she needed. After a few seconds, it was obvious that it wasn’t going to happen. The rebels were holding firm. They didn’t seem to have any interest in chasing their enemies - as long as they stayed away from Onyx Station, they were happy to keep them at bay.

    Prin studied the situation past the front line. A mass of smaller blue icons buzzed around a core Behemoth just behind the front lines - a vast armada of smaller vessels. They were going to find it hard to push through them, but if they managed to hold on to at least two Behemoths until they reached that point, the larger ships should be able to punch Redemption a hole.

    If that worked…

    Five Behemoths surrounded Onyx Station at close quarters. Even if Redemption managed to survive past the front defensive line, through that mass of ships and into the relatively free and open space beyond, they would be all alone. Against five Behemoths. The shuttle Picard would be close enough to launch, but Prin wouldn’t be able to protect it.

    She shook her head. It was about time she called in her back-up.

    Hornet-class Fighter

    Gemma Turner keyed her comm as the incoming transmission from Redemption appeared on her screen.

    Starburst Squadron had pulled out along with the rest of the Laurentii fleet, and she had ordered her people into a holding pattern around the larger Federation ship. It had been a waiting game since then, watching their Laurentii allies play cat and mouse with their enemies. The comm chatter from her pilots had started out well natured, but she could hear the strain growing in their voices.

    This had better be good, she thought as Ba’el’s Cardassian XO - Prin Ly’et - appeared on the screen.

    “Commander Turner, we are preparing to make a run on the station,” Ly’et said without preamble. “Once we get close enough, we’re launching a shuttle in an attempt to rescue our people trapped there.”

    Does that include your captain? Gemma wanted to ask. But she forced herself to nod. “Understood.”

    “I’m sure you can see the odds out there as well as I can,” Ly’et went on. “Getting at the station is not going to be easy.”

    “My people are ready to punch you a hole, commander.”

    Ly’et smiled. “I’m sure they are, Commander Turner. That isn’t what I want them to do, though.”

    Gemma frowned. What exactly was Ly’et getting at?

    “I want you and your people to fly as close to Redemption as possible. Stay in the range of our defences while we break through the Laurentii lines.”

    “Stay in range of your defences? Commander, that sounds a hell of a lot like hiding. My people aren’t going to like that.”

    “I didn’t think they would. And yes, that is exactly what I want you to do. Hide. Stay in our sensor shadow, stay beneath our shields. Stay alive.”

    “Commander, that doesn’t make any sense. If you don’t want us in the fighting, we’d be better off in the flight bay. Unless…” Gemma felt her eyes widen as she realised what Ly’et was asking.

    “Unless I want you ready to move the moment we break through.”

    While Ly’et was talking, Gemma checked her screens again. She zoomed in on the station. She doesn’t think any of our allies are going to make it to the end game. She’s going to throw Redemption against those Behemoths. Which means…

    “You want us to protect the shuttle going in.”

    “That shuttle is our only chance of getting our people back, Commander. It has to complete its mission.”

    Even if that means every member of Starburst Squadron is sacrificed to make that happen. She nodded. “I understand completely.”

    Prin took a moment to answer. When she did, her voice - normally so cool - held a myriad layered emotions. Regret. Sadness. Pride. “I know you do, commander. And thank you.”

    Turner felt herself sit up straighter. No wonder Ba’el chose her as his second officer, she thought for the first time. Maybe he isn’t the only fleeter who is worth a damn. “We’ll do the job, Commander Ly’et.”

    “Thank you. May the Prophets be with you.”

    The small screen went dark. Turner stared at it for a moment, then allowed her eyes to slide upwards. She stared through the gathered Laurentii ships, past the ongoing battle, to the small glowing blur in the far distance. You’d better be on that station, Ba’el. And you’d better be alive. Cause I’m coming for you.

    Shaking her head to rid it of thoughts of Ba’el Sarine, she activated the comm. Time to tell her people what was coming.

    Bridge

    Prin closed her eyes as she cut the comm line to Turner. The young woman’s face hovered in front of her eyes. You just ordered that girl to her death, Prin. Her and every other member of her squadron.

    It had to be done, she told herself. She believed it too. It still didn’t make it any easier.

    Taking a moment, she looked around her bridge. Her bridge. Without even meaning to, she had started to think of it that way. Not that she had any doubts that Ba’el would soon be back in the centre spot, giving the orders, and leading these people home. Not a single one. Still, it was nice for a moment to enjoy the feeling. Her bridge. Her ship. Her crew.

    She felt a lump grow in her throat and swallowed hard. In a few minutes, she was going to order all of them into battle. And when she gave that order, she had no way of knowing how many of them would be coming back. She took a breath. She would just have to do her damnedest to make sure that as many of them as possible were still standing when she handed the reins back to Ba’el.

    Before her thoughts could distract her any more, L’wynd spoke up from Tactical. “I think we have our opening, commander.”

    Prin waved her hand, bringing the tactical display front and centre before her. The three loyalist Behemoths - in blue - were making another strafing run on the Laurentii front line. For a moment, she thought that L’wynd was imagining things. Then she saw it. Three of the enemy ships were slightly out of position compared to the rest. As she watched, they moved even further, attacking the loyalist ships. The three blue dots darted out of their weapons range, but the red dots kept on moving.

    Thank the Prophets! They’ve taken the bait.

    “Lieutenant Barani, message to all ships. We’re going in.”
     
  10. Cobalt Frost

    Cobalt Frost Captain Captain

    Woo hoo, he's back!!
     
  11. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    LOL! Hope that means you enjoyed it! :) And yes, I'm back! :techman:
     
  12. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Sector 001
    You know what? Isaporeai Hyps'rat is really gross. The slick, fleshy walls, the orifices and openings, the sucking, squishing sounds. Ewww. You do an excellent job describing it all, too. :lol:

    I liked the pairings we saw here. Qwert/Lkim and Gemma/Prin all played really well off of each other. Great character moments. I especially liked Gemma and Prin's mutual respect and understanding.

    I also loved the section with Ianto. It was fascinating to see him allocating his program to all those different tasks, and they served as an excellent reminder of what else is going on "offscreen," too.

    Very cool chapter, can't wait for more!
     
  13. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    New chapter!! [​IMG]

    Poor Prin, being in command sometimes feels great but ordering people to become kamikaze is not the nicest commanding duty.

    Can't wait to see Qwert in action :D
     
  14. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Hi Kes!

    Thanks for the comment! I'm glad I grossed you out with Onyx Station, that was (and is) entirely the goal here - I really wanted this to seem more alien than a lot of what we are used to. The grossness factor just adds to it, I hope.

    The two pairings here are seemingly obvious ones, but in the case of Prin and Turner, a neccessary one. Both of these women have close relationships to Ba'el and have lots in common, but also have an inevitable capacity for conflict. I'm quite intrigued myself to see where their relationship may lead.

    Glad the Ianto scene worked - I was worried about how well it would work, so it's reassuring to know that it did what I wanted it to.

    More coming in a couple of days!
    Thanks for the comment Gul Re'jal. Means a lot to see how excited you were at a new chapter!

    Yes, Prin is in sort of a quandary, enjoying the opportunity to command this ship but hating the sequence of events that have led her here so far.

    As for Qwert, we'll be seeing more of him "in action" in the next few chapters!

    Thanks again!

    Joel
     
  15. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Chapter 23

    Doctor Andrew Keene, who had once been known as L’goth, made his way through the chaos aboard USS Redemption, hand keeping a firm grip on the hypospray he had hidden in his pocket.

    A sudden shake sent him stumbling into the far well, where he remained for a moment, waiting for the shock to fade. A few minutes before there had seemed to be a respite while the ship rested. The battle raging around them had fallen away, but now it seemed that the ship had thrown itself back into the fray.

    The battle had already slowed him down in his mission. As he had made his way from sickbay to Jasto Dax’s quarters, he had been forced to use the stairwells after Security prevented access to the turbolifts for anyone without at least a Level 5 security clearance. As he had hurried down through the decks, he had been forced to stop again and again to stop poor whining Federationers.

    Maddening. More than once, he had thought about throwing off the white coat.

    The ship shook once again, the bulkheads crying out around him. Keene’s blood sang out in response, humming with battle lust. More than anything, he wanted to be in the middle of it. Some parts of his heritage he was finding harder and harder to deny. There were days – days that came more and more frequently recently – when he wanted to throw everything to the wind and embrace who he truly was. And his mission be damned.

    He focused on the corridor ahead, forcing himself to concentrate. There were more important things at stake here.

    He was only a few minutes away from his prey’s quarters. After the last crewmember who had begged him for help, cradling an arm with a vicious plasma burn, Keene had moved into the less frequented corridors.

    Now, turning the corner, he saw Dax’s quarters, easily identified by the two security guards stood outside. A human and a Romulan. Keene spared another thought for Federation madness – even with the ship stuck in the middle of what seemed to have turned into a war zone, they still spared these two warriors for what amounted to little more than babysitting duty. Sarine should have ordered the Trill phasered and be done with it.

    It would have made his job that much easier.

    Both security officers looked up at him as he approached. Keene forced himself to breathe in and out irregularly, bending over and holding his stomach as if he had been running. Make yourself look as feeble as possible. A hard lesson for a Klingon to learn, but one that his instructors in the Imperial Security Committee had taught him all too well.

    “I- I- I’m here to relieve Doctor Malok,” he wheezed.

    The human – the superior officer according to his arm pips – nodded, standing aside. The door slid open.

    Keene slipped inside. Malok towered over two prone figures – Jasto Dax and the Vulcan navigational officer, Q’sar. Keene spared the pointy eared youth a glance – his briefing materials had included few mentions of him, though they had raised a number of question about how he had come to survive the Dominion’s last assault on his home world. Every other Vulcan on record had succumbed to the Sickness. Why this boy was different was a mystery no one – not the human who had taken him in, not the Romulans who had studied him, nor the Klingons who had spied on him – had been able to fathom.

    Malok turned at the sound of the opening door, his lips drawn back in a snarl of frustration.

    “What took you so long?”

    Keene suppressed his instinctual reaction, forcing an apologetic grin instead. Damned humans and their constant need to apologise. “I’m sorry, Doctor. With the turbolifts out, I…”

    “No matter.” Malok cut him off with a wave of his hand. Keene felt his lips drawing back and dropped his gaze to the floor to hide it. His fellow Klingon turned back to his patients. “They seem to be stuck in what appears to be a recursive cerebral event. Their vitals are stable, but their brain patterns are stuck – joined together in some kind of cohesive feedback loop. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

    As if you could have ever seen a mindmeld before, Keene thought sourly. Outwardly, though, he nodded, accepting the tricorder Malok held out to him. He scanned the readings without really paying attention to what they indicated.

    “I see,” he lied. “I’ll keep an eye on them. I imagine you want to be informed if there is the slightest change?”

    Malok nodded, his eyes still fixed on both men. “Yes.” He shook his head. “Maybe I should stay. I’m sure Doctor-“

    “No!” When the doctor finally turned away from Dax and Q’sar, eyes wide in surprise, Keene realised he may have sounded a little frantic. He forced his voice to calm. “No. You are needed in sickbay, Doctor. Your presence will have… A calming effect. On the others.” He was waffling, but he would say anything – anything - to get the damned fool out of there. “I can take care of this. I promise, I will contact you the moment anything changes.”

    Before Malok could come up with any other reasons to contradict him, the ship shook, more violently this time. Both men were thrown to the deck amidst the flotsam and jetsam of Jasto Dax’s personal effects. Keene only just managed to arrest his fall with one hand, narrowing avoiding crushing the vial of poison beneath his body.

    The ship continued to shake. Once it stopped, Malok was up before Keene was. He walked over, offering his fellow doctor a helping hand. Though Keene hated to, he accepted it, brushing himself off as he stood.

    “Thank you.”

    “You’re welcome.” A secondary tremor ran through the deck. Malok looked up, then sighed. “I suppose you’re right. My place is in sickbay.”

    He turned, walking over to the bed and studied the two men for a moment. Keene watched him go, trying not to urge him on. He only relaxed when Malok gave a heavy sigh and turned away. “You will tell me the moment anything changes?” he asked, meeting Keene’s eyes.

    “You have my word.”

    The larger man grunted, but Keene’s promise seemed to have mollified him a little. Just leave you old bastard! Malok took his time gathering his coat, shrugging it over his shoulders. “I will check in with you in an hour.

    If we’re all still here by then, Keene thought as another quake seized the ship.

    Malok nodded and pushed past him. Keene caught a glimpse of the two security officers through the open door, and then the other doctor was gone. Leaving him alone with Dax and Q’sar. Finally. He had started to wonder whether Malok would ever leave.

    Now that he was alone, Keene reached into his pocket and pulled out the hypospray and the vial. He held them in his hands for a moment, fingers wrapped firmly around them in case they were hit by another barrage.

    This is it, he thought. This one last thing and I can get on with my mission again. That bitch Williams won’t have anything else to hold over me. He breathed in and let out a deep sigh of relief at the thought. He would have to start thinking about taking care of Williams. Permanently.

    First, though… Charging the hypo, he stalked over to the two sleeping officers.

    X

    “Tishara squadron, fire at will.”

    Prin glanced into her viewfinder, the Laurentii voice echoing across the bridge comm. system. Seven small craft – what the pilots of Starburst Squadron had begun tagging as tadpoles – squirmed out of formation, leaving behind trails of emerald energy as they attacked the first wave of enemy vessels.

    Not that anyone can really tell who is an enemy or a friend out there, Prin thought. How the hell did we end up in the middle of a civil war?

    The Laurentii commander’s order had come one second too late, she saw. The Laurentii fleet opened fire, destroying several of Tishara squadron’s fighters in a squall of brilliant rays too swift to follow. The remaining tadpoles retaliated in kind, expelling wave after wave of viridian fire at the centre of the Laurentii curtain. Prin fought not to flinch at the sudden destruction, maintaining her impassive mask as Redemption and her allies entered the fray.

    “The Shyraztarai is taking heavy fire,” L’wynd barked. “I’m not sure how long they’re going to be able to hold out.”

    Prin glanced at the upper leftmost screen of the five she had hovering in the air around her. She saw immediately what her tactical officer was talking about. The Shyraztarai, one of the Behemoths protecting the Federation ship, hung above them in the formation. Two enemy Behemoths and a varied handful of smaller vessels seemed to be focusing all of their fire on her.

    “Lieutenat, contact our allies,” Prin ordered Barani. “Tell varec Kh’ylat on Oerdonna to move some ships to support the Shyraztarai.”

    “Aye, sir,” the Ops officer responded. “Five tendrils are moving in to intercept.”

    Prin saw them on another of the screens. Not sure how much good they’re going to do.

    Turning her head slightly, she caught L’wynd’s eye. “Tell Starburst Squadron to stay close. We may need some protection from incoming fire.”

    Prin’s heart clenched as the Crystat officer relayed the order. She was almost certainly keeping those men and women safe only to send them to their deaths later. She refused to think about it, though. Not now. She had to concentrate on the bigger picture – getting her ship into a position to launch the shuttle. Get her people out.

    This is a hell of way to end a diplomatic mission, though.

    Prin saw it happen a moment before L’wynd shouted from behind her.

    “Captain, Shyraztarai is breaking up!”

    Dragging the screen from the lower right to the centre of her view, she saw the tendril ships pull away. The Behemoth had begun to shudder, her tail and flipper like side protrusions flailing wildly. Liquid spewed into space from gaping wounds, while the enemy fire flayed more and more flesh from her haunches. Though she felt sick to her stomach, Prin couldn’t look away. Those are living things out there, she thought. Their technology might be advanced, but do we really want a treaty with a people who can throw living creatures into battle like this? She shook her head.

    The Behemoth’s death throws ended in a series of explosions, the metallic modules embedded in her body cracking and leaking fire. By the time those flames died, Shyraztarai was a corpse.

    Loka moving in to take her place,” Barani said, her voice subdued. Prin could hardly blame her.

    Dammit. They were getting slaughtered out there. If only they could get some kind of opening, something that would allow them to punch through the line of Behemoths… Prin was starting to worry that the only way that was going to happen was if the Laurentii made a mistake. She couldn’t depend on that. She needed a plan.

    The problem was, she couldn’t think of one.

    X​


    Hypo loaded, Keene stopped above Jasto and Q’sar. He stood there for a moment, waiting for a lull in the rocking of the ship, and studied the two men. Jasto’s face was lined, his lips tight and scrunched downwards in a frown. Q’sar, though, looked serene. The only sign of his distress was the rapid flickering of his eyes behind their lids. Both men were totally helpless.

    Keene smiled.

    Steadying the hypo, Keene lowered it until it pressed against Jasto’s neck. He took a deep breath, ready to depress the button and inject the poison as soon as Redemption stopped shaking. His finger was shaking from the tension.

    The shaking eased.

    “What are you doing?”

    Keene’s whole hand jerked upwards. His finger depressed the hypo’s activation stud, but the hypo had already moved away from Jasto’s skin. He spun.

    Standing in the doorway, phaser in hand, Doctor Malok glared at him. When Keene failed to answer, he spoke again.

    “I asked you a question, doctor. And you’d better have a bloody good answer.”
     
  16. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    It's been some time since the last chapter, so glad to see this one up :)

    Prin better think fast about that plan. And I understand her feelings about the living ship--I felt sorry for it, too :( Just like horses in Earth's past; what did they do to deserve being slaughtered on a battlefield?
     
  17. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Thanks Gul Re'jal. It has been a long time!!! Yikes!

    Prin is nothing if not resourceful, but whether that will be enough when faced with the might of the Laurentii... We'll have to wait and see.

    I felt it was important to point out that no matter how powerful the Laurentii tech is, it is still based on living beings, and Prin seemed the best person to bring that out.

    Thanks for your comment! More coming soon!
     
  18. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Wow, this mission is quickly spiraling completely out of control! Given their technology, the Laurentii falling into civil war could spell disaster for much of the quadrant, and would likely sound the death knell for the recently reborn Federation.

    And Keene/L’goth came sooo close!

    Literally anything could happen next… :eek:
     
  19. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Gibraltar,

    Thanks for the comment. Glad to see you're still following this, was a bit worried that the time since my last post would have turned people off. I'm hoping to post the next few chapters a little more regularly! :p

    Yep, things are spiralling out of control all over the show. And the situation with Keene is far from resolved.

    Thanks again for the comment!

    Joel
     
  20. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Chapter 24

    USS Redemption
    Jasto Dax’s Quarters


    “Please, doctor, this isn’t…”

    “Ensign Chin, please join us.”

    Keene’s eyes narrowed as the two security officers stepped through the door and joined them in the room. They had their hands on their phasers, though they hadn’t drawn them yet. Keene couldn’t believe that he had been so easily caught out. Why by Kahless had the old man come back?

    “Is there a problem, doctor?”

    “That is what I’m trying to ascertain. I found Doctor Keene administering some unknown compound to my patient.”

    “A simple mental booster to try and break through the telepathic link,” Keene said quickly, spreading his hands in as unthreatening a way as possible.

    “I asked you to watch them, doctor, not administer medication.”

    “Yes, but I…”

    “Can we see that, please doctor?” The human security officer took a step towards him, holding out a hand.

    If he gave them the hypo, it would only take them a few minutes to ascertain that it wasn’t what he had said it was. Keene was running out of options. Damn Astrid Williams, damn Jasto Dax and damn Malok, son of Karana. Damn them all to the nine hells!

    He had no other choice. He was going to have to fight his way out, find some unsuspecting victim and use the machine to change his form again. It was the only way to continue his mission. Any chance of replacing Kalara had vanished when Williams pulled her little stunt anyway.

    Focusing again, he allowed his shoulders to slump. He held the hand with the hypo out towards Chin. “Of course. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cause so much trouble. I only wanted to help.”

    The young security officer came forward, reaching out one hand to accept the hypo, his other hand hovering on the butt of his phaser. Keene waited until the man’s fingers had almost touched the smooth surface of the hypospray before making his move.

    Years of training in close combat kicked in. One step forward. Chin’s wrist grasped in his own hand. A snap of his shoulder, bringing the other man forward and around. Hypo up and pressed against the skin on the man’s neck. A second later and he had the security officer securely in his grasp.

    “Stop right there,” he snapped, eyeing the other security officer and Malok. The younger officer’s hand had been reaching for his comm badge, but when he saw the hypo against his superior’s neck, he froze. Keene smiled. Children. He could feel Chin’s heart beating through his own chest, the man’s breathing coming in erratic bursts.

    “What do you think you are doing, doctor?”

    Keene allowed himself to sneer. “My job, shuvoth'shu.”

    Malok’s eyes widened at the insult. “What did you say?”

    “You heard me, shuvoth'shu. I know what you are, what you’ve done. You’re a traitor to your race, dressed in your white coat like a lamb.” Keene showed his teeth. “I may have filed my fangs to pass amongst these humans, but I still have fangs where it counts. In my warrior’s heart.”

    “You,” Malok barked. “You were the one? You betrayed the ship to the Klingons?”

    “I betrayed nothing. I gave our people a glorious victory.”

    “You killed thousands!”

    “I would kill millions if it meant that the Empire could take its true place in the galaxy. Not as human lapdogs. As masters.”

    “You’re insane,” Chin hissed.

    Keene dug the hypo into his neck. The other security officer, the young Romulan, had been edging around the wall. Keene turned to him, his finger hovering over the activation stub.

    “You’ll never get out of here alive,” Malok said. “Where could you possibly hope to go?”

    “You know what,” Keene replied, “you’re right.”

    Before any of them could react, he activated the hypo. Chin’s body went limp immediately. Before the security officer’s eyes had time to close, Keene had his phaser out of the holster, firing at the young Romulan. The inexperienced officer tried to dart out of the way, but Keene’s years told. He tracked left, knowing exactly where he would head. His phaser beam took the man in the chest, felling him.

    Almost immediately, an alarm sounded. Unauthorised weapons fire. Keene barely had time to register the sound before he felt a great weight bear down on him, carrying him to the floor. Malok roared, bringing his fists down towards Keene’s head. Keene brought his own arms up, blocking the blow, and kicking upwards, catching the bigger man a blow to his groin. With another roar, the Klingon doctor rolled away.

    Keene jumped to his feet, spinning to give Malok a round kick against the temple. The doctor roared again, going down and staying down. Keene walked over to him, kneeling down on either side of the man’s bulky chest. Malok groaned, trying to get up, but Keene easily kept him pinned to the floor. With both hands, he reached down, grabbing Malok’s head. He leaned down.

    “When the Empire gains the Laurentii technology, we will be unbeatable. We will sweep the galaxy of men like you. I will personally make sure that your family follow you to Gre’thor.”

    With a savage twist, he broke Malok’s neck.

    Getting to his feet, brushing away blood where Malok had hit him, Keene looked down at the man. He had been a worthy opponent, but no man who betrayed his Empire could hope to reach Sto’vokor. His soul would burn in Gre’thor.

    The alarm still sounded, but so far no security officers had arrived to investigate. Too busy with the battle. He exchanged Chin’s phaser with the one in the dead Romulan’s holster. He might need a weapon and it would take them a few minutes to realise he had switched them. The longer they spent tracking the weapon he had used, the more time he would have.

    Casting one last look at the room, his eyes fell on Dax and Q’sar. He hesitated for a moment, unsure whether to shoot them both dead. Then he turned away.

    Whatever happened, he was going to have to abandon the Keene identity. Which meant not even Astrid Williams would know who he was. He allowed himself a smile as he stepped out into the corridor, looking both ways before turning left and heading towards the nearest emergency access tubes. And if she wanted Jasto Dax dead, she was going to have to do it herself.

    Bridge

    “Commander, we’ve got reports of phaser fire on Deck 9, Section 13.”

    “What?” Prin turned away from the battle for a moment, staring at Barani. “What kind of phaser fire?”

    “Starfleet issue. One burst. It… It seems to have come from Lieutenant Dax’s quarters. Security personnel assigned to him are not responding.” A beat. “Nor is Doctor Malok.”

    Not now, Prin amost groaned. She shook her head. “Lieutenant Vareen, handle this. Tell your people that Lieutenant Dax may have escaped custody. He is to be considered armed and highly dangerous.”

    “Yes sir.”

    As the tall Xindi woman headed for the turbolift, Prin dismissed the problem, turning her attention back to the ongoing battle. Redemption was down to one Behemoth, who was currently battering its way through the swarms of smaller Laurentii vessels keeping them from Onyx Station. Any moment now, the hole would open and Redemption would need to be ready to slip through.

    To face the four Behemoths waiting for them on the other side. She couldn’t worry about the unexpected phaser fire now. She had to trust her people to handle it.

    Still, she couldn’t help a tiny part of her from worrying what sort of damage an insane Jasto Dax could do with a phaser, loose on her ship.