Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

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

  1. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Holy Hell! Could you have a bit more nail-biting action and suspense in this update?! Terrific stuff, though I was sad to see Malok die. At least he went out fighting like a warrior. :klingon:

    This story has plots within plots, battles within battles…
     
  2. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Chapter 25

    Ispaoreai Hyps’rat (Onyx Station)


    Qwert settled against the wall, breath coming in a harried rush. He had scrambled his way through the maintenance veins as quickly as possible, though that wasn’t very fast anymore. His arms and legs ached.

    Once he had his breathing under control, he reached forward and pressed his fingertips to the control boil next to the nearest opening. Lkim had explained how to use them as best he could, but Qwert still felt uneasy as the protrusion opened up. He felt warm, pulsing flesh encase his hand up to his wrist. The flesh sucked at his fingers, sending shivers up his arm.

    If this doesn’t work… Lkim had not been sure whether the station would react to him considering that he wasn’t Laurentii. Qwert had decided to take the risk – it was more important to have Lkim in place to create a diversion. He just hoped he had been right.

    With a wet smacking sound, the flesh wall in front of him drew back, creating a small opening. Qwert was so surprised that for a moment he forgot Lkim’s instructions. He remembered just in time, grasping the small nubin of flesh beneath his fingers, twisting it. The opening stopped growing.

    Qwert peered through. He was lower down than before, just above Laurentii head level. Lkinym and his band of priests were in front of him, a few feet away. From here, he should have an easier shot at the enemy kruin.

    Twisting the nub again, he forced the portal to close further. Once it was the size of an eyehole, he allowed himself to sit back and relax. Now all he had to do was wait for Lkim to do his part.

    Shuttle Picard

    When hologram-Ianto saw the Behemoths reach weapons range of Redemption and felt the bridge begin to jerk and shake around him, shuttle-Ianto brought the sublight engines online, guiding the snubnosed shuttle Picard out of the bay and into open space.

    Immediately, his shuttle self was forced into a sudden evasive manoeuver to avoid an incoming Laurentii fighter. (0.01% of his mind trawled the incoming communications from the fighters that were scrambling around him and tagged the fighter as a tadpole). He flipped the shuttle on its back and passed between two bolts of energy, his instinctual reaction ten times faster than any non-positronic pilot could manage. Moments later, the tadpole vanished in an explosion of flesh and blood and metal and fire, destroyed by one of Starburst Squadron.

    “We’ve got your back, Picard.”

    Ianto activated the comm system. “Thank you, Starburst Leader.”

    “Now what do you say we get on with this before my people get spaced?”

    On Redemption’s bridge, hologram-Ianto smiled. “With pleasure.”

    Ispaoreai Hyps’rat (Onyx Station)

    Lkim, havac of the Laurentii Hegemony, warrior in the service of the holy Seefu, the general who had subdued the Hrud, the Kanasi and the Loos during the sacred crusade that had carved the Laurentii a place in this galaxy, crouched in the bile of the maintenance veins, wondering how it had come to this.

    In all his years, he had never expected that one day he would be fighting with heathens against his own people. Of course, he would never have imagined the sacrilege and blasphemy that he had witnessed hours before in the kruin’s chamber. He had always known that Lkinym was an ambitious man and that he scorned Asuph’s decision to overlook him as his successor. Nevertheless, to go to such lengths…

    Looking through the small portal, Lkim waited to see a similar portal open on the other side, confirming that Qwert had reached his position. He hoped that the strange old man would be able to use Ispaoreai Hyps’rat’s hussard’s. In all probability, he would. After all, it had been designed by the gods in such a way as to grow to embrace any of the races that the Hegemony welcomed into its fold.

    Idly, he wondered whether the Federation would ever step into that embrace. Kruin Asuph had been so determined to get his hands on the Sarine that he had been willing to do something the Hegemony had almost never done in its history – ally itself with another group of races without embracing them into the greater whole. Now that he was gone…

    The first step is to stop Lkinym’s insane war, Lkim told himself. Then we will see.

    Across the way, he saw the portal open. He felt a surge of relief, followed by panic as the portal continued to open. For a moment, he feared that Admiralqwert had lost control, but gradually the portal slowed, then stopped. He could just about make out the man’s bald head and overlarge ears, then the portal closed again.

    Lkim breathed a sigh of relief. The Ferengi had done it. Now it was his turn. Gripping the claw-like kasuistar in his hand, Lkim leaned forward and prepared to fire.

    Shuttle Picard

    Now comes the hard part, Ianto thought.

    The Redemption-bound Ianto, the one that had transferred himself into the main computer of the starship to survive the destruction of his android body, reached out to act as a fulcrum for all of the other facets of his being. Creating a link between himself, the hologram-Ianto on the bridge and the shuttle-Ianto juking and diving through the masses of tadpoles trying to stop him reaching the station, Ianto fed the information streaming from Redemption’s much more elaborate sensors to his avatar aboard the shuttle.

    The link-up and the instantaneous transfer of information took up most of Ianto’s remaining processing power. What it allowed, though, was for him to constantly cycle the frequency of the electrical field surrounding the shuttle’s torpedoes, notably the three containing the Borg nanites. It had been agreed that it was better to fire a full spread at the station, both as a distraction tactic and insurance against the station destroying the incoming warheads.

    With the frequency cycling almost instantaneously to that being emmitted by the station and picked up Redemption’s sensor array, Ianto homed in on his target.

    Hornet Fighter

    Her people were being slaughtered.

    Turner flipped her fighter through a series of dives and barrel rolls, her stomach dropping despite the artificial gravity generators that hummed in the fuselage behind her. She narrowly avoided the fire from an oncoming tadpole, then brought her ship around in a sudden snap roll. The pursuing tadpole was directly in her sights. She tightened her finger on the trigger and the enemy ship vanished in a splatter of fire and flesh.

    Every time she killed one of them, she felt her stomach tighten. It was one thing to destroy a machine of steel and plastisteel, it was something else to destroy a living creature. Never mind that creature was trying to destroy her too.

    She shook her head. She checked her screens and saw that two more of her people had gone, their fighters destroyed, in the time it had taken her to take care of her pursuer. Five now. Andrews, T’shak, Krim, Covak and Lawrence. Fuck it.

    Slipping out of range of another attacker, she searched for the shuttle. It had managed to survive the maelstrom, her fighters keeping the enemy tadpoles off it. It was almost there.

    Come on, you bastard, she thought as she destroyed another tadpole, her own fighter shaking as she was caught in the crossfire between two more. Finish it!

    Shuttle Picard

    It took Ianto 0.0001 seconds to recognise that he was within range of the station.

    He allowed himself an extra 0.0018 seconds to confirm that the current shield frequency would hold long enough for his barrage to get through.

    He took 0.00025 seconds to decide that the Redemption-bound Ianto’s analysis of the frequency pattern should allow him to discern three supplementary frequences just in case.

    0.00200 seconds later, he had finished realigning the frequencies of his torpedoes.

    0.00327 seconds after entering range, the Ianto-shuttle mind activated the launching sequence.

    The torpedoes would take over five hundred times as long to reach their target. But they would be primed and ready.

    Ispaoreai Hyps’rat (Onyx Station)

    Once he was in position, Lkim nevertheless waited for a few minutes until one of the soldiers moved out of range of Qwert’s position. It would be no good for him to create a diversion if one of those soldiers immediately began covering the walls and ceiling in search of another shooter.

    The moment the soldier had moved on, Lkim sighted along the claw weapon. Qwert had explained his plan: take out one of the priests on your side and the soldiers and the priests will automatically scramble to protect Lkinym on that side. Within a few seconds, they will realise how stupid that is and they will spread themselves out. But those few seconds should be more than enough.

    I hope you’re right, Lkim thought. Closing one eye, he made sure he had the priest firmly in his sights, and then he fired.

    Ispaoreai Hyps’rat (Onyx Station)

    The burst of green energy exploded from the far wall, lighting the kruin’s chamber in flickering emerald flames, engulfing one of the priests on Lkinym’s far side. Qwert tensed as Lkim’s attack birthed chaos, the Laurentii soldiers leaving their posts to converge on the soon to be kruin, while the priests screamed orders in the Laurentii’s strange tongue.

    As he had hoped, the initial reaction of both the soldiers and the priests was to protect Lkinym’s other side. The group moved away from him, giving him a relatively clear shot on the usurper.

    Just like Tindan, Qwert thought, remembering his assassination of a Vorta on Golan IV. I’m only going to have a few seconds, though.

    Bringing the Laurentii claw weapon to bear, he brought Lkinym into his sights and prepared to pull the trigger.

    Hornet Fighter

    Turner pulled out of the corkscrew, exploding out of a mass of five tadpole fighters just in time to see the shield around Onyx Station erupt into brilliant white light. Her heart leapt at the sight and she checked her screens. Flipping up on one wing, she fired at one of the enemy fighters, vaporising it.

    Did they get through? Did they get through?

    Her questions were answered as her sensor package chimed. She allowed herself to relax.

    “Package delivered,” she announced over the comm. system. “I repeat, package delivered.”

    As her pilots shouted their happiness, she took a deep breath. Now we get out of here.

    Ispaoreai Hyps’rat (Onyx Station)

    Mere moments before he pulled the trigger, the whole station shook beneath him. Qwert was thrown to the side. The jolt forced his finger back against the trigger and an eruption of heat and light exploded towards Lkinym.

    He fell to the floor, the wall blocking his view of what had happened on the other side. He scrambled back to his feet within moments, only to be thrown to one side again as the station shook once more.

    What is happening?

    When he finally managed to get to his knees and peer through the opening, he realised that something had gone terribly wrong. Lkinym was still standing, looking down at one of the priests lying prone at his feet. On the other side of the kruin’s chamber, a group of Laurentii soldiers were dragging Lkim out of his hiding place.

    And another group were heading straight for him.
     
  3. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    I'm delighted to see this story back, and just as breathtaking as when you last left off! This is a chaotic, nail-biting battle with enormous ramifications for the newly reconstituted Federation.

    Welcome back! :bolian:
     
  4. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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

    Thanks so much, I'm glad to see that someone is still reading this. A few more chapters left and I will finally have Volume 3 completed.

    Trust me, this is going to get even more nail-biting before the end.

    Cheers and good to be backed!
     
  5. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Chapter 26

    Bridge
    USS Redemption


    “Package delivered. I repeat, package delivered.”

    As Commander Turner’s words echoed around the bridge, the crew gave an audible cheer. Prin allowed herself a single, heartfelt sigh of relief. She had followed Ianto and the shuttle as it weaved its way through the Laurentii lines, had watched the torpedoes arrow towards their target, but she hadn’t allowed herself to believe until she received confirmation.

    She allowed the celebration to continue a moment longer, and then spoke over the excited voices, bringing her people back to the task at hand.

    “Status of the Laurentii forces, Lieutenant.”

    She was pleased to see that Barani was still concentrated on the situation at hand despite the euphoria sweeping the bridge around her. Almost hidden behind the whirling holoscreens that surrounded her, she shook her head. “The Behemoths are still coming, sir.”

    As if to confirm her words, the ship shook violently, followed moments later by alert sounds coming from one of the nearby engineering stations. The ensign manning the post called out.

    “Major damage to our rear hull plating, Commander. Shields out over three sections.”

    Prin glanced back to see a Behemoth bearing down on them, guns blazing. The image flickered as the creature’s weapons fire interfered with Redemption’s rear sensors.

    “Casualties?” she called out.

    “Unknown.”

    This is far from over, she thought. Time to speed things up.

    Looking forward at the station, she tapped her comm. badge. “Prin to Kane. Tell me you have good news.”

    Main Engineering

    Down in engineering, chaos reigned. Officers with engineering gold running across their shoulders and down the fringes of their arms ran from station to station, fighting brush fires as they flared up, trying to help the ship’s systems handle the stresses of the battle.

    Kane ignored the cacophony of voices, concentrating on the telemetry from the shuttle Picard as they flickered across the work station in front of him. He had seen the torpedoes launch moment before, but waited for confirmation before he attempted to commune with the nanites that should now be spreading through the Laurentii station.

    Just as the sensor screens turned yellow to indicate that the nanites had been activated, the comm. channel chimed and he heard Prin’s voice.

    “The nanites are active, Commander,” he responded, double checking the telemetry. “Active and transmitting on the expected frequency.”

    A beat. “Are you ready to proceed?”

    “Yes, commander.”

    “Good luck, Kane.”

    The comm. channel closed with a hiss of static. Kane turned to the three officers stood waiting. He had chosen each of them individually to assist him. All three were members of his homehive, the smaller collectives most of the Free Borg now preferred. He glanced from Suzanna, the blond-haired human woman, to Kreel, his Tellarite brother, before settling on Leyeta. The Bajoran and he had been part of the same hive since their birth. They had grown close to such a degree that their connection often seemed to extend beyond their shared consciousness.

    “You know what to do?” he asked them, his eyes resting on Leyeta’s face last. He detected a flicker of nervousness behind her usual cold exterior.

    They nodded as one and their voices echoed in his head. We will monitor your lifesigns and disconnect you from the collective if the alien mind begins to overwhelm you.

    Good, he responded in kind. Hearing them like that was as comforting to him as a favourite chair might be to a human. It was the essence of what it meant to be one of the Free Borg. It has been an honour to share your minds, my family.

    The honour was ours.

    Sharing one last lingering glance with Leyeta, Kane turned back to the work station. He accessed one of the programs he had transferred over from their sentinel craft’s mainframe and loaded onto Redemption’s main computers. Once it was nestled in the core systems, he activated his tubules with a thought, spearing the console in front of him with a splash of sparks. Immediately, pure information flooded his cybernetic synapses, washing him clean with virgin data.

    He ignored the agreeable sensation of interfacing with a computer, concentrating instead on the program he had installed. Accessing its inner workings, he entered the command code and allowed it to upload itself into his cortical nodes. The program was of ancient design, a core system pathway that dated back to the very birth of the Borg nation. Though it didn’t have a true name, Kane had always called it the First Protocol.

    Within the Free Borg, this computer program was almost as hallowed as the scriptures of Kahless were to the Klingons. It contained the very essence of the Borg. A program designed to allow for the interfacing of minds. The neural interlink that created the Borg hivemind.

    With the program secured within his own cybernetic parts, Kane sought out the frequency that the nanites Ianto had deployed within Onyx Station were transmitting on. Finding it, he used the collective voice of his homehive to reach out towards the living station.

    He found it straight away, an immense presence unlike anything he had ever encountered before. There was consciousness there, though not as Kane had ever conceived of it before. As his senses extended to immerse themselves in those of the station, he felt and heard the steady throb of the station’s internal systems – the quickened beat of its vascular nodes, the constant give and take of its maintenance veins, the instantaneous flow through its cortical hubs. Thoughts flickered, broken and distraught.

    Onyx Station was in pain.

    Kane reached out to relieve it.

    We are the Borg, he told it. We wish to commune with you, to salve your biological and mental pain with our own distinctiveness. Our minds and consciousness will grow and adapt to service you, to make you one with us. Resistance is futile, only the one matters.

    The words were caught up by his fellow Borg, echoed and refracted and increased and augmented, until they turned into a veritable chorus that echoed across the vast distances separating Redemption from the station. As the nanites spread further through Ispaoreai Hyps’rat’s systems, Kane felt their consciousness merge with that of the station, pulling it slowly but inexhorably into their homehive.

    The transition took a brief moment and then all of them shared in Ispaoreai Hyps’rat’s magnificent mind. All of a sudden, their homehive seemed to have increased a hundred-fold. At the same time, the pain and confusion in Ispaoreai Hyps’rat’s thoughts faded, soothed by its newfound family.

    Kane felt a distinct thrill at the sensation – this was what the Borg were made to do. For a single instant, Kane found himself fighting against the pull of his instincts, the instincts of the Borg, to continue this work. With the power afforded him by the Hegemony station, he and his homehive could ressurect the galactic collective. They would be unstoppable, able to share the peace that they had provided to this poor, damaged mind with all of creation.

    Before he could entertain more than the glimmer of this dream, he heard Leyeta’s voice in his mind. She spoke to him on a single channel, cutting out the others.

    We are the Free Borg. Our distinctiveness makes for our unity. Our strength. Resistance is futile. The many matter.

    The words cut through Kane’s sudden thirst and he sobered. Mentally shaking his head, he sent a reassuring nudge back down the connection he shared with his friend.

    Turning his attention back to Ispaoreai Hyps’rat, Kane once again embraced the station’s thoughts and spoke directly to its primitive mind.

    You are one with us. We are the many. Now, please, help us.

    Ispaoreai Hyps’rat (Onyx Station)

    Qwert just had time to release the claw weapon before the closer of the Laurentii guards reached the wall behind which he was hiding. Two sets of hands forced their way through the hole he had made in the station wall, taking hold of his arms in viselike grips.

    He tried to pull free, knowing it was useless. The guards, eye-strips rippling with red, orange and golden shades of anger, dragged him out and down to the spongy deck.

    With one guard holding his left arm and the other stood behind him with a claw weapon pointed at his back, Qwert was led over to Lkinym and the priests. He had an unobstructed view of Lkim as he was also forced to join the renegade havac. Guards had spread out to every corner of the chamber, eyestrips blazing white as they accessed what Qwert assumed to be higher spectrums of vision in search of other assassins. Unfortunately, he knew very well that they wouldn’t find any.

    We were it. And we failed.

    Allowing himself a small smile, he winked at Lkim. “Looks like things didn’t go quite according to plan.”

    The havac’s eyestrip blazed blue and he made a huffing sound. Good man. Keep your sense of humour. Never let them see you sweat.

    “On your knees.”

    Before he had a chance to tell Lkinym that he could kiss his lobes, the guard kicked out at Qwert’s leg, forcing him down on one knee with a gasp of pain. From the sound Lkim made next to him, he guessed that the same thing had happened. Looking up, he saw the pure red suffusing Lkinym’s eyestrip. Well at least I pissed you off.

    “Fools and old men?” Lkinym sneered. “This is what my enemies send against me? You should have joined me, Lkim.”

    “And be part of this travesty? I would rather die.”

    “That can and will be arranged, old man. Your generation is done. We will no longer bow down before heretics and foreigners. It is time that we regained our birthright, what was promised to us by the Holy Seefu when they brought us across the Great Emptiness. This galaxy should be ours.”

    “That’s exactly what the Dominion thought,” Qwert replied. “Look how that ended for them.”

    “The Dominion were vain. The Dominion were heretics. Their false gods could not help them, but the Seefu shall carry us to victory on wings of fire.”

    Qwert could not tell whether Lkinym actually believed what he was saying or whether he was simply saying exactly what the priests wanted to hear. Either way, he had heard enough.

    “If you’re going to kill us, then kill us. I have no more time to waste of idiots like you.”

    Lkinym snarled, his eyestrip turning a murky grey colour, and he took a step towards Qwert with an upraised arm. Before he could strike him, though, one of the priests called his name. Lkinym hesitated, then turned to see what the priest wanted.

    A wave of grey was spreading through the network of veins that covered the kruin’s chamber. Green, purple and blue liquid lost their colour so quickly that Qwert barely had time to realise what was happening before it happened. The light faded, leaving the chamber draped in twilight shadows.

    The grey spread into the brainchamber and up into kruin Asuph’s body. When Qwert saw a dark protruberance erupt from the dead kruin’s cheek, he suddenly realised what had happened. A chill ran down his spine.

    Ly’et, what the hell have you done?

    “What have you done?” The words, echoing his own thoughts, snapped him out of his reverie. He turned to see Lkinym bearing down upon him, his eyestrip flickering between angry red to terrified white. “What have you done?”

    Before Qwert could reply, Lkinym’s fist came crashing down against the top of his head, sending him sprawling to the deck. He felt it give beneath him, but it still didn’t protect him from the strength of impact. His ears rang and he suppressed a shrill cry of pain.

    Lkim gave a shout, struggling against his own guards, as Lkinym kicked Qwert in the stomach and chest. Qwert felt something give in his chest and pain flared. This time, he couldn’t hold back a scream.

    Hands reached down, gripping his shirt and hauling him to his knees. He looked into Lkinym’s black eyestrip and saw his own face, bloodied and dirt-ridden, reflected back at him.

    “What did your people do?”

    Qwert forced a smile, seeing his sharp tiny teeth in the mirror-like eyestrip. “Checkmate.”

    Lkinym screamed in wordless fury, throwing Qwert on to his back. Reaching out, he grabbed one of the claw weapons from the nearest guard and pointed it at Qwert. “You will tell me how to stop this or I will-“

    “Kruin Lkinym. The shield is gone.”

    “What?”

    Lkinym turned away, his arm dropping. The priest who had spoken had moved over to the protective shield that the brainchamber had erected to keep them out. His hand was moving in and out of the space where the shield had been. Nothing.

    The Borg nanites may have taken over the station, but they had also dropped the station’s shields. Qwert thought he finally understood what Prin Ly’et was doing, but the price they might pay for it was too expensive by far. She’s saved us, but she’s doomed the Hegemony.

    Lkinym turned back to him, an exulted smile spreading across his lips. “You have given me control of the station, Federation.”

    For once, Qwert had nothing to say.

    Bringing the claw weapon to bear, Lkinym sighted down it. “For that, I will grant you a fast death.”

    Even as Lkinym tightened his finger on the weapon, Qwert felt a tingling in his belly, spreading quickly through his arms and legs. The transporter effect obscured his vision, but he still had time to hear Lkinym shriek his fury along with the whine of a Laurentii weapon before the kruin chamber vanished around him.

    Transporter Room 5
    USS Redemption

    Qwert materialized from the transporter beam and felt the reassuring warmth of a Federation transporter pad beneath his back. Reaching up, he placed a hand on his chest, terrified he was going to feel an open wound from Lkinym’s weapon’s blast.

    Nothing. Nothing but his uniform, still viscous from his journey through the station’s maintenance veins.

    “Transporter Room 5 to sick bay. We have a medical emergency down here!”

    Qwert was about to reassure the technician that he was fine when he heard the groan from beside him. He turned his head, terrified of what he was going to see.

    Colin Groves sat on transporter pad a few metres away. His clothes were covered in gore and he had a number of scars and bruises on his cheeks. A claw weapon still hung from his left hand. The expression on his face was stunned and horrified.

    Ambassador Benjamani’s head was cradled in his lap. Her uniform jacket glistened with the wet sheen of her blood, which oozed from the open chest wound. From the charring on her uniform and visible skin, it had been inflicted by a Laurentii claw weapon.

    One look at her wide, staring eyes told Qwert all that he needed to know. Sick bay would not get there fast enough.

    Benjamani was already dead.
     
  6. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    I’m unsure if the ‘cure’ applied here wasn’t worse than the original disease. That was an awfully big gamble, especially seeing as how seductive the station’s power and abilities were to the Free Borg, and how narrowly a newly awakened Collective was avoided.

    I thought Qwert was done for, but the cagey old Ferengi had a few surprise left for his captors. As for Benjamani’s demise, I find myself unable to mourn the passing of that caustic witch.

    Terrific stuff! I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed this story, nor how quickly your gripping narrative could draw me right back in.

    Now, to paraphrase an immortal video-game warrior, “FINISH IT!!!” :lol:
     
  7. 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 appears that being in a Borg collective and bringing "peace" to the galaxy is a tempting notion...like a drug. The station followed the instructions, but what now? What will happen to it, full of Borg nanoprobes?

    At least there are some good things about this gamble.
     
  8. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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

    Thanks for the comment, means a lot. Especially glad that you were drawn back into the story, considering how long it has been since I updated!!!! :rofl:

    The consequences of the "cure" will become much clearer in the next chapter, and they may not be what you are expecting.

    I don't know whether I feel sorry for Benjamani, but she did prove herself towards the end. Plus the full consequences of her death may not become clear until Volume IV.

    New chapter coming at the end of the week, and then there'll be one more to round off Volume III before the beginning of Volume IV.

    Thanks again for the comment!

    Thanks to you too Gul Re'jal. As to what now, that will be dealt with very quickly in the next chapter! :devil:
     
  9. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    So... One week turned into almost a year! Still plugging away at this story when I have the time and the final chapter is almost finished. In the meantime, here is the penultimate one. Thanks to any who are still following the story of Ba'el, Kalara and the others onboard the USS Redemption!

    Chapter 27

    Hornet Fighter


    Data scrolled up on Turner’s primary monitor and her sensors confirmed what she had hoped. Onyx Station’s shields were down.

    Turner smiled. The mission had succeeded, so far at least. With the shields down, Redemption would be able to begin transporting off the remaining Starfleet officers and ambassadorial aides onboard. Including Ba’el. If everything proceeded as it should, the next time she heard from Redemption, he would be the one sitting in the captain’s chair.

    She dismissed the stray thought as her sensors showed two of the Laurentii tadpoles breaking off from a writhing mass and zeroing in on one of her men.

    “Nine, you have two tadpoles coming after you.”

    “I copy Lead… I could use some help.”

    Turner checked her screen and saw that no one else would be able to make it in time. Breaking to port and pulling back on her stick, she came around in a wide turn. Inverting, she dived to starboard and kicked in the fighter’s burners, making a run straight for the fleeing Hornet and the two pursuing tadpoles.

    The chase took her back towards the space station and the heart of the battle. She could see Redemption, still taking a beating from two Hegemony Behemoths. A couple of friendly Behemoths had broken through and were coming to her assistance, but Turner could tell that if the ship did not recover their people off the station fast it was not going to make it back out again.

    Nearing Starburst Nine – piloted ably by a Cardassian male named Lemec – Turner flicked her finger over the screen in front of her, cycling through the weapon-selection choices and settling on the twin phaser banks on either side of her cockpit. Nudging the ship around – the sight of Onyx Station vanishing off her port side – she dropped the aiming reticule hovering in the middle of her cockpit window over the lead tadpole’s squirming outline. Waiting a breath, she depressed the fire control button, unleashing the full power of her phasers.

    A steady burst of crimson fire scored the green living hull, tearing at flesh and releasing effluent into the void. Immediately, Turner switched weapon-control to primary and sent a quartet of focused laser bursts into the ship.

    Flesh bubbled and evaporated, turning to fluid and then to molten ash. The tadpole careened out of control, gore hardening to rock in the cold. A tight spiral curled the tadpole back down toward its fellow tadpole, forcing it to juke and dive away from Starburst Nine.

    “Thanks for the save, Lead.”

    “It’s not over yet,” Turner replied, checking her screens and seeing a handful of other tadpoles heading their way. “We’re going to have-“

    Turner broke off as a screech filled the cockpit. Wincing at the feedback, she cursed and slapped her hand down on the red wash that had suddenly invaded her screens. Turning off the alert, she cycled back to her main sensor screen. What she saw there seemed unbelievable at first, so she broke hard to port, bringing her Hornet’s nose up and back around to face the station again.

    A terrible explosion had ripped apart the starboard side of one of the Behemoths coming to Redemption’s aid. As Turner watched, a glow suffused Onyx Station, gaining in intensity until it was unleashed in a focused burst of charged particles that smite the already stricken Behemoth.

    “Son of a bitch,” Starburst Nine whispered over the comm.

    Turner could only stare. Whatever advantage they had gained with their nanite attack had just been erased.

    The Laurentii had regained control of Onyx Station.

    Bridge
    USS Redemption


    Through the tactical holographic display that surrounded them, Prin Ly’et and the rest of Redemption’s bridge crew had a clear view as Onyx Station began its assault.

    The massive living space station, up until now a bystander in the midst of the chaos of battle, had already taken out one of the Behemoths. From the energy gathering in crackling electricity around the station’s outer bulk, it was minutes away from another attack.

    “Evasive manoeuvres,” Prin shouted. The Redemption lurched to the side, tossing the bridge crew as the inertial dampeners struggled to keep up. The station vanished from the forward view, but Prin knew that she only had to twist her head around to see it.

    Instead, she could see the massed ranks of Behemoths and other Hegemony vessels, locked in a fraternal struggle for control of the fate of their people. There did not seem to be any way out.

    Reaching out, Prin slapped her comm badge. “Bridge to engineering.”

    There was silence for a moment and then an unfamiliar voice sounded, backed up by the steady throb of the ship’s engines. “Engineering here.”

    “Where is Commander Kane?”

    “He’s… I’m not sure, Commander. He’s here but he… None of the Borg are responding.”

    Prin stood in the middle of the Pit, her eyes unfocused. Damn it, Kane, what the hell is going on down there?

    Before she could press the unknown engineer for more information, the sound of a scream tore from the open comm. line.

    Main Engineering
    USS Redemption


    Kane felt the moment that the Laurentii gained access to Ispaoreai Hyps’rat’s brainchamber. The single mind not only communed with the station’s neural structure, it subsumed it like a parasitic symbiont that had the capability to overthrow the host. Kane realised that the sensation was familiar – he had felt something similar the day he became Borg.

    Kane’s heart pounded in his temples, louder than the sound of Ispaoreai Hyps’rat’s systems had been moments before. After experiencing the glory of being joined to such a being, of accepting it into his homehive, he found it difficult not to give in to the swell of anger that threatened to overwhelm him at being so summarily dismissed.

    We cannot give up without a fight.

    Leyeta’s voice brought an unexpected calm to the link between the Free Borg. Kane embraced it, realising that his companion was right. Not only had they embraced Ispaoreai Hyps’rat into their link, but allowing the Laurentii to regain control of the space station could spell the end of the Redemption and her allies.

    We fight, he told his fellow Borg.

    Taking a moment, Kane accepted the strength of will being fed to him by the others, storing it up while maintaining his connection to Ispaoreai Hyps’rat with every ounce of strength still remaining to him. The Laurentii who had seized control fought back. It was almost like hanging from a ledge on the top of a building with one hand while someone prised his fingers away, one by one.

    Kane reached back down the frequency pathway created between his own cortical nodes and the nanite hubs created by the torpedoes. He delved even further than he had previously, forcing his own consciousness through the intangible conduits until he could actually see through Ispaoreai Hyps’rat’s own internal sensors and ocular flesh. His vision grew to encompass the vast central core where the station’s brainchamber resided.

    Through those sensors, he could see the Laurentii who was attempting to seize control. He saw him stood within the hourglass-like chamber, his hands and legs slowly being invaded by the station’s neural tendrils. The Laurentii’s body began to rise, lifted by Ispaoreai Hyps’rat into the position of commander of the station, what the Laurentii called a kruin.

    As far as Ispaoreai Hyps’rat was concerned, though, this was not its commander or its kruin. This being was its own consciousness, a part of it that had been lost and had now been replaced. As if Kane had pulled out a handful of his own neurons and had filled the void with replicas.

    The new kruin accepted the invasion, his body tensing with each penetration. Kane secured his will to Ispaoreai Hyps’rat’s own soul, temporarily freed from the attacks of the newcomer. Through his link, he sensed as the kruin used his newfound power to launch an attack on the renegade Behemoths. Kane tried to thwart the attack, but his own control over the space station faltered.

    What are you?

    The voice echoed across the Borg link, a whisper filtering through age-old defences.

    Who are you?

    The kruin had found some way of accessing the connection. Kane felt a shiver of fear run through the link.

    You are not wanted here. You are not needed. Be gone.

    And as quickly as that, the new kruin launched his assault. As the pain overwhelmed him, Kane felt Leyeta reach out towards him, her thoughts full of reclaimed love and hopeless despair.

    My one…

    Bridge
    USS Redemption


    “What by the Prophets was that?”

    Prin gripped the back of Barani’s chair as the sound of screams faded from the bridge. She could not be sure, but she would have sworn that she had heard more than one voice.

    “Engineering? What was that?”

    The moment of silence dragged. Prin was just about to demand an answer when the same voice, sounding shell shocked, spoke.

    “This is Lieutenant Mithos, sir. Commander Kane and three other members of the engineering crew… They’re dead, sir. Some kind of feedback loop. It looks like their implants were destroyed instantly.”

    Prin heard the words. In that awful moment of realisation, she relived years of friendship and regretted all those that had been torn from her. Kane. She allowed herself a brief – too brief – instant to grieve and, with an effort that threatened to tear her soul, moved past the pain.

    Kane was dead, but the rest of the crew under her responsibility were not.

    “Acknowledged, Lieutenant. Please take command down there until we get out of this. Bridge out.”

    As she returned back to her chair, feeling the eyes of every member of the bridge crew following her every step, Prin could feel Redemption’s engine laboring away beneath her feet. Studying the tactical display, she lowered herself into the chair. A gap had opened up in the surrounding enemy Behemoths, an opening that had been carved out in blood.

    “Orders, captain?”

    Fighting back another pang, Prin bit back her initial reaction. “Take us out,” she said finally. “Follow the Behemoths and get us out of here.”
     
  10. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Chapter 28

    Hornet Fighter


    A communique from Redemption scrolled across her screen and Turner toggled her comm system on. “Starbursts, this is Lead. We’re pulling out. Repeat, we’re pulling out.”

    Her remaining pilots acknowledged the order. Turner pulled her own fighter around, boosting her engines in order to close the widening gap between herself and Redemption. The battle had turned into a rout and most of the Hegemony forces seemed to be concentrating their fire on the fleeing Behemoths, leaving her people relatively free.

    “Lead to squad, keep your eyes on sensors in case we get buzzed on the way out. Provide cover to Redemption as needed. If you see any of our allies in needs of assistance, run it by me first. Clear?”

    A chorus of voices responded.

    “Alright, check in.”

    Turner mentally marked each of the surviving members of Starburst Squadron as they radioed in. By the end of it, she felt sick to her stomach. Four pilots. Only four pilots left. Then, as the last pilot called the all clear, Turner felt a jolt.

    “Where’s Starburst Eight?”

    Silence. Turner checked her screens again. Starburst Eight had been with them in the melee and she had not received any update to his situation that might indicate he had been shot down. Turner knew that his two wingmen, Ten and Twelve, had both been casualties, though.

    “Did anyone see what happened to-“

    A beep cut her off and her eyes flew back to her screens. A blue icon had appeared on the furthest edge, back towards Onyx Station. Turner was about to hail the lone fighter when Starburst Eight’s comm line broke through a haze of static. Turner could picture the young human male, his Asian features creased with fear.

    “… danger. Repeat… I’m… trapped… side. Need assistance… This is… Eight. Please…”

    The static rose to a crescendo and then the transmission was cut. Turner saw three green icons appear on Eight’s tail. More of the Hegemony tadpoles, coming after her man.

    Dammit. He had got caught on the far side of the station and had missed the call to regroup. Turner could see at a glance that he wasn't going to make it. Not without help anyway.

    “Two, you have command. Get them back to the ship.”

    “Negative, Lead. This isn’t your job.”

    Turner allowed herself a tight smile at Claf’s harsh voice over the comm. He had always been overprotective. “I’ll be fine, Two. I’ll buy Eight enough time to get clear and then I’ll be right on your tail. Get them out of here.”

    “Lead that is a-“

    “That’s an order, Two. Go.”

    Before he could respond, Turner swung her fighter’s nose back around and kicked energy from her phaser banks to the engines. The inertial gravity struggled to keep up, pushing her back into the seat. She could see Eight now, a lone point of light surrounded by flashing green energy bolts. Come on, she urged the engines, almost rocking back and forth in the seat in an attempt to get the fighter to move faster. Come on.

    The ship’s sensor suite issued a strident alarm, echoing with beeps and alert indicators as the fighter entered range of the enemy tadpoles. Sensor locks erupted across her board, red lights vanishing only as Turner veered the ship hard to starboard. Throwing the fighter up, she checked the sensor locks had disappeared before throwing herself back into the fray.

    Closer to Eight, the comm static cleared enough for her to get through. She punched the command on her screen.

    "Get your ass out of here, Eight. We've been called back to roost."

    Eight - Airman Chaiyamo - responded. "Noted, Lead. Thanks for the assist."

    Turner did not respond, kicking her fighter up and over an oncoming enemy fighter, phasers spitting red fire at another tadpole. The other fighter disintegrated, reduced to fiery pulp beneath her guns. Checking her sensors, she noted the icon representing Chaiyamo fleeing for Redemption. A single tadpole was on his tail. Turner jigged her stick and brought her fighter around. Risking a quick drain of her port shields, she raced forward until the tadpole came in range. Shunting power back, she toggled her weapons' control to quantum torpedoes. Centering the stick, she waited for the light to turn green before firing off a shot.

    The torpedo lanced from behind the cockpit, lighting her screens in a blaze of white. Turner tracked it forward and watched as it punched through the tadpole's rear shielding, bursting into flame when it struck what passed for engines. The tadpole erupted into fire, flesh shriveling and expelling a flight-suited Laurentii into space.

    "You're clear Eight, now-"

    Turner cut off as her fighter jerked around her. She did not need to look at her screens to know that her speed had suddenly fallen off. What the-

    Looking up through her cockpit, she saw the vast shadow of a Behemoth rapidly approaching her position. Glancing down at her screens, she saw the worse possible truth. The ship had her in a tractor beam.

    "Coming back for you, Lead," Chaiyamo's voice burst through the comm system. On her sensor screen, she saw his fighter beginning to reduce speed as he brought his nose around.

    "Negative," Turner snapped, her stomach dropping. "Do not come back here. There's nothing you can do."

    "But Commander-"

    "That is an order, Eight. Get the hell out of here or I'll shoot you myself." To emphasize the point, she activated the tracking system on her weapons and settled it over the fleeing starfighter.

    There was a moment of hesitation and then she heard Chaiyamo's broken voice over the comm. "We'll be back for you, Lead. I promise."

    "Give my regards to the captain," Turner replied.

    A feeling of relief washed over her as her airman's fighter increased speed. She could see on the sensor screen that the nearest tadpoles were too far away to catch him. More, a cluster of friendly tadpoles were on their way back to provide him cover. Chaiyamo would get away.

    Mission accomplished, she thought wryly.

    Falling back in her seat, Turner took a moment to watch as the fleeing Laurentii forces, Redemption in amongst the giant Behemoth ships, reached the edge of the system and jumped into slipstream space. A handful of the enemy forces joined in pursuit, but it was a small enough number that Turner felt comfortable that it was nothing but a token force. Her people were away.

    Time to pay the piper, she thought, as her ship began to shudder. The Behemoth was drawing her in. You better keep my people safe, Ba'el. Cause I won't be able to.

    Bridge
    USS Redemption


    “Slipstream velocity reached,” Barani announced from her position at Ops. “We're away.”

    Prin felt more than heard the sigh of relief that raced around the bridge. She allowed herself a small smile before turning her attention back to the situation at hand.

    “I want a damage report from all stations within the next ten minutes.” Remembering something, she added, “And someone get in touch with our support ships and let them know what has happened.”

    The Benjamin Sisko, the Highland, the Tiberius and the Gorkon had all accompanied Laurentii forces to some outlying planets as part of a joint scientific and military taskforce. Prin had forgotten all about them in the chaos of the battle, but now she wondered whether they were safe or if the coup on Onyx Station had affected them as well. Prophets, don't let there be any more bad news.

    She was half way to the Ops station when the turbolift door swished open. Prin turned in time to see Admiral Qwert stumble out, leaning heavily on his cane. His eyes met hers and she felt a surge of fear and despair.

    "Admiral on the bridge," one of the security officers said.

    "Admiral, where..."

    "Are we clear?"

    "We left the space around Onyx Station minutes ago, Admiral."

    "Thank the Exchequer."

    "Where are the others, Admiral?"

    Qwert rubbed a hand over his left lobe. "Ambassador Benjamani is dead." He winced slightly as he said the words. Prin was surprised to feel a little stab of pain at the news. Benjamani might have been a manipulative shrew, but she was still a Federation citizen and duly appointed ambassador. Another person lost under her watch. "The remaining survivors are in sick bay."

    Prin took a step towards him before she even realised it. "How is the Captain?"

    Qwert's eyes opened wide. "I assumed you knew. He wasn't on the station with us."

    "Lieutenant, drop us out of warp, raise shields and-"

    "Belay that!"

    Prin spun back to face the Ferengi, feeling her face suffused with blood. "We have to go back for him!"

    "You have to get this ship to safety, Captain." She went to argue, but he raised a hand. "Captain Sarine must be considered be missing, if not dead. Our Laurentii allies informed me that a ship left the station moments before the battle broke out. They believe that Captain Sarine was on board. Going back to Onyx Station would serve no good purpose.”

    Qwert took a step towards her. “That means you are in command of the Redemption until we find him. And the best way to do that is to liaise with what remains of our Laurentii allies. You know that your captain would not want you to send yourself, his ship and his crew back into the middle of a war zone on the off chance you might be able to locate him. Or do I need to remind you of the fire power that station has now that it is under that mad man's control?"

    Before Prin could argue the point with him, Barani turned from her place at Ops. "Excuse me Commander, Lieutenant Vareen needs you down on Deck 9."

    Prin rubbed a hand over her face. "Tell Vareen that whatever Lieutenant Dax has done she will just have to-"

    "She is adamant that you need to go down there yourself, Commander. Doctor Malok is dead."

    Prin felt as if the air had been pulled from her lungs. First Kane, then Benjamani, now Malok. What by the Prophets was happening on this ship? She felt Qwert's eyes on her. His words echoed in her ears. You know that your captain would not want you to send yourself, his ship and his crew back into the middle of a war zone. Damn the big-eared Ferengi, but he was right. Ba'el would tell her to suck it up, get on with the mission and do her damned job. And at the moment, her job meant getting Redemption to safety and sorting out the mess down on the lower decks.

    "Tell Vareen I'm on my way."

    As she stepped into the turbolift, Prin saw Qwert looking at her, frowning. She held his gaze until the doors closed, cutting off his intense scrutiny. Only then did she squeeze her eyes shut, trying to ignore the intense pain that flared in her gut. Ba’el. She couldn’t believe he was dead.

    No. There was no body. No one knew what had happened to him. Until someone gave her some proof, she refused to believe he was dead.

    Ba’el Sarine was out there somewhere. And with the Prophets as her witness, she was going to find him.

    So ends Volume III Onyx
    This arc of Star Trek Restoration concludes with Star Trek Restoration Volume IV Darkness​
     

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