Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

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

  1. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Hi all,

    Well here is - finally - the first chapter of Volume III.

    My writing block seems to have lifted and I have quite a lot of chapters 2 and 3 written as well. So you can expect to see much more of Restoration in the coming days! :devil:

    And without further ado...

    Chapter 1

    Bridge
    USS Redemption
    Zeta Gamma Pi 7
    14th April, 2631

    Thirteen days after launch

    Kalara stepped out onto the bridge as the ship rocked beneath her. The Laurentii cruisers' attacks were taking a toll on the shields, and she could hear Redemption’s hull groaning in protest at the battering she was receiving. Stumbling slightly on her way out the turbolift door, she grabbed at the metal rim and then righted herself.

    Someone had activated the tactical display, affording her a view out at the star system beyond, where she could just make out Onyx Station behind a swarm of Laurentii Behemoths which were now moving in to surround them. Kalara’s eyes scanned nearby space for any sign of the other Federation ships in the convoy – they were all there, moving in close around Redemption.

    To protect us or are they looking to us to protect them?

    She surprised herself, momentarily wishing Captain Sarine was still there. As much as a week before, she would never have dreamed that one day she would wish for his presence. Things had changed a hell of a lot in that time, though. At the end of the day, though, he wasn't there, and as insane as it seemed, she was in charge.

    How did things go so wrong?

    "Report," she shouted, bursting into motion and moving around the railing of the Pit.

    Lieutenant L'wynd looked up at her from her post, her face rippling with anxiety, her crystaline matrix destabilising in waves of hard-soft skin. "The Laurentii are demanding our immediate surrender, Commander."

    Her words brought everything crashing back. She felt like she had been punched in the gut. The pain was… No! She forced herself to nod, refusing to think too much about the reason why the Laurentii were attacking. Thinking about that made her think about the assassination, and thinking about the assassination made her think about... No! She wouldn't - couldn't - allow her mind to wander there, not now. She would deal with the grief - oh gods, Damien! - later.

    For now... She ran down the steps into the Pit and moved over to Lieutenant Barani at the operations’ console. She briefly wished Jasto Dax weren’t incapicitated; she would have felt more serene with him at Ops. Wishing never killed a targh, she heard her mother’s voice say in her head. She shook her head as the ship shook beneath another attack. Not the time.

    "Lieutenant, open a channel to the other ships and patch it into the internal comm system."

    Barani nodded, her hands darting from one place to another on the holo controls. Once she was done, she looked up at Kalara and nodded. Kalara took a deep breath, the pain in her chest tightening for a moment, and then she pressed on.

    "To all ships, this is acting first officer Kalara. In the absence of Captain Ly'et," -she felt another tightening in her chest - "I am taking command of Redemption. Prepare to break free from the Laurentii ships and make a run for Federation space. Kalara out."

    Barani cut off the comm, then turned to look at her. Kalara could sense the eyes of every crew member on the bridge boring into her as well. They all knew that running meant abandoning all those people back on Onyx Station. They also knew that she had no other choice. They were no match for the Laurentii ships.

    As those very ships closed in and Redemption began to scream around her, Kalara wondered how things could have gone so horribly wrong...

    Twelve Days Before

    USS Redemption
    2nd April 2631
    One day after launch

    Kalara ran.

    Looking around wildly, her feet thumping on the hard wood floor beneath her, she realised that she recognised the place. She was in her mother's estate, the house where she grew up. The corridors were just as they had been when she had walked them as a little girl, dank and shadow-ridden, pregnant with incense. Door after door passed at her side, each one closed tight.

    Someone was after her. A man. She did not know how she knew. She did not know who it was, but she could hear him behind her. She knew that if she turned around and looked at him, he would catch her. So she kept on running, feeling her heart beating wildly beneath her chest.

    Beat. Suddenly, from one step to the next, from one heartbeat to the next, she was somewhere else. Still a corridor, but brighter. Aboard Redemption. She passed a sign, pointing towards Main Engineering.

    Beat. She was back in the tunnels that she used in her holographic calisthenics program. The man was behind her in the shadows. She could hear his breathing. She reached out, her hand scraped against the walls of the cave, and felt pain. She looked down and realised she was dressed in a little girl's night dress. Her hands were small, the same size as a child's.

    Beat. Her mother's estate. A door now appeared at the end of the corridor. She tried to run faster, but she couldn't. Her legs pumped, but it was as though she were running through thick mud. She looked down and saw that she was dressed in a Starfleet uniform again.

    Beat. Redemption. The corridor was smoky now, dirty and broken. The sirens of red alert screeched in her ears like the call of a banshee. She stumbled over a broken piece of bulkhead, scraping her knees.

    Beat. The tunnels. Beat. The estate. Beat. Redemption. Beat. Beat. Beat

    She was in a room, on the floor, eyes closed tight. She could sense the walls pressing in around her, repressing her every breath. There were people in a circle surrounding her, but she didn't want to look at them. Instead she remained in a fetal position, cradling her knees against her chest. Keeping her eyes closed tight, she knew that if she opened them, He would be there.

    Then, although she struggled against it with ever ounce of her will, her eyes began to open. She wanted to scream, but she seemed to have no control over her body. She opened them and saw that she was surrounded. She recognised every single person in the room.

    Her father, his face white like a Borg's, blood dripping from wounds on his chest and his arms. She could still remember the day they told her that he had been killed, caught by a Jem'hadar patrol.

    Her nanny, her eyes gouged out, blood dripping from the empty holes, her mouth open in a terrible scream that Kalara could not hear.

    Other people, too. Sarine, staring at her with bedarkened eyes, holding his hands out towards her, balancing some kind of object on his palms. Prin Ly'et, screaming, her chest burned and cracking. Doctor Malok, a knife jutting from his gut.

    And finally, Him. The man who had been pursuing her. She knew it was Him. And yet she could not believe it.

    Damien. Her husband stared down at her, leering. She had never seen an expression like that on his face. In his hand, she saw, he held the disembodied head of Ianto. Blood and gore dripped from the neck, mingling with wires and sparks. The android was laughing hysterically, his eyes whirling and through his laughter she could hear him singing.

    "I'm back, I'm back, I'm back..."

    In Damien's other hand, there was a knife. Curved and angry and evil. Blood fell from the blade in great droplets that echoed in the enclosed space. Damien leant down towards her, the knife pointing at her.

    "You’re mine!"

    Kalara screamed.

    xxx

    Kalara woke up.

    Sweat cooling on bare skin and the sheets wrapped tight around her lower body, she swallowed great gulps of air. She lay there for a moment, attempting to calm her wildly beating heart, and to make sense of what she had seen.

    When she was a child, growing up on the freed world of Khitomer, she had often suffered from nightmares. Her nanny, an ancient Klingon crone named L'vok, had often been there when she woke up. L'vok had never reassured her or held her hand, though. Instead, she had forced Kalara to relive every moment of the nightmare, out loud, lying there in the dark.

    Nightmares give us strength, little one, she had said. They teach us to face our fears.

    So Kalara lay in her bed, though separated by so much space and time from that little girl that she could barely recognise her, and forced herself to confront the nightmare.

    As a child, though, when she had faced her nightmares, she had felt stronger for it at the end. This night, though, by the time she relived that leering, knife-wielding Damien leaning over her, she found herself even more shaken that she had been when she woke up. The imagery had been so vital, so clear, that it had seemed more like a vision than a dream.

    But why would she have received a vision of her Damien pursuing her? It made no sense. Damien loved her. He would never hurt her.

    Needing to feel the comforting presence of her husband - despite the role he had played in her nightmare - she reached out a hand for him, only to find his side of the bed empty and cold.

    She sat up, calling out for lights. The computer responded immediately and she saw that her husband was gone, the sheets crumpled. Where is he?

    "Computer, time," she snapped, hating the panic that flecked her words.

    "It is 0650 hours."

    0650. At least an hour before either one of them needed to be up. She frowned.

    Sliding out of bed, she dragged the sheet with her, draping it around her naked body. A little voice in her head whispered that she covered herself to protect herself, because she was just a frightened little girl, but she slapped the voice - which sounded surprisingly like her mother’s - down and walked swiftly to the door out into the living area.

    The door slid open, revealing the darkened interior of the living room. Shadows filled the room, lit only by the swirling blue light of the slipstream tunnel outside the single window, and a small lamp on top of a work desk over by the wall. She felt a surge of relief, tinged with irritation, when she saw Damien sat in front of a lit console, typing away on the screen.

    He turned when he heard the door open and smiled when he saw her. "Hey. Good morning."

    She didn't respond, moving across the room until she stood by his side. Leaning down, she kissed him on the lips, unable to hide the fact that she was trembling. She cursed herself. Damn you, Kalara, daughter of Elyra. Pull yourself together!

    An irrational surge of disgust filled her as Damien's arm wrapped around her, an echo from her dream. Then he drew her down into his lap and the feeling of distaste was swept away by the rightness of his arms around her waist. She allowed him to pull her tight against his chest, and she tried not to cry.

    What is wrong with me? The nightmare had not even been particularly distressing compared to some she had had as a child. Perhaps it was the fact that her attacker had been Damien. Perhaps it had been the sight of Ianto. Whatever was causing it, the nightmare seemed to have shaken her to her very core. And she couldn't for the life of her understand why.

    Banishing the thoughts of her nightmare as best she could, Kalara peered past her husband at the screen. "What were you doing?"

    He glanced at the console, then smiled down at her bashfully. "Sorry. I didn't mean to wake you."

    She simply stared at him for a moment, then raised an eyebrow. "That isn't what I asked."

    He grinned. "No, it wasn't." He looked over at the screen again and sighed. "I was trying to get this new book started."

    "The one about the fall of Romulus during the war?"

    He shook his head. "Actually, no."

    "You changed your mind." She held back the 'again', but he obviously sensed it and gave her a rueful smile.

    "I know, I know. It just wasn't working. And..."

    "What?"

    "Well, to tell you the truth, everything that has happened over the past few weeks has given me some ideas for a thriller."

    She sat up slightly, staying in his embrace but now able to look up at him. "What is it about?"

    "I’d rather not--"

    She growled slightly and he held up his hands, shaking his head. "Fine, fine. I'll tell you. But you have to promise not to laugh."

    Kalara had never understood this human fixation with using vows for such trifling things, but it was something she had come to accept. She nodded her head firmly. "You have my word."

    He sighed, still reluctant to tell her, then spoke very fast. "It is set in the pre-Occupation Federation, around the time of the First Dominion War. It is about a beautiful female Starfleet officer who is dragged into a dangerous plot involving a little known part of Starfleet Intelligence called Section 31 and..."

    He trailed off. Kalara could imagine where he was heading with his story and she felt a warm feeling of love wash over her. "And?" she pressed playfully.

    "And the handsome journalist who saves her life," Damien said in a hurry.

    "Ah," was all Kalara said. She felt a smile tugging at her lips, but she remembered her vow and steeled herself not to react.

    "I know, I know," Damien said. "It sounds stupid."

    Kalara settled more firmly in his lap and slid her arms around his neck. She started to nuzzle at his throat, nipping at his flesh every few moments.

    "Actually," she said as he started to groan, "I like it."

    "Hmm-umm..."

    "The only thing I would change is to make the captain the man and the journalist the woman who saves him."

    Suddenly, Kalara felt Damien's hands on her shoulders. She thought he was going to drag her against him, but instead he pushed her away. When she saw the excitement in his eyes, she bared her teeth slightly. It wasn’t the kind of excitement she had been hoping for. That distant look had become as familiar to her as her own hand. She could almost see his imagination flaring. He focused back on her when he heard her growl, and blushed.

    "Now's probably not the best time to make those changes, is it?"

    "No."

    He smiled and pulled her back against his chest. "I'll work on it later," he said. He started to nuzzle at her neck, then bit down on her collar. Hard.

    Kalara felt her blood start to race. She pulled back slightly, her eyes flaring, lips pulling back to bare her teeth. To her delight, he snarled back. She started to rock her hips against his and had just moved in to bite his lip when the intercom sounded.

    She hissed, frustrated. She thought about ignoring it, but her honor wouldn't allow her to. What if it were important? What if the ship was in danger? She sighed.

    "Kalara here."

    Ba'el Sarine's voice was the last thing she expected to hear.

    "Sorry to disturb you, Lieutenant-Commander. I know you're not on duty yet, but I wonder if you would mind joining me in Main Engineering. There is something here I think you would like to see."

    Kalara hesitated a moment before answering, part of her wanting to remind Sarine that she didn't work for him. Finally, though, her sense got the better of her emotions and she dropped her head. "Yes Captain. Give me five minutes and I'll be right there."

    "Thank you, Lieutenant-Commander. Sarine out."

    She sighed again as the intercom cut off. The last thing she wanted to do was face Ba'el Sarine so early in the morning, but he was captain of Redemption, however she felt about him.

    Looking down at Damien, she saw a hint of dismay in his eyes. Reaching around, she cupped the back of his head in her hand and drew his face up towards her. Her mouth opened and she sucked his lower lip in between her teeth, biting down hard. She felt the flesh give way, then the taste of blood. He moaned softly as she let go of him. The fire she felt in her belly was reflected in his eyes.

    "We'll continue this later," she promised.

    "We'd better."

    As slowly as she could, she climbed off of him, leaving the sheet pooled on his lap, and then began to walk back to the bedroom. She stopped halfway there and turned her head, seeing his eyes locked on her body. She smiled.

    "I thought you had work to do."

    "Hmm - wait what?" His eyes focused on her face, and he smiled. "Yeah. Work. That's what I'm going to be thinking about."

    She smiled at him, then headed into the bedroom to get dressed.
     
  2. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    (continued)

    Corridor
    Outside Main Engineering

    Her face forcibly blank, Kalara walked down the same corridor she had raced down the day Ianto died. The day she lost Redemption. Ever since returning to the ship, she had avoided this section. Partly because of the memories it held of Ianto's death, and partly because this had now become the domain of those Borg engineers Sarine had invited onto the ship.

    Despite the good work they had done and the numerous reasons Damien had given her to explain why these Borg were not dangerous, she did not trust them. She knew enough history to understand what a menace they had been before the Dominion destroyed them. Having them on board ship… She held back a shudder.

    Nothing had changed in the corridor, of course. Even Sarine knew enough not to flaunt his cyborg friends so blatantly. Nevertheless, the moment she stepped into the engineering section, the changes were obvious.

    Most obvious of all were the alcoves at the back. They thrummed in a constant background chorus. She noticed that one of them was occupied by one of the engineers, a former human drone with a wig of long blond hair tumbling down over her Starfleet issue uniform. This time Kalara did shudder at the sight, turning away from the mess of wires, pipes and tubes that swarmed over the back of the engine room floor.

    She picked out Sarine and a group of others almost immediately. She felt a surge of nausea in her stomach when she realised that one of the officers stood with the captain was Kane, the Borg Chief Engineer. Steeling herself, she began to walk towards them.

    Sarine caught sight of her and whispered something to Kane. The Borg man turned, and to her surprise, he wore a wide grin plastered on his ghostly pale face. The smile widened as she drew closer and he took a step towards her, his arms open.

    "Hello Kali."

    Kalara stalled, her feet dragging as she came to a stop. She frowned, not sure how to react. "Excuse me?" she asked finally.

    "It is me, Kalara," Kane said, his eyes dancing. "It is Ianto."

    Her nightmare came flooding back. She saw Damien again, holding Ianto's dismembered head in his bloody hand, while Ianto laughed and told her he was back. A shiver of ice raced down her spine, vanquished almost instantly by a surge of fiery anger.

    She stalked towards the Borg, snarling, her hands clenching to claws at her sides. "I will kill you where you stand."

    Kane seemed taken aback by her reaction and he stumbled backwards. Kalara glimpsed Sarine step forward, placing himself between his engineer and her, eyes dark and full of warning. Commander Ly’et followed him forward, grabbing at his arm. Sarine shrugged it off, his eyes locked on Kalara's like the targetting sensors of a phaser array. Of course. It had to be him. She focused on the captain instead.

    "Did you put him up to this... this sick joke?!"

    To her surprise, Sarine's eyes actually mellowed slightly. She even saw a hint of pity there, which made her even more angry. His voice, when he spoke, was hard, but wrapped in sadness. "This is no joke, Lieutenant."

    Commander Ly’et nodded from behind him. "It's true, Commander. This is Ianto."

    Kalara felt confusion warring with anger. She looked from Prin to Sarine to Kane, and then back again, before finally coming to rest on the Borg engineer. "How is that possible?"

    It was Kane who spoke, his words careful and slow. "Before my... death, I activated a data transfer that placed all of my memories within the internal computer. It had always been my intention, since the memories I carry of my father are much too important to lose. However, the damage caused to the main computer core during the Klingon attack prevented me from accessing any functional systems. It was not until Engineer Kane was able to repair all of the computer's bio-neural pathways that I was finally able to communicate."

    Kalara blinked. Kane certainly sounded like Ianto but what he was talking about… She shook her head furiously. "This is impossible."

    Sarine took over. "The chief informed me of Ianto's first attempt to communicate just before the launch. He also came up with this solution as a way of communicating. I..." He frowned. "I did not think it advisable but certain members of my senior staff talked me round."

    Kalara glimpsed Commander Ly'et blush slightly, her dusky skin growing even darker.

    "I was able to download part of my memory engrams into Chief Engineer Kane's implants. The rest of the link is provided by one of the chief's neural transceivers which I was able to modify."

    Kalara looked away from the Borg. "And Kane?"

    "He is still in here. Just... detached, slightly."

    Despite herself, Kalara found herself beginning to accept what she was being told. The whole thing seemed amazing, and yet she couldn't help but be reminded of her dream. Could it have been a vision? A vision of the future? She had heard of such things before – her mother had even claimed to have received such a vision just before her daughter’s birth. But she didn’t want to accept that was what it had been. Because if it had… Then what did that mean for Damien?

    "This is... disturbing," she said finally.

    "I know it must be difficult," Commander Ly'et said, "but it is true. For want of a better explanation, Lieutenant-Commander Ianto's soul has lived on past his physical body."

    "It is me, my friend," Kane said softly. For the first time, Kalara allowed herself to look into his eyes, and she knew. It was him. Ianto. She felt her eyes burning. This seemed to go against everything that she believed in. She had made her peace with Ianto's death after the battle with the Klingons. She had held a service for him, had screamed his soul on to Stovokor. She had truly believed she would see him there one day. Now...

    “How can you live? A soul without a body? Do you plan to continue sharing this body?” She was unable to keep the disgust out of her voice.

    Ianto-in-Kane’s-body looked over at the captain, who sighed and shook his head. “That is the reason we called you here, Lieutenant.”

    Commander Ly’et continued. “We need to find some way of allowing Commander Ianto to continue to interact with the outside world without the need of Chief Kane’s body.”

    Kalara ignored the commander, her focus on Sarine. “And you want my help?”

    The captain looked away, obviously uncomfortable. “You know this ship and its systems better than anyone, except Commander Ianto himself. We need your expertise to find a way of releasing him.”

    Kalara felt a twinge of satisfaction at hearing him admit that. She considered the situation for a moment, still reluctant to accept to help the man who had destroyed her career. At the end of the day, though, she knew that she couldn’t say no. Not because of Sarine, but because of Ianto. She nodded.

    “I will do what I can.”

    “Good. Then I’ll leave you to it.” He turned to Commander Ly’et. “There’s a lot to do before we arrive in Laurentii space. I need you on the bridge when we arrive.”

    “Aye, captain.”

    “Good.” He glanced over at Kalara again. “Carry on.”

    Kalara watched him out the doors, trying not to wince as a number of junior officers saluted him. That should have been me. As soon as he was gone, though, she turned back to Ianto-in-Kane’s-body to find him watching her. He smiled, a frightening expression on the Borg man’s face.

    “It is good to see you again, old friend.”

    In a rush of emotion, the full import of what had happened washed over her. A smile spread across her face and she felt her eyes begin to tear up.

    “I thought you were gone,” she said in a small voice.

    “I was,” Kane said. “For a little while.”

    The two looked at one another for a few moments, lost in the moment until Commander Ly’et interrupted.

    “We don’t have much time here people,” she said. “Chief Kane is going to need his body back before we reach Laurentii space, so if we want to get started, we’d best get on with it.”

    Kalara felt an irrational surge of anger at hearing Kane referred to as the Chief now that she knew Ianto was alive, but she smothered it, giving the commander a curt nod.

    “Of course. Where should we start?”

    Prin grinned. “I’ve been thinking about that and I may have a plan.” She eyed both of them. “Have you ever heard of the USS Voyager?”

    “A pre-Occupation ship,” Ianto nodded. “However I do not… Ah.”

    The reference meant nothing to her. She looked from one to the other, seeing the grins spread across their faces. “What?” she asked. She hated not understanding. “What are you talking about?”

    Ianto's laughter was the only answer she got.
     
  3. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Sector 001
    WOW. That's some way to end a writer's block. :eek:

    I read the whole first section with my hand covering my wide-open mouth, I kid you not. And what I'm thinking happened probably didn't even happen, you left it so tantalizingly vague!

    And then the whole bit with Kalara and Damien and Kane and Ianto was just so, so well done. The nightmare, and then Kalara's bed was empty and I'm thinking the worst has happened but then he's just sitting there typing a story and they love each other ... and her horror at seeing Ianto in Kane ... wow, this was perfect.

    And now, Voyager? What's Voyager got to do with this? I'm so glad you have more written, because I am utterly hooked. I was before, too, but I really, truly have to find out what happens now. :bolian:

    ETA: Oh! And I have to comment on this, too -- Soong-class Androids laughing are creepy enough, thanks to Lore ... but a Soong-class Android laughing as filtered through a weird, glowing-eyed redheaded 27th century Borg drone? Shudder.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  4. tenmei

    tenmei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    THAT opening - oh, my - let's hope that the excrement doesn't hit the fan without saving our brave Captain. I'm wondering why the Laurentii have turned face and started attacking our heroes - unless this is a result of the mysterious darkness that we witnessed in Volume II.

    Kane/Ianto was definitely creepy - but I've got my theory about what's going on in our Cardassian First Officers head. I'm going to look forward to seeing if my theory turns out to be true.
     
  5. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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

    Wow, thanks for such an effusive review! So glad you enjoyed it, I wasn't entirely happy with it when I posted, so glad it worked.

    That first section was definitely a juggling act, but was so important - basically, the moment I started writing that scene, the rest came pretty easily. It was my way into the story, I guess. Still, difficult to show what was happening and yet leave it vague, so that you neither feel too much was given away, nor that it doesn't correspond to what has happened when we eventually get back to this scene later on.

    Not sure if what I just wrote made any sense, but hey... :lol:

    As to what Voyager has to do with it... We'll be seeing more about that in the next chapter - but watch for it carefully or you may miss it. :lol:

    tenmei

    Glad you enjoyed the opening as well. We'll see whether Sarine and the others survive... :)

    If you'd like to share your theory in a pm, I'd love to know whether you're right.

    Thanks to you both for your comments,

    Joel
     
  6. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Well, that was an unexpected and rather gut-wrenching opener to the final segment! :eek: I guess we’re going to find out exactly how prescient Kalara is.

    Loved the scenes with Kalara, who continues to be a study in duality, holding to her Klingon warrior ethos while allowing herself a very human emotional vulnerability with her husband. Her reaction to Ianto’s return was spot in, in my opinion.

    Here’s hoping the future doesn’t unfold precisely as Kalara has envisioned it…
     
  7. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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

    Thanks so much - glad that opening had the impact I hoped it would. And yes, the next volume should show exactly how prescient Kalara is.

    I'm also really pleased that Kalara is ringing true - she is one of my favourite characters to write, but also one of the most difficult precisely because of that duality that you mention.

    More coming soon, I hope! :)

    Joel
     
  8. Diogenes

    Diogenes Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Cap'n S: I've just been gettin' spiritual, as it were, three sheets to the wind an' all that good stuff, and less than compos mentis as I am, I cant really muster too sophisticated a review. So, you'll have to suffice with:.. That was terrific. Very exciting. I am terribly glad that you preserved the essence of Ianto (great name, by the way). I just re-watched "Star Trek: Insurrection" and "Star Trek Nemesis" (neither of which are as dreadful as many say) the other day, and I'd forgotten how much I liked Mr. Data (more than I enjoyed any of the TNG characters, really); I miss the android humanist, so thanks for Ianto.

    It's the holidays, and I hope you are doing your festive thing if such is your druther. But I confess to hoping that you find the time and energy to write another chapter soon. SOON! Yeah, I'm a selfish bastard, but you're the one who hooked me.

    Joel, thanks again for continuing the Restoration saga. Ever with baited breath, I wait.

    Bestest,
    'Los
     
  9. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Diogenes

    No probs for the three sheets to the wind review - sometimes, they're the best kind. Glad you enjoyed this first chapter - I always knew that Ianto would be sticking around; he was not the sort of character I could just get rid of. I'm also a big fan of Data, and having even an echo of him in this story has been great.

    As for another chapter... You should find one just after this comment! Hope you enjoy!

    Cheers,

    Joel
     
  10. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Chapter 2

    Captain's Log, 3rd April 2631.

    Redemption has arrived safely at our first stop-off on the way to Laurentii space. Along with our two support ships - the Tiberius and the Gorkon - we have made the journey through slipstream space to the Federation world of Khitomer. A number of Klingon shock troops will be joining the crew of the Tiberius, and we are also meeting up with the last two support ships - USS Highland and USS BenjaminSisko. I am looking forward to hosting all four captains for a meal this evening in my wardroom, and more personally catching up with Captain Robau, an old friend.

    First of all, though, I have to welcome on board the Special Representative from the President's office, who has arrived on board the Highland. Ambassador Benjamani and I will be meeting him in Transporter Room Four at 1400 hours local time. I… look forward to getting his input on the upcoming negotiations...

    Transporter Room 4
    USS Redemption
    In orbit of Khitomer

    Colin Groves closed his eyes as the transporter effect collapsed his molecular structure and swept him across the gulf of interstellar space to the USS Redemption.

    He had never liked transporting. Even back in his Starfleet days, he had much preferred shuttlecraft and transport capsules. Still, sometimes, there was no choice but to bite the bullet.

    Doesn't mean I have to like it, he thought sourly.

    When the transporter effect faded, he opened his eyes to find himself in a much brighter transporter room than the one he had left. He looked around, taking in the clean colours and smooth contours. He had followed the construction of Redemption from afar, his ties to Starfleet giving him access to some privileged information he wouldn't have had otherwise. He knew that the Corps of Engineers had made a conscious effort to reflect the better days of the old Federation in this ship, but this was bright even compared to the Galaxy-class ship he had just left.

    Apart from the blue skinned Bolian behind the transporter console, there were three other people in the room waiting for him. Colin recognised Ambassador Benjamani from a press conference she had given after the talks with the Andorian Empire the year before. It seemed a safe assumption that the man in the dress uniform was Captain Sarine, but he had no idea who the attractive Cardassian woman beside him was.

    He stepped off the padd, hefting his bag, and holding out his hand to the captain.

    "Captain Sarine, my name is Colin Groves, President Baxter’s Deputy Chief of Staff. This is my assistance, Nargle."

    The young Ferengi had been staring around the transporter room with eyes wide as saucers, but when he heard his name he stumbled forward, bobbing his head.

    "Nice to meet you," Sarine said with a tight smile. His tone of voice belied his words. "I am Captain Sarine, this is my executive officer, Commander Prin Ly'et."

    "Mister Groves," Prin said, taking his hand. Colin felt a little surprised at how soft her skin was. She really was lovely, her dusky skin bringing out the green in her eyes. Her hair held a touch of honey in its raven sheen, while her body filled out the Starfleet uniform nicely.

    I wonder if all her skin is that soft, he wondered with an inner smile.

    "And this is Ambassador Benjamani."

    Colin realised he had been holding onto Commander Ly'et's hand for a little too long and he dropped it suddenly, turning to the ambassador in an attempt to hide his blush.

    "Ambassador."

    "Mister Groves."

    The ambassador’s welcome was even frostier than the captain’s had been. I was afraid of this, he thought. Taking her hand, he nevertheless pressed it briefly to his lips, then straightened again. He glimpsed a flicker of amusement in her eyes, quickly quashed and replaced with the same icy, calculating gaze. Oh well, can’t charm them all. He turned to Sarine.

    "Captain, I don't want to be any more of an imposition than I already am. I served in Starfleet, I know how people like me are generally received."

    "You served in Starfleet?" Commander Ly'et asked.

    "You'll have more than enough time to swap academy stories when you show him to his quarters, commander," Sarine said, a touch of heat in his voice. Commander Ly'et frowned at him.

    Is he jealous? Colin was surprised. Sarine seemed like such a cold rock of a man. He glanced from one to the other, wondering whether there had ever been anything between them.

    "For now," Sarine went on, turning back to face Colin, "I would like to invite you to a small dinner I will be holding in my wardroom this evening with Captain Hennandez and the other captains of the support fleet. Ambassador Benjamani and the other members of the ambassadorial staff will be there as well."

    "With pleasure," Colin replied.

    "Good. Well, Commander Ly'et will show you and your assistant to your quarters."

    "Thank you, captain."

    "Mister Groves. Ambassador." Sarine nodded to both of them, then looked Prin in the eyes before walking out of the transporter room.

    What a hard arse, Colin thought.

    Ambassador Benjamani also nodded to Colin and Prin, ignoring Nargle, then turned and walked out. Colin watched her go, already getting a bad feeling about this mission. Great, he thought. I’ve been here a few minutes and I’ve already pissed off the captain and the chief ambassador. Great job, Colin.

    His attention was quickly diverted, though, as Commander Ly'et turned to him.

    "If you would follow me?"

    He nodded, hefting his bag again, then indicated for her to precede him out of the transporter room. Nargle had gone back to looking around like a farm boy on his first day in the big city. Colin cleared his throat loudly to get his attention, and the Ferengi jumped, then scurried to follow them out into the corridor.

    Colin barely even looked around at the brightly lit corridors, hardly sparing more than a quick glance at the black glossy infopanels, which carried information from one side of the ship to the other. All his attention was focused on the attractive Cardassian woman guiding him down the corridor.

    "We have you quartered on Deck 12 Section 9, near the Ambassadorial quarters," she was saying. She glanced back at him. "We thought it would be best for you to be as close as possible to the people who will be involved directly in the negotiations."

    Colin nodded. "That sounds like a good idea," he said geniely. "Of course, I am only here as an observer. I plan to have as little to do as possible with the actual negotiations."

    She seemed surprised by that. "I assumed that as the President's official representative..."

    "That I'd be taking over?" He smiled. "I'm sure Ambassador Benjamani thinks the same." Shaking his head, he sighed. "I have absolutely no intention of turning this into a tug of war between the President's office and the Federation Diplomatic Corps. Like I said, I'm here as an observer and an expert advisor - if I'm asked."

    By this time, they had reached the end of the corridor and were stood in front of the doors to the turbolift. Colin took the opportunity to glance around at the brilliant white and grey walls, shaking his head slightly. He had been expecting Redemption to be impressive but this… This was something else.

    "Surprising, isn't it?"

    He turned his head back to look at the commander. "Definitely."

    "Where did you serve?"

    "Three years aboard the USS Hudson straight out of the Academy. Ensign in the security and tactical departments."

    "If you don’t mind my asking… What happened?"

    Colin shut his eyes, his mind reaching back into what now seemed like the distant past, although it hadn’t been more than seven years earlier. "We were involved in a skirmish with the Andorians. I was… wounded,” he said, making a physical effort not to glance down at his legs, “and sent back to Earth. While I was there, an old friend of my father's approached me and asked me to join Councillor Baxter's campaign."

    Truth be told, he hadn’t had much choice. His career in Starfleet had been disastrous anyway – he had been reprimanded twice for insurbodination. He had never been able to get used to the fleeter mentality. When Myr – then the campaign manager – had approached him to work as her assistant, he had jumped at the chance.

    "So you left Starfleet?" Commander Ly’et asked.

    "I looked on it more as a different way of serving."

    The commander smiled, but didn't respond. Colin recognised the look on her face. Great, he thought. Another fleeter who thinks I've betrayed the uniform. This was turning into one hell of a day.

    The turbolift arrived and the doors swished open. The commander led them inside, nodding to the lieutenant in security gold who stood at attention inside. Colin glanced at the man - a young Klingon - then over at the commander. She smiled.

    "New regs," she explained. "Ever since the Klingon attack on Romulus."

    He frowned. "Why? I understood that the Klingons never beamed over."

    Commander Ly'et glanced at the security officer, then moved in closer to Colin. He smelled her perfume, a light, airy, flowery blend, and felt his heart race a little. Stop it, he told himself, reminded of what had happened last time he let himself be intoxicated by a woman's perfume.

    "We have reason to believe that there was a spy onboard Redemption when the attack came."

    Colin felt his eyes grow wide. "A spy?"

    The commander nodded. "Yes." She stepped back. "So we have tightened security throughout the ship."

    He nodded, his mind racing. A spy in Starfleet, working for the Klingons? It was almost unbelievable. He wondered suddenly whether Myr knew anything about this. He was going to have to contact her, let her know what he had learned.

    The turbolift drew to a halt. When the doors opened, Colin began to step out and found himself face to face with an attractive blond woman, her beauty marred slightly by a scar that ran down her cheek. He stopped, surprised and intrigued by the depth of her clear blue eyes.

    "Lieutenant Williams, what are you doing down here?" There was the slightest hint of censure in Commander Ly'et's voice.

    The young woman - Lieutenant Williams - blushed slightly. "I... Uhm… The thing is that, uhh... When..."

    "A simple answer will suffice, Lieutenant."

    Something passed over the young woman's face, something Colin would have sworn was anger. It vanished so quickly, though, that he could very well have imagined it.

    "I was actually hoping to meet Mister Groves, commander."

    "Me?"

    Williams nodded. "My cousin asked me to come and see you. Lizabeth? Lizabeth Carter?"

    Colin felt his cheeks burn as all the blood rushed to his face. Lizabeth. Of course. Now that he looked her over, he could see the resemblance, which only made him blush all the more.

    He wondered whether she could be like Lizabeth, an augment? No, surely not. No augment would be allowed to serve in Starfleet.

    "Of course," he said after a moment, "of course. I take it she got my message, then?"

    Williams nodded, smiling. "She did. She wanted me to tell you that she would love to."

    Colin felt a grin split his face. "That's... nice."

    "She also asked me to offer to take good care of you once you arrived. So, you know, if you'd like, while you're here, I mean, I would love to show you around the ship?"

    Before Colin could answer, Commander Ly'et intervened. "I'm sure Mister Groves would be delighted to, Lieutenant, but for now I need to show him to his quarters."

    Was there the hint of jealousy in that controlled voice? Colin liked to think there was. What do you know? he thought. This day might be looking up after all.

    Lieutenant Williams straighted, looking past Colin at the commander. "Of course, sir. If you'll excuse me?"

    Giving one last, lingering look at Colin, the Lieutenant stepped past him, the commander and Nargle - who had been staring at her open-mouthed since the turbolift doors had opened - and into the lift. Colin turned to watch the doors close behind her, and he would have sworn that she winked at him just before they did.

    "Shall we?" Commander Ly'et asked after a moment, her voice frosty.

    "Yes. Yes, of course."

    Moving much faster than she had up until now, the commander led Colin and Nargle down the corridor. They passed a handful of doors before Commander Ly'et stopped in front of one specific one. She input a code in the pad next to it, and the door slid open.

    "These will be your quarters, Mister Groves. Your assistant has the quarters just opposite, if that is alright?"

    Colin nodded, wishing he could find some way to ingratiate himself with the attractive commander again. "Of course. This will be perfect."

    She smiled a little more warmly. "Good. Well, I need to be back on the bridge. I'll leave you to settle in?"

    Nodding again, Colin took a chance, holding out his hand. The commander glanced down at it, then to his relief, took it in hers.

    "Thank you very much for all your assistance, commander. If you wouldn't mind, I would really enjoy a tour of the bridge and engineering sections when you have a moment?"

    She hesitated for a moment, then nodded. "I'm sure that can be arranged."

    "Wonderful," he said. "I look forward to it."

    "I'm sure."

    Nodding to Nargle, she turned and walked back down the corridor. Colin watched her go, enjoying the view until she vanished round the corner. Quite a woman, he thought.

    He turned back to find Nargle struggling with the bags on his shoulder. Sighing, he reached out and plucked one from his side.

    "Come on," he said, casting one last glance down the corridor at the departed commander. "I guess we should get settled in."
     
  11. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Geez, Colin is such an unrepentant letch, but you just can’t hate the guy! :lol: I can see how someone with his attitude (not to mention his wandering eye) might have difficulty serving in Starfleet, especially as an ensign.

    Regardless, his presence obviously complicates matters both for Sarine as well as Benjamani, if nothing other than as a reminder of how closely the President’s office is keeping tabs on their progress (or lack thereof).

    And now, as if Williams wasn’t already interesting enough, we discover that her cousin is an augment? What’s that make her, and if she does carry any augment genes, where does she place her loyalties?

    Leave it to you to make an already complicated situation all the more deliciously entangled with the addition of just the right people.

    Kudos! :techman:
     
  12. Diogenes

    Diogenes Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Hey there, Cap'n. That was just what I'd needed on a slow, dark and stormy Boxing Day in NYC. I like Colin Groves. I hope you give us a chapter or two devoted to that dinner Sarine mentioned. I'd expect lots of sparks between the Ambassador and the other ship captains. And Kalara would be there, right? Which would also mean Kalara's husband as well---I bet he and, Colin, and Dax would make a great trio of pals.

    Redemption is one tense ship---Fleeters, Diplomats, Borg, oh my! I love it.

    Rock on, Joel, and have a terrific New Year.

    Bestest,
    'Los
     
  13. tenmei

    tenmei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    I quite like this Colin fellow - as Gibraltar said, there's something quite likeable about him. He looks like he's going to be a hit with the ladies - which could lead to some amusing lighthearted scenes, but he also holds the key to unlocking Williams' secret, which should be interesting to see how he plays that.

    Hope you had an excellent xmas and will have a great new year!
     
  14. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Sector 001
    Okay, so far, I think it's a guy thing, this liking Colin despite his lecherous ways. Because speaking as a woman, he makes my skin crawl. Yuck. I have known guys like this and they are just not nice people deep down, regardless of how idealistic or polite or competent they might otherwise be. I think it's the fact that he's trying to be subtle about it that's bothering me -- he's a manipulator, which very much goes along with the territory of the job he's got. It's one thing to be a womanizer, but be up front about it, please. Colin is just reminding me of a horrible guy I once dated (who was, unsurprisingly, in the same exact line of work). He's well written, but he's icky. :lol:

    And Williams is connected to the augment? Oh, boy. I feel like I need a diagram to plot all the connections here. It's a very tangled web, Joel! And wonderfully entertaining, as always!
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
  15. Diogenes

    Diogenes Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Kes7, you might very well be entirely correct about the prevailing appeal of Colin Groves amongst male readers--not that I've conducted a gender survey or anything. To get somewhat personal about this, I am gay; and I have to say that aside from Colin's obvious sexual predilection for women, he reminds me as much of many gay men as straight men. In fact, he might remind me even more of gay men, those of whom are fully out of the closet who often evince an unalloyed libidinousness when in range of an attractive man. This has led to several conversations with straight friends about how gay and straight men often have very much more in common than either group is inculcated to believe. To be utterly reductive about it: Sometimes---oft times!---men are dogs.

    Now far be it from me to conflate explanation with justification. It's not my intention to minimize your reaction. In fact, it recalls to mind an afternoon my partner and I took his teenage god-daughter, 'Cesca, to the movies. Though 'Cesca was a just 14 at the time, a mere slip of a girl, really, she was maturing fast, as it were. As we walked down the street, I noticed how many men, of all sorts, were ogling her with an obvious appetitive carnality. I felt an intense defensiveness of her. I did a lot of thinking that day about what it must feel like to be a woman subject to the uninvited leering, lecherous attentions of men.

    Kes7, I think that in the context of the world of "Restoration," it's interesting that your understandable umbrage at Colin stems partly from his ham fisted attempt at subtlety. In fact, if Colin is, indeed, a lothario, he kinda puts the "b" back in "subtle." But (and I grant that this might be wishful thinking; and who knows where Joel is planning on taking this character), I have a feeling that Colin's attempts at subtlety stem not necessarily entirely from sexual insidiousness on his part, but a robust cognizance that just about ANY of the objects of his ardor could kick his ass. I mean really!---he seems to have had an affair with an augment, and now he's cruising the Cardassian first officer. What's next, giving Karala the eye? I would NOT advise that, Mr. Groves. :klingon: Aside from the consequences of sexual harassment in the 17th century post-Federation, I would NOT want to get on the bad side of any of these female characters, no more than I would dare refer to Ba'el Sarine as a "veruul" in his earshot.

    Interesting that the Redemption has a Dax onboard, because Colin Groves quite reminds me of Curzon Dax. I wonder what Jasto Dax will think of Mr. Groves.

    Thanks for giving me some food for thought, Kes7. And Thanks to Joel, once again for providing the grist for the mill ---so very much the job of a good writer.

    Happy New Year, fellow Trek-Geeks!
    'Los
     
  16. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Sector 001
    That's a very good point. He may just be trying not to get killed or maimed, rather than actually manipulate these very strong women into believing he's genuine. (And yes, I agree he fails at subtlety, but he does seem to be at least trying.) Ham-fisted is a good way to describe him. He seems to think of himself as quite a player, but his weakness for women appears to bite him in the ass as often as not, as far as what little we've seen of him.

    (Oh, and for the record, I didn't like Curzon Dax much, either.)

    Food for thought, indeed! You know it's Trek, well-done, when it makes you think. Good job, Joel! :techman:
     
  17. Diogenes

    Diogenes Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    HAH! I KNEW you'd have disliked Curzon. I, too, often found him his overweening swagger to be unctuous in the extreme. But it was something of that same quality that made him the right person to build diplomatic bridges with the Klingons back in the day, all the way back in the mid 24th century. Jadzia wasn't a great fan of Curzon either; and neither was Ezri, I think, even after both female hosts gained a deeper and more nuanced understanding of Curzon after their respective joining.

    I quite look forward to seeing if Colin proves to be as surprisingly competent as Curzon did. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a centuries old vermiform "worm" in his gut tempering his more callow characteristics.
     
  18. tenmei

    tenmei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    I have to agree with what Diogenes said above, Joel has indeed created a well fleshed out character if we're sat having a debate about their morals and ethics!
     
  19. Count Zero

    Count Zero Watching Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    European Union
    Wasn't Williams already established as the Aument spy onboard in the last story? Or did I imagine that? (I read the first two stories over at Ad Astra.)
     
  20. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    Got caught up. That was fun. I like Colin(I guess 'cause I understand him a little bit), he sees the beauty around him that is the female form and then wonders what they'd look like sans clothing. have i got that right? The possibilities you set up with the opening make me wish you'd posted all 12 days at once... What assasination, where's the First Officer, and who's left behind on Onyx station? And why was the Cardie woman the "Captain" ? Hmm....

    re: the Voyager reference-anybody remember how the Doctor got around? :techman: