Star Trek: Restoration - Onyx

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

  1. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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    I wanted Prin to act as a balance on Ba'el - her pragmatic, well-thought out command style acts as a counterweight to his more emotional outlook. That is why they were such a good team during the Resistance until they had their falling out.

    Well, at the moment Prin does have the captain's job. She's not able to contact Ba'el and is thus in full control of the ship. Of course, she has the added complication of making a decision that would also be in accordance with his wishes.

    Thanks for the comment! Glad you're still reading!
     
  2. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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    Hi Mistral!

    Yeah, I was happy to see Ianto back as well. He's an important part of this crew, and I had definitely missed him since he "died".

    Glad you enjoyed this chapter!

    Joel
     
  3. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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    Hi all!

    Just a quick update - I'm having to reconsider a few things for the last few chapters of Volume III before we head into Volume IV which will tie up this part of the USS Redemption's story.

    As such, I'm afraid that my goal of posting one chapter a week is probably not going to happen this week, the time it takes to sort out the next few chapters.

    Restoration will hopefully be back next week. Thanks for your patience and sorry for the delay.

    Joel
     
  4. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No worries, man. Quality comes with a price. Michelangelo didn't paint the ceiling of the sistine chapel in a day. :techman:
     
  5. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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    Chapter 17

    Diplomatic Quarters
    Ispaoreai Hyps’rat (Onyx Station)


    Admiral Qwert’s eyes snapped open.

    He knew from the darkness of his quarters that it was still night. It wasn’t the darkness that had awakened him, though, but rather a distinct sense that something was wrong. He reached out for his walking cane, feeling slightly reassured at the familiar heft of it in his hand. He’d learned over his years in the Resistance that it always a good idea to have a weapon to hand.

    His sense of unease didn’t fade. In fact, it increased. It was a sensation with which he had a lot of experience. He’d felt it when meeting with prospective clients about to try and pull a fast one or later - when he joined the Resistance – on assignment when his cover had been blown. His father had called it following his lobes.

    Throwing off the covers, Qwert slid out of bed, one hand wrapped around the reinforced havawood of his cane. Time to follow my lobes, then.

    He reached over and grabbed his uniform, pulling it on. The temperature in his quarters had dropped, he was sure of it. Could that be what he had sensed, what had set his lobes atingling?

    Standing up, he tapped the comm badge on his jacket breast.

    “Qwert to Redemption.”

    Nothing. His frown deepened. He tapped it again.

    “Qwert to Sarine.”

    Still nothing. He cursed quietly. It looked like his sense of unease had been justified after all. He needed to find out what was going on.

    He crossed to the quarter’s door and crouched down just outside the sensor radius, trying to prepare himself for what he might find outside. What he wouldn’t give for a phaser, but the Laurentii had been insistent that all of the diplomatic corps give up their weapons upon arrival. Not even the security officers had been allowed to keep theirs. Like showing your opponent a bad hand in tongo.

    Well, no use crying over the latinum once it’s spent. Taking a firmer grip on his cane, he crept forward. The door irised open. He still couldn’t get used to the way things worked on the Laurentii station – he felt a shiver run down his spine at the moist sound of the orifice unclenching. The shiver of disgust turned into one of fear as he saw the two shadows waiting on the other side of the door. The little light from the corridor reflected off the eyestrips of two Laurentii.

    He caught sight of the business ends of some kind of weapons pointing at him. Both tracked towards him the moment the door finished opening.

    Qwert exploded up out from his crouch. Neither Laurentii reacted fast enough, obviously expecting to face a feeble old Ferengi trader. It wouldn’t be the first time someone had underestimated him. Though it would probably be their last.

    He slammed the latinum pressed head of the Nagus into the first Laurentii’s stomach. Using his own body as leverage, he twisted his arms, slamming the soldier against the doorjamb. He struck, his head colliding against the hard space station wall and tumbled to the floor.

    Qwert was already spinning to face the other man. Spinning the cane, he thrust the hard point of the wood into one of the soldier’s breathing flaps.

    The Laurentii roared, spinning away. He retched, green and red vomit gushing to the floor. Qwert stepped into his personal space, striking the Laurentii’s fingers with his cane. The soldier screeched, dropping his claw-like weapon.

    Dropping to a crouch, Qwert scooped up the weapon, turned it on the Laurentii and fired. Moments later, he fired again, taking down the second man.

    It had taken all of a few moments. In the aftermath, Qwert just stood there, taking a few deep breaths to calm his beating heart. Even after his years in the Resistance, he still couldn’t get used to hand to hand combat.

    Quite a flaw for a former assassin. He grunted. I was always better with a phase-rifle and a clean escape route.

    He tried to make some kind of sense of what had just happened. Why had the Laurentii attacked him? What was happening onboard this station?

    Only one way to find out. Stepping over the still smoking body of the first soldier and into the corridor, his foot came to rest in a pool of noxious red and green liquid. He jumped forward, disgusted, wiping his bare foot on the wall. It took him a few moments to realise that the vomit shouldn’t have been there.

    He had seen Onyx Station swallow everything and anything, including his own excrements. Why hadn’t it swallowed this? What had happened while he was asleep?

    Suddenly, light played over the wall off to the side. Qwert spun round, bringing the Laurentii weapon to bear. He hesitated a moment before firing, though, just long enough to recognise the shadow at the end of the corridor as Lieutenant Garabaldi, the hu-mon woman heading up the diplomatic security detail. She held her hands up in a conciliatory gesture, a phaser in one hand and a torch strapped to her other arm.

    “It’s me, Admiral.”

    Qwert relaxed, letting out an explosive breath as he allowed his weapon hand to drop slightly.

    “Report, lieutenant.”

    She started towards him, the light bobbing on the dark walls. “Unknown, admiral. Two Laurentii attacked me in my quarters. I managed to get to my phaser before they were able to kill me with this.” She brandished a sharp, nasty looking knife she held in her torch wielding hand. “I took them both out.”

    “Did they give any indication what they wanted?”

    Garabaldi had reached him by now and he saw her eyes drop to the two Laurentii corpses. Her eyes widened and she glanced at him, reassessing him.

    “Lieutenant?” he said, bringing her back to the subject at hand. She shook her head.

    “Yes, admiral. Sorry, admiral. No, they gave no indication.” Not that she would have given them much time to explain. Qwert shook his head. “Something has gone very wrong here, lieutenant. Where are the rest of your team?”

    Her face grew dark. “Dead, sir. I found their bodies in their rooms. They had gotten to them before they came for me.”

    Qwert felt a dark chasm opening beneath his feet. The blood that had been shed that night – on both sides - would make any kind of agreement between the Hegemony and the Federation difficult, if not impossible. He pushed the thought away. For now, he had no idea what was going on. The most important thing was to find the others and survive this night. They could deal with the fall out later.

    “Alright, lieutenant. We can’t stay here. Eventually, someone is going to come looking for these assassins and I’m assuming they’ll bring reinforcements. We need to find the other members of the party. The ambassador. Mister Groves.” If they’re still alive. No, don’t even think it. He dreaded to think what might happen if the Laurentii had killed a Federation ambassador and the President’s deputy chief of staff.

    “Aye, sir.” She hesitated. “Sir, what if…”

    He put a hand on her arm. “Not now, lieutenant. Not now.”

    She closed her mouth and he saw a professional veneer veil her thoughts and feelings. She stood a bit straighter. “Of course, sir. I should take point.”

    “By all means.”

    Now that she had something to do, Garabaldi seemed much more composed. She stepped past him, bringing her torch up and playing it over the walls. For the first time, Qwert saw them clearly and he realised that they were shifting, almost imperceptibly. Tiny waves rippling the surface. It seemed to be coming from the direction they were headed.

    As he followed the security chief down the corridor, Qwert wondered what the hell had happened. And whether any of them would survive the night.

    Bridge
    USS Redemption


    Prin stared at the oncoming Behemoths, trying to figure out what to do. Barani’s words echoed in her ears. A murder? Who had been killed? One of the Laurentii? Or one of theirs? She shook her head. How did this happen? More importantly, what was she going to do about it? If she stood down, she had no idea what the Laurentii might do to her ship or her crew. It went against everything she had been taught and every instinct she had gained in the Resistance. If she didn’t, though, it might set off a battle that could drag the Federation into the middle of another war.

    “Commander?” Barani’s voice dragged her out of her reverie. “What do we do?”

    I have no choice. Prophets forgive me, I have no choice. “Raise shields,” she ordered, surprising herself by the firm tone of her voice. “Engage Tactical Projection System and bring weapons on line.”

    The walls of the bridge shimmered around her as her crew moved to battle stations. Vanishing, the bridge was replaced by the now familiar holographic representation of the space around them. Prin had worked with the TPS for long enough not to feel the nausea and discomfort that often afflicted those with less experience. Standing on nothing took some getting used to.

    The station hung in space before them, surrounded by the fleet of Behemoths. Prin had no need to check the readouts on her headset – L’wynd had informed the senior staff during the daily briefing the day before that there were over ninety of the giant ships out there. Thank the Prophet for small mercies. Only five of them had broken off to intercept them.

    They just want to frighten us, she told herself. They won’t risk destroying everything that we have-

    A pulse of red fire lanced from the closest Behemoth. Prin barely had time to register its visual existence before the blast struck Redemption, shaking the deck beneath her feet.

    “Shields holding,” L’wynd reported from Tactical. “Down 5%”

    5%? Damn! She remembered the tactical officer’s words from the day before – they knew next to nothing about the Behemoth ships. The sensors had been unable to pierce the various shields and interference fields to get a reading on weapons, defence systems, anything. We’re fighting blind.

    “Fire a warning shot.” I don’t want to set off a war if we can avoid it. This has to be a misunderstanding. It has to be. “And keep trying to raise the station. I want to know what by the Prophets is going on over there.”

    L’wynd reacted instantly. A torpedo rippled across space, passing over the nearest Behemoth’s forward hull. Hopefully that will have gotten their attention.

    It did.

    “Incoming.”

    The ship shook again as two of the Behemoths fired their pulse weapons. Prin barely kept her feet, dancing across the invisible deck with the grace of a gymnast. “Report!”

    “Shields down 30%.”

    Barani turned to her from Ops. “Commander, perhaps we should consider returning fire.”

    Prin gritted her teeth. “Not yet.”

    The other woman looked as though she were going to protest, but thought better of it, returning to her screens. Moments later, though, red fire burst from beneath their feet, striking a daunting blow against the largest Behemoth. The living ship shook, greyish green flesh ripped from the creature’s hide.

    “I ordered you to hold fire,” Prin shouted, turning on the tactical officer.

    “That’s wasn’t us,” L’wynd replied, frantically checking her screens. “I swear Commander, we didn’t fire.”

    “Commander, look.”

    Prin turned back to see Barani staring straight down. She followed her gaze in time to see two Behemoths rising from below. A moment after she saw them, one of them fired again. The line of fire scoured a hit on the furthest Behemoth, tearing at the creature’s trailing wing.

    What the hell is –

    “We’re being hailed.”

    “On screen,” Prin ordered.

    A part of the holographic display shimmered, then coalesced into the three dimensional bust of a Laurentii. Blue skin reflected the light of multiple energy blasts as the Behemoths met in space in front of Redemption. His yellow eye strip flickered, only a tad less disconcerting than it had been when Prin first saw one of the aliens.

    “This is varec Kh’ylat aboard Oerdonna,” the head barked. “If you move in behind us, we have orders to protect you.”

    Protect us? Still, she wasn’t going to reject a gift from the Prophets. “My name is Commander Prin Ly’et. I am in command of Redemption in the absence of Captain Sarine. Thank you for your assistance, varec. We’re moving into position now.”

    She looked off to the side, catching Astrid Williams’ eye and nodding. The helm officer manipulated her holo controls, sending the ship down and in behind the defending Behemoths. Prin looked all around and saw that more and more of the living ships were moving around them, joining the screen. Of course, a similar number of Behemoths were joining the attackers. This is about to turn into a war zone.

    Prin turned her attention back to the varec. “You mentioned orders varec? Can I take that to mean you are in touch with the station?”

    The varec’s eye strip turned a darker yellow, bordering on the brown. “We were, just long enough for havac Lkim to give us our orders. Since then, nothing.”

    Prin was reluctant to ask the next question, but she knew she had no choice. “And if I may ask varec – why are they not following those orders?” She indicated the attacking Behemoths, many of which had now engaged the protective screen of ships.

    She allowed herself to be distracted for a moment by the sight of two of the living ships attacking one another not with lasers and shields but with their heavy tails.

    She blinked and returned her attention to the varec. “What is happening here?”

    “Our forces are split, Prinly’et.” He said her name as one word. “And those opposing us have been given different orders.”

    She felt a chill run down her spine. “And what orders would those be?”

    “To destroy you, Prinly’et. And to kill all the Federationers onboard that station.”
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2010
  6. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ah, yes... nothing like having your diplomatic mission spark a civil war among a highly advanced and ridiculously dangerous alien species who might hold the very fate of your fragile Federation in their hands.

    In other words... Holy @&*$! :eek:
     
  7. Count Zero

    Count Zero Welcome to the Danger Zone! Moderator

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    Ooh, wow. Well, at least we found out what's going on. And also that you shouldn't mess with Qwert...
     
  8. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Qwert kicks ass, all hell breaks loose ... yes, just another day on Redemption and another great chapter from CaptainSarine. :eek:
     
  9. tau136

    tau136 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Nice shift of perspective to Onyx & the Fleeters there; as you said before Qwert’s viewpoint is a handy tool — focusing on him nicely narrated the Fleeter’s situation on Onyx . . . good red herring too. Illuminating as being walked through the straits of Qwert & co is; it doesn’t truly explain much; it drops teasers more than revelations and in all the melee on Onyx & Redemption several players are obvious by their absence rather than their presence — Kalara, Ianto, Sarine — how are they faring right now? :klingon:

    Prin is wrongfooted in command for once (a moment of indecision) but no wonder when she is having to think on several levels at once with very little info but then she makes her decision and holds to it — class character drawing. Talking of characters not one of the Laurentii involved is a known name with known affiliations (unless my memory plays me false) so, for all that we’ve learnt, we’re still in the dark too. :evil:

    It may be Future Trek but somehow it feels like classic Trek . . . with The Starship facing An Alien Race of unknown capability that seems vastly superior; The Away Team is in danger; the Fate Of The Galaxy hangs on the outcome and (naturally) The Captain is lost and The First has the helm - - - :whistle:
     
  10. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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    LOL! Yeah, the crew of the Redemption have kind of screwed the pooch here, though things are far from what they seem. This diplomatic mission may have sparked the civil war, but it is a war that has been brewing for a while and would probably have kicked off sooner or later. Both sides have a very different way of viewing things, and there are some other factors we are not aware of yet that will cast a different light on what has happened.

    Thanks for the comment!

    Hi CZ! Thanks for the comment, glad you're following along with this! ;)

    As I mentioned above, there is more than meets the eye in this situation. Still, yes, we now know exactly what has broken loose here, though not neccessarily the reason why.

    And yeah, Qwert is not to be trifled with. I'm planning a few short stories showing Qwert in his former life as an assassin. He is much more bad ass than we think.

    Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed this! Yes, all hell has broken loose and it is going to continue breaking loose as the end of Volume III progresses.

    Yeah, another day another catastrophe. As they say, interesting times and all that! :lol:

    Hi tau!

    Another indepth comment here, thanks so much!

    I'm glad you liked the shift to Qwert - he is a great character to write, though this scene was more difficult than usual for some reason. It went through quite a few versions before ending up in the format it is here. Still, he is a kick ass Ferengi - what's not to like?!! :lol:

    There will be more revelations as to what exactly is going on and why in the next two chapters as we begin to peel away the layers of this battle around Onyx Station.

    As to the absence of certain key players - Ianto is on the bridge with Prin, and will have a part to play very soon ; we may glimpse Kalara in a brief scene ; but Sarine is likely to be out of the picture... for a while. :klingon:

    Thanks for the comment on Prin - yes, she had a moment of doubt and indecision, but she is a professional. Knowing that the decisions she makes will likely impact relations between the Federation and the Laurentii for years to come weighs heavily on her, but at the end of the day her job is to protect her people and that is what she does.

    You're right about the Laurentii we see in this chapter, though one who is mentioned will be revealed to be someone that we know but who has not yet been named. As I said, we will be picking up more about exactly what is happening here in the next two chapters.

    I love the little paragraph at the end of your comment! I hadn't really realised how much I was channeling some classic Trek in this set-up (best of both worlds springs to mind after reading your precis) but hey I hope I've put enough of my own spin on it to avoid it seeming like a rehash.

    Thanks to all of you for the comments! More soon.

    Joel
     
  11. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Civil war. Redemption in the middle. Sarine missing. Complicated and messy. And Qwert is very cool. I look forward to you exploring him some more.
     
  12. tau136

    tau136 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Nothing like a rehash. The way things are right now we've got as much spin as a starship atmosphere bombing. :klingon:

    Simply having the same skeleton as someone else doesn't make you the same person as them. Its like the universe . . . infinite or finite (number of plots that exist).
     
  13. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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    Hi Mistral!

    Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you like Qwert, we will definitely be seeing more of him in the next few chapters, and I plan on developing his backstory in at least one short story, maybe more.

    This is most certainly a complicated and messy situation for the crew of Redemption, and it is only going to get more so.

    Joel

    Well, hope my spinning continues to blow up the atmosphere! Thanks for the reply! :klingon:
     
  14. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Sorry for the delay in posting - work has been really busy. I'm on holiday as of tomorrow, so will be able to work on this story more often, however I may well be without internet access for two weeks and so won't be able to post. In case I can't, have a good couple of weeks!

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Chapter 18

    Diplomatic Section
    Ispaoreai Hyps’rat (Onyx Station)


    Colin Groves walked through the connecting corridors with the same careful steps he had used since he left his rooms. His mind whirled at warp speed, fears darting through his brain like will-o-the-wisps, here one moment and gone the next. Every shadow another Laurentii soldier, every doorway ready to disgorge enemies.

    The Laurentii soldier who had come for him had not been expecting him to be on a conference call with Myr when he attacked. The connection had been cut mere seconds before and Colin had still been trying to get it working when he entered. Colin had turned at the sound of the opening door, had begun to ask the man what was going on and had seen the weapon in his hand. He had jumped out of the chair, kicking it back behind him and catching the Laurentii in the knees. The weapon had gone skittering, giving him just enough time to grab it and…

    Colin was so caught up in the memory that he almost missed the corner. It wasn’t until he was almost around it and facing the shadow waiting for him on the other side that he realised what a mistake he had made.

    Weapons fire lit the shadowy corridor. Colin dropped and rolled, years of Starfleet training coming back in a series of firing synapses and clenched muscles. Coming up on one knee, he brought his gun hand around and prepared to fire. If he hadn’t caught a glimpse of long white hair in the pulsing light runnin through the wall veins, he might have killed her.

    “Don’t shoot,” he yelled, holding both his arms up and hoping she would recognise him in time.

    The flash of green light he was dreading failed to materialise. “Mister Groves?” Benjamani asked after a moment.

    “Yes, it’s me,” he said, struggling to his feet. “It’s me.”

    “What are you doing?”

    “Trying to get out of here alive.”

    He stepped closer. In the green and purple light that spackled the corridor, he realised that she was holding two of the Laurentii weapons in her hands. She held both of them securely, and he had already seen that she could handle them. He felt a surge of respect for her, followed by an uneasy feeling. I really don’t know anything about this woman. What the hell did she do during the Occupation that she can be so cool and calm about all this?

    “You were attacked as well?”

    He nodded. “One of the soldiers. In my room.”

    “I would imagine the same happened to all of us.”

    “What the hell is happening here? What are the Laurentii playing at?”

    She shook her head. “I don’t know. For some reason, they have turned against us.”

    “They must know that this will lead to war.”

    “Apparently that isn’t a problem for them.”

    He thought about that for a moment, then had a chilling premonition. What if they’re right? Considering the state the Federation is in, we might not pose them much of a threat. The Hegemony could feasibly sit back, wait for the Federation and the Klingons to quit slugging it out and then swoop in to mop up the pieces. Could that be why they brought us here? As a way of testing our strength before an invasion?

    From the look on Benjamani’s face, her thoughts mirrored his own. She was the first to shake herself out of it, though. “We’re not going to find out standing around here.”

    “What do you suggest?”

    “We find the others and try and find out what in all hells the Laurentii are playing at.”

    For a second time, Colin realised how formidable a woman the Ambassador actually was. I wouldn’t want to make an enemy of her. But while we’re on the same side…

    He bowed low, indicating for her to move out in front of her. “After you ma’am.”

    She studied him, then sighed and shook her head, before leading the way down the corridor. He waited for a few moments, then followed.

    Bridge
    USS Redemption

    Redemption rocked suddenly and violently, inertial dampners failing for a second. In front and above the ship, Prin could see two smaller ships firing on them, purple fire belching across space. The ships looked like kovaslugs, their upper sections surrounded by spinning collars that held six tendrils with claws at the ends. Those claws burned purple with repressed energy, then unleashed it on them. Her ship shook again, but Prin held on, refusing to lose her balance.

    Lwynd’s voice yelled something she could not make out, but a quick check of her viewfinder readouts told her everything she needed to know. Shields down to 70%, three phaser banks down, multiple torpedo tubes destroyed. Kâcrit, she cursed.

    “Return fire,” she bellowed.

    Her vision blurred as Redemption banked, L’wynd at Tactical and Williams at the conn working in tandem to bring the working phaser banks in range of the oncoming ships. Red energy cut through the metal struts holding the weapons collar on the nearest slugship, sending three of the tendrils spinning through space.

    The other one fired back, rocking the bridge beneath her once again.

    “We’ve got more incoming,” Barani said, her voice only audible because she was so much closer.

    Prin toggled her viewfinder with a thought, bringing up the feed from Tactical. Twelve fighters spilled from the nearest enemy Behemoth, squeezing between the capital ships and arrowing in on Redemption.

    She reached up, slapping her comm badge. “Prin to Turner.”

    When the flight commander responded, she sounded out of breath. Prin could hear the sound of explosions and alarm sirens echoing in the background. “Turner here.”

    “We have incoming fighters, Commander. Get your people in the air.”

    Prin hated giving the order – the fighters would be in much more danger than Redemption, and would be highly outnumbered. Still, she had no choice. If they left those tadpoles out there without any opposition they would tear the ship apart.

    “On it,” Turner replied sharply, and the comm line cut off with little or no acknowledgment. Prin grimaced – she had never been able to get used to helmetheads and their lack of discipline.

    Shaking off the problem, she turned to L’wynd. “Lieutenant, coordinate Starbust Squadron’s targets through your station and keep me apprised.”

    “Aye, sir,” the Crystat officer said, her eyes never leaving the screens before her. A spread of torpedoes erupted from Redemption’s underside, blowing holes in the hide of the second tendril ship. Purple fluids spewed into space and were ignited by some internal combustion that engulfed the ship, leaving nothing but scraps of carbonised flesh behind.

    Nice shooting, Prin thought. Then one of the Behemoths launched a vicious assault on them which left her reeling and the ship’s alarms keening shrilly. This is far from over. Dammit, we need to find some way to get our people off that station so we can get out of here.

    Stumbling over to Ops with careful steps, Prin dropped to her haunches beside Barani. The lieutenant’s hands were a blur, holographic consoles spinning across the cylindrical space of her workspace.

    “How are we doing with raising the station?”

    Barani shook her head. “Still nothing, sir. Whatever that interference field is, it’s solid. Without bringing down the station’s defences, I don’t see how we’re going to get any kind of message through, never mind beaming the diplomatic team off.”

    “Any ideas as to how to get those defences down?”

    “I’m working on it, sir, but we don’t know enough about their technology to—“

    “Understood.”

    Prin stood again, wracking her brain for some kind of solution. I wish Ba’el were here. In the Resistance, the three of them – Ba’el, Kane and herself – had been able to solve any problem when they put their minds to it. Without Ba’el, though, she… Still had Kane.

    She reached up and tapped her comm badge again. “Prin to Engineering.”

    “Kane here. I’m kind of busy down here, commander.”

    She could hear a cacophony of different alarms through the comm line, the computer giving voice to all of the things that were going wrong with Redemption’s systems. She pushed the worry aside, concentrating on the problem at hand.

    “I’m sure you are, Kane. But I need your help. We can’t find a way through the station’s interference field to beam off the away team. I thought that maybe some of your Borg ingenuity—“

    “Might be able to drag you out of trouble once again?”

    She smiled tightly. “Something like that.”

    “Give me ten minutes. Kane out.”

    The comm. line cut off. Prin sighed. Kane had always come through for her and Ba’el before. She just hoped that he would be able to this time. If he didn’t, and the ship continued to take such a battering, she would be forced to order them to retreat.

    Fighter Deck
    USS Redemption

    Turner ran into the fighter deck, cursing roundly. Prin’s order rang in her head – as if she hadn’t already been on her way to her men as soon as the red alert began. Damned fleeters, think they know my job better than I do.

    As she had known they would be, her pilots were already prepped and waiting for her, stood in a rough semi circle near the fighters. Normally her late arrival would have drawn sarcastic comments and jokes, but all her people were aware how bad the situation was. Beyond a couple of wry grins, all she saw were serious faces and professional stances.

    Waving them into a huddle around her, she took a moment to look each of them in the eyes.

    “You all know what is going on out there,” she said finally. “The Laurentii have turned against us for some reason and the ship is under attack.”

    “What made the stripheads turn?” one of her pilots, a human named Breeves, asked. Turner hesitated a moment at the name, then shook her head.

    “We don’t know, and we don’t care. We’re Starbust Squadron, people. Our job is to keep the bad guys off Redemption’s back. End of story.”

    “Yes, sir,” they all responded in chorus.

    “Good. Those fleeters couldn’t do it without us. Let’s get to work.”

    As the pilots split up and headed for their own fighters, Turner held Claf, her Bolian XO, back.

    “Stripheads?”

    He shrugged. “A name that’s been doing the rounds in Beta Quadrant.”

    “Let me guess. Ash.”

    The Bolian shook his head. “You didn’t hear it from me.”

    “Sure I didn’t. Alright, we’ll handle it later.”

    “If there is a later.”

    “That’s the spirit.”

    “Good flying, sir.”

    “You too.”

    They bumped fists, then headed for their ships. Cable had his hands in the underside of Turner’s, gripping a sonicdriver in his teeth. She leant down, checking what he was doing – finishing up some wiring repairs she had asked for - then nodded.

    “Good work.”

    “I live for your approval.”

    “Sure you do.”

    “I’m still waiting for that drink you promised me.”

    “Keep on waiting, Ears.”

    “You really know how to talk to a Ferengi, commander.”

    “What can I say? I’m a natural charmer.”

    As she clambered up the stepladder into the cockpit of her Hornet fighter, Turner’s thoughts turned to Ba’el. She had been surprised to hear Prin’s voice ordering her to her fighters and not his. He’d better be alright.

    She shook herself. Not the time, Gemma. Get through the mission.

    She ran through the preflight checklist, making sure everything was running at optimal efficiency. Once she had confirmed all her systems were green, she pulled her helmet on and activated the intership comm.

    “Alright people, get ready to launch on my mark. And remember, there are friendlies out there amongst the Laurentii. Redemption will give us our targets. So no wild shooting.”

    A chorus of aye sirs met her orders. She heard a click, then Claf’s voice came over a private channel.

    “Hope the fleeters do their job.”

    “So do I,” she said. So do I.

    Diplomatic Section
    Ispaoreai Hyps’rat (Onyx Station)


    Green energy splattered on the walls behind Qwert and Garabaldi. They had been pinned down on the curve of a corridor by a group of Laurentii soldiers for a good fifteen minutes, unable to find an opening that would allow them to escape. If they were stuck much longer, the Laurentii would find some way of doubling back behind them and then they would be caught in a crossfire. Not good, Qwert thought. Not good at all.

    He pressed his back against the wall, feeling the strong ripples against his skin. The disturbances had gotten worse the closer they drew to the core of the station, some kind of reaction to what was happening. Every so often, the floor would buck beneath him, a wave of flesh almost throwing him off his feet. He waited for a few seconds as one of those ripples threw him off balance and then feinted around the curve, firing at the Laurentii soldiers. One of his shots caught an unbalanced enemy in the chest and he saw him or her go down before he took refuge behind the wall again.

    “There are too many of them,” Garabaldi shouted, taking her own shot.

    Qwert nodded. His mind wandered for a brief moment, back to a mission he had run on a Dominion stronghold in the Amara Nebula. After assassinating the Vorta commander, he had tried to escape through the air ventilation system. He had ended up pinned down. If it hadn’t been for his secret weapon - two holographic colleagues he carried around in tiny mobile emmiters – he would have died.

    He wished Smith and Jones were still with him, but they had been destroyed years before on a mission to Earth. A shame. The two had made for a great double act.

    The sounds of weapons fire filled the air, bringing him back to the present. Strangely no blasts hit the walls behind them. Qwert heard screams and shouts, then silence.

    He shared a glance with Garabaldi. Indicating his eyes with two fingers, he pointed down the corridor, and then held up five fingers. He put one finger down after another and when they were all down, they both risked a peek down the corridor.

    The five Laurentii soldiers who had been attacking them were down on the ground. Seven Laurentii stood behind them, weapons in hand. Out in front of them was a Laurentii Qwert recognized – havac Lkim, the man who had helped Sarine calm tensions a few days before.

    “Admiral Qwert. It is safe for you to come out,” Lkim called out.

    “I wouldn’t bet a shard of latinum on that,” Qwert threw back.

    “I know that you have no reason to trust us, but I assure you we do not want to harm you. We came to save your lives.”

    “From your own people? What the hell is going on here, havac?”

    “War, admiral. A coup. Kruin Asuph is dead.”

    “How?”

    “Lkinym,” the Laurentii said. Qwert searched his mind for a moment, then remembered where he had heard the name before – Lkinym was one of the more openly aggressive of the havacs, violently opposed to the alliance. “He led a group of us to confront Asuph about his plans. We went along with him, foolish old men following the zeal of youth. I’m sure you know what that is like.”

    Qwert thought about Sarine and was forced to concede the point. “What happened?”

    “He betrayed us. He shot the kruin and killed him. Even now, he is preparing to take his place.”

    Qwert glanced at the ripples on the wall. “Looks like he hasn’t managed it yet.”

    “No.”

    “So why aren’t you with him?”

    “I may not agree with kruin Asuph’s ideas, but this is not how we do things. Your people have become caught up in a family fued that should not have involved you. You are innocent bystanders.”

    “Why does Lkinym want to kill us?”

    “The Sarine.”

    “Captain Sarine? What does he have to do with any of this?”

    “That is a story too long to explain here in a corridor with weapons in hand. These were only a fraction of the forces Lkinym now controls.”

    “Then get us off this station.”

    “I can’t. Until a new kruin is chosen, Isaporaei Hypsrat will do whatever it needs to defend itself. The internal defences will keep anyone from getting on or off the station. We are trapped here, all of us.”

    “Then what do you suggest we do?”

    “We trust each other. And you come with us.”

    “Where?”

    “To a place of relative safety. Or at least a place that will be more easily defended.”

    Qwert glanced at Garabaldi, who had her weapons trained on the Laurentii. He considered the offer, wondering how far he could trust Lkim. From what he had seen of him during the negotiations, the havac had seemed to be an honorable man, open to the possibilities offered by the alliance with the Federation. On the other hand, he had not seemed overly enthusiastic either. And he just admitted that he accompanied Lkinym in this crazy coup.

    At the end of the day, though, Qwert knew that he had no choice. Dropping his weapon, he indicated for Garabaldi to do the same.

    “Very well. Lead on.”

    “Thank you, admiral. For your trust.”

    “Call it an advance on further payment. I’m waiting to see the quality of your goods before I pay in full.”

    The havac’s eyestrip turned a cloudy grey, a colour Qwert had come to recognize as indicating confusion. He barked a harsh laugh.

    “A metaphor, havac. I’ll give you my trust when you earn it.”

    “Indeed. Well, perhaps a good start would be for us to save the lives of your companions? I have been informed that some of Lkinym’s men have them pinned down a few corridors away.”

    Qwert felt a surge of relief. Maybe we can still salvage something from this situation after all. “That would be a start.”

    “Then come. Let us save your friends and see whether we can find a way to get you all off this station.”

    “Do that, and I may just have to trust you after all.”

    The havac did not respond, simply turning and leading his men down the corridor. Qwert shared one final glance with Garabaldi, then shrugged and followed the Laurentii.
     
  15. tau136

    tau136 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Location:
    The middle of the middle of Ireland
    Well so, Qwert is rounding out nicely with all the telling little details slipped in along the way (his ready recall of all facts Laurenti & his partners of old). I’m getting the feeling you’re really enjoying promenading him. But, truth is, all the story and all the character work is just packed with detail that slips in past the reader’s radar to paint a greater whole; as per the striphead byplay — all in all a class technique there; textual pointillism.

    It feels as though we are gazing down one of those children’s kaleidoscopes, where every turn of the disc, throws up new aspects of old elements — case in point being Turner & Prin’s tangents on the same situation. Neither the fleeters nor the Laurenti are paragons of unity albeit the Laurenti are further down Fragmentation Road than the fleeters. There’s nothing like a war zone for forging odd alliances, who knows what kinds of groupings we are going to see amidst the corridors of Onyx ( Benjamini & Groves :devil: ).

    That said it is surprising how many of the key players are still conveniently reeling along — perhaps a touch of Deus ex Machina there, given Qwert’s high Federation body count earlier, or is it that the Laurenti simply haven’t any experience at insurrection and are bodging it terribly? They just haven’t the instincts of a Benjamini or Kes’ Admiral . . . and wouldn’t you love to see those two butting heads. :klingon:

    Going off-campus; a question that begs to be asked — is Security Officer Garibaldi an homage to a certain other Security Chief?
     
  16. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    I, too, see a connection vis a vis the Security Officer. Qwert is even more interesting than before. (Alias Smith and Jones?) :)

    And the coup seems very amateur indeed. Not well planned. More like a California brushfire...
     
  17. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I find those living vessels and the station creepy, disgusting and fascinating at the same time. A "device" with its own instincts, which could take over is the "mind" is assassinated?

    But if Asuph is dead, what with their plan with Sarine? Do they still need him? And will we learn why they needed him exactly?

    Can't wait for the continuation :)
     
  18. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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

    Well, back from my holiday, so time to get back into the swing of things. Thanks for all your comments while I was gone, now to respond...

    tau136

    Qwert is very much fun to write, one of those unexpected characters who started out as an off-the-cuff inclusion, but who surprised me into including him in the overall storyline. I wanted to use him to play around with expectations - he tries to pass himself off as a frail old man, but as we have seen here, he can also kick ass. It means a lot to know that the little tid bits I have included are adding up to a greater whole.

    IE kaleidoscope example - that is definitely what I am going for here at the end of volume 3 - by the end I want all of these familiar characters to be in some very unfamiliar situations, with strange and unexpected alliances popping up all over the place.

    I would love to say that the survival of the fleeters is all down to the Laurentii inexperience and not to a little bit of deus ex machina on my part, but that would be lying. There is most definitely an edge of my not wanting to kill off some of my major characters, but I do have some surprises planned in the next few chapters. That said, as you mentioned, the Laurentii are not that experienced in this kind of situation, so that does have an effect on the survival of our heroes so far.

    Benjamani and the Admiral butting heads? Ooooh! :drool: I may just have to have a word with kes about writing something like that...

    And to answer your question (and that of a few others), yes Garibaldi is an homage to that other Security officer.

    Thanks for the comment!

    Mistral

    As I said to tau, you are spot on with the Garibaldi comment, so well done on that!

    ie the coup - that may have as much to do with my own shortcomings as the Laurentii's. However, they do lack that certain edge that would have made this a success. Also, the leader of our Laurentii rebellion was not expecting Lkim and his allies to turn against them, so there is that as well. We will get a bit more insight into exactly how this turned out so badly for Lkynim and his allies at the beginning of volume 4 which I am already plotting out.

    Gul Re'jal

    First off, nice to see you here, don't think I've had any comments from you on the bbs so far. So thanks!

    I'm glad the Laurentii and their technology are as creepy as I had planned it. I really set out to create a strange alien race for our heroes to deal with, and from various comments that has worked, so I'm pleased!

    You can expect more answers ie Sarine and the Laurentii plans, but not until the next volume. For now, we are going to wrap up the Onyx Station plotline and this coup. Then, we'll see.

    Thanks for the comments!

    Joel
     
  19. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Yes, it was my first comment here on TBBS. I wanted to catch up with the story first, so my comment would be up to date and not regarding something five pages ago ;)

    So, Qwert (oh, how easy it is to type his name :D) lives his own life separately from the author's intentions? Some of my characters do that too. It's funny how surprised one can be by their own story :lol:
     
  20. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    Yeah, that kind of thing is both a surprise and a lot of fun. I had 2 throw-aways end up in, like, 7 different stories. Qwert just begs to be included, IOM. Great character-morally ambiguous, greedy and deadly, it seems...all while working for the "good" guys.
     

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