Star Trek : Restoration

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by CaptainSarine, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    ^^^^
    I have no idea what he/she said but I'm sure I agree.

    As expected I have come to like and am fascinated by these new characters and the continued political intrigue you've created.

    Thrilling stuff.
     
  2. Diogenes

    Diogenes Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    If you're talking about me, CeJay, and not ironically, I mean that along with the notion that all people (in the Trekverse, all species) are capable of the heights of art, technology, and morality, exists the obverse, that all people are equally capable of extreme douchebaggery. C.I.A., K.G.B., Section 31, Obsidian Order, TalShiar, Klingon I.I., "the Company"... all the same thing, over and over, ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

    It is fodder for some really good literature, though!
     
  3. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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

    Thanks again! Glad you enjoyed it.

    IE what you said; what can I say, I like to spread the love! :) All of these species are definitely capable of betrayal, arrogance, etc, and I agree that those are almost synonymous with sentience. I think therefore I stab in the back...

    :)

    However, I hope that all of these characters also come across as more than just the sum of all these parts, and that they are doing all of these things because of the situation that this Federation finds itself in.

    CeJay

    So glad I've been able to bring you on board with the President's office, as well. We have one more chapter with these characters in this volume of the story, with what I hope will be an intriguing twist.

    Thanks for your comments, next chapter should be up tonight (I hope).
     
  4. Diogenes

    Diogenes Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    No need for you to worry about your characters, Cap'n. They are definitely more than the sum of their parts. Kovat is a good example. He's working for the Company, and is therefore complicit in their malfeasance, but I KNOW he hates that he (feels) he has to do it. Perhaps it's sophistry, but there are time when I think a generally morally upright character's capitulation to the "ends justify the means" school of thought can be viewed as self sacrificial, noble in intent if not in unfortunate, unforeseen consequences.

    Please dont mistake me---I LOVE the cloak and dagger stuff. It's what would happen. The seeming all-species universality of the propensity for iniquity in your characters only makes me wonder what heights of moral behavior they/we are likewise capable.

    Keep up the great work!
    Thanks,
    'Los
     
  5. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Chapter 13

    Bridge
    USS Redemption
    Opiucus System

    "Captain, we're nearing the origin of the distress call.”

    Ba’el nodded and leaned forward in the captain’s chair, as if he could see through the bulkheads to the starfield beyond. "On-viewer," he ordered.

    A Starfleet freighter, Cardassian design, appeared in the view-finder. Three Klingon Birds-of-Prey surrounded the ship, phasers and torpedoes trying to pummel her shields into submission. Ba’el was surprised. Attacks on Federation shipping were less rare than they should be, especially out here in what was only nominally Federation space. Most of those attacks were carried out by pirates or Orion mercenaries, though. Not by Klingon ships bearing Imperial markings.

    "Hail the Klingons,” he snapped, gripping the arms of his chair. What the hell are they doing?

    While he waited for his newly minted second officer to complete the transmission, Ba'el wondered how this test flight had become so complicated. What had been supposed to be a standard shakedown cruise, a chance to try out the repaired QSD before the launch in two days time, had now turned into a rescue mission.

    "No reply,” Dax said finally from Ops.

    Ba’el was about to order Dax to open a wideband channel to the Klingon ships when a volley of torpedoes splashed against the freighter's shields. Even before the sensor readings flashed up on his view-finder, he could tell that the ship’s shields were weakening.

    "They're not going to be able to hold out much longer," Prin said from behind him where she was stood, seeming to read his mind.

    He nodded. "Red alert. Engage tactical mode. Lieutenant Williams, take us in between the Klingons and the freighter. See if we can draw some of their fire."

    As the walls vanished around him to reveal a 360 degree image of surrounding space, Ba'el took the time to glance briefly at the young helm officer. She seemed supremely calm as she carried out his orders. Doctor Malok had not been ready to release her back to active duty yet, but after speaking to her himself, Ba'el had been convinced that she could handle the minimum stress of a simple test flight.

    Of course, I hadn't been expecting to lead her into battle.

    Out in front of them, he saw two of the Klingon ships break off from the freighter and turn to engage Redemption. They opened fire, rocking the ship with phaser fire. "Maintain your course," Ba'el ordered, raising his voice over the sound of weapons raking their shields.

    As the ship moved in between the attackers and the attacked, the doors to the nearest turbolift swooshed open. Ba'el glanced to the left out of the corner of his eye and saw Lieutenant Kalara step out onto the bridge, followed closely by Ambassador Benjamani.

    Perfect, he thought sourly, turning back to face the front of the bridge.

    "What the hell is going on?" Benjamani snapped as the doors shut behind her. "I thought this was supposed to be a test flight!"

    Indicating the view above and around them with a flourish of his outstretched hand, Ba'el smiled without humour. "Something came up."

    She followed his gaze and gaped when she saw the three cruisers slowly taking positions above, below and to the side of Redemption. "Are those Klingons?”

    "Yes ambassador. Now as you can see, we're kind of busy. So either stay quiet or get off my bridge."

    To his surprise, Benjamani did as she was told. He glanced at her and saw her scowling at him. As an ambassador, she had no real power in the chain of command, but she could make his life very difficult. Very difficult indeed. He was going to have hell to pay later. For now, though, he had bigger problems to deal with.

    "Fire a full volley at the nearest cruiser."

    Lieutenant L'wynd carried out his orders. Ba’el’s eyes followed the balls of phased energy as they struck the ship slightly above them. The torpedoes had no effect on the oncoming ship, though. Instead, all three Klingon ships opened fire once more. Redemption rocked beneath him.

    "Shields down to seventy percent."

    "Fire another - -"

    "That would be pointless, Captain."

    Ba'el tried not to snarl as he spun his chair around to face Kalara. The Klingon woman had stepped to the edge of the Pit, her hands gripped on the railing. She wasn't even looking at him - her undivided attention was centred on the circling Klingon ship above them.

    Trying – and failing – to keep a sharp edge from his voice, he asked, "Excuse me?"

    Kalara seemed to realise where she was for the first time and looked down at him. He read the surprise cross her features as she silently replayed what she had said and how she had said it. He caught a flicker of chagrin in her eyes, but to her credit, she didn't look away.

    "What I meant to say, Captain,” she said in a more diplomatic tone, “is that there are too many of them for you to adopt a battering tactic. Exchanging phaser fire and throwing torpedoes at them isn’t going to work. Especially with the freighter at risk."

    “Then what would you suggest, Lieutenant?”

    She ignored his tone of voice, her eyes lifting towards the Klingon ship again. “You need to show the Klingons that you mean business. They were obviously looking for an easy target, otherwise they would have attacked a cruiser, not a freighter. Take one of them down and the others are likely to make a run for it.”

    “And I suppose you have a suggestion as to how to do that?”

    She nodded. Ba’el was about to tell her to keep her suggestion and let him run his ship, when he caught a glimpse of Prin’s face out of the corner of his eye. The look in her eyes said it all. Hear her out. He could almost hear the words in his mind. He sighed. She was right. He couldn’t let his feelings about Kalara blind him to what she could bring his staff.

    “Alright Lieutenant-Commander. What do you suggest?”

    Kalara seemed to come to life. “During the battle with the Klingons above Romulus, I had Lieutenant Dax fire a subspace pulse at the cruiser’s cloaking device. They all have the same weak point – when hit with a subspace pulse at the exact frequency of the ship’s cloaking shield, the cloak engages, bringing down their shields. I think that we can use the same tactic again.”

    “And how sure are you that it will work?” Prin asked before Ba’el could say anything.

    Kalara held the Cardassian’s eye. “There are five separate frequencies used by the Empire.”

    “So a four in five chance it won’t work?”

    Kalara nodded. “That not good odds,” Prin said.

    “That’s a hell of a risk to take,” Ba’el agreed, his mind already running through the options. Finally, he smiled. “I like it.”

    He twisted round. “Lieutenant Dax, do you remember the frequency?”

    Nodding, the Trill officer did not turn away from his holo-console, already inputting the frequency into the deflector array. After a few seconds, he turned back.

    “Done, sir.”

    “Good. Lieutenant L’wynd, I want you to get and maintain a target lock on the nearest ship’s engines. Phasers only. I want them adrift, not destroyed, clear?”

    “Yes sir.”

    He nodded and turned back to face the front. “Lieutenant Dax, when you’re ready.”

    A few seconds passed, as the Trill waited for the Klingon ship to come closer. She began to fire at them, the ship shaking under her attack. Ba’el watched the readouts on his viewfinder for any sign of buckling, but the shields were holding. Finally, he saw Dax hit a section of his holo-controls at the same time as he shouted, “Firing.”

    The pulse sprang from beneath the main hull, a blue-white lance spearing the oncoming Klingon ship. Ba’el turned to look at Lieutenant L’wynd hopefully, but to his dismay she shook her head.

    “Shields held.”

    “Damn it,” he swore.

    He was about to order a full barrage of torpedoes when he heard a sound from behind him. He turned and saw that Kalara had leapt over the railing, landing on the deck beside him. She shook slightly on her heels as the ship bucked violently. He looked at her, eyebrow raised.

    “Permission to take Ops, Captain?”

    “Refused.”

    “But Captain…”

    He spun round to her again. “You had your chance, Lieutenant-Commander Kalara. It didn’t work.”

    “But I know another one of the frequencies.”

    “Drop it, Lieutenant.”

    “Captain, I think you should give her another chance.”

    Ba’el couldn’t believe it. He turned on Prin. “What?”

    “Captain, she’s right,” Prin said calmly. “A volley of torpedoes isn’t going to work. Give her another shot at this.”

    He held his second-in-command’s gaze for a moment. All he wanted to do was tell her – to tell both of them – to go to hell. Unfortunately, just looking at her reminded him of what he had told her the night before over dinner: I need you, Prin. To tell me when I’m going too far.

    Dammit!

    He turned to look at Kalara, saw the certainty in her eyes. Finally, he nodded. “Do it.”

    He exchanged a glance with Prin, his eyes promising words later on when this was all over and done with, then turned back to face forward as Kalara took Dax’s place at the Ops station. Her hands danced over the holo-console, inputting numbers and re-charging the subspace pulse. After a few moments, she called out.

    “Ready, Captain.”

    Here goes nothing. “Okay, people, let’s try this again.”

    As he said that, two of the Klingon ships swooped in to attack. While one of them battered Redemption with so much fire power that the shields became opaque, the other moved past them and began to fire on the Cardassian ship again.

    “Take out that damned ship firing on the freighter,” Ba’el snarled as he grabbed a hold of his chair to keep from being thrown to the floor. Prin had a death-grip on the back, barely keeping on her feet.

    “Firing!” Kalara shouted.

    Ba’el couldn’t see the pulse through the interference. When L’wynd cried out that the shields were down, he had a moment of doubt whether it was the Klingon’s shields or their own. He turned to look at the Crystat officer and saw her clench her fists as if in victory.

    “The Klingon’s engines are out. They’re adrift.”

    “The others are breaking off,” Kalara said from Ops.

    It worked. He couldn’t quite believe it. “Well done people.”

    A murmur of excitement rushed through the bridge like a breeze through the forest. Ba’el could almost hear their thoughts: they had done it again – against seemingly insurmountable odds, they’d come through victorious. With much less casualties in men and equipment this time. Ba’el allowed himself a moment to enjoy the feeling. Wins had been few and far between in the last few weeks.

    Then Kalara spoke up from Ops again.

    “Captain…” She turned to look at him, apprehension dancing in her eyes. “Sensors are showing that the freighter’s warp core has begun to overload. They’re about fifteen minutes away from a warp core breach.”

    “That freighter is carrying medical supplies for Romulus, Captain,” Dax said, standing next to Kalara at Ops. “If it is destroyed…”

    Ba’el felt an illogical surge of anger and frustration directed at both his officers. Maybe if we’d done things my way instead of listening to that Klingon woman… He shook his head. That was totally unfair. More importantly, he didn’t have time to indulge in such misplaced feelings. Both officers had done their jobs, which was more than could be said for him at this point.

    “What about the Klingons?” he asked, trying to give himself some time to think.

    “Their engines are down, I don’t know how long for. They might be able to get main power back on any moment now.”

    Fantastic. One ship about to explode, another that could blow us all up if I let her get main power back online. Thoughts of the Klingon cruiser setting a ramming course for Redemption after the battle aboard Romulus flashed through his head, muddying the waters. He needed time to think, but he knew he didn’t have that time. He had to make a decision. Did he save the Cardassian ship or did he seize that Klingon cruiser before they finished repairs? Or did he try and do both and risk losing it all?

    He glanced at Prin. She seemed to know what he was thinking, because she shrugged her shoulders as if to say, why not.

    Fine. He allowed himself a tight smile. He turned back to look at the drifting Klingon cruiser, the freighter nearby struggling away at impulse. They’ve always called me a risk-taker. I guess that’s what I am. “Commander Ly’et, prepare two away teams. Let’s go get them both.”

    Prin nodded, seeming satisifed. She turned and looked up at the railing above the Pit, locking gazes with the Xindi-reptilian security chief.

    "Lieutenant Vareen you will lead the second team to the Klingon ship."

    The Xindi reptilian nodded and headed for the turbolift. Prin turned back to Ops and Ba'el was about to request she leave Dax on the bridge, when Prin said Kalara's name instead. Ba’el’s head whipped round to stare at his XO. What the hell is she playing at?

    Kalara seemed even more surprised than Ba'el was. "Commander?" she asked tentatively.

    "I'm sure your expertise will be useful over there. Would you be amenable to joining Lieutenant Vareen's team as an expert advisor?"

    Kalara nodded. "I would be honored." She glanced at Ba’el, then past him at Ambassador Benjamani. "As long as the ambassador doesn't have any objections."

    Ba’el glanced at her, expecting to see smiling happily, but she seemed even more confused than Ba’el. She hesitated for a moment, then nodded. "No. No objections."

    Ba'el gritted his teeth as all three women turned their attention on him. His initial reaction was to refuse, call Prin on her choice and risk a confrontation with Benjamani. But there were lives at stake. Federation lives. He wouldn't – he couldn’t – risk them for his own personal issues with Kalara. But he and Prin would be having a long discussion as soon as this was over.

    He nodded stiffly. "Carry on, Commander."

    "Aye sir."

    Prin turned and headed for the turbolift, K
    alara a step behind. Vareen moved in behind them. Ba'el heard Prin tap her comm badge. "Bridge to engineering. I need your best warp technicians in transporter room seven on the double."

    Whatever Kane's response was was lost as the turbolift doors closed. Ba'el sat back in his chair and surveyed the bridge, trying not to glower.

    They would be having a very long discussion. He would make sure of that.
     
  6. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Sector 001
    No rest for the Redemption. Kalara is lucky that second code worked. It was interesting to get a deeper glimpse inside Sarine's head this chapter. So far I've found him enigmatic, and this, somehow made me feel like I know him a bit better without revealing too much. Prin seems to be a strong character, and I like that she and Sarine seem to understand each other. It's nice to see Dax functional for the moment, too.

    Another great chapter! More! More!
     
  7. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    That was far too close to having been an unmitigated disaster. Kudos to Ba’el for checking his ego when it came to Kalara participating, both in reference to the Klingons’ shields as well as her accompanying the away team.

    Prin’s thinking with her head while Sarine is acting on impulses from his gut. It’s good that he has an XO who can stand up to him and knows him well enough to make a stand when necessary.

    Great character interaction and some palpable tension here. Good stuff, indeed. :D
     
  8. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    kes7

    No rest indeed! :) I thought it had been a bit too long without everything going to hell! :devil:

    Seriously though, this was a hugely important scene to set up the end of the aftermath and the next volume. So glad you enjoyed it!

    I'm glad you enjoyed this glimpse into Sarine's head, Prin's character and the calm-before-the-storm for Dax. More for tonight or tomorrow I hope!

    Gibraltar

    I'm glad you saw the differences in reaction between Ba'el and Prin. It is one of the reasons I wanted her onboard as his XO instead of Kalara - Ba'el and Kalara are almost too alike in their personalities, and I think for now Ba'el really needs someone who will think instead of reacting and is able to slap him down when needed! :lol:

    Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for your comments!

    Thanks to you both for your great comments, glad you're enjoying this!

    Joel
     
  9. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    Sounds like Sarine is a few short steps from losing it-he needs to cool down.
     
  10. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Three more chapters before we wrap up Volume II... Restoration will then be going on an autumn 'hiatus' while I participate in nanowrimo. Although I have a large majority of the next two chapters mapped out, I would still be interested to hear any input you have on characters you would like to see one last time in the run up to the ship's official launch on their mission to the Hegemony.

    Thanks!

    And without further ado, our main feature... :lol:

    Chapter 14

    Transporter Room Seven
    USS Redemption
    Opiucus System

    Andrew Keene followed Doctor Malok into the transporter room.

    Chaos reigned both inside and outside. People rushed around, carrying engineering equipment or storage containers. As soon as he was through the door, Keene stepped to the side, pressing himself against the wall just as one of the Borg engineers marched out into the corridor, both of his eyes replaced by glowing red implants. He glanced at Keene, sending a cold shudder down his spine. Why did I agree to this again?

    Of course he knew exactly why he had volunteered to join the boarding party. He would never get an opportunity like this one again. Ever since he had witnessed the meeting between Kalara and Malok, he had been looking for a way off the ship, a way of arranging for his extraction from Federation space. With both Klingon officers on alert, though, he had been unwilling to risk using his interface to contact anyone within the Empire. Getting aboard this Klingon ship might be his only chance.

    He glanced around the gathered officers who had been chosen to beam over to the Klingon and Cardassian ships. He wasn’t surprised to see Kalara among them. She stood off to one side, gazing intently at the huge reptilian female who was forming teams. Keene recognised her as the Xindi security chief, Lieutenant Vareen.

    "I want all weapons hot as we go in," she was saying, her words coming out in hissing sibilant sounds. "We have no idea how many Klingons are still conscious over there." She glanced at Kalara and Malok for a moment, seeming to consider them, then looked back at the gathered officers. "But make sure it is a hostile before you shoot."

    Now there’s an idea... For a moment, he toyed with the possibility of shooting Kalara "by mistake" during the mission, but quickly dismissed it. For one he doubted he was good enough with a phaser to take her out. For another, he needed instructions from the homeworld before he could do anything like that.

    He snapped back to the here and now when Vareen turned to face Malok and him. "Doctor Malok, I want you to go with the first team, which will be led by Lieutenant Myrhiu. Doctor Keene, you'll follow with me in the second."

    Keene saw Malok nod, and quickly followed suit. The big Klingon turned and laid a reassuring hand on his shoulder, obviously hoping to reassure him. He smiled so benevolently that Keene wanted to hit him. Instead he forced a smile as the Klingon doctor stepped up onto the transporter pad beside the massive rock-faced Jituan, Lieutenant Myrhiu. They were joined by a Bolian engineer, two human security officers and a Romulan science officer. Keene watched them dematerialise, then joined his own team on the pad.

    "Coordinates locked, sir," the transporter officer told Vareen. She nodded her scaled head.

    "Energise."

    The sensation of molecules dispersing into pure energy had been described by men and women of all races, but none of them had been able to capture how it felt to Keene. He had given up trying years before. In fact, he had learned that it was better not to think about it. So he just stood there, mind blank, as Redemption's transporters disassembled him and transferred his pattern over to the Klingon ship.

    Emergency lighting rendered the scene on the other side in shards of shadow and light. Despite himself, Keene allowed an almost imperceptible sigh of relief to escape his lips. The smells - unfiltered air, ripe gagh, spilled bloodwine - were like the sweet smells of home.

    Keene followed Kalara off the transporter pad, glancing at her to see whether she felt the same. He caught a hint of something in her eyes before she turned away to look at Vareen.

    "Split up into teams," Vareen ordered. "Doctor Keene, you and Lieutenant Los with me," she indicated a Romulan engineer. "Lieutenant Visitor, you'll lead a team with Lieutenant-Commander Kalara and Ensign Brela."

    Keene glanced at Kalara again to see how she was taking the orders - she seemed as irritated not to be leading a team as she was to be stuck with the human and the Ferengi. Still, she nodded along with the others.

    "Yes sir."

    “We’re in the aftmost transporter room, closer to the engine room. Our orders are simple - sweep the ship section by section, then meet up with Alpha Team on the ship's bridge. Let's move people."

    Keene followed his two team mates out of the transporter room. While the others headed left, Vareen led Keene and Los right, towards the nearest door. It began to open as they drew near, then locked in place. Sparks flared from the room within.

    Vareen stepped past her two colleagues and placed her powerful frame in between the two doors. As she began to push, Keene marvelled at her obvious strength. Not for the first time he wondered how worthy an adversary these Xindi would have been if they hadn't allowed themselves to be tamed by the Federation.

    Once the security officer had cleared the way, Keene and the young Romulan engineer followed her inside. Keene recognised it immediately as a secondary control room junction, but he kept quiet as Vareen asked the young engineer for his thoughts. It took the Romulan a few minutes studying the consoles - good old fashioned metal and wiring, none of this holographic technology - before he told her exactly the same thing.

    Vareen nodded. "Very well. Make a note of the location on your tricorder, we'll come back to it if the main engine room is unaccessible."

    The Romulan played with his little toy for a few moments, then nodded. "Done."

    "Good work, Ensign," Vareen said, almost eliciting a snort from Keene. Another proof of the Federation's weakness. Why they felt the need to reward mediocrity, he would never understand.

    As Vareen led them out to the corridor, Keene felt around in his jacket pocket until he found the small pad he had recovered from his quarters before joining the boarding party. He pressed his finger to the execute button, then waited for Los to step outside before activating the control. He had a moment of panic as the doors slowed, then relief as they slammed shut.

    Alone, he allowed himself a feral grin as he ran forward and banged on the door.

    "Help! Help me!" he screamed, wincing at the high-pitched whine of his human voice.

    He sprang back in surprise as the door rocked under Lieutenant Vareen's assault.

    "Don't worry doctor, we'll get you out."

    Trying to put as much noble sacrifice in his voice as possible, he spoke hesitantly. "No. No, I don't want to ruin the mission. You go on, I'll see if I can find some way past the controls. If not, I'll have Redemption beam me back."

    There was a moment of silence, leaving Keene to worry if he might have misjudged the Xindi. He was relieved when moments later she reacted exactly the way he had hoped.

    "You're right, doctor. We can't endanger the whole mission. We will come back for you."

    "Thank you Lieutenant. And I'm sorry."

    "It was not your fault, doctor."

    He waited until he heard their steps grow softer and further away. Then he turned back to the controls. He doubted he would have much time.

    Main Engineering
    IKS Rath'gan

    Kalara threw herself to the ground, the phaser blast passing just over her head. She rolled sideways until she was behind the nearest bulkhead, then she got up into a crouch.

    She glanced behind her at Visitor's prone body. Kalara has warned the human to be careful as she opened the door to Main Engineering, but the stubborn woman hadn't listened. The electric trap planted by the Klingons had shunted who knew how many volts through her body. Kalara had no idea whether she was even alive or dead.

    Another phaser blast splashed against the bulkhead. Kalara checked the charge on her own, then she counted to three before leaning out and firing at the position she had noted as the probable origin of that last attack. She was rewarded with a grunt of pain and a thud, before two more phaser blasts tried to spear her position. By that time she had already ducked back behind the bulkhead, though not before noting their origin points.

    She wondered idly where the Ferengi had gone. The moment the trap had been tripped, the big-eared ensign had made a run for it. Kalara snorted. I suppose they can’t all be as brave as Admiral Qwert.

    Kalara counted another few seconds, then she threw herself across the space between her bulkhead and the one on the other side of the door. Phaser beams struck the floor around her, none of them hitting her, but giving her another chance to pinpoint their locations. Good, she thought. They haven't learned from their friend's mistakes. Neither of the two remaining warriors had moved from their previous positions.

    Pressing her back against the bulkhead, Kalara waited a moment and then she ducked out, firing in quick succession. The first phaser beam caught one of the warriors in the chest just as he rose to fire at her, dropping him to the deck. The other, though, missed the target. The Klingon threw himself towards a nearby console.

    Kalara took the opportunity to move inside the engineering room, firing multiple blasts to lay down covering fire. Taking refuge behind the same junction as the first Klingon, she picked up his weapon. It felt good to have a good old-fashioned disruptor in the palm of her hand again.

    Now to take down the last man. She had a vague idea of his position, but she needed to be sure. She was about to throw the warrior's d'takgh at the nearest wall to throw him off her own position, when she felt the cold metal of a disruptor against her skin.

    "Drop your weapons."

    Kalara cursed herself. How did he get behind her so quickly?

    She dropped both pistols on the floor, then stood up. The Klingon warrior reached around her and spun her to face him. Up close, he stank of bloodwine and looked as though he hadn't washed in months.

    "Sh’vagh" he spat, using a derogatory term the Empire used to describe those Klingons who had joined the Federation.

    "P'tagh!" she spat back.

    He lifted his hand to strike her and then his eyes went wide. His hand tightened on her shoulder, then loosened as he tumbled to the floor. Kalara wasn't sure if she was more surprised to see the knife in his back or the trembling Ferengi who had stuck it there.

    She looked down at the Klingon and spat. Then she looked back at the Ferengi and smiled. "Well done ensign. You'll make a fine Klingon one day."

    The ensign’s only reaction was a meek squeak.
     
  11. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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

    Secondary Control Junction
    IKS Rath'gan

    Keene felt a surge of relief when Lady J'tar of the House of Koloth appeared on the screen. An imperious, silver-haired woman, J’tar was one of Empress Likana’s most trusted allies, a highly placed member of the High Council. She was also the architect of the Empire’s intelligence service. She frowned when she saw him, her prominent forehead ridges drawing together.

    "Operative L’goth? Why are you contacting me from a Klingon ship?"

    "Redemption has captured the IKS Rath'gan,” he said rapidly. “I have been able to gain access to their comm system."

    "What is Redemption doing attacking a Klingon ship?” Lady J’tar demanded. “And why haven't you contacted me using the usual channels?"

    Keene quickly explained everything that had happened, including the meeting he had witnessed between Kalara and the doctor, the distress call and the battle. Once he was done, he clenched his fists.

    "It is imperative that you arrange for my extraction from Redemption before they discover who I am."

    "That is quite impossible." She waved her hand dismissively.

    "But my lady..."

    "Kho’ta!" she cursed. "Are you questioning my orders?"

    "I am questioning your sanity!"

    Her eyes narrowed. "Be careful the line you choose to walk, operative. And think. We may be days away from war with the Federation, a war we are unprepared for."

    "Then why attack a Federation convoy unless..." His eyes widened as he realised the truth. "Unless these were not acting under orders from the Empress."

    "So you aren't as foolish as you seem! No, these ships had nothing to do with us. I think I know who it was, though."

    "Who?"

    "Someone who wants to see the Empire at war with the Federation. The same person who encouraged the Empress to attack Redemption. We were willing to bide our time, continue stringing the Federation along until we were truly prepared for war. Someness else wants things to move more quickly.” She shook her head. “Their identity is not important. Your mission, though, is more important now than it ever was. You must remain aboard Redemption and complete it.”

    “But how? I have no means of destroying this ship, not anymore. Even if I wanted to plant an explosive charge, I have no guarantee that the whole ship would be destroyed.”

    “Your mission was not to destroy Redemption, operative L’goth. Your mission was to destroy any chance of an alliance between the Federation and the Laurentine Hegemony. And that mission can still be completed.”

    “How?”

    “You will bide your time until Redemption reaches Hegemony space. And then you will assassinate one of the Laurentii engaged in talks.”

    “But what will that accomplish? The moment I kill one of the Laurentii, my cover will be blown. They will kill me and they will discover the subterfuge, that I am a Klingon.”

    “Then we will just have to make sure that that discovery is enough to destroy the alliance.”

    “How?” As he asked the question, he realised. He laughed. “The device. You want me to use it to take someone else’s place, a Starfleet officer. And assassinate the Laurentii as that person.”

    “Commander Kalara seems a likely candidate.”

    It made sense. If Kalara killed one of the Laurentii, it would not only destroy any chance of an alliance, it would most probably lead to war between the Hegemony and the Federation. And since, as the humans liked to say, the enemy of your enemy is your friend, it might just push the Hegemony into the Empire’s arms.

    “A cunning plan, my lady.”

    “I do not need your approval, operative.”

    “Of course, my lady,” Keene said, bowing his head to hide his gritted teeth. “But what about my cover? Lieutenant-Commander Kalara and the shuvoth’shu traitor know someone has been impersonating her. They will not stop until they find the traitor.”

    “Then perhaps it is time we turned their attention elsewhere.”

    “How?”

    She sighed. “Must I do everything for you like a babe, operative?” He bristled, but stayed quiet. She shook her head. “Remember, you have an ally onboard that ship.”

    He did remember. “The spy who left me the codes.”

    “Indeed. I think it is time we arranged a rendez-vous.”

    “Who is it?”

    “I do not know. But I can contact someone who does. I will have the spy contact you and arrange a meeting. You will work together to undo the damage you have done. But be careful, operative L’goth. Do not, under any circumstances, share our other plans with the Federation spy. In this our interests do not intersect.”

    “Understood.”

    “Good. Now go. I am sure they will be looking for you soon.”

    He nodded his head. “I hear and I obey, my lady.”

    “Qa-plagh, operative L’goth.”

    “Qa-plagh, my lady.”

    She vanished from the screen, leaving him alone in the silent control room. He allowed himself a moment to digest what she had said. This changed everything, all of his plans. He had been expecting to be going home – instead he had been given a new mission. Still, having that new direction might just give him the impetus he needed. He smiled. He realised that he was actually looking forward to it.

    Shaking his head, he turned and walked back towards the door. Pressing the button again, he unlocked it, waiting for it to slide open. Then he stepped out into the corridor.

    Time to find the others and get back to the ship. Time to start putting his plans in motion.

    Bridge
    USS Redemption

    “Captain, we’re receiving a hail from the Cardassian freighter.” Lieutenant-Commander Dax turned to look at him. “It is Commander Ly’et.”

    “Put her through,” Ba’el ordered, dropping the viewfinder back over his eye.

    Prin appeared, the smoke-stained bridge of the freighter behind her. She had a scar above her left eye and her cheeks were grey from smoke and soot. Still, she was smiling.

    “Good news, captain. Lieutenant-Commander Kane was able to stabilise the warp matrix. The ship is out of danger.”

    Ba’el felt a surge of relief. “That is good news. How are the crew?”

    Her face grew darker. “Unfortunately, most of the bridge crew were killed in the attack. I suggest I remain onboard with two others in order to run things until we reach Romulus.”

    “That’s going to take a whole day,” Ba’el said, thinking ahead to the launch of Redemption.

    “Don’t worry, captain,” Prin said, as if reading his mind. “We’ll be back in time for the launch.”

    You’d better be, Ba’el thought. He still wanted to have that little talk before they left.

    “Very well,” he said, nodding.

    “Any news on the Klingon ship?” Prin asked.

    Ba’el glanced up at Dax, who was talking to someone on his own viewfinder. The Trill turned and looked at Ba’el, listening to whoever he was communicating with, and then nodded.

    “Lieutenant Vareen is reporting that the ship has been secured. Ten Klingons have been captured and are awaiting transport to the brig.”

    “Did you catch that, Commander?”

    Prin nodded. “What is the status of their engines?”

    Ba’el relayed the question to Jasto, who asked Lieutenant Vareen. He came back with an answer a few moments later.

    “They suffered some damage and will require a few hours to repair. Lieutenant Vareen feels the ship should be ready to go by 1500 hours.”

    Ba’el nodded, relieved. It looked like his gamble had paid off. They were going to be able to save both ships after all.

    “Captain, may I make a suggestion?”

    Ba’el turned his attention back to Prin, frowning. What now? “That depends.”

    “On what?”

    “On whether it will be as good as your last suggestion,” he replied darkly.

    “Actually, it is just as good.”

    “Prin…”

    “Captain.” She cut him off. “I think you should ask Lieutenant-Commander Kalara to command the Klingon ship back to Romulus.”

    “Out of the question.”

    “Captain.” She lowered her voice. “Bay. You have to make your peace with her eventually. She was wrong. I think she knows that. She almost lost her whole career. If you reach out to her, I think you’ll find she will be an asset.”

    Ba’el gritted his teeth. She betrayed me! If there was one thing he had learned during the rebellion, it was the importance of being able to trust people. He had thought he could trust Kiralatan. Instead he had betrayed him, and Ba’el had lost his wife and son as a result. He couldn’t… He wouldn’t make that mistake again.

    And yet… He knew that Prin had a point. Again, his mind played back what he had said to her over dinner. He knew he was far from being a perfect commander. He let his emotions run the rule on his reason. That was an asset in a lot of situations, providing him with the instincts he needed to make the quick decisions a captain needed to. But it could also be a blind spot when it wasn’t reined in. He needed Prin there to call him on it. And that was exactly what she was doing.

    Going against his instinct, he nodded. “Fine. But you tell her.”

    “I think it would be better coming from you.”

    “Don’t push it, Commander. I’ll give you this one.”

    She looked as though she were going to argue the point some more, but eventually she sighed and nodded. “Can I at least tell her it came from you?”

    “You can tell her whatever the hell you want.”

    “Understood,” Prin said with a wry smile. “Ly’et out.”

    She vanished, the viewfinder resolving into an image of the freighter and the Bird-of-Prey. Ba’el stared at them for a moment. What do you know? he thought. Another win. Time to call it in. Standing up, he lifted the headset off and put it down on the chair. Turning, he caught Dax’s eye.

    “Lieutenant-Commander, please contact Starfleet Command. Get me Admiral Kovat and put it through to my ready room.”

    “Aye sir.” Dax turned and began to input the frequency.

    “You have the bridge.”

    Dax nodded, finishing inputting the frequency and then leaving his seat to Lieutenant Barani. Ba’el wondered idly whether anything further had happened with the two of them since he saw them together on the bridge the day Prin arrived. None of my business, he told himself. Still, Lieutenant-Commander Dax seemed to be working out well. I think we made a damned fine choice there.

    They all do. Although he knew that only time would tell how well this crew would work together over the long term, for now he was happy.

    Redemption was off to a fine start.
     
  12. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Ba’el’s ego still needs checked, but he’s beginning to mellow a bit with Prin’s help. I have to keep reminding myself that this guy is the equivalent of a lifelong Maquis whose just been plunked down in a Starfleet uniform. He doesn’t have decades of Academy and Fleet indoctrination in the Starfleet ways of doing things… which is really rather refreshing when you think about it. Also, it’s a bit frightening, too.

    Kalara did herself proud on this mission, and her combat skills are clearly nothing to take lightly. And kudos to the Ferengi ensign for stepping up and getting into the fight when it counted most.

    The L’goth’s mission has just become a great deal more complicated and far more dangerous, most especially if he succeeds.

    As always, terrific stuff! :bolian:
     
  13. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Are we sure we don't want to rename this story Star Trek: Everybody Here Is A Spy And up To Something?

    Tell you what though, I'm really warming up to Prin. Every officer who is trying to give Kalara another shot is a friend of mine. I love how she has completely blind-sided poor Ba'el. I do feel sympathetic for him. His gripe with Kalara is fully understandable - hey, she pointed a phaser at him - and is the stuff of some great character conflicts.

    Digging it.
     
  14. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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

    It's funny, I don't see Ba'el as being very egotistical - He just knows better than everybody else... :)

    Yes, Prin is having a good effect on him, she's going to be hugely important on this mission, keeping Ba'el's more undiplomatic instincts in check and hopefully rounding out his harder edges somewhat.

    A lifelong Maquis? Wow, that's a really interesting way of looking at it! I like it!

    Yep, Kalara is slowly going to start prove herself again, both to Ba'el but also to herself. She needed this mission to show that she's still got it and she can be more than a simple adjutant to Benjamani.

    Glad you're still enjoying this! :)

    CeJay

    LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL!!! Love it!

    So glad you're liking Prin. Like I said to Gibraltar above, she's key to Ba'el - he really needs her to keep on the straight and narrow. She also understands how important it is that this mission go smoothly and for that Ba'el needs Kalara. She gets that and that's why she's pushing him so much.

    Glad you're enjoying this too! :)
     
  15. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Sector 001
    Kalara is flawed, but I like her so much, and I'm frustrated for her that the whole galaxy appears to be conspiring against her and using her as a pawn. But I have a feeling they're messing with the wrong Klingon.

    Keene is a creep. The creepiest creep. The Ferengi ensign made me laugh, and then I wanted to cheer when he stabbed Kalara's attacker. Good stuff.

    Oh, Sarine. Sigh.

    He's happy? They're off to a fine start? :guffaw: If only he knew ...

    Great chapter! I will miss this story a lot when it is on "hiatus."
     
  16. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    Hey!

    Thanks so much for your comments, glad you're enjoying this story still and I take a mean pleasure from knowing you're going to miss it... :devil:

    For you and all the Kalara fans out there, I promise she will be coming into her own in the next section of this story - I have a much more redemptive story arc in mind for her, leading towards the end of this first 'book' of the Restoration series.

    It's funny, I know he's a bad guy, but I loooooove Keene. He's one of my favourite characters. I can't wait for the Keene/Kalara showdown!!

    Hey, Sarine's being positive! :) But yeah, he may be a little bit naive.

    More coming tonight and then only one more chapter until we wrap it up for the 'hiatus'. :(

    Joel
     
  17. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego
    Keene is a creep, I agree. But I like the writing and I like how we have this wealth of different type of characters. And Kalara, with her own issues, makes it all the better.

    I hope more is to come!!!

    Rob
     
  18. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    That was a great bit. Keene is heading for an early grave, IMO, if he keeps messing with your Klingon lady. Sarine is oblivious to the problems awaiting him and Prin is a really cool customer. Hate to think this is going on hiatus.
     
  19. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

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

    Thank you soooo much for your comment. Glad you're enjoying all of these differing characters and watching them develop. Two more chapters to wrap up Volume II, and then unfortunately you'll have to wait until December for the beginning of the next.

    Mistral

    Thanks for the comment! So glad you're enjoying this still. Keene is definitely biting off possibly more than he can chew - I guess we'll find out!

    Sorry about the hiatus, nanowrimo demands! :) Still, if anyone is interested, I will probably be posting a very rough draft of my nanonovel on my blog so if you want to carry on reading some of my stuff during the hiatus, you're more than welcome! :)
     
  20. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego
    December? Are you meeting up with Julie Andrews at a nunery school??? And what is a nanonovel?

    Rob