Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Nerys Ghemor, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It actually won't spoil anything that you haven't already read in The Thirteenth Order, if you've kept up with this thread so far. (Just Chapters 1-6, over at Ad Astra, which I know you've read.) That spoiler warning is really there for people who haven't started The Thirteenth Order.

    Think of it more like a flashback into the early chapters. You saw how Macet and company got rid of the Dominion on their ship. Now...you'll get to see how Gul Berat and HIS crew pulled it off, at the same time. And all I'll say is Berat pulled off WAY more than you might think he could...
     
  2. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    AH! That's different. Um, lunch is over-but I'll see if I can squeeze the time today. Otherwise Monday.
     
  3. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Looking forward to it!! :D
     
  4. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Pretty sure I wouldn't want to play against one. Certainly not against some of the characters here. Speros comes to mind. Even if I had a winning hand, I don't know if I'd play it ...
     
  5. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I would... if I had shrouded Jem'Hadar to "help" me...
    ;)
     
  6. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ok not playing poker with you either then! :lol:
     
  7. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Be careful. And definitely don't dismiss the young gul sitting next to his first officer, as far from Speros as he can get. Oh, and that piece of unidentified equipment? I'd be afraid. Very afraid. :p
     
  8. Thor Damar

    Thor Damar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To others betrayal and deception are necessaries, but to a Cardassian they are an art form.
     
  9. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well fine then!!!!!

    (I admit, I don't know how... ) :p

    Beret? Vorta are one thing... :evil:
    You won't be putting my Jem'Hadar in freezers! Or worse... :shifty:

    Besides, it's poker, not galactic domination... this time... :devil:
     
  10. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yep, that's Berat I'm talking about. And you know the risks of trash-talking him. You're just ensuring the takedown will be THAT much more inventive when it happens.

    Remember: just because it doesn't say it on the box it came in doesn't mean Gul Berat won't figure out a way to make it do something it really "shouldn't." Something you won't like. :p

    And trade for tulaberry wine was all the Dominion had in mind when they opened relations with the Ferengi? Oh, puh-LEASE! I know not to trust those "innocent" Vorta eyes! :p
     
  11. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm thinking someone should put one of those Vorta memory things in *you* can steal your strategic mind... But yeah, there have been backslides, but you'd think the Vorta would see the clever-ness of Cardassians... stupid Vorta...

    I need to find a pic I took of those eyes- there's something wrong with them. I think they need those innocent eyes to make up for the attitude, the glares and the arguing... if it was a Naussican, there'd be a barfight everytime one opened their mouth!
     
  12. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, I think not--remember the expert Berat could call on if you tried to mess with his brain. You wouldn't get far. :p
     
  13. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, I was going to put in on you, Nerys, but I am developping a soft spot for Berat so maybe... :devil:
     
  14. Thor Damar

    Thor Damar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Yeah, I think that Berat is one Cardassian that we can all admire.
     
  15. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You underestimate him at your own peril. :p
     
  16. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought developing a soft spot for someone was a good thing?

    And I don't "underestimate him" I just know his is mortal... or at least, not infallible...
     
  17. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ahh...but you threatened to put Vorta equipment in his head! Funny way of showing you have a soft spot... ;)

    And yes, he's quite mortal...but he WILL make you fight one hell of an uphill battle to get even near him, let alone what traps he might have in his area. ;)
     
  18. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No, in your brain... muhuhahaha

    I don't think Berat is the type to fight just for getting near him... look how close the Vorta was before getting what he got... patience... always a virtue.
     
  19. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    He still won't allow that. ;)

    You don't really think he's going to use the same strategy every single time, do you? It depends on what you try to do, how you try to approach.

    And remember, in THAT case, the Vorta didn't know there was about to BE a fight. ;)
     
  20. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    OK, guys...I know I've kept you waiting, but here's the second part of this chapter!! :)

    (Next chapter will have a drawing delay...dunno if you've seen my work on a Cardassian traditional costume, but it's going to require colored pencil work and that takes me a long, LONG time.)

    ----------

    2375—In orbit of Lessek
    Cardassian Union Warship Sherouk

    “The Jem’Hadar formation is tightening,” Dalin Rota reported from the main sensor table.

    “Put it onscreen,” Berat ordered. Three Jem’Hadar battlecruisers appeared on the monitor, sweeping down for a lower pass at the planet. You couldn’t be more obvious if you tried, he thought at them. Still—if they actually succeeded at what they were trying to do, it could doom the entire planetside team. Their approach angle told him the entire story; almost effortlessly he envisioned the schematics for their sensor arrays overlaid on the actual ship almost as if it were actually displayed onscreen.

    The Dominion had installed those very same sensors aboard the Sherouk and Trager, never once believing the Cardassians had it in them to rebel...especially not Gul Berat. He despised the arrogance that made some regard him like a sickly child—but how he had made that supercilious Vorta Dasreen pay for that assumption!

    The very night they expunged the Dominion interlopers, Glinn Motreln had torn into the enhancements while Berat observed. And now in his mind’s eye, the gul of the Sherouk saw the scanning pattern the Jem’Hadar hoped to create on the surface below like some swirling, shifting mandala of light to ensure that every area was covered by at least two ships at a time…

    “Any change in polaron levels?” he asked, on the off chance that his instincts about this were wrong. Though the Sherouk confined itself to passive scans lest the active sort reveal too great an interest in their adversaries, this would still give sufficient warning whenever the Jem’Hadar prepared to open fire.

    “No, Gul—polaron leakage holds steady.”

    “Your assessment, Rota?” Berat invited. He knew the answer already—but he knew very well from training the men under him as systems control officer on Obrast Nor that not only did people find it disquieting to deal with someone who acted like a bottomless well of answers, but that was also no way to develop one’s personnel to function on their own someday.

    The tactical officer sorted through a few more readouts and then announced, “Looks like a reconnaissance formation. They’re trying to get a read on the base.”

    Even in the best-case scenario from Berat’s projections, there was no way the surface teams had made it to the shuttles. But soon, the Jem’Hadar would surely discover the same thing he and Dalin Mirok had: it wasn’t about filtering out the interference. That left the searcher with nothing but fragments and echoes refracted beyond recognition. Rather, it was about learning to read the interference itself for the messages it conveyed about what moved through it, like fish through the clouded swamps of old. And that the Sherouk had accomplished as a single ship.

    And then, the Jem’Hadar would spot far too many lifesigns on Lessek and realize what was happening. “Gul,” asked Rota, “should we go ahead and activate the jamming field now?”

    “No,” replied Berat without a second’s hesitation, the response emerging before his thoughts even had time to complete themselves. “Not yet—not until they attack.”

    A number of the bridge crew silently chafed under this order. Glinn Yejain saw this and spoke up: “‘The responsible citizen never resists a search,’” he quoted in a refrain well familiar to every child past the age of four. “‘Resistance is defiance and defiance is death. He who has nothing to hide has nothing to fear from his protectors.’”

    “Some ‘protectors’ the Jem’Hadar make,” Cronath, the helmsman, mumbled.

    “That notwithstanding,” Yejain said, “they see themselves that way and they expect us to view them in kind. Any discomfort we show with their actions will only serve as a sign of our guilt.”

    A few of the crew shifted uneasily in their seats. Berat, too, cared little for the idea of leaving the team potentially exposed to Jem’Hadar detection—or the mercies of those misguided Cardassians under the spell of the Dominion. And he understood, perhaps more than anyone else aboard the Sherouk, maybe even the entire Thirteenth Order, what it meant to be labeled an enemy of the people by those who were themselves that enemy. “We will do what we can to evacuate our people, if it comes down to it,” Berat assured his crew. “But—the survival of the rebellion comes above that of any man, or even set of men. If it comes down to a choice between losing them and losing the ships, we have to do what we did before…at Septimus. We have to preserve the ships.

    “In the meantime, though…I have some ideas for a few more ‘surprises.’ Mirok,” he called to his lead investigative officer, who shared the sensor table with Rota, “you’ll recall those probes we used to tap the planetary satellite grid…?”

    “Of course, Gul.”

    “The Jem’Hadar still have yet to down them, right?”

    “Visual scan confirms,” Dalin Mirok replied. “All probes remain in expected positions; orbital decay rate matches previous readings. We still have at least another month until their re-entry.”

    “Well, I’ve just thought of something else we can do with them…”



    2375—The Dominion War—The Battle for the Shipyard
    Cardassian Rasgălor of Lessek

    Macet winced briefly, but accepted the news of betrayal with relative equanimity. He had hoped the sincere love of Cardassia might override the desire for personal gain in all of Iymender’s co-conspirators, but as was most often the case, such was not to be. Ador looked a touch irritated, as one might expect from such a young man—but the Federation noncoms’ reactions seemed rather disproportionate to Macet: could they truly not have expected it?

    The Andorian’s ritualistic, Klingon-like society likely did not allow for such conniving, from what Rebek knew: those who did were likely to find themselves facing a deadly ushaan blade. As for Burakgazi—his species’ denial of its own darker side was well established. That famed terhăn naïveté astounded him now that he actually witnessed it firsthand. That so far the Thirteenth Order had held together without betrayal was the exception, not the rule, and every Cardassian knew it.

    Ah, hack it!” the terhăn hissed, incensed.

    One of Ador’s eye ridges shot up and he snorted, barely suppressing a laugh.

    Crewman Burakgazi fixed the ragoç with a frozen glare. This lack of deference to rank rankled with Macet, and he had to remind himself that Federation soldiers took greater license with such things amongst themselves. “And what find you so amusing?” Burakgazi growled.

    Macet had heard it past the translator as well—not the literal expression as the translator reported it, which evoked a fittingly gruesome image of dismemberment, but the actual sound of what the crewman had said. It sounded an awful lot like ‘hăcet,’ the Cardăsda word for ‘chaos’…exactly what one of their own would have said under the circumstances. “Perhaps later,” Macet temporized…he doubted the similarities between borderworld speech and Cardăsda were what Burakgazi wanted to hear now—however funny it was.

    Macet closed his eyes for an instant and focused the subtlest of the senses upon his surroundings. “The corridor is lined with high-voltage forcefields at every junction and maintenance access,” he determined. “One touch will likely kill. We’re intended to reach the conference room—and we can be fairly certain as to what we’ll find there.”

    Burakgazi squinted, straining to hear something just barely above the threshold of his sensitive ears. “Gul Macet—methinks someone comes this way!”

    Ador scanned the carpeted floor, searching for something—suddenly he pounced on all fours, fingers prying at a seam between carpet panels. “They forgot the floor,” he grinned as he swung up the trapdoor. “Can’t well electrify our feet if they want us alive, can they?” To illustrate his point, he sat on the edge of the floor, then slid off like a swimmer into a pool.

    After a sharp thud, his voice echoed up from the crawlspace. “This way!” zh’Thessel and Burakgazi immediately emulated Ador. Macet dove last, grabbing a handle on the door’s inside and pulling it shut behind them.

    Not twenty seconds after, pounding, jogging footsteps rocked the metal hatch from above. The conference room was out—the adversary controlled the space above…there was only one logical place now for Macet to go: straight to the source.



    I couldn’t be more perfect for this mission if I do say so myself, thought the compact-bodied gul of the Romac as she crawled through the power conduits in the base’s like a vole…or a vompăt. How I’d love to see that Klingon half-breed try this! That conjured up a lovely image of Duras Sister #3, Gul Ocett, getting her cuirass caught on a plasma node, her braids sticking straight out in the air and sparking at the ends just like they did in the animated features. That satisfying fantasy earned a quick grin—one that evaporated as soon as the flames in her mind leapt out to envelop her own body just like they had on the bridge over Septimus III.

    Something that felt disturbingly like a nose nudged her derriere, and she jumped, nearly hitting her head on the ceiling as a muffled grunt issued from behind. Rebek realized she’d come to a complete stop in the middle of the conduit—and that probably had been a nose. The thought of it gave her a chill. And sure enough, the Mathenite apologized.

    There was no time to respond. Rebek whispered for silence instead. A triangular symbol floated in midair at the next junction, courtesy of the hunter array, pointing to the right. Sure enough, the door read ‘Computer Core—Access Restricted’ in bold Cardăsda. “Chedrigan,” she whispered, “get ready to blow this hatch—on my mark!”

    “Ready!” the Kobheerian saboteur confirmed.

    Rebek and T’Ruveh crouched closest to the door on either side.

    Text whirled before the gul as she flipped through a series of menus by the movements of her eyes, until—below her unfolded an orange wireframe diagram of the room above whose ceiling they moved, green silhouettes for Jem’Hadar, yellow for Cardassian. “Three Jem’Hadar I can see,” Rebek reported, “two Cardassians.”

    Iymender tapped his padd and added, “The last logins were Cronarvan and Nestak. Don’t trust Nestak…and I’m not too sure about Cronarvan.”

    “Take no chances, then,” Rebek ordered the team. “We aim to kill.”

    Rebek checked her positioning one last time. Nothing but the muzzle of her rifle would peek around the corner—no part of her exposed to enemy fire except perhaps her hand. She’d be able to get off one shot, two if she was lucky: after that, they’d have to drop down to the room below and fight before the Jem’Hadar sounded the alarm.

    Now!

    The door hissed open. Rebek took aim at one of the green shapes—predictably spinning towards the source of the noise—and squeezed the trigger. Soundlessly the Jem’Hadar body fell. A charred stump smoked above the shoulders where the head should have been.

    The Mathenite petty officer’s fur stood on end. She reared back onto her haunches, then charged forward at the opening, launching herself headlong into the room, claws splayed, teeth bared.

    T’Ruveh leaped through the opening next. Iymender waited above, as per orders; the programmer had been through the same mental and military training as any of them, but there was no ignoring it—the riyăk’s situational awareness simply was not sufficient against a Jem’Hadar. Chedrigan, too, would wait; his skill was stealth, not confrontation.

    Rebek squeezed off one more shot the instant T’Ruveh cleared the door. A second Jem’Hadar reeled back, shoulder burning, but still very much in the fight. It was time to join the battle herself, before the Jem’Hadar could concentrate more fire on the opening. Rebek threw herself out of the maintenance shaft to the floor below.

    Ousiçt’uçoum roukel—OUSIÇT’UÇOUM!” someone yowled: Get it off me—GET IT OFF! As she fell, she caught a flash of grey-lavender latched with all claws onto a sprawled Cardassian, powerful, disruptor-bearing tail wrapped round the neck like a legless constrictor măgath, tight enough that Rebek thought the Mathenite might actually stand a chance of snapping it.

    She landed hard on top of the second Cardassian, using his body break her fall. Before he could react, she drew back her rifle and smashed it into the back of his head. With a sickening crack, he stopped moving. A thin rivulet of blood seeped from the wound.

    Before she could react to what she had done, something flashed boldly in green at the periphery of her visual field; the skin near her left shoulder blade prickled.

    Not even pausing to turn her head, she whipped her rifle over at her target. Ghostly images from her rifle sights whirled before her; a Jem’Hadar face came into focus and she fired. Soundlessly the Jem’Hadar crumpled against the door.

    The Vulcan lieutenant, T’Ruveh, grappled with the other Jem’Hadar—the same one Rebek had singed with her second shot. Despite his injuries, T’Ruveh still struggled to hold her own against the genetically-engineered soldier. And now he had his hands wrapped around that disturbingly fragile neck of hers.

    Rebek dashed forward, but before she could reach T’Ruveh, Te-Mae-Do lunged forward at a gallop. The Mathenite’s prehensile tail snapped over her head, angled towards T’Ruveh, and squeezed the trigger on her disruptor pistol. The wounded Jem’Hadar dropped, releasing his grip on T’Ruveh.

    T’Ruveh fell to the ground, gasping for air with an urgency that completely belied her stoic expression. “Are you all right?” Rebek inquired.

    The Vulcan raised an eyebrow at her in a manner that felt rather chiding and impertinent to the Cardassian, as if to say, How illogical of you to suggest I should waste breath on a response right now. There was something disturbing about the Vulcan’s manner up close. The stoicism of T’Ruveh’s people was legendary even in the Cardassian Union—but even the most disciplined Cardassians let the steel show in their eyes and their voices.

    A decidedly less steely voice drifted in from above. “May I come down now?”

    Rebek glanced around. All five of the room’s former occupants lay dead, including both of Iymender’s fellow programmers. “Go ahead,” Rebek decided.

    The lanky riyăk awkwardly maneuvered himself on all fours until he sat with his long legs dangling out of the opening. Iymender pushed himself forward like a reluctant swimmer easing himself into the pool—but his legs were far too tense. And even before that awful sound reached her ears, she could see how poorly-aligned he was for impact. He fell headlong to the floor before Rebek could finish her warning: “No! Not like that!

    It came as no surprise when Iymender howled with pain. The programmer made no move to rise. His words emerged as a hiss between gritted teeth; in his eyes she read unvarnished shame.

    “I’m sorry, Gul—I am so sorry…! My ankle—I think it’s broken…”

    Rebek flicked a switch at her right cheekbone, and grimaced. There it was in holographic detail: the bones of Iymender’s right ankle, shattered so severely the bone would likely have to be replaced.
     

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