Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by doublegoodprole, Nov 20, 2012.
I posted the first bit of this last year...but I wrote some more so here you go.
Prologue The Changeling abhorred the humanoid form.
Maintaining it was no great hardship, of course, but it was by no means a pleasurable experience. This was unfortunate, for shape-shifting was supposed to be a joyous, liberating act. Like all members of the Great Link, the Changeling relished the chance to take on myriad forms and did so as often as possible. By assuming other forms, a changeling assumed the very essence of life itself. Indeed, one could spend a lifetime imitating everything from a simple shape to a Zirellian octopus and never feel anything but complete, perfect bliss.
But imitating a humanoid? That was different. The act of assuming the humanoid form perverted the sheer joy of shape-shifting into something ugly…something sinister. Taking on the shape of the despised enemy was a truly repulsive concept to any Changeling.
In the end, however, ample experience had proven that humanoids could only truly relate to others like them. The Changeling remembered the great persecutions of the past, and like all the other members of the Great Link, it was determined to never let them happen again. There was no doubt in the Changeling’s mind that humanoids had an instinctive hatred of shape-shifters. History had proven that the fundamental differences between Changelings and Solids could simply never be reconciled. Left unchecked, the humanoid species of the Galaxy would snuff out the Great Link. Therein lay the need to conquer their civilizations, to subjugate their populations, and to deprive them of any chance to harm that which they could never understand. If the price of security included the occasional inconvenience of an unpleasant form, then so be it.
Security. The need for security was the very raison d’etre for the Dominion. The Dominion existed solely to protect the Great Link. The safety of the Link was always paramount, and the only way to guarantee its safety was to impose order on any and all threats. Humanoids could never be trusted, so they must be kept under the yoke of the Dominion. That was the order of things.
The Changeling had journeyed all the way from the Gamma Quadrant to personally assume control of the former capital world of the late, great United Federation of Planets. It was a task the Changeling did not look forward to. Spending a great deal of time among solids would be immensely taxing. The Changeling already yearned for the comfort of the Great Link.
No matter; Earth and the business of consolidating the Dominion’s hold over the conquered Federation beckoned.
But the Changeling had other business to attend to first.
Jupiter Station, Sol System, Dominion Occupied Territory
Stardate 56784 (May 7, 2380)
Flanked by two Jem’Hadar guards, the Changeling entered the interrogation chamber of the sprawling space station. Once, this room had been used as an office for a Federation Starfleet admiral, or so the Changeling had been told. It did not matter. By serving its current purpose, it served the Dominion. That was all that mattered.
In the center of the room, a naked human woman was shackled by the wrists to a steel suspension rack attached to the ceiling. A spotlight shone on her still, slumped form; the rest of the room was shrouded in darkness.
The Changeling could barely conceal its annoyance. “Turn on the lights,” it ordered, and one of the Jem’Hadar said in a low monotone, “Computer...lights.”
As the chamber filled with light, a door swished open on the opposite side of the room. A Cardassian military officer strode into the chamber, followed closely by a Vorta field supervisor.
“Founder!” The Vorta approached the Changeling, bowing his head slightly and reaching out his hands in supplication. “You honor us with your presence. Is there some way we may be of service?”
“You may explain what has transpired here,” the Changeling replied coldly.
The Vorta turned to the Cardassian and gestured at the human woman. The Cardassian said, “Three days ago, a Jem’Hadar squadron on patrol in the Oort Cloud detected a spatial anomaly. Upon investigating, a rogue Starfleet vessel was found and captured.”
The Changeling circled the human woman, noting her pallid skin. “What was the nature of this spatial anomaly?”
“It appeared to be a wormhole, most likely originating somewhere in the Delta Quadrant.”
The Changeling couldn’t help but show a small amount of surprise. “Is this wormhole stable?”
“No, Founder,” the Vorta replied. “The wormhole collapsed only seconds after it was detected by the Jem’Hadar. The Starfleet vessel’s warp signature was picked up immediately after the anomaly was picked up on sensors; there’s no doubt the vessel traversed the wormhole.”
“Are you sure only one ship came through the wormhole?”
“And would you mind enlightening me how this vessel survived the war, let alone how it was able to travel back and forth across the galaxy?”
“From what we can tell, the ship was in the Delta Quadrant before the war began,” the Cardassian said. “The ship is called Voyager. It was reported lost in the Badlands nearly ten years ago and presumed destroyed.”
“Founder, we are very hard at work researching the captured Starfleet archives for more information,” the Vorta said. “If this ship is more than what it appears to be, you will of course be the first to know.”
The Founder could not help but feel unsatisfied. “Where is the ship now?”
“The vessel is currently docked at the Utopia Planitia shipyards, not far from here,” said the Cardassian.
“Interestingly enough, it was constructed there as well,” the Vorta commented cheerily.
The Changeling pointed at the human woman. “And who is this? A member of Voyager’s crew? I would expect that interrogating surviving crew members would prove more fruitful than...researching archives.”
The Vorta nodded nervously while the Cardassian folded his arms and smirked. “That,” the Cardassian said contemptuously, “is the captain of the Voyager, Kathryn Janeway…or at least, it was. It was my understanding—based on personal experience, I might add—that Starfleet captains were made of sterner stuff. This one barely lasted through one interrogation session.”
The Changeling choked back anger. “You let the captain of this vessel die?”
“I’m afraid so, Founder,” the Vorta replied. “Legate Madred’s methods of interrogation proved to be somewhat…extreme, considering—“
“There was nothing wrong with my methods of interrogation,” the Cardassian said sharply. “The human simply proved too weak for—“
“She was already wounded,” the Vorta snapped. “Surely you—“
“Enough!” The Changeling turned away from the human woman and stared directly at the Cardassian. “I earnestly hope you have more prisoners from Voyager to interrogate, Legate Madred, or I’m afraid we may have to…reevaluate the rank structure in this facility.”
“Of course,” the Cardassian replied. “The rest of the command crew and many of the lower-ranking complement remain alive and are currently imprisoned in this station’s brig.” The Cardassian took note of the Changeling’s withering glare and noted, “No harm shall befall them until you give the order, Founder.”
“Good.” The Changeling turned its attention to the Vorta. “You would be wise to exercise more control over the ‘methods of interrogation’ that our Cardassian allies are practicing in this facility."
The Vorta lowered his head. "Of course, Founder. Rest assured that I will supervise each interrogation personally."
The Changeling nodded. "I would hope so. I want to know everything about this vessel. I want to know how it reached the Delta Quadrant. I want to know the nature of the wormhole that brought it back to the Alpha Quadrant, and I want to know how this crew was able to harness it. Am I making myself clear?”
“Perfectly clear, Founder,” the Vorta said. “We will redouble our efforts to obtain information from the Voyager crew immediately.”
“Good,” the Changeling replied. “I will be on Earth. Contact me when you have obtained some…useful information.”
“Of course.” The Vorta once again bowed his head slightly. “Good day, Founder.”
The Changeling nodded, took a moment to glare once again at the Cardassian, and left the interrogation chamber.
En route to the Jem’Hadar vessel, the Changeling reflected on the ingenuity and skill of Starfleet personnel. It was hard to imagine anyone else being able to find a way to cross a galaxy in mere minutes. Certainly the simple-minded Cardassians or the obsequious Vorta would never be able to accomplish such a feat!
No. Starfleet, and humans in particular, had proven to be worthy adversaries… and a small part of the Changeling couldn’t help but admire them. But in the end, all of their ingenuity and skill had not saved them from the onslaught of the Dominion invasion.
It was just as well. The Federation had clearly posed a great threat to the Great Link—much more so than the comparatively weak Klingons or Romulans. Their protestations aside, the humans and their allies had been a grave threat to all that the Dominion stood for. The conquest of the Alpha Quadrant was just one more step in securing the Great Link from all external threats. One day, the Dominion would reign supreme over all the humanoid species of the galaxy…and then--and only then--could the Great Link finally breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Truly, that was the order of things.
As the Jem’Hadar ship carried the exalted Founder to occupied Earth, the Changeling took the form of a Tarkalean hawk and flew masterfully throughout the spacious corridors of the warship. It felt so good to be free!
Intercepted Dominion Subspace Communiques and Official Alpha Zone One Occupation Dispatches, Archive Fourteen (covering Stardates 55547.36 to 56002.32)
Note: The following has been translated into Galactic Standard for the benefit of contemporary readers, researchers, and interested parties.
Dispatch: Order of the Day
Date: Stardate 55559.96 (January 6, 2379 CE)
From: Alpha Zone One Headquarters
To: All Dominion subjects, troops, and associated powers
Re: Forbidden Phrasing
As per the wishes of the Founders, who bestow life, liberty, and order upon us all, the following phrases will now be strictly forbidden in all conversation, correspondence, and direct/indirect communication between sentient beings residing in Dominion space (including both touch and non-touch telepathy):
United Federation of Planets
Andoria (the descriptive term 'Andorian' is acceptable but not encouraged)
"Remember the Enterprise"
Klingon (or the Klingon Empire)
Deep Space Nine
Vulcan (all inhabitants of that planet shall be referred to as 'Romulan' as per the Second Dominion/Romulan Non-Aggression Pact, Amendment 47)
Borg (see also "The Borg")
As the Founders desire, more undesirable phrasing may be forbidden in the future. By themselves these words are merely historical artifacts, objects of curiosity and perhaps derision; it is the actions of a selfish few that necessitate their banning in the name of safety and order for all.
Communique: Subspace transmission, dated Stardate 55728.26 (March 14, 2379)
To: Vorta Field Supervisior, Sector 24-B
From: Legate Lemok, Alpha Zone One Base 19 Commander
Re: Pacification Efforts in Coridan system
Kestin: This is Legate Lemok. I must report significant gains against rogue elements in the Coridan system over the course of the last week. Rumors of a surviving (redacted by Dominion authorities) vessel proved to be correct, and that vessel was confirmed to have been responsible for the destruction of three Dominion cargo ships on Stardate 54931.21. The enemy vessel was successfully engaged by three Cardassian warships and two Jem-Hadar attack cruisers. It is with deep regret that I inform you no prisoners were taken in the short battle; the Jem'Hadar once again did not heed my warnings about the structural integrity of battle-damaged (redacted by Dominion authorities) ships that have not received significant drydock repair since before the war. Otherwise, our victory was most assuredly a total one and it is with great confidence that I predict no further incidents with Dominion shipping in the future.
Communique: Land-Based transmission, dated Stardate 55925.43 (May 31, 2379)
To: Abraham Morrison
From: Norman Jellico
Re: Portland Harbor Incident
I'm very disappointed in how you handled the bombing at the harbor last week. I thought I made it very clear that when the Jem'Hadar get involved in our petty squabbling, it makes us look very bad to the Vorta field supervisors. We all understand that this transition has been very tough, but thanks to the benevolence and generosity of the Founders, we'll survive and prosper once again. But you must get a handle on terrorist activity in your sector! You're very lucky that you're getting off with just an official reprimand and the execution of only three hundred subjects. The next time, I don't think you'll be so lucky. Get things under control! Please!
Serving the Founders loyally,
Alpha Zone One Headquarters, Sector 84-A, Sol III (formerly known as Starfleet Command, San Francisco, Earth)
Stardate 56789.74 (May 9, 2380)
The Vorta stared at the newly rebuilt, beautifully gleaming bridge spanning the majestic bay. The skies above him buzzed with the activity of Dominion shuttlecraft and surveillance drones.
"I'm afraid I just don't get it," the Vorta sighed.
The tall Cardassian legate standing beside the Vorta on the observation post rolled his eyes. He knew very well where this conversation was going. "And what exactly don't you get, Weyoun?"
The Vorta tilted his head sideways as if trying to look at the bridge from a different angle. "A bridge is a utilitarian construct, is it not? It simply must get someone from one destination to another. Why add all those extra frills?"
"We rebuilt the bridge to its original specifications because it reminds the humans of their recent subjugation," the Cardassian replied testily. "Did you not receive the memorandum I sent on this very subject?"
The Vorta waved his hands dismissively. "Of course, Dukat, of course. 'The humans will gaze upon the bridge, rebuilt by their masters as a symbol of what they have lost and will never regain.' Poetic, perhaps, but quite nonsensical."
"It actually makes a great deal of sense," the Cardassian snapped. "This bridge was a great symbol to the humans. It meant that they could meet any challenge, that they were more than a match for whatever the galaxy threw at them." He smiled. "But they could not match us, and rebuilding that bridge will remind them of that. Forever."
"Do you not think the bridge might serve as a rallying point for future resistance on the part of the humans?"
"Of course not. Within several generations humans will be a servile farmer race, whose only purpose in life will be to supply food for the Occupation Zone. Their descendants will gaze upon this bridge and think only of the mighty power of the Dominion."
"You seem so sure," said the Vorta.
The Vorta shrugged. "I was merely referring to my confusion regarding the aesthetics of the bridge design. It seems frivolous. But if it was, as you say, a symbol to the humans who designed it, unfortunately I can only understand that concept on an intellectual level." The Vorta glanced at the bridge ruefully. "I'm afraid I simply cannot appreciate it aesthetically. The Founders did not see fit to include that ability in my genetic design."
"A shame," the Cardassian sneered. He enjoyed observing the weaknesses of others. "It is almost Cardassian in its design. I quite like it. It must be...difficult to not be able to appreciate beauty."
The Vorta nodded. "Indeed. Well, it is as the Founders intended, so who am I to complain?" He chuckled. "Very well then! The Founder will arrive soon to assume command of the Alpha Quadrant's integration into the Dominion." The Vorta rubbed his hands together in anticipation. "It will be wonderful to have a Founder among us again!"
"Yes, indeed," the Cardassian said with only the slightest bit of sarcasm in his voice. "Although I--you and I are doing very well on our own."
The Vorta looked at the Cardassian with what appeared to be grave concern. "Dukat," he said, "you have been invaluable in from the moment you led Cardassia into the Dominion. Do not think of the Founder's arrival as an intrusion. Think of it as a validation of all the wonderful work we have done." The Vorta patted the Cardassian gently on the arm. "Together."
And before their eyes, the female Changeling and four Jem'Hadar guards beamed down onto the observation post.
"Founder," the Vorta said effusively. "You honor us with your presence. Welcome to Sol III."
"Weyoun," the Founder acknowledged simply.
The Cardassian bowed his head and said tonelessly. "Welcome to Earth, Founder."
The Founder nodded. "Thank you, Legate Dukat." The Founder began walking towards the administration building, with the Jem'Hadar in tow. Weyoun and Dukat followed closely.
"We should all strive to not use forbidden words," said the Founder to no one in particular as she walked. "Old habits are sometimes hard to break, but we must set the proper example for the humans."
Dukat began to speak but was quickly cut off by Weyoun. 'Of course, Founder. You are absolutely right." He glared at Dukat. "A simple slip of the tongue, I'm afraid."
"Yes," Dukat muttered. "I apologize."
"No need," the Founder said. "I am eager to commence working on the integration efforts."
"Do you require any time to settle in, Founder?" Weyoun asked. "We shall be at your disposal whenever you are ready to begin."
"No. Let us begin the situation report now."
Dukat led the way a the small conference room. The Founder took a seat at the head of the table; Weyoun sat two chairs over from her while the Jem'Hadar flanked the table on both sides. Dukat walked to the front of the room, where a large viewer dominated the wall.
"You may begin when ready, Legate Dukat."
"Computer, activate view, program Dukat-Beta-Three."
The viewer sprang to life with a three-dimensional rendering of the Alpha Quadrant. Dukat lightly touched one of the myriad stars, and a representation of the planet formerly known as Earth was suddenly prominently displayed.
"As you know," Dukat began, "Ear--Sol III was one of the last Federation holdouts to fall during the war. The planet and its system withstood the combined assault of Dominion and allied vessels for over six months before finally surrendering."
Dukat switched the view to a slowly rotating globe, a representation of the conquered Earth. "Once we took control of the system, it took eleven months to pacify the outlying solar colonies. Earth itself was not purged of organized military resistance for over a year and a half. Once this task was complete, however, we found the occupation to be a much simpler affair than we had originally anticipated."
"Elaborate, please," the Founder said.
"Of course. Our intelligence reports indicated that once we wiped out the last organized military resistance, the humans would splinter into small insurgencies much like we--the Cardassians encountered on Bajor some years ago. However--"
"However," Weyoun interrupted, "when we broadcast the news that the...former interstellar government of which Earth was a part had fallen, we found that the humans became overwhelmingly docile."
"Indeed," Dukat said, determined to wrest control of the briefing back from the Vorta. “The fall of the Federation and the subsequent liquidation of the Federation Council on Andoria proved to be a most effective psychological tool in the pacification of this planet."
"But there are still incidents," said the Founder. "The murder of several Breen visiting the northern regions of the largest continent. The Portland Harbor incident. The--"
"We do not claim to have completely pacified this world," Dukat interjected, earning a vicious stare from Weyoun. "There are still isolated groups of terrorists at large. Ex-Starfleet personnel--"
The Founder turned to Weyoun. "What are we doing to eliminate this problem? I need assurance that this planet is--and she pointedly looked at Dukat--"completely pacified before we begin the integration process."
Weyoun bowed his head. "Rest assured, Founder, that we have a great deal of intelligence on these so-called 'groups of terrorists' and plan on making arrests within the next few days." Weyoun looked up at Dukat. "That is correct, Legate, yes?"
Dukat narrowed his eyes but nodded. "Yes."
"I should hope so," the Founder replied. "Continue with the briefing, Legate."
Dukat adjusted the projection, placing Earth's sphere onto an icosahedron dotted with tiny red spots. "These red markings indicated where we have set up re-education camps for those who are having trouble adjusting to the new order of things. We have been fortunate, however, to find many humans that are quite willing to collaborate with us. Nothing helps break the spirit of an occupied people quite like having their own turn on them."
"That is always useful," the Founder commented.
"It is indeed."
"How many humans have you found it necessary to liquidate once the war officially ended?"
Dukat glanced at Weyoun. "When we destroyed the last of the organized military resistance, Earth's population stood at 5.8 billion, with over 7 million non-humans still on the planet. That number now stands at 4.1 billion, with no known non-humans present."
"Admirable restraint," the Founder noted. "The planet's main function is now to provide food for the Occupation Zone, correct?"
"Correct. By converting the human race back into a species of uneducated, illiterate farmers, we intend to create a malleable population that will simply not comprehend the idea of resistance."
"How long will this take?" The Founder turned to Weyoun. "What is your estimate?"
"Several generations, at the very least," he replied. "If that pleases the Founder, of course."
"It does not," she replied coldly. "Do all that you can to speed up this process." She looked back at Dukat. "We did not completely eradicate the human species based on your recommendations, Legate. I want the ability of humans to even contemplate the idea of resistance wiped out as soon as possible. If enough time passes without sufficient progress, they will meet the same fate as that of the Klingons." The Founder stood up. "I have heard enough for today. We will meet tomorrow at 0900 to discuss these matters further."
Dukat switched off the viewer as Weyoun got up, stretching out his hands in supplication. "Thank you, Founder, for blessing us with your presence today. If you require anything--"
"I'll be fine, Weyoun," the Founder said curtly. She looked at Dukat, who stood at the front of the room with his hands clasped behind his back. "Thank you, Legate."
Dukat bowed his head. "Until tomorrow, Founder."
As the Founder left the room, accompanied by her Jem'Hadar guards, Dukat strode leisurely over to Weyoun. "That went well, wouldn't you say?"
"I want that bridge destroyed," Weyoun said without looking at Dukat. "Please give the appropriate orders to your troops. That is all."
As Weyoun walked out of the room, Dukat shook his head. Some people just did not understand that the the breaking of a people's will took time. It took proper care and attention to detail.
But they would learn. He would make sure of it.
In Orbit of Planet Terra Prime
Admiral Jean-Luc Picard sat in his ready room aboard the flagship of the Seventh Fleet, formerly of the Federation Starfleet. Now...well, now it was just the fleet. Twenty seven ships, four of which were ships of the line, all in this distant solar system nearly three million light-years from home. Were they still a part of Starfleet? Hard to say. Did Starfleet still exist?
Picard glanced out of the ready room window at the star that the Seventh Fleet now called home. Interesting. If he were back home, on Earth, the light he was now seeing would not be visible for another three million years. If he had been able to see Sol from his vantage point, he would have been seeing light that emanated from the star long before the dawn of civilization. Long before.
Data would have been able to give him the exact figures. But Data was not here.
The Seventh Fleet had arrived in M-33 three years ago, after the fall of Earth. Picard remembered the final battle well. Starfleet and their erstwhile Klingon allies had fought hard, destroying most of the Cardassian attack wings before simply being overwhelmed by waves of Jem'Hadar cruisers. The Mars Defense Perimeter had performed admirably, but once it had been broken it was all over for Earth. Picard had attempted to defy Admiral Leyton's order to retreat, but it had been Riker who had convinced him to go, to follow the tattered Federation Alliance forces out of the system as Earth fell to the conquering Dominion.
Riker. He was not here either.
After Andoria and the final collapse of the Federation government, the recently promoted Admiral Picard was ordered by Starfleet Command to initiate Project Longshot. In the event of the Federation's collapse, Starfleet had ordered several contingency plans be set in motion. Project Longshot was just one such plan, and it was just that--a long shot. No one knew if Wesley Crusher could (or would) help evacuate a fleet out of the galaxy, and no one knew where they would end up if he did.
Still, Picard had initiated Longshot on schedule, as ordered. Contacting young Crusher had proven a simple task; it was convincing him to help that had taken a great deal of effort. Picard remembered being frequently irritated with the boy all those years ago, back when he was merely human and a youngster obsessed with sitting in the captain's chair. Now, he was to be the instrument of their salvation.
But Crusher had nearly balked at the idea of interfering in the affairs of lesser races. He had not said as much, but Picard knew what he had meant. The powerful always regarded the weak with condescension. It took an impassioned speech from Picard to convince the boy-god that saving the Seventh Fleet would be one last way to fulfill his duties as a former Starfleet officer--and, Picard recalled guiltily, he had not failed to mention that it would be a way to atone for the fatal actions that had nearly gotten Crusher drummed out of the fleet some years before. But it had only been by invoking the name of the late Jack Crusher--Wesley's father and Picard's best and most trusted friend--that the powerful young man had agreed to help. It was a low-handed tactic, but entirely necessary. Picard still found a small part of himself regretting what he had said, however. Old habits die hard.
So with the young Traveler's help, the ships of the beleaguered Seventh Fleet had prepared to use the same method that had sent the U.S.S. Enterprise-D careening off to the edge of the universe.
But as the final preparations were set into motion, Dominion forces entered the nebula in which the fleet was hiding. Dozens of Jem'Hadar ships appeared on thirty-seven Federation starships' viewscreens, and they were completely uninterested in negotiation.
Picard had desperately hoped the fleet could have made it out of the galaxy before the Dominion had located them, but alas. With steely resolve, he ordered ten ships to engage the Dominion forces as the other twenty-seven made a run for it. It was the only strategy that made sense. Twenty-three ships were packed full of civilians, refugees from Earth and other occupied worlds; Picard figured he could spare four ships of the line to protect them once they evacuated from the Milky Way. The rest would have to stay and fight in order to cover their retreat.
Even then he had known that once those ships broke off to engage the Jem’Hadar, they would not be leaving the galaxy with the rest of the fleet. Attacking the Jem’Hadar was not a winning proposition, but a maneuver to gain time. A pity, Picard thought as he reflected back on the battle. It would have been extremely beneficial to have all thirty-seven ships present here in M-33, where nothing was known and everything was unfamiliar.
Admiral Picard had given the order to engage the enemy on the bridge of the U.S.S. Venture, his Galaxy-class personal flagship. He had fully intended that his former command, the U.S.S Enterprise-E, be part of the four escort vessels leaving the galaxy. So he was surprised when, seconds after giving the order, he received a hail from the Enterprise.
The face of Captain William Riker, his former first office and new commander of the Enterprise, appeared on the Venture’s viewscreen. “Admiral,” Riker said urgently. “The Sentinel is experiencing issues with their main phaser relay. We have to take it out of the attack formation.”
Picard shook his head. “No, Number One. Alert the Sentinel to join the attack formation and bring the Enterprise to—“
“Admiral,” Riker interrupted. “The Sentinel is the only other Sovereign-class ship in the fleet. Without its firepower, we may not be able to cover your retreat.”
“What do your propose, Captain?” Picard snapped. “That we send the Enterprise in its place?”
“Yes sir, and quickly.”
“No,” Picard said flatly. “I need the Enterprise when we leave the galaxy. I—“
“Jean-Luc,” Riker said gently. Picard fell silent. “This is the only way we can make Project Longshot work, and you know it.”
Picard would have liked to have called a conference with his senior staff to discuss this turn of events. A meeting of the minds could have produced a better solution. But time was a luxury he simply no longer had.
“I—very well, Number One.” He turned to the Venture’s communications officer. “Lieutenant Jones, alert the Sentinel to fall in line with the escort vessels .”
Riker nodded and moved to end the communication. But Picard held up a hand. “Will—wait.”
Riker met Picard’s gaze. “Yes, Admiral?”
Picard could not help but notice the lump forming in his throat. “Good luck, Number One. It was an…honor to serve with you.”
Riker grinned. “I wouldn’t have traded it for anything, Admiral. Now get out of here while we show the Jem’Hadar what this ship can do.”
Picard smiled wanly and Riker cut the transmission.
“Crusher to Bridge,” Picard’s communicator chirped.
“Go ahead, Wesley.” Picard rubbed his temple as he contemplated a now even more uncertain future.
“Cap—I mean, Admiral, we’re ready to begin. I’d just like to put a little more space between us and—“
“Incoming Jem’Hadar attack cruisers!” Lieutenant Polk, the tactical officer, shouted. “Bearing 9847.2!”
“We’ll try our best, Mr. Crusher, Picard out.” Picard sat down in the command chair. It wasn’t a good sign that some Jem’Hadar had already made it past the Starfleet attack wing. “Initiate tactical plan Picard-Alpha-Gamma. Have the other ships fall into line.” He glanced down at his chair PADD. “Wait until the Jem’Hadar are within visual range.”
“Aye, sir,” Polk replied. “Ten seconds until visual range.”
“Picard to Engineering.”
“Go ahead, Admiral.”
“Commander Gomez, I’m going to need more power to the forward phaser relays. Can we spare the—“
“Inadvisable, Admiral,” Crusher cut in. “I need as much power as I can get.”
“The enemy is within visual range,” Polk reported.
“Fire aft photon torpedoes,” Picard ordered. The bridge shook as the ship took a direct hit.
“Shields holding,” Polk said. “The Sentinel has taken heavy damage in its engineering section. The—“
“Target the lead Jem’Hadar ship,” Picard interjected. “Attack pattern Picard-Zeta-Three.”
“Ready phasers, sir.”
The Venture fired five short bursts of phaser fire aimed squarely at the engineering section of the Jem’Hadar cruiser. It exploded in a huge ball of flame and plasma.
“One down,” Picard muttered. “Picard to Crusher, how long until we can initiate the jump?”
Crusher sounded woozy. “At current speed….three minutes.”
The ship shook again as the surviving enemy cruisers lashed out against the Starfleet vessels.
“Shields down to seventy-eight percent,” Polk cried out. “Heavy casualties on Deck Eight through Thirteen.”
“Fire at will, Lieutenant.” The communications officer screamed as her console exploded in flames. Picard looked over at the young woman. Her neck was twisted far too abnormally; she was dead.
“Direct hit! Shields down to sixty-one percent.” Polk continued to fire the ship’s weapons. The Sentinel is reporting their phaser banks are inoperable, Admiral. The Lexington and the Chekov are—“ Polk was suddenly knocked backwards by a power surge.
Picard got up and ran quickly to the Tactical station, leaving an ensign to check on the injured Polk. “Helm, set course 7651 mark 0501. Bring us around hard to port. Engage!”
The Venture maneuvered and faced a Jem’Hadar cruiser head-on. Picard concentrated fire on the enemy’s forward hull. The Jem’Hadar cruiser blossomed into a fiery cloud of destruction.
“Picard to Engineering!”
“Just give us one more minute, Admiral,” Gomez cried over the comm system. “We’re that close.”
Picard grimaced as the final Jem’Hadar cruiser began concentrating its fire on the Sentinel and the Lexington. Behind him, an ensign cried out, “Seven more Jem’Hadar cruisers have broken through the line, Admiral! They’re headed straight for us!”
Failure? Now? When they were so close? He stared at the tactical screen, suddenly wishing Data were present. “Helm, move the formation in tighter and prepare for warp bubble initiation.” If they could just hold out for thirty more seconds—
But the Jem’Hadar were suddenly upon them, like raging jackals. Lethal energy beams struck several of the Federation ships.
“Engineering! This needs to happen NOW!”
“Fifteen seconds, Admiral!” Gomez’s voice cracked. “Give us—“
The ship rocked violently as the Venture took three direct hits. The shields were down to thirty-nine percent. “Helm!” Picard shouted. “Set course 62—“
Picard looked up in shock as his ship, the Enterprise, swooped out of nowhere and engaged the Jem’Hadar vessels. The powerful vessel drew the fire of the Jem’Hadar as the rest of the fleet moved further out of the nebula.
“Bridge, we’re Initiating the warp bubble!” Gomez shouted over the comm. “Ready enhanced warp drive in 3…2…1…”
Picard watched as the Enterprise took a brutal beating from the enemy vessels. “Thank you, Will,” he whispered. “Godspeed.”
And in the blink of an eye, twenty-seven Starfleet vessels winked out of existence and left the galaxy forever.
Above Terra Prime, the M-class world where the refugees of the Seventh Fleet intended to make their new home, Admiral Jean-Luc Picard ordered a cup of tea from the replicator and reflected on his new life. So much had changed. So little was known about the dangers of this region of space…but so little was known about the possible wonders, too. He looked around his ready room of his flagship, the recently rechristened U.S.S. Enterprise. The name must live on. The dream, the ideals that constituted the United Federation of Planets must live on.
He peered out at the unfamiliar constellations dotting the skies around him. Hopefully, one day, the descendants of this ragtag fleet could find out what was out there, resume Starfleet’s mission of peaceful exploration, and rebuild what had been lost.
But for now, safety and building a new home were the priorities. And like a good Starfleet officer, Picard was going to rise to the challenge…whether Starfleet still existed or not.
A great read! Where is the first bit of the story?
Very very enjoyable, I found myself disappointed when I came to the end and there was no more!
I reorganized my thoughts a little, so I want to restart this thread. I wonder if the mods can delete it?
Always nice to hear someone say thanks when you leave them positive feedback isn't it?
You're not kidding with that username, I see...
No, but really, I deeply, deeply apologize. Seriously. Thank you very much for your input and your praise. I was just having some tunnel vision thinking about what I was going write next. I really do appreciate your comments; I'm incredibly insecure about writing and I am really glad someone responded positively.
Username aside, I'm actually one of the more courteous and complementary members of this forum - or would at least like to think that is how I'm regarded by my peers.
But when people go to the trouble of reading something you've written and leave positive feedback, it is, I feel, good manners to acknowledge rather than ignore them.
Just some friendly advice, no harm done.
Re: Angry Fanboy
Totally agreed. Thank you.
The concept of the fleet in orbit around a far off world puts me in mind of the New Caprica arc featured in Battlestar Galactica. Looking forward to reading more!
Re: Angry Fanboy
Thank you! Looking forward to writing more. Do you know if there's a way to close threads? I want to shut this one down and move over to the "The Dominion Triumphant: A Star Trek Dystopia" thread. It's a little better organized and has a new update on it.
I'm pretty new to all this fan fiction stuff, so any help is greatly appreciated!
Separate names with a comma.