TOS Series Lexington: Meet The Lady

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by DavidFalkayn, May 15, 2007.

  1. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 3

    I think it has been quiet some time that I've seen(read) starship crews simply disappearing from the bridge only to find themselves God knows where.

    I've missed that and it is that classic Star Trek feel that I was hoping for.

    AND we've got Klingons!! Real, Klingons who are already planning to rip Lexington into tiny little shreds.

    Lots to look forward to.
     
  2. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 3

    Thanks for your comments guys! :)

    CeJay: Thanks, I've been hoping to catch that ol' TOS feel here, I'll try to keep it going.

    Gibraltar: Wesley is very much a father type here, unlike Kirk, Bob also isn't the sort who chases the yeoman of the week either. :) Liz must get her wild side from her grandmother... ;)

    TLR: I'm finding Kuznetsov to be fun to write--he's very much the anti-Chekov in a way--also, he most definitely has a very filthy mouth! And of course, you have to bring along a few redshirts to show how the monster(s) work :evil:
     
  3. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 4

    Sitting on the ground, Robert leaned back against a thick conifer as he looked up at the clear, starlit night sky. As he relaxed, images of Virginia and Katie appeared in his mind. Virginia, as she looked the day they said goodbye, her face radiant as always, but something was different. Her smile was the same; she held her head up in the same manner she had always done. But, something was wrong. It was her eyes. When the couple was first married, they shined like tiny stars, illuminating the way home for him. But, as he stood at the transporter pad that would beam him up to the Lexington, her eyes bore a more somber…distant…cast. As if they were drawing their light away from him. And Katie…little Katie wasn’t little anymore. After the initial rush of welcoming that came with her first recognizing that her father was home had subsided, father and daughter quickly discovered that they had nothing to talk about. She was now a teenager—interested in boys and hanging out with friends and all the other things thirteen year old girls wanted to do. After three years apart, her father had become little more than a stranger to her. Three days…Robert mused mournfully as he gazed upwards, “…cannot make up for three years. Wesley continued in his melancholic reverie until the Magyar accent of his youthful helmsman broke his concentration.

    “It’s beautiful…”

    Turning his head towards the young ensign, Commodore Wesley replied, dispelling his earlier dark mood through sheer force of will, “It might be beautiful, but it also tells me something else…”

    “That we’re not anywhere near the nebula.” Aliz finished as she handed the commodore a hollowed out gourd containing water. “It’s ok—it’s from that stream to the north…we boiled it so any germs should have been killed.”

    “Not like we have much choice in the matter,” Robert quipped, patting the ground near where he sat. “Have a seat, Ensign.”

    “Thank you, Sir.” The petite Hungarian smiled as she sat down opposite the commodore, his light from the nearby fire giving the pugilist’s craggy features a warm quality that gave him a certain rugged handsomeness the youthful ensign thought. Taking a deep breath as she tried to dispel that particular thought regarding her superior officer from her mind, Aliz asked, stammering slightly, “So…what do we do if we don’t find a way back?”

    “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, Ensign.” Wesley replied in a confident tone as he smiled warmly at the younger woman, “It’s a little early to give up hope now, Aliz—we’ve just got started.”

    “Thank you, Sir.” Aliz responded; flashing a smile of her own as, taking the gourd from the commodore’s hands, she took a sip of the cool water. Looking up at the stars, the auburn haired helmsman asked, “I wonder where we are…I can’t place any of the constellations…”

    “I don’t think we’re too far off from where we started.” Bob replied as he pointed at a faint smudge near the zenith. “See that?” As Aliz nodded her head, Robert continued, “Five’ll get you ten that’s our nebula.”

    Shaking her head, the Hungarian ensign asked, “How can you be so sure, Sir?”

    Laughing gently, the commodore responded, “I can’t. But it’s just as likely to be our nebula than not and I’d rather be working towards a goal rather than just slogging along.” His face now taking on a serious look, the former Academy boxing champ counseled, “Never underestimate the power of hope, Ensign. It can keep you—and your people—going when you’ve got nothing else.”

    “Yes, Sir. I’ll remember that.” The young officer replied in a soft voice as she stood up. “Ummm…Sir…” The young ensign stammered, “Don’t you think you should get some sleep now?”

    “Yeah.” The older officer smiled as he leaned back against the tree, “I’ll just go ahead and sleep here—it’s a pretty nice spot.

    “Good night, Sir.” Aliz said softly as she turned away, her eyes involuntarily drifting to the figure of the commodore in repose before she forced herself to walk away. Easy, Aliz. The Hungarian woman thought as she made her way back to the fire. Not only is he your superior officer, he’s a good twenty years older than you are and he’s married with a child. Reaching the fire, she took a quick drink of water. Closing her eyes, the petite ensign fingered her medallion before drifting off to sleep, the last image in her mind that of the commodore resting peacefully underneath the tree.

    ******************************************************

    “All right, everyone! Up and at ‘em!” Commodore Wesley called out as he roused his fellow castaways. “Here you go.” He grinned, handing Ensign Watley a gourd filled with water. “Have a drink, Jennifer…then go get some breakfast. We’ve got plenty of berries and the snares we set out nabbed us some small game.” Laughing, the commodore, after he was sure that the youthful ensign had fully awakened, went from crew member to crew member, repeating his performance.

    “You’re certainly in a good mood this morning.” Aliz grumbled as she cleared the sleep from her eyes.

    “Remember what I said last night, Aliz…” Robert grinned as he handed the young Hungarian helmsman a piece of meat skewered on a stick, “Never underestimate the power of hope.”

    “Yes, Sir.” Ensign Bathory replied as she fingered the medallion hanging around her neck. Her mouth watering at the taste of the meat, Aliz asked, “What is it?”

    “What does it matter?” Wesley quipped with a shrug, “It’s edible and it’ll keep us alive—and that’s what’s most important.” Grinning, he handed the young officer a water gourd, “Now drink up and get ready…we’ve got a good day’s march ahead of us.”

    Swigging the water from the gourd, Aliz smiled back, “Aye, Sir.” Walking over to where her roommate sat picking at red and black berries, Aliz asked, her voice edged with concern as she noticed the dry blood on her friend’s sky blue mini-dress, “How’re you holding up, Jennifer?”

    “Better.” The dark haired exobiologist replied, managing a shaky grin. “It all happened so…”

    “I know.” Aliz responded sympathetically as she took one of the black berries, popping it into her mouth. ‘Not bad.” She remarked as she took another.

    “You should try the red ones.” Jennifer said as she took a bite of the meat. “They’re just a little tart—but not too bad.

    “Hmmm…” Aliz vocalized as she tried one of the red berries, making a face as she bit into the berry. “A little too tart for me. I think I’ll stick to the black ones.”

    “Sirs?” Crewman Malik interjected, coughing discreetly. Seeing that he had the two junior officers’ attention, the security rating handed each of them two sticks with points and another stick, this one crudely notched. “Spears…and an atlatl.” He said, explaining, “After sharpening the points, I put them in the fire for a while—that hardens them. These…” He instructed, holing out his atlatl, “Will give you a bit more range and power. You put the end of the spear here…” He coached, “…and throw it like this…” The Moroccan demonstrated, launching his spear smoothly towards its target, a nearby tree. “Now…” he smiled, “You give it a try.”

    Both women, imitating the security specialist’s actions, after several fumbling attempts, finally succeeded in launching their spears, Ensign Watley’s attempt falling far short of the mark; while her roommate, Ensign Bathory, using her gymnastics training, enjoyed a bit more success, almost reaching the tree.

    “Not bad, ladies!” Commodore Wesley praised, clapping his hands. “Take some more time to practice while I break camp. I expect both of you to be able to hit that tree by the time I’m done.” His voice taking on a more serious tone, the commodore explained, “I don’t expect either one of you to become experts, but you do need to know how to use these. Your life…or the lives of those around you…might very well depend on you striking your mark on the first attempt.”

    “Aye, Sir!” Both officers promptly acknowledged as they each reloaded their atlatls with fresh spears, repeating the exercise again and again until finally, several attempts later, both officers struck the tree trunk, Aliz’s spear actually penetrating the bark.

    “Good job, Sirs!” Crewman Malik praised as the commodore approached.

    “Better…” Wesley chimed in, nodding his head approvingly. “We should be ready now. Go and pick up your spears…” He ordered as he handed each of his people two empty gourds. “First stop is the stream to fill these up. And then we make our way for that structure—whatever it is—and see if we can get some answers.”

    ********************************************************

    Far behind the rest of his companions cutting their way through the thick underbrush, K’Temoc, in his position of rear guard moved slowly, carefully following the path blazed by his compatriots. Hearing the sound of a twig snapping ahead of him, the young Klingon warrior, his black beard freshly grown, paused for a moment. Engaging all his senses, he sniffed the air while his eyes scanned the forest, missing nothing as his ears picked up on the slightest sound. Hearing the faint snapping of another twig, the youthful hunter smirked as he picked up a scent. Hefting his d’k tahq in his hand, K’Temoc hunted.

    Further up the trail, K’Tan, the captain of the battlecruiser, K’Mar, heard the snapping of a twig as well. Flashing a feral grin, the Klingon warrior motioned with his hand, his men fanning out on either side of him as K’Tan turned about, dodging just in time the swipe from sharp claws. His eyes seeing a bipedal creature approximately the size of a fully grown Klingon with a long, narrow neck, feathered crest and blue-green scales, its open mouth revealing rows of sharp teeth and fangs, the Klingon warrior smiled, his own feral grin nearly matching that of the creature.

    Lunging as he dodged, K’Tan’s knife struck into flesh, the resulting howl of pain bringing a triumphant, “Maj!” from the captain as he withdrew his knife. Their captain having drawn first blood, as was his right, M’Kal and D’Kell leaped from their flanking positions, their knives punching through the creature’s sharp hide as its claws swiped again, this time raking D’Kell’s chest, cutting through the armored mesh of his shirt into flesh.

    Hearing the sounds of battle as he drew closer, the youthful warrior, resisting the calling of his blood to leap into the fight, spotted a movement in the woods, circling around the struggle. Smirking triumphantly, K’Temoc stalked the stalker as it crept around the three Klingons battling its mate.

    Howling his rage, D’Kell forced the pain out of his mind as his knife struck again, slashing into the scales of the monster under one of its armpits, twisting his knife, the burly Klingon barely dodged the sharp teeth of the creature as his companions struck again and again with their knives until finally, after making one last swipe of its claws at its tormentors, the creature died.

    Yaj!” K’Tarn called out, soon to be joined by M’Kal and the injured D’Kell, “Yaj!”

    Creeping up, K’Temoc hearing his captain’s jubilant victory cry as well as the death howl the creature he had slain, watched as the predator he had been stalking, having witnessed its mate being killed, tensed its muscles to lunge at the back of the Klingon captain who was at that moment celebrating his triumph. K’Temoc, striking before the dead creature’s mate could pounce, struck, his knife piercing the back of the animal’s neck. Leaving his d’k tahq embedded within the creature, the young Klingon grappled its neck just below the head with both his hands. Planting his feet firmly on the ground, K’Temoc jerked on the reptile’s neck, sending it flying back towards a large tree.

    Roaring its anger as it impacted on the tree, the reptilian creature staggered to its feet as K’Temoc, taking advantage of the animal’s stunned condition, leaped on it, forcing it to the ground. Taking his knife out of his prey’s neck, the young Klingon struck again, this time burying his knife through the lower jaw of the creature, piercing all the way through into the mouth. As the animal tried to close its mouth, it howled in pain as its upper jaw closed on the blade protruding from its lower jaw.

    Hearing the sound of the battle behind them, K’Tan and the other warriors turned to watch as K’Temoc, withdrawing his knife, struck again, this time driving the blade into the creature’s braincase, killing it as its body twitched one last time.

    MajQa’!” K’Tan cried out, a broad grin on his face as he approached the young warrior. Taking a badge from his honor sash, the Klingon captain stood before the youth. “You are no longer a mere soldier…” The captain proclaimed as the young man before him smiled triumphantly. Pinning the badge on to the young warrior’s chest, K’Tan announced, “You are now ‘utlh…an officer. Wear this on your honor sash when we return to the K’Mar!” Taking a step back, the captain grasped the younger Klingon’s shoulders with his hands, “Qapla!”


    ***************************************************************

    “Do you have news, Ms. Zha’Thara?” Commander Alexei Kuznetsov asked, swiveling his seat around as the Lexington’s Andorian science officer strode on to the bridge.

    Her antennae bending towards the burly Russian, Talana smirked, “Am I good or what?”

    “I take it you have something for me then, Lieutenant Commander?” Alexei somewhat impatiently responded, “Do please…” He added, a faint note of sarcasm in his voice, “…enlighten us?”

    “You’re no fun, Alexei…” The Andorian woman riposted with a half grin. Her smile fading as she took her station, Talana, activating the main viewer, made her report. “I was right about our answer lying in that massive tachyon surge that took place before the commodore and the others disappeared. Essentially, what happened was that the Lexington and the Klingons were enveloped in a spatial displacement field…” She said, the viewscreen displaying a schematic of the two ships being first surrounded by the field and then disappearing into the opaque field.

    “I don’t understand…” Alexei replied, his voice reflecting his confusion, “…the field is gone, but we’re still here.”

    “We’re here…now!” Talana corrected, “But…for a brief period of time…mere microseconds in fact, we weren’t. We were…for lack of a better way of putting it…out of phase.”

    “Out of phase?” The Bear repeated, “What do you mean, Lieutenant Commander?”

    “I’m not sure yet, Sir.” Talana replied truthfully, her voice filled with awe at the technology of whoever possessed the capability to accomplish this task, “I just don’t have enough to go on.”

    “I thought you had good news, Ms. Zha’Thara…” Alexei remarked sourly.

    “I do, Sir.” The Andorian smiled back. “While I can’t tell you exactly where we went or how it was done, I can tell you that whoever did this left us a trail to follow.”

    “The tachyon emissions?” Kuznetsov ventured, his lips now turning up into a smile.

    “The tachyon emissions.” Talana reiterated, her initial smile fading, “But we don’t have much time to act before the tachyons dissipate and the trail disappears.”

    “What do we need to do?” Alexei quickly asked as he leaned forward in the chair.

    “We can’t do this alone…” The science officer replied, “For this to work…we’re going to need the Klingons' help.”

    Sighing deeply, The Russian first officer answered back in a dubious tone, “Are you sure there’s no choice?

    “For this to work…” Talana explained, “…we need two ships. The power requirements are just too great for one ship alone to pull it off. The Klingons will have to reconfigure their disruptor arrays to emit steady neutrino streams that will ‘paint’ the tachyons while we will have to reconfigure our scanners to read them.”

    “I see.” The Bear replied, cupping his chin, “How extensive will the sensor reconfigurations have to be?”

    “Very.” The Andorian science officer answered back, her antennae drooping slightly, “It’ll leave us completely blinded to everything but the tachyon emissions.”

    “Leaving us in the same situation as a horse with blinders on.” The Bear concluded grimly. “Meaning we won’t be able to pick up on any possible moves the Klingons might make.”

    Nodding her head, the science officer answered back, “Right. But at the same time…” She smirked, “It’ll leave the Klingons without their disruptors.” Frowning, Talana cautioned, “Alexei…if we’re going to follow the trail, we have to move quickly and both ships will need to put all their resources into it.”

    “Mmmmm…” Alexei murmured as he considered the situation, “There might be a way for us to follow the trail and ensure that the Klingons can’t blindside us.” Activating the intercom, the first officer spoke, “Lieutenant Commander G’arv and Lieutenant Mtolo report to the bridge at once.”

    Her lips turning up into a sly grin as her antennae once again bent towards the burly Russian, Talana quipped, “You look like you’ve got something up your sleeve, Alexei?”

    “Da, Ms. Zha’Thara, I do” The Bear replied, “It’s an old Russian saying…”

    “So…” Talana teased, “Which one is it this time?”

    Smirking, Alexei quoted, “Trust in God but lock your doors.”

    **************************************************************

    Taking point, Commodore Wesley cut carefully through the brush, the rest of his group following close behind, the calls of the different animals creating a symphony that kept the Starfleet party constantly on its toes. One call, however, soon came to dominate the others. A high pitched call, it sounded for several seconds before ceasing, only to pick up again several seconds later at a slightly different pitch. Several seconds later, the call sounded yet again. Ensign Jennifer Watley raised her hand as she spoke out in a carefully modulated tone. “Stop. Wait a moment.”

    “What is it, Ensign?” The commodore asked as he came to an immediate halt, crouching low.

    “I’m not sure, Sir.” The olive skinned xenobiologist replied, “But those might be calls from a hunting pack.”

    “Would they be stalking us?” Aliz asked with a worried expression.

    “Not necessarily.” Watley replied. “They could be going after other prey, or it could be mating calls, or…”

    “So, we’re not really sure of what we’re dealing with.” Robert finished, “Still…we don’t want to take chances.” Hefting his makeshift spear in hand, the commodore cautioned, “Stay alert.”

    ***********************************************************

    “Are we actually going to go along with this dogh scheme?” D’Kor asked as he gazed into the eyes of his acting commanding officer, the first officer of the K’Mar.

    “Is that a challenge, D’Kor?” Kalas growled menacingly as his hand went to the d’k tahq at his waist.

    “No, Sir.” The second officer quickly replied, shaking his head vigorously. “I was merely curious.”

    Relaxing visibly now that his dominance had been acknowledged, a broad smile appeared on the first officer’s face, “Don’t worry, D’Kor. I know why you are concerned—that the Federation starship will attack us once our disruptors have been taken off line.” Seeing his subordinate nodding his head, Kalas’ broad smile became an evil grin as he explained his plan, “Remember, old friend, that they must recalibrate all of their sensors in order to pick up the emissions given off when the tachyons are bombarded by the neutrinos fired by our retuned disruptors. That means they will be totally blind…” Gazing intently into the eyes of his subordinate, the Klingon acting captain inquired, “Have you gathered the twenty warriors I told you to?”

    With a single nod of his head, D’Kor promptly responded, “Yes, Sir. All well versed in zero gravity combat.”

    “Excellent.” Kalas grinned. “When I give the order, those men, with you as their leader, will take a shuttle. Using just maneuvering thrusters you will draw close enough to the saucer section of the Lexington to where you can exit the shuttle, walk on the Federation starship itself, and cut your way directly into their bridge.”

    Smiling broadly at the chance for glory that he had just been given, D’Kor exclaimed in a loud, enthusiastic voice, “It will be a glorious battle.”

    **************************************************************

    As the high pitched calls grew louder and more insistent, nerves began to fray amongst the tiny party. “Where the hell are they?” Malik grumbled; his spear at the ready. “I wish they’d do something!”

    “Easy, Crewman…” Wesley counseled as he motioned for the group to halt. Pointing, he whispered, “Clearing ahead. Ensign Watley?” Gesturing with his hand for the young xenobiologist to come forward, the commodore, once again taking on the role of instructor, inquired as the calls picked up even louder in volume. “Assuming you’re one of the pack that’s stalking us, what would you do here?”

    “That clearing would be where I’d make the ambush.” Jennifer promptly responded. “The pack will try to cut one of us out. While some of the pack would drive the rest of us apart from their target, the others would try to bring their victim down.”

    “Very good, Ensign.” Wesley praised, smiling approvingly as he continued to test his new officer. “Now…we have to cross that clearing to get to where we have to go. How would you recommend we do that?”

    “We don’t have much time, Sir…” Watley pondered, carefully considering her answer, “From the sound of those calls, I’d say they’re getting ready to…” Before she could finish her sentence, a shout of alarm followed very quickly by a yelp of pain came from behind her as Crewman Malik threw his makeshift spear at one of the predators, a wolf sized cross between a bird and reptile with a dark blue crest on its head and sharp fangs lining the jaw of its beak. Screaming in pain as the first creature’s mate tore a gash into Malik’s leg with its fangs, the Moroccan struck down with his second spear, its point breaking off inside the body of the animal.

    “Break for the clearing!” Wesley ordered, “And whatever you do…stay together! Don’t let those things separate us!” Stepping out into the clearing first, the commodore shepherded his people out into the open, Aliz supporting the injured Malik as the friends of the creatures that had attacked them earlier struck from both sides.

    “They’re going for Malik!” Jennifer yelled as she launched her spear at one of the pack members, missing it.

    “Stay together!” Robert cried out as the group ran, stumbling for the other side. Watching with alarm as Malik began to fall behind, the commodore and Aliz launched their spears, both striking one of the animals which, at that moment, was lunging towards the security trooper. Bringing the snarling animal down with his spear, Wesley gestured wildly with his free hand, calling out to the women, “Go! Make for the tree line! I’ll get Malik.”

    “Hurry, Sir!” Jennifer called out as she and Aliz threw fresh spears at the howling pack which was trying to separate out the humans into two groups, “We’ll try to draw them off!”

    Grabbing the injured Malik by one arm, Wesley and the security trooper staggered towards the others, lunging at the growling pack while at the same time trying to avoid their slashing teeth. Wincing in pain as one of the creatures slashed at his leg, scratching the skin as it tore through cloth, Robert lunged down yet again with his spear; piercing flesh as the pair finally reached the tree line. Driving the remaining members of the pack back with the last of their spears, the commodore sighed in relief. “Good work, everyone.” He praised as he made his way to Crewman Malik. Examining the security trooper’s wounds, Robert took one of the gourds containing fresh water. Pouring water over the wound, the commodore cleaned it as Jennifer ripped the collar off her minidress.

    “Here, Sir.” The ensign said as she handed the dark material to Wesley who then used it as a makeshift bandage for the injured crewman. Hearing yet again the sound of material being torn, Robert turned his head to see that Aliz had just ripped part of her dress off at the hemline.

    “Sit down, Sir.” The ensign requested in her thick Hungarian accent.

    “I’m fine.” The commodore replied, fighting down the desire to wince in pain.

    “I’m sure you are, Sir.” Ensign Bathory retorted as she reiterated her earlier appeal, adding, before the commodore could overrule her, “I just want to make sure you stay that way.” Cracking a sly grin, the youthful ensign quipped in a low voice that only the two of them could hear, “Remember what you said about hope, Sir? Well…we need you to stay strong to lead us. If your wounds should get infected…”

    Sighing in resignation, the former pugilist cracked a wry grin as he sat down, extending his leg. “All right…all right, Ensign…you win.”

    Smiling as she cleaned and bandaged the commodore’s wounds, Aliz chuckled, “I almost always do, Sir.”

    ******************************************************************

    “Are we ready?” Commander Kuznetsov asked the Lexington’s Andorian science officer, inching forward in his chair as he addressed her.

    “The sensors are recalibrated.” Talana promptly replied from her science station.

    “Ms. Oudekirk…” Kuznetsov then ordered, addressing the blonde haired communications officer, “Inform the K’Mar that they can fire when ready.”

    “Aye, Sir.” The Dutch comm specialist acknowledged.

    Toggling the intercom switch on the chair arm, the Lexington’s first officer spoke, “Misters G’arv and Mtolo…are you prepared.”

    “Yes, Sir.” The Tellarite engineer responded. “Just give the word.”

    “If the Klingons try anything…” the Zulu security chief promised, “…we’ll be ready for them.”

    “Very good. Mr. G’arv…” Alexei smirked, “…you may release our watchdogs.”

    “Watchdogs away.” G’arv exclaimed as he pushed a button on his console, releasing two of the small buoys that normally contained the ships’ logs and were usually ejected in the event of the possible destruction of the ship. The chief engineer had, however, modified these buoys. Instead of containing log entries, these markers were loaded with passive sensors and one other modification: once they had drifted far enough away from the Lexington, each of them shot out a line with a magnetic attachment that affixed itself to the ship’s hull.

    “A trick from old Earth naval warfare.” Alexei had explained earlier to both G’arv and Lieutenant Mtolo when he had outlined his plan. “Naval vessels would tow sonar and other sensors behind them. By doing so they both extended their detection radius and prevented having their own ships detected by the opposition’s detection devices.” Lieutenant Mtolo and his people provided the second part of the Bear’s scheme, “Mr. Mtolo…” The burly Russian boxer explained, “The buoys are my guard…you and your people will be my left jab and right cross. If Kalas tries something—I’m counting on you to deliver the knockout punch.”

    ******************************************************

    As the sun began to set, Wesley smiled as the object of his party’s trek grew larger, now taking on the shape of an obelisk. Leaning on the large stave that now served as a walking stick, the commodore grinned, “Take a look, people! We’re almost there.”

    “What do you think it is?” Aliz asked; squinting her eyes as she tried to make out details in the distance.

    “I’m not sure.” Robert replied with a chuckle as he placed a hand on the young ensign’s shoulder, “But we’ll all find out together, tomorrow.” Scanning the terrain, the sharp-eyed commodore spotted a clearing located on a slight rise, “We’ll camp out tonight over there…” he pointed, “It’s the highest ground in the immediate area, making it a good defensible position.”

    “It’s probably pretty close to water too, Sir.” Jennifer noted as she helped Crewman Malik to the ground. “I’ll bet there’s a pond or a stream or something similar over in that direction…” She remarked, pointing towards the west. “I spotted what looked like the local equivalent of water fowl setting down for the night.” The xenobiologist then cautioned, “But we better be careful—we don’t want to run into this planet’s version of crocodiles either.”

    “Good point.” Wesley agreed. “All right, then. We’ll take five and rest up and then hike on over to that hillock and make our camp for the night. Get plenty of rest…” he admonished as he pointed at the obelisk, “…I have a feeling tomorrow’s going to be an even bigger day than today.”

    ***********************************************************

    “Our goal is within reach!” K’Tan called out triumphantly as he spied the obelisk. Taking note of the rushing water and rocky terrain, the Klingon captain smiled. “This is a good place to rest for the night. We build our fire here…” he commanded, pointing at a clearing. As he and K’Temoc set down the butchered meat from their earlier kills, the Klingon warrior grinned, “Tonight we feast!”

    ****************************************************************

    “Fire!” Kalas ordered as pale green beams lanced out from the Klingon battlecruiser’s wing struts.

    “It’s working!” Talana cried out as she peered into her sensor viewer.

    “Transfer to main screen.” Alexei commanded. The viewscreen shimmered for a moment to reveal a pale blue path through the starry field. “There’s our tachyon trail.” The Russian first officer declared, slapping the arm of the center chair he currently occupied. “Inform the Klingons and set course to follow that trail at maximum impulse.” Kuznetsov ordered, smiling in satisfaction. “And monitor the watchdogs…I don’t want any surprises now.”

    “Look!” K’Mar’s weapons officer called out, pointing at the main viewscreen.

    “I see…” Kalas grinned as the tachyon trail appeared on the viewer. “Maintain firing rate and match the Federation ship’s course and speed.” Nodding his head as both the weapons and helm officers acknowledged his commands, the Klingon acting captain toggled his intercom, “D’Kor…stand ready, but do not move until I give the order.” Flashing an evil grin, the ambitious first officer concluded, “I want to see where this trail leads us first.”

    ************************************************************
     
  4. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 4

    Again, I am impressed by how Commodore Wesley uses a bad situation as an opportunity to train and encourage his young officers. I really like his leadership style.

    The XO has a completely different, but still effective style. I like the early warning system - clever idea!

    Wonder what's in the obelisk?
     
  5. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 4

    I’d echo TheLoneRedshirt’s assessment of Wesley’s command style. The guy can even turn a drastic life-and-death situation into a vital learning experience for his young crew.

    The Bear came up with some terrific ideas on the fly to keep tabs on the Klingons, ‘cause he knows they couldn’t actually cooperate without a hidden agenda up their collective sleeve.

    I wonder if that smudge Wesley saw in the night sky is actually the nebula, or he’s just saying that to give the crew a sense of hope? Anyway, it was a cool scene.

    Very nicely done segment, quite cool. :thumbsup:
     
  6. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 4

    Great installment.

    I liked how you juxtapose the Klingons and the Starfleeters attempt to get through the jungle. The Klingons are of course natural-born hunters and much more apt at dealing with the (very) wild life on this strange planet while Wesley and his people have a more difficult time. But you do highlight both sides’ greatest strength. For Wesley’s people that strength is clearly leadership and team work.

    Also nice to see that the female officers (who wear the least clothes) rip apart their uniforms. Nice touch :lol:

    All in all this feels very much like a classic adventure. Great job.

    I do have one point I was confused about. Did you skip the part in which Lexington’s first officer discusses their plan of cooperation with the Klingons or did I miss it. I would have thought that it would take some convincing to get the Klingons to help out.
     
  7. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 4

    CeJay: I glossed over that for pacing's sake. Actually though, it didn't take that much convincing to get Kalas to go along with it--remember, he's got his little plan going here. Once it becomes apparent that the Lexington would be sensor blind, he saw it as an opportunity to put his scheme into action. Of course...he doesn't know about Alexei's 'watchdogs' ;)
     
  8. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 5

    “We’re almost there!” Wesley called out, encouraging his tired and bedraggled party as they scampered up the ridge line. Climbing to the top, the commodore pointed towards the object of their trek, “There it is!” He exclaimed, pointing towards a large black obelisk standing all by itself on an empty plain separated from the group by a wide chasm, a flimsy rope footbridge the only apparent way across.

    “How tall is it?” Ensign Aliz Bathory asked as she tilted her head back in awe at the huge structure jutting heavenward.

    “It must be a good fifty meters or more in height.” Jennifer Watley chimed in as she helped the injured security crewman, Malik, up to the top. Looking up, the olive skinned ensign exclaimed in an awe inspired voice, “I wonder who built it.”

    “That’s one of the questions I’m hoping we’ll find the answer to.” Wesley replied with a grin.

    “Before we do that, Sir…” Ensign Bathory interjected, her eyes glancing down to the makeshift bandage tied around the commodore’s leg, “I want to take a look at that.”

    Chuckling, Robert shook his head, “It’s ok, Ms. Bathory.”

    “Are we going to go through this again, Sir?” Aliz grinned, “Now…do we do this the easy way—or the hard way? See…” She added, pointing at Jennifer who was already inspecting Crewman Malik’s wound, “…Malik’s being a good boy…”

    “All right…all right!” The commodore exclaimed, throwing up his arms in mock resignation as he sat down, “You win!” Shaking his head, Robert remarked in a joking tone, “You must be a holy terror at home.”

    “I am, Sir.” Aliz rejoined as she knelt down next to the ruggedly handsome older man. Removing her makeshift bandage, the young Hungarian nodded her head approvingly as she poured water from one of the gourds tied around her waist. “It’s cleaned up nicely. No sign of infection. Those poultices Jennifer made from those herbs that she found seem to have done the trick.”

    “This does seem to be a resource rich world.” Wesley noted as his self-appointed nurse placed another poultice on the wound, “Hopefully we’ll be able to find its location once we get back to the ship. Although it has its dangers, it looks to be a prime world for colonization.”

    “Maybe, Sir.” Aliz agreed and then joked as she tore off another piece of her hemline and tied it around the older man’s wound, “But for now, I’m just hoping we find a way back to the ship before I end up naked.”

    Chuckling, Wesley struggled to his feet, politely refusing Aliz’s offer of assistance, “I’ve got it, Ensign.”

    Laughing out loud, Aliz shook her head, “How does your wife put up with you, Sir?”

    His smile vanishing, the commodore looked down as he mumbled, almost inaudibly, “That’s what I keep asking myself…”

    Seeing the pained look on the older man’s face, the young Hungarian placed a tentative hand on his shoulder, “I’m sorry, Sir…I didn’t mean…I was out of line.”

    “You didn’t say anything wrong, Aliz…don’t worry about it.” Bob answered back, a warm smile returning to his face as he regarded the auburn haired woman standing before him.

    Flashing a slight smile of her own as she looked up into the craggy face of her commanding officer, Ensign Bathory replied in a soft voice, “Thank you, Sir.” Then, as her eyes appraised the flimsy looking bridge crossing the chasm separating them from the obelisk, the former Academy gymnast asked as she tilted her head towards the security trooper sitting next to Ensign Watley, “What about Crewman Malik? Can he make it across with his injury?” Gazing down into the chasm, she dropped a pebble. Counting down the seconds before hearing a barely audible splashing sound, she remarked, “That’s a long way down, Sir.”

    Cupping his chin, Robert flashed a grin, “We’ll get across Ensign…”

    “I know, Sir, I know…” Aliz joked, flashing an amused grin, “Don’t give up hope…”

    “You’re learning.” Wesley jibed back before turning his attention towards the other male in his party, “How’re you holding up, Crewman?”

    “I’m fine, Sir.” The Moroccan security trooper replied confidently as, with Ensign Watley’s help, he struggled to his feet. “You all go on without me. Don’t worry about me…I’ll be all right here.”

    “I don’t want to hear that talk, Crewman.” Wesley answered back, his voice tone leaving no room for disagreement. “We all stay or go together!” Dashing towards a nearby tree line, Wesley pulled down a vine. “Help me out here…” He called out as he pulled down yet another long, thick vine. “We can use these as ropes…”

    “Tying us all together.” Jennifer exclaimed as she and Aliz helped pull down more of the thick, long vines. Hefting one in her hand, the exobiologist observed, “They seem to be strong enough to support one of us should we slip and fall off, but I’d like to be sure…”

    “One of those rocks over there?” Aliz asked, pointing at the ridge line they had just crested. “I’m sure one of them would weigh about as much as one of us.

    “Good thinking, ensigns.” Wesley remarked approvingly as he pulled down yet another vine. “We’ll use this as our test line. Now…” he smiled as he began to walk towards the rocks, “Let’s see whether our makeshift ropes can do the job or not.”

    ******************************************************************

    “Well…” The commodore grinned as he and Malik pulled the rock up, “…we know now that the rope’ll hold.” Tying a rope around his waist, Wesley instructed, “We’ll tie ourselves together, that way, if one of us slips, the rest of us will be able to pull whoever it is up.” As the others tied the vines around their waists, Wesley further ordered, “Ok…Malik, tie the loose end of this rope to the vine around your waist and Jennifer’ll tie the other around hers, that’ll connect us all together. Aliz, since you’re a gymnast, you probably have the best balance of all of us, so you’ll lead. Crewman Malik will follow you, then Ensign Watley, and I’ll anchor us. Ready?” Seeing everyone nodding their heads in reply, Robert’s smile returned, “All right…we’ve got a bridge to cross. Let’s do it.”

    Moving slowly, Aliz grasped both sides of the rope bridge as she carefully placed one foot in front of the other on the slender board that served as bridge. Everything seemed to be progressing smoothly until she heard a yelp coming from Crewman Malik behind her and then the bridge began to sway violently from side to side, the young gymnast struggled mightily, pressing down with her arms to stop the violent motion.

    Watching with alarm as he saw Malik stumble, Commodore Wesley matched the motions of his Hungarian helmsman in the lead, adding his strength to hers in an effort to stabilize the bridge as Ensign Watley struggled to help the Moroccan security officer regain his footing. Sighing in relief as the security officer recovered, the commodore called out, “Everything ok up there?”

    “We’re fine, Sir!” Jennifer called back, “Malik just slipped.”

    “Ok, but try to be a little more careful. Take your time; we don’t have to rush it.”

    Feeling the breeze beginning to pick up, Aliz looked up in the air. Noticing the darkening clouds, the young Hungarian shouted back, “Sir…we might want to pick up the pace a bit. If that wind picks up too much…”

    “Right, Aliz!” Robert answered back. “You set the pace. Everyone else, watch your footing.” The wind growing more violent, the tiny party struggled to retain their footing as the swaying of the bridge grew ever more violent.

    Drops of water now stinging against her face as she made out their goal just a few meters away, Aliz gritted her teeth as an especially violent gust of wind struck, accompanied by the crack of thunder and a brilliant bolt of lighting snapped the flimsy rope bridge, “Hold on!” She shouted, as she and the others held on for dear life. Grunting as she slammed on to the cliff face, Ensign Bathory, holding on tightly, called out as she glanced down. “How is everyone?”

    “I’m ok!” Jennifer called back, her voice hoarse as she tried to make herself heard over the whistling wind.

    “I’m fine!” Commodore Wesley responded, “Just a few bumps and bruises.”

    Hearing nothing from the Moroccan security officer, Aliz called out again, “Malik?”

    Looking up, Jennifer cried as she saw the redshirted crewman plastered against the rock face, a jagged rock jutting from his chest. Her tears indistinguishable from the falling rain, the young science officer shouted, “He’s dead.”

    Watching the horrible tableau from below, Commodore Wesley called out, “Jennifer…Aliz…we’ll grieve for him later. Right now we have to make it up this cliff before the other end of the bridge decides to snap.

    “Yes, Sir!” Aliz called back as, using the rope bridge, she began to make her way up the rock face, the others following. Robert, stopping at Malik’s body, said a silent prayer as he gently closed the young Moroccan’s eyes. Resuming his climb, he made rapid progress, nearly catching up to the stumbling Jennifer. Catching her as she lost her footing, the commodore smiled encouragingly.

    “We’re almost there, Jennifer. Just a little bit more. You can do it!”

    Scampering to the top, Aliz, ignoring the rain and wind, held her hand out to her roommate. Grabbing her friend’s hand, Jennifer pulled herself up to the top, soon followed by the commodore. As the trio paused to catch their breaths, Jennifer asked in a somber tone, “Does anyone know if Malik had any family?”

    Shrugging her shoulders, Aliz replied somberly, “I don’t know. I didn’t know him before we all got pulled here.” Turning to the commodore, she asked, “Do you know, Sir?”

    “No.” Robert admitted, shaking his head in shame, “Lieutenant Mtolo—his immediate supervisor would know. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to get to know the details on more than a few people yet.” His eyes now reflecting his determination, he added as he struggled to his feet, “But I intend to when we get back.”

    “Sir…” Aliz cautiously ventured, “There’s no way you could have known what was about to happen…”

    “Aliz is right.” Jennifer chimed in, “What happened to Malik could have happened to any of us. You shouldn’t blame yourself.”

    “I know…” Bob conceded, a sad smile on his face, “I’ve seen more than a few young men and women…friends…shipmates…crew…die, and I’ve sent more than a few off to die—that’s one of the decisions that comes with captain’s stripes. Still…” he admonished as he once again took on the role of teacher, “…the decision to send someone off on what is likely to be a fatal mission or the loss of a crewman in an accident or in the line of duty should never become something you see as routine. One of the most important possessions a starship captain has is his…or her…” he emphasized as he gazed into the eyes of the two women before him, “…humanity.”

    “Yes, Sir.” Aliz and Jennifer responded softly, taking in the commodore’s words as he struggled to his feet. Holding out his hand, he helped both young ensigns up as he turned his gaze to the obsidian obelisk standing before them.

    The rain slacking off, Robert’s voice took on an enthusiastic tone. “Why don’t we see what this thing is?”

    ************************************************************************

    As the three Starfleet officers walked around the obelisk, searching in vain for what looked like an opening, Aliz remarked dejectedly as she shook her head, “I can’t find a way in.”

    “Neither can I.” Jennifer added, her voice taking on a dismal tone as well until she spotted something out of the corner of her eye. “Commodore…Aliz…I think I spotted something!” A broad smile on her face, she cried out, “They’re right here, but they’re easy to miss. You have to look at eye level and use averted vision to spot them.”

    Following the science officer’s instructions, grins broke out on the other two officer’s faces as they also spotted the three shapes etched faintly into the face of the monolith.

    “They’re patterns.” Aliz exclaimed. “There are three parallel lines and three triangles. But what do they mean?”

    “Hmmm…I wonder...” Wesley muttered softly as he approached the etched patterns. Touching the first line, he found, to his astonishment, that he could move it. Using his finger, he moved the line to where it bisected the first triangle from top to bottom. Smiling, he repeated the process with the second line and triangle. Touching the third line, he drew it in such a matter that it bisected all three triangles from left to right. As he completed the pattern, the face of the obelisk started to glow a warm yellow. Stepping back a couple of paces, the commodore and the two young women with him looked on with astonishment as an opening appeared.

    “Well…” Robert remarked, flashing a slight grin, “Looks like someone just answered the doorbell. Let’s see who’s at home,” he urged as the trio walked through the opening, the entrance returning to its former obsidian form after the last of the group had passed through the threshold.

    ******************************************************************

    K’Tan and his party, now less one warrior, having approached in the opposite direction from the group from the Lexington, didn’t have to face the challenge of the chasm. They faced another obstacle—one that brought a gleam of anticipation to the eyes of the Klingon starship captain. Standing before him and his two remaining warriors, blocking their progress to the obelisk was a giant creature. Like most of the predators they had encountered, it was part reptilian and part avian. Standing erect, it was approximately ten meters in height, with a red feathered crest that looked like a fan on the top of its head. Its reptilian heritage showed in its blue scales and fore-claws as well as the sharp teeth that lined its long beak. Its challenge call, a loud hiss, brought a smile to K’Tan’s face.

    “This…” The Klingon exulted, “…is a challenge worthy of a warrior! Brandishing his d’k tahq, he raised it above his head, shouting out to the monster, “Tai-kleon! Today is a good day to die!” Turning to his men after issuing his challenge, the wily K’Tan issued his orders, “We must lure it here, where the terrain favors us.” Hefting a rock in his hand, the warrior declared, “I will act as bait. You two—wait in ambush in the trees.”

    “Understood!” K’Temoc and M’Kal acknowledged in unison, uttering a proud, “Qapla!” as their captain stepped confidently towards the growling creature, honor blade in one hand, rock in the other. “Let’s take our positions, M’Kal!” K’Temoc urged as he began to ascend the tree closest to him, “Don’t worry…” he laughed as he noticed the sour expression on his fellow warrior’s face, “…there will be glory enough for us all!”

    As K’Tan drew closer to the hissing, growling monster, it lunged at him in a gesture the Klingon warrior instinctively understood to be a challenge. Smiling, he drew back his arm containing the rock, throwing it with all his strength at the animal, hitting it square in the snout. Laughing as the creature howling its rage at the tiny Klingon’s impertinence, charged, K’Tan turned and ran, leading the giant into his carefully conceived ambush. Diving into the underbrush, he shouted, “Now!” as the monster charged into position.

    Jumping down from their concealment atop the canopy of trees, M’Kal landed on the back of the creature as K’Temoc struck its neck. Piercing flesh as they dug their d’k tahq’s in between the animal’s thick scales, both warriors flashed savage grins as the beast howled in pain. Rising to his feet, K’Tan joined in the carnage as he dashed beneath the beast, grabbing on to its legs as he jabbed into its flesh, his blade searching for ligaments and tendons to slash.

    The behemoth, however, did not stand helpless before its assailants’ onslaught. Twisting its serpentine neck around, it struck the Klingon stabbing into its back, its powerful jaws severing the warrior in two. Shaking its head, the creature devoured the hapless M’Kal, splattering his blood on to everything and everyone in the vicinity.

    Ignoring the droplets of their comrade’s blood landing on his face and body, K’Temoc struck and again, digging his dagger deeper into the monster’s flesh until finally, he achieved his goal, the creature’s spinal cord. Twisting his wrist and slashing upwards, the Klingon warrior, with a triumphant shout, severed the cord as his captain, also shouting a victory call, succeeded in severing the creature’s ligaments. Leaping off as the giant monster fell to the ground, K’Temoc rolled on hitting the ground, coming to his feet at the same time as K’Tan, who, jumping off the monster’s leg, tumbled safely away. Rushing at their now helpless prey, both warriors plunged their knives deep into the magnificent monster until, with a last cry, it moved no more.

    “Glorious!” K’Tan shouted, exulting in his and his officer’s triumph, “Glorious! We will have songs written about us!” The Klingon captain boasted as he clasped K’Temoc on the shoulder.

    “Indeed!” The young officer replied with a toothy grin as he and his captain looked on triumphantly at their conquest. “A most magnificent victory!”

    “Yes.” K’Tan agreed as he turned his eyes to the obelisk. “And now…” He declared pointing at the monolith, “…it is time to seize our prize.”

    *****************************************************************

    As the two warriors drew closer to the looming black structure, a series of reddish shapes appeared on its face. Watching as the swirling shapes slowly coalesced into Klingon letters, K’Tan read aloud, “Through battle you have arrived…through blood you will enter.” Then, as he read the last word, two recesses the size of Klingon hands appeared below the writing. With a grunt, K’Tan, taking out his d’k tahq, sliced his palm, drawing blood. Nodding his head at his subordinate, K’Temoc, immediately understanding, copied his captain’s action. Both warriors, stepping up to the obelisk, placed their hands within the recesses. As their blood touched the surface of the obelisk, the face of the structure glowed. Stepping back, the Klingons smiled triumphantly as an entrance appeared. “Let us see what awaits us.” K’Tan declared as he and K’Temoc stepped through the entrance.

    *********************************************************************

    “What are our ‘allies’ doing?” Commander Alexei Kuznetsov inquired as he pivoted his chair towards his communications officer.

    “They’re behaving themselves so far.” Cilla Oudekirk, the Lexington’s Dutch communications officer noted. “No transmissions out of the ordinary and nothing suspicious coming from the sensor pods outside the ship.

    “Good.” The burly Russian first officer replied, “But keep a careful watch—I don’t trust those Klinks as far as I can throw all of them together.” Addressing his Andorian science officer, he further inquired, “What are you picking up, Lieutenant Commander?”

    “Nothing so far…wait!” The lovely Andorian exclaimed, her original statement forgotten as her eyes, invisible to the others as she was hunched over her sensor visor, widened in astonishment, “I’m picking up what appears to be a large structure in the center of the nebula.

    “Main viewer!” Alexei ordered as the navigator, Lieutenant, Junior Grade Terrence Lawford, rushed to comply, his fingers flying over his console. Seeing nothing but swirling clouds of gas, the Russian officer nicknamed the Bear commanded in his usual gruff tone, “Magnify and go to tri-xenon filters. Let’s see if we can clear some of this clutter.”

    “Aye, Sir.” Terrence acknowledged in a crisp English accent as he moved to comply with the acting captain’s command. “Got it, Sir.” He called out triumphantly as a form took shape.

    Bozhe moi!” Alexei swore as his eyes took in the sheer magnitude of the object before them: a central spire, pointed at both ends, surrounded by a ring, with spokes connecting the spire with the ring. Jet black in appearance, the structure possessed elegance in its simplicity. “I wonder who built it…” The big Russian mused in an unusually contemplative tone.

    His science officer, also speaking in an awestruck tone, voiced her opinion, “I don’t know, Sir, but I’m dying to find out.”

    **************************************************************

    “Look at it.” Acting Captain Kalas proclaimed from his place on the bridge of the Klingon battlecruiser, K’Mar, practically drooling as his eyes took in the magnificence of the structure before him. “And soon it will belong to the Empire!”

    “Shall we begin the attack on the Federation starship?” His acting first officer, D’Kor inquired, his lips turning up into a feral grin.

    “Not yet.” Kalas replied, holding up a cautionary hand. “If I know the Starfleeters, they will want to study…” the Klingon warrior said, putting all his scorn into that last word, “…it.” Flashing a sly grin, he continued. “We shall let them…in fact…we shall join them. Then, once they have plumbed its secrets, we shall strike. We will take the Lexington and the alien structure at the same time.”

    “Sir!” The warrior manning the communications console called out, “The Federation starship is hailing us.”

    “You see, D’Kor?” Kalas gloated, “Even now, the Federation commander is about to make his proposal.” Signaling for his communications officer to put the signal through, Kalas settled back into the captain’s chair as the image of the burly Russian appeared on the viewscreen.

    “I’m sure by now…” Commander Kuznetsov declared, “…you have seen the alien structure.”

    “I have.” Kalas answered back, “What do you propose?”

    “I suggest…” The Russian first officer replied, “…that we launch a joint expedition to study it. Of course, we will share all information.”

    “That’s all well and good…” Kuznetsov’s Klingon counterpart rejoined, “…but how do we determine who owns the structure?”

    “I recommend…” Alexei responded, “…that for now we leave that question to the diplomats.”

    Cupping his chin, Kalas deliberately held back his response for several moments, giving the appearance of carefully considering the commander’s words. His lips turning up into a grin, the Klingon answered back, “Very well, Commander. This is my proposal—it is not…” he added in a grim tone, “…subject to negotiation. Each ship will send one shuttlecraft to the object with no more than six. The shuttlecraft will launch simultaneously. Any information gained by either party will be shared equally. Then, after our landing parties have finished their work, they will return at the same time.”

    “Accepted.” The Russian officer agreed, “With one stipulation.” Matching the Klingon officer glare for glare, Alexei continued, “No weapons other than standard sidearms permitted with weapons locked on a stun setting only. For us that will be phaser ones. For you, disruptor pistols—leave the bath’leths and d’k tahqs on your ship—and I don’t give a damn about the d’k tahqs being honor blades—no edged weapons and no weapons set to kill. Each team will inspect the others’ weapons on arrival to ensure compliance with the terms.” He then concluded in a voice that clearly indicated that he would not accept any compromise, “It’s that or no deal.”

    With a low growl, Kalas replied, “Very well…I agree.”

    “Good!” Alexei responded, plastering an insincere grin on his face. “I’ll have my science officer coordinate with whoever is leading your landing party regarding landing points on or near the structure for our teams. Kuznetsov out.”

    As the Starfleet officer’s image faded off the screen, D’Kor cursed, “Pet’aQ! He is afraid. He knows he and his people cannot defeat us in honorable combat.”

    “You’re right, my friend…” Kalas replied condescendingly, “…the Federation commander is afraid—but he is also very smart. He seeks to minimize our advantages while maximizing his. Still…” The Klingon commander said, his lips turning up in a sly grin, “…it will avail him naught. One Klingon warrior is worth three humans.” Grinning as D’Kor nodded his assent, the acting captain further ordered, “Also, have your strike force ready to move the moment we receive the results from the expedition. I want the Lexington taken before that Pet’aQ of a first officer knows what hit him.”

    ********************************************************************

    “Do you think the Klingons will honor their side of the agreement, Alexei?” Talana asked, her antennae twitching nervously.

    “Hell no.” The Russian growled. “Oh…they’ll send real scientists to work with you, but…once they’ve gotten all they think they’re going to get, they’ll strike. That’s why I want you to be prepared.”

    “How?” The Andorian science officer queried, “We will have equal weapons and they’ll have the initiative.”

    “Ah…” The Bear grinned, “That’s where you’re wrong. “Remember, odds are, you’ll end up controlling the flow of data. Also, I will be disguising three security specialists as science officers…” Seeing the dubious look on the lovely Andorian woman’s face, Alexei chuckled, “Don’t worry, Lieutenant Commander, I want you to coordinate with Lieutenant Mtolo—I’m sure he’s got three security officers who have at least a working familiarity with the sciences. Regardless of what you might have heard, security specialists are not knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.”

    “I never said they were, Alexei…” Talana replied with a frown, “But I should remind you of the same thing, not all Klingons are mindless killing machines. Remember, they possessed interstellar travel and had already conquered an extensive empire long before your species had even ventured beyond your atmosphere. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating them.”

    “You make a good point.” A chastened Alexei responded. “Be sure that those you choose to pose as science officers can, in fact, act as such—at least in a limited capacity. We can disguise them as ensigns—that should help maintain their cover should they trip up in some way or other.” Taking his science officer’s smile and nod of her head as agreement, the Russian commander proceeded with his instructions. “As you complete your mission, try to maneuver yourselves where you can react quickly should the Klingons break the truce. Don’t let them get too close to you. Even without their damned blades they’re dangerous. Understood?”

    “Yes, Sir.” Talana responded crisply. “If it’s all right with you…” She ventured, “I’ll contact my opposite number on the K’Mar and get the ball rolling.”

    “Go ahead, Lieutenant Commander. And…” The Bear added, his voice taking on a cautionary note, “Be careful.”

    “Don’t worry, Alexei…” Talana replied in a teasing voice as she began to walk towards the turbolift doors, “I always am. And now…” She joked as the doors slid open, “I’ve got stuff to do…I can’t wait to see what’s inside that thing!”

    Cupping his chin as he gazed on the large structure almost filling his viewscreen, Alexei murmured to himself, “Some mysteries are better left unknown…”

    *******************************************************************
     
  9. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 5

    A redshirt dies, the commodore is alone with two beautiful women, and the Klingons are killing and scheming.

    Harmony is restored to the universe. :vulcan:

    Seriously, a great segment. Obviously, some intelligence is at work here, luring the commodore & crew plus the Klingons to the obelisk. And what of this object in the Nebula? (Sound of Dave Bowman's astonished voice in 2001, "My God, it's full of stars!") :wtf:

    Nicely done! Waiting impatiently for more. :D
     
  10. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 5

    Indeed, this segment had it all. Adventure, tragedy, Klingons, alien monoliths, giant Aviasaurs, Klingons, red-shirts a-dyin’, and oh, did I mention the Klingons?

    The Bear’s doing a damn fine job in Wesley’s absence, making sure the mystery is explored, but not at the cost of being too vulnerable in the face of impending Klingon treachery.

    Can’t wait to see where all this is leading…
     
  11. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    BrotherBenny
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 5

    I just want to know how the obelisk got those Klingon letters, and why it allows access using each culture's natural abilities.
     
  12. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 5

    Thanks guys. Things are building up to a climax where you--and the characters--will get to see glimpses of their past--of who they are now--and of the future...

    As for who's responsible for the obelisk and the object in the nebula--you'll just have to stay tuned to find out... ;)
     
  13. Dulak

    Dulak Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 5

    Wow, just getting started on here, so I've got some catching up to do. Awesome story and really does capture the TOS feel. I can even hear the music while I'm reading. One miniscule quibble that may be moot anyway, standard Navy tradition is to address officers by their core rank... meaning Lieutenant Junior Grades are addressed as Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commanders are addressed as Commander, etc. I think that any example I noticed that Starfleet followed this generally, but not positive.

    But that one part didn't take away from the story one bit. Eagerly looking forward to more.
     
  14. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 5

    Thank you, I'm glad you're enjoying the story. You're quite right, you do refer to JG's and Lieutenant Commanders by their core rank or simply as Mr. or Ms. I use the full rank partly as a character quirk of Kuznetsov's, but also as a tool to remind older readers and inform new readers as to the rank of a given character.

    Again, I'm glad you're enjoying the story. :)
     
  15. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 5

    And, probably in the Russian navy, officers are addressed by their full rank. Of course, the Russians invented the navy . . . ;) (Sound of Pavel Chekov's voice, "Of course we inwented it!) :D
     
  16. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 5

    Very cool.

    This truly has the feel as if the two crews are being put to the test and not only that but the two teams are being meassured at what they're best. Something tells me that Wesley is not going to be happy about losing two crewmembers because of silly games ...

    And now a joint operation with the Klingons? Things are going to be very intresting. I was wondering about the Starfleet crew perhaps knowing a little bit too much about Klingon customs and weaponary in this era ... I guess this could be open to interpretation as we as the audience only learned more about their culture in the later movies and TNG.

    Overall this is very exciting and I'm looking forward to see what all this is really about.
     
  17. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 6

    Thanks for your comments, guys. Here's part 6--more questions and more mysteries...

    Meet The Lady Part:6

    ************************************************************

    As they walked slowly into the obelisk, Wesley and the remaining members of his party found themselves in a dimly lit chamber, the light source apparently coming from luminescent stones affixed to the walls. Advancing further into the chamber, they confronted K’Tan and K’Temoc, advancing from the opposite direction. Readying his atlatl, Wesley challenged his Klingon counterpart, “Are you responsible for this?”

    “That was my question to you, Earther.” K’Tan spat out as he and his companion brandished their d’k tahqs. First you destroy our scoutship…”

    “We didn’t destroy your ship!” Robert interrupted with a scowl, “You’re the ones attacking and destroying Federation starships in neutral space. Now, I want to know, what did you do to the Voltaire? Did you attack it without warning like you attacked our ship?”

    “You were in Klingon space!” K’Tan snarled, “We destroy intruders!”

    “We are not the intruders here…” Robert riposted, “You are.”

    Flashing an evil grin as he and his fellow warrior crept slowly forward, K’Tan sneered, “I have had enough of your lies, Earther. I shall look forward to disemboweling you and your females.”

    His eyes flashing with anger at the Klingon’s threat to the two ensigns, Robert launched his spear at the onrushing warrior. But, much to his astonishment, both spear and charging Klingon, encountering an invisible barrier, bounced back. Wesley, seeing the spear now coming at him ducked immediately as his counterpart, thrown back several feet, landed on the floor with a thud. As the two ship captains struggled to their feet, a voice resounded within the chamber, speaking Federation Standard to the humans while simultaneously speaking the Klingon’s own language to them.

    “You represent the best of your races. You have triumphed over the obstacles put before you to have reached this goal. Now it is to be seen whether you are worthy or not.”

    “Who are you?” Commodore Wesley called out, “Why have you taken us and where are we?”

    “What gives you the right?” K’Tan shouted; his voice a challenge. “To kidnap us from my ship? If you are not cowards, then show yourselves!”

    Agreeing somewhat with the Klingon standing on the opposite side of the barrier from him, Robert once again called out to the voice, “We are not rats that you can run through your maze. We demand to know who you are and why you have taken us.”

    “If you seek answers—prove yourselves worthy!” The voice boomed.

    “Worthy of what?” Wesley asked, forcing himself to calm down as he realized that bravado was not going to get the answers he sought.

    As if in answer to his question, a crystal table appeared in the center of the chamber, bearing three objects on it: a spear, a book seemingly bound in leather, and a serpent in a circular form, devouring its tail. The spear glowing, the voice once again filled the chamber, “You have already passed the first test—that of battle. You have all exhibited physical and tactical prowess against the forces of nature. The spear, glowing brilliantly for a brief moment, disappeared as the book now glowed. "This test could prove much easier—or more difficult and could potentially carry great ramifications for the future. What will happen will depend solely on you.”

    “What if we refuse to play your little game?” Wesley yelled back, receiving a confirming grunt from his Klingon counterpart.

    “We are Klingon warriors.” K’Tan shouted, “We will fight whom we wish and when we wish!”

    Immediately after the two captains had uttered their words of defiance, the far wall of the chamber seemed to suddenly fill with a multi-colored cloudy substance. Slowly, the cloudy tendrils coalesced into an image: the Lexington and K’Mar, both standing off near a large structure resembling, in some ways, a space station. Jet black, the central portion was a central spire, pointed at both ends spokes jutting out from the spire connected it to a ring.

    “Failure to comply will result in serious consequences!”

    “Are you threatening my ship?” Wesley demanded, his tone now taking on an angry edge.

    “We will not be intimidated by empty boasts from empty voices!” K’Tan declared, adding his voice of protest.

    “We threaten no one.” The voice responded. “We simply state that if you refuse to participate, you will not be permitted to return to your people. If that happens, there is the possibility that your ships, in their desire to recover you, could meet their own demise. The choice is yours.”

    “It’s a bluff!” K’Temoc growled, “Nothing more.”

    “Do not be so quick to dismiss their claim, young warrior.” K’Tan advised, his years of experience screaming out at him to exercise caution here. “Remember, only a fool fights in a burning house.”

    Addressing the Klingon officer standing before him, Wesley said through clenched teeth, “I think we have a good ideas as to what happened to our two ships now…”

    “Ungh…” K’Tan agreed with a single nod of the head, “So it would seem.”

    “It seems we have no choice…” Wesley remarked, “But to go along with our host’s wishes if we wish to see either of our ships again.”

    “Agreed.” K’Tan reluctantly conceded, “For now, we have a truce. But I make no promises for afterwards.”

    “I guess that’ll have to do.” Wesley acknowledged as, raising his voice, he once again called out to the disembodied voices, “All right. We’ll agree to your tests—if you agree to the following conditions. First, you tell us who you are and why you are doing this to us. Second, you return us to our ships. And finally, you promise to stop doing this to our ships and people in the future.”

    A booming sound that almost seemed like laughter filled the chamber. Then the loud voice once again resounded, “You are indeed bold! But is that boldness justified? We shall see. If you complete the tests, then we shall consider your terms. Prepare yourselves!”

    “That’s probably the best we’re going to get…” Robert managed to get out, before the room, once again filling with thick, multi-colored fog, became totally opaque. “Jennifer? Aliz?”

    ***************************************************************

    “Launch shuttlecraft Aldrin.” Commander Alexei Kuznetsov ordered as he drummed his fingers on the center seat’s arm rest. “And raise Lieutenant Commander Zha’Thara once the shuttlecraft is underway.”

    As both Lieutenants Oudekirk and Lawford simultaneously acknowledged the Russian first officer’s commands, the clamshell doors located in the rear of the giant Constitution class starship slowly slid open as the pad upon which the shuttlecraft Aldrin rested slowly rotated until the tiny craft was in launch position. Flashing a playful grin, Lieutenant Commander Talana Zha’Thara, the Lexington’s Andorian science officer, turned her head towards the enlisted human pilot sitting next to her, wearing a gold shirt with three chevrons on his sleeve, marking him as a petty officer, first class. “Ok, Coxsun, take us out.”

    “Aye, Sir.” The petty officer, a lifer who had been on starships all his life, replied as he operated the tiny craft’s controls. The shuttlecraft slowly rose and then, as smooth as silk, exited the shuttlebay. “Setting course for the alien station.” The coxswain reported, “I’ve got the Klingon shuttlecraft.” He further announced, pointing with his free hand at a tiny dot emerging from the shadow of its Klingon mother-ship, the shark-like K’Mar.

    Hearing the tell-tale beep of an incoming hail, Talana opening the communications channel, heard her friend Cilla Oudekirk’s Dutch accented voice, “Lexington to Aldrin…Lexington to Aldrin…”

    “This is Aldrin.” Talana immediately responded, “We’re underway and have spotted the Klingon shuttlecraft.” Seeing the coxswain nodding his head slightly out of the corner of her eye, the Andorian science officer continued her report. “No scans of weapons or other shuttlecraft. Looks like they’re playing it straight this time.”

    “Just the same…” Commander Kuznetsov cautioned, “…be careful, Lieutenant Commander and don’t forget to check in at regular intervals.”

    “Aye, Sir.” Talana acknowledged with a playful lilt to her voice, “I promise I’ll call home and won’t go out with any strange Klingons.”

    Hearing his science officer’s flippant response, the Bear growled in a low tone, “I’m serious, Ms. Zha’Thara. Watch yourselves—if something happens, we might not be able to help you in time…”

    All traces of humor vanishing upon hearing the commander’s grave voice, the beautiful Andorian replied in a surprisingly tender tone, “We’ll be careful, Alexei…I promise.”

    ****************************************************************

    The opaque swirling mist clearing, Wesley, Aliz, and Jennifer found themselves on a glassy plain gazing at the setting sun, a dull red giant. Looking about the area, Wesley immediately spotted a crystalline structure standing in the middle of a circular depression. “That’s probably where we’re supposed to go…” He pointed as he and his companions regarded the structure.

    “So…” Jennifer inquired, “What are we supposed to do here.”

    “Well…” The commodore speculated as he recalled the three objects on the table. “The voices said that the spear stood for battle and that’d we’d met that challenge. And then, before we were transported here, the book glowed.”

    “What would be the significance of a book?” Jennifer questioned; a confused look on her face.

    “Well…what’s the purpose of a book?” Robert asked, once again taking on the role of instructor.

    “Let’s see…” Aliz replied, “Books contain knowledge...”

    Shrugging, Jennifer added, “You can read them for entertainment.”

    “What about enlightenment?” Wesley prompted with a grin

    “You mean like a religious text?” Ensign Bathory questioned.

    “Or philosophical or ethical writings.” Robert replied. “In other words—wisdom.” Smiling, the commodore pointed towards their destination. “In any event, ensigns, we’re not going to find enlightenment, wisdom, knowledge, or entertainment standing around here. Our answers lie over there—in that crater.”

    “Aye, Sir.” The two women responded as the threesome advanced towards the depression. As they advanced towards the structure, Ensign Watley pointed at the many crystal shards littering the glassy plain on either side of where the three officers walked. “Sir…Aliz…take a look.”

    “They’re all different colors…but they seem to come in only a limited number of shapes.” Ensign Bathory noted as she bent down, picking up two of the shards. “See…” She commented, “This ruby one has a diamond shape while the sapphire is more of an oval.”

    “And the emerald…” Wesley noted, “…is triangular in shape.”

    “And the topaz…: Aliz said as she raised a topaz colored crystal, “…is in the form of a perfect square.”

    “Yeah...but…” Jennifer pointed out, “…the shapes don’t always match the colors. See that sapphire triangle or the green diamond?”

    “Interesting…” The commodore mused as he stuck some of the shards in his boots. “You girls might want to do the same…” He said, “…they could come in handy as samples.”

    “Right…” Aliz grinned as she scooped up some of the crystals, “And if nothing else, Jennifer can use them for her new necklace.”

    “Oh poo!” Jennifer joked, “You’re just jealous because I got to Ensign Friedman before you did.”

    Laughing as his young ensigns kidded around with each other, Robert’s thoughts suddenly drifted back to his wife, I wonder what Virginia’s doing now, the suddenly pensive commodore thought to himself as the two women with him laughed merrily.

    Seeing the smile on the ruggedly handsome Wesley’s face suddenly vanish, Aliz walked up to the older man. Looking up into his eyes, she tentatively asked, “Are you ok, Sir?”

    “Yeah…” Robert answered back, snapped out of his reverie by the young auburn haired woman standing before him, “…I’m fine.” Forcing a smile to his face, he fibbed, “I was just thinking about the ship and how it’s doing.”

    “I’m sure everything’s fine, Sir.” Aliz consoled, “After all, I don’t care what those stuck up snobs on the Enterprise say, as far as I’m concerned, we have the best ship and crew in the Fleet.”

    “Thank you.” Wesley replied, his spirits buoyed by the youthful Hungarian helmsman. “Now…let’s see if we can solve this mystery so that we can get back home.”

    ***********************************************************************

    “Look at that!” Lieutenant Edward Forrester, one of the science specialists that Lieutenant Commander Zha’Thara had brought with her on this expedition, exclaimed, pointing at where a strut had suddenly extended out from the alien ring structure, with what appeared to be a square landing platform at its end.

    “Looks like they’re expecting us.” The Andorian science officer observed, her antennae pointing forwards. Turning towards the petty officer piloting the shuttle, she commanded, “Ok, Coxsun. Bring us on in.”

    “Aye, Sir.” Petty Officer Miller laconically acknowledged as he steered the tiny shuttlecraft towards its destination. Pointing towards a tiny object also headed towards the landing pad, the coxswain reported, “Looks like the Klingons have the same idea.”

    “Is that pad big enough for both of us?” Talana asked, not looking forward to having to engage the Klingons in a race for the landing spot.

    “It’ll be tight…” The experienced shuttle pilot judged, “…but it’s doable.” Expertly piloting the shuttlecraft in, Miller set the craft down on the left half of the pad as his Klingon counterpart did the same on the right. As the craft powered down, the occupants of the shuttle felt a slight lurch. Looking out the window, one of the disguised security specialists, a Vulcan, Ensign Xylvan, noted in a flat, matter of fact tone, “It would appear that we are being brought into the structure.”

    “Well…” Talana smiled, “That’s where we’re supposed to be going anyway, isn’t it? So…” She advised in a nonchalant tone, “Let’s relax and enjoy the ride.”

    ************************************************************************

    The mist dispersing around Captain K’Tan and his companion, the two Klingons found themselves in exactly the same situation as their Federation counterparts. Spotting the spire in the distance, K’Tan snorted, “I tire of playing the role of the fool, K’Temoc. Still…we might find something of use here.” Pausing for a moment as he took in the stark surroundings, he sounded a note of caution, “Be on your guard. There is more here than meets the eye.”

    As the two Klingons hiked towards the crater, they, like their counterparts, spied crystalline shards of varying shapes and colors. “Interesting.” K’Temoc noted, holding up an emerald lozenge, “There are only these four shapes and these four colors.”

    “Yes…” K’Tan growled, “Another part of the test, no doubt. Collect them. I have a feeling they will prove useful.”

    ***********************************************************************

    “Captain!” K’Temoc exclaimed, pointing at a stele at the edge of the crater that was the destination of the two Klingon warriors. His eyes carefully scanning the area around the crater, he pointed at three other, identical structures, “What are they?”

    “Perhaps answers.” K’Tan answered back as he approached the nearest slab.

    ***********************************************************************

    As Commodore Wesley and his party drew nearer the crater, they, like the Klingons, immediately spied four stelae, each at opposite sides of the crater. “You know…” Ensign Whatley observed, “If you were to draw lines connecting the stelae, they’d intersect dead center.”

    “Right where that object is located.” Aliz interjected, pointing at an irregularly shaped crystalline structure approximately two meters tall. “Should we take a closer look?”

    “You two stay back.” The commodore ordered, “I’ll go.” Approaching the first stele, Wesley examined several bas relief images decorating the top and bottom of the stele with the middle consisting of four depressions. “That’s interesting…” he murmured as he motioned for the two ensigns to join him. “See how those depressions are about the same size and shape as the shards we picked up.

    *********************************************************************

    As K’Tan approached the stele, he growled. “K’Temoc…come here. It looks like our jailers have set a test for us.”

    The younger Klingon, nodding his head, grunted as he pointed at the images on the top of the slab. “Look at the pictographs, Captain. The first one is of fire.”

    ***********************************************************************

    “This pictograph resembles crossed spears…” Jennifer noted, pointing at the image in question.

    “Could it stand for battle?” Aliz inquired.

    “Possibly…” Wesley replied as he decoded the pictographs.

    **********************************************************************

    “Through the fire of battle…” K’Tan immediately translated, his lips turning up into a smile.

    *********************************************************************

    “…is great wealth for those who survive.” Commodore Wesley finished, pointing at what appeared to be a picture of a gemstone.

    ********************************************************************

    Laughing, K’Tan exclaimed, “A warrior’s saying!” Then examining the second set of images, he translated, “Corrosive and poisonous…the triumph of the ambush brings no reward.”

    “A victory attained through treachery is an empty victory.” K’Temoc pronounced.

    Shaking his head, K’Tan chuckled, “Ah…the vanity and folly of youth. Listen, young warrior and learn…” The grizzled Klingon veteran admonished, “Victory is victory. Whether it is achieved in combat with an alert and worthy foe…or in stealth…or through ambush…does not matter. All that is important is defeating your foe. The only true emptiness comes from defeat.”

    *********************************************************************

    Successfully deciphering the third set of images, Ensign Watley read aloud, “Caution brings neither reward nor penalty.”

    “In other words…” Wesley quipped, “Nothing ventured…nothing gained.”

    *********************************************************************

    “Placid selflessness bears unforeseen consequences…” K’Tan translated, laughing aloud as he slapped his companion on the shoulder, “Of course it does!” The worldly captain declared, “Only a flaccid Earther would believe otherwise.”

    ********************************************************************

    “Or…” Commodore Wesley chuckled as he read the inscription, “…no good deed goes unpunished.” Turning towards his young officers, Robert opened the discussion, “So…we have four clues, four shapes of shards, four colors, four stelae, and four depressions in each of the stelae. Now, let’s put it all together and see what we come up with.”

    **********************************************************************

    “Fire is red…” K’Temoc surmised, “Therefore the red stones must stand for the fire prophecy.

    “When we go to yellow alert…” Aliz grinned, “…it means that we’re taking a cautious posture. So…it’s a safe bet that the topazes stand for the third inscription.”

    “Some poisons are green…” K’Tan mused, “…and some metals appear green when corroded. Which would mean that the second verse refers to them.”

    “A blue sky is placid…” Commodore Wesley observed, “…as is a calm sea or lake. The last stanza must refer to the sapphire. “

    ***********************************************************************

    “So, K’Temoc…” K’Tan smiled, “Which color stones would you put into the depressions?”

    “Hmmm…” The young Klingon answered, “Before I would have chosen red, but now, after listening to your words, I would choose green.”

    “Why…other than heeding my earlier words, would you have chosen green?” K’Tan asked, stroking his beard as he gave the younger officer an appraising gaze.

    Realizing that his commanding officer was carefully gauging his response and that his career—and possibly his life—depended upon how he answered his captain’s question, K’Temoc carefully pondered his answer, “There are several reasons, Captain. First, what use is great wealth if it cannot be enjoyed? Also, fighting a battle now would serve no useful purpose, while at the same time possibly putting the Empire at a disadvantage. Should we fall, then the Earthers would triumph as they will surely take one of the other options. They would reap the rewards all to themselves. Had there been a few more of us, then I would be more willing to risk battle, but, as Kahless said, ‘Losing a battle to win a war is no defeat...”

    “And winning a battle while losing a war is no victory.” K’Tan nodded his head, pleased at his subordinate’s answer. “Very good, K’Temoc—I see I was right to promote you. A fool such as D’Kor would have chosen the red stone, but you are wise in that you understand that a true warrior knows that he must never allow his love for battle to blind him to the wider view.” Placing his right hand on the younger Klingon’s shoulder, the grizzled veteran nodded his head, “You will go far, young K’Temoc…so long as you remember to leaven your courage with wisdom.”

    Picking up the green stones, K’Tan placed one of each within the appropriate depression. As the last stone was emplaced, a faint green light bathed the stele in its glow. “Now…” the Klingon captain commanded, “Let us do the same to the other slabs and we shall see how wise we are.”

    **********************************************************************

    “Working under the assumption that we’re not going to go with either the rubies or the emeralds…” Commodore Wesley stated as he posed yet another ethical question to his junior officers, even though he had already decided which set of stones he was going to use, “Which of the other two would you go with?”

    “The topaz would be safe…” Jennifer began, only to be interrupted by her friend and roommate.

    “But if we went with that, we would be passing up a possibly great opportunity. Aliz argued enthusiastically.

    “Or a possible disaster.” Jennifer countered, “Remember, the inscription for the sapphire reads, ‘…unintended consequences’. There’s a wide range of possible results in that statement—and not all of them good.”

    “If we’re afraid to take chances, then we don’t have any business being out here.” Aliz smoothly riposted, getting into the verbal exchange.

    “Calculated risks…” Jennifer argued back, “Yes…I agree. But there are too many variables here. We just don’t have enough to go on to chance it.”

    Watching and listening carefully as the two young ensigns debated their positions, Wesley nodding his head sagely. Clearing his throat, he interrupted their argument, “You both have made good points, but, in this instance, I agree with Ensign Bathory. The possible opportunities to learn and make contact with a new life form outweigh the possible risks. We go with the sapphires.”

    *******************************************************************

    As the landing platform retracted completely into the black ring and the outer doors of the structure closed, the occupants of the Aldrin, gazing out of the windows of the tiny vessel, could see only inky blackness until, without warning, the area immediately around both of the shuttlecraft was bathed in a dim yellow light.

    “Sensors report an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere and one standard gravity. No known pathogens.” Lieutenant Forrester reported.

    “See if you can raise the Lexington.” Zha’Thara ordered as she took a phaser and communicator handed to her by Ensign Xylvan, attaching them to the belt around her waist.

    “No joy, Commander.” The coxswain reported, frowning at his inability to raise the Aldrin’s mother ship.

    “Well…” Talana replied, putting on a brave face for her command, “That shouldn’t come as a big surprise. After all, if our scans couldn’t get through that structure, there’s no reason to think our communications would either. It just means we’re going to have to be extra careful.” Moving towards the shuttlecraft’s main egress, the Andorian science officer turned back to address her away team, “Ok everyone, remember, we have a truce with the Klingons. Don’t do anything to provoke them—but don’t take any crap off of them either. Watch yourselves…watch them…and remember why you’re here—to try to find out as much as we can about what this thing is and whether it had anything to do with the disappearance of the commodore and the rest of our people.” Exhaling, she punched the button to open the door, “Ok people…let’s see what’s out there.”

    *********************************************************************

    “We’ve lost contact with the Aldrin, Commander.” Lieutenant Cilla Oudekirk, the Lexington’s communications officer reported from her station.

    “Damn.” Commander Kuznetsov swore, “Even though we anticipated that possibility…” Commander Kuznetsov growled, “…I still don’t like it. Keep trying at regular intervals, Lieutenant and continue monitoring our ‘watchdogs’. I want to know the moment the Klingons try anything.”

    *********************************************************************

    “Our shuttlecraft has disappeared within the structure and we have lost contact.” D’Kor informed his acting captain. Your orders, Sir?”

    “We wait…” Commander Kalas decided, “But not forever, my friend.” He smiled, “Have your warriors ready to move. Their moment will come very soon.”

    **********************************************************************

    Exiting the Aldrin first, Petty Officer Miller by her side, Talana immediately spotted her counterpart, a Klingon woman, another one of those referred to by their fellow Klingons as the ‘unfortunate ones’ due to the presence of human augment DNA in their system, standing next to a Klingon male. Drawing his phaser immediately on seeing the two Klingons, the coxswain cautioned, “Careful, Ma’am.”

    “Lower your weapon.” The Andorian science officer ordered in a soft voice, as she held both her hands outstretched. “I am Lieutenant Commander Zha’Thara!” She called out to the Klingons. “We have a truce.”

    The Klingon female, also motioning for the warrior standing next to her to lower his weapon, promptly responded in a loud, clear voice, “I am Lieutenant Lyssan. Let us begin the mutual inspections so that we can commence our business.”

    “You heard the Lieutenant.” Talana whispered to the crewman standing next to her. “Tell the others to break out the equipment.” Calling out to her Klingon counterpart, the lovely Andorian suggested, “Let’s start with ourselves. We’ll meet in the middle between our two shuttlecrafts.” Not waiting for an answer, Talana started towards the Klingon craft, stopping dead center between the two vessels.

    Approaching from the opposite direction, Lyssan made her way alone down the ramp that extended from the hatch at the side of her craft to the landing pad deck, crossing the area between her craft and the Aldrin, immediately coming to a halt as she reached the tall Andorian woman.

    Taking her phaser out from its place of concealment at the small of her back, Talana handed it to the shorter olive skinned Klingon woman standing before her as, simultaneously, Lyssan handed her disruptor, butt first, over to her. Both officers nodding their heads in agreement that the terms of the truce had been adhered to—by them at least, Lyssan spoke with, much to the surprise of her Andorian counterpart, a slight smile on her face, “I would suggest, Lieutenant Commander, that we have the rest of our teams carry out their inspections of each other one at a time—that would limit the possibilities for any unfortunate…misunderstandings.”

    “Agreed.” Talana answered back, her lips turning up into a smile as well. This might…the Andorian science officer hoped as she said a quiet prayer to the goddess of luck…actually work.

    ********************************************************************

    Placing a green oval into the final depression on the final stele, K’Tan stood back as the object began to glow. The green glow from all four slabs grew brighter and brighter until finally, four beams of green light lanced from each of the stelae, shattering the crystalline structure in the middle into thousands of tiny fragments.

    As the glow around the stelae subsided, a voice boomed as the swirling mist once again surrounded and took the two warriors, “An interesting…and most unexpected…choice. We shall have to ponder this.”

    ********************************************************************

    As Wesley placed the last blue lozenge in its slot, a blue glow, similar to that which emanated from the other stelae, suffused the area around the slab. Unlike with the Klingons, the blue glow, instead of shining with a brighter intensity, radiated gentle warmth as its beams bathed the crystalline object in the center, slowly melting the hard outer shell until only an amber amorphous mass remained. The mass oozed to the floor, pulsating for several moments until, much to the surprise of Wesley and the two women standing beside him, it took on the form of an avian creature totally alien to any of the humans. Flying to its benefactors, the…for lack of a better word, Wesley thought…shapeshifter flew around the three Starfleet officers as if it was studying them. Then, pausing in front of Commodore Wesley, the creature hovered for several seconds before taking off to the sky, free once again.

    “What?” Aliz questioned, blinking in surprise, “Was that?”

    “Did you see the way it assumed the shape of that bird?” Jennifer asked in an astonished voice.

    “Very interesting…the loud voice of their host boomed…very interesting indeed. You have set forces in motion—forces that will not come to fruition in your lifetimes but that will bring both great opportunities—and great perils. This test is over!” The voice boomed as Wesley and his companions were once again taken by the mist.

    ************************************************************************

    Wesley and his people as well as K’Tan finding themselves once again in the large chamber, the commodore called out, “What did you mean by us setting forces in motion? Do they involve what we freed?”

    “The answers to those questions must wait for future generations.” The voice responded, “You acted as we had anticipated. But you…” the voice spoke, now seemingly addressing the Klingon captain, “…surprised us. We had anticipated that you would choose the red stones—that you would want to engage in battle.”

    Laughing, K’Tan replied, “Then you are not as wise, nor do you know us, as well as you thought. It is a foolish warrior who engages in wasteful struggle.” Frowning, the Klingon warrior added, “It is also foolish to allow a potential enemy to escape.”

    “Your actions…” The voice pronounced, echoing the information that it had imparted earlier to Wesley, “…will also weigh heavily on the future.”

    Raising his voice, Commodore Wesley demanded in a crisp, clear tone, “We have met your conditions and participated in your tests. Now…return us to our ships.”

    “Not yet.” The voice answered back, “There are two more tests we must conduct.”

    “What are these tests?” K’Tan demanded in a low growl.

    “In the next…” The voice explained as the serpent on the table glowed, “…we shall see how you respond when faced with who you were…who you are…and who you will be. The final test, the one that will determine your survival, will depend…” The voice declared as an image appeared of the science teams from the Lexington and K’Mar, led by their respective science officers, surveying and investigating the immediate area around their shuttlecraft, “…upon these ones’…as well as your own…abilities to rise above yourselves.”

    “Lyssan…” K’Tan whispered in a low, affectionate tone inaudible to everyone but Wesley who, while cocking an eyebrow in surprise, remained silent. Realizing that he had been overheard, the Klingon warrior gazed into Wesley’s eyes seeing within them not the mocking stare or disbelieving look that he expected, but rather, the sympathetic expression that one warrior has for another when that one’s loved one is at risk. Nodding his head slightly, K’Tan grunted as Wesley looked away, giving the Klingon his dignity as an unspoken bond was suddenly formed between these two totally different individuals.

    “Seeing as we have no choice!” Wesley called out as K’Tan nodded his head, “We agree to your test. Now…let’s get it over with.”

    “Very well!” The voice resounded through the chamber as once again the mist surrounded everyone within the room, “Let the test commence!”

    ***********************************************************************
     
  18. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 6

    This is very good! You've certainly captured the feel of the TOS era. Wesley's crew and the Klingons face a test from some superior beings (similar to the Organians or the creature from "The Savage Curtain") but the situation is still unique. I still can't tell whether this being is benevolent or not, but I think there is a real purpose to these tests, particularly the mysterious references to future events set in motion.

    A great story with some fine character work and action!
     
  19. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 6

    This just keeps getting better and better.

    Now both crews have set in motion events which, as they’ve been told, they’ll not be privy to in their lifetimes. And you’ve fleshed out the Klingons very well, here, making them a thoughtful and cunning foe, rather than the plodding, imperialistic dullards they were so often presented as in TOS.

    I’d always secretly wondered why it was only the Federation, and humans to be more precise, that were ever abducted and ‘tested’ by these uber-species? Why not the Klingons, or the Romulans, or the Cardies, for that matter? Didn’t any of those species ever stumble into any mega-civilizations and peak their curiosity?

    Thanks for finally answering that puzzle for me, David. Really well done. :D
     
  20. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    BrotherBenny
    Re: Lexington: Meet The Lady Part 6

    Are you a fan of the New Frontier series, David?

    That bird kind of reminds me of the "Great Bird of the Galaxy" from the Thallonian homeworld for some reason. If your bird is the same one, then its a very interesting beginning.