UT-TFV: Quality of Mercy

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by DarKush, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    These are some interesting developments and I'm burning to find out who these abductors are and what they were or are still planning. So far it looks as if their plans have been foiled. Of course appearences can be misleading.
     
  2. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay,

    I don't know if this next passage sheds much light on what's going on, but maybe it just might.

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

    Detention Center
    USS Aldebaran

    By the time the Awokous stepped into the brig, the room was filled with other members of the crew. Both Narcissa and Loto were there, as was a full security contingent. Science Officer Dryer was nose deep in his tricorder. Lt. Shibata was consulting with Nurse Beacham. The two seemed to be sharing a joke.

    The captain cleared his throat and it caused both of the junior officers to jump. He tried to frown but couldn’t hide his smile. Shibata nervously rubbed the back of his head.

    “Are you two conferring about the aliens?” Awokou asked.

    “Ah,” Nurse Beacham opened her mouth. The violet-haired woman reddened terribly.

    “Not…uh, quite sir,” The communications officer admitted.

    “Personal business on personal time,” The captain injected as much sternness in his voice as he could muster.

    “Of course sir,” Shibata said. Awokou roved his eyes over the rest of the room. Some of the other crew was trying hard not to laugh. He did catch Lt. Narcissa in mid-eye roll. He smiled at the Orion.

    “Lt. Shibata have you established communication with the aliens yet?” Rozi stepped forward. Banti’s eyes finally found the aliens. There were two of them.

    He had never seen the species before, which wasn’t really a surprise to him. They were both tall, with spindly appendages. Their skin tone was light blue, with darker blue stripes running across their faces and exposed hands. Three fingers on each webbed hand and their boots accommodated three toes.

    Their jutting faces were vaguely humanoid though squat, with two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Two long tendrils bracketed their mouths. And two sharp ridges ran along their chin lines from the opposite sides. They were hairless, the ceiling lights glinting off their bald damp heads. Their eyes were as black as obsidian. Banti inspected both beings. He couldn’t tell what sex they were, or even if they had different genders. The captain took special note of the slick black space suits each being wore. Within them, he saw a network of tubes, with fluid sluicing through them.

    “Their outfits serve as some kind of hydration units?” He asked.

    “I believe so sir,” Lt. Dryer answered.

    “Lt. Shibata, I’m still waiting for an answer,” Rozi demanded.

    “We have been able to establish communication with them ma’am,” a chagrined Shibata said. “Though they aren’t saying much.”

    “Elaborate,” Captain Awokou commanded.

    “They’ve said they will have no congress with butchers, or something to that effect.” The communications officer replied. Banti looked at his wife askance. The first contact specialist was similarly puzzled.

    “Butchers,” Captain Awokou repeated.

    “Perhaps I should take a crack at it,” Rozi offered.

    Shibata didn’t look convinced, but he said, “I’ve already adjusted the universal translator for their language.”

    “Thank you,” Rozi said. She was about to step forward when the captain placed a hand on her shoulder.

    He leaned in close to her and whispered, “Are you sure you want to do this? These people just kidnapped you.”

    Rozi looked at his hand and Banti removed it. More gently, she said, “I should want to know the reasons why more than anyone on this ship Banti. Let me do this.”

    Banti nodded. Sometimes he had problems letting go. Sometimes he foolishly thought her too fragile. He stood firmly behind his wife as she approached the force field. The aliens focused on her. One of the beings stepped forward. The captain noticed gill slits on the lead alien’s neck. The way the creature glared down at his wife gave Banti the chills.

    He steeled himself not to intervene further. He hopefully hadn’t undercut his wife too much already.

    “We mean you no harm,” Rozi said, with open arms. “So why did you abduct me?”

    The alien continued glaring at her. “Harvest us and be done with it.” His voice was deep, masculine. Banti assumed he was male. The alien turned away from her.

    She looked at her husband, this time seeking his assistance. The captain stepped forward and with his best stentorian voice, declared, “I’m Captain Banti Awokou, commander of this vessel, and I demand to know what you mean by that!”

    The lead alien spun around quickly, “I don’t know how much the Vidiians are paying you, but it won’t matter once our fleet gets here!” He hissed. “Your blood money will be as worthless as your lives.”

    “What are you talking about?” Awokou took a step back, perplexed. “Vidiians? Blood money?” He looked at his crew. “Does anyone have any idea what he’s talking about?” Everyone looked at each other, confusion reigning in the room.

    Lt. Dryer snapped his fingers loudly and began rapidly typing on his tricorder. He frowned, and held it up. “Sir, I don’t think you are going to like this.”

    The captain took the proffered device and looked down at the tiny screen. He shook his head, “Son, I think you’re right.”
    ****************************************************************
     
  3. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    I'm admittedly not the sharpest tool in the shed so I'll probably need some more explanation in the coming chapters to figure out what Dryer has apparently already discovered. So far the alien's behavior appears to be based on some sort of misunderstanding. I think.
     
  4. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay,

    I don't know if this next scene will help or not.

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

    Captain’s Ready Room
    USS Aldebaran

    Captain Banti Awokou looked at the image on his desktop again. He shook his head, his mind still reeling as he processed the information that Lt. Dryer had conjured from the databanks. The picture was of a beautiful, smiling fair-skinned humanoid woman that looked like she belonged to the same species as the Vaphorans.

    However it was a holographic recreation of Vidiian hematologist Denara Pel recorded and sent by Voyager’s chief medical officer, as part of his notes on the Vidiians and the vicious phage that afflicted them. The real Pel’s visage was a horrific, discolored patchwork of grafted skins. According to the Doctor’s notes and Voyager’s logs, sent through the Pathfinder Project that had been established to maintain contact with the far flung vessel, the starship had encountered the Vidiians several times.

    Once a peaceful, cultured civilization, they had resorted to acts of unthinkable barbarism to survive the ravages of The Phage, a disease that consumed and killed thousands daily for two millennia. Some of the survivors had resorted to forced organ removal from unwilling participants and had sought to ensnare Voyager’s crew for their life preserving aims.

    It was ghastly and Awokou shuddered at the Voyager’s crews’ encounters with the vile organ thieves. What could turn an artistic society into such monsters? What froze his insides even more was wondering if there was anything that would reduce the Federation to such despicable acts. How precious was survival?

    Thankfully the door chime took him away from his darkening thoughts. “Enter,” he said. The captain stood up as Rector Chaun crossed into the room. He gave a short bow.

    “Thank you for agreeing to meet me on such short notice,” the captain began.

    “My apologies for that unpleasant business with Dr. Awokou,” Chaun said, shaking his head vigorously. “Is she alright?”

    Awokou nodded tightly. “She is well.”

    “I apologize that we couldn’t be of quicker assistance,” the Eonessan leader replied.

    “No need,” Awokou waved it away. “Please have a seat sir.”

    Chaun cautiously took the proffered seat. Once seated, he said, “I assume this is about the aborted kidnapping.” The captain nodded.

    “What about it necessitated that I meet with you privately, aboard your vessel?”

    “The statements made by the abductors,” Awokou began and then paused, momentarily at a loss for words. “I don’t think the Vaphorans are who they say they are.”

    Chaun’s head crest shook and he snorted in disbelief. “Excuse me captain?”

    “The abductors called the Vaphorans Vidiians. Have you heard that name before?” Chaun repeated the word, sounding out each syllable.

    He shook his head, “No. Should I?”

    Awokou grunted. “Perhaps I should show you.” He turned the desktop screen around for the rector to get a look.

    Chaun leaned forward in his chair. “This looks like a Vaphoran. But one I don’t recognize.”

    “I wouldn’t expect you to. This is a person named Denara Pel, encountered by one of our ships in the Delta Quadrant. She belongs to a species called the Vidiians. However this isn’t her actual appearance.”

    “Oh?” The Eonessan didn’t try to hide his confusion. Awokou tapped a button. Chaun shrank back in his seat.

    “The Vidiians suffered from a disease called the Phage. To combat that disease they engaged in all manner of criminal activities, including organ stealing.” The rector shuddered at the thought.

    “What does any of this have to do with the Vaphorans?” Chaun was genuinely baffled.

    “The abductors accused the Vaphorans of being the Vidiians,” Awokou answered, “And I think it bears investigating.”

    “That’s absurd!” Chaun said indignantly. “How dare you accuse the saviors of something so immoral!”

    “Rector Chaun, you can’t deny the similarities in the physical appearances.”

    “Of course not, but are you going to tell me that humans have never encountered other species that look just like them or near enough?”

    The Eonessan had him there. “You’re right,” Awokou could do nothing but admit the truth. “However, the Vaphorans came from the Delta Quadrant, same as the Vidiians, and they’ve been very circumspect. Perhaps they are hiding something.”

    “Those people saved my people and now you want me to believe that they are organ stealers?” Chaun stood up. “I think we are done here.”

    “Sir,” Awokou stood up as well. “The abductors said a fleet was on its way here. I think we need to get to the bottom of this before they arrive.”

    “And you think it would soften the blow to accuse the Vaphorans of such perfidy if it came from me?” Chaun scoffed.

    “Well, I wouldn’t say it in such a way,” Awokou looked squarely at the man. “But yes.”

    “I’ll take my leave of you now Captain.” Chaun said, turning abruptly and storming out of the office.

    “What else can go wrong today,” Awokou muttered to the empty room. As if granting his wish, his compin chirped.

    The captain tapped it. “Go ahead,” he said grudgingly.

    “Captain, I need you in Sickbay,” Dr. Xylia said, “I’ve discovered something about the Eonessan brain fever that you need to see.”

    “On my way,” He withheld the sigh until the link had been broken. Squaring his shoulders, refusing to let the bridge crew see how weary he was, Awokou strode out of the office.
    ***************************************************************
     
  5. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Ah yes, the pieces are beginning to fall in place. I knew there was something circumspect about the Vaphorans. Are they Viidians in disguise? Or maybe a minority sub species which has not contracted the Phage? And if true, could they be targeting the Eonessans as unwilling organ donors for their sick brethren?

    But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm curious to see where this is going to lead.
     
  6. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Just catching up on the reboot of this marvelous story, DarKush. I'll post more later when I have access to a decent keyboard, but suffice to say this tale is outstanding! :techman:
     
  7. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay and Gibraltar,

    Thanks for the continued interest for this story and the kind words. It's been a little tough keeping this one going, but I appreciate the encouragement.


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

    Control Room
    Vaphoran Starship Rirata

    “Speaker Vinaren, perhaps we should verify Captain Awokou’s inquiries,” Commander Lotura recommended. The community leader sat opposite her, in the station normally reserved for the chief surgeon. As a precaution against the phage, Vidiian ships were built with isolation in mind, including control rooms that only needed to be peopled by two persons. “They have proven themselves worthy of our trust.”

    “Don’t be so naïve Lotura,” Vinaren sniffed. The woman had hastily brought a shuttle up from the planet after meeting with Rector Chaun. “That so-called trustworthiness was predicated on their beliefs that we weren’t Vidiian. You are well aware of our peoples’ encounters with the Starfleet vessel Voyager. I don’t think it is much of a stretch to see the reaction of this crew being similar.”

    “We aren’t trying to steal their organs,” Lotura pointed out. “How else would you expect our victims to react?”

    Vinaren stiffened at the word ‘victim’. “We did what we had to do to survive. Surely any species can understand that, or should.”

    “That’s easy to say if your not on the receiving end,” Lotura rejoined. Vinaren shook her head, unwilling to concede. Lotura shrugged. “At the very least this can show that we are willing to move beyond the past.”

    “Haven’t we proven that thus far?” Vinaren whined. “Look how we have built up the Eonessans?”

    “And they are grateful,” Lotura nodded, “to a fault. Perhaps they wouldn’t be so grateful if they knew the truth.”

    Vinaren’s gaze turned steely. “Vorum was punished. The council agreed to speak no more of it.”

    “Still, it shows we have a ways to go, as does our reaction to Captain Awokou,” Lotura said.

    “We don’t know what their response could be,” Vinaren smacked the console in front of her, “For all we know they could hand us over to our attackers.” Lotura shook her head in disbelief.

    “I find that improbable,” the Rirata commander said, “They have shown a willingness to defend the Eonessans, and us as well, that is admirable. They deserve our honesty.”

    “We can’t take that risk,” Vinaren shook her head. “I didn’t come up here to discuss this with you.”

    “Oh?” Lotura’s stomach twisted in knots. She suspected the reason for the leader’s visit.

    The speaker leaned forward, her brows knitting, her face taking on an even more serious cast. Unbidden, Lotura sat back, anticipating the question. The speaker asked, “Can Rirata survive a battle against the Starfleet vessel?”

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

    Sickbay
    USS Aldebaran

    Captain Awokou felt he needed another explanation, but time wouldn’t permit it. He leaned back in his chair as he wrapped his mind around what the doctor had revealed to him. “Are you saying that the Eonessan brain fever was engineered?”

    “That’s exactly what I’m saying,” Dr. Xylia replied, a mortified expression on her face. “And I think the Vidiians were the culprits.”

    “But you don’t have proof of that,” Awokou replied.

    “No, but we do know the Vidiians have the medical know-how to do something like this,” the Romulan asserted.

    “You’re right,” Awokou scratched his chin. “It wasn’t my intent to discount your findings Doctor.” The woman dipped her head in acknowledgement. The captain shook his own head.

    “This just keeps getting worse and worse. The Vaphorans aren’t who they claim to be and now they might have inflicted a near pandemic upon the Eonessans. I wonder why?”

    “I could only imagine to win over their trust,” Xylia offered. “And to seek out refuge. I could see that many of their fellow Delta Quadrant neighbors not being sanguine with them.”

    “Like the aliens in our brig,” Awokou said.

    “Yes sir,” Xylia added.

    “I think we need to learn more about those aliens,” Awokou stood up. “Perhaps we are holding the wrong people.”
    **************************************************************
     
  8. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ****************************************************************

    Detention Center
    USS Aldebaran

    “Let’s try this again,” Captain Awokou offered. With him were Commander Thayer and Lt. Loto, in addition to the guard on duty. The Arbazan had insisted on being in the brig with him even though the captain was confident that the force field kept a secure barrier between him and the prisoners. “We looked into your claims. I believe you were correct that the Vaphorans are the Vidiians.”

    “As if you didn’t know who you were working for,” scoffed one of the aliens. He charged toward the captain, but wisely stopped before contacting the slightly shimmering field. “Why insult our intelligence before you perform your butchery? Just get it over with. We will be avenged soon enough!”

    The second alien placed a restraining hand on the disconsolate one’s shoulder. “Sesban, perhaps we should listen to what this one has to say.” Sesban shook his head and turned his back to the captain.

    “However you wish to spend your remaining time is your concern Fontin, but I will not be their plaything.”

    “So be it,” Fontin shrugged. He stepped forward and addressed the captain. “You say you were unaware that you were in league with the Vidiians?”

    “I am,” Awokou nodded.

    “And now that you are aware, what do you intend to do about it?” Fontin charged.

    “If possible, find a peaceful solution to whatever your grievance is with them,” the captain said.

    Sesban laughed. It was a harsh, scraping sound.

    “And the first thing I think I should do is release you,” the captain said, “As a sign of trust.”

    “Captain,” Loto protested.

    “Sir, I don’t think this is the best idea,” Commander Thayer added.

    Awokou held up a hand. He didn’t like the idea of releasing the men who had kidnapped his wife, but if this was all a horrible misunderstanding that could lead to serious bloodshed, he had a duty to prevent it, and his first item of business was establishing trust with their forced guests.

    “Ensign, lower the forcefield,” Awokou commanded. Sesban turned around, and gave the captain a skeptical look. The forcefield crackled before dropping.

    Before anyone could stop him, Awokou walked across the threshold. “See, this isn’t a trick.”

    Sesban rounded on him, prompting Loto to rush forward to defend the captain, and Thayer was right on the Arbazan’s heels. Fontin pushed Sesban back.

    “I meant what I said, I think we should start over,” Awokou replied, unfazed by Sesban’s anger.

    “We will take this gesture as one of reaching out,” Fontin said, “And we shall do the same.”

    “It won’t save you, not when our armada arrives,” Sesban sneered.

    “I hope to save us all,” Awokou calmly rejoined. “But first, I need to learn why you are pursuing the Vidiians.”

    “Do you know what a Vidiian honatta is Captain?” Fontin asked. The human shook his head. Fontin’s voice grew hushed as a faraway look came over his eyes.

    “I encountered my first when I was just a pollywog…”
    ****************************************************************
     
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Okay, we're starting to get a clearer picture of what we're up against. I wonder why these Vidiian haven't contracted the Phage. I always thought their entire race was affected. I could be wrong though. Or perhaps they have finally found a cure.

    Whatever the case, a conflict seems unavoidable now, especially considering the speaker's attitude and the aliens claiming to have a fleet of their own. The only hope may be the fact that there are dissenting voices among them who believe, like Awokou, in a peaceful solution. Yeah, good luck with that.
     
  10. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay,

    I'm assuming that not all Vidiians suffered from the Phage. And the Think Tank claimed to have cured the Phage in 2375, according to the VOY episode "Think Tank". So I'm taking them at their word.

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

    Delta Quadrant
    Twenty Years Ago…

    Lereth touched his wife’s hand. The woman, sitting beside him, stirred. Her eyes fluttered open, her ragged lips parted, but a wheeze stole her words.

    Lereth did his best to smile, to comfort her while shielding his own grief. He squeezed her hand. “Soon, you will have new lungs,” he promised. The woman nodded before drifting off again.

    He watched the woman’s tortured breathing for a few moments, a tightness forming in his own chest. He never liked this part, but his duties as a husband, as his wife’s honatta had to come first.

    Lereth repeated that to himself as he watched the other ship leave orbit. On that ship was his quarry. In addition to saving his wife, the family within could provide enough organs and skin to sustain several Vidiians. Saving Gyda and making a profit in the process was too good to ignore.

    What he did ignore was his guilt as he activated his ship’s impulse drive. He had found the family on the surface of the resort planet, enjoying a vacation. His scanner had honed in on them, its readouts telling him that their lungs would be compatible for Gyda.

    He had trailed them for days, even though he didn’t have to. He had even chatted up the father, an oceanographer on their native Nethun. They were good people, they didn’t deserve what was about to befall them, but Lereth steeled himself. His wife came first.

    He kept his ship far enough back not to arouse suspicion. He had placed a transponder on the Neth vessel so he wasn’t worried about losing them. He would wait until they were too far to call for quick assistance before he would strike. He settled in for a long hunt.

    While he waited, Lereth stroked Gyda’s torn skin. He sighed and touched his own smooth face. Lereth was one of the few untouched by the Phage. He had thought Gyda was also spared, but the disease came later in her life.

    His love and survivor’s guilt drove him from his business to the honatta. For the longest he had kept Gyda away from his new venture, only bringing her the organs she needed to live. But her condition had worsened and he felt a need to keep her with him to watch over her.

    He reluctantly took his hand from his wife and returned it to the console. He checked the ship’s sensors to see if there were any other vessels were nearby. Satisfied they were alone Lereth activated the ship’s hypothermic charges.

    He drove his ship at the unsuspecting Neth, lobbing hypothermic charges at them, encasing the hapless vessel within a crackling cage. Its shields collapsed quickly. The grappler latched onto the benighted starship, holding her steady while Lereth flew beside it.

    With practiced ease, he attacked the docking arm to the ship’s airlock. He had taken time to study the ship’s schematics while the Neth family shared their fateful vacation.

    Sighing, he touched Gyda’s face once more. Gathering himself, Lereth grabbed the harvester and made his way to the airlock. He hoped it would his work would be quick this time.
    *************************************************************
     
  11. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    The Viidians in action. You do a good job at keeping us somewhere between sympathy and outrage even if what Lareth is doing here is just completely wrong.
     
  12. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Damn, but that's cold. The horrors love and desperation can unleash.
     
  13. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Thanks for reading CeJay and Gibraltar. I wanted to show how the Vidiians might have felt or what could drive them to do the terrible things they did, at least for Lereth. I think it adds a bit more complexity to the situation where it isn't just black and white.

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

    Conference Lounge
    USS Aldebaran

    “He struck my father first,” Fontin recalled, anguish contorting his features, “with a terrible weapon, one that lit up like a sun, blinding me. I still remember….and I remember my father falling, on the ground, clutching his sides, grasping for breath.

    My mother ran to him, cradled him, and then the man, the demon, approached her. He…he held the weapon over her. I charged him, and he batted me away. He looked at me, and I’ll never forget the expression. It was part appraisal, part sadness.

    ‘Too young,’ he said before returning to my mother. I later learned that he stole both of their lungs.” His eyes watered, but his face was stone cold.

    “Fontin’s family weren’t the only ones,” Sesban spoke up, “The Vidiians attacked many of our species, in addition to other races. They thought that once a cure had been found for their affliction that all would be forgiven, that they could go on living their lives on the bones of others, but that will never happen.”

    “Yes,” Fontin nodded, “We joined with others, routing them from the planet Vaphora, and following them all the way here. We will have our revenge, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.”

    “I see,” Captain Awokou stroked his chin, taking in everything the men said. He gazed at his senior officers. There was a mix of troubled and horrified looks on their faces.

    “You might want your revenge, and certainly the Vidiians have to account for their actions, but what about the Eonessans? They are innocents, victims of the Vidiians as well. Doctor?”

    Xylia explained how the Vidiians had inflicted the neural disease, the ‘brain fever’, upon the Eonessans. Fontin shook his head sadly while Sesban stared daggers.

    “The Eonessans have been harboring these criminals,” Sesban said, “They will suffer the same fate.”

    “I can’t allow that,” Awokou declared. “The Eonessans are bystanders.”

    “And the Vidiians deserve to be tried,” Commander Thayer interjected, “How can we know which among them are innocent as well?”

    “Commander Thayer is correct,” Awokou said, “There needs to be due process.”

    “ ‘Trials’? ‘Due process’?” Sesban sneered. “There was none for Fontin’s family, or so many others. The stain of the Vidiians will be wiped from the galaxy!”

    Awokou was taken aback by the man’s hatred. While the Vidiians’ crimes were monstrous, he could no more countenance genocide as a remedy. He struggled to find a way out of this, and finally arrived at: “We will take you back to your fleet. There I will explain our situation to your commanders and hopefully arrive at a solution that spares the Eonessans and insures that only the guilty among the Vidiians receive justice.”

    “Good luck with that,” Sesban scoffed, sitting back in his chair.

    “Captain, your attempt is noble, but is doomed to failure,” Fontin said. “There has been too much blood shed. Our peoples cry out for rectification.”

    “And they can have it, in a way that is just, that doesn’t stain you as the Vidiians have been tainted,” Awokou urged.

    “Our commanders may listen,” Fontin said, “But it is doubtful they will be swayed.”

    “We have to try,” Awokou stated. Fontin nodded and Sesban did so reluctantly. Awokou started to get, but fell back to his seat as the ship rocked.

    He looked at Commander Thayer and the woman had a similarly perplexed look.

    “Someone just fired on us,” Lt. Loto got out right before the ship went to red alert, washing the conference room in red.

    Awokou jumped out of his seat and thundered to the bridge. The duty officer hopped out of the center chair, a tight expression on her face.

    “Lieutenant, what just happened?” Awokou demanded.

    “Sir, it’s the Vaphorans,” she said, “They just fired on us and they’re moving to do so again.”
    ****************************************************************
     
  14. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ****************************************************************

    Main Bridge
    USS Aldebaran

    The ship shook again. “Minimal damage,” Lt. Loto, who had taken over at the tactical station, said, his face buried into his console screen. On the main screen the Vidiian ship had come about, its weapons’ ports crackling with charging energy.

    “Hail the Vidiians,” Captain Awokou ordered. Lotura seemed like a sensible counterpart. He hoped to talk some sense into her, though he couldn’t quite quell his discomfort that she had attacked Aldebaran.

    “The Vidiians are responding,” Lt. Shibata replied. “Onscreen now sir.” The image shifted to the bridge of the other ship. The captain stood up. Awokou put on his best poker face.

    “Speaker Vinaren,” he said slowly, “Where is Commander Lotura?”

    The dark skinned Vidiian leaned forward in her seat, her expression cold, “Commander Lotura has been relieved.”

    “May I ask why?” Awokou inquired.

    “She didn’t agree with this course of action,” the Vidiian leader admitted.

    “I would concur,” Awokou said, “Violence should be the last resort always. I’m certain we can come to some agreement without an exchange of fire.”

    Sesban snorted loudly behind him. The two Neth had poured out onto the bridge with the rushing senior officers. Out of the corner of his eye, Awokou noticed they had taken up position near the turbolift, thankfully out of the way of his crew.

    “I see where this is going,” Vinaren charged, “You mean to hand us over to our pursuers.”

    “I said nothing of the sort,” Awokou shot back, his cheeks warming at the accusation.

    “You will sacrifice my people, likely the only survivors left from our colony, to pay for crimes we didn’t commit.”

    “All Vidiians are guilty!” Sesban couldn’t restrain himself. He jabbed a finger at the main screen. “Those that didn’t steal organs received them.”

    “That’s not true,” Vinaren shook her head. “Some of us were immune to the Phage.”

    “Yet you countenanced the barbarity of our brethren,” Fontin said quietly, the softness more damning than Sesban’s fury. Vinaren blinked.

    “The Vidiians are charging weapons,” Loto said.

    “Evasive maneuvers,” Awokou ordered, “Full power to forward shields.”

    “Vidiians are firing,” Loto said.

    “Brace yourselves!” Awokou commanded. He sat back down and gripped his armrests. The ship trembled terribly from the barrage.

    “Shields are holding,” Loto replied with unflappable calm.

    “Time to return in kind,” Commander Thayer said through gritted teeth.

    “I agree Commander,” Awokou said, “Return fire,” he ordered. “Aim for their weapons and propulsion.”

    The deck plates shuddered from the familiar, though always unfortunate, phaser fire. Reddish yellow beams struck the Vidiian ship.

    “No impact,” Loto said, his voice neutral. If he was disappointed the phasers didn’t do the trick he didn’t show it.

    “Fire again,” Awokou said, “With photon torpedoes this time.”

    “Aye sir,” the Arbazan replied.

    “Belay that Lieutenant,” Commander Thayer spoke up. Awokou’s head whipped toward her.

    “Excuse me Commander?”

    “Sorry sir,” she conceded, “but look at the screen.” She pointed and the captain acceded. A flotilla of Eonessa vessels were entering orbit, headed straight for the Vidiian vessel.

    “What are they doing?” Awokou said, more to himself than any of his crew.

    “They’re forming around the Vidiian vessel,” Thayer answered.

    “Lead Eonessan vessel is hailing us,” Shibata said.

    “Put them onscreen,” Awokou ordered. Rector Chaun appeared.

    “Captain Awokou,” he said, his eyes flashing with uncharacteristic anger, “We want you to leave our world immediately.”

    “Rector,” the captain began, but the Eonessan cut him off.

    “Now,” he demanded. Awokou looked at his bridge crew and found they were all looking at him. He glanced back at the furious Sesban and the sad Fontin. A new idea took root. If the Eonessans and Vidiians could no longer see reason, perhaps the oncoming armada might.

    “Fine,” the captain said, “We will accede to your request,” he paused and stared squarely at the triumphant Rector, “But we are not done looking out for the Eonessan people,” he said cryptically.

    With that, he ended the communication. He stood up and glanced again at Sesban and Fontin, “I would like to see you two in my ready room,” he said, gesturing toward it. He leaned down, “Commander Thayer take command and get us away from here. I’ll tell you were we’re going shortly.”

    The woman was skeptical, but she wisely kept her opinions to herself. “Aye sir,” was all she said.

    Awokou led the two Neth into his office. Once the doors were shut, he turned to them. His mien became serious. And his voice commanded compliance, “You are going to tell me how to reach your armada and how to get them to leave the Eonessans alone.”

    **************************************************************
     
  15. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    A lot of understandable and deep rooted hatred here. But Awokou & co are right, genocide is never okay and he's likely going to do whatever he has to try and prevent it.

    This is going to be one fine, beautiful mess with Aldebaran stuck right in the middle of it all. Can't imagine this one is going to end well.
     
  16. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Hey CeJay, the captain is in a bind. We'll see if his solution doesn't make things worse.

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

    Main Bridge
    USS Aldebaran

    The Galaxy-class ship cut through space at full warp. Within, the bridge was silent and tense, each hour more constricting. In the center chair Captain Awokou pondered what he would say, rewinding the speech again in his mind, hoping that it would be convincing enough. Flanking him, were Fontin and Sesban. Both Commander Thayer and his wife had given up their seats to the two Neth.

    Awokou wanted the fleet they were heading toward to see their missing crewmen were well and were not prisoners. He hoped the gesture would go a long way to establishing goodwill.

    “Long range sensors detecting a massive collection of vessels,” Lt. Narcissa said at the tactical console. She had relieved Loto.

    “Here we go,” muttered Lt. Rojas, at the helm.

    “Alter our course,” Awokou ordered. He felt the ship shift slightly as the young woman translated his command into action. Awokou stood up and glanced aft. Rozi was sitting at an auxiliary console. She nodded in support. Awokou nodded back. He tugged down on his tunic and faced the main viewer.

    “Are we within communication range?” He asked.

    “We will be within thirty minutes,” the Algolian ensign at the communications station promptly replied.

    Lt. Commander Thayer stepped down into the command well. She stood at rigid attention. “Captain, if I may have a word?”

    “Of course Commander,” Awokou said. He gestured toward his ready room.
    *****************************************************************

    Ready Room
    USS Alebaran

    Once both officers had been seated, Commander Thayer asked, “Permission to speak freely sir?”

    “Of course,” Awokou allowed.

    “Sir, I think you should reconsider the use of the Alpha Weapons,” Thayer said, reviving an old argument.

    Starfleet had outfitted the taskforce with powerful weapons such as subspace fractal inversion fields, Genesis torpedo bombs, and zero-point singularity initiators. It was a horror show of armaments that truly reflected the dark roads Starfleet had turned down after decades of conflict against the Cardassians, Tzenkethi, Borg, and Dominion.

    These were weapons of last resort in Banti’s mind and should never have found their way onto Starfleet vessels, much less been cooked up by the Federation minds. He sighed and shook his head, realizing the folly of his beliefs. The first Intercept Group Four had not possessed Alpha Weapons and they had been decimated by the Kothlis’Ka armada. It is no doubt the weapons would’ve made an impact, could’ve saved lives, and maybe even been enough of a sufficient show of force to alter the Kothlis’Ka’s inexorable march.

    Admiral Glover had told him that the first IG-4 had not received the weapons due to their proximity to the Romulans and the Tholians. Starfleet Command didn’t want to ruffle feathers. The tragedy that ensued made Command change its policies.

    “Sir, a show of force could be exactly what we need to show that armada that we mean business,” Thayer pressed.

    “I understand that,” Awokou nodded, “But I will not engage in needless saber rattling or potentially add to loss of life. I want to defuse tensions, not increase them, and if we go in waving our big weapons around I don’t think that’s conducive to conducting a peaceful dialogue.”

    “I get that sir,” Thayer said, “But from what the Neth have told us, this fleet has been chasing the Vidiians for years now, hunting them down, hell bent on revenge. What can you say, or anyone say that can get them to change their ways now?”

    It was an old argument April made, but still a good one. “I don’t know if I can save the Vidiians,” he admitted, “But hopefully the Eonessans can be spared.” It pained him to make the admission, but he was a hard-eyed realist. The Vidiians had to pay for their crimes, and unfortunately some innocent Vidiians might suffer too.

    “Maybe that wouldn’t be the case if we used the Alpha Weapons,” Thayer declared. “It would tell the Neth and their friends hands off.”

    Captain Awokou sat back in his chair, and weighed his options. He rewound the speech in his head again and found new doubts. It was wanting, but it had to be made, didn’t it? He had to try diplomacy first? To go in, brandishing weapons, bullying their point, was not the Starfleet way, at least the Starfleet he had signed up to serve.

    However things had seemed to change since the Dominion War and there was a crop of younger, more aggressive officers, baptized by fire, like Commander Thayer. Was he simply a man out of time? Or a man past his prime? Maybe he shouldn’t have returned to the Fleet, or taken a less prestigious assignment. Maybe he just didn’t have it anymore.

    These thoughts wrapped around his mind like albatrosses, threatening to pull him into despair. But that was a luxury he couldn’t afford right now. His crew needed him, and so did the Eonessans, and Vidiians as a matter of fact.

    “Talk to Chief Silane,” he said quietly, “Prepare the subspace fractal inversion field.”
    ***************************************************************
     
  17. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Ugh, things just keep getting more complex as the chance of reaching a non-violent resolution fades. I don't envy the choices Awokou must make in the coming hours and days. :eek:
     
  18. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    What a deliciously awesome predicament this is, now complicated even further by the introduction of those Alpha Weapons. Their sole existence is creating another moral dilemma and I love Awokou's observation about the changing times and his place in them.

    These weapons almost seem like an additional burden now, instead of a an ace in the hole and something tells me that if the captain is forced to fall back on them, it's game over. And not just for the incoming fleet.
     
  19. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Thanks guys for continuing to read and comment. This story has been a struggle for me. We'll see how the Alpha Weapons play into it and how Awokou gets out of this mess, or not.

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

    Main Bridge
    USS Aldebaran

    As soon as they were within communication range, Captain Awokou hailed the alien fleet. While waiting for a response he took in the breadth of the assembled armada. Far beyond the Neth saucer ships were over a dozen starships of varying sizes and compositions. One massive warship, with its nacelles built into its sides, broke from the pack. The warship stopped short of the three shuttlecraft in front of the Aldebaran.

    “A Kazon Predator-class warship,” Lt. Dryer said softly, “Interesting.” Awokou had had the science officer scouring the Voyager database to identify any starships or species they might encounter.

    The announcement put Banti on edge. The Kazons had been antagonistic toward the Voyager crew, and if they were in the lead of this makeshift fleet that could pose problems.

    He waited, a bit impatiently, until the hail was finally answered. The image focused on several aliens standing around what appeared to be a master display console. The aliens were all of different species. None of them appeared to be Kazon from what he recalled of their appearance. The captain hid his surprise. The aliens appraised him as hard as he appraised them. A fair-skinned man that could easily pass for human spoke first.

    “I am Vebbis,” the man introduced himself. His blue eyes shifted from Awokou to Sesban and Fontin. “I demand the release of our crewmen at once.”

    “Of course,” the captain said. “I will need you to lower your shields so that we can transport them to your vessel.”

    Vebbis looked at the others. They debated. A pebble-skinned reptilian woman seemed the most suspicious.

    “If you scan our vessel you will see that we don’t have our shields up,” Awokou said. And that had been a matter of contention with Commander Thayer. He glanced at the woman and gave a tight, awkward smile. She nodded in acknowledgement.

    The reptilian ordered for someone to initiate a scan. Almost a minute later, the woman said, “Lower shields.”

    The captain looked at both Neth. They regarded him just as silently. There were no words that needed to be said. The truth would will out in the next few moments. “Activate,” Awokou ordered. The two aliens disappeared within transporter beams. And reappeared on the bridge of the Kazon vessel seconds later.

    “Are you unharmed?” A Neth female, standing at the master display, asked the two Neth. Both swore to their being unmolested. They took up positions behind her.

    “I would like to meet with your leadership to discuss your attack on the Eonessan homeworld,” Awokou said, standing up. He felt more confident on his feet.

    “Don’t you mean our pursuit of justice,” hissed the reptilian.

    “Gixia,” Vebbis held up a hand. “We should at least listen to what Captain Awokou has to say.”

    “No, we shouldn’t,” Gixia said, “This could just be a stalling tactic.”

    “For all we know the Vidiians could be escaping now,” A blue skinned man, with prominent facial tissue, spoke up. “You can’t trust beings in league with them.”

    “Captain Awokou is not in league with the Vidiians,” Fontin said, and Sesban nodded. “He is trying to find a peaceful solution that saves the Eonessans and insures justice for the Vidiians.”

    “There can be no justice for those who harbor mass murderers,” spat a golden skinned man.

    “Jaleth is right,” Gixia said. “Captain Awokou,” she said, as if it weren’t his real name, “If you are so concerned with justice, you will move out of our way. We only want the Vidiians, but if these Eonessans intercede, they will get what is coming to them.”

    “I can’t allow that to happen,” he said with calm, deadly certainty. “I will not tolerate mass slaughter. As the victims of the Vidiians’ crimes it would certainly make you no better to engage in similar behavior.”

    “No, but at least they will pay the price for their cruelty,” Gixia declared.

    “Colc, what do you think?” Vebbis asked the female Neth.

    “They didn’t have to bring back our crewmen, and unharmed,” she replied. “I think we should listen to what the captain proposes.”

    “We should put this to a vote,” a pale man with an elongated head suggested.

    “We will resume communication shortly,” Vebbis said before ending the communication.

    It left Awokou waiting again. He was disappointed that the alien war council hadn’t acceded to his request immediately. “I guess we’ll just have to wait on the jury’s verdict,” Commander Thayer said dryly.
    **************************************************************
     
  20. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Not getting a good vibe from this mishmash armada at all. A vote just to hear them out? I suppose that could go either way but a peaceful solution to all this appears to be a long shot indeed.