UT: TFV-The Quality of Mercy

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by DarKush, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    UNITED TREK:
    TASKFORCE VANGUARD/DARK TERRITORY:
    THE QUALITY OF MERCY

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

    State Room
    Starbase Bastion
    Mid-2378

    The transparent aluminum window was frigid to the touch. Captain Banti Awokou suppressed a shiver before removing his hand. The Starship Nimbus, his latest command, floated before him. The moorings entangling the angelic ship didn’t mar its sleek beauty one parsec.

    Stretching nearly seven hundred meters in length, the Sovereign-class starship dominated the docking port, as befitting its designation. Uncharacteristically Awokou smiled, thrilled at the prospect of returning to her.

    “I don’t believe I have said anything in jest,” Rear Admiral Terrence Glover said by way of introduction. The younger brown-skinned man stood ramrod straight at the entrance to the room. Awokou’s smile quickly morphed into a look of concern.

    He always knew that his protégé would one day rise to the admiral’s rank, but he hadn’t assumed it would be so quickly, or under such tragic circumstances. Yet so much had changed in Awokou’s universe since that fateful day in the skies above Lakesh.

    The captain put the thoughts of that particular tragic in the back of his mind. “My apologies…sir,” He nearly tripped over the word. It would take him a little while to get used to the idea of Glover being his superior officer. “I meant no offense.”

    “None taken.” Terrence seemed oblivious to the fumble, which saddened Awokou. He would’ve thought the Glover he knew would’ve enjoyed showing off his fifth pip to his old mentor.

    But a lot of bad things just hadn’t happened to Banti since the Dominion War; Terrence had been drastically changed as well.

    The man seemed more closed off, his body language wary, his arms folded across his broad chest.

    His expression was mildly impatient, at odds with the recollections of Banti’s wife Rozi, who told him how Glover had spent hours at his bedside while he had been in a coma.

    “You wished to speak me with captain?” Glover prodded, gently but still insistent. Awokou’s heart sank further.

    “Yes sir, I…I wanted to thank you,” Awokou began, not quite sure how to proceed, and feeling as awkward as he had on his first date with Rozi.

    Glover’s head tilted to the side and he gave the captain a look like he was a curious new specimen. “I don’t follow.”

    “I know you helped get me the Nimbus,” Awokou said, recalling the scuttlebutt he had heard from some of his friends in the Fleet. “Not everyone thought I was ready for such a prestigious assignment.” He was one of those doubters, but only Rozi knew that.

    “It was…a logical choice,” Glover shrugged, coming off even colder than many Vulcans Banti knew. “Your service record was exemplary before your accident.” Banti tensed at how sterile and antiseptic his old friend made it sound. “And with the dearth of skilled senior officers currently in the Fleet, and in light of your previous history restoring the reputation of Phoenix, it made sense to move Nimbus past the Ardana Incident.”

    “I see,” Awokou nodded slowly, wondering if these were the same arguments Terrence had made to secure the post for Banti. There was a part of him that hoped that Terrence hadn’t been so dry when making those arguments though.

    The captain chided himself. He had no right to criticize the man who had just helped him get a prestige command. Further, Awokou wasn’t taking into account how rough the last several years had been for Terrence, the emotional buffeting the man had received.

    He had lost his father and his marriage; and before that his ship. That fifth pip must seem like cold comfort, and something that can’t replace what had been torn away from him.

    “Admiral, Nimbus doesn’t push off for another day, if you would like to…tour her, that can be arranged, and then afterwards we could have dinner. Rozi would love to see you.” Banti was a laying it on a little thickly. Actually Rozi was a little peeved at Glover for not showing up while Banti was convalescing after reawakening.

    But Awokou had cut the man some slack. Terrence was dealing with his own emotional turmoil and the demands of a new and possibly crushing responsibility. However, Banti also knew that his wife would smother any sharp words she had for the younger man and treat him with the respect he deserved.

    The thought of his wife, her graciousness and compassion, made him smile again. “Am I wearing my uniform inside out or something?” Terrence asked, a glimpse of the man’s old mirth breaking through.

    Laughing, Banti couldn’t help but give the man a quick once-over. The man looked resplendent in his long black jacket and matching trousers. Glover’s hair hadn’t been touched by gray while Banti’s had become snow-white. Terrence looked nearly the same as when he had commanded the Aegis, though he seemed even sadder now, with bags around his eyes.

    The man’s visage was still stern, but he had unfolded his arms at least. Now they awkwardly rested at his side. Awokou had never seen Glover anxious, even when they served on the Cardassian front.

    “We’ll have to reschedule I’m afraid,” the admiral replied. “I have business to attend to at Starbase 27.”

    “Along the Romulan Neutral Zone,” Awokou pointed out. “Don’t tell me the Star Empire is acting up again? Trying to take advantage of this whole refugee situation?”

    “Let’s hope that isn’t the case,” Glover said, without adding more. Normally Terrence would add something, he would drop a hint, but that was the past, and Awokou had woken up to a much different future. Glover nodded respectfully before he turned to make his exit.

    The man tried one more stab at it. “Lt. Rojas will also be at the dinner.” Glover stopped, but didn’t turn around.

    Banti sought to reel him in. “She was gushing about seeing you again, well, not in so many words, but I could read the excitement on her face when she heard you would be here to review Intercept Group Four.”

    Terrence turned around slowly. I think I’ve got the fish on the line, Awokou thought. “I appreciate you also recommending her for flight control officer,” the captain added. “We’re going to need someone with her skills navigating us through the Delta Quadrant.”

    “Please send my regards to Lt. Rojas,” Glover said, “But I will have to get reacquainted upon your return.”

    “Excuse me sir,” Awokou’s forcefulness erupted from him, “I know you’re grieving Terrence, but that doesn’t give you the right or excuse to turn your back on your friends!”

    “I think you need to watch your tone Captain,” Glover’s nostrils flared and his eyes lit with fire. Banti knew that he was risking losing his ship even before he had made himself at home, but there were some things that needed to be said.

    “I understand that your schedule is busy, but I really wish you could comprehend how much it would mean to all of us if you stopped by,” Awokou softened his tone, but not his stance.

    “There’s no time,” Glover said.

    “We could be gone for years,” Awokou rejoined.

    “I’m sorry,” Terrence said, his neutral expression not giving a hint to his true feelings.

    “It’s almost as if you want to get rid of us, shorn us off like dead skin or something,” Awokou felt his emotions springing forth and the words escaped before he could stop them. Since his awakening from the coma, his emotions had been harder to control.

    “I’m an admiral now, things are different,” Terrence offered.

    “No, the biggest difference is you,” Banti shot back. “Lt. Rojas had thought you were going to put her on your staff. She did all that extra training at Starfleet Academy to build up her resume and then you pass her off to me. I’m pleased, but it’s not what she wanted.”

    “Is this what she told you?” Glover’s expression became hooded.

    “No,” the captain admitted, “but sitting in that captain’s chair, you learn something about sapient nature.”

    “Perhaps you are mistaken,” Terrence replied.

    “Maybe,” Banti confessed, “But my gut tells me otherwise. You don’t have to push us away. You don’t have to do this alone. I can tell you from personal experience that you can’t do this alone.”

    “Thank you…Banti,” Glover said. The captain’s voice caught in his throat. Awokou reached out, to grab the man’s shoulder, to pat it for reassurance, but the rear admiral fell back. “It’s going to take time,” Terrence offered.

    “Fair enough,” Awokou reined in his emotions.

    “Please relay that message to your wife and Juanita,” Glover said.

    “I will do,” the captain promised.

    “Now sir, am I dismissed?” Terrence asked with the heartening sliver of a smile.

    “Yes sir,” Awokou smiled in return.
    *****************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  2. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    You did a great job of writing an awkward encounter between old friends. Banti is struggling to reconnect with his old protege', but the distance between he and Glover seems greater than that of rank. Things have changed for both of them, and not necessarily for the better.

    And now, another group prepares to intercept the myriad "invaders" from the Delta Quadrant. Here's hoping their mission goes smoother than the other intercept groups!

    Somehow, I doubt that will be the case. :devil:
     
  3. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Wonderful to see Banti Awokou among the living once again, but distressing to see how strained things are between he and Terrence Glover. It seems Terrence is keeping everyone at arm's length these days.

    I can't wait to see the crew this notable captain has assembled for their trip into the Delta Quadrant. :)
     
  4. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Another Vanguard story. Nice! Can't wait to see how they'll fare against the approaching hordes of refugees.

    Love the fact that you are resurrecting Awokou for this story and that you give us, which presumably is a Terrence Glover cameo, once again stressing how much he has changed recently. At some point I'd really like to delve more into that man and this recent metamorphosis. I doubt this is the story of that though.

    Great start, looking forward to more.
     
  5. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Hey guys,

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting. While I was trying to come up with a character to be captain, I finally decided on Banti because of his connections to Gibraltar and Dark Territory, and because I liked the guy and thought seeing him return could lead to some interesting drama. I also wanted someone I could play off Terrence against, but in a neat reversal of their normal relationship.

    I want to thank Gibraltar for creating Awokou and for allowing me to use him. Also for the cool Vanguard idea. It took me long time to finally come up with a story so I hope you all like where I'm going to take this.

    Hopefully I will be able to delve more into what's eating Glover. But at the moment his presence in this story is only as a cameo.

    Author's Note: I amended the time that Nimbus was leaving to several days instead of one. It would give me more time to introduce the crew.


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

    The Watering Hole
    Starbase Bastion

    Lt. Kenule Dryer leaned half-way over the table to hear what the other man was saying even though he was practically shouting. If the music, pounding from archaic audio speakers lined along the bulkheads, wasn’t loud enough, the raucous crowd was.

    There was dancing, singing, a lot of swaying, furious games of dom-jot and billiards among others. And the maddening clanging of glass and metal steins; often against rough wooden tables and bar tops as the patrons ordered more rounds. The scantily clad Farian and Orion waitresses were only happy to accommodate them. The gruff Nausicaan tending the bar looked tougher than any of the drinkers-including the Klingon ones, or the aggressive décor.

    “Say again?” Dryer asked.

    “This is great isn’t it?” Lt. Yori Shibata grinned.

    “Huh?” Now Kenule was yelling.

    Shibata got halfway out of his chair, and leaned over the table. His lips nearly brushed against Dryer’s ear. Still, the man cupped the sides of his mouth, “This is great,” he repeated.

    Kenule winced at the shouted words bouncing directly against his eardrum. “If you say so.”

    “Ah come on, don’t be such a buzz kill,” Shibata good-naturedly chided. Kenule had just met the man on the shuttle ride to Bastion. Both were late replacements. Despite Dryer’s desire to be left alone, Shibata had attached himself to Kenule like an Aldebaran mud leech. “This is great, a to the letter recreation of an Old Earth establishment called a biker bar,” Shibata said, clearly impressed.

    The words were lost on Kenule and not just because he could still barely hear them. Against his better judgment, which had been happening far more frequently since Shibata had warped into his life, Dryer asked, “What is a ‘biker bar’?”

    Shibata’s smile faltered, “Are you serious?”

    “I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t,” Kenule rejoined.

    “Oh, of course,” Shibata’s smile returned. “I forgot who I was talking to here for a moment. Mr. Uptight.”

    “Uptight?”

    “Never mind,” Shibata waved the query away. “I bet you never even went to your ship’s recreation lounge.”

    “My last posting was at the Daystrom Annex on Galor IV,” Kenule huffed; miffed that Shibata had forgotten that already. “And no I didn’t frequent the recreation establishment there. I…was too busy. I often just ate in the lab.”

    “Like I said, buzz kill,” Shibata’s words were belied by his smile. “Got to live a little Ken.”

    “Kenule,” Dryer pointed out, not really peeved. He hated being called Ken.

    “What?” Shibata asked.

    “Kenule,” he repeated. “That is my name. Not Ken.”

    “Like I said, way too uptight,” Shibata replied. “Anyway a biker bar is a made for bikers,” he paused, seeing if that would register. It didn’t. Shibata continued, “Bikers were people on Old Earth who rode motorcycles.”

    “I’ve heard of them,” Kenule pointed out, a bit too proudly.

    “Ah…good,” Shibata said, “Anyway, these bikers would sometimes form clubs and bars like these catered to them.”

    “Oh, I get that,” Dryer said, “It’s like a themed-establishment, often like starship lounges.”

    “Yes,” Shibata said, “Something like that.”

    “Who would want to spend their time or their money in a place like this?” Kenule wondered, looking around again. He held up his golden Tenarian Schnapps, “The drinks are too potent, the food is subpar, and I sense a fight is about to break out any moment.”

    Shibata laughed, “That’s the whole point. It’s the spirit of adventure, the unknown, and I mean, that’s what Starfleet is all about, is it not?”

    “I suppose,” Kenule offered, starting to regret his decision to leave the comfortable environs of his lab. But Admiral Haftel had literally pushed him out. He said it would be good for Dryer’s career, and that he couldn’t hide forever. “If you wanted some real adventure you should try that Alshain restaurant on the promenade. I would go in there, except I don’t eat meat.”

    “Damn, you’re a vegan and you barely drink,” Shibata shook his head, “What do you do for fun?”

    “Well, I,” Kenule began, but paused as he struggled to formulate an answer.

    “You know, hold that thought,” Shibata said as his head nearly cranked 360 degrees on his neck. Kenule followed his gaze. He saw an attractive blonde, dressed in low cut green blouse with matching skintight pants, making her way to the bar. Shibata wasn’t the only one paying attention.

    “Hey, Ken, I’ve already paid for the drinks, so I’ll catch you around,” Shibata said, as he got out of his seat.

    “My name is,” Dryer started, but Shibata was already gone. Kenule was both happy and sad that he was alone again.
    *****************************************************************

    USS Nimbus

    Chief Engineer Silane floated beneath Nimbus’s ventral secondary hull. He wanted to see if the heavy-warp sled had been attached properly. The Mark III Heavy-Warp Sleds could travel at Warp 9.997 for up to five months and should significantly cut down on the voyage to the Delta Quadrant.

    For most of that trip the crew would be in stasis, except for Silane. A Medusan, his non-corporeal form wasn’t subject to the ravages of time and space like many of his organic colleagues.

    Beside him flew one such colleague. Lt. Selvin piloted the cargo management unit expertly beside him. The Vulcan was his closest friend on the ship. Silane wasn’t sure if it was because Vulcans, with the assistance of a special visor could actually look on his true form without going mad, or if Silane’s emotional spectrum was muted enough not to disrupt the Vulcan’s staid manner.

    In any event he enjoyed the friendship and the companionship particularly at the moment. “What do you think Selvin?” Silane asked, though it was really the modulated computer voice from his containment sac.

    The yellow-hued organic replied, “The couplings are secure.”

    Silane approximated a nod, or at least thought he did, “I agree. I think it’s safe to report back to the captain that the sled has been successfully connected.” Once the sled’s warp coils were spent, it would be converted into a logistic supply node. It was truly a miracle of engineering and one Silane wished he had participated in conceiving and constructing.

    “Denizens from Omicron Ceti III have an eatery onboard Starbase Bastion,” Selvin said. Silane tried nodding again. He knew that the Cetians were famous for their vegetarian cuisine, and Selvin, like most Vulcans, was a vegan. “If you are not busy perhaps we could dine there.”

    “Unfortunately I have other plans,” Silane said, contemplating whether he should elaborate.

    “Understood,” Selvin coolly replied, not quite able to hide the disappointment in his voice. The Medusan was certain he knew the origin for that disappointment. So he no longer saw any concern in spelling it out.

    “Dr. Xylia has already asked me to dinner. There’s a new Alshain restaurant at the station. You are welcome to join us.” Even though Silane didn’t eat organic sustenance, he enjoyed observing the process and the camaraderie.

    “Thank you,” Selvin began, his words frigid, “But I will decline.”

    “You really shouldn’t be that way,” Silane said disapprovingly, “Xylia can’t help where she was born. Or choose her nationality.”

    “I am well aware of that Silane,” Selvin replied frostily. “But I can choose who I dine with.”

    After a long pause, Silane conceded, “Fair enough. I do want you to know that the offer still stands.”

    “Thank you,” Selvin said. Through the workbee’s viewport, Silane saw the man dip his head respectfully. “I shall not keep you from your appointment,” Selvin added. The CMU angled away from the Medusan and puttered back toward the Main Shuttlebay. Silane watched him go, pulsing softly all the while.
    *****************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
  6. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    I enjoyed the interplay amongst the Nimbus' crew, particularly the biker bar scene. It's obvious that you're putting together not only a diverse crew but one with some edges to it. It only stands to reason that there would be some challenges as differences in cultures / beliefs are pressed together in the confines of a starship.

    I really like the idea of a Medusan engineer. I'd give the idea of a Medusan crew member some thought but never follow-through on it. Glad to see you have given Silane a prominent role. Selvin appears to have some issues he needs to work through.
     
  7. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    Conference Room
    Starbase Bastion

    The conference room, graciously volunteered by the station’s commander, afforded the captains a premium view of all of Intercept Group Four’s ships. Nimbus and Wyoming already were ensconced in their warp sleds while work was proceeding apace on Palomar and Enzmann. Together the quartet of ships would join Everest. The refitted Excelsior-class cruiser was the only surviving ship from the first IG-4.

    The other five vessels had been lost in combat against the Kothlis’Ka, one of the species streaming out of the Delta Quadrant. IG-4 had tried failed to prevent the Kothlis’Ka Armada from proceeding on toward Romulan space.

    Everest’s captain had refused to return home, but had acceded to Starfleet Command’s demand that she not take the Everest into Romulan territory. A Starfleet vessel anywhere near that infernal horde might trigger a hostile response from the Star Empire.

    Command had also allowed the captain to send a warning to the Romulans, though so far neither she nor Command had received a reply, as far as Banti had heard. He suspected that Terrence’s rush to get back to the Romulan Neutral Zone was compelled by the oncoming Kothlis’Ka.

    In the borrowed conference room, Captain Awokou held court with the captains of the taskforce he would lead into the Delta Quadrant.

    He hated being one ship short for the new intercept group, but with the Satie Administration’s halt on starship construction and their new focus on unmanned warp combat vehicles, the Fleet was spread thin. Not only had a significant amount of men and materiel been thrown into Taskforce Vanguard, but there were still all the ongoing conflagrations that always demanded Starfleet’s time in addition to the standard missions of exploration.

    “This business with the Kothlis’Ka is just ghastly,” Captain Blazek, of the Ambassador-class Palomar, shook his elongated, purple head. His bulbous, fire orange eyes blinked spasmodically as he contemplated the enormity of his own statement. “An entire group wiped out.”

    “Not entirely,” admonished Captain Stiann, of the Cheyenne-class Wyoming. The brown-skinned Akaali’s skin coloration was darker than Banti’s. With her broad nostrils, full lips, and brown skin, Stiann could easily have passed for a member of Banti’s family, a daughter even, if not for the twin ridges bracing each side of her forehead and stopping just before they touched her eyebrows. “Everest survived,” she pointed out, “And she’s still ready to fight.”

    “I think it was a mistake for Command not to recall Everest,” Commander Raul Gomes, of the Miranda-class Enzmann, spoke up. Despite his youthful square face, Gomes’s hair was steel gray. Gomes’s age made Banti wonder why he hadn’t reached a higher rank. Awokou suspected that the man’s long history in Starfleet Intelligence perhaps was the reason. Once he got to know the man, Banti thought he might ask him.

    Usually Awokou brought his meetings to a close quickly after the main business had concluded, yet he was allowing this one to wind down naturally. He thought it would be a good thing for the captains to get to know each other better, especially before they all went into deep sleep. Who knew what situation awaited them once they were reawakened.
    With a sense of gallows humor, he thought back to his recent return to the land of the living. Banti was still grappling with all of the changes the Federation had undergone in just two short years, as well as how he had changed.

    Today he was far more amenable to sitting back and allowing his subordinates to speak their minds than he had been in the past. In fact, the idea that these were his subordinates felt odd to him, more so than it would have previously. They were his equals, all charged with bringing their crews home as safely as possible, and all nagged by the same fears and doubts.

    “The pressures, the strains on that crew must be immense,” Gomes said. “I understand the need to tough it out, but can Everest’s crew be truly up to the task after such a harrowing ordeal?”

    No one had a ready answer. They all knew that Gomes had been at Wolf 359, and had been one of the lucky survivors. He knew firsthand what it must have been like to fight and survive against an impossible foe.

    “I guess we’ll find out soon enough,” was all Blazek could muster.

    “There have been some positives,” Stiann pointed out, “There have been some successful contacts, remember the Concorde?” Participating in the refugee side of the undertaking, Captain Selmek had helped repatriate the species he had encountered.

    “What about Erickson?” Blazek just had to point out. “Just think what might have happened if the Venturi or the Tholians had gotten their hands on that alien technology?” The Erickson had helped avert a near catastrophe after encountering aliens who possessed a polaric ion generator.

    Banti was concerned about encountering such dangers as well, but he didn’t want to encourage Blazek’s pessimism. In the past Awokou might have considered it realism, but now, he wasn’t so sure of that.

    “Neither the Tholians, nor the Venturi succeeded,” Stiann said. “I think you are worrying too much. I’m surprised that you signed on for this journey at all.”

    “I didn’t,” Blazek replied, quieting the room. “There was a hole that needed filling and I follow orders.”

    “Speaking of following orders,” Banti said, only slightly regretting his next words. “I have another engagement to attend to. Please remain if you wish to do so.” He got up from his seat.

    He had been so engrossed in the conversation that he had forgotten his dinner date with his wife. While Terrence could blow off Rozi Awokou, Banti had long ago learned that was not the best course of action.

    “Plans for dinner I take it?” Gomes asked, grinning. “I wouldn’t be late if I were you sir. Take it from a divorced man.”

    Awokou paused and glared at the man. “How did you know I was meeting my wife?” He thought back to Gomes’s Starfleet Intelligence career with some disquiet.

    Gomes shrugged, “I know that look sir. It’s a look that many a man has got when they are afraid they have displeased or about to displease their wives.”

    Stiann chuckled at that and the tension broke. Banti allowed the tension in his shoulders to ease. “Very apt Commander,” Awokou nodded. “Perhaps we can all meet for dinner, aboard Nimbus, before we set out for the Delta Quadrant?”

    There were accommodating nods around the table. Awokou managed a smile. “I will have my first officer make the arrangements.” He looked at each of his fellow captains before leaving, his eyes lingering a bit too long on the still smiling Gomes. Once dinner was over with Rozi tonight, Awokou planned to burn some of his capital to check more thoroughly into Gomes’s background.

    Internally, Banti had just gone to blue alert.
    **************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  8. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    TLR,

    Thanks for the message. I missed it when I was posting. I'm really glad you're liking the crew. I'm liking them too. I can't say that for every crew that I've written about before, but this one is starting to come together.

    Thanks a lot for complimenting the Medusan engineer. I think I had a Medusan character in a story a while ago, but to be honest I can't remember if I jettisoned that character or not. They are a cool species. Originally Silane wasn't going to be Medusan. I was going to go with a Trek Lit. race, the Nizhrak'a. But once I thought more about it, I thought a Medusan could fit what my plans for Silane just as well. And once I read about how Vulcans can see their true forms, with some help, it just cemented the friendship I wanted between Silane and Selvin anyway.
     
  9. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    Promenade
    Starbase Bastion

    “I can’t believe you convinced me to do this,” Lt. Juanita Rojas chuckled, feeling very underdressed.

    “Oh, come on, red looks good on you,” Lt. Veca Ryse stopped and twirled in her own golden 23rd century-style uniform. Unlike Juanita, the tall, lithe fair skinned, violet-haired Farian had the legs for the miniskirt. Completing the twirl, Veca said, “Doesn’t she look fetching Loto?”

    Lt. Loto, the third member of their trio, hunched his massive shoulders, an anxious look on his face. The bald headed, tanned Arbazan nervously licked his lips and rubbed his ridged forehead, thinking of something to say or deflect Ryse’s line of inquiry.

    “Oh never mind,” Veca blew through her teeth. She pinched one of the man’s massive biceps and the gesture startled him. Ryse was unfazed. “Operations red does look good on you too though.”

    Juanita couldn’t help but give a sidelong glance, which she blamed on Veca’s prompting. Loto’s compact, ripped physique in his crimson tunic was very eye catching. If he had been a little bit taller he would’ve put Juanita in the mind of her beau. And she was certain that Tai Donar would not be pleased that she was eyeing another man.

    She stopped immediately and forced her eyes forward. From the periphery of her vision she saw that Veca had not. The Farian loved to tease the taciturn Arbazan. They had been at it long before Juanita had joined the crew.

    “I can’t believe they have one holosuite dedicated to the missions of the Enterprise-1701 and 1701-A,” Juanita marveled. She also wanted to spare poor Loto.

    “Why is it such a surprise?” Veca shrugged, “I mean it’s only the most famous ship in the Fleet. Even the Enterprises-D or E haven’t racked up as many achievements.”

    “It’s got to be close by now,” Juanita rejoined, thinking of her dream ship.

    “Not by a mile,” Veca asserted, “Besides Picard is too stuffy. He’s not as vivacious as Kirk.”

    “I’m not so sure about that,” Juanita shook her head.

    “You’ll see,” Veca proclaimed. “Once we’re in the simulation and you see his holographic likeness up close.”

    “Okay,” Juanita said, not coating her doubt.

    “Which Enterprise captain do you think was the best?” Loto interjected. Juanita was shocked. Not by the interjection but that the man attempted to make conversation at all. He didn’t direct the question to either woman in particular. As it was Veca’s wont, she jumped right in.

    “Come on Kirk.” Veca rolled her eyes as if it were a no-brainer.

    “Well, I think Picard,” Juanita shot back. “What do you think Loto?”

    “Well, there’s Pike, Kirk, Decker,” Loto rattled off the names of each commanding officer, “Harriman, Garrett, Picard, Riker, Picard, Jellico…”

    “Seriously, Jellico doesn’t count,” Veca interceded. Juanita playfully jabbed the Farian in the ribs.

    “Shush,” she admonished her friend. Now that the Arbazan was talking she didn’t want him to wall himself again.

    Loto had continued talking, wrapped in his own thoughts, and oblivious to their offside jibing. “Harriman,” he concluded. That drew surprised looks from both women.

    “Harriman?” Veca was incredulous.

    “Harriman?” Juanita’s tone was more inquisitive but still she was just as puzzled.

    “Yes,” the Arbazan doubled down, still oblivious to the shocks he had generated. “It took tremendous courage to first take command after Captain Kirk and then to retain command after the shakedown cruise tragedy,” the man reasoned. “It is not easy to weather public condemnation.”

    That brought Veca up short. She nodded sagely, an old pain etching across her face. Both she and Loto had served aboard Nimbus during the now infamous Ardana Incident. So they knew full well what it was like to keep their heads up while being pariahs.

    “Maybe Harriman isn’t such a bad choice after all,” Veca conceded, her normal wattage dimming considerably.

    “He’s a great choice,” Juanita said with forced cheer. “Good pick Loto.”

    The Arbazan looked at her curiously, “You're…welcome Lieutenant Rojas.”

    “While we’re in our costumes, we’re all on a first name basis, okay?” Veca said, her clouds dissipating.

    “So, what’s going to be the mission for this program?” Juanita asked.

    “I don’t know,” Veca shrugged, “I think Loto should pick.”

    “The mission where the Enterprise encountered the planet killer,” the Arbazan surprisingly had one already picked out. Surprising to Juanita because that inferred that he was actually looking forward to the holosuite program. She couldn’t read that in his stony disposition.

    “Ooh that’s a good one,” Veca gushed. “I can’t wait to get inside the suite now.”

    “Ah, guys, I think we might have to delay our session,” Juanita said, her pulse quickening.

    “What’s wrong?” Veca narrowed her eyes, perceptive to the serious switch in tone. Juanita pointed across, to the other side of the Promenade. “Fark!” She muttered as she saw Silane trying to intercede in vain between Dr. Xylia and three angry Klingons. “I see what you’re saying,” she replied. “Looks like someone needs our…”

    Before the Farian finished, Loto took off, his sure physical movements speaking a lethal language that Juanita hoped the Klingons heard as loudly as she did.
    ****************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  10. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    You can't start a dangerous mission into the unknown without a good, old-fashioned bar brawl! It's a rule, look it up! :lol:
     
  11. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Wow, how come I've never read anything by you before? This is great!! I see you've posted more in this forum, but do you have a place online where your writing is gathered, without posts from other members in between?
     
  12. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    The classic fanboy argument distilled into an in-universe discussion. Classic. And I love the fact that they settled on Harriman as the best Enterprise captain. Seemingly the most underwhelming choice possible.

    It's obvious however that these aren't real fanboys and girls. If they were they would have known that they didn't wear miniskirt uniforms on the Enterprise-A. Honest mistake.

    We were working on a United Trek story archive from which any past UT story could be easily accessed from. Unfortunately those efforts have stalled at the moment. With Darkush's permission I can make some of his stories in PDF format available via Dropbox and save the links here for you to download.
     
  13. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay,

    The mistake was mine about the Enterprise-A. I had meant the Enteprise-1701. I made the correction. Thanks for catching that. However Uhura does wear a miniskirt in Star Trek VI if I'm not mistaken. You certainly have my permission to convert the stories to make them more easier for Mage to read.

    Mage,

    Good question. Why haven't you? Just kidding. Thanks for commenting. It's always great when anyone posts commentary, and especially when new folks share their thoughts. CeJay has graciously offered to make my stories more easy for you to read. If you have any issues once you get them about the chronology please drop me a line.

    Gibraltar,

    Of course a good bar fight gets the blood pumping.
     
  14. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Location:
    No matter where you go, there you are.
    What I've read so far of this story looks very interesting, thanks for putting it up.

    I also am interested in checking out more of United Trek and would love to know where to find it, in particular Star Trek: Lexington. Any guidance would be appreciated, I was able to find a UT site with listings of the stories but not with links to them...
     
  15. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
  16. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    If you could, that would be fantastic!!!

    DarKush, if you could PM me with the chronological order, that would be very helpful. :)
     
  17. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Big Jake,

    Thanks for reading and commenting. If you continue to read, I hope you enjoy the rest of the story.

    Author's Note: I switched out the Everest for the USS Empress, a ship created by fellow United Trek colleague Galen4. In the finished product of this story, all mentions of the Everest will be replaced with Empress.


    *****************************************************************
    Promenade
    Starbase Bastion

    “I would appreciate it if you would kindly stop doing that sir,” Chief Engineer Silane said, which naturally prompted another poke, this time harder, from the leader of pack of Klingons that had accosted him and Dr. Xylia. His containment sac could withstand the poking, but the constant jabbing was disconcerting…not to mention rude.

    “And what are you going to do if I don’t?” The Klingon challenged. Wiry, yet muscled arms sprouted from his rusted metallic vest. His dirty blond hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Surprisingly the man sported no facial hair. His sagittal ridge was also less impressive than his compatriots. The muscle bound heckler with the heaviest forehead ridge had thick metal rings hanging from each ridge in addition to his ears. The third man was heavyset, with his thick hair just as unkempt as his slovenly dress.

    None of the men wore Defense Force uniforms, to which Silane was both pleased and slightly alarmed. He was glad that the Defense Force hadn’t stooped so low in their recruiting program, but disquieted by the fact that the Medusan couldn’t fall back on using the shared wartime experience to deflect their anger.

    “He’s just going to float away Joqala,” the disheveled one brayed, drawing laughter from the other two.

    “B’zeq might be right,” chortled the pierced one, “Or if you poke a hole in that suit, he might just deflate.” The man added, with a dangerously curious gleam in his eye at the thought.

    “And in the process drive you and almost everyone else within eyesight insane,” Dr. Xylia said, seemingly unfazed by their sudden admirers.

    “Who said you could speak Romulan!” Joqala, the blond, snarled. “My grandparents died on Narendra III!”

    “My apologies for your loss,” Xylia said coolly.

    “You don’t sound sorry,” B’zeq, the thickset one, lumbered forward. “She doesn’t sound sorry one bit, does she Ch’taak?”

    “No,” the ringed man shook his head, causing the metal rings to jingle. “But I got something that might make her feel sorry,” he grinned, and made a show for reaching for the large serrated blade at his side.

    “What are you doing with that?” Silane asked, floating closer to Xylia. “You were supposed to hand over all weapons upon entry onto this starbase.”

    “And what are you going to do about it?” Laughed Ch’taak. “Report me? You’ll be dead before you touch your combadge.”

    “And so would you,” a new, familiar and welcome voice entered the fray. The Klingons turned to see Lt. Loto standing behind them. Lieutenants Ryse and Rojas were bringing up the rear. Silane pulsed with relief. Xylia merely arched one eyebrow.

    Loto stood calmly, his arms folded across his muscled chest. His expression was impassive, his voice level. “I would recommend that you gentlemen proceed on your way.”

    “No one calls me a gentleman!” Joqala said, pushing past his compatriots to square off against the Arbazan. He glared down at Loto, his nostrils flaring, his lips pulled back in a snarl. “What do you mean by that? Do you think we are soft, like humans?” He gave Juanita a quick glare before returning his gaze to Loto.

    The other Klingons moved to flank the stoic Arbazan. Ryse moved to engage them, but Loto held up one hand, and she stopped in her tracks. Lt. Rojas also stood at the ready, both hands curling and uncurling, her body language taut and anticipating violence.

    Joqala placed one thick finger in the center of Loto’s chest. “I asked you a question,” he said. “Do you think we are soft?” He repeated, before pressing an indentation into the Arbazan’s chest.

    “Grishnar cat got your tongue?” B’zeq asked, and Ch’taak guffawed.

    “Perhaps this Arbazan is intimidated by real men,” Ch’taak offered.

    “Well, he is wearing a child’s garments after all,” B’zeq declared.

    “I heard their kind don’t like seloh,” Ch’taak added.

    “Is that right?” Joqala asked Loto, his face contorting in disgust. “Just what manner of ‘man’ are you?”

    “One that is about to kick your asses,” Ryse couldn’t help herself.

    “What are you doing here Farian?” B’zeq’s fat head turned toward her and looked her up and down. “I didn’t know Federation starbases had pleasure mazes.” All three men laughed at that, and Ryse’s face turned a shade of crimson he had never seen before.

    Almost too fast for Silane’s optic receptors to capture, Loto grabbed Joqala’s pointed finger, twisted it until it popped. Joqala squealed in pain before a thrust to the throat silenced him and a chop to the back of his head felled him.

    Loto, not slowing down, moved on to a still smirking Ch’taak. The jeweled Klingon was slow on the uptake. Unfortunately for him, Loto was not. Two kicks, one low, the other high, and Ch’taak joined Joqala.

    Next, the methodical Arbazan turned toward B’zeq. The hefty Klingon backed away, stopping when he bumped into Ryse. He threw back an elbow, to knock the woman out of his way. The Farian ducked beneath it, and drove her own elbow into his side.

    The man crumbled, protecting his side, and left everything else exposed. Ryse made nearly as quick work of B’zeq as Loto had of his comrades.

    Once B’zeq had joined them on the ground, all three grumbling an admixture of moans and curses, Loto nodded with satisfaction and Ryse grinned. Loto casually walked over to Ch’taak and extricated his blade. “I’ll be confiscating this. If you want it back, file a report.”

    Silane glanced at Xylia. The Romulan’s eyebrow was nearly to the roof, and Lt. Rojas was looking just as stunned. The two Nimbus security officers had taken down the Klingon toughs within seconds, before the station’s security could respond, or even be made aware of a potential hostile situation. Ryse was completely nonplussed. “Now, that we got that little warm up in,” the Farian said, “I’m ready for that holoprogram.”

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

    Ready Room
    USS Nimbus

    “Did I catch you at a bad time Captain?” Captain Banti Awokou asked his counterpart, not attempting to hide his curiosity.

    The holoprojector displayed a head-to-toe image of Captain Tan Erasia, of the Starship Empress. A medical apron was draped over the woman’s uniform. “No,” she said, her voice strained, “I have a few minutes before surgery.”

    “Excuse me?” Awokou hoped he hadn’t balked, “Did you say surgery?”

    “Yes,” the Efrosian nodded, “I was a doctor before pursuing the command track. We lost our chief medical officer during the battle with the Kothlis’Ka Armada. While we still have some talented medical technicians and a functional EMH, I like to pitch in when I can.” The woman leaned close, lowering her voice, more so from habit than necessity, “Besides, I really don’t trust those medical holograms. Too cold and antiseptic.”

    “I see,” Awokou nodded, more so to move the conversation along than because he agreed with her. “I wanted to provide you an update on our progress,” he said.

    “Could you just send it through subspace?” Erasia asked. “It might take a little while to get here but it’ll arrive certainly before you do.”

    “One can hope,” Awokou said. He was hoping to develop a rapport with his counterpart, similar to what he had done with the other IG-4 captains. Banti knew that establishing a relationship with Erasia might be tougher due to Nimbus replacing Empress as the lead taskforce ship. In the first IG-4 iteration, Erasia had been in charge of the taskforce.

    Not only had that group been decimated, with Empress incurring casualties and massive damage, but Erasia had been eclipsed by him and the bigger, shinier Sovereign-class Nimbus. Banti hoped that there wouldn’t be any hard feelings, though he couldn’t put it past her if there were.

    In any event, he was hoping to clear the air before they arrived in the Delta Quadrant and begun working together. “So, how are things going?” Banti found himself asking. Inwardly he winced. In time’s past he had been more direct.

    Erasia looked befuddled. “You didn’t receive our latest report?”

    “No, oh no, I’ve read that one and all the ones you’ve sent,” Awokou rushed to clarify. “I meant, how are things…with…well…” He paused, gathering himself, but unable to stop his cheeks from warming, “you and me?”

    “I wasn’t aware that we were going steady,” the Efrosian quipped.

    “Oh no, not that, I wasn’t asking you…” Awokou grew flustered. Finally he managed, “I’m a married man, a happily married man.”

    “Cool your thrusters sir,” Erasia chuckled, “I was just joshing, as my XO is fond of saying; trying to ease some of the tension.”

    “I see,” Awokou said, feeling a great burden lifting off his shoulders. He would hate to have to explain this portion of the conversation to Command or his wife. Rozi definitely put more fear into him any admirals.

    “I really don’t have much time,” Erasia said, “but I want you to know that I am fine with you taking command. I’m not going to say it was an easy thing to accept…at first, but right now, I have more important things to patch up than a wounded ego. It definitely keeps things in perspective.”

    Thinking of his own injuries, Banti nodded in understanding. “It certainly does.”

    Erasia smiled, “Well, I guess this is the start of a beautiful relationship.”

    “I certainly hope so,” Awokou matched her smile.

    “Well then, I guess the only thing left to say is that I can’t wait to see you in the DQ,” the Efrosian said. “Now, permission to go deliver a baby sir?”

    “Permission granted,” Awokou laughed.
    **************************************************************
     
  18. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Well that was a perhaps one of the shortest bar brawls ever.

    And an awkward first talk between Awokou and Erasia. I like Empress' captain and the fact that she is not above delivering a new born herself. That's about as hands-on as a captain can get.
     
  19. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Thanks CeJay. It was the passage above that helped spark the desire to write out Captain Erasia's story more fully in "No Win Scenario". As that's coming to a close I wanted to get back into "Mercy".

    ***************************************************************
    Captain’s Quarters
    USS Nimbus

    Captain Awokou stepped into a room filled with laughter. His ready-made apology for being late died quickly on his tongue. His ability to adapt was something he hadn’t lost Banti was glad to realize. The captain’s stomach grumbled as the aroma of the food found his nose.

    He headed right into the dining area. His wife was standing opposite their guest. Both were placing dishes onto the table as they finished their laugh. Rozi was dressed in a simple, elegant royal blue dress while their fair-skinned guest still wore his uniform.

    “Counselor Antton, dear,” Awokou nodded at both of them. “I’m sorry to interrupt.”

    “Oh don’t be silly,” Rozi waved away his apology. “Xars was just helping with programming the dessert, and he was telling me about the first desert he made while a student at the Nausicaan School of Culinary Arts.”

    “There’s a Nausicaan cooking school?” Awokou asked, incredulous.

    “Oh yes captain,” The Lumerian counselor stood up to his full, imposing height. His thin frame and the twinkle in his brown eyes made him seem less imposing. The marking on his forehead wrinkled slightly after his expression and voice took on a serious cast. “The Nausicaans take great pride in their cuisine and especially their desserts. I can also tell you that failure was not an option.”

    “I can only imagine,” Awokou chuckled, “So what was your first dessert?”

    “Bloodfruit cake,” Antton looked wistful.

    “I take it that since you’re here recounting the story with my wife that it met with approval?” The captain asked.

    “Actually the chef hated it,” the Lumerian shrugged.

    “Well it is fruit cake after all,” Awokou laughed again and Rozi joined in. Antton looked at both of them, a perplexed look on his face.

    “It’s an Old Earth thing,” Rozi explained, “There is an Earth dessert also called fruit cake, which it appeared no one liked.”

    “At least according to Old Earth television,” Awokou added.

    “Television?” The counselor inquired.

    “Ah, let’s save that for the meal,” the captain advised. “And what are we having today?” He asked, as his eyes roved the table. The counselor stood at attention and nodded respectfully in Rozi’s direction before gesturing grandly at the repast. His wife chuckled again.

    “I thought it would be fitting to introduce you to the Delta Quadrant before we get there, with a sampling of several dishes,” Rozi smiled.

    “I knew you had been dying to try out some of the recipes Voyager sent back,” Banti grinned. Courtesy of Project Pathfinder, the stranded Starship Voyager had sent a lot of information about the Delta Quadrant, including data about its flora, fauna, and foodstuffs.

    “To the best of my ability I was able to program the replicator to reproduce Leola rice pilaf, Gabosti stew, Talaxian bread, and for dessert, Jimbalian fudge cake with L’maki nut frosting.”

    Plagued with a sweet tooth, Awokou’s eyes went directly to the purplish round cake.

    “I had some trouble with programming the L’maki nut, and that’s when our gracious counselor chivalrously offered his assistance.”

    Antton bowed. “It was all in the furtherance of greater galactic understanding.” All three laughed.

    Once they had settled down, Banti clapped his hands. He was ready to eat, but he was also ready to talk, to relax, and with his wife and the irrepressible counselor as his dinner companions he knew that both were going to be as plentiful as the helpings.
    ****************************************************************
     
  20. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    After reading the last installments of No Win Scenario, this is quite a change of pace. Awokou deserves all the domestic happiness he can get after what he's been through but one has to wonder how long this can possibly last if he's on a mission to pick up where Empress and Euraisa have left off.
     

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