Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by CeJay, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 3, 2005
    I can't help but wonder if he's going to try and stabilize it like Seven of Nine tried to, no matter the cost.

    I'm looking forward to seeing where you take this.
  2. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    For a moment there I thought Daystrom was going to go right off the rails. You ‘ve captured his dilemma and what his legacy has cost him with aching clarity. I hope for everyone’s sake that Daystrom can keep his word to Captain Donners.
  3. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Daystrom's anger and frustration are both understandable and well portrayed. Though his prior knowledge of Omega will be useful, his personal feelings may well complicate matters.

    The emphasis on how the Federation's attitude towards Omega is essentially censorship and suppression of knowledge adds an additional layer to the story. The UFP is not quite as utopian as it would hope.
  4. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 12, 2006
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    I can't help think of Fukishima as a real world analogy. A force that must be controlled at all times for a benefit. If that control fails, the entire area is ruined. I'm have mixed feelings on the issue, but it makes for an interesting debate.

    In this case, an interesting story.
  5. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Agamemnon, 2372

    “How bad is it, Doc?”

    Despite her vocal objections, Bobby DeSoto hadn’t ventured more than five feet from Tess Allenby’s side since he had followed her into sickbay after the accident at the main deflector.

    “The lieutenant has non life-threatening second-degree plasma burns to her left hand and lower forearm which extend to her dermis layer,” said Rass as she stood glancing at a padd and looking up from time to time to watch her nurse, Xolani Nyembe, efficiently treat the wound with a dermal regenerator while Allenby sat on a biobed and tried hard not wince at the discomfort.

    “Human skin is such a delicate organ and very susceptive to damage, you must be more careful around sources of extreme temperatures,” she continued.

    Nyembe almost stumble over DeSoto as he tried to reach for another instrument. “Alright Ensign,” the South African said sharply. “For the last time, either stand to one side or leave this sickbay at once.”

    “He has no business being here,” Allenby quickly chimed in. “This is all his fault anyway.”

    The ensign took a step back and placed a hand innocently on his chest. “My fault? I was trying to tell you about the energy surge but you were too distracted laying into me,” he said and then looked at the doctor. “She’s going to be alright, isn’t she?”

    The Selay awkwardly nodded her cobra-like head. It was clearly not a natural movement as she tried to mimic the common gesture. “The lieutenant will fully recover and no scare tissue should remain after the procedure. There remains a 2% chance for the skin to develop cellulitis but this too is easily treatable.”

    DeSoto looked back at the still furious Allenby. “See, you’ll be good as new.”

    The woman rolled her eyes. “That’s not the point. None of this would have happened if you hadn’t been there,” she barked.

    The outburst momentarily stunned sickbay into silence.

    Allenby blushed slightly and returned Nyembe puzzled expression as he had paused treating her wound. “He is very distracting,” she said quietly.

    The nurse nodded understandingly and then continued.

    Commander Chen had stood nearby and watched the spectacle unfold with his arms crossed in front of his narrow, insectoid torso. His two feelers stood up straight in the air, showing that he had been paying close attention to the conversation around him. “What exactly happened?” he asked in his distinct clicking-sound voice.

    Both Allenby and DeSoto immediately started speaking over each other, trying to shift the blame for the accident.

    The Xindi cut them off by raising both his skinny arms. “Not helpful.”

    Sessar-Rass looked back and forth between the lieutenant and the ensign and then at the chief engineer. “Are humans always this confusing?”

    Chen shot her a seemingly sympathetic look. “Only most of the time.”

    “Hey, don’t lump us all into the same pot,” said Nyembe just as he finished with Allenby.

    Chen lowered his head slightly. “Apologies, no offense intended.”

    The dark-skinned man offered a wide smile before he glanced back at the operations manager. “There. As promised, all better now.”

    She fisted her hand a few times for practice and then gave the man an appreciative nod.

    “Now, can we try again? I need to make a full report about this incident to first officer,” Chen said.

    Allenby quickly jumped off the bed and stepped closer to the chief engineer. “When you do, make sure you remind him of what I have previously reported, on the record, that Ensign DeSoto is a danger to himself and those around him. I think this quite proves my point. Furthermore -”

    “Now wait a minute,” the helmsman started to protests.

    Allenby raised her pointer finger in his direction and shot him a frosty look over his shoulder. “Ensign, the grown-ups are talking.”

    Sessar looked on in bewilderment and even Chen didn’t appear to understand exactly what was happening here.

    The lieutenant faced the chief engineer again. “The captain is already aware of my concerns regarding DeSoto’s behavior and I think she should be informed of this incident as well.”

    Chen considered her for a moment, looked at the young helmsman who appeared less than worried by Allenby’s open accusations and then back at her. “You will both provide me with a report regarding this matter so that I can review it and forward it to Commander Texx.”

    Allenby nodded eagerly. “You have it within the hour, sir,” she said and stormed off.

    Bobby shot Chen a wide smirk. “Is she completely smitten with me, or what?”

    The Xindi engineer didn’t seem to understand, judging by the movements of his lower mandibles. He exchanged another look with the CMO before he decided that he had done everything he could here. “We shall have another session on humanoid social behaviorism at 1600 hours if this suits you.”

    She looked positively eager. “That would suit me perfectly fine,” she said quickly.

    Chen turned and left sickbay.

    After a moment the Selay crossed over to DeSoto. “What does ‘smitten-with’ mean exactly?”

    His grin widened. “It means she’s into me, Doc. Couldn’t you tell?”

    The stone-faced expression on her reptile face gave proof that she probably couldn’t.

    “Come on, you can’t tell me you don’t understand that,” he said with a boyish grin. “Not after those looks you exchange with our chief engineer.”
    She tilted her head slightly, indicating further puzzlement. “Commander Chen and I share a productive and professional relationship. He is assisting me in acclimating to the diverse social climate of a Starfleet vessel.”

    “Right,” he said. “Listen, Doc, I may not be an expert on exo-sociology but I can interpret a look between two folks as well as the next man,” he said, still with that grin plastered on his face and then leisurely strolled out of the room, leaving behind an even more befuddled Ssesar-Rass.

    * * *​

    Amaya Donners found that Agamemnon’s bridge design was both efficient and practical. Her chair stood almost in the dead center, giving her a great view on the workstations all around her and on the large holographic view screen mounted into the front bulkhead.

    She was flanked by a chair for the first officer to her right and a mission specialist to her left, usually occupied by Arden Texx and Vej respectively.

    A forward facing and dedicated science station stood at the far right and a nearly identical console, this one for engineering was positioned at the opposite side of the bridge.

    At the front and a few steps below her chair was the combined, t-shaped helm and operations console which slightly invoked the venerable design of a previous century.

    To her right and slightly behind her was the tactical console usually manned by the imposing figure of Lieutenant Mer’iab and an auxiliary tactical and science station stood to her left.

    Most of the back bulkhead was made up of a large master control station which was currently configured to show a cutaway diagram of the Agamemnon and her eighteen decks. The port and starboard bulkheads were lined with various stations for science, environmental controls and mission ops. Some of these stations were only manned depending on the ship’s current mission priority.

    Crimson-colored doors in the front led to her ready room and a turbolift and in the back to the observation lounge and another lift. The entire bridge was covered in a pleasing, light-blue carpet and was lit by comfortable and glare-free white light.

    “Sir, sensors are detecting severe gravimetric distortions ahead,” said Wayne Daystrom from the science station at Maya’s right. “It will severely affect our ability to maintain high warp.”

    She nodded, having expected this. “Bobby, reduce our speed to warp three point two.”

    “Three point two,” he said and entered the appropriate commands.

    Maya could barely even feel the vibrations of the deceleration through the deck plates. She recalled her previous starship assignment on the Columbia were the deck had had a tendency to rattle noticeably when accelerating or slowing down by just one warp factor.

    “Smooth, isn’t she?” Texx said with a smirk, reading his new captain perfectly.

    “Remind me to congratulate Chen on a well configured warp drive,” she responded with a nod.

    “You may be interested to know that we are now within visual range of GRS 2127-341,” said Daystrom. “The largest black hole entity in the quadrant.”

    “Let’s have a peek,” said the captain.

    The screen quickly shifted to show a perfectly spherical pitch black mass which was perhaps most extraordinary by its absence of everything. Gasses and spatial matter swirled around it in a circular pattern making the entire thing look like a huge, galactic drain.

    The bridge crew considered it with quiet fascination.

    “Ever wonder where all this stuff goes once it is swallowed up?” said DeSoto.

    “In simple terms, matter undergoes spaghettification, is reformed and becomes part of the black hole itself,” said the science officer.

    DeSoto swiveled his chair around to look at the science officer. “Spaghettification? You just made that up.”

    “Jesus, Ensign, did you not pay any attention at the Academy at all? That’s astrophysics 101,” said Tess Allenby with a clearly annoyed tone in her voice. “How exactly did you ever make it to the helm of a starship?”

    DeSoto shrugged. “I was told, whatever you do, don’t fly the thing into a black hole.”

    The operations officer shot him another dark look but DeSoto had become quite adapt at ignoring those by now.

    Texx wasn’t quite able to wipe that grin of his face. “Alright, folks, let’s focus on getting us through this sector in one piece, alright.”

    The two officers at the forward station quickly turned their full attention back onto their respective stations.

    Vej however was still observing the fascinating site of the black hole on the screen. “So is this thing the source of all the gravimetric disturbance in this sector?” he asked nobody in particular.

    “That’s the theory,” said the Bolian first officer. “And good thing to. We’re not far off the Romulan Neutral Zone and thanks to the black hole we have our own all-natural, anti-invasion defense system right in our backyard.”

    The captain exchanged a quick look with Daystrom. They both knew better why a Romulan invasion through the Gamma Hydra sector would be unlikely. It was indeed because of the severe distortions in subspace which made high warp impossible but those had nothing to do with the black hole.

    Vej noticed the look but a glance at Donners made it clear that she was not willing to elaborate on her thoughts.

    “Captain, we are being hailed,” said Mer’iab from the tactical station.

    Maya swiveled her chair to face him, not having expected this after Admiral Glover had made it clear that Agamemnon would be operating under radio silence for the duration of this mission. And yet she felt a sudden surge of hope that perhaps somebody had made a mistake. Perhaps the entire Omega Molecule thing had been a false alarm. And if it wasn’t, Maya was not ashamed to admit that she would have been relieved if Glover was calling to let her know that he had found somebody else to deal with this mess. “Starfleet?” she asked.

    Lure Mer’iab shook his head. “No, sir. It is originating from a small vessel at the edge of the Iota Crucis system. I am unable to identify the signature.”

    Donners nodded, trying hard to mask her disappointment. “Put it on screen.”

    “It’s audio only,” the avian said.

    “… Starfleet vessel, do you read me?” The seemingly feminine voice coming over the speakers was heavily distorted, no doubt due to the damaged subspace that lay between the two ships.

    Texx and Donners shared a quick, surprised look, before Donners leaned forward in her chair. “This is Amaya Donners of the Federation starship Agamemnon. We are receiving your signal. Please identify yourself and advise how we can be of assistance.”

    “I knew it. I knew you would come. Thank the All-Mother,” the woman responded over the comm. Donners thought she could hear a distinct clicking noise in her speech not unlike the way Chen sounded.

    But the response had answered little to nothing. “Whom am I addressing?” she said.

    There was a momentary pause. “I apologize. It is just that I am very excited to finally be able to make contact with your Federation. It is something I have been waiting for a very long time. After the latest incident I was sure you would come and I have been waiting out here for many lirkiks, eagerly awaiting your arrival,” she said, her words practically flying across the bridge. “My name is Ket. Queen Ket if you wish to be formal. And it is of extreme urgency that I meet with you as soon as possible. I worry that we are all in a great deal of danger.”
  6. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    That was… unexpected. I hope this isn’t a trap designed to draw Agamemnon in… the odds are stacked heavily enough against them as it is.

    As for DeSoto and Allenby, these kids are cracking me up. They're either going to kill one another, or end up having a torrid romance for the ages! :lol:
  7. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 12, 2006
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    This queen waiting for them is an interesting development. I look forward to see where you're going with it.
  8. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Lexington, 2267

    The three-way monitor mounted at the center of the hexagon-shaped briefing room table showed images of a relatively barren, brown and rust-red planet. The rocky surface was laced with wide canyons which seemed to dissect the large continents endlessly. Signs of crawling and buzzing animal life and intermittent appearances of green and brown fauna gave proof that it was an inhabitable world but the little water, rough winds and jagged mountain ranges didn’t make it appear particularly inviting.

    “This is the surface of Iota Crucis IV as it was surveyed by the Exeter four years ago. Classed as a barely class-L planet, the survey team found the surface too inhospitable to be considered for a permanent outpost. The only signs of useable minerals were too far below the surface to be excavated without causing irreparable damage to the planet’s ecosystem,” said Zha’Thara as she provided running commentary to the slide show. Then she removed the bright yellow microtape from its slot and replaced it with a red one.

    On the screens the surface images disappeared and instead showed still photographs of the sepia planet from a distance.

    “These are images we took a few minutes ago with our long-distance sensors.”

    She cycled through them until she reached the ones that resembled orbital photographs. Unlike the pervious images, these shots were not of the surface but it wasn’t difficult to make out clear signs of habitation on the planet. And not just a single outpost or sporadic settlements, there were undeniable signs of a sprawl of cities and infrastructure.

    “I might be just an old-time Massachusetts quack but could somebody explain to me how anyone could build all that in just four years?” said Doctor Charles Vincent with his noticeable New England twang.

    He wasn’t the only one looking at the images with bewilderment. The rest of the senior officers assembled in the briefing room seemed at a loss themselves. Ketteract was perhaps the only person present who seemed the least bit excited about this unusual find and instead kept drumming his fingers on the table top.

    “The short answer, Doctor,” said the Andorian science officer, “is that they couldn’t. At least not with the kind of technology that we are familiar with.”

    “That should rule out the Romulans. And the Klingons,” said Commander Kuznetsov. “G’arv, any thoughts?”

    The Tellarite chief engineer tugged on his bright red tunic but before he responded, he shot another look at the images on the monitor.

    Vincent smirked. “I didn’t think I see the day that G’arv is rendered speechless.”

    This caused a number of smiles among the senior staff. The vocal chief engineer was usually a man quick to share his opinion, no matter if people cared for it or not. But this mystery had clearly robbed him of one.

    “I’m still holding out for the day any of your patients survive their treatments without serious brain damage,” he shot back at the doctor.

    Vincent was well accustomed to this kind of repartee, secretly enjoyed it even. “Judging by the clueless expression on you face, I’d say they usually do better than you at the moment.”

    The Tellarite was not going to let that stand but before he could shoot back the appropriate insult, Robert Wesley stepped in, knowing full well that if unchecked, this banter could drag on endlessly. The crew certainly didn’t mind the entertainment but he needed his people to focus. “G’arv, may I re-direct your attention to the issue at hand.”

    The chief engineer shot a last glower at the doctor, making it clear that he had not conceded this round, before focusing on the monitor again. “I’ve heard of plans for replication technology which possibly could construct material on an industrial scale but that stuff is mostly still theoretical at his point. And even then I doubt it could do anything to that extent.”

    “So, are we talking about an advanced civilization here with technology far beyond what we have encountered before?” asked the commodore.

    Zha’Thara shook her head. “I don’t think so, sir. Judging from the admittedly limited visual information we have seen so far, besides the fact that it has appeared out of nowhere, this doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary. More tellingly the vessels we have already encountered were not comprised of any significantly advanced technology.”

    “Thank God,” said the Bear. “I was getting rather bored of advanced and omnipotent beings.”

    “I’m sorry if I’m interrupting here,” said Ketteract whose increasing impatience had finally reached the tipping point. “No, you know what, I’m not sorry at all, actually. We are losing sight of what’s important. It doesn’t matter who these people are or where they came from. The Ketteract readings are clearly coming from that world.”

    The Andorian shot him a perplexed look. “Ketteract readings?” she asked with a raised white eyebrow.

    He shrugged. “We don’t have a name for it yet. It makes sense for it to be named after the person who first discovered it.”

    Vincent aimed a curious look at the first officer, the expression on his face seemingly asking: ‘Is this guy for real?’

    ‘Don’t even get me started,’ was the Russian’s non-verbal reply.

    “To explore strange new worlds? To seek out new life and new civilizations?” said Vincent. “You may have heard those phrases before, Doctor. They are part of our charter.”

    But the scientists dismissed him with a wave of his hand. “Our mission out here is to find the source of these energy readings. I’m not denying that we may come across some other, far less noteworthy discoveries on our way. But we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get distracted by the pretty lights which ultimately are of little scientific significance.”

    With a heavy sigh Vincent capitulated, clearly deciding that it wasn’t worth arguing with this man and certainly nowhere near as much fun as it was with G’arv.

    “Commodore, I took the liberty to speak with your chief engineer earlier, and I think we may have found a way to get passed those pesky little ships which are keeping us from Iota Crucis IV,” he continued and looked towards the Tellarite.

    G’arv nodded. “And what a delightful conversation we had.”

    Ketteract beamed proudly, missing the sarcasm completely.

    “The mass drivers used on those ships aren’t really the problem. Our shields can withstand them quite easily. The issue is quantity, not quality. However we may be able to compensate by bombarding our shield grid with a low intensity tachyon beam from the deflector dish. It would reinforce the shields sufficiently to repel a multi-pronged mass driver attack. At least for a while.”

    “Are we seriously considering this?” asked Vincent. “It seems to me that whoever these people are, they have made their intentions quite clear. They do not want us sniffing around in their backyard. Starfleet prides itself in not interfering with other races who just want to be left alone. I’m pretty sure this one qualifies.”

    “Valid point, Doctor. If nothing else we know that they are trying to keep us away from their planet,” said Wesley and the focused on Ketteract who was most likely to have a different view on the matter. “This may be one of those cases were we should leave things well enough alone and respect these people’s wishes.”

    “You cannot be serious,” he said. His face was twitching as if he was trying, unsuccessfully, to keep his emotions in check. “Commodore, the Ketteract signature –“

    “For the record, I object to that term,” said the Andorian.

    “Whatever we end up calling it,” he snapped at her before looking at the ship’s commander again. “It’s … it’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before. It’s difficult for me to put this into terms you would understand but we may very well be looking at a revolution in molecular physics here. Strike that. A revolution in scientific theory, period.”

    “I’m going to pretend that you are not trying to insult my intelligence on purpose, Doctor,” said Wesley, keeping his own tone sharp enough to communicate his displeasure, before he turned to look at the Andorian. “Commander, you’re not a layman. Your thoughts?”

    She needed to take a little breath of air first and then looked towards Ketteract who appeared almost contrite now that he realized that the greatest discovery of his life could depend on the words spoken by some Starfleet science officer.

    Zha’Thara turned back to Wesley. “To be perfectly honest, sir, I don’t even fully understand what Doctor Ketteract has found here. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with him in principle that this is an extremely significant discovery. Maybe even on the scale of the Higgs boson discovery of the 21st century.”

    “My high school science is a little rusty, Commander,” said Kuznetsov.

    “Forget the Higgs boson,” said Ketteract, quickly reinserting himself into the conversation. “This is Einstein splitting the atom, big.”

    The Andorian rolled her eyes, somewhat weary of the man’s hyperbole, she didn’t bother to point out that on Earth it had been scientists like Ernest Rutherford, Niels Bohr and Marrie and Pierre Curie who deserved the real credit for nuclear fission. The point had been made.

    Wesley looked concerned. “Splitting the atom led us down a path of conflicts fought with weapons of mass destruction. World War Three nearly wiped out the human race.”

    “Exactly,” Ketteract said, quickly picking up on the thread. “Now imagine a force, I don’t know, a hundred times, maybe a thousand times more powerful than those primitive nuclear weapons. Imagine what it could do to a planet. No, no, imagine what it could do to an entire space sector, maybe even beyond.”

    “You’re saying that this radiation could be weaponized on such a scale?” asked Kuznetsov.

    He nodded quickly. “Absolutely. In fact, I have no doubt in my mind that it could.”

    But Bob Wesley looked to Zh’thara for answers instead.

    “From what I’ve seen so far I can’t see how you could weaponize this radiation –“

    “That’s because you suffer from a limited imagination,” Ketteract interrupted.

    She shot him a dark scowl which contrasted sharply with her beautiful features. “I wasn’t finished, Doctor,” she said and then turned to look at the commodore again. “What I was going to say was that I can’t see how it could be weaponized with our current means but I agree that the potential is there and given enough time, research and determination it could be turned into quite possibly the most destructive weapon we’ve ever seen.”

    “Not just that,” the now inappropriately excited scientists was quick to add. “The potential for disaster is nearly incalculable. Power of this magnitude would have to be contained and monitored extremely carefully. If something went wrong, well, it wouldn’t be just a planet to go up in flames, I’m sure.”

    The briefing room fell silent after that as these words were carefully considered. A decision had to be made and Robert Wesley already knew that he didn’t like either one of his options. And yet he fully understood that those were the only ones available to him.

    He finally looked towards Vincent. “As much as I hate the idea of getting involved with the internal affairs of an alien race which has already shown its xenophobic attitude, if they in fact posses the means to produce a weapon which could become a serious threat to the Federation, be it by their own doing or through it being acquired by a known hostile race like the Romulans, I believe it is our duty to investigate and learn as much as we can about it.”

    “Even if by that we’d be in violation of General Order One?” Vincent asked skeptically.

    “Yes, Doctor,” Wesley said, now sounding completely confident in his decision. “Even if it violates the Prime Directive.”
  9. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 3, 2005
    I like PD discussions. GO1 should not be an absolute rule, but one that is adhered to in spirit if not letter. Looking at the bigger picture, Wesley is completely right. The Omega molecule is the most dangerous weapon in the galaxy.
  10. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 12, 2006
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    It's always a fine line between deciding what is a threat and what is a potential threat. It's a slippery slope. I hope Wesley treads it well.
  11. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Agamemnon, 2372

    She stepped out of the turbolift and was surprised to find the tall avian already waiting for her in the corridor, flanked by two of his security guards. She thought this to be odd as she believed to remember seeing him on the bridge before she had left and it now made her to wonder how he had managed to beat her all the way down to deck eight, already armed and with an assembled team at the ready.

    “Captain, I would like to reiterate my request to place the ship on yellow alert,” he said and then fell into step next to her, his two guards following behind.

    “We had this conversation, Lieutenant,” she said. “And you said it yourself, her one-man vessel posses no threat to Agamemnon.”

    “I am more concerned about the fact that we know next to nothing about this individual or her race. This is a potential first contact situation and we do not know what to expect. Additionally, this person has already made a threat against us.”

    She shook her head. “It wasn’t a threat, Lieutenant, it was a warning.”

    “A semantic difference.”

    Maya smirked at that. Leave it to your chief of security to see a potential threat around every corner. “I have reason to trust this individual and that the warning she spoke of is not a threat specifically against this vessel but of a much more general variety.”

    At this the Aurelian actually turned his head towards the captain for the first time since they had set out down the corridor. His large blue eyes mirroring confusion. “I do not see how you could possible know about these people, there is no record about their race in our database.”

    “You ever consider that as the captain sometimes I might be privy to information you are not. Better get used to that.”

    It was obvious he didn’t like that response. As the head of security Mer’iab felt it necessary to be amongst the best informed officers on the ship and Maya didn’t fault him for that attitude. If it had been up to her she would have been more than happy to share everything she had learned about the Xenarth from Robert Wesley’s classified log entries. Alas, it was not her call to make. The entire thing had been sealed to anyone below her security clearance in line with the Omega Directive.

    Mer’iab didn’t get a chance to utter another protest. Just as they turned a corner they spotted another team approaching the transporter room from the opposite direction.

    Lieutenant Sh’Fane was leading two heavily armed marines down the corridor.

    The two teams met in front of the transporter room and before Maya could even open her mouth, Mer’iab had already placed herself in front of her captain in order to face the Andorian. His wings were slightly unfurled in what Donners had since learned was an indication of anxiety or anger.

    “Lieutenant, what is the meaning of this? What are you doing here?” he said immediately, his voice clearly challenging.

    Sh’Fane didn’t respond well to his belligerent display and her muscles visibly tensed. “I’m here to provide security arrangements for the guest about to be transported onto the ship.”

    “No you’re not,” Mer’iab responded before she had even finished talking. “This falls within my remit and I’m covering security arrangements. Your presence here is neither requested nor required.”

    “We had an arrangement, Lieutenant, and I am expecting you to follow –“

    The Aurelian didn’t let her finish. “The arrangement was for you to request any participation in ship’s security matters to me in writing which you haven’t done.”

    She frowned at this. “Difficult for me to do if you refuse to share information with me, Lieutenant. I had to find out about this meeting through the grapevine.”

    His wings fluttered a little in anger. “You are spying on ship operations now?”

    Maya had just about enough and before the Andorian could come up with a retort, she promptly placed herself into the line of fire and between the two upset officers. “You cannot be serious,” she barked, looking at the both of them. “I cannot have two department heads behaving like school children fighting over access to the playground. Especially not the ones entrusted with providing security on this vessel. And certainly not minutes before taking aboard a foreign dignitary. You are both way out of line.”

    “Sir,” Mer’iab began. “I understand that we have had some difficulties but –“

    “Shut up,” she said and glared at the large avian. “I don’t care about your difficulties right now. You don’t think I have enough of my plate to worry about the two of you being at each other’s throats? We will have a conversation about this later. For now I expect both of you to send your people home.”

    Both the marine and the security chief were about to protest but Maya wasn’t going to have it. “You two can stay but I’m not beaming a foreign diplomat on board my ship just to face half an army. I trust the both of you can provide ample security,” she said and then turned around on her heels and stepped into the transporter room. “And for God’s sake,” she said over her shoulder. “Try not to kill each other.”

    The two officers left it and glaring at their counterpart instead. Then they quickly turned to their men and dismissed them before following the captain into the transporter room and taking up position by the door, standing about as far away from each other as possible.

    Maya sighed and then focused on the person already waiting for her.

    Lieutenant Commander Chen turned to face Donners and by the way his mandibles twitched in confusion, it was clear he wasn’t quite certain what he was doing here. “Captain, you wanted me to be present for this. I admit I am uncertain why you would require an engineer for a first contact mission.”

    She gave him a smile. “This is no straight forward first contact, Commander. In fact it isn’t a first contact at all. But I suspect you will understand shortly why I felt your presence here beneficial.”

    He moved his head sideways slightly and she understood this to be his approximation of a nod.

    Then she turned to the transporter operator, a young Vulcan woman. “Ensign Saarik, do you have a lock on our guest.”

    She looked up from her station. “Yes, sir. Ready for transport.”

    May faced forward. “Energize.”

    The column of shimmering blue light quickly gave way to the solid form of a large creature which features not too different to Chen’s. She looked more humanoid than he did with four arms instead of his two and less intricate mandibles but otherwise they were both clearly of insectoid origin.

    Amaya took a cautious step towards the platform. “Queen Ket, welcome aboard Agamemnon. I’m Captain Donners.”

    Ket’s large compound eyes were as difficult to read as those of her chief engineer but she was quite certain that they were focusing on her. “My sincere thanks for allowing me onto your vessel, Captain,” she said, her feelers seemingly twitching in excitement.

    “It is our honor to have you as our guest.”

    It didn’t take long for her to notice the other persons in the room and as expected, the other insectoid immediately captured her full attention.

    “Allow me to introduce my chief engineer, Commander Chen.”

    Ket stepped down from the platform and up to the engineer. “You are not human,” she said.”

    “My race is called Xindi,” he explained. “We are made up of many sub-species which include humanoids, reptilians and aquatics. I’m part of the insectoid species.”

    “I was not aware of others like us in this part of space,” she said.

    Maya didn’t miss that the fascination was two-sided. They stood surprisingly close, almost allowing their respective feelers to touch each other. She had to admit that it was much closer than she would have been comfortable with but apparently neither of them minded. In fact it almost appeared as if they were attracted to each other on some level.

    “The Xindi originate in the Alpha Quadrant but since loosing our home world a couple of centuries ago we have been a mostly nomadic race,” he said. “There aren’t many of us left today.”

    “We too lost our home world,” she said. “It appears we have more in common than appears on the surface. I would greatly enjoy to learn more about you and your people, Commander Chen.”

    “As would I. I was also not aware of another insectoid species in this region.”

    Maya realized she had to butt in here. “It’s a bit complicated, I’m afraid,” she said, suddenly reconsidering the wisdom of having asked Chen to welcome the Xenarth on board. She had thought that it would perhaps put Ket at ease to meet somebody else like her but she hadn’t expected the two of them to get along this well so quickly. Operational security and the implicit orders of the Omega Directive came back to mind. “Perhaps we can arrange another meeting later. For now I’m afraid that Queen Ket and I will have to have other and more pressing business to discuss.”

    The two insectoids turned to look at the captain, both appearing almost disappointed by her words.

    Ket moved her head in a similar fashion as Chen used to do when he was in agreement. “You are of course quite correct, Captain,” she said.

    “If you want to follow my officers, they’ll escort you to our observation lounge,” she said.

    Ket exchanged one last glance with Chen and something unspoken seemed to pass between them, before the Xenarth approached Sh’Fane. “You are an Andorian.”

    The marine nodded but unable to entirely hide her own confusion that a race she had never heard of before seemingly knew about her own. “That is correct, ma’am. If you’d like to follow us,” she said and stepped out of the transporter room, followed by the Xenarth and with a clearly annoyed Mer’iab making up the rear.

    Maya couldn’t entirely blame the man for his disposition but she understood why Ket had naturally drifted towards the female instead.

    Chen looked after the Xenarth and then glanced at Donners. “Captain, I am intrigued by our guest. I hope there will be a chance for me to be able to meet with her again.”

    Maya looked pained. “No promises, Chen. This is a very delicate matter we are dealing with here, rife with far-reaching consequence and security concerns.”

    His disappointment was not easily missed.

    Maya sighed. “I see what I can do,” she added before she briskly walked out to follow Ket to the observation lounge.

    * * *​

    Sh’Fane and Mer’iab didn’t like it but Donners insisted that they waited outside the briefing room and made sure that they were not disturbed.

    Inside Wayne Daystrom had been waiting for Ket and the captain and he quickly jumped to his feet when they had entered. Amaya had briefed the science officer on the most basic details on the Xenarth and their involvement with the Omega Molecule, making him the only other person on board besides the captain to have any knowledge about Ket and her people. It hadn’t been any easy decision to make for her but after already disregarding her orders in regards to sharing knowledge about the Omega Molecule, she didn’t feel she could make things much worse by letting him know about the Xenarth.

    Daystom and Ket exchanged greetings and then everyone took a seat around the conference table.

    “It has always been a dream of mine to visit a Starfleet vessel, ever since I’ve learned about your people from Selphi. After her passing she entrusted me with her journals and records about her encounter with Robert Wesley and the Lexington. She spoke very highly of him and his people and I find now that she didn’t exaggerate at all.”

    Maya nodded. “Thank you, Queen Ket. It is high-praise to be compared to such a distinguished Starfleet officer as Commodore Wesley.”

    “I am curious however,” she said. “Your crew does not appear to have any knowledge of my people.”

    Maya nodded. “After the Lexington encounter Starfleet felt it best to classify the mission and quarantine the Iota Crucis system. Not just because of your leadership’s xenophobic tendencies but also due to the inherent dangers of the Omega Molecule.”

    Daystrom uttered a low groan and Maya aimed a displease look at the young man.

    Ket however seemed in agreement. “A wise precaution, Captain. Another contact with our people after the events that took place during the Lexington visit could have been catastrophic for both our people.”

    “Like the Lexington we have been drawn to your world once again because we have detected the presence of the Omega Molecule and considering what happened last time, naturally we are greatly concerned about this.”

    The Queen jerked her head in agreement. “And so you should be, Captain. Forces are at work on New Xenarth which mean to utilize these uncontrollable forces yet again, seemingly not having learned their lessons of the past, they believe they can use and control it to once again attempt to take us were they believe we truly belong.”

    “I was afraid of that,” Maya said.

    “Captain, if I may,” said science office and then proceeded when he got the nod from Donners. “This could be a great opportunity for us. From what I have learned in the admittedly short period since you told me about the Xenarth, they have made incredible advances in synthesizing and stabilizing Omega even a hundred years ago. And we too have made leaps and bounds understanding the way this molecule works since then.”

    She aimed a suspicious look at the man. “I’m not sure I like where this is going, Lieutenant.”

    “Sir, you said yourself that you didn’t like the idea of suppressing knowledge the way Starfleet has done concerning this. Perhaps this is our chance to show them that there is another way. I’m not arguing that Omega isn’t dangerous but instead of trying to destroy it and risking alienating an entire race, perhaps now we can try and succeed were others have failed and in the process revolutionize the manner in which we produce energy in the process.”

    It was impossible to miss the passion in Daystrom’s plea or the notion that he had given this matter a great deal of thought since she had shared the details of Lexington’s mission to New Xenarth over a century ago. And once again Donners wasn’t sure if she hadn’t made a mistake of bringing him into her confidence regarding the Omega Molecule.

    She glanced at Queen Ket and while it wasn’t easy to read her insectoid facial features, she was certain that she too seemed concerned.

    Maya desperately wanted to avoid the mistakes Lexington had made but at the same time she aspired to find a solution that had eluded Starfleet for over a century. A way to end this seemingly medieval ban on a promising technology for fear of its destructive power and at the same time hand the Federation and the entire known galaxy an energy source beyond everyone’s wildest dreams.

    Amaya Donners couldn’t help wonder if it was indeed possible to sometimes have your cake and eat it too.
  12. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 12, 2006
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Who knows, maybe Daystrom is right. We know so little about Omega...other know, it destroying subspace. :vulcan:

    I hope the pissing contest between Sh’Fane and Mer’iab gets resolved. It helps no one. Of course, how they end it could get "fun."
  13. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Yeah, the risks of playing around with Omega are significant and Daystrom's argument clearly is that so are the benefits. It's a tough spot to be in for our first-time captain.

    Thanks for commenting.
  14. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Omega. Potentially a new golden age for the Federation, or it's utter ruin. Yeah, the captain is having to earn her pay today.

    The ongoing conflict between Sh’Fane and Mer’iab is unprofessional, but that is how people often behave, so it is believable. And the mutual fascination between Kett and Chen was a nice touch.
  15. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    The undeniable seductiveness of Omega is precisely the problem for every species that’s tried to harness its promise of unlimited power. This is one of those times when a captain (especially a brand new one) needs to accept that the-powers-that-be have given this issue due consideration over the span of decades. Best to surrender to their collective wisdom rather than risk the potential devastation of opening this Pandora’s Box for no other reason than your own hubris.

    Excellent writing, and thought provoking material!
  16. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Agamemnon, 2372

    “Lieutenant Redmond O'Shaughnessy?” said Maya Donners as she glanced over the padd and then looked to her right were Arden Texx was leaning casually against the bulkhead of her ready room.

    He too held a padd and began to nod as soon as he had found the officer’s service jacket on his device. “Absolutely capable,” he said. “High recommendations from his last assignment. Also, won the Academy sharpshooting contest two years in a row.”

    Maya turned her head to glance at the other two officers in the room.

    Both Lure Mer’iab and Beatiar Sh’Fane stood at full attention in front of her desk, keeping their eyes focused straight ahead without making eye contact with either the captain or the first officer. They had remained in that uncomfortable position ever since they had been summoned there minutes earlier.

    “What’s your impression of Mister O’Shaugnessy, Lieutenant Mer’iab?” she asked, glancing at the tall avian.

    “The commander is correct, sir, he is a very capable officer and even though I have known him for only a few days, I would have to say that he has shown great potential in the security division,” he said. His voice betrayed at least a slight irritation as he wasn’t entirely certain why he and his Marine counterpart had been asked to the captain’s office to discuss members of his team.

    Maya nodded and glanced back at her padd. “Good,” she said and then found another personnel file. “How about Second Lieutenant Fabrizio Lombardi?”

    The captain didn’t miss the small flicker that crossed Sh’Fane’s features.

    “I like Fab,” said Texx. “Met him the other day in the crew lounge. Very personable fellow when off-duty. We had a couple of drinks shared a few laughs, he’s good people.”

    Maya smirked. “Ok but is he a good Marine?” she said and her facial features hardened as she aimed a pointed look at the Andorian. “Lieutenant?”

    “I would not have chosen Mister Lombardi as my executive officer if I were not completely convinced that he was good Marine, ma’am. His off-duty antics notwithstanding,” she said and allowed herself a quick look at a grinning Texx.

    “I tell you something,” he responded. “He’s definitely a lot more fun having around than certain people I know.”

    “Commander,” Maya warned.

    He held up a hand defensively. “Sorry.”

    The captain focused on the two officers standing at attention. “So do you think these candidates would be able to lead your respective teams then?”

    That was enough to cause both the security officer and the marine to exchange surprised glances before quickly focusing on the captain.

    “I’m waiting.”

    Sh’Fane went first. “Lieutenant Lombardi has enough experience and training to take over the company if necessary.”

    “That is true for O’Shaugnessy and the security division as well,” he said. “Should the need arise,” he added quickly.

    Maya grinned and leaned forward slightly. “That’s good to hear. Because the way things are going I’m seriously considering having O’Shaugnessy and Lombardi replace you both as heads of your departments.”

    “Captain, you cannot be –“

    “Serious?” she said and cutting off the avian in mid-sentence. “I’m dead serious, Lieutenant. The CnC is keeping close taps on this little experiment we’re running here herself and I’m not going to be the one telling Admiral Blackwell that this whole thing was a big waste of time because two of my senior officers were unable to work together.”

    “Captain, if I may –“

    Donners was not going to let Sh’Fane get a word in. “You may not, Lieutenant. I want this to be perfectly clear. You are not irreplaceable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you’re both perfectly capable officers in your own right and extremely good at what you do. But to be frank, I neither have the time nor the inclination to keep you around if you cannot make this work. So, last chance. Get on the same page or I’ll give somebody else the opportunity to dazzle me.”

    She let those words sink in for a moment and was gratified to see that they had been stunned into silence.


    They snapped back to attention and then beat a quick retreat out of the ready room.

    Maya sighed as soon as they had left. “I really don’t like using threats as a motivator,” she admitted.

    “Sometimes it’s the only thing that works. You were right, they’re both good at what they do but they’re also hopelessly wrapped up in their own egos that they cannot see that they’re better together than on their own. A healthy dose of self-preservation may change that,” said the Bolian first officer.

    She offered him a little smile. “You’ve been spending too much time with our new counselor.”

    He shrugged. “The man knows what he’s talking about.”

    “That he does,” she said and then: “Don’t tell him I said that. We have enough inflated egos on this ship.”

    “My lips are sealed.”

    Maya nodded and looked at the now closed doors. “You think they can make it work?”

    Texx considered it for a moment. “I really hope so. Their second-in-commands are decent officers but they’re not as good as they are.”

    * * *​

    “Commander, may I have a word?”

    Texx had only just stepped out of the turbolift and upon hearing the familiar voice, instead of slowing down, he actually hastened his pace.

    It didn’t discourage Tess Allenby who quickly caught up with the first officer.

    “A little busy now, Lieutenant,” he said.

    “I was just wondering, sir, what you have decided to do about Ensign DeSoto?”

    “Do?” he asked without slowing or gracing her with as much as a glance.

    “You must have heard about the incident in the deflector room,” she said and raised her previously injured hand even though none of the burns remained visible. “This is exactly the kind of thing I warned about. Due to the ensign’s blatant negligence I’ve come to great personal harm. The man is a risk to himself and the rest of the crew.”

    The Bolian shot her a quick sidelong glance. “I wouldn’t call second-degree plasma burns great personal harm.”

    “I was lucky,” she shot back. “Next time I may not get away with something so superficial. I could have been killed, Commander.”

    Texx took a deep breath and then stopped and faced the operations officer.

    “Something has to be done, sir. If you and the captain don’t feel that he should be transferred, at this point I think you need to at least consider a temporary suspension of duty and –“

    “Tess, I like you, I really do.”

    Her eyes grew wide at the unexpected personal tone. “Sir?”

    “You are a very accomplished officer and from what I can tell you have a bright future ahead of you in Starfleet,” he continued.

    It didn’t help to dispel her confused expression. “Uh … thank you, sir.”

    “I would hate for you to throw that all away.”

    That hit a nerve and where she had looked puzzled before she was positively panicked now. Her career, it was obvious, was not just incredibly important to her, it was what she lived for. At least it was what she told herself, Texx thought as he considered the young blond-haired officer for a moment.

    “I don’t … understand.”

    “Let me give you a little hint then,” he said. “I’ve just come out of a meeting in which the captain has threatened two senior officers who shall go unnamed with relieving them of their duties because they have shown an unwillingness to work together as would be expected. Now what do you think would happen if you keep pushing your little dilemma with our helmsman until you give the captain no other choice?”

    “But sir,” she protested immediately. “I’ve tired to –“

    “Have you really?”

    That stumped her for a moment.

    “Tess, the captain has just decided to brief the entire senior staff on what I understand to be a highly classified mission which may have severe consequences not just for her own career but if we fail, potentially for the entire sector,” the first officer said. “Do you really think anyone on this ship has the time to deal with your current spat with Ensign DeSoto?”

    It was a rhetorical question of course.

    “I need you to handle this yourself, Tess. And if you need my help with a solution that doesn’t involve somebody been thrown out of an airlock or re-assigned, you may come to me. Once this current mission is over. Until then, do your job and don’t let yourself get distracted.”

    “I …” she actually had no other words.

    Texx gave her a nod. “Observation lounge in twenty. I’ll see you then,” he said and moved on, leaving Allenby by herself in the middle of the corridor, looking after the first officer with a pained expression on her face.

    “Yes, sir,” she mumbled to herself.

    _ _ _ _​

    In some real world news, as Zha’Thara hinted at in an earlier chapter, scientists have indeed discovered the real God Particle, the Higgs Boson, a major breakthrough which helps to explain why objects in the universe have mass: 'God Particle' 'Discovered': European Researchers Claim Discovery of Higgs Boson-Like Particle

    Happy Forth!
  17. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 18, 2005
    Haven't caught up yet, but I did want to compliment you on the scene between Daystrom and Donners. I think you really captured the man's dilemma as well as laying out the pros and cons of both of their positions. I liked the idea of the Eugenic War being like an old argument, or old to some at least. The way Daystrom responded to the captain when she brought it up had a nice ring of authenticity to it. Like the man has had this argument over and over again.

    I also like the idea that maybe more people know about the Omega molecule than I thought. It will be interesting watching the effect it has on Wayne whenever Agamemnon reaches the molecule.
  18. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    I very much appreciate the way Maya and Texx handled the quarreling Marine/Security chiefs. As much as Maya is loath to use threats to get them to tow the line, Texx is right… sometimes it’s the only thing that works.

    And again Texx demonstrates his command talents as he refocuses Allenby on what’s really important here, and puts her academy-esque squabble in proper perspective.

    Wonderful character work as the ship prepares to come face-to-face with the most destructive force in the known universe.
  19. Tribble puncher

    Tribble puncher Captain Captain

    Jan 17, 2012
    Somewhere witty
    Can you replicate living things?
  20. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Not sure what you are referring to specifically but the short answer is no.

    In an early chapter we do see DeSoto program the replicator to produce seemingly live gagh. I took creative license on that occasion. Even tough it's wiggly and all, presumably it's not really alive.