Dark Territory: Blooded

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by DarKush, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
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    USS Kitty Hawk
    Captain’s Ready Room

    “Do you think my ship and crew are playthings for Special Affairs?” Captain Gorik thundered, “That can pulled here and about on stings, like puppets?”

    His counterpart remained infuriatingly calm. “I never said, nor suggested such a thing.”

    “That’s how you are treating us!” Gorik jabbed a thick finger in Owens’s direction.

    “I’m merely asking that we change course,” he replied.

    “Without official authorization from Command, and into Alshain space,” the Tellarite huffed. “Last time I checked we don’t have normalized relations with the Exarchate. Our incursion into their space could be considered an act of war on their part.”

    “It won’t be, trust me.”

    “Trust you?” Gorik made sure to slather the question with scorn. “You give me nothing to go on but your word that this information is accurate.”

    “My word is enough,” Owens shot back. “Need I remind you…?”

    “Bah!” Gorik snorted. “You don’t need to pull rank on me Owens. I don’t give a gluck what authorizations you have. I’m not moving this ship without more proof that about the Cardassians and their plans to intercept the Alshain vessel.”

    “So, what do you want from me?”

    “I think you know the answer to that, I want to talk to your superior.”

    “That’s impossible,” Owens said, battening down. “I have the appropriate authority here.”

    “And I have the ship and the crew who are more loyal to me than some phantom authority and some furtive organization.”

    “I’m sorry captain but that’s not how things work.”

    “It is on the Kitty Hawk,” he rejoined.

    “I will file a protest,” Owens said, his complexion reddening. Ah, here we go, Gorik thought, anticipating an eruption.

    “File away,” the Tellarite said dismissively. “We aren’t moving.” He paused, holding up a finger, “As a matter of fact,” he used the finger to tap his combadge. “Helm, bring the ship to full stop.”

    “Aye, sir,” Raayna quickly responded.

    “You can’t do this!” Owens flared, “This is unconscionable! There is a life on the line!”

    “And that is tragic,” Gorik nodded, “But to be blunt, I am more concerned about the lives aboard this vessel more than even the Crown Prince of the Exarchate.”

    “You have no idea of the dangerous game you’re playing captain! Of who you are provoking here.”

    “I’m not moved by your threats,” Gorik laughed. “Give me my audience, or we proceed to Risa as previously ordered. I want to be fully in the loop.”

    Owens trembled with anger. He bit it back a little to say, “I will contact Special Affairs.”

    “Get on with it then!” Gorik flicked his hand at the door. “Until I hear back from you we will continue to Risa.”
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  2. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Newsflash: Tellarite Starship Captain and Special Affairs Field Officer Do Not Get Along. Yeah, no surprise there. I wonder if Owens has a plan B because heading straight to Risa seems to play right into the bad guy's hands.
     
  3. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
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    Hall of the Great Hunters
    Alshain Proper


    “How do things fare with Jota?” the Exarch asked his brother as both men walked between the large statutes. Jasta felt the eyes, the very weight of history, bearing down on him, judging him, as if the ancestors of great Alshain rulers and warriors past had inhabited their marble likenesses, to mark this occasion, this great turning point in the fortunes, maybe the very survival of the Alshain species.

    “Our last update revealed no change in the Crown Dauphin’s condition,” Grand Duke Jarko rumbled. Jasta growled deep in his throat and his muscles twitched. Out of the corner of his eye he saw his brother tense, preparing to be struck.

    In years past Jasta might have backhanded him for giving him an answer he didn’t like. But the rotund, broken man he had become had lost his fire quite some time ago. His growl became a low, long keening of resignation. It was an admission of his weakness.

    He was about to lose his son and now he was shaming himself before the ancestors, putting in jeopardy his own statue’s placement in the great hall. The siblings came to a stop before the onyx presence of Jedrec, their stern father. Just like Jasta he had started out great, with dreams of rebuilding the Exarchate’s fortunes, but the Son’a had gotten their hooks into him, plying him with narcotics and Tarlac women and he had died an enfeebled weakling.

    When Jasta had been stronger himself, he dared that anyone among the Peerage, the royal advisors, object to his placing his father’s statue in the hall. There had been no great victories under his reign, but he had maintained the Exarchate, just as Jasta himself had done.

    “I wish he were here,” Jarko looked up at the perpetual sneer Jasta had engraved; it was the way he remembered his father best. Jasta merely nodded, keeping his honesty sheathed. Jedrec had always preferred Jarko. An accident of the birthing order had stymied his desire that the grand duke succeed him.

    “Too…too much like me,” Jedrec had wheezed, pointing a shaking, gnarled finger at Jasta. The man had been on his gilded deathbed then. He looked shrunken, swaddled in his deep crimson sleeping ware; the color had been picked in part to help disguise any spit up blood to not needlessly upset any visitors. Jasta had ordered all of the staff out of the room once the medic had informed him that there was nothing left to do.

    He had even demanded that Jarko leave the Exarch’s bedside. He would never forget the flash of anger through his brother’s eyes and the sadness that had washed over his features as he reluctantly left Jedrec. But Jasta had needed to hear whatever advice the dying king had to give him alone.

    “Damn,” Jedrec had been seized by a coughing fit so strong that it had yanked him up from his sheets. Jasta had rushed to him, but the Exarch had pushed him away with surprising strength. Looking him squarely in the eyes, Jedrec had shaken his balding head, tears falling like fat raindrops from his eyes. He pointed again, his whole body now quivering with the effort. “It’s a damn…shame.”

    The man got out before he inhaled sharply, his body seizing up, as if the in the grip of Garrm, and then the king had sighed heavily as he fell backward. Jasta could only imagine that the war god had snatched up his father’s soul and together they loped to the verdant hunting grounds of the eternal Great Terrace.

    Jarko cleared his throat and Jasta woke from his day dreaming. “What is it?” he said, more irritable than he should’ve been. Jedrec’s final summation of him had haunted him for years. Even now, just the memory of it, rankled him. Normally Jasta avoided this section of the Hall. He preferred the pre- and early Exarchate years, when the Alshain were undisputed conquerors.

    With Jota, he hoped that that golden era would return, but his dreams were turning to ash. Jarko coughed softly, drawing the Exarch’s attention again. “I think it is time to consider…Jedalla for the succession,” Jarko offered.

    Jasta shook his head, “No,” he said sternly. “Not yet. Jota will pull through and he will lead the Exarchate to new heights.”

    “You speak as a father, brother,” Jarko said softly, “But you must think as a leader. This sojourn to Risa was a sign of how dire Jota’s prospects were. To put the Dauphin in the hands of the Federation was a sign of distress.”

    “What else was I supposed to do?” Jasta balled his fists, looking for something to strike. “If the Federation can save my son, I had to chance it. At least their designs on us wouldn’t be as overt as the Cardassians or the Romulans.”

    Jarko’s nostrils twitched, “You know that the Romulans were my choice. Their enmity with the Klingons is well known, together we could’ve formed a pincer against the foreheads.”

    “True,” Jasta said sagely, “But I would be afraid of what we would owe them. They are just as duplicitous and pernicious as the Son’a.”

    “And the Federation isn’t?”

    “It’s a different style of imperialism,” the ruler admitted. “The Federation will seek to win us over with their ideas, more than their force of arms.”

    “You know how are people are, so desirous for respect from others, so open to external fashions and items. This could come to extend to ideas as well. This democracy the Federation extols is a concern, the very fate of the monarchy could be at stake if we give them sway in our society.”

    Jasta laughed, “Jota’s charisma is stronger than any Federation gadget.”

    “But what of Jedalla?” Jarko asked, “Have you talked to him lately? He has some interesting ideas on how to liberalize our society but maintain tight control of the reins of government.”

    The Exarch chuckled, “Yes, Jedalla will make an excellent advisor. I’ve already suggested to Jota that he should make Jedalla his Vizier.”

    Jarko raised an eyebrow in shock, “But the role of Vizier always goes to a member of the Peerage or the Cenobium, a noble or a cleric, to maintain the strong support of either faction.”

    “Not always,” Jasta replied, with a wagging finger. “Your interest in history was always lacking,” he chided mildly.

    Jarko shrugged, conceding the point, “And what did Jedalla say of this?”

    “I never asked him,” the Exarch revealed, “and it doesn’t matter what he thinks. If his Exarch demands something, he is bound to obey.”

    “I see,” Jarko grumbled. “There is more that Jedalla could do. Maybe an ambassadorship to the Federation, if we normalize relations? He needs a higher profile.”

    “What is it with all of his Jedalla talk?” Jasta questioned, his gaze sharpening on his younger brother. “Do you wish to claim my last son now it because your own litter did not survive?”

    Jarko stepped back as if he had been slugged. He reached blindly for support, his claws digging into the base of the nearest statue. “How could you say that about me? I’ve looked after both your sons as if they were my own, and I know that Jedalla has the wherewithal to succeed you if need be.”

    Jasta waved away his brother’s pained expression. He had more important things to worry about than coddle Jarko. “That may be, but I will not even consider it until I know that Jota is lost to us, to me.”

    “I understand,” Jarko said, standing tall and resolute again. “I just wanted to put forward the option.”

    “It is an unspeakable one,” the Exarch said, “One that we must move the stars to make sure doesn’t come about. That is nothing against Jedalla, he is a capable pup, but his road to leadership would be fraught with far more obstacles. He would not have the people on his side, it would take him a long time to earn their love, not to mention the respect of the Peerage. And I fear he is too sanguine with the Son’a.”

    Jarko growled deep in his throat, acknowledging that he agreed. “I have spoken to him about that. But he persists in learning everything about them.”

    “We don’t need another Son’a-friendly ruler,” Jasta said, “Though I am sure the Son’a is rooting for Jota’s demise.”

    “The Unguis has not heard Vizier Waroun express such sentiment, though we are scouring all of his communications,” Jarko revealed. Heading the secret police was just one of the many functions he performed at the behest of his elder sibling.

    “Continue your surveillance,” Jasta ordered. “His position was a sop to those exploiters, nothing more. I am not strong enough to wipe them from our boots, but Jota will, he is the hope…the only hope.” The Exarch’s massive body quivered and he looked up and away, as if peering into the great heart of creation itself. “I must be off, to the Syndics.”

    “You haven’t been inside a sanctum in years,” Jarko said, surprised.

    “These are desperate times,” Jasta laughed mirthlessly. “I turned my back on the gods, but even in my most apostate moment, I never thought they turned their back on me. I hope that remains the case; that their good fortune will continue to shine on me.”

    “I will escort you to the sanctum then,” Jarko said.

    “No,” the Exarch waved off his brother’s proffered arm. “Continue seeing to Jota’s condition and monitoring Waroun.” He paused, “But send for Jedalla…we have some things to discuss.”
    ***************************************************************

    Sept V’Spar Compound
    Alshain Proper

    “It is truly a marvel,” Prince Jedalla gazed up at the large hologram of the geostructure hovering above the center of the . Though the massive globular constructs dominated the landscape of Benzar, Sept V’Spar had been instrumental in their construction. It had been the highest achievement of this powerful house thus far, a way of displaying Alshain ingenuity on a galactic stage that hadn’t been seen in decades, maybe centuries. He hoped to take similar technology and transform Proper, with vast arcologies, to show Alshain technological prowess, an indication that the Exarchate was back. It would also leave an architectural mark of Sept O’Jinns’ time at the helm of power.

    The project had taken a minor noble house and vaunted them to the top of the Peerage. Lord V’Spar had been a candidate for Grand Vizier as long as Jedalla drew breath it seemed, and even though that hadn’t come to pass, the ‘consolation’ prize had been the betrothal of his daughter to Jota, making the V’Spar part of the royal line.

    “Do you have new news about Jota?” The voice was normally light, airy even, but now weighed down with worry.

    “No,” Jedalla said, swallowing hard. He didn’t know why being in her presence always made his stomach roil and his palms sweat. “I-I wanted to inquire about your condition Lady Symea.” He turned around slowly.

    Lady Symea V’Spar glided into the room, the long train of her golden dress held by two of her ladies-in-wait. Jedalla gulped, as bewitched by her presence as he always was. Zerda never gave him that reaction. It was all fire, claws and teeth, with a strong dash of revenge for his father’s neglect. But Symea was beautiful, with delicate, vulpine features.

    And she had culture and breeding, unlike Zerda. Her every movement was refined and calibrated to accentuate her attractiveness.

    “I’m more concerned about Jota,” Symea said, her bottom lip trembling. Sept V’Spar was the only house that was told the truth about the seriousness of Jota’s position. Jasta had been opposed to giving them that information, but Jarko had insisted that they be brought into the loop, to better spin the narrative to their favor, since they also had a vested interest in Jota’s survival.

    It had been good advice, another example to Jedalla of why his uncle should be sitting on the throne instead of his father. “The fate of our people hangs on his survival,” Symea added. What was left unsaid was the fortunes of her Sept did as well.

    “Jota will survive,” Jedalla said, hoping to project confidence and strength to her. “This ailment is nothing compared to the duels and gladiatorial feats he has triumphed in,” he said, remembering how he had sat across from Symea at one of the more recent contests, and seeing how rapt with admiration she was for Jota as he minced his opponent, a large Gorn bruiser.

    “He is strong,” Symea shook her head in affirmation, “but against this disease…” Her expression grew dark. “None of this makes sense, how could he be stricken so quickly, so decisively.” She lowered her voice. “I can attest to his stamina.” Jedalla’s cheeks warmed at the revelation.

    “Who knows the nature of these things?” He asked, trying to mollify her doubts. “It is the will of the gods.”

    “More like the will of the Son’a,” Symea said, dropping her voice even lower. She approached him, leaning into him as she locked her arm in his. Jedalla was briefly taken away by the smell of her thick, perfumed fur. “You’ve studied among them, lived among them,” the future princess didn’t hide her disgust at the thought. “You know of their treacherous ways.”

    “They are…a…unique people,” Jedalla said carefully.

    “Always the politician,” Symea laughed, squeezing his shoulder. “You will make a great Vizier.”

    “Beg pardon?” Jedalla asked, confused.

    “Jota told me about his plans to name you his vizier.”

    “Are you serious?” Jedalla was stunned. He couldn’t believe his brother would consider such a radical move, or that he would inform his intended before him.

    “Yes, he has always held you in high esteem. He was confident that together you both would steer the empire back to greatness.”

    “I didn’t know of this,” the prince admitted.

    “He wants you right by his side,” Symea said, “He even told me once that he couldn’t imagine ruling without your counsel.”

    “That is quite the revelation,” Jedalla admitted.

    “Your brother loves you,” Symea smiled, “even if he won’t admit it.”

    “This…is…” Jedalla struggled to find the right words. Memories flipped like book pages, years of hazing, at times brutal, of others putting his brother on a pedestal that seemed forever out of his grasp, of being in the shadow, and to hear that his brother regarded him so highly pinched his heart. He choked up and Symea placed a reassuring and welcome arm around his shoulder.

    His ears perked up as he heard rushed footfalls approaching. He gently moved out of Symea’s embrace, and faced the door. One of her housecarls, dressed in the golden livery of Sept V’Spar, strode into the room.

    “What is it?” Prince Jedalla asked, breaking the decorum of the house. Of course his royal station gave him such license. The guard looked briefly at Symea before responding.

    “There is a message for the prince,” he replied.

    “Out with it,” Jedalla barked, peeved that the man had interrupted the brief moment he shared with Symea.

    “It was relayed from your majordomo. It comes from the Grand Duke.”

    “What is it?” Jedalla asked, now more insistent. His stomach tightened, expecting to hear of his brother’s expiration. Symea’s sharp intake of breath was loud behind him. He realized that she must be thinking the same thing.

    “He requests that you meet the Exarch in the Sanctum of Oshon.” The goddess of sacrifice, Jedalla thought. Jota still lived, but barely, if his father was turning to religion for succor.

    “I will come with you,” Symea said.

    “Uh...milady,” the housecarl said awkwardly, “The Exarch requested the prince’s presence.” Jedalla enjoyed the man’s squirming. The young woman’s gaze could melt the sun.

    “She will accompany me,” he said after an intense silence. He thought the man was going to get on his knees in gratitude. Jedalla glanced at Symea. She nodded.

    “Return to your post,” she ordered. The man could barely restrain himself as he galloped out of the room. The two young nobles shared a well deserved laugh.
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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  4. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    You really delve into the inner working and political machinations of the Alshain here, something you tend to do very well. Clearly much is at stake for these people as well as greater implications for the geo political landscape in the Alpha quadrant. Interesting.
     
  5. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Thanks CeJay,

    This story has been a good opportunity to lay out the ground work for what is to come in future Alshain stories-the ones already written, chronologically speaking (Maelstrom, For Good Men to Do Nothing, Crossing Swords, Prophets and Loss, and Fall Out) and for those that have not been written yet. I really like writing the younger incarnations of some of these characters, though the Jedalla-Symea scene was harder for me to write.

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    Central Command Vessel Jartan
    Stateroom

    “The experiments are proceeding apace,” Dalin Keshet reported. Gul Jonor grimaced, before emptying the glass of kanar. He couldn’t even summon the will to speak. Dulcett had effectively silenced him, and after their encounter, he had holed up in his personal office, and allowed Renek, the true master of the Jartan, to occupy the command bridge.

    He was sure that a sharp young gettle like Keshet knew of the power shift, but was grateful that he chose to inform him of what was happening on Jartan anyway.

    “Thank you Dalin,” Jonor replied, gesturing toward an empty seat. “Please have a drink with me.”

    “I should return to the bridge sir,” Keshet said.

    “Renek can spare you a few moments,” Jonor replied, putting a little uridium in his voice. “Believe me, I once thought I was indispensable too.” Keshet nodded in understanding. Jonor pulled out a second glass from his drawer and filled it with the thick orange beverage.

    “This is a good vintage, 2327,” Jonor remarked, showing Keshet the label.

    “The year the Union made first contact with the Federation,” the younger man remarked. Jonor nodded in approval.

    “Yes, I thought it appropriate, since we were likely headed into battle with them once again.” He pushed the glass toward Keshet, but the man refused. The gul smiled, “No imbibing while on duty eh Dalin? Such a stickler for rules. When you have your own command, you will see that rules aren’t meant to be followed always to the letter.”

    “If we don’t follow the rules, there would be chaos,” he said, with a disgusted look at the thought of disorder.

    “Rules were made in the past, to make sense of or to tackle things already encountered, but what if you run across something that is not in the rulebook, what do you do then?” Jonor was pleased to see the younger man struggle to find an answer.

    “Then one must rely on his judgment and the advice of his senior staff, tempered by the regulations,” he eventually said. Jonor chuckled.

    “A very appropriate answer…political even, you might have a career with the Obsidian Order, Jartan does need a new political officer after all.” The Obsidian Order had yet to replace the last minder after she was killed in a skirmish with Valerian pirates.

    Keshet frowned, and Jonor’s smile grew wider. “My apologies,” he said, pleased that the man shared his distaste for the spies. “You’re a true warrior, a good soldier through and through, and please excuse my impertinence. Let us blame it on too much kanar.”

    “Permission to speak freely sir?”

    “Go ahead,” the gul said, both interested and pensive about what the earnest man was going to say.

    “Jartan is still your ship sir, you should be on the bridge.”

    “Technically it is, but I warn you Aldur, as you go further up the ladder, and I have no doubt that you will, the surface is but an illusion. You always have to be mindful of what is happening beneath it, and you have to have concern for what your true goals are.”

    “To serve the Union,” Keshet said, as if that were obvious.

    “And how best to serve the Union then?” Jonor said. “The Central Command has spoken, and given Dr. Dulcett wide latitude to conduct her ‘experiments’. Even if I had a sympathetic ear at Central Command, by the time the complaint went through channels, this mission would be over and it wouldn’t matter. I would just rile Dulcett’s backers. You must learn to pick your battles and you must learn the value of retreat.”

    “The idea of retreating,” Keshet shook his head.

    “Don’t drink the kanar about honor, duty, and all of that,” Jonor shook his head sadly, “The way Central Command spouts that claptrap, it seems like they have a Klingon writing their lines for them.”

    “But sir, you are the most honorable,” Keshet began.

    “Save it,” Jonor cut him off. “If I were as ‘honorable’ as you say, Dulcett would be in the brig and Renek would’ve been put in an airlock. Following orders and being honorable is not always the same thing. In this instance I have chosen to follow orders. I am an old man, too tired to fight back. I just want to go home and live in peace, with my family. If I buck the system now, my family will suffer. What good is protecting the Union in abstract, if my family suffers?”

    “But what of integrity?”

    “That is for your generation to define,” Jonor remarked. “Mine has run our race, and our course. We achieved mightily and failed miserably, we have made Cardassia strong again, but I wonder at what cost and what price.” He paused, overcome with wonder and regret. The gul turned toward the viewport, and watched the streaking stars pass by. “Now your generation gets to do it all over again,” he muttered, more to himself than to Keshet, “Oralius help us.”
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  6. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    USS Kitty Hawk
    Captain’s Ready Room

    “This is a highly unusual request,” Rear Admiral Jameson scowled, “but this mission is of utmost importance.”

    “I understand that sir,” Captain Gorik said, “But I need Special Affairs to understand that I will not blindly follow orders and put my crew at unnecessary risk.”

    The wizened, frail human’s eyes flashed with surprise, before new wrinkles of annoyance etched on his face. “You will do just that.” He shifted his attention to Captain Owens. “You interrupted me for this? I thought you could handle these kinds of matters?”

    “I can sir,” Owens interjected quickly, “Captain Gorik has been most adamant about talking with a higher level Special Affairs official.”

    “He’s just done that,” the admiral grumbled, “Now follow Captain Owens’s instructions.” Before the Tellarite could reply, Jameson cut the link.

    Gorik looked at Owens. The human was flustered, his cheeks reddened. “My apologies,” Owens began.

    “I like him,” Gorik replied, “I knew that Jameson had a talent for negotiation, but who knew he had such steel,” he laughed. “I’ll have the bridge reverse course immediately.”
    ************************************************************

    Central Command Vessel Jartan

    Dalin Aldur Keshet trumped down the corridor, lost in thought. His mind kept taking him back to his conversation with the gul. Jonor had been so despairing that he had even evoked Oralius; in the wrong company such a mention of the ancient Oralian Way, a religion long forbidden. If he had made such a mistake in front of their protocol officer or even Renek, Jonor would’ve been placed in chains.

    Keshet had a duty to report the man, but he wouldn’t. What Jonor said about doing the right thing as opposed to merely following orders was twisting in his brain like a dagger. It was giving him much to contemplate.

    Unusually oblivious to his surroundings, Keshet jumped with a start when something crashed into him. He was reaching for his disruptor when he heard a harried apology. “Dalin Locett?” He replied, his gaze resolving around the woman.

    He hadn’t seen the science officer since she had been ordered to assist Dulcett. Even though it had been only several days, Aldur was shocked by how haggard the woman looked. Even though she often claimed that she was more concerned about her job than physical appearance, Locett was one of the most attractive women on Jartan, with her hair always well coiffed and her outfits, regulation and off-duty, well-kept.

    But now her cheeks looked sunken in, black marks were under her eyes and her disheveled, stained clothes hung off her smaller frame. “Locett…,” Keshet clutched her by the arms to stop her from moving past him. He lowered his voice, “Nasija.” He rarely liked being informal, with subordinates and especially superiors. Keshet preferred to keep the lines of authority as straight as possible. Bending the lines could lead to fraternization or worse.

    She had been looking at him the whole time, but with the mention of her given name, she finally saw him. She stopped trying to move forward, “Dalin Keshet,” she mumbled, confusion dawning on her face. “Why are you in my quarters?”

    “We aren’t in your quarters,” he said gently, “I assume that is where you were headed. But now I want you to go to the infirmary. That’s an order.”

    Locett smiled, “We’re the same rank,” the retort sounded like the old her and it mollified some of Keshet’s concerns.

    “When was the last time you ate, or had something to drink?” Keshet looked her over, with sadness and reproach. Her scales were ashen and flaky. He didn’t want to even talk about her stench. What the hell was Dulcett putting this woman through?

    “No time for that, under deadline,” Locett replied, “Dr. Dulcett said I could have a few hours to freshen up, but then I must return promptly to the lab. Under deadline,” she repeated, as the light dimmed from her eyes, and she started moving her legs again. The little spark of Nasija had submerged again. Keshet let her go.

    He turned his attention to the direction she had come from: the lab. Perhaps I need to check out what’s going in there myself, he thought.
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  7. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Interesting developments on the Cardassian ship. Looks like these characters will play a key role in the outcome of this tale.
     
  8. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    USS Kitty Hawk
    Main Engineering

    Lt. Commander Kelley leaned back in her chair, her feet on her desk. She was reviewing the latest diagnostic finding on her padd. So far, so good, the engineer was relieved. Since Kitty Hawk had switched course to Risa, the captain was breathing down her neck to wrap up the diagnostic so that they could divert more power to the engines.

    Gorik was wise enough to know that canceling the sweep would be a bad move until the source of the disruption with the replication units was found and addressed. Maureen was looking forward to finishing up her part of the check-up so she could consult with Kjosco. It would give her a legit reason to speak with him again, and this time she would be more direct in her intention to ask him out.

    Kelley jumped with a start when a warning klaxon shrieked throughout the ship and the lighting turned momentarily red. Before she could contact the bridge, her compin beeped. Kelley tapped it. “Kelley here,” she said.

    “Commander Kelley,” Kjosco answered, “I’ve found the source of the disruption. It was a virus.”

    “A virus?” Kelley was shocked. “How?”

    “We still haven’t figured out how it infected our systems,” the Itrob replied. “But we have discovered that it has overtaken our communications systems and is emitting a signal, and we have traced the source. It appears that we are being followed by a cloaked vessel.”

    Kelley’s heart caught in her throat. “Good God,” she said, after swallowing the lump down hard. Her dating designs for Kjosco would have to be put on hold.

    “The captain is preparing to engage them now,” the amphibian added.

    “Understood,” Kelley said. “I need to prepare Engineering.”

    “That would be advisable…,” Kjosco paused, “There is still a lot we don’t understand about this virus…perhaps, after?”

    “Absolutely,” the engineer said, getting out of her seat. “Count on it.”
    ****************************************************************

    IKS Ch’Kronh

    “The Starfleet vessel has reverse course,” the operations officer couldn’t hide his surprise.

    “And they’ve just raised shields!” The weapons officer was similarly astonished. Commander Q’Pogh shook his head. What type of officers was the Ogat Academy spawning these days? To be so easily rattled when a plan went awry?

    “Activate our weapons systems and prepare to drop the cloak on my mark,” he barked.

    “Commander do you think that is wise?” The youthful So’taj agent interjected, in her usual impertinent manner. If she wasn’t so fetching in her skintight, black bodysuit, Q’Pogh would’ve jettisoned her with the rest of the waste long ago. Her connections be damned!

    “It is obvious that they have discovered your virus and our using it to uncover our position!” He snarled, rounding on the woman. To her credit, she was completely unfazed.

    “That has not be conclusively determined,” she said coolly.

    Q’Pogh laughed, “You So’taj and your overreliance on skullduggery! The grishnar cat is out of the bag!” The agent started to retort, but was cut off by the excited operations officer again.

    “Starfleet vessel targeting weapons.” Q’Pogh glared at the intelligence operative, a gleam of triumph in his eyes.

    “Drop the cloak and fire!”
    ****************************************************************
     
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    And the battle, it appears, is afoot.
     
  10. Kyhrk

    Kyhrk Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Location:
    Iowa, United States
    Interesting. Time to see just what the Kitty Hawk and Captain Gorik are make of.
     
  11. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Even though my focus has been more on "Hero", I didn't want to let the interest in this one wane too much. Thanks both to CeJay and Kyhrk for commenting. As for the following passage, the battle hasn't quite been joined but I hope you still enjoy it.

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

    USS Kitty Hawk
    Private Quarters

    Terrence Glover sat up in bed, letting the air cool his slickened skin. Susan touched his naked back, tracing down his spine. It tickled, but he didn’t laugh.

    The captain had been gracious enough to not restrict his visitors during his confinement, much to the first officer’s perturbation Susan had informed him. The Bolian hybrid had taken as full advantage of the opening as she just had of him.

    “I’m not done with you yet,” the challenge usually worked him back up, but Glover remained rooted. After a few moments, a concerned Susan asked, “What’s wrong?”

    “Nothing.” There was a rustling of sheets and then a dip in the bed as Susan moved. She sat beside him and placed her head on his shoulder. The purple sheet she wrapped around her stopped at her shoulders. Unbidden his hand began stroking her flaxen her, a thumb moving down the fleshy ridge bifurcating her face. Susan trilled at his touch, just like he knew she would.

    “That’s not going to shut me up this time mister,” she warned, a smile in her voice. “I know you’re troubled. I could sense it even when we made love.”

    Terrence sighed, “Isn’t it obvious, this being confined to quarters, being taken out of the action when the crew could definitely use me.”

    “Despite what you might think, you’re not as indispensible as you imagine,” Susan rolled her eyes and chuckled. He gave a sarcastic half-laugh in response.

    “It certainly isn’t helping my career prospects either.”

    “Are you really that anxious to leave Kitty Hawk?” She asked, looking up at him, searching his eyes, and Glover also knew, searching his heart. He knew the question wasn’t just about career progression.

    “What we have is good between us Susan,” Terrence declared.

    “I sense a ‘but’ coming on,” Susan prodded, her expression tensing. She pulled away from him. “But what?”

    “I mean, come on, Sue,” Glover’s face grew hot and his tongue swelled. He rarely ever called her Sue, a sign of his growing nervousness. “I mean…”

    “Mean what, hmmm?”

    “We’ve had fun and all.”

    “Is this all it is? Just fun?” Now she pulled the sheet tightly about her, as if she were ready to bolt. Terrence put a gentle hand down on her wrist, to prevent her. Thankfully she didn’t remove it.

    “I care about you,” he said, “But you know I’m not ready for something deeper.”

    “We’ve had the marriage and kids talk before,” she sighed.

    “Yes, we have,” Glover co-signed. He wanted to be married and have children too, but after he had become captain. His career had to come first. If it didn’t he knew he would always feel incomplete and he might come to resent or blame his wife and children for holding him back, like he felt his mother did with him and his father sometimes.

    “So how about we just enjoy the time we have right you know,” he encouraged her, “live for the moment.”

    “I could accept that more easily at first,” Susan admitted, “but it’s been a while now Terrence, and we need to make a decision about how we want to spend our lives. I’m fine staying aboard the Kitty Hawk. I mean, it’s like we have a family here.”

    “I can’t stay,” he said, “It’s not what my heart is telling me, it’s not what’s in my soul, or my destiny as it were,” Terrence stated. He tapped his chest. “The heart wants what it wants.”

    “And that’s not a life with me,” Susan reasoned, pulling her wrist from his grasp.

    “Come on now Susan,” Terrence replied, reaching for her arm, but the woman evaded him. “You can come with me you know?”

    “Where exactly?” She challenged, “And I have no desire jumping from post to post, an appendage as you climb up the ladder. The life you want is a lonely one Terrence,” she said, touching his face, her expression growing sad.

    “It doesn’t have to be,” he said, “I can have it all.”

    “No, you can’t,” she replied.

    “Yes, I can,” his voice grew more resolute. “And…and maybe that’s the difference between us,” he said, more softly. He looked away from her, ashamed and shocked that he had just given voice to a growing suspicion.

    “And that difference is what Terrence?” Susan didn’t so gently grab his chin to turn his head back to face her. There was a hint of suspicion in her eyes.

    “Listen, Sue,” he said, wincing that he had slipped up again, “I mean Susan…” A klaxon shrieked through the bulkhead, startling them both. The lighting turned crimson.

    “Red alert! All hands to battle stations!” Commander Bek’ele’s voice sounded like thunder.

    “Grozit!” Susan cursed, as she began looking around the floor for her uniform. Terrence did likewise, before abandoning her to rush to his closet. He was just slipping into his jacket when he heard Susan ask, “What are you doing?”

    “I’m going to bridge,” he said incredulously.

    “You’re confined to quarters, remember?” She pointed out as she grabbed up her boots. She tried putting them on standing up and nearly fell. She cursed again before plopping on the bed. She slid the boots on quickly. Deflated, Glover watched the woman smooth her uniform quickly before heading toward the door. She turned back to him, with a sympathetic gaze, “Hey, we’ll talk again as soon as this is over, okay? I’m sure it’s nothing.”

    Terrence nodded morosely. This was the first time in ages that the Kitty Hawk crew had been called to arms and he wasn’t involved. It felt like he had left the ship already.
    ***************************************************************
     
  12. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Great little character piece on Terrence here. This somewhat reminded me of a young Michael Owens who went through a very similar phase upon graduating from the Academy, having to decide between love or career. Just like Terrence, he too wanted it all. And just like him he never really got it (at least not yet.)

    It made me think that these two characters are not too different, at least as far as their ambitions are concerned. It would be interesting to put them together at some point and see what happens.
     
  13. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Once I get back up and running again, I would like to explore the interesting thread you brought up regarding Glover and Owens. I've got an idea about a story based during the Klingon Civil War, just an inkling, but I wouldn't mind discussing it with you.

    Perhaps on the personal message or at the United Trek board you could shoot me any info you got on what ship Owens was serving on during that period (roughly 2366-2369).
     
  14. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    I'm sorry to hear about your computer trouble. By all means, let me know when you're back and we'll talk about an Owens/Glover story.