DT: Hero of the Federation (Revised)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by DarKush, May 8, 2011.

  1. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Thanks for your comments CeJay,

    I wanted to put Shelby and Lavelle right into the thick of the action. For one they had a lot of pent up frustration from their time in the stir, and two, both reacted to it being Sito in danger, and third they wanted to reestablish they were both in command.
     
  2. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
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    Cardassian Security Forces Vessel Proficient
    Command Bridge

    The trio was nearly pushed onto the bridge. Gul Hulet swiveled around in her chair. She smiled at them, and Dr. Bashir’s stomach roiled. She seemed genuinely relieved to see them. Something wasn’t right. “Gul Hulet, why have you brought us to the bridge?”

    The gul pointed to main viewer. A dinged Klingon Bird-of-Prey dominated the view, reminding the medic of a hungry raptor. “We have been reassigned another mission. We contacted the nearest allied ship and the B’gavva responded. Her crew will be taking you back to Terok…Deep Space Nine.”

    “I see,” Bashir said, not sure what to make of the unusual circumstance. “I guess we can prepare our things.”

    “I’ve already sent personnel to do that,” Hulet said.

    “What about the shuttle?” Kall asked. Jake was silent, merely observing events. Something was bothering him too, Julian could tell.

    “We will drop it off with Bajoran authorities on Prime as soon as we are able,” the gul promised.

    “Perhaps we should inform the station of this change in plans,” Jake offered.

    “I’ve already taken care of that,” Hulet said smoothly, a bit too slickly for Bashir’s taste.

    “Well is it possible to inquire the status of patients in my infirmary?” Bashir asked.

    “You can do that on B’gaava,” Hulet’s voice frayed slightly. The woman’s smile dimmed. Before Bashir could ask a follow up, she motioned sharply, and he was captured in a transporter beam.
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  3. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Short little segment. Bashir and Jake clearly sense that something is afoot here. Nothing they can do about it now though.
     
  4. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
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    IKS B’gaava
    Main Bridge

    “What do you want?” The tall, unkempt Cardassian bent over in the center seat, leering into the face of Kall Yano. The half Bajoran reared back, jumping with a start as she bumped into a thickset Cardassian. The man jabbed her painfully in the back with the emitter cone of his disruptor rifle.

    “Oww!” She yelped, turning around to glare at the man. Jake put a hand on her shoulder and for a second she thought about knocking it off. She had heard plenty horror stories about the Cardassians and what they did to Bajoran women during the Occupation.

    Her father’s family had escaped when he was a boy, but they maintained ties with the Bajoran Diaspora. Even after her father had married a Vulcan artist and settled on Calanara, he continued working for the freedom of his people; many of his books, even the works of fiction, were polemics for Bajoran liberation.

    She had learned from him to never back down in the face of oppression and she never would. The fat Cardassian chuckled. “This one has spunk.”

    “Henza,” the commander threw up his hands. “You ruined my perfectly good Klingon greeting! I was trying to make our new guests feel at home.”

    “If you want to do that, put us back on our shuttle and let us return to Federation space,” Jake said, standing resolute at Kall’s side. The man’s arms twitched and she knew he wanted to hold her. She both wanted and didn’t want him to do so.

    “Who are you?” Dr. Bashir demanded. He eased his way in front of them. In response the ramrod woman at the Cardassian commander’s side reached for the sidearm in her hip holster. Bashir stopped.

    “Dr. Bashir, I take it?” The commander said, his lips curling into a smile. “We heard a lot about you and your cohorts on Terok Nor during the war, and after.” His eyes shifted to Jake. Kall’s blood chilled as the Cardassian’s expression grew frosty. “And the son of Sisko, the great conqueror of Cardassia Prime.” The proclamation was met with angry grumbles until the commander silenced them with a swift hand gesture.

    “You shall be our guest of honor,” Gavran laughed.

    “What do you want?” Bashir tried again.

    “I am Gul Gavran,” he said, pausing to see if they recognized the name. Kall was proud that she didn’t gasp as it dawned on her that he was the terrorist that had kidnapped Melken Urlak and probably had bombed the Klaestron embassy.

    “And what I want doesn’t concern you…yet.” He looked past Kall. “Henza, take our guests to their…accommodations. And make sure to restrain yourself around the young gettle,” he said, his eyes now falling squarely on Kall. Her stomach churned and she felt Jake tense beside her. “If anything should happen to her…”

    “I understand Gul,” Henza replied, clearly disappointed. As Henza prodded Kall into the dank turbolift she overheard Gavran barking, “Activate cloak. Best speed to the Sunzek sector.”
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    USS Sutherland
    Detention Center

    “This is a long time coming,” Commander Lavelle replied, his smile fighting against his sense of shame. He nodded at the guard at the control board. The forcefield crackled as it was shut down.

    “I’m sor…” Lavelle’s apology was cut off as Glinn Keta rushed him. She grabbed him with surprising strength and wrapped him in an embrace. Lavelle shook his head to warn the befuddled guard not to intervene.

    He gave the woman a few seconds before he eased out of her grasp. She began sobbing and fell against Sam. He held her and let the storm of her tears pass.

    “Thank you,” she said, struggling to gain control over her vocal chords.

    “But I, I didn’t do anything,” Sam was now confused himself.

    “For trusting me, for defending me against Admiral Grace,” she said. “I know it mustn’t have been easy. I know how much my people took from you.”

    Lavelle paused, his memory flitting through the lives lost or mangled forever by the war. “But you weren’t the cause of that. Not all Cardassians can be held accountable for the actions of a few, well more than a few,” he said, even though he occasionally forgot that himself. “You’ve been nothing but an asset to Sutherland, and the entire Federation.”

    “Thank you, thank you so much for saying so,” she replied, wiping her puffy eyes.

    “Hey, I don’t say things I don’t mean,” Lavelle replied, with a crooked smile, “Unless I’m playing poker.”

    “Actually you could work a bit better on your deception in that regard,” she remarked, off handedly, “Your tells are quite…telling.”

    Sam was taken aback. He considered himself a pretty stone cold card sharp. “Care to tell me what my ‘tells’ are?”

    She shook her head, her smile returning, “Not on your life sir, or my future winnings.” Lavelle laughed. He was glad that Keta’s humor had returned. It added to her attractiveness. That realization and the way it heated his skin made him take a step back. He worked down the lump that had arisen in his throat.

    “We need you back on the bridge,” Lavelle said, a bit awkwardly, “I’ll bring you up to speed along the way.”

    “Okay,” she said slowly, the lights in her eyes dimming as she sensed the change in mood. “I’m ready for duty sir.”
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  5. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
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    USS Sutherland
    Private Quarters

    Ensign Alvin Grace experienced a momentary déjà vu. Only hours ago it seemed he was crossing this same threshold, to see Petty Officer Triese. But that had been under entirely different circumstances, and before Triese had murdered a prisoner.

    Now the woman was confined to quarters, under armed guard. His father had wanted to throw Triese in the brig, but Captain Shelby had intervened. It would only inflame the Cardassian soldiers still in the detention center if Triese was placed down there.

    His father had begrudgingly agreed, but he had had the replication unit and anything that could conceivably be used as a weapon dismantled and removed from the cabin.

    Grace squinted in the wan star light coming from the port windows. Thank goodness the admiral hadn’t turned off the room’s lighting, yet Triese was sitting in the dark, in the center of her living quarters. The woman sat, cross legged and with perfect posture, in a light colored robe. Grace placed the tray down on the coffee table the woman had pushed to the side. The smell of plomeek soup wafted to his nostrils.

    “Hey, I bought you something to eat,” he said. “I’ve heard that you have been living the food delivered to you untouched, and I thought…”

    “What? That your charm would trigger my appetite?” Triese asked coldly, without even looking at him.

    “It’s not like that, I was just, hoping, I guess, that if, maybe you saw someone….cared,” Alvin got so flustered that he couldn’t finish his sentence. He hated when he got like that. He felt like was in high school all over again.

    “I killed a man,” Triese said, her voice even more frigid than before. “My career in Starfleet is over. I will probably be incarcerated for a period of time.”

    “Maybe not,” Grace offered. “It’s not like the guy was an angel. I’m sure whatever information he imparted courtesy of the meld could lead to confirming how bad he was.”

    Triese grunted. “He’s still inside me, a part of his essence will always be with me. It feels like grease, a permanent oily stain.”

    “I’m sorry to hear that,” Grace said. “But I know you’re strong enough to deal with it.” Triese laughed. The sound was beautiful, but terrifying. He was afraid she might be losing emotional control again. Grace squinted hard through the murk to get a good luck at her face. It still remained composed, not twisted with vengeful wrath as it had been before she bolted to the brig.

    “I’m many things Ensign…Alvin…but strong is not one of them.” She tilted her head in the direction of the soup. “I don’t even like plomeek soup,” she said. “But I eat it because it is what I am supposed to eat, that is the proper thing for a Vulcan to ingest for sustenance.”

    “Oh, it’s not that bad,” Grace said, not able to stop himself from making a face.

    “You’re a terrible liar Alvin,” she said, calling him by his first name the second time. Grace wasn’t sure whether to be unnerved or warmed by the gesture. He liked the sound of his name coming from her lips. “You know before your father removed my replicator I had a special subroutine that allowed me to order meat dishes.”

    “Really?” Grace was floored. The Vulcans he knew were all vegetarians.

    “Yes, it would erase traces of the order after the food was replicated,” she admitted. “I didn’t want to take the chance that one of the Vulcans in operations or engineering saw that I had ordered meat dishes. They are already hard enough to relate to as it is.”

    “I know you are aware that not all Vulcans follow Surak’s teachings stringently to the letter,” the ensign pointed out.

    “You are referring to the Vulcans without logic, the v’tosh ka’tur,” Triese shook her head. “A small, mostly shunned or pitied community. Being half Vulcan and half Orion I am already a freak as it is, I don’t need to align myself even further along the margins.”

    Grace’s heart pinched as he started grasping how profoundly lonely Triese must be. The need to belong seemed to be a desire shared by more than just humans. “You’re not a freak, you’re…you’re…beautiful,” he said, his cheeks flushing.

    “Do you mean that?” She whispered, but the words rolled like thunder in his ears.

    “Yeah…,” he answered, his voice squeaking. “Yes,” he said more strongly.

    “That’s very sweet,” she said, reaching over and taking the soup. She got a spoonful. “The broth is agreeable,” she said, putting the bowl back on the table. She stood up and faced him, her smile dazzling in the starlight.

    “I am through trying to fit the preconceptions of others,” she declared as she drew close to him. Grace couldn’t move. He didn’t want to. He wanted to feel the warmth of her skin, smell the scent of her hair. Her nose brushed against his before she kissed him, lightly at first but her lips latched onto him as the intensity grew.

    Alvin pulled back, gasping for air. “We shouldn’t do this…we can’t…”

    “Are you scheduled for duty?”

    “No, no, it’s not that, it’s…uh, fraternization and all that,” he stammered. She laughed. “Well, what about, you know…”

    “The fact that I am a prisoner,” Triese shrugged. “If I am going away for a while I would like my last time on Sutherland to be a pleasurable event, as opposed to…”

    Grace gently grabbed the woman by the chin and crushed her lips, stopping her from finishing the sentence. He didn’t want to hear her say it, and he didn’t want to think about how their future would be truncated because of it. For now, he just wanted to think of the twinkling starlight in her smile.
    ****************************************************************

    USS Sutherland
    Captain’s Ready Room

    Even though Captain Shelby was busy with the preparations for the exchange, she made time to make the call. Terrence was one of the few admirals she felt she could call on for a favor. They had gotten along well enough as equals, so she anticipated that their relationship should only continue in that vein now that he was part of the admiralty.

    Elizabeth knew that the recently minted Terrence could never replace his father, and all the ways that he had made her life so much easier and defended her captaincy from day one. She also realized that Terrence, being among the new batch of admirals probably didn’t have a lot of chips he could use, though she was betting his war record probably had earned him some support among his colleagues and superiors, and maybe that might be enough to pluck the string that she was going to request of him.

    She composed herself, took a deep breath, and made the call. The golden laurel emblem of the Federation disappeared five minutes later. Rear Admiral Glover regarded her with a baleful expression. “Captain Shelby,” he remarked dryly, his voice missing the crackle that she was used to, “I wasn’t expecting to hear from you so soon again. Is everything all right?”

    “Funny you should ask that sir,” Shelby smiled, “I have a favor to ask you.”

    “Really?” He asked, his right eyebrow inching upward. “What is it?” Elizabeth was more concerned than put off by his brusque attitude. She didn’t take it personal, she knew Terrence was still grappling with his father’s death, but the change in tone was too abrupt for her. She didn’t realize how much she missed the flirting. Even though Terrence had toned down considerably after he got married there was still a spark to their conversations. But that seemed to have been jettisoned now.

    “It’s about one of my crewmen, Petty Officer Triese,” Shelby said, and quickly relayed what had happened to the Cardassian prisoner.

    “I don’t see how I can help,” Glover replied. “If the Fleet Admiral himself is adamant that she be prosecuted to the fullest extent, what is there to dispute?”

    “I’m not saying what Triese did was right,” Shelby shook her head. She could feel her face warming and suspected that her cheeks were reddening. “It wasn’t right what she did, but it was understandable. She was protecting Jaxa, she was preventing Lt. Sito from gutting that pig. We both know how hard it was for Sito to arrive at this point, to regain some semblance of her life. You remember how hard that was…” She paused, allowing Glover to replay in his mind the tragic condition Jaxa had been in when he visited her shortly after her rescue from Gul Rejak.

    As her former mentor in Nova Squadron, Elizabeth knew that he had formed a special bond with the young Bajoran, and it had only been strengthened as he joined with Shelby, the Sutherland crew, and her friends from the Enterprise, to help her recover.

    With all that shared history, and understanding why Triese had killed Rondrig, Shelby was certain that it would move Glover to back her up. Never anticipate, Elizabeth thought, as Terrence looked at her stone faced.

    “My memory escapes me,” he said, “You are referring to your…” he paused, looking down as he obviously pulled up her personnel roster. Shelby’s heart sank. Both Glovers had been captured by the Romulans. Only the younger Glover had made it back alive. Elizabeth had heard that he had suffered some brain damage, resulting in memory loss. She hadn’t known the extent of it.

    “Oh Terrence,” she muttered, shaking her head. “I had no idea.”

    “Excuse me,” he said, his eyes flashing, “I know…something of our previous friendship, but I don’t want you to let that lead you to think that you will not address me by my proper title.”

    “My apologies sir, Admiral Glover, sir,” Shelby said, straightening up in her seat. “I will send you all reports of the incident in question. If there’s anything you can do…perhaps during the court martial or sentencing phase…” she left it dangling.

    “Send the reports captain,” he said, without promising anything. Feeling a bit foolish and not sure why, Shelby transmitted the reports. After Glover’s dismissal masquerading as a farewell, Elizabeth sat back in her seat.

    In truth she sagged, as the realization of the likely end of a long friendship hit her like a ton of bricks.
    ********************************************************************
     
  6. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Author's Note: After perusing Memory Beta, I came across mention of a Cardassian First Republic, circa late 21st century. So, I've decided to rename the post-war DT Cardassian government, the Second Republic from here on in.

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    Cardassia City
    Cardassia Prime

    Garak pulled the cloak tight around him, making sure the hood covered his head and a good deal of his face. He did so not just to conceal his features but as protection against the heavy particulates in the air. The dust, generated by the blast, hung like clouds still over the capital city.

    Even though he walked briskly, Garak had to make sure he didn’t run into any other passerby and he definitely wanted to avoid the security forces roving the city. He had noted an increase in armed patrols.

    Urlak hadn’t announced it yet, but Garak knew martial law when he saw it. If he keep to the shadows he should be fine.

    Really? He had to ask himself, shaking his head. Everything had gone awry. His careful plans to embarrass and expose Urlak had fallen apart when Gul Gavran kidnapped his granddaughter, creating sympathy for the man. And Urlak would doubtlessly stroke the patriotism of the people to respond to the horrific embassy bombing.

    It didn’t hurt Urlak that the agitation of subject worlds for freedom or a greater role in the Second Republic made many Cardassians feel isolated and put upon. In fact, Urlak had ridden that general frustration into the premiership.

    And now he could exploit it for all its worth. Garak was reeling. He didn’t know what to do, but he would never let on to Illiana about his desperation. He thought the woman might take things into her own hands, and Garak didn’t trust her. He wasn’t sure if she would turn against him or do something completely reckless and doom them both.

    I need time to think, to strategize, the notion ran through his head, as he rounded the corner, finding the shuttered house. Ignoring the shattered windows, he pushed through the half-open door, his hand on the handle of his disruptor in case he ran into any querulous squatters.

    The darkened room was permeated with the acrid odor of urine. Garak ignored that, and other more pungent smells as he made his way to the cellar.

    The basement door had been ripped off long before. Garak stood at the precipice, looking down into the dark stairwell. All he remembered was the slow, sick, thump of flesh as his beloved Mila was thrown down the stairwell, after being murdered by the Jem’Hadar; killed for protecting him. He remembered holding her in his arms one last time, seeing the light extinguished forever from her kind eyes.

    He had never known a more selfless person than Mila. Garak hadn’t believed such behavior possible. He still found it hard to be fathom. But Mila had been real, and she had loved him, and he had loved her. The intense emotions he had held so carefully in check when she was alive now poured out of him. He had never properly mourned for her. Sinking to his knees, he let his tears flow.

    He knew he could always find sanctuary with Mila and even after she had been taken away from him, Garak felt the only place he could find a modicum of safety on this mad world was the place she had last inhabited. He hoped her spirit remained here, the eerie thought gave him solace.

    Sitting down in the doorway, he curled up, and remembered some of the better times of his youth, of the time spent with Mila.

    Garak knew he had made a fatal mistake when he heard the crunch of boots behind him. He had been so wrapped up in his memories that he hadn’t heard anyone enter the house or sneak up behind him. Knowing his life was probably over, Garak whipped around anyway, flicking his wrist, producing a fold-out disruptor, while reaching for the other gun in the folds of his cloak.

    “What are you doing here? How did you find me?” He demanded of the slender figure standing just inside the foyer. She already had a disruptor trained on him.

    “Good to see you to Garak,” Illiana Ghemor replied, “Care to drop the disruptor now?”

    “You first,” he said. The woman, her human guise still disconcerting, finally shrugged and slowly lowered her weapon. It took Garak a longer time to do likewise. “What are you going here?”

    “I came to find you of course,” she remarked.

    He rolled his eyes at the flippant reply, “Well naturally; now are you going to answer my question.”

    Ghemor smiled, the gesture ghastly in the wan light. “I think it is time for your close up.” Garak’s heart beat faster. What was the woman getting at?

    “What are you talking about?” He made his voice gruff, to hide his growing unease.

    “I want to be in on the exclusive,” she said, “I want to break the network of information you have on Urlak.”

    “Who will listen now?” Garak replied bitterly, “The whole of the Republic is swept up in the drama of Melken Urlak’s kidnapping.”

    “My…sources have informed me that that issue will be resolved shortly, and to the premier’s benefit. He’ll soon be soaring higher than ever, with his granddaughter back, his opposition neutralized, and strong public support, now would be the best time to strike, when it is least expected, and when he is least prepared.”

    “Are you so ready to lose your journalistic perch? Or your life? You know that as soon as you transmit my expose, Urlak’s security services will begin looking into your background and I doubt even your faked identity will withstand the scrutiny.”

    Her smile widened, “Well I am growing tired of this skin,” she remarked. “Not pebbly enough.”

    “What shall go for next my dear, Grisellan?” Garak asked, “Winter is approaching after all.”

    Ghemor laughed, “No, I think I will return to Bajor…to be with my… sister.”

    “Colonel Kira,” Garak replied, shaking his head at the sad memory of seeing the once vibrant woman withering away on a respirator.

    “After all that our people have been through, it really reminds you of what is important in this life. And as improbable as it seems, that Bajoran woman is the only family I have left, and I have much to atone for, for what I did to her,” Ghemor replied, “It is the least I can do to be at her bedside, to encourage her to wakefulness.”

    “So you want to explode a quantum torpedo as your exit?” Garak asked. “I just don’t think that is the best move. It will just swept under the rug, by our people and the Federation.”

    “I don’t deny that,” she answered.

    “Then why?” Garak hated the pleading tone of his voice. Ghemor thought about her response, which was not a good sign.

    “It’s the modified voraxna I slipped into Urlak’s bloodstream,” she admitted.

    “You what?” Garak exploded, lifting his weapon. Ghemor did the same. “Illiana how could you be so foolish?”

    “I wasn’t going to let Urlak walk away from this alive, no matter what happened? He murdered Natima Lang, he manipulated me into nearly killing Kira; he wasn’t going to skate away and into the premiership no less.”

    “You took away what was rightfully mine!”

    She laughed, “There’s no ownership issues here. I did what was best for Cardassia.”

    “Or so you thought,” Garak reined in his surging emotions. Just like he had feared, Illiana had done something rash, and it might just doom them yet.

    “Yes, Urlak still breathes, so the poison didn’t work,” she replied, shaking her head, her face a mask of consternation.

    “It is possible that the poison has been discovered and his men are looking for you as we speak,” Garak said, not entirely disappointed with such an outcome. He couldn’t work with the undisciplined.

    “No,” Ghemor reasoned, “If that were the case, I would be dead already. No, the poison must have been counteracted or mutated by other agents in his system.”

    “As a high ranking member of the Obsidian Order it is certain that Urlak dosed all kinds of antitoxins, and your poison has been counteracted.”

    “That was my conclusion as well,” Ghemor said, but one side effect is a gradual stoppage of blood to the brain, causing a cerebrovascular accident. With the proper inducement, it is possible to still cause the man to have a stroke, removing him from the kotra board, with our hands clean.”

    “I don’t want my hands to be clean,” Garak surprised even himself with the admission. It went against a lifetime of training, “I want him to know who ended him.”

    “Well that would not be advisable, if you were the source of the corruption allegations,” Ghemor frowned, “It would then be easier to dismiss.”

    “So what about my revenge?”

    “Is vengeance more important than justice?”

    Now it was Garak who had to pause. He gazed around the dark, dusty room, his youth traipsing through his memories, and he settled on an old broken recliner, Mila’s favorite. He turned away from it now, unable to look at anything that reminded him of her, because he knew she would not approve of his answer. “Yes,” he said quietly, something breaking inside him, “All I have left is vengeance.”

    “If you want that Garak, you can have it,” Ghemor’s voice was surprisingly tender. “But first, the case has to be made against Urlak, the people need to see the entire truth. If for no reason to insure he is not martyred.”

    “You shall have the data,” he conceded, “but after that Urlak is mine.”

    “That is fine with me,” she said, “Though I hope you will realize that you living with the anger, the immense burden of it, is worse than dying. I can’t go back to what I was, and it is my hope that you find your way out the dark waters you have waded into.”

    His lips curved into a small smile, “Thank you,” he said, and he meant it. “I don’t know if it is too late for me, but I am glad it isn’t too late for you.” He reached into the fold of his cloak and pulled out an isolinear rod. He handed it to her, “This has the data you need.”

    “So you always carry your only leverage on your person?”

    “Don’t worry I have backups,” he chuckled, “But you never know when it might come in handy. One can never know if I can return to my ship or lodgings either.”

    Ghemor nodded in understanding, “I see,” she said, as she took the rod and pocketed it. “I’ll be leaving Prime within the hour. You still have a chance to get out,” she dangled the carrot before him.

    “I make my stand here, like so many of our brethren and if my bones are to join theirs, it would be an honor,” he intoned.

    Ghemor raised an eyebrow, “Elim Garak talking about honor? Wonders never cease.”

    “No, they do not,” he replied, “Farewell Illiana.”

    “All my hopes Elim,” she responded. “You’re going to need them.”
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  7. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    USS Defiant
    Private Quarters

    Lt. Commander Cruz didn’t like delivering bad news. She inhaled deeply, and muttered, “Here goes,” before sending the message. Moments later, she got a reply. Lt. Dax, to her credit, did her best to hide her disappointment.

    “I’m sorry that we’re going to have to call off the rendezvous with Dr. Bashir and Mr. Sisko,” Cruz said, “but we got new orders. Defiant has been reassigned.”

    “I’ve made inquiries on Prime and the shuttle hasn’t made it there yet,” the Trill said, her brows knitting with concern.

    “I’m sure they are all right, perhaps taking a scenic route,” Cruz said, not believing her own words. The truth was the trail had grown cold and it would require a lot more digging than she would be allowed to do at present.

    “About this reassignment?” Dax began, but the commander cut her off. The mission had come from the very top. Fleet Admiral Grace wanted Defiant backing up Sutherland for the hostage exchange and it was a role Grace said even Sutherland didn’t know about.

    “I can’t discuss that Lieutenant,” Cruz replied and Dax nodded in understanding, even if her lips drew into a tight line. “But once the assignment is complete, and if the shuttle has not turned up, Defiant will be back on the case.”

    “Thank you Commander,” Dax afforded her a small smile, but there wasn’t much worth behind it. Diega was off put by it. She knew that the counselor was more concerned about her friends.

    “I promise,” she added for emphasis. The Trill’s smile got a little wider.

    “I’m sure if Julian, Jake, and Yano have gotten into anything they can handle it,” she offered.

    Cruz knew them still more by reputation than anything else, but she nodded in agreement. “I would be more worried about any potential obstacles.”
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  8. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    A lot of great stuff here. First of all I really felt for Shelby in that scene with Terrence. Just like her, I had no idea he had been affected this severely. I hope this doesn't mean an end to the boisterous Terrence we all love and/or hate. I could imagine his eventual recuperation to make for a great story.
     
  9. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Thanks CeJay. I did enjoy writing the Shelby-Glover scene quite a bit. I thought it was a good way to show how much he has changed due to his ordeal with the Romulans if it was seen through the eyes of a person who had known him before, a good friend like Shelby.

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    USS Sutherland
    Main Bridge

    “The last of the bullion has been transported Captain,” Lt. Commander Tol said, punctuating the statement with a long whistle. “You know I always told my field docent I would sit on a fortune someday.”

    “Jadon, you’re not literally sitting on the leks are you?” Captain Shelby asked, with a half smile. On her right, Lavelle chuckled as the bulkhead speaker picked up some furious rustling and metallic clinking.

    “Urm…of course not Captain,” Tol said, a bit out of breath. Shelby smothered a chortle when she saw Admiral Grace glowering in the seat to her left. Unfortunately the man had chosen to return to the bridge to oversee the transfer of the bullion. To his credit he at least restrained himself to the bridge and didn’t go down to personally count each lek to see if it was all there.

    “This is not a laughing matter Mr. Tol,” he said, though he glared at both Shelby and Lavelle. “A woman’s life is at stake, not to mention securing a lasting peace with the Cardassians.”

    “Understood sir,” Tol said penitently. “I’ll erect a level ten containment field around the currency in the event that the Cardassians try to beam it out without authorization.”

    “Good thinking Mr. Tol,” the admiral replied. “See to it at once.”

    “Acknowledged,” the Trill engineer said, relief evident in his voice, “Tol out.”

    “That went off without a hitch,” Shelby said, hoping to inject some sunshine into Grace’s perpetual cloud.

    “When Melken Urlak is back on Cardassia Prime in the custody of the Premier, rest easy then,” the admiral admonished, “but not a nanosecond before.” He stood up and looked down at her, “This is just starting,” he warned before exiting the bridge.

    Shelby felt just as relieved as Tol must have not to deal with Grace anymore. The mood on the bridge lightened up as well. Lavelle, a mischievous grin on his face, leaned forward in his seat, “Ensign Grace,” he called out. The young man swiveled around quickly.

    “Yes sir,” he said crisply.

    “Your father Ensign,” Lavelle said, chucking a thumb at the door, “Is he always so…”

    “So…so…” Alvin shrugged, “Well yeah, I guess.”

    “Captain I think we need to award Mr. Grace here a commendation.”

    “For what?” Captain Shelby asked.

    “Surviving,” Lavelle intoned.
    ****************************************************************

    Central Command Vessel Varathun
    Command Bridge

    The officer at the communications panel turned halfway in her seat, “Sir, we have received confirmation from Prime that the money was transported to the Sutherland.”

    Gul Martell sat back in his seat, digging into the chair’s armrests as a feeling of triumph passed over him. Too soon, he chided himself. The battle is only half won.

    “Send the Sutherland the rendezvous coordinates,” he ordered.

    “Transmitting now,” the woman briskly responded. Martell liked brisk. He stood up from his chair. He nodded at his second in command.

    “Take control,” he said, “I’m going to inform Miss Urlak that she will soon be back on Prime.”
    *************************************************************

    USS Defiant
    Main Bridge

    “Another change in plans?” Lt. Commander Diega Cruz asked, a bit irritable. She hadn’t been able to sleep and had returned to the bridge a few hours before she was scheduled. Even though she couldn’t sleep, she hadn’t gotten all of the sleep out of her, and the raktajino hadn’t helped. So she wasn’t in the mood to be pulled along like a toy wagon, from one search to another. She preferred being in the driver’s seat as much as possible.

    “Yes sir,” Lt. Zalkus, the Zaranite operations officer said, “Sutherland has received meeting coordinates for the exchange.”

    “So the Sunzek sector is out?” She asked, just for emphasis.

    “Yes sir,” the unruffled Zaranite replied, “The meeting will take place in the Upek Cluster.”

    “That’s a bit out the way isn’t it?” Cruz asked, stifling a yawn as she recalled the star charts rattling around in her mushy brain. “Near the Valerian border isn’t it?” Zalkus confirmed the question with a nod.

    “It is a sparsely populated section of Cardassian space, but mineral resources were extensive enough to justify constructing a Nor-class station there.” He paused, “one Upek Nor.”

    “That’s original,” joked Lt. Hetis. The Boslic woman had recently switched from flight officer to the tactical station. Diega wasn’t in a laughing mood at the moment. She merely pressed her lips together tightly.

    “Inform the admiral that we got his message and we will make the necessary course corrections,” she told Zalkus. “Hanoj,” Cruz said, not surprised that the woman also had come in early, but envious that she seemed far more alert, “Plot a course and get us there as soon as possible. If you beat the Sutherland, I have a tribble with your name on it.”

    “A tribble sir?”

    “Never mind,” a yawn escaped her lips. “I wonder what passes for history at the Academy these days,” she mumbled.

    “Excuse me sir?” The Bolian pilot asked.

    “Nothing.”
    *******************************************************************
    IKS B’gaava
    Main Bridge

    Gul Gavran crowed like a school boy as he swiveled a complete circle in the command chair. “Berced did it,” he said, half surprised, but proud of his second in command. He wasn’t certain she could pull something over on the vulpine Martell, but she had managed to send them a coded message with the location of the prisoner and money swap.

    “Helm,” he barked, “take us to those coordinates, maximum warp and under cloak!”
    *****************************************************************
     
  10. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Grace is not going to win any popularity contests, is he? He better be careful as his eccentricity could eventually blow his cover.

    Could you remind me what exactly happen to Terrence and in which story?
     
  11. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ^
    I don't think Grace is worried about any popularity contest. As far as he's concerned, he's won the popularity contest by becoming C-in-C. He thinks his position, plus his war record, and being a POW, will shield him.

    Terrence was captured by the Romulans while searching for his father in the short story "Dearest Blood". He was tortured and experimented on before he escaped. The ordeal left gaps in his memory. And there are prone to be personality changes as well as the year progresses.

    There's a version of "Dearest Blood" at United Trek, but I have since revised it. That hasn't been posted to that site yet, but if you would like I could repost it on this board or send you a copy if you cared to read it. If you want to do it that way just shoot me a private message. (Actually I think I might have posted it on this board a while back, after finishing "Shadow Puppets"; you might have to comb through to find it. If you don't want to do that, then I can repost or send it to you privately).
     
  12. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    *****************************************************************
    USS Sutherland
    Captain’s Ready Room
    Upek Cluster

    Sutherland winded its way through the rocky gate of asteroids that led into the Cluster, guided expertly by Ensign Grace. Admiral Grace was surprised by the glint of pride he felt for the young human. He was certain if he was actually his father he would feel much more.

    It did take a special kind of resilience to love someone who didn’t love you in return, and though some cultures might consider Alvin Grace a fool, Cardassians revered family ties, and in a way Melek felt honored that the young man continued to try to be a part of his father’s life.

    But he had his own child to consider, a child he had abandoned and that he wanted back, safe and sound, at all cost. Even though he had restored Shelby’s position, he still occupied her office. He wanted to be close to the action when the exchange occurred. He wanted to be on hand to make sure that Melken was safe. He stared out at the stars from the sliver of viewport in the office. He hadn’t seen these stars in decades.

    The Upek Cluster was always a bit of wild space, littered with asteroids and other anomalies that made it a haven for the criminal class. Cardassian brigands and Valerian cutthroats thrived here. Despite its unsavory reputation, the cluster prefect position was sought after. It was a good path to enrichment, turning a blind eye to the contraband being smuggled into and out of the Union.

    He snorted with disgust at the thought of the predators preying on his people, even more so now that they were so vulnerable. Melek would give anything to see his people return to being feared again.

    And he was determined to weaken Starfleet from the inside to do it. He knew that the Dominion War had left the Romulans weak and torn by internal divisions, with the Remans demanding greater rights if not outright liberation. The Klingons had also been left in shambles, their warrior ethos accounting for disastrous losses in their pyrrhic victory. The Federation had suffered mightily too, but was still the strongest of the three major powers.

    Another threat, the Alshain Exarchate, had become embroiled in a convenient civil war. He suspected that external forces were involved, but even from his perch, he didn’t know everything.

    The door chimed. “Enter,” he grumbled. He knew the woman by her perfume. “Justine,” he grumbled.

    “Catch you at a bad time sir?” He turned around slowly, his smile even slower.

    “When was the last time there was a good time?”

    “I’m sorry sir,” the young captain dipped her head and stepped back. He waved her forward.

    “How can I help you Justine?” He asked, making his voice milder. The woman brightened, and Melek had to remember, that Justine looked up to Admiral Grace as a father figure too, and she wanted his approval and needed his guidance and compassion. The woman gave him a rundown of Sutherland’s preparations. He had called for new scenarios to include breaching and storming Upek Nor if necessary to secure Melken.

    “We’ve received new instructions from the kidnappers,” the young captain said, “Upek Nor is not the meeting location.”

    “Explain,” he said, his flat voice not reflecting the increased patter of his heart. The space station was the logical choice for the exchange. Now what had thrown a spanner in that plan? Or was it part of Martell’s gamesmanship? The Cardassian did have a reputation for head games.

    After she finished, Justine bit her lip, uncomfortable. “Something else captain?” He asked.

    “I wonder sir, after this?” She shrugged.

    “You want a command again?”

    “Yes,” she nodded and he appreciated her bluntness. “I didn’t want to command Sutherland, and I can’t say I did a bang up job.”

    “No one could’ve anticipated running into a ship of drug-crazed Cardassians,” he offered. She nodded, but looked unconvinced.

    “I know my actions during Leyton’s coup were wrong, and I’ve paid a price for it,” she said, “I lost my freedom, many of my friends…” she trailed off, her gaze reflecting backwards. Grace gave her a moment. The reach of the past was long indeed and he had felt its grip on him tightening since his daughter had been kidnapped.

    It made him think of all he had lost, all he had given up, and those years, those unrealized experiences he could never get back.

    “I think I am ready for command again,” she said. He nodded.

    “I agree,” he said, his smile approaching honest expression. “I had wanted to wait until this mission was over, but I guess now is a good a time as any,” he said, “Upon our return you will assume command of the Retribution.” He was as relieved to reward her loyalty as he was at the thought of getting her away from him.

    The less people who “knew” him the easier to engage in behavior or actions that would seem out of character for Albert Grace; furthermore he didn’t like the growing affection he felt for the woman. He had found himself, of late, slipping far too easily into the role of surrogate father. The woman had been so shattered after the death of her father and the loss of her career, it was as if the chasm inside her called out to the darkness within him.

    But now that he had brought her back from the brink, he needed to remove her from his life at warp speed. He went on to describe more about the Defiant-class escort, but it seemed like his young charge was barely paying attention. Justine’s shock morphed into a smile that quickly changed into a frown. He tilted his head, his expression quizzical. “What’s wrong Captain?”

    “Retribution?” She said, her fair eyebrows knitting together as her nostrils wrinkled, “When did Starfleet start naming their ships with titles like that? It just sounds so harsh, so grim.”

    “These are grim times…my child,” he added after a nanoseconds thought. The term seemed to dilute her doubts and she began to glow again.

    “I think Captain Shelby can spare you for a while. I’ll have the information waiting for you on your desktop in your cabin.”

    “Thank you, Sir,” she said, her body tensing for a few moments, before she threw away caution and hugged him. Melek found himself weakening in her tightly embrace. He pulled gently away. Tears tracked down the woman’s face. “I just never,” her voice hitched as she sobbed, “thought this day…”

    “Off with you now,” he waved at the door. “You’ve got a lot of things to do.”

    “Okay Sir,” she said after a few moments of composing herself. She wiped the moisture from her face and straightened her uniform. Before she left, she turned back to him, “I will never forget this Admiral,” she said, “and I will never let you down or Starfleet down again.”

    “You’ve never let me down,” he said, one of the few times he had been honest wearing another man’s face. “And I know you will do your duty to Starfleet as well as you have attended me these last few years.”

    She nodded, unable to speak. Melek feared she was going to start crying again, but the woman maintained herself. He sat back in Shelby’s chair and let himself sag. Keeping up the front was becoming more draining every day.

    But it would be all worth it to secure Melken’s release and aid his father in restoring Cardassia’s greatness. “Now, back to saving my real daughter,” he mumbled, as he input the new meeting coordinates into Shelby’s desktop. He wanted to see what made this place so special. Despite Martell’s cunning, he could never take into account that he wasn’t dealing with a mere human, but a deep cover Obsidian Order agent whose child’s life was on the line. There was no trap he could spring that Melek wouldn’t make sure he was aware of beforehand.
    *******************************************************************
     
  13. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    OK, my Haas appreciation meter is dropping quite a bit after this. I don't know what's worse, the fact that she still hasn't got a clue that she is serving the enemy or that she will be put into the unenviable position of having to be grateful to him for advancing her career. Either way she's going to be in a bad place.
     
  14. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay,

    As always, thanks for commenting. Wanted to let you and the other readers now that future installments might be a long time in coming. My computer recently crashed (I'm writing this from a library computer and I don't have ready access to a local library unfortunately). Not sure when I will back up and running again.

    I wouldn't be so harsh on Haas. Albert is her surrogate father and he's been in her corner. So she's blinded by a lot of love for him, unresolved feelings regarding her father, and her ambitions.